Friday, October 14, 2005

Fancy Footwork

Running seemed simple.

Pair of shoes.


T shirt.


I had just quit smoking when I went out to visit my friend Jerry at the Jersey shore. He was a pretty good runner and had a Sunday morning regimen of running the boardwalk in his town just around sunrise. The only thing I ran at sunrise was a few snoring decibels louder but I agreed to get up at some unholy hour to join him.

Jerry and his wife and I had been up the night before and the good lady had relented and uncorked another bottle of wine when I commented that she had put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice.

The next morning, as Jerry was lacing up and I was hoping his ankle would spontaneously sprain itself I kept repeating the old mariner's rhyme about the color of the sun and the weather.

Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
Red sky at morning, fuck does this hurt.

Off we went. Ran three miles. Which is to say we ran to the end of the boardwalk, Jerry turned to run back, I stopped to suck up every available oxygen molecule and wait for him to come back.

Surprisingly, he did. I would have abandoned me. But Jerry has always been a bigger man than I and he probably couldn't get enough in trade for my car.

We finished, got back home, went out for breakfast, had a fine rest of the day and Sunday night, I drove home.

Then Monday morning I tried to climb stairs with legs that most certainly had been tortured in some cave in Afghanistan.

And people do this for fun?

Have you ever seen a runner smile? If vacuum cleaners had faces, they'd look like runners. Always on the move, trying to suck in every useful particle of air they can find.

We only smile when somebody else in the race stumbles. One less potential cadaver we have to trip over. Remember when Jimmy Carter crashed and burned in a Georgia 5K back in '78 or so? Do we learn nothing from our leaders?

Admittedly, we learned a lot of how NOT to do things from Jimmy.

But I still run. And I keep pressing distances and speed and wondering if Dave aspirates transdermally or chews Oxygen Brand gum. And some days are great and some days you hit the wall which brings to mind a truism that my running buddies and I cooked up the other day.

Reflecting on our checkered running past we waxed that while everyone tries to be the face on the Wheaties box, most of us wind up the face on the milk carton.

Sucking wind.


Blogger Kathryn said...

runners are a weird bunch and if they tell you that they actually liek the running, they are LYING!!!! (or cracked)

1:54 PM  

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