Ha ha ha ha ha HAH!

  It’s a sad fact that I have never really raced against other people in races. I’ve raced against the clock, checking my watch a moronic 58 times over the course of 3.1 miles. But other humans? Whatever. If I pass them or they pass me, what do I care? Maybe once, when I was in 4th place and was miraculously getting closer to the 3rd place chick, I actually made an effort to pass a live human being rather than gluing my eyeball to my watch the entire time.
      That’s what made this past weekend’s 5k so much fun. I actually raced a person. Let’s call this other person “JK” (utterly random name). Some months ago, I found myself betting JK a beer that my time at Boston would be better than his time at the I-Can’t-Qualify-For-Boston-So-I’m-Running-The-Lame-Ass-Country-Music-Marathon. (Note: Please ignore elevation charts when comparing these two.) I was so certain that I’d beat his time that I upped the ante to a case of beer. Any kind at all. Sure! Go ahead and pick Corona if you want! Loser.
     April came and I ran 3:40:16 at Boston. Two weeks later, JK cranked out a 3:38* something. I really can’t be bothered to remember the exact time.
      Humiliation. Despair. And, worst of all, a serious dearth of the Sam Adams I thought I would be enjoying in May. What if we had actually been in the same race? I brooded over a tragic Natural Light. What if I could have kept an eye on him? What if I could have employed race tactics (as if I know what any are)?
What if, what if, freaking what if.
      Finally the chance rolled around this past Saturday. A tiny 5k on the absolutely worst 5k course in middle Tennessee. 150-foot climb in the first half mile. Wretched humidity and a non-closed course littered with dog walkers and angry housewives. What a delight.
      To be fair (damn it), I should mention that JK was at the end of a ridiculous (some might say “stupid”) Drinking/Running Challenge that involved running 100 miles and drinking 100 beers in 7 days. Race day was day 6 of the Challenge, and he was admirably close to the goal. It pains me deeply to be fair, but let’s face it—if it had been a normal week of running and beer for JK, I probably wouldn’t have beaten him.
    Even so…
     JK blasted ahead of me at the start, and I watched him get further ahead for the next mile. It was a quagmire of a course, as I have mentioned, with countless turns and even a couple of hideous switchbacks. Therefore, I’d lose sight of JK on and off. However, at about a mile and a half, I noticed that I seemed to be gaining on him. I might as well have not been wearing a watch, because this race was all about racing. Fascinating!
      Just before mile 2, the course headed up a terrible hill. As I turned the sharp corner to head up, I noticed JK walking. Walking. Honestly, I was bummed because I thought the race between us was over. But as I passed him, he said, “I hope this tactic works.” Tactic?!  Why I oughta…. With less than a mile to go, I tried to pick it up as I crested the hill. I could hear his footsteps behind me. Getting closer. Maybe if I pick it up just a little more…?
      At the last switchback, I was ahead by maybe 5 seconds. As we passed each other in opposite directions, JK said, “Nice race!” In acknowledgement of that compliment, I flipped him off. It was the defining moment. It was my “tactic.”  The rest of the race was a suicidal downhill, and I could hear JK RIGHT BEHIND ME. Cripes! I tried to think about all those nerdy pointers for running downill efficiently, but mostly I felt like a flailing goon on the verge of implosion. Finish line in sight. Still ahead. Maybe 8 more seconds to go. Can hear his big feet flapping behind me. Twenty more yards…
      In the end, I beat JK by 3 seconds. And, I know, in a normal week, he would have beaten me. Still, that may have been the most fun 5k I have ever run. Okay, “fun” may be pushing it, but it was memorable. Who knew that racing in a race could be that exciting?
      Thanks, JK!
* “JK” has informed me that it was 3:37 something. Whatever, asshat.

9 thoughts on “Ha ha ha ha ha HAH!

  1. ‘Prec, Jilly, Drew, and Trent!

    “Break me,” JK? HA HA HA HA HA HA HAH AHHHA HHA HA HAHA HA HA HA. Hee hee, Hooo. Ha. Ahem.

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