Paul’s Wall

Bad Runner

I consider myself to be in pretty good athletic condition. I work out almost daily, have decent physique and physical strength, and I happen to know my way around a pool a little. I am a good athlete, no question; I love playing most sports and competing in the,.

That is why my ego took a Mike Tyson-size blow to the face recently when I entered a five kilometer run on Thanksgiving morning. The rest of my family was participating, so I decided I might as well.

“5k isn’t that much,” I kept on telling myself. “You’ll be done in time to watch your favorite early morning cartoons.”

Race day: I carb-loaded, arrived early and stretched. I ran in pace, trying to look as professional as possible in front of the other 5,000 runners, all decked out in their official gear and everything. There were markers at the starting line for racers to line up around what they’re mile time was. I got in place with what I believed to be my fellow six to seven-minute milers, and got ready for the gun to go off.

Suddenly the gun went off, taking me by surprise, and the huge crowd of people began to move. Slowly I crept across the starting line, quickening my pace with every step. Before I knew it, I was at full speed, running like an Olympic athlete (except the steroid part). For about half a mile I was king of the world.

Then I crashed. Not actually crashed—that would have been embarrassing—but instead, I came crashing down from my podium of glory. I began to breathe heavily as each stepfelt like a mile itself. Slowly I found myself at the end of the pack, getting passed by 10-year-old girls and moms pushing strollers.

I wanted the race to end, to give up and quit. Sadly, I was only at the halfway point and the finish line happened to be closer to the car than I was. So I continued, walking by myself in a foreign place.

I was in the middle of feeling bad for myself when a car and a group of runners with it coming full speed for me. Before I knew what was happening, I was getting lapped by the 10k runners, something that I could not take.

I sprinted. I sprinted the rest of the way. My calves were killing me but I kept on going. I crossed the finish line with them, everyone congratulating me for being a top 10k runner. I let them believe I was some running phenomenon, breaking records everywhere I went. But I knew the truth, I sucked.

But am I glad I did? Yeah, you can’t be good at everything and I learned this the hard way. I am probably better off with my deflated head, back down to Earth. But come next year when my dad asks me if I want to run again, I think next time I’ll stick to the pool.