I just got an email from my cousin Jess. Her husband Chris ran in a Seattle Marathon recently and she sent a pic of him with some of the family after the race. It’s always sort of inspiring to me to hear of people accomplishing physical feats such as a marathon or a triathlon. I’m impressed with these individuals because they’re doing something that I’m pretty sure that I’ll never achieve. Feats of strength and endurance simply aren’t for me. I tend to gravitate more toward feats of discontinuance. Like that week where I left every beer I opened with about three or four mouthfuls still at the bottom. It was a difficult task to attempt. And needless to say, I couldn’t stay with it. Once I got into the second week, I had to start finishing those beers.
Anyway, after reading my cousin’s email, I felt like I wanted to be involved in Chris’s next marathon experience. So I volunteered myself to be his personal motivator. I thought that it might be helpful to have someone there to offer up encouragement. So my idea is to rent a moped for the day, and follow him along on the marathon route.
I’m keeping a list of things to yell out that will be sure to push Chris as he toils in the race. Here are some examples of what I’m coming up with:
“Run faster you lazy-gaited sissy-strider!”
“You call that running? I’ve seen 75-year-old refrigerators run better than that!”
“My moped is running outta gas. Let’s stop at that Marathon gas station over there. Here’s 20 bucks. Run in and get me 10 bucks of gas and a Red Bull. And I want my change!”
“From back here you sorta look like Melanie Griffith.”
“Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Right. Right. Get up, slacker!”
“So then in my third senior year of college I was sorta dating this chick named Sparkles. Her eyes really did sparkle, too! But that was more on account of the bad case of Fungal Keratitis that she acquired somehow. But as a result of her poor eye sight, her other senses were heightened dramatically. Especially her sense of entitlement. Eventually, we had to go our separate ways, but I’ll never forget her scent. She emanated an odor not unlike a rose bush covered with stink bugs, lit on fire, thrown into a bathtub full of hair, and extinguished with a spray of the juice drained from fifty cans of tuna. I miss Sparkles.”
“Pick up the pace, there Prancer. Rudolph is waitin’ for you!”
“Ever hear the song by Bruce Springsteen called ‘Born to Run?’ Yeah. I didn’t think so.”
“Gettin’ tired yet? C’mon, I know you are. Look, there’s an Applebee’s. Let’s get some margaritas.”
“Your shoelace is untied! Just kidding. No, really, it is. Ha. Just kidding.”
“Remember that lady in the Olympics that ran with no shoes on? Remember when she knocked down Mary Decker Slaney and Mary Decker Slaney fell to the infield and started crying? Remember that? The lady without the shoes was named Zola Budd. Remember that? Zola Budd. What a great name. Maybe you should change your name to Zola Budd. You’ll have to take off your shoes though. Remember that Olympics though? It was ’84. You know what else happened in ’84? Yep. That’s right! The Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers played the longest game in MLB history! The 25-inning affair was played over a two day period and lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes. That’s almost as long as it took you to get through the first three miles of this race! How ’bout less slacking and crying and more running, Mary Decker! I’m starving!”
“You run like Nathan Lane with both legs asleep.”
“Push it! C’mon! You can do it! You’re doing great! That’s it. You look great from back here! You should be proud. Keep up with those long strides. Fantastic! That’s it, keep it — Chris, will you shut it back there! I’m helping this young lady with her form — that’s it! Long strides. Let your body rise and fall heavily with each step! Great! That’s just great! Oh yeah!”
“Dude! I’m so bored back here! Lemme use that walkman for awhile, will you? I’ve got a Lionel Ritchie cassette I’d like to listen to.”
“Oh, sweet! There’s a UPS store over there. Let’s run in and pick up some bubble wrap.”
“Aw, look! You just got lapped by Cate!” (Chris’s three-and-three-quarter year old daughter.)
Doesn’t it sorta bring a tear to your eye to think about one man doing so much to help and encourage a fellow man as he participates in a grueling event that tests the body, along with the mind and spirit. But please, don’t embarrass me with praise for my efforts. Just pay it forward. Use these gems of encouragement to help along someone that you love.
Pay it forward.
And let us remember what a wise man once said:
“Sorry about the mess”