Monday, November 15, 2010

High times

Despite this run’s title, the Age Before Beauty 5K Cross-Country Run, lots of fit, young, fast runners lined up at the start, and not a single one of them stepped aside to wave me through or paid any attention to me whatsoever. (Well, they may have snickered out of the sides of their extremely fit mouths, with their slim little lips and their slender white teeth, beneath their thin moustaches.)

As we gathered at the start on this gorgeous, sunny, unseasonably warm morning a woman (maybe it was she who was gorgeous, sunny, and unseasonably warm ... no, probably not) took a quick look at me, did a double-take, and in one of those “eeew” voices, said, “You’re all sweaty already!” Sounding altogether more cranky than I felt (which was quite the opposite on this fantastic day), I replied, “I worked for this.” And I had, indeed, had an excellent warm-up. The plan was to go out easy, stay comfortable up the hill to the 1.5 mile mark, then press gently in from there, taking advantage of the downhill and the easy terrain at the bottom. This didn’t exactly work out as planned. The going out easy part was...easy; but the incline really stung, and I lost my cool coming home.

Here I am at the start, making my pudgy obeisance to the hill goddess in the hopes she would allow me to pass in peace. It didn’t work. Ten minutes later I found myself crawling up a virtual Matterhorn on my hands and knees, whimpering, leaking precious bodily fluids, and bemoaning my fate. Tiny children and ancient couples with picnic baskets were dancing lightly past me chirping, “Hang in there!” and “Not far to the top!” I would have snarled at them if I’d had any remaining oxygen, and in a fit of pique at the summit, I signed a secret pact with my tormentor, Gravity, bringing her over to my side and putting her to serious work. Utterly misjudging the distance home, I rolled downhill and found myself, with more than a mile to go, committed to a long slog surge at a faster pace than I’d anticipated. I passed those happy hill people, who were paying the price for wasting breath trying to be nice. My only “racing” of the morning, though, was in the last 100 yards.

I lost.

My 5K time was 23:45, and I won a platter of cranberry cookies. I think it was a prize for not spraining my ankle.


Alan Sloman said...

It's the taking part.... besides - look at the length of No. 60's legs. There should be a handicap system for guys like him...

7' 36"'s - not bad at all! And there was that uphill bit too!

Mark Alvarez said...

Hi, Alan.

I used to run frequently with a guy who not only had long legs, but long bowed legs. I always felt the best way around was actually probably through.

As to that hilly bit, I've now repressed it.