Bay to Breakers, the annual San Francisco race, happened not too long ago. It’s your basic orgy/costume ball/marathon, with more stress on the orgy and costume parts since this is San Francisco. A runner friend of mine says it’s a “qualifying race,” so I guess it’s also, you know, serious. Even she’s not clear on qualifying for what though. So if you ran it thinking you could become a dental hygienist afterwards, well, maybe you’re right.
Here’s my thing with running marathons: why would you ever do that? I mean, sure, if you love running, great, have at it, more power to you, I’ll see you at mile 173 or whatever with a cup of Kool-Aid.
(Actually, scratch that. I won’t see you at the Dixie-Cup table. It’s hot there, I can tell. I don’t like being hot. You’re the one who wanted to run around in the sun. I’ll see you at the finish line. If it’s shady. And I don’t have other plans. Otherwise, I’ll see you the next time we go out for some civilized sporting activity. Like lawn bowling. Or cocktails.)
But if you don’t already love running – like, you’re not even a runner at all to start with – why would you do that?
I know a bunch of non-runners who decided they had to run a marathon because they were turning 40 or, you know, just ’cause. Because it’s there. Which it wasn’t, like, a week ago, so that doesn’t make any sense. It might get cancelled. Then what’re you gonna do? You didn’t run it ’cause it wasn’t there? I can do that. Matter of fact, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that I do that pretty much every weekend. Most Saturdays I’m here or at the zoo or someplace not running a race that isn’t there. I’m surprised I’m not in better shape, given all the not running I’m doing.
The mountain climbers and their “’cause it’s there” excuse have a more solid point. Literally: Everest is actually there. But then so is the hill right outside my house and I don’t see you coming by to scale that. It’s steep. Like, really steep. Not four-people-died-on-it-last-month-alone steep, but then, of course, you might want to consider that, um, four people didn’t die on it last week and head on over in my direction instead of catching that flight to Nepal. (Flights are really pricey these days too plus there’s a really good coffee place over on 18th if you’re feeling burned out by the climb. Everest can’t beat that.)
The thing is, I’m just not going to do a sport where the chances I might die are super high. Given my record of injuring myself (early, often) while engaging in what many might not even consider sports – like walking into our living room – I would definitely not make it past the first pitch on a mountain, so don’t even start with me that you can climb safely without going to Patagonia, etc. Trust me on this one. I can’t be left alone with a step ladder.
And second, I definitely will not be taking up a sport where they leave their dead behind. Even the Marines don’t do that, and shooting guns at people is arguably even higher risk than scaling an ice face. (Don’t get any ideas about adding that to the extreme sports roster by the way – I don’t want to hear six months from now that some fucking idiot has started a tour where you can climb glaciers while being shot at ’cause he read on some blog somewhere that it was a thing. It’s not a thing. Just stop it.) I get the whole “risk to self” argument in leaving your team behind, but then, why are you all up there in the first place if no one can breathe for more than ten minutes? God. Try paintball. Or ping pong. I hear that’s pretty competitive and everyone can have a beer afterwards with all their digits intact.
Oh – or badminton. Badminton is seriously hard. And frustrating. It should be right up your alley.
Meanwhile I’ll be over here not wearing a Big Bird costume and not headed anywhere 26 miles away. Also not climbing anything. I might have a coffee. Maybe walk over to that sandwich place that I heard was good. Join me when you’re done if you feel like it. Take a shower first though, OK? The sandwich place is kind of on the nice side.