Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paula Radcliffe believes in me.

I just got a gadget.

It's an add-on to my iPod for when I go running. Basically, I put a sensor in my shoe and during my run, it briefly interrupts my music to tell me about my distance and pace per mile. I can then plug my iPod into my computer and it uploads the information to a website--so I can keep track of my progress. Technology is grand.

It is one thing to look at a watch, a pedometer, or even a computer to see how far you've gone. It's another to hear a voice telling you about your progress.

"You're halfway there," or "1 mile to go."

I had gotten used to the familiar, if mildly robotic, female voice providing time and distance measurements to me. Then I was surprised by a new voice. I had just finished my longest run in a while, which in the diverse egalitarian world of jogging, does not necessarily mean it was particularly long. After the usual lady came on and told me that I had completed my run, another woman spoke up.

"Hi, I'm Paula Radcliffe. Congratulations! That was your longest run yet."

I perked up, because a) Paula was right, and it was a nice reminder of my progress, and b) I had no idea who Paula Radcliffe was.

My first--clearly misguided--thought was of an asexual comedienne. But upon further deliberation, I knew that the voice was different and my most recent run would have little meaning to her. I was thinking of Paula Poundstone.

It dawned on me then, of course, that this was obviously a runner. A runner that other runners would know. And she is... in fact, she holds the world record in the women's marathon. She's fast.

But I didn't know who she was when I heard her voice. It wasn't her status as a running icon that I enjoyed when she cheered in my ear that evening at the O'Nassis Reservoir in Central Park. It was her voice--a human, encouraging voice recognizing that I had just run further than I had the day before.

I can't help but think how nice it would be to have Paula as a regular commentator on my runs....

"Hi, I'm Paula Radcliffe. I couldn't help but notice that your strides were more purposeful today."

"Hi, I'm Paula Radcliffe. Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. I'm not sure what you're doing differently, but that was one hell of a run. Bravo."

"Hi, I'm Paula Radcliffe. In addition to the great time you posted on your run today, I would like to take the time to comment on your handsomeness. It is already prodigious, and yet it seems to grow by the day."

Oh, Paula. Go on.

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At 3:15 PM, Anonymous erik said...

frickin' genius, phil. this posting made my day!

bravo indeed!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger SwimBikeRun said...

It's only fair, you cheered her on to victory at the ING NYC Marathon last year. I watched you, even though you didn't even know who she was.

See there, you deserve it!!!

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Angelo said...

And she believes in me, Ill never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl, I could change the world
With my little songs, I was wrong
But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully
And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right
I will find a way, find a way...


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