This was the first time I’ve seen Miss High Speed Adventure Racer on the train. I recognize pretty much everyone who waits for the train every day so it’s always pretty obviously which people aren’t the usual commuters. I locked up my bike at the station and started to walk down the stairs to the platform. Sort of under her breath she said something like, “Yeah last time I rode my bike here I almost died”. I replied, “Sounds like almost every time I ride my bike in Boston”. So instantly we had something in common so we chit-chatted while we waited for the train. No deep life stories this time, just a 22 year old girl at warp speed talking about working, family, running, and exercising. It went something like this:
She studied science and finance in school, graduated this past May, and is now doing marketing for a science-based company in the area. Her company does her dry cleaning and she has a free personal trainer at the gym in the basement of her work building (how awesome is that!). She bikes to work a few days a week, approximately 20 miles each way so she’s definitely pretty intense. Her intensity for exercising was definitely correlated to her intensity for trying to cover as many topics in one conversation as possible (in a good way, but also in a take a deep breath and sit down to prepare yourself kind of way).
She’s training for a half marathon in Boston with the hopes of eventually running the Boston Marathon. I ran the marathon in 2010 so we talked about training for a while. I ran it through the Tufts Marathon Team which is a largely non-competitive fundraiser with 200 other students/faculty/family memberes. Like me she knew that she would have to join some fundraising team in order to run the marathon as the qualification times are pretty serious for people in our age group (Men = 3hrs 10min aka 7:15 pace, Women = 3hrs 40min aka 8:24).
We then went immediately to adventure-style races like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Ragnar, and Reach the Beach. She had never done any of them but she has read about them extensively, in almost an obsessive compulsive kind of way. I’ve done Ragnar three years in a row and definitely plan to make the Spartan Beast Race a yearly event. Ragnar is very similar to Reach the Beach in that they are both 200 mile (ish) relay races where you have a 12 person team split into 2 vans and you run a relay over 24 (ish) hours. They have races all over the country but we’ve always done the one in the Northeast from New Haven to Boston. Here’s a pretty sweet 10 minute video done by ESPN on Ragnar in case you’re interested and/or bored at work/school. The video features the original Ragnar through Utah, looks AWESOME.
So we talked about this quite a bit and then shifted to the obstacle course type races and the differences between them. I recently did the Spartan Beast race in Vermont up and down Killington Mountain. It was absolutely the most SAVAGE race I’ve ever done, there’s no other way to describe it. You can be good at running, you can be good at other sports, i.e. there’s talent involved, not with this race because it’s pure grit. It’s 13 miles running up and down Killington with 20 (ish) obstacles. Definitely tougher than the Tough Mudder because with the Spartan races they actually crush you when you fail to complete an obstacle, the penalty is 30 burpees, Tough Mudder you can just walk around the obstacle with no penalty.
Anyway, we talked about all of these cool races and I could see her eyes light up. Not with mere interest or excitement, but rather with some sick, twisted sort of self-punishment you can only find in people who enjoy these types of events. Our conversation covered school, family, where we were raised, jobs, athletics, different exercises, different races, a little bit of politics, and some about riding public transit. Definitely a whirlwind conversation but I’m glad that me and Miss High Speed Adventure Racer got to “bro-out” about different races and whatnot. She just started working out on the same train line as me so I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity to talk 1000mph again, I’m sure it’ll be sooner rather than later.