It's been a great run (pun intended) since Fleet Feet in Carson closed and we forged our own running group. It was great discovering new trails together, training and running in some of the most spectacular scenery around over the last five years or so and thousands of miles.
Unfortunately, I must leave you all behind. I simply can no longer associate with a group that runs marathon distances as training runs. One that runs 50K as training for 50+ mile races. One that routinely cranks out a sub nine minute/mile pace on 10+ mile trail runs and laughs and chats while doing it. Yes, I must leave you all behind, because you've left me behind.
You've all gotten stronger, faster and better. And, for what it's worth, I brag all of you up every chance I get. Unfortunately, I've gotten older. Slower. And injured. I'm unable to keep up, and I am unwilling to ask you to wait. Forcing you to wait twenty minutes in sub freezing temperatures (as I recently did on a six-mile run, since I had the keys) is selfish and wrong. I'll not make that mistake again.
However, I'm not ready to hang up the Inov8s just yet, I just need to be realistic about my ability, and need to align myself with people who are my likely running peers now, not the peers of my past. Any eleven to twelve minute trail mile pace folks out there who want to run in this area, give me a rattle.
I'll still see y'all in street clothes and occasionally I'm sure I'll meet you at a trailhead. When that happens, you can be sure I'll bust my ass trying to keep up with you. Who knows, maybe y'all will have an off day, and I'll have a good one, and I'll finish a ten mile run only ten or so minutes back.
I say all this now in the warm afterglow of a truly horrific string of group-run debacles. Who knows, maybe I'll get myself all trained up solo, and come out at some race/run in the future and shock everyone, just like Daniel-san in the Karate Kid. Maybe. But despite the commonness of the feel-good comeback in movies, I find it rarely exists in the real world. We'll see, but I'm not terribly confident of the odds.
So to all my former peer-peeps here is a heartfelt poetic message:
If you keep running, I will too.
If you stop, I'll catch up,
Can't pass you by, though I might try.
Run and laugh, and sweat and smile,
Always look ahead to that next mile.
Keep up the pace, cross the scree,
Don't look behind, for there I'll be...
STALKING YOUR ASS.