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January 26, 2006

Rabbits and Hounds (and One Major Fox)

One major reason why speed work is much better when done with a group: the thrill of the chase.

Several of us assembled for a workout of 1-mile intervals this morning. Sometimes we do this workout at the track, other times on a measured road course. This morning was on the road, which is very slightly uphill in one direction. I had planned on doing 8 intervals.

All of us run at various speeds, so we typically start these intervals by giving the slower runners a head start – they are the rabbits. Gradually, the faster runners begin their intervals, with the fastest guys starting last and trying to chase down the group ahead. The fast runners are the hounds.

Whether predator or prey, the chase makes everybody faster. And it usually keeps all of us humble. I may be some people’s hound, but I’m also a rabbit for several others. And sometimes the rabbits surprise us and never get caught, so the hounds don’t feel so smug. Either way, the workout seems to go much better when we do these staggered starts.

At least, it went better until we finished the sixth interval, at which point I started hearing the following:

“That’s enough for me – I’m done”

“I think I’m finished, too”

“I’ve got to go easy on this injury – I should probably stop.”

And so on, until I was the only one still wanting to run. So I labored through two more intervals. I wasn’t a rabbit, and I wasn’t a hound. I was just a really tired dude trying to keep his legs spinning through two more dang miles. It was amazing how much more difficult the final two intervals (especially the last one uphill) were compared to the first six.

Maybe I would have locked up even if the group had stuck around, but I think I would have done better if I had just one rabbit to chase, or one hound to evade. At any rate, I was grateful to be done.

When I arrived at the employee gym to shower before work, a friend of mine was on the treadmill, and we tossed around our usual banter for several minutes

Then Beyonce’s “Check On It” video started playing…and we both fell silent. For about three and a half minutes. I think “mesmerized” would be a good word to describe us.

I have a Master’s degree, he’s an MD, and this is the enlightened exchange we had once we found our voices again after the video ended:

Him: Whoa.

Me: Oh my goodness.

Him: Amazing.

And that seemed like a good time for me to step into the shower, and get on with the rest of my day.

3 comments:

THE SCRIBE 1/26/06, 10:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stronger 1/26/06, 12:21 PM  

I had to go watch the video and report back. That pink panther is still workin' it! Pop that back.

jeff 1/26/06, 3:02 PM  

haha...that was one of the most polite comment spam entries i've ever read!

great post, d. i do most of my track workouts solo, but on occasion, the university kids are out and on those days, i always find myself running harder. if my schedule wasn't so difficult to coordinate with other folks, i'd hook up with a track club in a heartbeat.

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