Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fear Factor - Running of the Bulls 8K

I've ran with rage. I've ran while very sick. I've even ran while totally drunk. But I've never ran scared. Until now. Fear is a funny thing. It can totally paralyze you at just the wrong moment, or it can send your flight instinct into overdrive. I was lucky today. I was given the fear turbo.

As I wrote previously, I was seriously worried that the Running with the Bulls 8K might be the race where my decades long racing domination against the beautiful wife might come to a sad (for me) end. She's improved so much in the past year, while I have been stuck in my slow, trail grinding gear. Don't get me wrong, that gear works for me, but fast it is not.

This is our second year for this particular race. Last year, the beautiful wife was stuck down within sight of the finish by Beelzebub himself. But she's healthier and faster this year, so I couldn't count on my mythical friends for any sort of intervention (even though they do owe me after all. I'm looking at you Krampus!).

AC knows no fear. Or shame for that matter.
These socks cost me $5 (lost a bet).

Aside from our marital rivalry, the race itself is one of my absolute favorites. It's local. It's fun. And it has free Fullsteam microbrew beer afterwards! I expect nothing less from a race organized by Bull City Running.

This is the rear half of the field.
Great turnout for this race!
Distraction Attack
Starting the race, I kept my wife within sight. She has a better hill climbing gear than me and the start is uphill, so I tried to intimidate her by sprinting up the hill past her yelling "You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!" Unfortunately, the hill was a bit longer than the 100 feet I could maintain that pace and she quickly caught me as I was reduced to a stagger near the top of the hill. She just shook her head and kept her steady sub-9 minute pace. I clung to her side and regrouped while trying to think of another plan.

Attacked by Distraction
While I was attempting to reoxygenate my nursery rhyme filled brain, I was distracted by the group of runners from the sheriff's training academy. They were running in formation, led by a guy carrying a large flag. I'm a sucker for following a flag (any flag really), and I love marching cadence callouts ("I wanna be an airborne ranger! I wanna live the life of danger!"), so of course I totally got in line with them.

Follow that flag to the top of the hill!
We will storm the convention center!

But then I remembered that I was supposed to be keeping my eye on the quick blonde fox. I looked around but I couldn't see her ANYWHERE!

"She tricked me!" I thought. I shot ahead of the brute squad in a panicked search for bouncy blonde hair moving quickly away from me.

I saw her about 20 yards ahead. I spun up beside her and was about to congratulate her on the near success of her distraction attack, when I realized that the woman beside me wasn't my wife! CRAP!
Anyone seen a blonde in a blue shirt? Anyone?


Fear Factor
It was then that the bitter cold fear of defeat crept into the very heart of my beer soaked soul. And I ran like a squirrel being chased by a pit bull on crack.

I spent the next 3 miles chasing one blonde head after another. Who knew there were so many blonde women in this race? Although, my apologies to the dude with the long blond hair who I mistook for a woman (shaved legs, dude? really?!).

Around mile 4 I finally saw someone I recognized. I passed blogging friend Steph and asked her if she had seen my wife. She hadn't. Had I missed my wife somewhere along the way, or had Steph simply not seen her? Don't think about it, just run!

I rolled into the finish still not quite sure if I had beaten my wife. After recovering for a few moments, I tentatively wandered back towards the finish line to see if I could spot the beautiful wife. And there she was! She had been only a few minutes behind me the entire race.

I had won. The streak lives on.



Epilogue
My better half is truly that - better. There aren't very many things where I can claim superiority over the wife (beer drinking counts, right?), but so far running has been one of them. However, my days are well and truly numbered. I figure I have less than a year before the humiliating defeat. I'm not sure exactly when it will happen, or in what race, but it will definitely happen. And when it does, my ego will be obliterated. But perhaps the blow will be softened by the pride I will feel for my beautiful, wonderful wife. Nah, it's gonna suck ass.