Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Runners. Yeah, we're different.

Adidas used this as their campaign slogan from 1999-2000, around the time of my sophomore year of high school. They ran ads featuring runners in usual runner-type predicaments: squatting behind a tree doing their business on a busy trail,taping nipples, rubbing vaseline in precarious places that are prone to chaff-age, and perfecting the single-barrel farmer blow. Our cross country team was so inspired by the unusual ads that we adopted the slogan as our own and even had t-shirts printed. After all, we could have been our own Adidas ad.

One of my coaches, Aaron Ciszek, was a crazy fast runner, sub 2:45 marathoner, and swore by chips and salsa as the best pre-race dinner out there. He was frequently seen around town on his bike with his skis sticking out of a piece of pvc pipe fastened to the back of his bike frame. He was almost always heading up the snow-packed streets to the ski mountain. Usually in a blizzard.

Rumor had it that my other coach, John Smith, shaved his legs. Apparently, smooth legs took vital seconds off his triathlon swim time. In the four years he coached me, I only remember him competing in one, maybe two, triathlons, but his legs were always silky-smooth. He loved to say, "boot & rally" which loosely meant, "If you're gonna puke, puke, but you better get right back up and finish what you started." And we always did.

And, if you can believe it, our coaches were not the strangest sampling of the team. We also had a skilled river-dancer, a boy named Michaelangelo who penned love poems, a kid with a hit-list reserved for anyone who crossed him (we all tried our hardest to stay off the list!)and
possibly even a witch.

For all my mocking, my cross country team was full of some amazing people. People of character and commitment, with just a pinch of crazy. After all, we LIKED running, which alone is reason enough to claim residency in the not-so-normal column. Like most runners, we know the horrible mental and physical pain that comes with the eighth-400 meter repeat, the loneliness of long, weaving trails and two hour runs, and what it feels like to "boot & rally", wipe your mouth off on your sleeve, and keep on trekking.

And here's the kicker- we run anyway!

Again and again and again.

1 comment:

Jenni Stanford said...

Seriously laughing... or crying in lament... not sure...