In Sync with Greensleeves

Posted on April 12, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Texas country roads

Greensleeves was in my sight from the moment the 10K runners split from the 5.  There were only 4 runners ahead of me.  Greensleeves was the closest.

This is a mistake, I thought as we approached the water stop before the turn, not to keep my eye on her but to even think the name Greensleeves.

Everybody knows “Greensleeves,” an age old song whose tune has been most frequently adapted to Christmas music.  Think “What Child Is This” and you know the tune. Slow. Kinda pretty. Not exactly conducive to fast running.

But it wasn’t my fault that my brain chose to name her this.  She was, after all, wearing green sleeves, a shoulderless running bra with unmistakeably bright green sleeves.

For almost a mile, I couldn’t shake the song from my head.

But I made a promise to run well.  It was the Wild Woman 5K/10K, part of the first annual Wild Woman Weekend held in Blanco, Texas, and I needed to run faster than ever before.

I had to lose this stupid song.

When we turned at the halfway point, the stream of runners trickling along for a good half mile or more startled me.  I had been focusing so intently on what lie ahead of me that I hadn’t even thought about what might lie behind.  It didn’t register until that moment that I was actually running pretty well, but it would only take one powerhouse runner to catch her second wind and I’d be left in the dust.

That was enough to blow the song right out of my head—and to gain quickly on Greensleeves. Before I knew it, I was close enough to hear her iPod.

I hung back for a bit, debating what to do. We still had almost 3 miles to run and I didn’t want to pull out all the stops just to pass her and risk crashing close to the finish line.

I knew she knew I was there.  She glanced back once or twice.  We were running virtually alone on a country road outside of Blanco, and it felt a little creepy.  I kinda felt like a stalker, running so close behind.  So I pulled up to run beside her.

The next 2.5+ miles were some of the best running I have experienced.  It was almost surreal. There were no people, only cows and birds, the wind and the smell of flowers.  If there were cars, I don’t remember them.  We simply ran, breathing simultaneously, keeping the same pace, feet striking the pavement in sync.

When we hit mile 4, there was no marker to indicate it. I held up 4 fingers. This is 4, I said.

That sucked coming down, Greensleeves said at the bottom of a steep hill.

It sucked going up, I replied.

There was no more talking, no need to.  We were in stride, side by side, and running fast.

I’ve never checked my watch so frequently. I wasn’t interested at that moment in beating her. I was, instead, astonished at our pace:  7:37, 8:02, 7:58.  For over 2.5 miles we maintained an 8-minute mile average.  We might as well have been flying.

With less than 1 mile left, Greensleeves stopped to drink and, I think, to breathe. I kept running, but not as fast.  It just wasn’t the same without Greensleeves.

She shot across the finish line only a couple of minutes after me.  I waited, high-fived her when she crossed.

That was great, I said.  Thanks.

Dang, she said, and we smiled.

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2 Responses to “In Sync with Greensleeves”

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This is the best race recap I’ve ever read! Awesome. PR, I assume?

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It was one of the best races I’ve run! A lot of fun. Yes, PR. Yay! 🙂

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