Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Rule!

By now the news has spread throughout the running world. Viper is king of the mountain. Again. Balance has been restored to the galaxy.

I know you've all felt a bit off kilter since May, when Vanilla trumped my 10K PR at the Bolder Boulder. Until then I owned the best times -- between us anyway, but who else matters? -- in all four major race distances, the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.

Who knows what would have happened if he had two-upped me by beating my half-marathon PR as well? Your head probably would have exploded at such absurdity.

Wasn't it nice when that wave of relief spread over you on Saturday at around 9 a.m. Eastern Time? (That's GMT -4:00 for you international folks.) Didn't you just feel that something was right with the world? Vanilla must have sensed that it was over before he even started his race. At least his quads had some feeling of doom. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the elevation.)

Now, it's all over but the crying. Vanilla's crying, that is.

I love the smell of victory in the morning. And most other times as well.

Of Disappointing PRs
It is a perverse feeling to do the best you've ever done and feel let down by your performance. Vanilla said he was disappointed after his half marathon this weekend, a race in which he crushed his previous PR by almost three minutes. I've felt similarly deflated after many of my races. And I'm sure we're not alone, because otherwise that would be awkward.

All the great comments in response to Vanilla's perceived failure have the same tone of "enjoy it." My guess is that many of us said that because we didn't enjoy it at one point or another. The "not good enough" aspect certainly helps motivate us to do better next time, but we shouldn't let it get in the way of appreciating an accomplishment.

It is a matter of pride. We let our own egos get in the way of a good day. Goals, personal challenges and competitiveness can ruin a good performance when it doesn't match our expectations. For that reason, I try to remember this TV quote:

"Achievement is its own reward. Pride obscures it."
-- Major Garland Briggs, Twin Peaks

Races are like mirrors. You look better in some and worse in others, but it's always a reflection of you. Sometimes, though, you can blame the lighting.

Thanks for the competition, Vanilla. You ran a great race on a tough course, and you helped inspire me to run my best. Consider this a virtual handshake.


Nitmos said...

I've reread that last sentence at least 10 times and I'm still having difficulty unearthing the hidden slam. There is a hidden slam right? Please tell me it is so.

B. Kramer said...

So the feces on my hand wasn't obvious?

Aileen said...

Wait...is the universe off-kilter again?

Ian said...

Well you can consider this a virtual grabbing of my ballsack in your general direction, followed by a virtual middle finger...

Okay, I'm just kidding. I return your virtual handshake, and not with the hand that was just cupping my virtual ballsack.

tfh said...

Awww, is that the cuddly, compassionate side you try to conceal with macho bravado coming out?

I guess there's nothing like a good race to make a guy magnanimous and philosophical.

Spike said...

When I read the comments and cannot help but envision Viper as Russell Crow in Gladiator, standing before a bloodthirsty crowd, and instead of dispatching his fellow gladiator Maximus displays mercy.

I love the mirror quote. That’s wonderful.

S said...

So I've been in a horrible mood all day and that mirror quote actually made me feel better. thanks.

Jess said...

I just almost choked on my celery after reading Vanilla's comment.

Congrats on being king of the mountain.

Unknown said...


This is getting better folks. This beats Britney Spears and Madonna. Here's the pix of Vanilla and Viper making up rather than handshaking.


the erratic epicurean said...

in addition to your break neck speed and athleticism i really admire your modesty and humbleness.

Crabby McSlacker said...

It's some consolation to me, as one who's far too lazy to train for a half-marathon or any kind of competitive athletic event, that even when you guys beat your PR's or finish out in front or whatever, that you're still not satisfied!

Saves me a hell of a lot of time and pain. I'll keep plodding, you guys keep racing--we can both look at couch potatoes and feel equally smug, but I can save money on bandaids and ibuprofen!

(Congrats to both of you--sounds like you both had plenty to be proud of).

Marcy said...

Ooooooo you boys are nasty! ROFLMAO! Gotta love it!

Vava said...

"Yessssss. Yessssss! Let the hate flow thrrrrrrrough you!..."

Laura said...

You may have beaten Vanilla in race times, but his joke about a virtual handshake sans ballsack hand beats your joke about a virtual feces handshake.

Vanilla: 1
Viper: 4

Of course, that's only if you consider virtual handshake jokes one of the "major race distances".

Ms. V. said...

I especially like the tag, "bragging". There was the slam, right?


Anonymous said...

"Tough Course" it was 1k feet downhill!