On Saturday, January 7th, the second leg of the Polar Bear Grand Prix was held in Cherokee Park. The Frostbite 5k was jam packed with people of various ages following one another, alternating their left and right feet at varying speeds. One local fitness expert even declared the race “Louisville’s equivalent of the Running of the Bulls.” Fortunately, that dude was quickly declared a moron by everyone who heard him utter such lunacy.
Previously, I chronicled my adventures running the first leg of the Grand Prix, the Reindeer Romp 4k, which by most objective standards, would be judged a hate crime against fitness (my performance, not the Romp). And like that race, I again brought along my 11 year-old daughter, because there is nothing a father loves more than having his child loudly document all of his failings as a man and a human being.
10:30 p.m. (the night before) – Family movie night has just ended and I find myself oddly inspired by my 6 year-old daughter’s film selection. In response, I have decided to train my body to operate without sleep, and in the process, transform myself into an efficient piece of physical awesomeness. I’ve also decided that as a family, we will start making our own soap. Thanks Fight Club!
3:37 a.m. – I’m now a little more than 5 hours into my new no-sleep training regimen. My body is electric with all the untapped potential that is coursing through my veins. Taking a break from my training, I turn on the television and discover that the only thing on this time of night is the World Series of Poker and something called Sexy Bikini Time Machine.
3:39 a.m. – All the electricity has been tapped. Very sleepy. Didn’t even get a chance to switch channels to the World Series of Poker. Zzzzzzzz….
8:27 a.m. – I awake to the sound of my daughter shaking her head in disgust. The race is in 33 minutes and I’m still on the couch. Because I’m not in bed, she assumes her mother is divorcing me. I explain my new training regimen and my new found passion for televised poker. She asks me if she’s old enough to “call bulls**t” on me. Like the responsible kid she is, my kid has already dressed and eaten breakfast (small bowl of oatmeal and half a banana). I grab a donut that I think has custard in it, but ends up being filled with red fruity goo. Since fruit is a good source of energy, I have two donuts. Seeing this, my daughter asks why I don’t take up smoking while I’m at it. I respond by saying, “Why don’t you just take up not…saying…stuff.” I suck at comebacks.
8:58 a.m. – We make it to Cherokee Park just in time. We probably would have gotten there sooner had I realized the starting line was in a different place than the one for the previous race. I spend ten minutes following five other cars aimlessly through Cherokee Park looking for the start. I’m encouraged to learn that there are at least five people in Louisville equally or more stupid than me. Because of our lateness, I am not able to stretch before the race. This might be troublesome considering as a high school senior, I was voted “Most Likely to Rip Both Hamstrings Simultaneously While Trying to Engage in a Physical Activity I’m Clearly Unprepared to Do."
9:00 a.m. – WE’RE OFF!
9:01 a.m. – I realize that in my rush to leave the house, I accidentally grabbed the iPod used by my 6 year-old daughter. For extra motivation, I imagine I am being violently stalked by the Wiggles who are screaming some sort of horsesh*t propaganda about fruit salad being yummy yummy.
9:05 a.m. – I’ve spent a solid five minutes running up hill, which seems like a cruel way to start a race. Glancing at my fellow runners, I realize I’m not the only one who feels this way. With beet red complexions and cramped faces, we look like a bunch of giant babies straining to crap their diapers.
9:09 a.m. - I’m completely exhausted from a lack of sleep. Furthermore, the two jelly donuts are resting in my stomach like a pair of shot put balls. Finally, due to my lack of stretching, I now feel my left leg slowly being pulled up in to my body cavity.
9:16 a.m. – My daughter has decided to keep pace with me. Not because it’s a nice bonding moment, but so she can ridicule me the entire way. She reminds me that she won’t think any less of me if I don’t finish the race, because it’s mathematically impossible for her to care less than she already does. I take solace in the fact that she has a limited knowledge of genetics.
9:19 a.m. – Wait – another hill? My shins have begun staging a revolt against the rest of my body. My daughter decides to make a pre-emptive call to 911 telling them to send an ambulance over in 10 or 15 minutes.
9:20 a.m. – I am disturbed by the amount of 2 Live Crew my 6 year-old has on her iPod. She also has several speeches by Che Guevara, which if you knew her, makes total sense.
9:34 a.m. – I have no memory of the last 14 minutes, other than darkness followed by tiny sparkles of light. However, I do find myself on a level surface and it appears the rest of the race is downhill. Unfortunately, every muscle in my legs has tightened up to the point that I can no longer bend my knees and am forced to bounce around like I’m miming my way through a potato sack race.
9:39 a.m. – While making my way down a very steep hill, I trip and fall. Momentum takes over and I stop-drop-and-roll my way to the bottom. I now have a huge lead over my smart mouth daughter.
9:41 a.m. – I now trail my daughter by at least 50 feet. WTF? Realizing the odds are piling up against me, I decide it is time for my Rudy moment. I’ve never actually seen the movie Rudy, but I assume it ends with the title character faking an injury and telling his daughter that, as a result, the race doesn’t really count.
9:47 a.m. – I think it’s awesome that people run these things with their dogs. What I don’t think is awesome is when a dog that is roughly the size of a mastodon drops a load as big as a kiddy pool in the middle of the road. I, along with at least seventeen other runners, am now in need of a Silkwood shower.
9:56 a.m. – In the distance, I see a child holding up a sign, clearly encouraging one of her parents. As I get closer, I realize it’s my child and the sign reads, “Wanted: Step Dad Who’s Not a Total Gimp.” Yeah – that’s probably justified.
10:01 a.m. – I finish, just behind an octogenarian carting around an oxygen tank, but just ahead of a dead turtle that has been slowly pushed along the road by a very weak breeze. Seeing my daughter, I tell her that I strained my quadroplexis band and the race doesn’t count. VICTORY!
The final leg of the Polar Bear Grand Prix, the Snowman Shuffle 4 miler, is a month away. Although that seems like enough time to turn things around and redeem myself as a runner, I also realize that it’s enough time to drink a bunch of beer and finally get around to watching Dexter. Oh, the choices.
Photo by Katy Whitpan