How to Become a Runner, Part 1 (or "Battle Axe Issues Prepping for the Dead 2 Red Relay Race")

For about the past four years, I've been a runner. I faked being a runner before that, because chicks dig runners. At least Shannon did. And I needed Shannon to like me, and I didn't really have that much going for me in the I-Do-Stuff-That-Shannon-Digs category. Shannon read the classics: Wordsworth, Hemingway, Hawthorne, Emerson. I read the little booklets that come inside CDs: Jewel, Zeppelin, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jewel. Shannon cooked. I sat in the stairwells of the apartment complex woefully playing my guitar until a girl felt sorry for me and threw me some leftovers. And Shannon liked to exercise. So I pretended I liked to exercise.

Back when Shannon thought I jogged. Sucker.
When me and Shannon met, she told me she jogged to stay fit. I was like, "Really? Me TOO! I jog TOO!" Then I went and signed up for a jogging class, because I didn't actually jog, and I needed to start so I wouldn't be the type of guy who would lie to make a cute girl think she has something in common with him, even though I was kind of the type of guy who would lie to make a cute girl think she has something in common with him.

A few weeks later Shannon suggested we go jogging together. It was her worst idea ever, but I pretended that I liked it, because when you want a girl to like you, you shouldn't ever say she has bad ideas. Unless her idea is to kick you in the jimmy and steal your Moto Guzzi. When we met up and started jogging, I said we should jog slow so we could talk better, but what I meant was we should jog slow so I wouldn't get a cramp and vomit. That was the only time I jogged that whole semester, which normally wouldn't be a problem, except my grade in my jogging class was based on how much faster I could run 1.5 miles at the end of the semester than I did at the beginning. I had unthinkingly posted a pretty decent time at the beginning of the semester, so I no choice but to just go all out during the "final exam" despite having jogged exactly one time since high school. I ended up beating everyone else in my class, but it came at a price. While the professor gave us our final lecture as we sat on the bleachers after the run, I just sat byself and dry heaved the whole time, then I was sick for like two months after that.

Later, me and Shannon got married, and on our honeymoon she was like, "Let's go for a jog together," not realizing that I did not, in fact, actually like to run at all. I had successfully dodged all of her invitations to jog with her after that initial jog, with excuses like, "Sorry, I just ran like eight miles yesterday so I'm kind of bushed -- want to just scratch my back instead?" and "Sounds fun but my workout clothes are in the wash and I don't actually own any workout clothes because I have never really worked out," and "Just ate an entire pizza less than 45 minutes ago, sorry," and -- after Shannon called back to ask again a couple hours later if I felt better and wanted to jog then -- "Dang, just ate another entire pizza, so, dang."

So Shannon invited me jogging on our honeymoon, and I was like, "I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm not who you think I am." And she was like, oh no he's going to cleave me with a battle axe, but then I just said, "I don't really like to run that much," and she was like, "Thank GOODNESS you don't have issues with the battle axe; I don't even care that you have lied all this time about liking to run."

So things worked out pretty well for me on that one. Until I got to be about 30, and my buddy Spencer was like, "You should come running with me, because you are portly." So I did, and Spencer ran outdoors on fun dirt trails, and I liked that. So I finally became the runner that I had hoodwinked Shannon into believing I was a decade before. And then I squished a disc between my vertabrae and had to get surgery, but that's a different story.

I was going to tell you about the sweet action Dead 2 Red relay race that I ran in Jordan from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, but I got a little carried away with the backstory there, what with the dry heaving and the battle axe issues. So I'll cover the race in part two.