"What in the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks am I doing here?"
"Here" is the start line of a local 5k. A place I do not find myself altogether that often. Actually, I should replace "often" with "never," and then I would be telling the truth. I raced 4k in high-school, and now I race 10+ times 4k; ¡short! and ¡fast! is a concept looked back upon through more than decade of years and obscured by a haze of braces, hormones, and French vocab tests.
The sanity of slapping down $37 for a Nike race shirt (Thanks, Lance!) and 20+ min of pain was just coming into question when the start gun sounded. My high-school-self spoke up from a deep and underpopulated corner of my soul - "we didn't enjoy this all that much back when the racing distance was only 4k..." - but the rest of her potentially valid comment was pulled away as if I had just passed downstream of a jet engine. Her mouth was moving, but no sound was reaching my ear.
The race wasn't long enough to warrant an actual "report," but truth be told, I was occasionally kind of digging it. Occasionally. And only until mile 2.75, after the course took a decided turn upward.
At this point my personal demons decided to visit me on the course: a pre-teen boy who had been yo-yo-ing all over the place since the start, suddenly flopped onto his back in the middle of the hill, smack in the middle of the road, and throwing an arm across his face, began bawling into the privacy of his elbow.
Zero points for style, kid, but I feel ya, bro, really I do.
I survived the sharp swerve to avoid stepping on my fallen comrade-in-arms, and I guess, successfully navigated the remaining 400m to the finish. I don't really remember those minutes all that well, except that when someone handed me a banana, I declared myself having reached the finish line.
And that's when I figured it out: masochism tastes suspiciously like vomit.