On the Run: Bloody Sunday
October 15, 2007
DENVER By all accounts, Sunday’s Denver Marathon seemed a classy event, but somebody forgot to send me the memo not to wear a white shirt when it’s cold and rainy. I knew enough to apply Vaseline to my chest’s two most sensitive regions before the race; I just forgot about the all-important Band-Aid shield. I remembered the adhesive strip protection plan around mile 8, at which time the left side of my shirt had a swath of blood some 4 inches wide stretching down to my navel area. By mile 15, a crimson hue was emerging on my right side as well. Mile by mile, I’d pass spectators only to hear them whisper loudly to their friends: “Did you see that guy?” Said another: “Ouuchh!” One onlooker yelled, “You should put on some Vaseline.” “Thanks, Einstein,” I stewed to myself. “I thought I needed some chilled Smirnoff vodka.”There were supporters, too. “You can do it!” they yelled. Little did they know, whatever pain my nipples felt was trumped by the burning in my legs – but hell, when you’re facing a course lined with hills and puddles, you take what you can get. I completed the race, after hitting the “wall” at mile 22 and grinding out the final 4.2 miles at a brisk clip of 15 minutes per mile. Once again, I went out too fast, this time because I was venting my frustrations over my beloved LSU Tigers’ three-overtime loss a day earlier. A brilliant strategy – abandon my original mission to take it easy, and instead go out fast because the Bayou Bengals blew it to a basketball school. Spectators lining the course, however, didn’t know the back story. It was how I looked that managed to attract their attention. Meanwhile, waiting at the finish line was my worried wife, who didn’t even recognize me because of my homemade tie-dye. Indeed, I was taken by the mixed reception. I thought my shirt made for a lovely pattern, almost Pollockesque, if you will. Maybe Denver’s cow-town image is deserved after all – for its residents just don’t appreciate a tortured artist when they see one.