Hail my running brothers and sisters! If Chuck Norris were a calendar, every month would be named Chucktober, and every day he’d kick your ass! I don’t care who you are…that’s funny!
Still it got me thinking (WARNING: This is where the Taper Madness has set in, and I start spouting off. If you are a Penguin, a small child, or Chuck Norris, I apologize (Mr. Norris, please don’t roundhouse kick me)), I can’t just run a race for the fun of it. Like Chuck Norris, if you see me on race day, I’m there to kick your ass. That is to say that I’m there to RACE. Now I may not be racing against you in particular (because like Chuck Norris, you may end up kicking MY ass..a lot), but I am there to gut out a race. I may not feel great, I may not be in my top form, but I’m not there to run it for fun. A few months ago, my lovely wife and I were talking about some of the races that I was planning on running this year. When I suggested that I might run a few smaller races for fun and to train for my bigger ones, she squelched that idea so fast I thought Chuck Norris had kicked me (clearly he didn’t as I’m not dead). She told me in no uncertain terms that it’s impossible for me to run my races for fun as they post the results online and my ego would not stand for a less-than-Joel finish.
I’ve been rolling this thought around my head for awhile now, trying to decide if it was accurate, and like Chuck Norris’ beard, it’s inescapable. She is absolutely correct. As usual. For me, a race defines who I am as a person and a runner. When I race, I want to know that I gave everything I got…to be faster, stronger, and gutsier I was in my last race. Unlike Chuck Norris, I have something to prove. I need to prove that I’m not that bacon-loving-pie-eating asshat I was 2 years ago. Nope, today I’m a lean, strong, fast jackhole on a mission to BQ. Otherwise, why have I trained so hard for the last 2 years? If I’m not willing to lay it all out to win (i.e. reach whatever ridiculous goal that I’ve set this time), then I needn’t spend the $30-$100 to run the race. After all, I don’t need to run a race to get a shirt or chew on stale bagels. I’ve got plenty of money to buy as many shirts as I need, and plenty of month old bagels sitting in my pantry anytime I want one. Nope, when I go to race, I’m running fast, like a man dodging a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick (which, by the way, is impossible).
Now I’m not suggesting that I have to win. Not at all. I just want to be faster than I was the last time that I raced. And faster than that small kid with the ridiculously long stride (shouldn’t 12 year olds be at home watching cartoons or doing homework instead of trying to muscle past me in the chute). Oh, and faster than that women pushing her stroller or running with her dog (C’mon guys, that’s just plain dangerous!). And definitely faster than that frakkin’ guy in the tutu (I hate that guy). Everybody comes to a race for different reasons. Lots of people go to races to motivate them in their new healthy lifestyle (Waddle on my brothers!), and I give them full props for just getting out there and doing something. But some people go to races to prove they’ve got the guts, skill and luck to win. That’s me. And Chuck Norris.
And now for the hard numbers: I did 8.03 miles at an average pace of 8:07/mi. It was a good, fast run along part of the marathon course. Unlike a Chuck Norris punch to the face, it was not a perfect run, but it was still darn good. Later kids!