Bring in the money! Stay awake! Down with Satan!
According to my friend Rob, this was the mantra of some cult in the 1970s. I can’t remember if it was a real mantra or a real cult, or if it was just from some reality-based TV-movie about cults with mantras.
Either way, as my father observed when I told him about it: “Hey, those are pretty good rules to live by, really.”
Stay awake would have been a good one for me on Saturday, when I ran a 10K. But I was feeling really tired by late afternoon, and decided, what harm in a quick little lie-down before a big run?
I’ll tell you what harm. I slept through my alarm and woke at 5:45. The race was scheduled to start at 6:30, 5 km from my house. I yanked myself out of bed, popped some Vitamin I* (ibuprofen), threw myself into my running clothes, and ran a couple of blocks to where I could catch a bus downtown.
Then I realized there was no way the bus was going to get me there on time (though it would have given me a place to stretch en route, and get my race timing chip attached to my shoelaces, etc…). And my bike, the obvious solution, is still in storage – not an option.
So I ran back the two long blocks to my house, found my car key, reset the house alarm, and drove to my friends’ place that was 1 km from the Start Line. I used one red light on the way to quickly get my bib pinned to my shirt (crooked and bunching my shirt) and it took two red lights to get my chip on my shoe. I parked and ran.
My bib clearly identified me as a runner for the day's event, and a few good folks on the sidelines cheered and laughed at me as I ran down the main street in the wrong direction toward the Start Line. About 300m from the start, the gun went off, the white race-pace car started driving and honking, and I just managed to slip into the crowds on the side when the Kenyans shot past.
Half a minute later I was pushing my way through the crowds and hopping the fence separating spectators from runners to join thousands of other people waiting to start the race. So after my impromptu warm-up run, and no stretching, I went and ran 10K.
Did I mention I did not train for this? Due to a very bad cold and respiratory infection, followed by the Curse of the Hotel Yorba, I have not run in nearly a month.
I may be foolhardy, but what really matters is, would the cult kick me out? Let’s see how I measure up.
Staying awake – I think I deserve a small checkmark, in pencil maybe.
Bringing in the money – I did bring in the money, figuratively, by finishing the race without stopping, even though I was ungodly slow. Check.
Being down on Satan – I resisted Satan for most of the run, though he did make me want to curl up and die in the grass by the side of the road at kilometer 7. The fight continues though, because Satan is at work in my left knee and is making me walk with a limp.
*Coined, as far as I know, by my friend Drew. Isn't that the work of a genius mind?