The biggest problem with being slow in a race is kids. Or more specifically, The Kid.
In my extensive clinical research, I have found there is something in the kid mentality that results in an endless series of fartleks in races, with me being the telephone pole the kid is sprinting past, only to apply the brakes as soon as he is in front of me.
Saturday’s race went something like this. I am trotting along. Kid is behind me. Kid kicks it into overdrive. Kid sprints past me. Kid comes to complete halt 3 feet in front of me. I pass Kid. Three minutes later, Kid sprints past me. Stops again. I slam on brakes. Repeat as necessary.
I get it. He’s a kid. And I don’t mind it once. Or 75 times. But this was CONSTANT. Entering an impassable singletrack? Kid sprints by and stops. Rocky uphill? Sprint. Stop. Scree-infested screeching downhill? Little blur of yellow goes by and then slams on the brakes. To make matters worse, he was wearing a neon yellow shirt that doesn’t exactly blend in with the desert environment.
I instituted a workaround in which I kept right behind Mo, so that I would slam into HER from behind instead of the Kid. But she snapped at the 2 mile mark, sprinting away and leaving the two of us to our own devices. Sadly I had no devices. Note to self: always run with a corkscrew in the future.
Sprint stop curse sprint stop curse sprint stop curse. And then we finished. The Kid was met by his dad, so I was unable to follow through with the plan I had concocted during the race involving Tempe Town Lake, a large anchor and a handwritten note that said “try sprinting NOW, Kid.”
I went home, the Kid lived to annoy another day, and that was that. Until now.
Mo has this theory that your phone picks up conversations and caters advertising to it. I have been skeptical up till now, when this New Balance ad appeared on my Instagramaphone.
They’re New Balance shoes. They’re orange, apparently meant for Turkey Trots. On the right shoe are baseball cleats, useful when The Kid is “accidentally tripped” and you step on him repeatedly. The left shoe has a smooth sole, which can be shown to race officials as proof that no, it wasn’t YOU who spiked the Kid. Likely an unfortunate jumping cholla incident. Possibly sprinkling salt on the wound would help.
Always buy shoes specifically for the event. I love this. Thanks, New Balance. See you at the next race, Kid …