On your marks…

Runner in a stadium is in start position with hands on the line
This isn’t me. It’s my stunt double.

Do you enjoy running? I do. At least most of the time. Ok, sometimes I would rather scrape fuzz off cheese than go for a training run but there is a satisfaction that comes from running that ranges from better fitness to the camaraderie of fellow trotters. The running community is an amazing group of people who don’t judge, don’t criticize and don’t tear you down. What they do do (no giggling) is encourage you and build you up because they know the commitment and pain it takes to reach your goals, and they know the joy that is there when you reach them. Runners around the world, I lift my home brew to you!

If you’re looking for expert advice, talk to Lucy from Peanuts. This is observations from a back-of-the-packer and humorous stories about suction cups on shoes, clopping Clydesdales, hopping walnuts and other adventures on the road. So here we go…

When my older son turned three, I knew I had to get in shape. How can someone whose legs are so short move so fast? I wasn’t good enough with a lasso and my wife confiscated my Marvel web-shooter, so running was the only option left. “Perfect,” I said. “It’s a cheap sport,” I told her. Sure. Now I try to bury my race expenses in with the grocery store receipts so I won’t get “extra spice” in my food.

So now, years down the road, I’ve learned a few things. One of them is this: running is like raising children. I know, mind-blowing right? Wait, your forehead is crinkled… let me explain.

When you find out that you are going to have your first baby, there is a thrill, there is an excitement in the expectation. You read all the books, watch all the shows and research the best college sports programs and medical schools. “‘Doctor Doug, Junior,’ It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it Honey?” You baby-proof your home and stick to the proven formula for having the perfect child.

So it is when you start running and sign up for your first race. Oh, the excitement and anxiety! You read all the magazines and blogs and research the best shoes. “Look at these cool shoes, Honey! They’re only $200. Say, you don’t use that laptop much do you? I bet that’s worth about…” You make sure to eat the right foods and stock up on gels. “Yeah, I like that new kale flavored goop the best,” you tell your friends. “I only threw up twelve times before it stayed down.”

Then the next baby comes along and you’re like, “Well, there goes the man cave.”

And a few races down the road you’re like, “Crap, the race is next week already? How did that happen? Guess I better get out the door. Honey, where’s that box of Craisins?”

Actually, I’m a pretty organized guy – yeah, one of those people who eats one item on the plate at a time. I like to make a plan and stick to it. Pick out a training plan, tailor it to my liking and back up the schedule from the race date. Runners, you know what I mean. It’s sort of a way to get psyched up about the race.

Then just before the race is that exciting day when you pick up your race packet. Oh the excitement! You walk around the expo looking at all the cool gadgets and gizmos you can’t afford thinking, hmm, what else can I sell. Finally, you wait in line at the table to get your packet. Cool! A shirt and bib and if it’s a big race they’ll even throw in the safety pins. Then comes the highly anticipated Swag Bag. Salivating with eyes wide like a child on Christmas morning you open it up to find some coupons, brochures and a packet of hand sanitizer, but you don’t care because you’re high on adrenaline. The expos are fun and I’ve been to a lot of them.

I am training for a half marathon coming up soon so stay tuned for that adventure. I called my running buddy yesterday to tell him I would drive. He said, “Crap! Is that next week already?”

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