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 My Race With Wiggly
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

My Race With Wiggly Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:46 pm 

I had an interesting experience during my 13 mile run today-- a race broke out where none was planned. My goal was to run 9 miles easy, then 3 miles at tempo pace (about 7:25 or so), then one last cooldown mile. The 9 easy miles went well enough, and I launched into the tempo miles.

Before long, I'd nearly caught up with another runner who'd passed me earlier who I'll call Wiggly. He had an amazingly jerky running form, almost like he was having a seizure while running, yet he was moving pretty fast. As I gained on Wiggly, it became clear that he was picking up the pace to try to keep ahead of me. I tried to ignore it, although I probably picked up the pace a little myself.

Before much longer I caught up to Wiggly, and as I started to go by him, he turned to ask me something. I was kind of out of it, so I didn't really catch what he said, but I think he asked if he could run with me. I mumbled something affirmative, and from that point we ran together side-by-side for several miles. Although I tried to remember the purpose of the workout and not get too carried away, it was hard not to push the pace. We retired the first mile in 7:12, and the second in 7:04, a good bit faster than I'd intended. Midway through the third mile I finally managed to get ahead of him, after which I slowed a bit and finished the mile in 7:07.

I slowed to an easy jog to begin my cooldown mile, expecting Wiggly to zoom past me. I shouted a "nice run" at him as he caught up, but to my surprise, he slowed to match my pace, and followed me stride-for-stride for the last mile too. I didn't say goodbye to him until I finally stopped, and he continued on down another trail.

This unexpected race was actually a pretty big confidence boost. I did 3 miles at an average pace of 7:08, which is about as fast as my most recent 5K, but I definitely wasn't running at race-level effort. It's encouraging to get some feedback that confirms that I'm improving. I've got another 5K race planned for next week, so it'll be interesting to see how that one goes. In the mean time, I'll be looking out for Wiggly on my next long run!


Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: My Race With Wiggly Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:39 am 


I've had the same thing happen to me numerous times. I sometimes run a trail around a large park (it's probably 5k on the nose - I usually finish it in 24-26 minutes on an easy run day), and about 4 weeks ago, I was gaining on another runner. As I passed him, I nodded and smiled, and he returned the look.

About 30 seconds later, he ("John") caught up with me and we started to talk as we trotted along, about racing, how long we've been running, etc. Before we knew it, we were unconsciously pushing one another: As soon as my pace would lag, he'd pick up his own, and vice-versa.

At the end of 3 laps, I realized I'd been running < 8:00 miles, on what was supposed to be my easy run day.

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