On Saturday, December 10, the first leg of the Polar Bear Grand Prix was held in Cherokee Park. At 2.4 miles, the Reindeer Romp 4k was just short enough to get a body all worked up, but not long enough to cause anyone’s bowels to triumphantly evacuate upon reaching the finish line.
Because there’s nothing chicks dig more than a guy who’s into journaling, I’ve decided to document my experience during each race of the Grand Prix. I’ve also decided to drag my 11-year old daughter along with me; not so much for the bonding, but because I am totally confident that running will be the thing that kills me. That way I’m certain that someone can ask me, “Pat, do you have any regrets in life,” to which I’ll respond, “Running.”
7:00 a.m. – The alarm goes off and I bound out of bed. My first thought is that it must be Wednesday as I don’t seem to have a hangover. Upon realizing that it’s race day, I begin mentally preparing myself for the super hangover I’m now required to have Sunday morning.
7:20 a.m. – Time for a runner’s breakfast – six waffles and a 32 oz. glass of chocolate milk. My kid is giving me her “judgment face,” as if she’s some sort of dietary expert. Seriously – you wanted gum for dinner last night. I’m so going to smoke her in this race.
7:36 a.m. – While performing a stretch that makes me feel very self-conscious, I vomit up a bit of waffle. I think in Kenya that’s considered good luck.
7:39 a.m. – After what just occurred in the bathroom, I am now officially the luckiest person in the history of Kenya.
8:00 a.m. – We load up the car and head to Cherokee Park.
8:02 a.m. – I stop the car after realizing we both forgot to bring hats, gloves, and jackets. It is 25 degrees outside. We might be too stupid for this race.
8:59 a.m. – Because we live in Indiana and must now fight our away across the Ohio River like it’s freaking Mad Max’s Thunderdome, we arrive at Cherokee Park in the nick of time. I slow down just enough so my kid can jump out near the starting line (don’t worry, like all Fawcetts, she instinctively knows how to go limp). I slam the breaks and T.J. Hooker it over the hood of my car. We have officially arrived. Prepare to suck it, fellow runners.
9:00 a.m. – AND WE’RE OFF!
9: 02 a.m. – Dear God, it’s cold. Fortunately, we went back home and grabbed hats, gloves, and jackets. Unfortunately, they are still sitting in the backseat of my car. If anyone chooses to make a Forrest Gump reference this morning, it will not be because we are speedy runners.
9:07 a.m. – Nothing but downhill running so far. My kid has opened a sizeable lead on me. I’m in full Clubber Lang defense mode right now. She’ll wear herself out and then I’ll leave her in my dust. YOU HEAR THAT, KID! YOU’RE GOING DOWN! I might be a bad parent….
9:10 a.m. – I never noticed how beautiful Cherokee Park is this time of the year. But then again, it’s tough to notice such things at 3:00 a.m. while “hanging out” in one of the park’s many bathrooms.
9: 17 a.m. – My left leg feels like it’s beginning to atrophy. I’m not sure if that’s my kid in front of me as everyone pretty much looks like spinning, amorphous, balls of light.
9:23 a.m. – I thought this race was only 2.4 miles. I’m pretty sure I’ve run at least 8 miles at this point. The voices in my head are now starting to slur their speech.
9: 25 a.m. – I’m now running up a hill that appears to have no end. My vision focuses just long enough for me to see my daughter at least two-tenths of a mile in front of me. Is it wrong for me to hope she pops a hammy?
9:28 a.m. – I meet a young lady named Lauren. She lives in the Highlands and this is the twentieth race she’s run. She’s also surprisingly calm when someone cakes her back in waffle residue and bile. A stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met!
9:33 a.m. – My daughter has decided to stop running and waits for me to catch up. She’s such a kind and loving child. As I approach her, she once again gives me the “judgment face” and asks, “Pat, do you have any regrets?” Did someone say “Second Wind?” I bolt past her, giving her the middle finger the entire time.
9:34 a.m. – My “Second Wind” is short lived and I’m pretty sure that taste in my mouth is blood. My daughter glides past me, jogging backwards, giving me the middle finger.
9:40 a.m. – I see the finish line ahead. A sense of satisfaction and accomplishment washes over me, as does the realization that I probably should have worn one of those adult diapers. I’m ill-equipped for such things.
9:42 a.m. – Crossed the finish line! Like the good sport I am, I moonwalk my way to victory, but refrain from pulling out and wagging my junk at the four people who finish after me. It is this kind of sportsmanship that has caused so many people to compare me to a young Arthur Ashe.
9:47 a.m. – After much searching, I finally find my daughter. I’m very proud of her for finishing the race. The throbbing in my ears is deafening, but I’m pretty sure she just asked me something about being emancipated. She’s so crazy.
I now have roughly a month to prepare myself for the Frostbite 5k, the second race of the Polar Bear Grand Prix. I will become a paragon of fitness and determination. I will not vomit waffles and blood. And most importantly, I will obliterate my 11 year-old daughter, so as to teach her a valuable lesson about what’s wrong with kids these days or some bullsh*t like that.