On Friday, I paid money to run 5 kilometers around a park. This is a strange condition that we humans have, giving up something of value in order to experience dehydration, blurry vision, foot pain and an insatiable need to spit. The counter-intuitiveness of it all struck me as my feet began to protest this brain-addled exercise at around the 1.5 mile mark. A 7 year old was also whooping my ass at this point, bruising my ego some. My inner voice which was yelling “LET’S DO THIS!’ at the start line had now switched to a sad “why?”. I gave up the slow jogging and joined the rest of the ‘it’s-not-about-winning-it’s-about-finishing’ pack.
At the 2 mile mark, I spotted the 7 year old kid taking a water break. “WATER IS FOR THE WEAK!” my inner voice now suggested and I decided to push for the finish. I began running and a random assortment of Queen songs began playing in my head. One by one I moved past tired, sweaty competitors. “ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!”. People ahead of me now parted to make way as I used my arms to propel me forward. ‘ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!’. At the 2.5 mile mark, the familiar feeling of ‘holy-mother-of-what-the-shit-my-feet’s-on-fire’ returned and my pace slackened. The kid caught up and soon enough was ahead of me, clearly unaware of the ego-killing he was effecting all around him.
Near the finish line I saw a person dressed like a chicken cheering me on. This was weird. I crossed the line just as volunteer photographers captured the pained look on my face. As I collapsed to the ground, unsure if I would ever get up again, I saw the 7 year old chilling next to a person dressed like a chicken.
In retrospect, I realize that I’m not made for long distance running. Even as a kid, I would restrict myself to short sprints around the hallway. A milk break would be necessary soon enough following which the short sprints around the hallway would continue. I also didn’t have friends as a kid.
There are people who would say that a 5K does not constitute a ‘long distance’. And then there are people who take the elevator one floor up and say stuff like “why walk when you don’t have to?”. I am one of those people.
Time for my milk break.