One day last week, according to my coach via TrainingPeaks, I was supposed to get in some sneaker time. I haven't been running yet but have been doing all of these time based workouts walking. On tap was 50 minutes, potentially with hand weights.
Life post Sandy on Long Island is a bit different than before. While the lights are coming back on slowly but surely, this night had miserable weather and no dread mill available for me (due to the lack of power not the hate of the evil hamster wheel). I couldn't walk inside, I couldn't walk outside, so where should I go?
I knew there is an army of old people who walk the mall every day. While most of them are there in the early morning, I went at night. I started doing a lap at a decent pace, zigging and zagging to avoid the shoppers, happy with myself being a genius on how to get this training in. I thought I was doing good when it appeared that a pace line of 80 year olds were almost sprinting in front of the Apple store. They dropped me like a bad habit with them not even breaking their conversation while they were wearing their vintage Member's Only jackets. Have you ever seen an old person sweat. I don't think they do.
Each lap took me about 13 minutes and I ultimately got my workout in. A few of the old folks passed me and I passed a few back. I was determines to not get geezered in the mall, let alone during races. I felt I was getting my game face one.
I forgot that this was their turf. They had home field advantage. They deftly knew which stores would have a lot of traffic in and out (for example, the teen emporium of Abercrombie) vs. which stores where a few months from closing (for example, the 2013 calendar store with the clerk trying to stay awake). They may not know how to use a cell phone without yelling at it but they can adapt to the weaving and sudden stops a teen texting up a storm. I tried to draft off the fogies for a while and then I realized that I was out of my league.
Christmas shopping is starting soon. This may be the mall walker Olympic season. I think I can try the mall again only in January and start at the bottom. Maybe in about 40 years I will have enough experience to compete with them.
Then again, maybe not.