A funny thing happened while I was obsessing over the race results from yesterday's Snowman Stampede. Not content with being stupefied by how fast the top finishers in my own race were, I also looked at the winners of the 5-mile race, which had occurred before the start of the 10-mile one I ran.
And there it was. My doctor's name. Yes--the same doctor who just last Monday probed my calloused right foot, diagnosed it with a neuroma and injected it with cortisone. There was his name: the runner-up in the 5-mile Snowman Stampede. Over the course of his five miles, he averaged 5:37/mile. The guy he lost to was 20 years his junior.
Immediately I flashed back to that exam room with the photo of the Soviet women's cycling team glaring down at me as I sat on the table. I had foolishly worn a skirt and tights to the appointment because I had to go to work right after, and had donned a giant pair of men's basketball shorts so he could see my foot properly. I'm sure I looked like some woman on the doorstop of middle age who had once tried and failed to play basketball in seventh grade--because that's what I am.
But since I was playing it cool and trying to feel like one real runner talking to another, after he asked me about my running and my goals, I asked him (as though I hadn't read his little bio online) if he ran too. He answered that he does run, but, he said (and I remember he was still messing with my foot as he said this and not looking at me), "Not marathons. I stick to shorter things. Half-marathons sometimes."
Aack. Cringe. Five-milers, too, apparently. I can only imagine how he must have been laughing inside. It's the same kind laughter I suppress when, after I've come back from a run, my daughter Ruth informs me that she too ran, and indeed ran 40 miles. "Really?" I say with a half-smile. "Wow, that's far!" The other analogy I draw would be me telling Colin Firth that, "yes, I'm an actor too" because I once played a bit part in a children's production of Robin Hood.
One fellow blogger recently expressed confidence in my ability to qualify for Boston because "everybody in Boulder is bada**." A very kind thing to say, but, alas, NOT COMPLETELY TRUE! :^)
It's a good thing I do live here, though. It keeps my small accomplishments in perspective. Which brings me to something else I've been wanting to share: how about a reality TV show where a bunch of celebrity coaches, people who are used to working with real talent, are given a bunch of average runners and a certain amount of time to get them qualified for Boston? I'd watch it!
I thought of this on the treadmill the other night when the (thankfully silent) TV was tuned to The Biggest Loser. The premise of the show is a good one, I think, even if the execution suffers from the usual afflictions of all reality TV (forced tension, immoral treatment of contestants, stupid take-out interviews). It *is* inspiring to see the success stories.
If anyone in Hollywood is reading this and likes the idea, sign me up! I'll be your first contestant, especially if it means I get to live at a spa-like ranch for several months.