I watched the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN today. It has become as much a 4th of July tradition around the Bone household as grilled burgers and shooting bottle rockets out of your bare hand. Because really, few things are as American as forcing fifty-nine hot dogs down your esophagus in ten minutes or having second degree burns from putting on your own fireworks show.
Congratulations to this year's winner, Joey "The Clay Aiken Of Bacon" Chestnut. He defeated the legendary Kobayashi in a five dog eat-off to claim the title for the second consecutive year. And this has inspired me to share with you a tale of my own recent athletic prowess.
Last Saturday, in the immortal words of Flock Of Seagulls, I ran. I participated in a five mile race, finishing with a time of 39:10, which was OK. I've only been running about once a week since my 10K in May, so I was satisfied with a sub eight minute pace.
More importantly, I set a new personal record for the most races I've run in a single year, with two. This not only surpasses, but doubles my previous all-time high, of one.
But the most impressive thing about last weekend was that I actually got out of bed at 5:45 on a Saturday morning to go and run five miles. My bed was beckoning me, my body was crying out in protest, and my fish was swimming around as if to say, "What in the world are we doing up at this hour? But as long as we're up, feed me."
This brings up an interesting question: What possesses the runner to do such things? What inspires the runner to run? Some might say it's the sense of accomplishment and personal fulfillment one feels when one crosses the finish line. I say, poppycock!
It's all about the free cookies, bananas, watermelon, Gatorade, soft drinks and other refreshments provided after the race. Oh, and the free t-shirt. Not to mention the blog material it provides. That's why I run.
Still, I'm sure others would say it's the opportunity to wear super sexy, super short running shorts without being subjected to (much) public ridicule, banished from society, or thrown in prison. To wit:
Happy 4th of July, all! Have a hot dog, or fifty-nine. And here's hoping no one has a "reversal of fortune."
"The cloud is moving nearer still. Aurora borealis comes in view. Aurora comes in view. And I ran. I ran so far away. I just ran. I ran all night and day..."