A couple of weeks ago, I completed my last race for the running season – one that is winding down as the temperature in Australia is heating up.
It was a half-marathon around the sporting complex which hosted the Year 2000 Sydney Olympics, with runners crossing the finish line inside the main stadium. And I was determined to cross that finish line, after the spectacular failure to reach the end in my last race.
As usual though, the desire to run a good race did not interfere with my habit of people-watching during the event. And it was a smorgasboard on that day, with the splendid spring weather bringing out some wonderful characters to gawk at.
To begin with, there was the short, skinny guy whose afro was anything but. He had a running style which mimicked Pepe le Pew, the Warner Bros French skunk, bouncing up and down with little care in the world. Despite the appearance, however, he was deceptively fast – so much so that I tried to overtake him a couple of times but all to no avail. When he eventually surged away from me at the 4km mark, I clocked him at 4.02 mins/km on my Garmin – not bad for someone whose afro would have been a genuine drag on the aerodynamics.
Soon, as I invariably do during races, I found a very attractive woman to run next to. She gave me a nod, I gave her one back and we started chit-chatting about our pace and what we were aiming for in terms of time. It turns out that our PBs were very similar and it occurred to me that she may be a very pleasant companion for the remaining 15km of the half-marathon, even if it means I may be a couple minutes short of my goal.
That was until she decided at one point to use her left thumb to press close her left nostril and blow out an impressive quantity of snot from her right one. That was the end of that! Call me superficial, but seeing a beautiful woman do something that’s usually reserved for a caveman like myself was just too much to stomach. A minute or so later, I wished her luck and gradually strode ahead of her.
At the 12km mark, I was joined by an intimating gang of runners who were all proudly wearing the Sydney Striders singlets. For those who are not familiar with the running scene here, Sydney Striders is a well-known road-running club whose members almost always run in packs. To me, they resemble the Gambino crew of the New York underworld kind but, instead of guns and suits, they strut around with gels and singlets.
Anyway, there I was, amidst this illustrious company, refusing to let them overtake me. Then, all of a sudden, one of the lead runners in the pack (I guess he was the Capo of the crew) yelled out “It’s time to pick up the pace, fellas!” And, with that, they left me in their dust, clutching at their tailwind and wondering why they didn’t wanna play with me. Perhaps one day I will try to get the Consigliere of the club to help me arrange a ‘sit-down’ with the Don of Sydney Striders. That way, I can find out what rituals I must perform to be ‘made’. Maybe I need to whack a couple of sub-90 min half-marathons to be accepted? I don’t know.
Just after the 16km mark, there was a water station where volunteers lined up with cups in hand, ready for the runners to snatch them as they run by.
“Water?“, I inquired.
“Yes!“, a little girl no more than 7 or years old finally replied.
So I grabbed the cup on the run from her and immediately poured it on top of my head for some cooling down. Unfortunately, when the liquid dribbled down to my lips, I realised that it wasn’t water that I just showered on myself, but Gatorade. I had no choice but to turn quickly back to the station so as to wash off the uncomfortable stickiness. To her credit, the little girl who mistakenly gave me the wrong beverage was already waiting for me, holding a large plastic jug of water with a sheepish look on her face. She dumped the whole content on the top of my head and must have apologised 5 or 6 times.
Ordinarily, I would have given someone who just made me a running Gatorade advertisement a serious piece of my mind. But the little sweet girl was so cute and so remorseful, I just gave her a wink and a high-five – a gesture that seemed to immediately put her at ease, judging by her radiant smile.
I eventually finished the half-marathon in 94 minutes. While it was far from being a PB, I was very pleased with the effort. It felt like true redemption after the fiasco of the last outing – one that was, funnily enough, partly caused by excessive consumption of Gatorade. This time, instead of drinking it during the race, I wore it. Perhaps that made all the difference.
So that brings the curtain down on another running season. Many highlights, many lowlights and certainly never a dull moment. I will, of course, continue to jog for relaxation purposes whenever the weather permits in the scorching heat that is the Australian summer. But with opportunities to run and think likely to be few and far in between, I may struggle to keep up the consistency of this little journal.
Then again, it may not be a bad thing for the Jogging Dad to have a little off-season when it comes to blogging, especially with the silly Christmas season just around the corner.
Keep on pounding.
I actually had a hard time finding water and not sports drink at my last race!
Yeah, they’ve become so ubiquitous at running events that water doesn’t get a look in!
94 minutes?? Dude, that is so bad-ass. It may not be your PB, but it’s totally and completely awesome!
Thanks. It may look that way but when you’ve been running for 7 years, it’s just natural progression.
Well I applaud you regardless. 🙂
Enjoyed your report. Great stuff.
Thanks for reading, much appreciated.
So I was laughing at the strutting around with gels and singlets line, and next I was crying because you run a 94-minute half marathon and it’s not your PB. Can you feel my jealousy? 🙂
Come on, madam, what’s a few minutes between friends? In any case, being blogging pals, my PB is your PB and vice versa!
Maybe you should market Gatorade sprays for joggers!
You may have just come up with the next big thing in sports drink innovation! 🙂
Might need to do some self-testing first…to check the validity of your original theory!!
I’m winding down too, but for the exact opposite reason, it is getting bitterly cold here. Hail, sleet, snow, we’ve had it all. It’s not in full swing yet, but it’s coming. I hope you pop back to the blog now and again, though – I enjoy your posts!
Thanks for the kind words. I will continue to blog but the frequency may suffer now that there won’t be much time to run – the one avenue through which I get to think about what to write on my blog. I very much enjoy reading your blog too.
Wow, 94 minutes is pretty decent, I’d like to run that fast. Enjoy the scorching heat and I’ll be trying to enjoy the freezing cold, it’s snowing and only -18C with the windchill today, quite balmy actually.
Thanks. Scorching heat is definitely best tackled on the beaches of Sydney, than on the pavement pounding away in suffocating humidity.
Haha you’re talking to this girl and she farmer blows! (farmer blow= what we’d call blowing snot back home) In some parts that might be seen as sexy
Is that what it’s called – a farmer blow? Whatever its name, this was my first experience seeing it practised by a good looking woman. I hope it’s the last one!
Awesome job! I used to work with this guy that ran ALOT of marathons and halfs! He once took a cup of juice from a person, and it ended up being vodka and orange juice. He had chugged it all in one drink! His body rejected it immediately! Projectile vomiting! But he continued, and finished the race!:)
What kind of a person gives out vodka and juice at a race? If it happened to me, I would’ve gone back and projectile vomited on the persons’ shoes! 🙂
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a race volunteer 🙂
I’m glad you took it easy on that sweet little girl. She must have been so embarrassed. I am a runner, too, so I’m glad to have found your blog!
Hey, I just read some of your stuff. You are one funny chick and your liberal usage of French in your language is just my cup of tea (and I say that with an uppity British accent also)!
I can imagine the look on your face as the pretty jogger showered the ground with her snot. 😀
Pardon me for being sexist but I strongly feel that there are certain things women shouldn’t do in public! It takes away from their allure. 🙂
Well done JD! How do you find your fitness goes after a stretch of time off and does it take it long to get it back???
I find it pretty quick to get back. Think it’s just a function of the fact that I’ve been into exercising for a long time. Having 2 active boys certainly helps!
Sweet! I seem to lose my fitness so quickly. I can get it back reasonably quickly too but it skips town in a heartbeat if I go away on holiday for example. Did a run the other day and pulled my glute! Aaarrgh. So time off for injury. I’ll get there…
So you’re telling me that in 7 years, if I take a Gatorade shower, I can run a 94 minute half marathon? What do I get this year if I shower with Gatorade? I’m bummed that my last race fell short of my goal, so I need redemption too.
I hate the term “snot rocket” that I first heard this summer. Just the phrase grosses me out.
I suspect for a seasoned runner such as yourself, no Gatorade shower is required. It’s only a matter of time before you achieve the target goal. Btw, I’d prefer rocket snot than a snot that sort of showers and dribbles all over the place!
Well, that’s a relief since I like to wear white when I run. I’d hate to look like someone peed all over me.
Seasoned runner, ha! All of 9 months seasoning. I’m old hat already?
I can honestly say I’ve never shot snot out of my nose nor had a Gatorade shower, which is still preferable to a golden shower. I’m still trying to reconcile things heating up there and Christmas coming. What does Santa wear if it’s not cold? It’s been getting near freezing in Texas this week, and we all go about singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Christmas is shivery, not sweaty.
Even in sweltering heat, our Santa still wears the same red woollen suit and white beard, and never travels outside of air conditioned comforts of shopping malls.
Please! No blogging off-season! I just discovered you and this gem of a site, and I might be in love.
THAT is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my blog. Your compliments are very much appreciated. Btw, I can’t thank you enough for the kind words on twitter. 12 followers IS pitiful but it’s still 12 more than I expected! 🙂