Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Anarchy on the jogging path

Okay – my first triathlon of the season is a week and a half away. I’m feeling pretty good about my preparations this year. That’s one dubious benefit of a slowing economy – it gives one more time for training. Fortunately running and biking around the streets of beautiful Mentor Ohio and swimming in Lake Erie don’t cost anything. Unfortunately, entering races does cost. I was hoping to run at least 4 races this year but budgetary constraints have limited me to three, one in Fairport Harbor on the 27th of July, August 3rd in downtown Cleveland and August 24 in Lorain. I’ve done Fairport and Lorain before it’ll be my first go at the downtown race.

I’ve increased my running distance this year upwards of ten mile stints once a week with shorter runs, biking and swimming mixed in. I’ve decided to concentrate on the running portion this year since it is my weakest leg in the race. (I was also challenged to compete in a 10 mile run by a family member who has since quit training – you know who you are) So with a special emphasis on this part of my training regiment I have come to the conclusion that I am really really slow. I have shaved off a couple minutes from my 5K time – but anyone that knows anything about running knows that if you’re taking minutes off a 5K time – you are moving really really slow.

Anyway, I use an IPod when I run and the music I listen to is the music of my snotty punk youth: Angry Samoans, The Sex Pistols, Social Distortion, The Ramones, Iggy and the Butthole Surfers to name a few. The pace is nice and high and the lyrics are so inspirational, “I guess I’m gonna have to tell’em – that I got no cerebellum…” I lumber down the road (being over 200 lbs I am in the Clydesdale division) pounding my feet into the pavement in time with the boot step march back beating Holiday in the Sun by the pistols.

And I wonder.

How many more middle aged bygone punks out there popping glucosomine, walking on treadmills, figuratively and literally, the music of our youth blaring in our white ear buds extolling us to be anarchist, to smash it up to realize that there is no future? Did David Thomas ever envision forty-somethings jogging to Non-Alignment Pact, was the Dead Boys’ Sonic Transducer meant to accompany a cardio workout? Then we toss our gym bag into the back of the car and drive home to cut the grass.

I don’t think of this transformation as selling out, jeez if it was selling out shouldn’t I have something to show for the effort other than a car payment and shin splints? In fact, I think that maybe this whole triathlon thing is a way for me to stay on the fringes of society without sustaining the rug burns on my forehead received in a mosh pit. Tell people you run triathlons and they look at you a lot like they do the kid with the green Mohawk outside the food court at the mall.

So rather than shaving my head and wearing leather I squeeze into spandex bike shorts which in itself assures that I remain pretty anti-social.


kathy said...

Triathlons ARE cool. Doing something with yr life IS cool.

Not cool to be prematurely aged. You're doing yourself a humongous favor for your future, even if there IS no future.

Jes be careful with your knees. I'd jog on dirt paths rather than pavement. My fifty-something mum found this out the hard way - she also trains for small races.

Jesus Crisis said...

In 2004 I was running about ten miles three times a week - and the Pistols were among my favorite adrenaline assistants. But I heard horror stories about what it can do to your knees (though it never bothered mine much), so I've switched almost exclusively to cycling. I would love to try a triathlon, but I'm afraid swimming is my weak suit (I'm more a floater). Maybe one of these days before I'm too old....

Enjoyed this blog... it made me chuckle before bed, which is (in this case, at least) a good thing.

michael salinger said...

The swimming isn't as hard as you think - the way to be successful is literally not drowning. Once you get past the panic of arms and legs crawling over you in a boiling pack you're halfway home.

I am always looking for a good biking partner though.