mr. pants’ spring running quiz ©


Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, goals are looming, Grant is tombing. That can mean only one thing: mr. pants’ spring running quiz ©. Let’s get started.


  1. You go to the track. The gate is locked. The other gate is locked. The third secret gate that is NEVER locked is locked. Might the track be closed?
  2. You are running on the track, given that if you step over the “bleachers closed” chain and then step over the fence from the bottom row on to the benches inside, it’s fairly easy to break in. Coming down the front stretch, a guy is looking in. “Is the track closed?” he asks. What do you say?
  3. You’re running on a sidewalk on the greenbelt. You see a sign that says “Pick Up After Dogs.” Minutes later, you come across dog poop. What do you do?
  4. You’re editing a story. A woman is going to push her boyfriend in a wheelchair over the Boston Marathon course. She didn’t get in officially, so she is going to run the course this Monday instead. There’s no mention of that “traffic” thing. You resist the urge to add “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” at the bottom of the story, but only because it’s late in the shift and typing in all caps makes your head hurt. Do you still go to heaven?
  5. You’re having a dream. A church you once attended in the area has suddenly closed its doors. They’re not admitting they’re shutting down, only that their doors are shut. Your editor from the paper you worked at 10 years ago is looking over your shoulder. You keep writing headlines for the story, but you’re writing them on a cake with one of those icing squeezie things, so every time he doesn’t like the hed you have to scrape it off, smooth the cake down and start over. Given this dream, what can you expect your average time to be for the 5k summer series?
  6. Aránzazu Isabel María “Arantxa” Sánchez Vicario. (That might not be a question. I just enjoy saying Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.)
  7. You have the opportunity to bail out a co-worker who is going down in flames in Guam. But the story is about the Guam Marathon. Because of some weird dateline thing, the marathon was held on Sunday and you’re editing it on Saturday. So in effect it’s an advance story on an event that already happened. Rather than trying to figure this out late at night, you go home. How long do you avoid your co-worker?
  8. You get selected to be Jesus in your Passion Play. This consists of running while carrying a cross. You run every day while carrying a cross in preparation for the event. Does this have to be classified as cross training?
  9. You get on the airplane. You read the original New York Times review from 1968 in which the critic says “Sgt. Pepper” isn’t a very good album. You laugh at how embarrassed he must be now. You proceed to listen to “Sgt. Pepper” on the flight. And he’s right; it isn’t a very good album. Do you switch to Fiona Apple’s “Frosty the Snowman” because it’s a turbulent flight and if you have to crash that would be a more appropriate soundtrack?
  10. On letsrun, a guy says he ran a BQ but was not able to run it this year because of injury. He wants to know if it’s OK to get the jacket anyhow. I wonder how anybody could possibly entertain this notion. I do this while wearing the Bandera 100K shirt from the race I signed up for but then got pneumonia and drove down to see the Loop peeps anyhow and picked up shirt while I was there because it cost $160 and now I wear it a lot because it’s purple and matches my eyes. If I run Bandera on a different day in a different place at a different distance, does that still count? Can I get a matching Boston jacket?
  11. Is it OK to call Mr. Pants Daddy-O?


  1. I’ve never understood why it’s called the “track.” Where did that come from? “Track.” Why not the “loop” (hey that could be a catchy name) or the “oval” or the “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.” Given such an arbitrary name, I can hardly be held responsible for the consequences.
  2. Headphones are your friend.
  3. I tend to see dogs IN pickups, so I would think the proper sign would be “Dogs in pickups” rather than “pickup after dogs.” Not knowing for sure, I tend to avoid the matter altogether.
  4. Can you even run the course on a day when the roads aren’t closed? I will file this under the category “uh oh i just got to the bottom of my coffee cup and there’s some sort of weird flavor down here I probably shouldn’t have randomly taken a mug out of the sink.”
  5. This actually happened last night. It’s the only cake decorating/headline writing dream I’ve ever had. I consider it a sign. That sign being “Pick Up After Dogs.”
  6. Aránzazu Isabel María “Arantxa” Sánchez Vicario. (That might not be an answer. I just enjoy saying Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.)
  7. Also, the story had a lot of people whining about how it was raining over the entire marathon. Jeez, people. It rained once here in Arizona and it wasn’t that bad, although I never actually went outside because it might mess up my Bandera 100K shirt. Guamers (Guamees? Guamians?) are sissies.
  8. It is a fashion foe paw to listen to “Superstar” between Easter and Labor Day. It also is a foe paw not to pick up after an opponent’s dog.
  9. The 50th anniversary “Sgt. Pepper” also has alternative takes that aren’t very good, thus explaining why they were alternative takes. This is probably why the Beatles gave up and disbanded. Crappy band. Although I sort of liked Wings.
  10. I once ran a half-marathon but signed up after the “must sign up 18 months before race to get a shirt” deadline, so Mo made one for me. The shirt she made was much nicer than the actual race shirt. This made me realize the universal truth: “You can teach a chimp to smoke cigarettes, but there will always be people in the world who don’t like queso.” Once you know that, everything else is just gravy. Or queso. Damn. Now I want queso.
  11. No.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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7 Responses to mr. pants’ spring running quiz ©

  1. Ananas says:

    O-Daddy has a nice ring to it.

  2. Dorothea says:

    1. The track is obviously not closed. True story: campus police comes over to tell me I’m running illegally (what is illegal running?) and I say, well, that gate was open, so I figured it was okay?
    Also, in German a track is called a Laufbahn, which is either a running train or running strip. Either way, there’s no oval involved, unless it’s Brio.
    2. Well, I wasn’t sure, so I figured I’d risk it.
    3. Try to ignore it.
    4. You’ll probably still go to heaven for worrying about these things while most people complain about unicorn frappucinos.
    5. Weird dreams. Well, you can always dream for a 13 minute 5k average for the Summer Series. And then eat cake for breakfast.
    6. mother’s maiden name in there somewhere.
    7. I stopped reading after bailing out. Don’t have that kind of money. Okay, I came back and finished reading… um, I’d avoid the co-worker for the rest of my life.
    8. um, you don’t have to call it cross training, but it sounds like it to me.
    9. How did you get a copy of that paper? And of course! Always listen to something you want to listen to, not something you don’t really feel like listening to. That’s why the ipod shuffle has a built in “skip to next song” feature.
    10. I feel like you changed the details of the story to spare my feelings. I once ran a BQ, and once asked online if it would be a foal hoof to buy a boston jacket to commemorate running said BQ, even if I didn’t run the race. I have nice online friends. They kindly told me to just wait until I actually run. So in answer to your question, just how well does the jacket match your shirt that matches your eyes? But also, why didn’t you answer number 10!!??
    11. Um, no.

    • gary says:

      I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT NO. 10!!!!!!!!! This is why you are working on a Ph.D. and I’m struggling to figure out the remote control to find SpongeBob SquarePants.

      jacket appears to be kind of orangey, if orangey is a word, and i don’t think it is. apparently the NK Maribor soccer team wears orange and purple uniforms, so there’s that. Although I don’t know where they’re located and soccer seems like way too much work. I don’t really care for running.

      The NYT had a story on Sgt. Pepper’s 50th review, which contained a link to the original.

      p.s. i’m pretty sure you’ll have that jacket someday. I look forward to reading that tale.

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