On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I was That Guy.

Life rule: no one ever wants to be That Guy. No matter who That Guy is, you don't want to be him.

And I was him on Sunday during the race.

The race was hard. I was struggling. I felt at times like my heart was jackhammering in my chest (I wish I'd worn my heart rate monitor, for once) and the humidity, my allergies, and a host of other physical factors made it feel like I was sucking in wet air through a straw.

So I started making breathing noises. At first it was Darth Vader type breathing, then it was a deep sort of growl, and this evolved into disturbing almost porn-like groaning. I would have hated me - except I was me.

It helped.

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As much as I hated myself, I hated the runners with headphones more. I don't understand anyone who needs music to get them through one of the most beautiful races out in nature. But I really don't understand - and actively don't like - anyone whose music is so loud that they can't hear me say excuse me or ask to pass them on the trail.

Don't be that guy.

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