Friends, Runners and Countrymen…

‘And that’s the whole poem,’ he said. ‘Do you like it, Piglet?’ ‘All except the countrymen,’ said Piglet. ‘I don’t think they ought to be there.’ ‘They wanted to come in after the friends,’ explained Pooh, ‘so I let them. It is the best way to write poetry, letting things come.’ ‘Oh, I didn’t know,’ said Piglet.

Tigger comes to the forest — A.A. Milne

One year when I was following Hapalemur simus, my focal animal (a sub-adult male — think teenager) got kicked out of his troop by his father. One problem about being critically endangered (IUCN), is that when you are kicked out of your native troop there is probably no other troop to take you in. The poor guy was all alone, and forced to the outskirts of his range. One day his mother and brother snuck away from rest of the troop and found him. I have never seen him so happy. He went and played with his little brother, running and jumping all over.

Some might say I shouldn’t anthropomorphize emotions, and I wouldn’t for an insect, but he was a primate. De Waal points out that our emotions did not evolve ab nihil, they come from similar behavior patterns in our ancestors. He acted happy. It was a situation in which a human would be happy. I know he was happy.

Today I had a tempo run on More Mesa. 3 mile warmup (1 and a half laps around the mesa) 5 mile tempo (5 laps around Mike’s favorite hill), 3 mile cooldown.

As I brested the mesa I saw two kites hovering over the grass. Then I ran passed a blue heron who gave me some thought and then took off. The morning was lovely just then, little puffy clouds with just a hint of color left to them from the sunrise. I passed a woman running beside her dog-sized horse.

As I finished my first lap of the warmup, I saw the track workup. There was Rusty talking to Tony. Then Drea started running and Eric. Leif and Michelle were going to start soon. My group! I haven’t run with them since April. I picked up my pace, and came tearing round the corner, zipping passed Rusty. Michelle is roughly 50 meters ahead and I am intent on catching up. “Slow down!” yells Rusty. Sigh. OK, I won’t catch up. I see other friends heading back to the start line.

I jog back to the start, trying to chat. Rusty comes jogging up and reproves me: “You must have been going mile race pace!” (Not good for someone training to run 50 miles). “I just wanted to run with my group”, I reply. Sigh I guess I shouldn’t. I should go back to my warmup, and do my tempo. But Maggie is at the start, and I can run with her and not go too fast.

My tempo run passed uneventfully (OK, I saw a bunch of bunnies on the first three laps, but they had vanished by the last two).


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