A few years back, when Owen was about fifteen months old, I decided to train for a "big race"--the Bolder Boulder 10K. I did a training schedule, dutifully putting in my miles. I cross-trained. I did tempo runs. I completed long runs. I felt good.
I was asserting my independence, separating my body from the baby-carrying, milk-producing vessel it had become over the last two years. Owen was weaned, Joel was just a blurry idea, and I was going to take my body back.
The altitude in Colorado is about 5,000 feet higher than my stomping grounds here in Maryland, so, suffice to say, I was feeling it around mile five. I lurched my way up the final turn, heading into the stadium at the University of Colorado. As I ran around the track, towards the finishing corrals, I heard the hoots and hollers of the crowd, felt the beating of my heart, and surged my way towards the finish. I sunk my hands on my knees, and caught my breath.
I then stood up, and saw a large banner advertising Pearl Izumi shoes: "There is no such thing as a Jogger's High." I rolled my eyes, because this stunk of macho running whatever. But then, I saw another T-shirt, advertising the same shoes. It said, "If you're running anything less than a 30 minute 5K, you are a jogger." And, I'll admit it, I felt a bit defeated.
I recognize that there is an elite, or at least, more elite group of runners that scoff at walk breaks and get frustrated by the hordes of slower runners. Even I've been in races where I've darted around the people leisurely chit-chatting or, Heaven forbid, texting, when they are supposed to be running. (Basic race etiquette--if this is you, head towards the back of the start.)
But I'm not going to tell anybody that they don't belong out there. Make no mistake--the advertisement is intended to mock joggers. I think if you're wearing sneakers, and you're moving your body, you're doing more than most of the population. You don't deserve to be derided---not by me, not by shoe corporations, not anybody.
Go on with your bad self. And remember---you are a runner.
By the way, if you're looking for a fantastic (and not-at-all mean spirited) ad campaign showing how runners are different, check out this campaign from Adidas.
I've seen Paul do this snot-rocket technique more times than I care to admit:
Paul and I have both been liberal with the Vaseline/Body Glide to prevent chapping. I think we have a picture similar to this somewhere in the embarrassment files.
And, finally, I don't know who took this picture of me, but I'm still awaiting my compensation...