Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Mercedes Marathon 2010: My Runny Valentine

Finisher medalsIt seems that yesterday, in the course of running my second marathon, or third if you count the one I did as part of my Ironman (I do), I lost most of my ability to speak English. I’ll get to that in a second.

Is there any better way to for a single man to spend Valentine’s morning than praying for a roving band of wolves to attack him so that he can stop running? Well, probably. Actually there are a lot of better ways I can think of, many of which involve things like swords, guns, alcohol, boobs, television, or sex.

Incidentally, I do not advise that you mix more than three of the above for safety reasons.

Moving on, I’d like to tender here my public apology for an unfortunate incident that happened yesterday with my spit and a gust of wind. Sorry about that. You know who you are.

Spit aside, I first began to suspect that my speaking abilities had been lost when I asked a race official how far behind the 4:15 pacer I was.

She said “WHAT?” as though I had time to stop and chat. I just waved at her to forget about it, not wanting to stop.

“YOU ARE AT MILE FIVE!” she shouted after me.

Not long after that, as I was running along in the thick herd of other runners, I ran over a pack of cigarettes in the roadway. Its top was open and a few unsmoked smokes were scattered about. The whole affair had been flattened pretty well by the tires of passing cars.

“Cigarettes!” I said, and pointed. I looked around but no one seemed to understand or want one. Perhaps no one remembered to bring a lighter.

The same thing happened with a flattened sandwich in the roadway, but this time I was more emphatic to my fellow runners.

“SANDWICH!” I declared in a loud, clear voice. I even pointed again. Still, no one said anything or acknowledged the sandwich.

Finally, as I was about to wheeze across the finish line, I noticed I was running alongside a gentleman dressed head to toe in LIVESTRONG gear. He had LIVESTRONG pants, shirt, and visor.

As a cycling fan, I naturally assumed that anyone wearing that much LIVESTRONG stuff must know who Lance Armstrong is, so when he said something along the lines of “Yeah buddy! Let’s finish this thing!” I said “GO LANCE!”

He looked at me as though I’d just produced a trombone, blown four bars of ragtime, then cast it aside to clang on the roadway.

I like talking to my fellow runners, but usually they’re either wearing iPod headphones or blabbing loudly without being marathoners. The second offense should be punishable by a moderate slap.

Marathon races have to offer a lot of non-marathon options in order to attract racers and their entry fees. Actual marathoners in a marathon race are at most, by my speculation, no more than a third of the people at the starting line. So, a marathon weekend often includes a half marathon, relays, 5ks and 10ks to try to get everyone involved.

That’s just how it goes. If they only allowed marathon entrants they’d probably never be big enough to get any sponsorship or road closures, so it’s good for everyone that they do this.

Still, if you’re a relay runner and you’re complaining about your five mile relay leg and I’m praying for wolf-death on mile 22, just know that I want to slap you. I know it probably means I’m a jerk, and I acknowledge that it’s not nice of me. After all, there was a time when I could not manage a single mile.

Yes, relay runners, there’s a reason I’m eying your blushing cheeks with a twitchy pimp hand.

A lot of the encouragement I hear is also somewhat annoying, but I try not to be too crabby about it. I just get in a foul mood toward the end of these sorts of things, I guess.

People yell “Go!” or “You can do it!”. I know they mean well.

I was near the end of my race and taking a walking break, my feet and calves seemingly alternating between being on fire and frozen solid, when I ran past an older gentleman in a wheelchair. He wore a blue track jacket with white stripes down the arms and he had no legs below the thigh area.

He was bouncing excitedly in his chair shouting “Run it!” over and over again.

I think, if this cat with no legs can wheel himself out in the cold and scream all morning, the least I can do is use my perfectly good and attached legs.

My friend, for you I will run it.