Who wants to play Where's Waldo? I'm in this photo, which is from here.
I was standing at the starting line of Wednesday's Sidewalk Shuffle 5K when my former landlord turned to me and said:
"So, are you just going to jog this, then?"
"Psh. No," I said, incredulously.
No one has "jogged" anything since the 1970s. "Jogging" brings to mind a dude in red short-shorts, kinky hair, and sweat bands cinched like a tourniquet around every sweat-emitting surface. A wet stain the circumference of a pizza splashed across his stomach. Or women who take a lap around the block in a shiny blue spandex leotard, made snuggie proof by virtue of miraculous nude "jogging nylons."
But this wasn't something I could explain to a guy holding a Miller Lite keg cup filled with water. A guy wearing a sheer dirty-white tank top with twin gaping maws of pit ventilation. To him, anything less than a sprint is the j-word. And so by his definition, yes, I would be [what he said-ing.]
If there isn't any word I hate worse. Jogging. It hurts my ears. And frankly, to be accused of doing it hurt my runner's sensibility.
So anyway, that's what I did on Wednesday afternoon. My second 5K, which was remarkably like the first, right down to my finish-time. Notable in no discernible way other than I got sunburned, it seemed harder than the last, and one of those awkward preteen boys whose feet have beat him to puberty was a total gnat. He'd lope off in front of me, flailing arms like wishbones drying on a clothes line. Then he would walk and huff and puff dramatically, like a child-star acting like he was exhausted from all this jogging.
As much as I like doing these little races, the novelty has started to wear off on sub-mediocrity. My former landlord asked Bubbles if she was really focused during the race and she said she was last time, but not this time.
I've totally forgotten about focusing. And maybe that is why I fail to get into a groove and never get comfortable and never stop thinking "Gah. This is so stupid," as a mantra, every step until I cross the finish line, at which point I immediately begin cooing about how much fun it was, just now, running that horrible race. And that is what I actually believe as I'm saying it.
Tonight I went for a run with an iPod and strict orders with myself to relax my body, but stay in the run instead of getting distracted by lake views and the bugs stuck to my contacts and how I bet that girl right there is with her mom and her mom is drunk and the girl is embarrassed, thus the wan smile, and now she'll take her home and put her to bed.
I did okay, with the help of Girl Talk.
Next week there is a 5-miler, and I think I'm going to take a pass. I'm not running an organized race again until I've done my homework. It's been a three T'shirt summer already. And I don't want to do another crappy run where I'm mistaken for a freakin' jogger.
Anyway, my former landlord finished 16th overall. This is funny because no one with a head that size should be that fast. He took great pleasure in beating some skinny dude in a running jersey and athletic sunglasses. Especially while wearing 20 dollar women's shoes.