Quantum Mechanics states very clearly in its various theories that it is possible that you can walk right through a wall, or have a particle from another dimension suddenly appear and then disappear. In other words, there is always a chance – a very very small chance – that something absolutely crazy just might happen. For me, Quantum Mechanics explains several things, such as the duck-billed platypus, or airplane toilets, or Heidi Montag.
So, as remote as the possibility was, QM struck again this past Saturday and I found myself in a sea of almost 3,000 people, ready to start my first 10K race. Let’s examine why this struck me as funny:
1) I can’t run. I have severe arthritis in both knees which causes me a fair amount of pain most of the time. In fact, my negative Nelly osteowhatever doctors would just shake their heads sadly at the sight of me there. (As a side note: How many years of schooling does it take to just look at somebody and say “there’s nothing we can do for you?” Was that an expensive education? I’m pretty sure I can dash somebodys hopes with no training whatsoever.)
2) I can’t run. I am still a hair over 300 pounds, officially making me the biggest dude there. And not just by a little – I’m pretty sure I was a good 1,500 Krispy Kremes bigger than the next biggest guy.
I mean, let’s look at this event in another way. If the 3,000 of us were zebras on the African plain, I – ME -THIS GUY – would be the one that the Lions ran down and feasted on. They wouldn’t even have to work hard at catching me. I’d probably see them, break into a run, fall down, and kiss this planet goodbye. This also proves the point that if you are in a pack of people being chased by a lion, you don’t have to be the fastest. You just have to not be the slowest.
So there I was, surrounded by 3,000 in shape, 14% body fat, I-need-to-beat-my-best-time-by-five-seconds kinda people, and just as it struck me that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, someone fired a shot into the air (or someone nearby was shooting at some pheasant – this is the south after all) and the race started.
I will say that I was completely unprepared to be treated like a foreign ambassador for the entire race, as I had a police escort the entire time. That’s what happens when you’re last in a race by the way – a police car follows you, and at every intersection you come to, they immediately open the road back up behind you and restore normal traffic flow. It’s actually kind of motivating – it’s like the first scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the boulder is crashing down on Indy and he just barely escapes it, only in really, really slow motion.
The finish line was pretty funny – half the people there had already finished, gone home, read War and Peace, watched The Right Stuff, napped, and had eaten dinner by the time I crossed the line. The other half were eating orange slices and drinking beer. All I can say is that I walked as fast as I could, finished the race, and walked it faster than I ever thought I could walk 6.2 miles. Oh, and I did not come in last – I think I came in 6th to last.
What did I learn from this experience? That being stubborn works. Sure, I could’ve listened to my Osteowhooseywhatsits, or could have looked at the competition and realized how silly this would be to attempt, or even listen to myself (begging and pleading with me to stop this madness around mile 4), but the bottom line is simple to me – it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.
So pig-headedness works for me sometimes. Sure, I can be stubborn, but that’s your problem – I’ve got another race in 30 days to prepare for.
I’M 2,994!! I’M 2,994!!
-Kevin (twitter: imadness)