I blame the Fourth of July Parade.
I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to swelter in the blistering heat. I didn’t want to stand amongst all of the children and equally ill-behaved parents, fighting for scraps of candy and watching the local Clog Dancing Troupe plow through Joe Diffie’s Pickup Man. I didn’t want to fight for a space under the shade tree in the Wendy’s parking lot. I was better than this; there was absolutely no redeeming value in attending this parade.
Nothing, except for the Missus. For such an intelligent woman, she loves parades and fireworks displays more than just about anything. I typically go on for hours about how much she should appreciate brilliant things like Mystery Science Theater 3000 and They Might Be Giants more, when all she really wants is an explosion followed by a clown on an irregular bicycle. I just cannot win.
So, before I could even mouth the words ‘Dumbass Shriner Hat,’ I found myself standing next to the Missus (along with Ben and Sherry) under the shade tree in the Wendy’s parking lot, watching children and their equally ill-behaved parents fighting for scraps of candy. Funny, I could have sworn that I didn’t want to go.
At some point between the 9th marching band and the 12th Model-A Ford, there was a group of people handing out fliers for the Fourth Annual Book’n It Fun Run To Promote Literacy. It’s basically a 5K run (3.1 miles) through the park, with all proceeds going to the beautiful public library we have here in Sun Prairie, which is less than 2 blocks from CDP Headquarters.
Being someone who is literate and appreciative of all the things the Sun Prairie Public Library has done for the community (the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibits are nice enough), I started thinking to myself about dusting off my running shoes one more time. I’m no stranger to hitting the pavement, as my trials and tribulations with the 2005 ‘Crazylegs’ Classic have been well-documented on this page; I honestly consider it one of my greatest athletic achievements. If I could run 6.2 miles in 45 minutes at the age of 23, surely I could run 3.1 miles in 22 minutes at the age of 25. Right?
Maybe I was just getting annoyed and bored. Maybe it was a touch of the heat stroke, I don’t know. But something made me perk up when those fliers started getting passed around, and I knew that there actually was a reason for me to be there that day. It was time for me to run again!
“Ben, you want to run that race with me?” I said, slightly boasting.
“Uh….sure!” He shot back. I really didn’t expect to hear that.
No offense, but when I think of Ben, I normally don’t think ‘dominating athlete.’ I mean, he’s 6’2″, weighs at least 10 pounds less than me and has an impeccable diet, but I just never saw it for some reason. He’s uncoordinated, walks crooked and is more of a creative genius than a force in the gym, but nonetheless, he wanted in on the Fourth Annual Book’n It Fun Run To Promote Literacy, and I wasn’t about to stop him. After all, I needed a training buddy.
As you would assume, I started to get cocky. After all, who did he think he was, anyway? Did he honestly think he’d be able to roll with me? A guy that ran twice this distance with ease? A guy that still holds one of the fastest Mile Run times in Winneconne High School history (5:48)? A guy that owns running shorts? Come on!
“Care to make it interesting?” I blurted out, not quite sure of where I was going with this.
“Like, a bet?” Is what I think he said. Just assume that it was.
“Yeah. $100 to the guy who finishes faster.” What the hell was I doing?
“Aaaaaallllright…..you’re on.” Crap; he totally called my bluff.
The bet was on. The stakes and dates were set. As the parade ended and we walked back to the car, I stayed quiet, thinking about the task at hand. I couldn’t wait to get home; there was much work to be done.
Fast-forward to this week. I have shin splints in both legs, a pulled left hamstring and a compressed ligament in my ankle. I can’t put weight on either leg, and I walk like a 90-year-old with a Thanksgiving-sized pantload. In the course of 7 days of running, I’ve destroyed my legs like they’ve never been destroyed before.
This has never happened to me, but it appears as if I put way too much shock on my legs for a little too long, and everything kind of sproing-ed and got all breaky. In the course of one week, I went from a man on a mission to the guy not wearing his exercise gear, walking around the park in jeans while Ben continues to shave seconds off of his time, preening and posturing like some sort of shirtless, bronzed God. I go to bed reeking of whatever lotion the Missus kindly massages into my legs, and I wake up just as hurty as before. I even have to sleep with my legs elevated, because it keeps them from exploding or something.
Well, maybe that’s a little too dramatic. Ben’s not all that tan, but that’s really not the point. The point is that I’m screwed, humiliated, injured and out a hundred bucks. I feel like crap, I’m depressed, I’m ruined and I’ll be lucky to walk the 3.1 miles come Race Day (August 11), let alone jog ’em.
This is what happens when you get cocky, kids. Karma comes along and sticks its massive finger deep into your butthole, teaching you a valuable (albeit painful and embarrassing) lesson:
Don’t. Be. A. Dick.
The run is still 3 weeks from now, and I’ve adopted a more low-impact workout on my legs. Essentially, I walk a mile every day, and spend an hour working on cardio and upper-body stuff at the gym. Furthermore, I know that if I somehow snap my ankle at the race and wet my pantaloons, I’ll probably make the front page of The Daily Cardinal.
Seriously, though. I blame the Fourth of July Parade. I’ll keep you updated.
NEXT TIME: CDP POST #600.