Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bad Idea Bears

I haven’t even run for a bus since I took off my specially fitted, custom-orthotics-enhanced running shoes at the end of the Chicago Marathon in October.

So when a friend asked me to be on his 12-person team to run a 36-hour, 200-mile relay from Madison to Chicago three weeks from now, I wisely said no … though I told him if he got desperate he should ask me again and we could talk.

I never heard back from him, but then a different friend asked me to be on his team … and then he asked again … and again.

And I thought about it long and hard. I weighed the pros (bragging rights, cool race shirt, forced cardio just in time for spring, make new friends) and the cons (no foundation of training, 15 new pounds of bodyweight [good bodyweight, just for the record] to propel through space and time, sleeping in a van with strangers, pooping who knows where) and I decided against it.

But then I did the math. I’d be expected to run three eight-ish-mile legs with breaks as long as it takes 11 other team members to run eight-ish miles each. And I can usually ramp up to eight miles within my first month of marathon training each spring. Plus it’s a hellofa way to kick off marathon training for the summer.

So I said yes. Hesitantly.

And my initial burst of regret tinged with slight panic was ameliorated when I received the runner breakdown and discovered that as runner number 9, I was responsible for three legs of only 6.5 miles each. Which is totally doable. I think.

So last night I started training. I dug out my specially fitted, custom-orthotics-enhanced running shoes, unlocked my hamstrings, stripped down to a pair of shorty running shorts (hey, I didn’t eat right and get plenty of sleep and lift weights to put on 15 new pounds for my health) … and realized as I headed out the door that I hadn’t charged my grotesquely expensive GPS running watch. But I churned out three-plus miles with relative ease … though my quads and abs made sure I knew that my last mile was very unfamiliar territory after six months of enduring nothing but squats and crunches.

And when I got home and scrubbed the stink off so as not to repel my poor domestic partner into the more redolent arms of a homeless junkie, I sat down to read through the event rules and other runner information. And I was shocked to discover the complete anarchy under which the race will be run:
  • Obscenity Rule: any team vehicle that is decorated with obscene images or representations, use of obscene language Warning for 1st offense; 2nd offense; disqualification.
  • Urinating/defecating or the appearance of urinating on public or private property that is part of the course including, but not limited to Transition Areas, will result in Immediate Disqualification
Seriously. If the relay organizing people can’t be bothered to follow basic rules of grammar and capitalization, I can’t guarantee I won’t loudly announce what I’m doing when I shit on the side of the road.

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