Those Who Care are invited to jump for a recap of the Hexter 5K foot race that Stacey and yrs trly competed in on Saturday.
In hindsight, things looked bad for your hero before the pre-race stretching even began. That’s when Stacey said, “Is your shirt on inside out?” Still, though, that problem remedied, I thought I had a game plan that would give me a shot. To wit:
My strategy was to stalk Stacey for the first 4K or so, just tag along at her heels. First, that’s called drafting, which I’ve heard of. Second, I figured my running behind her would make her nervous and thus throw off her rhythm. “Is he looking at my butt? Do these running knickers make my butt look big?” In my experience, girls are always worried about how their butts look.
Not that I ever would look at Stacey’s butt. We’re co-workers, for god’s sake. And not that I could have, even if I’d wanted to, on Saturday morning. It was cold enough that my eyes began watering uncontrollably and profusely at about the 100-yard mark. Then, worse news at about 500 yards: it became patently clear to me that I had absolutely no chance of beating Stacey. Because instead of having to slow my pace to stalk her, I had run like the dickens just to keep up. And Stacey has this, like, effortless way of running that makes her look like she’s just walking briskly — except she’s passing people.
Halfway through the race, my lungs burned like I was inhaling hot sulfur dioxide, and my legs felt like they belonged to Larry King. But I was still just a few paces behind Stacey, not looking at her butt. And then we hit the hills portion of the course. Sweet, merciful baby Jesus. I folded my tent and started walking. Running, too. But then walking again.
Those following along at home know that my 9-year-old son ran the 5K, too. But that’s deceiving, because his birthday is in February, okay? So let’s just call him 10. Here was the weird thing about the way he ran the race: he took off with the lead group. Stacey and I started from the back of the pack of about, oh, 100 people. I figured he’d burn out quickly, and I would pass him — maybe backpedaling so I could taunt him. But I hadn’t passed him by the time I had to start walking, so I figured that was a lost cause, too.
Then, somewhere around the 4K mark, he passed me, suggesting that either I had fathered a twin I didn’t know about or that my son had figured out how to bend time and space. Turns out, he’d run off course at some point and had had to double back over his tracks — meaning he actually ran more than 5K. And he still beat me. The boy came in 2nd in the under-12 division.
Stacey? She was the top female runner in the whole dang race, finishing in about 24 minutes. She won a free pair of Reeboks.
I finished in about 28 minutes and did not win a free pair of shoes.
Per our bet, I will don Eric’s much-maligned shirt. But that’ll have to be tomorrow, as he forgot to bring it to work today.
For now, I bow to the greatness of the fleet-footed Stacey.