Before I begin, I want to specify that the answer to the question I have posed is in fact YES.
How can I be sure? Well, if I wasn’t a lazy nerd, I’d regress average paces on my various nerd factors, such as thickness of glasses and amount of math classes taken and number of academic books owned, and show you that as each of these independent variables have increased, my running speeds have ALSO increased. Therefore, being a nerd must cause me to be a better runner. Unless it is really that the passage of time is affecting all of these variables and therefore over time I have both become more nerdy and become a better runner independently, but hey, I haven’t ever taken a class on time series regression, so I’ll just pretend that isn’t a possibility.
Ok, after that last paragraph you all are certain that I am a super nerd now, right? Good. Because then you must know that typically my nerdiness must not hinder my running. I am like one of the nerdiest people ever, but typically my running does not suffer from it. Therefore, I feel pretty confident in saying that nerds are able to run (Side note: this is probably a more logical way to go about reasoning than the typical statistical approach I would take… let’s not think about what that says about my chosen career as a social scientist…).
Yesterday, however, being a nerd certainly did hinder my running, if only for a day.
Let’s take a look at my splits:
Wow, that started out great! Especially after my shitty run on Saturday and in comparison to last week’s long run, I was feeling like I was doing much better. I try to keep my long run pace under 9:30 a mile, as I am hoping for a race pace between 8:30-9:00, and so I was fairly pleased with myself during the first half of this run. You may be seeing that in the second half, however, my pace just tanks (ignore mile 9, that is like, 1/10 of a mile near my house). I mean, check out mile 5. WTF was going on?
As I said, my run started out fairly well. It was cool and misty outside, so I wasn’t having any trouble with heat and humidity. I should have realized it was going to be one of those days where wearing glasses would really hinder me, though. You see, I can’t wear contacts for medical reasons, and I can’t just take off my glasses – I have only met a handful of non-elderly people whose eyesight is as bad as mine – so when it rains, I am basically blinded. Yesterday, it wasn’t raining, per se, but all that mist in the air kept coating my glasses in water. During the first half of my run, I was dry enough to dry off the glasses periodically, but eventually my clothes were soaked from the mist as well, and I had to just run around with my vision impaired. This was my first nerd-related downfall.
The other problem, which probably factored more into my slow pace than the glasses, occurred not only because of nerdiness but also because of my perfectionist nature (though the two are probably highly correlated).
You see, my plan yesterday was to head down a trail that runs along the river near my house and then over towards the university. Due to the rain, however, I had to take a shortened version of the trail to avoid the muddy parts, and my planned route turned out to be half of the length I expected it to be. I had planned on doing a 4 mile out and back, but when I reached the point were I had expected to reach 4 miles, I was only at like 2 1/4. Oops.
I just COULDN’T go on a route that would take me back past my house, though, so I had to come up with something to get to the 4 miles. I turned around and ran down the other fork of the trail, hoping to get closer to the point were I could go back across the bridge toward my house. When I reached the end of the bridge, though, I was only about 4.5 miles into my run, and my house was only 1.5 miles away. I did some quick algebra in my head, and realized that if I ran 1 mile out and back from the point I was at when I got back to the bridge I would be at the perfect point to head home. Yay algebra! I decided to run towards the university again and then down this one flat straight road that I used to run on a lot when I lived on that side of the river. When I got to that road, though, the sidewalks were all under construction and I couldn’t go down it!
I didn’t know what to do! I had come up with this perfect plan to get 2 miles of running before heading back across the bridge and now I wasn’t going to be able to execute that plan. I also wasn’t 100% sure how far I had run and now I had done this weird thing where I had turned back towards where I had come from and I wasn’t going to be able to complete a 1 mile out and back going this way and oh no how much would I have to run now can I even do that math in my head? I just started aimlessly running laps around the plaza I was in, hoping I would be able to get back to the bridge around mile 6.5 – I was now at the point where I REALLY didn’t want to turn back around toward the house, because I would have to run some really silly distance, like 1/4 mile past it before turning around to come back. I also didn’t want to overshoot and end up running more than 8 miles either! The boredom of running laps around a shopping center and this panicked thought process were obviously combining together to hinder my pace, and I bet you can guess that they occurred at miles 5 and 6, hence, my pace.
I did end up turning around a little early, only to be hit with a side cramp less than half a mile from my house (the slowed pace in my last mile). I also wound up running only 1/10 of a mile past my house and turning around to come back to it just so I could get my exact 8 miles in, making all of my ridiculous math efforts and panic be in vain.
Oh well, at least I ran it at a faster pace than last week!