Friday, April 16, 2010

A Race Recap Before Boston

Overdue? Yes. But funny? Yes.

I can say with all honesty that my running career exists solely because of McDonalds. Seriously. It was shortly after I discovered the wonderfullness of McDonald's French fries that my parents began to insist I 'go outside and be active or 'go run around for a while.'* It was as if my love of fast food and running were forged from the same fire, and the Ronald McDonald Run for the House is the perfect opportunity to help support a struggling millionaire get his mega-uber-big-home off the foreclosure block.

I've been wanting to race the Run for the House for a few years now, but it was traditionally held during the dead of summer. Fortunately, a few years ago RftH took the late March spot previously held by the Food & Fitness 5K. Plus, and I'm just being honest with you, you can run this race wearing authentic Ronald McDonald socks. For a slight additional cost, you can get an official pair of white and red striped thigh-high socks. Something a fine little running redhead seemed quite confounded about. But I digress.

As this race is a family 5K, there was a kids race beforehand. And Ronald himself was there to encourage the little tykes along. At that moment it seemed everyone was having the best of times. After the kids finished and were given a medal regardless of when they finished, the approximately 600 runners lined up for the main event. And this, my friends, is when things began to go wrong...horrifically and wonderfully wrong.

The start was a 'V' shaped funnel; and someone decided it would be a 'great' idea to have Ronald ‘thank us’ for allowing him to add the 30,ooo square foot addition he has been longing for (and to finally finish gold plating his indoor 12 lane bowling alley). The ‘great’ idea continued by suggesting Ronald \start the race. As you can see be the picture below, old Ronald started the race about 10 feet from the starting line. The starting line! The starting line, you know, that place where the fastest runners line up first and sprint at the sound of "Go!" or any loud bang. Yep, that starting line.

I crossed the start, started my Garmin, and as I began to look up a kid came darting out from my right, causing me to cut a hard left to avoid him. And that is when I saw it, a huge mass of yellow and red...directly in front of me.

I hit that clown the way my SUV hit a deer, putting my left shoulder into his body and sending him spinning like a top. Clown down. I myself, for this is my blog, barely managed to keep my balance, having to use my hands to prop myself back up. After finally regaining my balance, my 5K race began. I tucked in behind a few quicker runners and let them pull me through a solid first mile, but I just couldn’t find that second gear and toughness to stay strong the second mile. After getting passed by one runner at the start of the third mile, I managed to surge a bit and passed two runners before coasting into a solo finish and assured ag award.

And, as if getting flattened by some ‘jerk’ runner isn’t bad enough, imagine the indignation he felt when he had to give me my ag award. Sure, I could have said I was sorry, and could have been the bigger man. But I didn’t. Nope, I just made the most of our little moment and whispered “I own you” as we were photographed together. A wonderful little moment captured in a picture.

* It is also true that my love of reading exists because of Pizza Hut. Were it not for the wonderful summer program where reading 5 books scored you a personal pan pizza, I likely would have followed my initial desire to remain illiterate for the duration of my life. And if you don't think illiteracy is funny, you likely can't read this anyway.