I was just entering the pedestrian lane of the Al Zampa Memorial Bridge ( this is where I do most of my racewalking, mainly because its a full mile of uninterrupted roadway just for pedestrians and bicycles) , when a pair of “30-something” joggers seemed to come out of nowhere and passed me up like I was standing still.
Having just spent 20 minutes stretching my legs at the half way point of my walk , but still feeling more short of breath than usual , I thought to myself…..hmmmm… I wonder if I can catch up with this couple before they make it to the other side?
I was too short of breath to break out into a full racewalk, but I was able to gradually work myself up into a rhythm that I could handle ( the actual pace was something like 10:45.) Once I got to that point , I just held it there and tried to focus on maintaining good technique rather than speed.
For most of the span, the joggers we’re appx 100 yards ahead of me and amazingly I was able to keep up them without loosing too much ground.
It wasn’t until 3/4 of a mile into “this race” that the distance between us started to widen–mainly because they were approaching the decent portion of the bridge.
By then, they were gapping me by almost a 1/4 mile and it seemed pointless for me to kill myself trying to catch up with them . I slowed down to a 13:30 pace so I could catch my own breath .
Well, it ‘s apparently easier to jog downhill than uphill. You see, after that 200 meter decent, there’s a 250 meter climb, and a fairly steep one at that. I could see the joggers starting to slow down, almost to a walking pace.
Just as that was happening, I was entering the decent portion myself and took that opportunity to increase my momentum back to a 10:00 pace. The only difference, is that I maintained that pace for the entire uphill portion of the walk as well. ( one of the benefits of daily hill work)
Then, literally within a just few yards of where the walkway exits the bridge, I passed them by like they were standing still.
Even though this was a one sided race, I’ve now become one of those annoying racewalkers who can, at least on occasion, walk faster than the average jogger.