I’ve never been a fast runner. In fact, do you remember how every elementary school has some kid who is so slow and pathetic that all the other kids beat him up. Well, in my school, that kid beat me up. Now he is an investment banker, married to a Sports Illustrated Swmisuit Model. While he still beats me, he now also gives me excellent stock tips!

As a result of my sloth-like running abilities I was teased constantly and called such cruel, heartless names as “slow-guy” or “guy-who-is slow” (it was a public high school). But as bad as I was at speed, distance was worse. In college the 100 yard dash became known as “Daylin’s Marathon.” I couldn’t run to the phone without someone playing the theme to Chariots of Fire.

I had one gym teacher who tried to help, but I just wasn’t motivated and I’d deviate from his workout routines. He’d tell me to do 100 sit ups before bed and I’d rent a “Prison Chicks” movie. He’d tell me to run a mile and I’d eat a bucket of macaroons. Once, to prove how slow I was, he challanged me to a 200 yard race. To make the point, he chained himself to a 5,000 pound concrete slab. I hope he expected someone other than me to set him free or he may still be there.

All of this makes it so incomprehensible that I completed the 10 mile Broad Street Run a couple of weeks ago. My training consisted of running through the streets of certain rural neighborhoods near the capital wearing a “Leave the Sheep Alone!” T-shirt. I thought being chased would motivate me to keep running.

On race day, I joined 14,000 other people at the starting line. I wound up near the front standing next to a guy from Kenya. My Swahili is a little rusty (although it wouldn’t have mattered since they don’t actually speak Swahili in Kenya) but I tried to say hello. Unfortunately, what I said apparently translated into my new friend’s native language not as “Hello,” but as “Your thighs are like tasty tulips.” After a few awkward moments involving mace, we were off.

I wanted to chat as I ran, but my Kenyan friend immediately started running far faster than me. My efforts to sprint to catch up weren’t very effective, nor were my shouts of “Hey, get back here!” Eventually I did find someone to run with. His name was Tommy:

Do you run a lot Tommy?

Hardly ever.

Where ya from?

The house right there behind me.

Wow, That’s strange–me asking you where you
lived right as we run past your house. Is that a coincidence or what?

Not really.

How so?

I’m not running. I’m just standing here waiting
for a bus.

Oh Jeez. I better get going then.

Great plan!

But I soon found my groove. By mile 4 I had stopped trying to hail a cab. By mile 5 I was whipping past traffic signs and fire hydrants left and right like they were standing still. At mile 7, I actually passed another racer. Although I must admit that he was in his nineties, and was probably slowed down by the fact that he was receiving CPR.

By mile 8 I hit the zone, or the “runners high,” which I had only felt once before, during a trip to Jamaica. And let’s just say that experience didn’t involve a lot of running, but did involve a 2 pound bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. By mile 9 I started having these giddy, utopian dreams of a perfect world.

Specifically, I dreamt:

….of a world where each day would be filled with love and sunshine and blue skies, except my old boss’ birthday, during which there would be a blizzard, because I hate him.

….of a world where our president could read “Hamlet;” at least the word, if not the whole play.

….of a world where Celine Dion was a mime, as God intended.

….of a world where no one gave anyone a fruitcake for Christmas, because who the %*&#@% wants that?

….of a world where every Starbucks also served Whiskey–cheap, 24 hours a day–to absolutely anybody.

….of a world where back-bench state legislators had scads of underwear-tossing groupies, and Mick Jagger had to go to the Shriner’s dinner and wear the funny hats.

….of a world where each year we could expect a new album, not just from Herb, but from Peaches too.

Finally, it was over. I didn’t win the race. It turns out my Kenyan friend did. In fact, by the time I crossed the finish line he had driven to the airport, flown back to Kenya, and overthrown the government in a violent Coup d’etat. But his band of rebels did call their movement the “Tasty Tulip-Thigh Revolution,” which I claim some credit for.

Now that I have accomplished this amazing feat, nothing can stop me. I am going to work to do all sorts of things I never could before. In fact, right now I’m in intensive training to pay a credit card bill on time. Wish me luck.

Dutch Laroooo