Wrong! (and then wrong again!)

I had to wait for Alison's "snarky, political post" to marinate before i covered this--and, please, still go down there and read it, by all means--but i have somethin' needs covering.

Much to my chagrin, i did not run a mile in 4 minutes and 18 seconds. Big hands on a watch notwithstanding, i always figured i was averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 or 7 minutes. I have consequently double checked my time, and have found that to be the case.

Here's the deal: I would never have reported the 4 minute time except that i went up to the park the other day to run the loop, set my foot on the start mark, hit the button on a very expensive (although antiquated, 70's model) stopwatch, and started running. When i came back around to that mark i hit the button again. I looked at the watch and it read 4:18 seconds. I couldn't believe it. Thinking that maybe i'd slightly hit the reset button on the old, analog watch, I did it again just to double check and still came in at a similar 4:28. Man, i think to myself, i am baddass.

Now, i've seen people running 4 minute miles and they don't look like what i imagine i looked like when i was running my two tests: Those folks are intense, focused. I, on the other hand, am saying "hi" to people, looking at birds in the trees, occasionally singing a snippet of a song. I knew something had to be wrong.

So yesterday morning i went out with the same stopwatch with the intent of checking this figure yet again. This time i did the loop that circles the city park, a circuit that i knew to be exactly one mile because i've driven the car around it. My running time, sadly, was not in the 4 minute range. Nor the 5 minute range. I ran a respectable--and much more understandable--6 minute 20 second mile.

So what was the problem? I'm sure you already know, but i'll hold the actual answer back just to create a sense of mystery, okay?

Okay. That's embarrassment number one. Here's number two, and it has the same source as number one. And before you say it, Yes, as we all know, i am a bastard. No need to rub it in.

These two loops i'm talking about here are both at a park very near our house. This is where i run and bike everyday. The outside loop is actually a one way city street that circles the park. It is upon this circuit that i ride my bike (and did my second running test). The other loop is a small asphalt walking path contained within the bigger loop. It's easy to believe, due to the twisty nature of this trail, that it, also, is one mile. Besides, there are even signs that mark a 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, etc. Why would they lie?

Alright: here's where the bastard part starts. I get peeved at the people running on the city street part. Like i said, i ride my bike around this loop. The folks that run on the street require me to be very vigilant of their presence. Besides, it's very popular to run (and bike) city streets in Charleston going the wrong way on one way streets and this loop is no exception. After you live here long enough, you start to see why this is actually a safe option, but it's still pretty annoying for cars--and for me on my bicycle. It becomes very annoying, however, when you know there's a perfectly good trail not 40 feet away.

SO! A month ago I started to dislike these scofflaws. Why are they running, i grumble to myself, on this loud, unsafe, road when they could be enjoying the tranquil, safe, path afforded by the interior loop? Each day i became more obsessed with these people. Who are they? i soon started thinking as i sped around the corners.

After a week of that it became Who do they think they are?! Soon I started muttering under my breath freakin' mreepmher runnin' ontha mreeephreemer! I could hear their nasal, whiny retort in my head "but it's not a mile! fuh fuh fuh!" Two weeks ago i up-ed the ante again and started fussing out loud. "YOUKNOWTHATWALKINGPATHSAMILEDON'TYOU?" i said to one person as i sailed by them for the 12th time on my fancypants track bike. I began to consider posting signs.

For Your Safety
(and the safety of others)

There is a perfectly good walking trail on the interior of the park.
I promise not to ride on your walking trail the wrong way,
if you'll agree to not walk on the
Freakin' City Street the Wrong Way!

And don't tell me it's not a mile because it is!
If you need help figuring out how they get a mile trial inside
of a mile trail, i'll draw you a picture!

i sounded a lot like that sarahsurfs chick on craigslist, but in my zealotry, i hadn't yet noticed that. Anyway, it turns out, due to my running test, that, uhh...well, that inside track isn't a mile after all.


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