I went running today at lunchtime. It was a beautiful day outside. Temps in the 60's and sunny. I decided that I was going to do my favorite 10K course. It's a large loop that consists primarily of nice, quiet New Englandy back roads. I left my place of employment and headed up towards North Street. As I turned left on North, I saw a man running ahead of me. He was not fat, but he definitely was not slim. He wore long, basketball shorts and could generally tell he was not a top-10 kind of race if you know what I mean. I was going really slow, just easing into the run. I was slowly gaining on him, but I wasn't trying to do so. As my legs warm up I just naturally start running faster. The course takes me down North road about 1 mile, then left onto some other road who's name I forgot. The guy ahead of me makes the same turn and I see him take a quick look back and he sees me. I can see him suddenly pick up the pace and he starts to pull away. The chase is on!
I admit that I began to pick up the pace too. I felt like a tiger chasing down a sickly doe. I was just loping along while the doomed doe struggled. The guys pace began to fade in a few minutes and I quickly caught up to him. As I was running next to him I said hello and introduced myself. I asked if he wanted to join me on my 10K. He said he had a different 10K course, but he was willing to join me. I don't run with people often and I was not planning on going fast so I welcomed the company.
The road we were on went up a hill, through a 4-way stop, and then down a hill. I could tell by this guys respiration that he was out of his zone. He was breathing too hard when going up hill this early in the run. But what amazed me was that he took off down the hill. Why would he do that? I think he wanted to drop me. To show me what a great runner he was. I let him get a little ahead of me as we went down the hill. Tigers do that once in a while so that their prey would get more tired and the kill would be easier.
At the bottom of the hill we made a left. He was ahead of me and I called forward to tell him to make a left. He didn't know where he was and I wondered what he was thinking. When you're running with someone on roads you don't know, you don't run ahead and try to drop the person you just agreed to run with. I decided not to kill him right there on the spot. Instead, I decided to drag him down the road and leave him for dead in the bushes. I picked up the pace, just a little so that he could stay with me. At this point, I'm not really running that hard. My legs are using impulse engines, but I was soon to switch over to warp engines. We rounded a corner and I could hear his breathing getting labored. I tweaked the pace a little more, but he was hanging on. I began to switch over to warp drive, but he started falling off too quickly. Mustn't kill the prey yet. It's no fun unless this game goes on for a while. I throttle back a little to let him catch up. He calls back saying not to wait for him. Alrightythen. Helm? Warp 1. Make it so!
I switched to real running mode and attacked the hills with vigor. I didn't need to look back to know my prey was in trouble. One minute I heard his wheezing and whimpering, the next I heard nothing. I kept the pace at a moderate level, maybe at 80% effort. I knew the poor bastard was going to struggle up the hills, but I decided this guy needed to be taught a lesson. Arrogant? You betcha. But I was annoyed he tried to drop me.
I kept the pace until the end of the road. At this point, I turned around expecting to see him. The road was fairly straight and I could see a long way, but no prey. He was gone! I know her was lost and didn't know which way to turn. But I was still annoyed and I was having such a good run that I decided to leave the carcass for the vultures. I headed back to work and completed the run in record time. :)
I wonder what will happen when he sees me out on the roads next time? :)