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.