Friday, September 05, 2008

No Trophy, No Flowers, No Flash Bulbs, No Wine

My hip has been killing me. For the past three weeks, a dull ache has been my constant companion, clinging to the right side of my pelvis like a needy child desperate for attention. It's annoying, not just because I'm tired of snacking on ibuprofen but also because nothing makes me feel more like a Golden Girl than complaining about my hip, going so far as to purchase both a heating pad and a pain relief cream endorsed by walking liver spot Regis Philbin. This makes me think that Dementia and Incontinence are swinging their bats in the on-deck circle followed by Menopause and Voting Republican on the lineup card.

This will be noted in my baby book as First Nagging Injury, not counting a minor case of guitarthritis when I was 12 and spent every waking moment playing "Runaway Train" on my Sears brand six string. I can't do anything without making it angry, this fucking Ike Turner of my iliac crest. I tiptoe around the apartment, gingerly reaching into the freezer to retrieve a Hot Pocket and hoping I won't wake it up. Pigpen's walks have gotten shorter because the sight of me shuffling down Spruce Street in a pair of camphor-scented sweatpants isn't doing me any favors. But when I had the opportunity to run the Charleston (West Virginia) Distance Run last Saturday--a 15 mile race that makes you run up hills higher than Sarah Palin's backcombed ponytail--I thought that sounded like a super awesome idea.

Before leaving for the Dub Vee, I went to Dick's to try to find a pair of compression shorts that would hold my hip in place. I asked a pale-looking associate in an oversized polo where I could find them. She pointed toward the rack, giving me a smile faker than the plastic head she was holding and a look that said she'd spent the first half of her shift cataloging every bad decision she's ever made. It's a look I'm familiar with.

The shorts were hanging on a four-way rack, along with bikini briefs and boxer shorts made of sweat wicking fabric. The sign above them shouted about the "SEXY NEW STYLES FROM UNDER ARMOUR!". Um, I'm sorry, Swamp Crotch but there's nothing sexy about needing to moisture manage your genital area. I plucked a pair from the hanger, a tiny garment smaller than any of my facial pores. I looked around for another display, perhaps one that wasn't sized for premature infants, but this was the only one. The sales associate was staring at me as she forced a LiveStrong shirt onto an uncooperative mannequin, so I quickly grabbed a handful of options and hurried to the dressing room.

They didn't look any better with my legs crammed in them and I wondered if I could just encase each thigh in one of the Trojans slowly expiring in my dresser drawer. Surely they'd be just as supportive. And ribbed for my pleasure. I'd almost talked myself out of the UnderArmour and was trying to break free from their Lycra jaws--using techniques learned from a NatGeo show about escaping from an anaconda's mouth--when my hip baked a fresh batch of pain, delivering it directly to my entire right leg. Fine, fucker. You can have the shorts.
__________

I've done the Distance Run three times before and it's a beautiful course. You'll have plenty of time to stare at the scenery--the river, the well-maintained neighborhoods, and the carnival midway at mile 11--because you'll be plodding up mountains like a sneaker-wearing Sherpa for the duration of the race. The run starts with a two mile incline--noted with cheerful signage as "Capital Punishment Hill"--and after feeling my quads liquidate before the first water stop, I was weighing the benefits of lethal injection. Or of throwing myself in front of an oncoming Toyota.

At the halfway point, you make a loop around the grounds of the capitol building where if you remove the gold wrapper on the dome, you'll find a layer of solid milk chocolate. It's typically at this point of the race where we'd see the most depressing spectator ever, a man in an electric wheelchair wearing a greasepaint and a clown suit. Because what brings you more joy and laughter than partial paralysis? Unfortunately, Bifida the Clown wasn't there this year. Also missing were my parents, who during my previous fifteeners would pop up at various locations on the race course waving and taking pictures.

Seeing pictures of yourself running is like seeing pics of yourself having sex. After getting past the initial shock of your flailing limbs and contorted expressions and realizing 'Holy shit, that's what I look like? And other people see it?' then you'll start to critique your form and wonder how you manage to do either with any type of success. I could personally use "I don't know what to do with my hands" as a caption for both sets of snaps.

So yes, I was alone, which isn't a new thing for me. If I'd been running with my dog under one arm and a box of Oreo Cakesters in the other, you'd have essentially every Friday night up to and including this one.

Around mile 8, my race almost came to an abrupt end when I saw an incredibly hot guy in a well-worn Red Sox hat and holding a Boxer on a leash. I spent at least three water stops penning the 'Missed Connections' post I’d be writing on Craigslist: "You: Sharp cheekbones and perfect facial features, standing in your yard beside an Obama sign. Me: Quite possibly peeing on myself, my shirt already stained with Gatorade and my own tears. The feral expression I gave you as I limped past your house was all the sexy I could muster. Please call me. I think you are very handsome and my nipples are no longer chafed."

Races are always interesting because you really can’t tell look at a runner and tell how well they’re going to do. Yes, the woman whose muscular calves are gnarled like the limbs of a Joshua tree will probably beat you to the finish but my mind was blown at Mile 12 when an elderly man whose spine curled into itself like a freshly-salted slug came shuffling past me as I was standing on the sidewalk, tugging at my shorts and trying to stretch my hip.

After almost two hours of Pac Man-ing my way around the dotted lines that marked the course, I stumbled across the finish line, the announcer false starting three times on the pronunciation of my name before just giving up. I was looking for a banana and a bathroom when someone slugged me on the shoulder. “Great kick at the finish!” It was my Dad--beaming--with a camera slung around his neck and a bottle of water in his hand. He’d driven across four counties that morning because he said he didn’t want me to run “without anyone there to cheer for me.” It was a moment I wanted to bronze and place on a high shelf like a pair of baby shoes. My official time was 1:55:25, a 7:40something pace and a personal best for me. Regardless of what the oversized digital clock said, it was definitely my best finish ever.

Thanks, Dad.

30 comments:

ÄsK AliCë said...

AWw that's sweet! Glad to hear your hip didn't crumble apart during the race!

poodlegoose said...

That last little kick at the end definitely made me smile. I mean, it's not like the rest of your post didn't make me smile. . . because I'm sure that's what you were completely going for and all.

I'm doing my first half in a few months. Bah. I don't know what on earth I was thinking. My busted knee and ankles are definitely hating me right now. Any pointers?

Beth on the Rocks said...

Congrats on the finish! I take it you didn't gotta Regatta afterward. I would rather run 15 miles - and I hate running - than go near the boulevard last week.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Aw that dad, he's the best!

Perfectly Shelly said...

Okay, Okay, I'll profess my love for YOU today too.......I've been in love with a total of 4 bloggers today-----that is a PERSONAL BEST for me...

I don't think I can run anymore. I'm overweight, and jiggly, and if someone chases me, I'll just have to stand there and let them take whatever, because I don't think I even can run.

Bifida the clown. Spat coffee......will think of him all day now.

Aren't dads great?

Love, The Blog Whore...........

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I love your description of Dicks sales associate and the Crotch Armor supportive gear. Made me laugh at my desk!
Congrats on the run.

Word Perv said...

I love that your dad made it to the race. I usually race alone and it's depressing.

Congrats on the PR too!

Xenia said...

That was super sweet of your dad.

Great time too! Congrats.

Beth said...

Another excellent post that made me laugh out loud. Honesty, doesn't your brilliance bore you at this point? : o )

As for your hip, the other day at the gym I mentioned to my trainer that my lower back/hip hurts when I walk, but just on my left side, and he said, in the most obvious tone of voice ever, "Your hips are out of alignment. I've noticed it when you walk. You need an adjustment."

That honestly hadn't occurred to me. Maybe it will help you, too.

Vanilla said...

Great job on the PB and on "Bifida the clown," that was awesome! And at the same time, screw you for being faster than me. ;)

Vanilla said...

Also, The Distance is a great song to run to. I loved the reference in the title of this post.

Princess of the Universe said...

Aww, that was an unexpectedly sweet finish ;)

emily said...

Awwww, yay dad! And now I'm going to have that song in my head for days. Also, the image of Ike Turner lurking on your pelvis.

Laura said...

Congrats on the new PR!

I totally spend all my time running thinking up clever blog posts, e-mails, voicemails, etc. Then I promptly forget them when I get to the finish.

thecusp said...

I love dad! Hooray for dad! And for your post and your run and everything else. Awesome post!

Adam said...

I started with the Leinart piece on Deadspin today and now I'm in May of your archives with no intention of stopping. Can't get enough of your writing.

+1 J-Money, +1.

~Cardboard Sea~ said...

I used to run. It probably doesn't count for anything, but I competed in the Junior Olympics in a 40/40 relay team. Track wasn't really my style — cross-country was where it was at.

Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself I wanted to do something more "cerebral" and "artistic," so I joined theatre. Now, I don't do either. Instead, I sit on my ass at a desk (well, I used to until I got knocked up), writing stories for newspapers, and bitching about the gargantuan size of my legs.

I wish I could get back into running, but I'm afraid. Mostly because I know that I can't start out like my 9-year-old self, which is a completely pathetic reason not to.

Congrats on your time, and for doing it without (knowingly) having someone to cheer you on.

Dexter Colt said...

You're an inspiration to geriatrics everywhere!

Just kidding. Nice story. You had me with the funnies and then you sprang that Hallmark brand sentiment on me. Well played.

John at Hella Sound said...

She's going the distance... She's going for speed...

Congrats on such a fast time, running with a jacked up hip. You truly fast people amaze me.

Hopefully you can kill your Ike with something less illegal (and less expensive) than a coke overdose. Wish I had helpful sports medicine advice.

Essentially Me said...

Your missed connections is hilarious. Your dad is awesome and so are you. I could not do what you do.

Lone Butterfly said...

Congrats on your time! A new personal best is always in exciting accomplishment, especially when you've got pieces falling apart. ;)

And that's awesome to hear about your Dad. Good Dads are hard to come by, you're one lucky girl.

Dr Zibbs said...

"moisture manage your genital areas" - that a good one.

Psych Post Doc said...

Sorry about the hip but congrats on the run, and the great dad.

punchlinewalking said...

Congrats! And hell yeah for sweet dads.

Craig said...

+1 to your dad. I don't know if Deadpoints are transferable into the real world, but if they are, please pass it along.

Perfectly Shelly said...

Hey, I saw a clown this weekend, and although she was exiting a VW Bug instead of a wheelchair, I still yelled "BIFIDA" in my brain, because nobody else in the car would have understood.

aoc gold said...

THE WIND

(Part I)

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you;

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.

(Part II)

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I;

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.

O wind , why do you never rest,

Wandering, whistling to and fro,

Bring rain out of the west,

From the dim north bringing snow?

~by wow powerleveling

Mickey said...

That's a great time! And with a bum hip!

Katherine said...

Wrong batting order . . .Menopause and Voting Republican come up BEFORE Incontinence and Dementia. At least in my admittedly limited circle!

I have been reading your blog for a couple of months and am spending some time today catching up on older posts (thus helping me delay getting back to the dreaded Christmas shopping). You are a GREAT writer--witty, inventive, poignant--and I'm so glad I found your blog.

Now please get back to writing the Days of Fail. I am continually checking for new ones.

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