Saturday, March 17, 2012

Twice Told Tales

I used to run. Quite a bit.

And I probably will again, once the idea of stressing your body for hours at a time while your mind is quiet and free to ponder its paranoias and anxieties without interruption becomes an attractive alternative to an afternoon with a good book, a cigar and a whisky.

Actually I still run in relay races as part of a team although I'd like to change some of the rules. We should really start our best runner off on the first leg of the race. Then he can meet up with me at the hand off point. I'll take the baton and he can carry me the rest of the way.

That's fair. I'm doing my part. Holding the baton without letting it get sweaty and slippery is hard work.

Or if I could, bring the car to do my leg. After all, let's be practical. That's where the ashtray and drink holder is.

There'd better be a whisky at the next relay hand off point. Races tend to stress me.

A few years ago I ran in a team adventure race with my friend Jim. You may have read a fictionalized account of it in these pages. Its fictionalized in that most of the falls and crashes are omitted. I guess Jim found the race out on the internet. He was surfing and must have been distracted. He typed in "adventure race" instead of "swimsuit models" like he was supposed to have.

The race was advertised as two miles in a canoe, six miles of running and thirteen miles of mountain biking. To save money on advertising, the race organizers left out copy detailing that two miles in a canoe didn't inclued an Evinrude and a guide.

And thirteen miles of mountain biking wasn't that at all. It was really about two hours of seeing what kind of fine paste a bicycle seat could grind your nuts into.

There was a Frisbee toss. How the fuck Frisbees qualify as "Adventure" I've yet to figure out.

I was raised in Canada. I don't do Frisbees. Want me to knock the tits off a squirrel with a snowball, go right ahead. We don't know what the fuck to do with Frisbees except maybe pan for gold with them.

Let's just say there were a few injuries to opposing teams during the Frisbee toss. I'll chalk it up to tactical advances outside of the main realm of competition.

I did mention the canoe, right? This is good because otherwise, the thing becomes a triathalon and we don't do water. Neither Jim nor I. Between his Italian heritage and my German, well, let me say this. Sweet sausage, pasta fagiole, bratwurst and spatzle; they don't float. They sink like a stone. If you want to teach paramedics aquatic revival or better yet, if you have a class of swimsuit models who are feeling a little rusty on mouth to mouth resuscitation, go ahead, invite us to your next triathalon.

We'd never been in a canoe before. I took the bow position which was good because the fear of capsizing kept me from turning around and cold cocking Jim who kept shouting encouraging phrases as we tried to stir more water from the lake into the canoe. I was thinking about an old history lecture on early explorers. French fur traders were laughed at by their Indian boat mates for not so much paddling as just splashing a lot of water around going up the St. Lawrence. I wished that the rest of the racers were Indian at that point. They'd be laughing until they pissed themselves and we'd win at least one leg.

"We're getting to shore!" Jim shouted encouragingly. "We're going to make this."

"Of course we are Jim, after all, there is no "I" in team."

As old as that chestnut was, Jim took it encouragingly and paddled harder. We almost passed the team that had capsized and were in the water on the first leg. They passed us in the second leg.

"However, fucknuts: there are two in "Idiot".

Bunny on.


Blogger Johnny C. said...

I appreciate you leading the way and showing me what I have to look forward to.

I have a ballpark figure of how old you and hopefully I'll be still making an ass out of myself in a canoe in a few years. If anything, to at least follow suit.

4:03 PM  
Blogger renee said...

My love hate relationship with running is trying my patience these days. Can barely squeak out a few miles so reading about your adventure cheered me up no end. I mean, I may not be able to run very fast or very far but I have not yet attempted a canoe or 13 miles (was that the number?) of mtn biking on top of it. I salute your sense of adventure and teamwork and hope everything healed up nicely for you.

8:50 AM  

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