Archive for the 'Running sub-culture' Category

The Race 11Apr08



BARACK OBAMA
America, the Boston Marathon is upon us, and I’m running. I’m running for hope and I’m running for change.


JOHN McCAIN
I can think of no finer thing to do on Patriot’s Day.


HILLARY CLINTON
While at Wellesley, I cheered the heroic runners of the Boston Marathon. I was there when Tarzan Brown rallied to beat John Kelley.


BARACK OBAMA
In the face of great distance, we see opportunity. In the face of heartbreak hill, we see a better future. In the face of hyponatremia, we see properly managed sodium levels.


BILL CLINTON
I never did finish that marathon; couldn’t get past the Wellesley girls.


JOHN McCAIN
So you ended up marrying the Wellesley girl that cheered for you?


BARACK OBAMA
I have heard freedom’s call. I have felt the winds of change.


BILL CLINTON
Hillary was at Wellesley?


BARACK OBAMA
I have felt the wind of freedom. I have heard the call for change.


JOHN McCAIN
Many commendable American patriots attended Wellesley. All uphold the fine, upstanding values of the Boston Athletic Association.


RON PAUL
If victorious at Boston, I promise to dismantle the bureaucratic and unconstitutional Boston Athletic Association.


JOHN McCAIN
Destroying the BAA will only make us more vulnerable to dangerous terrorist attacks.


HILLARY CLINTON
I once ran Boston, paced by Sir Edmund Hillary. We came under sniper fire in Newton, and barely escaped with our lives.


BARACK OBAMA
I don’t run this race alone. In this decisive moment of history; in this dawn of a new era as a nation, we run as one people.


HILLARY CLINTON
That harrowing experience filled me with the desire to become the Senator for the great state of Massachusetts.


JOHN McCAIN
You’re the Senator from New York.


HILLARY CLINTON
Whatever.


BARACK OBAMA
Though we’ll grow weary in Newton, we will persevere. Though Cemetery Mile, we will not lose heart. Though our glycogen levels may become dangerously low in Brighton, we will finish this race.


JOHN McCAIN
Though I may have an acute myocardial infarction as early as Framingham, I will drag my battered body inch by torturous inch until I reach the finish.


GEORGE W. BUSH
You can do it Sparky. Heck in a handbasket, I ran a 3:44 in Houston. That takes guts. That takes tenacity. That takes stubbornocity.


HILLARY CLINTON
That’s not even a word.


GEORGE W. BUSH
Oh yeah, right. I meant “tenacitation.”


JOHN McCAIN
Friends, if by my death I can keep us secure from terrorists bent on diminishing our national physical fitness, I will humbly serve.


BARACK OBAMA
When we cross that finish line…


JOHN McCAIN
Friends, I don’t appear to have the funds for the entry fee.


BARACK OBAMA
…And when I say we I really mean me


JOHN McCAIN
I could run as a bandit; a renegade.


BARACK OBAMA
…When we break the tape at Copley Square, I’ll be thankful our moment has come; thankful for your tireless help; thankful for my Kenyan Ancestry.


HILLARY CLINTON
Have I mentioned that it wasn’t easy being the first woman to run Boston?


JOHN McCAIN
Friends, does anyone have body glide?

Paging Dr. Theophilus. 06Apr08


Ok, I’d heard that the Little Rock Marathon finisher’s medal was huge, but wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer audacity of the thing. Races are competing for your marathoning dollar, and the gimmicks are coming out of the woodwork.

The self-proclaimed world’s largest finisher’s medal sort of looks like a shovel, and appears sturdy enough for real digging. But the kicker for me is the sparkling, silver ribbon. I may reveal my bias toward 70s and 80s Sci-Fi television, but doesn’t this look like a medal that Gil Gerard would have received from Erin Grey for saving the world in Buck Rogers and the 24th Century?

Better still, it reminds me of Dr. Theophilus, the frying pan robot that Twiki wore as a necklace.

- Dean

Greenhorn Fettuccine 01Oct07

At least Andrea didn’t do this.
Image Courtesy National Broadcasting Company

People know I’m a runner. I jaw about it constantly. Most are probably bored by my addiction. Some however, dive right in. And so I’ve discovered an unexpected benefit of running: witnessing friends and family take their first pronated or supinated steps toward physical fitness.

Perhaps understandably, some feel self-conscious when talking to me about their personal benchmarks. They consider me too advanced to appreciate their comparatively “modest” achievements. Never mind that, in the pantheon of running, I’m far, far closer to Oprah Winfrey than Meb Keflezighi. They still think that somehow I’m too fleet of foot to regard their accomplishments with awe.

But I’m unashamedly energized by new runners. Whether they’ve finally broken the 10 minute mile barrier, or have built up the stamina to run for more than 3 days week. Seasoned runners understand the immensely hard work, dedication, and discipline required to go from coach potato to 5k.

I remember that first mile, and nearly throwing up after my first 10 miler. I recall the elation I felt after my first race. Today, I feel the latent energy coursing through my body; the undeniably agreeable feeling that I can run 20 miles at the drop of a hat, or an ultra marathon without first putting my affairs in order. Put simply, I know the pleasure of running “just because I can.”

I want others to experience the same thing. I’d like to think that love and affection prompt me. But perhaps I’m merely reliving my initial foray into the vicissitudes of running. Let the psychoanalysts decide. Regardless, if you’re a new runner making real progress, you’re motivating me.

This being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to get started on this whole running thing. Or rather, there is a right way, a wrong way, and my sister-in-law Andrea’s way.

Recently, she ran her first 5k; a worthy feat. It’s even more remarkable when you consider she started her running odyssey not through a measured work-up to race readiness, but at the actual starting line. Call it the Michael Scott plan. At least she didn’t carbo-load Fettuccine Alfredo moments before the race.

Andrea has written an amazing, “you have to read it to believe it” post describing her adventure. It’s pure hilarity; no summary will do it justice. YOU SIMPLY MUST READ IT.

Just because I utterly respect newbie runners doesn’t mean I can’t fall on the floor laughing at them.

Just be sure to tell Andrea I’m laughing with her.

- Dean

Employee Number 540 22Jun07

The Maniac Logo

Like Michael Dukakis before me, I am now a card carrying member of a noted progressive organization. Rather than focusing intently on civil rights litigation, my group is dedicated to running marathons… lots of them. It’s not exactly a lofty proposition, but we can’t take ourselves seriously every minute, can we?

Certainly this group does not. These are the Marathon Maniacs. I’m number 540.

The Maniacs organized in 2003 when a group of extremely motivated runners decided to codify their marathon addiction. Today, this can mean dozens of marathons annually. Maniac #1 recently completed a Heinz special – 57 marathons in one year. The frequent flyer implications alone boggle the mind.

If you’ve run a marathon recently you may have seen a Maniac, easily identifiable by the shocking yellow singlets. They’re far from shy. Clearly, this is society for people with way too much free time and an oddball itch to fill it with rigorous aerobic exercise.

And they’re deliciously irreverent. You have to love an organization whose spasmodic runner logo (reminiscent of Robert Crumb) comes complete with an extremely distressed black cat perched on his head. The whole thing conjures up images of obsessively compulsive runners jaunting along, iPods set to Enigma’s quasi hip-hop Gregorian chants. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The Maniacs aren’t the Stone Cutters or anything.

Of course, the Maniacs don’t just run marathons, they keep score. Members track their conquests on a bare-knuckles, gaudy website. There, in the “insane Asylum,” marathons are tracked by volume, location, and frequency. I can only guess that this showcasing satisfies a latent need for attention. Perhaps the maniacs all have an innocuously mild case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Who knows?

One thing is certain; those who run the most marathons are rated highest. Membership levels are named after elements of the periodic table (mostly, as we shall see). The rarer the element, the more difficult the requirement to achieve it. In a demented nod to grammar school reward charts, stars denote level. The more stars, the better.

Levels should not be confused with seniority, which is simply numerical. You’re given a number when you join and it locks you into the pecking order. I hope this doesn’t mean that maniacs 1 through 539 can make me do their laundry or something.

To recap; We’ve got numerical seniority, anal-retentive documentation, requirements, stars, designations and levels. Bureaucratized Maniacism: That’s what we’ve come to.

The rating system does however, get points for style. The delightfully obscure Iridium Level (4 stars) requires 19-25 marathons in one year. Up the chain, the Osmium Level (6 stars) can be reached if you finish 6 marathons in 16 days. The highest level, Titanium, boasts 10 stars and requires 52 marathons in one year. I can just see the Maniacs now, bad dubbing and all, “Your Ruthenium kung-fu is strong, but my Palladium cannot be defeated!”

I must bow to such achievement. You see, I’m just a bronze Maniac.

Bronze is not even an element. It’s just a measly alloy; the only one on the list. For this lowest of all levels (1 star), I ran two marathons in 8 days, squeaking in by the skin of my plebeian teeth.

I guess this means that at Marathon Maniac conventions, I’ll be the guy handing out towels in the rest room.

Hey, I just work here.

- #540
White Space

Running Shirts: A Hierarchy 10Jan07

If I am going to endure pain, summon mental strength to override my body’s honed instincts for leisure, or shell out 45 bucks for a typical half marathon, then I demand a quality race shirt.

Race organizers seem to think that my wardrobe lacks shirts of the “I was on the quad” Fraternity event genre. How else could one explain their generally garish design? Where on earth, except at races, would I wear such attire? Heaven forbid I should want to run in a race shirt. Most are made of heavy cotton.

Would you say I have a

I’ve only been running a short time, yet still I have a cavalcade of race t-shirts. What does one do with this stockpile of fibrous gewgaw? I’ve observed runners, and I now know what they tend to do with these shirts. Each shirt a runner owns falls into a sophisticated hierarchy:
White Space
Revered Symbol – Never worn beyond race day or sullied by further human contact. Suitable for framing or homemade shrine.
White Space
Esteemed Trophy – Worn only when you need to impress the right people at the right race. Archetype: The Boston Marathon long sleeve.
White Space
Cool Running (long sleeve non-cotton) – Usually a marathon tech shirt worn proudly when running. Nice enough to be worn in some casual situations.
White Space
Best-Case Cotton (long sleeve cotton) – Usually a major race shirt worn when running in the cold, but not as a first resort. Only worn casually if the design is decent.
White Space
Standard Race Shirt (short-sleeve cotton) – The short sleeve is generally placed on lower status than the long sleeve, regardless of the design. Worn when nothing else clean is available.
White Space
The Eyesore (short-sleeve cotton) – Kept initially, but the urge to donate or throw away is strong.
White Space
The Smock – Given immediately to young children as over-sized sleepwear or weekend art project overwear.
White Space
Strictly Yard work – Also the fate of worn-out running shoes (a similar proliferation problem).
White Space
Oil Change Fodder – Nothing soaks up viscous fluids like cotton. Bonus if the intolerable design is obscured.
White Space

Have I missed anything? Exactly what do you do with the endless supply of shirts?
White Space

five-seven-five 08Nov06

I run in the woods,
tripping over roots and rocks.
Cobwebs cover me.

I’ve heard it before.
We won’t go too fast today.
Runners often lie.

- – - – -

Pure hilarity.
Link and scroll for MyztikJenz.
She captures it well.

Laughter comes from pain;
something runners understand.
Such wit has a price.

A pretty graphic - It frames the story so well - Please leave a comment