Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Will Power

I had an amazing run tonight. I arrived home from work well after dark feeling pretty worn down. But, the temperature was abnormally high for the point in the evening so I forced myself out the door.

As I reach the end of my street on a run I am forced to make a decision. Do I run up a big hill, or do I run down it? I always wish for a third option. I usually run down because I still want to take it easy and warm up. However, today as I hit this spot I saw another runner flying up the hill and passing me. He looked at me from across the street and I headed after him.

As we were climbing he wasn't putting much distance on me, but I certainly wasn't able to catch him. I was breathing hard and spitting like crazy as I'm pretty sick at the moment. According to my garmin we climbed for 11:00 minutes before reaching a mini-summit. I saw him glancing back a few times as we climbed so I knew we were both engaged. It was an awesome feeling. I expected him to turn or duck in somewhere and that would be that. But, after we got to the top he turned around and headed right for me.

He introduced himself as Will (pictured) and apologized for not waiting for me at the bottom. But, he was surprised to see someone keep up with him as he's not used to that. We decided to continue our runs together and we ran with bursts of accelerations and brief respites (when I think he was waiting up for me or waiting for my breath to slow, as he was pushing me to my limits). Turns out he lives two blocks down the hill from me and also works at the mountain. We've made plans to run to and from work with one another every so often.

I pressed him a bit to learn about his running and he mentioned running for William and Mary as well a few marathons. We both ran Boston last year so I had to ask how he had done. I expected to hear a time in the 2:40's or 2:30's. Instead he said simply, 49th. Anyway... enough gushing, it was nice to meet someone who was young and dedicated and friendly. I suppose I can run with him on his slow days. So that's the end of the story, right?

Not exactly. I decided to google him as I do any other competitive runner I meet to find out some more info (I almost always regret this as it makes me feel like I've violated the person's privacy). But, I can't help myself. So, what did I find? Will told me the truth, but he left out a pretty big chunk. There are lots of articles about him, because he ran under 2:30, finished in the top 50 at Boston, and did so while undergoing chemo to fight a brain tumor.

I think I can tough it out the next few days through my head cold to get outside and put in some big runs.

I've got a 10k race (first in a 3-race point series) this Saturday, so more coming then!


trout said...

awesome, man.

Nettie said...

Great story! Glad you've found a running buddy!

Chris said...

Thanks for posting this. Good to know you are settling in well out there.

Silly Cymberlin said...

Thanks for reading! I'm getting psyched for June. The running will be fun.. but I'm mostly into eating 4 Jimmy Johns sandwich's in 20 hours.