For those who do not know… My brother is growing into a southeast ultra running beast. So when he asked me to save my long run for the Friday I was in town visiting, I did not hesitate to do so. I LOVE the chance to run with this kid.
THE PROS AND CONS OF RUNNING WITH AN ULTRA RUNNING SIBLING
PRO: We get to run trails. A trail could be circular with no paths veering off and I would find a way to get lost if running solo. When I run with James, he’s in charge of navigating.
CON: He doesn’t seem to remember what hills are like to common-folk runners… The trail he took me on is probably what he considers gently rolling hills… they were small gravel mountains to me.
PRO: I did get some good hill training in…… despite the fact that long runs should be leisurely…
CON: I push the pace too fast for myself in order to accommodate my brother’s ability to run faster.
PRO: I get some speed training in….. despite the fact that long runs should be leisurely… haha
CON: Did I mention that he doesn’t seem to know what a hill is?
PRO: We get to catch up. I only see him an average of once a month. So we chit chat and catch up as the trail rolls below us.
CON: I rarely get the opportunity to run with him so it’s like giving a doughnut to a doughnut addict after 3 months without and expecting them to be happy to go back to life without doughnuts for 3 months.
PRO: I get bribed with Firehouse subs for lunch. I love me some Firehouse Subs. That morning before we left out he said “We will get Firehouse Subs for lunch. My treat” I should have known then that he was hiding something…. blinding me with a Firehouse Sub bribe….
CON: Running with an ultra runner that has the same blood running through their veins somehow encourages delusions of grandeur… My brother has the strange ability to convince me to do crazier and crazier things…. I’m practically half a step away from researching 100mi races to figure out which one is the apple of my eye to train for next year.
PRO: I gain confidence.
CON: He’s crazy (the guy runs 100 miles for fun)… so his faith in my abilities seems to be crazy too. He thinks I contain the greater ability to qualify for Boston than he does…. this coming from the guy that ran a 3:35 marathon on a challenging trail after running a half marathon at a 7:30 pace the day before….. uhhhhhhhhhh yeah. He’s certifiable. I am too. Him more-so.
NOW let me tell you a bit about that run…. There was this one hill that was so steep (aka gigantic to me) that James was leaned forward super far and my ass was hurting as we walked briskly up it. The whole time I was thinking “I only have to go up this once. Just power through it”… I was SO relieved when I reached the top only to find out we had to loop back around in order to make the run the required 8mi. When we got to the end of the run… somehow…. despite walking up every hill we ran in 1:25:25. I was shocked. We MUST have been flying down the hills. Or something like that. Towards the end there were some steep downhills that required you to open your gait and fly (James may not have realized it but it was a race. I never told him because he kept winning). Time went by relatively quickly and I did my best to run swiftly and breathe while maintaining conversation (quite difficult at times). I absolutely loved it but my brother kept needlessly apologizing for the trail. We talked about training with an injury. We talked about past races and future races… we even discussed hypothetical future races like Boston. There were a plethora of other topics discussed as well. Yeah… the trail was tough…. yeah… I sweat my ass off… yeah… I ran harder than I should……… the weather was gorgeous, the conversation was fluid, and it was a great run. I wouldn’t have changed one single thing. OH! By the way, apparently 8 miles wasn’t enough for him…. he ran 7.25 in an hour earlier that morning (see what I mean about being slow and trying to push the pace…)
Well there you have it…. The Pros and Cons of Running with my Crazy-ass super-talented ultra-running brother…… the cons are comparable to the weight and value of a feather while the pros are comparable to a ton of gold in weight and value.