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Monday, April 02, 2007

Lost That Racey Feeling

Sunday morning I ran in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run here in DC for the third straight year. I ran in under 67 minutes and finished in the top six percent of the male runners. Pretty great, right? Eh. I probably will stop running in more than one or two races per year following the Boston Marathon on the 16th of April and may quit racing entirely. Why?

Too many
gay unwearable tee-shirts in my dressor.
Take a look at the tee-shirts given out with your entry fees to the previous two Cherry Blossom 10 milers.

Ozzie Guillen, if you're reading this, I know what you're thinking and I know that in Venezuela, where you are from, it's accepted to hate those people and therefore use that word as a label for things you hate or disagree with. In the US, consider other words to describe these tee-shirts. I know, I know, it's hard. Here are some near-words that might be acceptable alternatives: flaccidocious, unicucious, menopausian, blahsient
If anyone knows of a word meaning "void of any style; pleasant, but without any masculinity or femininity; goes great with mom jeans and/or a fanny pack", feel free to share it with me.

What is the point?
"You play to win the game."
-Herman Edwards
This doesn't apply in road races. In high school I quit the cross country team after my freshman year because I wasn't serious enough about running to put in the effort to make the varsity team. Junior varsity sports is OK your freshman year and arguably your sophomore year, but after that being on jv just announces that you suck and you're just taking up space that an underclassman should have that actually shows some promise. If you're not on varsity or jv in high school cross country, you are part of the "reserve" squad, meaning that your performance in meets does not matter. The only possible contribution you are making to the team is boosting the funding for the team which may be based partly on the number of participants. Road racers who have no chance to win races sometimes will form teams and will compete against other teams, which is OK I guess, but we all know what Ozzie Guillen would say about it. Other runners do it to try to beat their own personal record times in a particular distance. I have been one of those runners. Until recently I had thought that this was a fine reason to race. Ozzie Guillen has never shared this view and never will. Some runners raise money for various causes.
charity runner: "I'm running to help fight [insert some form of badness here]."
me: "Great."
charity runner: "Will you give me money so that I can fight [insert form of badness here]."
me: "Wouldn't it be more efficient to donate money directly to fight [insert form of badness here] and have you pay your own fucking way to Hawaii to run in a race that has nothing at all to do with fighting [insert form of badness here]?"
charity runner: "You're supposed to be inspired that I would actually run a whole marathon to help fight [insert some form of badness here]!

These people are incapable of separating running from raising money for charity. Again, donating to worthy causes: good. Paying for someone to run/walk a certain distance: stupid. Plus, these runners are not even promising to finish in a certain time, or even finish at all, so they have no pressure. If I'm actually going to give money for you to go to Hawaii and run in a stupid race, I want a fucking money back guarantee that you at minimum finish the race. Even better would be a guarantee that you finish the race in a specified time. That puts some real pressure on your ass to earn your free trip. I know that it takes a lot of effort to raise the money, but you know you wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't for the free trip to Hawaii or San Diego.

This is the one redeeming quality of entering a race. Fear of running poorly in an event you pay to participate in motivates you to follow some sort of training regiment that will prepare you to run the race in a satisfactory time. This fear of failure gets you into shape, which as stated previously, promotes a shift in the opposite sex rejecting you for your disturbing personality rather than both your disturbing personality and you being physically unattractive.

Early Starts

Races fuck up traffic patterns royally. This is why races usually take place on weekends early in the morning, like at 7 or 8. There are plenty of runners out there who don't mind this at all. I am not one of those runners for the following reasons:
- You have to limit or eliminate your drinking the day before the race. I like drinking pretty much everyday, but especially on weekends. It's awesome. It's like drinking during the week, but you don't have to go to work the next morning. Getting up at 6 or 6:30 AM on a Saturday or Sunday for any reason other than to go pee and get some water for your dehydrated ass is ludicrous. Note: I find that downing a glass of water before going pee on these mornings is best. Why? Somehow the act of drinking water promotes flaccidness, making it easier to go pee when you wake up.
- You have to be very conscious of what you eat. Food decisions are extremely important to runners on race day and the day prior to it. Poor food choices will leave you feeling sluggish or could cause barfing or crapping during the race. I never normally run early in the morning, so I don't know what the best race day eating strategy is. Powerbar? Nothing? I found out yesterday that coffee and a bowl of cereal an hour and a half before the start of the race is a terrible idea.

(Note: This section may be too disgusting for some readers. Just skip it if you are unsure whether to read it or not. It's especially bad near the end.)

Near the start area of every race there is normally a large grouping of portable shitters with extremely long lines of runners looking to purge their innards before they embark on the long, painful, and pointless journey ahead of them. Yesterday I arrived at the start area twenty minutes before the start of the race so that I could do some work if I felt the need to do so. The organizers of this race decided that about 200 units would suffice for over 10,000 runners, plus the volunteers and friends/families of the runners. The lines were all 30+ deep and slow moving. I decided that I would do my best to hold it in during the race rather than start several minutes late. With the chips you now wear on your shoe laces my net time would be ok, but it would mean that I would have to weave through several thousand slow runners for the first couple miles like last year when I decided that the pre-race crap had to happen. This was a risky move on my part. I have been in races where I have had the misfortune to witness what can happen when a runner can't hold back the brown. Nowhere to hide. This has never happened to me in a race but once when I was about ten or twelve years old it did happen. It was horrible. I had to stop in the woods along my route and leave my soiled underpants behind. When I got home I cried to my mother and told her what happened. She made me go back to the woods with a grocery bag to rescue them. Surprisingly, there was no trace of brown after they were cleaned. What a laundry detergent commercial that would have made!

Slow Runners Crowd Front of Corrals

The reason why I had to skip the pre-race poop yesterday was I had to try to get as close to the start line as I could by the start of the race. I am not sure how many entrants started the race, but there were nearly 11,000 finishers. Some of the fastest and slowest runners in the world competed. Ten mile finishing times ranged from forty-six (4:37/mile) to two hundred twenty-five minutes (16:34/mile). Road races are one of the few athletic events where the world's top athletes compete with subnormals. I find this to be intriguing and don't mind it as long as the entrants realize where they are relative to the rest of the runners. If you expect to be starting out running at a nine or ten minute per mile pace, why the fuck would you want to start out the race closer to start line than ninety-five percent of the runners? These assholes create a miserable experience for everyone trying to get around them. Yesterday morning I was running near the curb trying to avoid the slow mob of jackasses putting along when another runner jumped in front of me from my left side tripping me.
guy: "Oh, I'm so sorry!"
me: "You fucker!"
It really wasn't his fault though--he was just trying to avoid running through some slow bastards like I was. It hurt like hell but I got up and continued. I didn't realize until after the race was over how bloody I was. It was fucking sweet.

Medals For Losers

When you finish a race, they always give you a medal, which makes the whole thing worth it...NOT! This practice was undoubtedly stolen from the Special Olympics. Who the fuck wants a stupid medal for barely finishing a race? Losers, that's who. Someday I want to volunteer as a medal presenter for a race.
me: "Hey buddy, thanks for coming out. Here's your medal for finishing 3575th out of 5574 male finishers. Your wife must be proud. Enjoy your week of hard earned victory-sex! Don't forget to wear the medal to bed. Nothing like receiving head with that baby around your neck. Don't be afraid to move about so that the piece of low grade metal "accidentally" hits your wife in the forehead. And when the victory-sex runs dry, take that puppy to work and suspend it from a push-pin on your cubicle wall, you fucking hero you!"
guy: "Thanks, you volunteers are the real heroes. Which way are the crappers?"

Post-race pain

When you run faster than normal, you tend to find yourself in more pain than normal. Also, sometimes your (at least mine) digestive system gets all fucked up.
"You really jarred something loose, tiger. What is it about good sex that makes me have to crap? Pump and dump!"
- landlady in Kingpin (played masterfully by Lin Shaye) to Woody Harrelson's character, Roy Munson
Sometimes this phenomenon occurs in me after a race. By the start of the baseball game last night I was in need of a star transplant.

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