May 26, 2013

11 Stupid Reasons why I’m “Running” the Gaddamn 2013 BolderBoulder for the first Effing time in 26 Long Years.

Why run the BolderBOULDER for the first time in 26 years? The main reason, of course, is so I can wear a cape in public. Favor? if you take a photo of this fool, copy @waylonlewis in it or hashtag #elephantjournal on Instagram or tag Waylon Lewis on FB or email to us?

11 Stupid Reasons why I’m “Running” the Gaddamn 2013 BolderBoulder for the first Effing time in 26 Long Years.

1. I’m an idiot. I’ve barely trained. I listened to the advice of co-founder Frank Shorter (here: he says “don’t change these three things) and promptly messed up everything: I got new Newton shoes (first blister began last night), have tried (and failed) to lose weight (running makes me quickly appreciate how carrying even a pound or two extra…sucks), and have tried getting more sleep.

2. I’ve (barely) trained, as I said. Barely training is more than I’ve done in 26 years. I love it. It’s fun. Going for a run, even though I have to stop and start, has moments of seemingly profound breakthroughs, joy, challenge. It’s like a video game, only…real. It’s epic. I fucking love it. Coming down from the mountains last night with my dog Red off leash running ahead, whooping away any curious mountain lions, I worked on my natural running form (lean forward, step in place kinda instead of heel-stomping) and hopped down the rocks like a billy goat and glided like a fucking Olympian home, covered in sweat. And yes, only 40 minutes earlier, I’d been heaving and gasping for air as I ran up a big hill and then another on my way up to Boulder’s historic Chautauqua.

3. I’m 38. Not old, not young. Right on the edge. I need an activity or sport—that I enjoy—to complement basketball, yoga, climbing, and hiking/walking with my dog. Running will help me stay fit, get outdoors, and keep off those old man pounds. Running’ll help me enjoy life as I get older.

4. I travel frequently for work, and rarely exercise at all when I travel. Running has got to be the easiest activity to do wherever I am, whenever, with minimal equipment. Thanks to bike sharing and yoga and swimming, there are other things I can do on the road…but most of those involve going somewhere and paying money. Running: after meditation you just put on your socks and shoes and shorts and go.

5. I want to take up running…because I have a dog. Training for the BolderBoulder and running it will push me into the path of knowing that I can run, and love doing so. My dog is six, full of energy and joy. He loves running along with my bike, but it’s tiring, so we stop frequently so he can sit in the Boulder Creek. We walk and hike frequently, which he loves, but unless it’s a big hike on a hot day it doesn’t tire him out much. Running is a great middle gear—a way to exhaust and relax him (he’s verrrry high energy and squeals and yelps with anxious joy when he sees folks he knows and he’s not tired out enough) while doing the same to yours truly.

6. Running with 50,000 people, with another 50,000 cheers…it’ll be fun. I can’t wait to run with locals and pros and tourists and children and old folks and folks with disabilities. My only goal: not to walk. I don’t run, haven’t for 26 years…like I’ve said. It’ll be brutal for me. I can’t run two blocks without my lungs burning up. Literally. Okay, not literally, but that’s how it feels. And, yes, I’ve found in my limited training that I can break through those moments…but only after walking and getting my breath back, which I don’t want to do on race day. So it’s gonna suck. I mean, it’s gonna be fun—seeing the whole community passing out water, bbqing, drinking coffee, jumping on the slip and slides in my USA shorts and Superman cape…I can’t wait. I’m pretty excited. I feel about as excited, only in a safe and wholesome ay, as a Roman Gladiator does the day before going out to meet his death.

7. I love my hometown. I last ran when I was a bowl-cut headed 12 year old, with my schoolmates at Viday. Then I moved away and joined the rest of the nation in being less than healthy and active. I came back 12 years ago, rather accidentally, and have always worked on race day—laptopping and drinking coffee at a cafe on the route and cheering and loving it, listening to the Goonies (a friend’s band) and just wishing I were out there. I’d walk the route backwards and see all the crazy houses along the way with their cheering and funny ways of cheering on the runners. There’s no better way to tour the whole town and see everybody and just smile and laugh (while agonizing and dying inside) and enjoy this precious human life than running the BolderBoulder. It’s community—perhaps the greatest joy in my life.

8. Dressing up: folks wear gorilla outfits and tutus and all manner of silliness. It’s like a second Halloween or a G-rated Burning Man. I’ll be a hairy, weak, sweating, shirtless version of Superman, wearing USA shorts in honor of the memory of those who have served this nutty country.

9. It’ll be a day to grow and expand as a human being. How often in life—especially this cushy, first world life—do we truly challenge our core being? Speaking personally, once in a while in yoga class when the teacher won’t let me get out of a tough pose (and I’m the type to do the pose as best as I can, sweating and grunting and sweating more). Speaking personally, I challenge myself in my work life, where I work a thousand hours a week, especially over the past 10 years (things are easier, now). But, really, I don’t test my core in the way that simply trying to run two fucking blocks does. So: following my breath, however ragged and strained and constrained it might get, and ignoring my inner “can’t do this”…it’ll be a sort of meditation in action.

10. I want to participate in this powerful community. I’m running because my friends and running community leaders and hardcore BolderBoulder lovers Michael Sandrock and Ryan Van Duzer have encouraged me and pushed me there. I’m running because Newton generously sponsored my “eco-ish” shoes and GoLite “sponsored” my handmedown Superman cape and the BolderBoulder is a community-ful race that wants to green itself further, and elephant can help with that. I want the BolderBoulder to be known not only as the best 10K race in America, which is already is (Runner’s World), but the greenest 10K is America.

11. I want to run because I don’t know what to expect. It’s an adventure. It’ll push me to my edge. I want to run because of that unknown feeling of triumph mixed with exhaustion, humiliation, joy and relief that will rise up out of my heart and lungs and soul and express itself on my red, sweaty face when I cross the finish line. And for all you runners who view a mere 10K as less than an occasion for triumph, remember we all have our mountains to climb, and all of us are good at something, and bad at something. And running is something I’m worse than awful at!

Happy Memorial Day!

Favor: if you see me, or anyone with a look of inner agony on their red face, please cheer and mean it. We’ll need it. I’ll need it.

Photos of the race coming soon! We’ll post them here.

If you’re watching, take a photo! Email to me or post to FB and tag me? It’s okay if I look horrible and miserable.

Bonus: I filmed this! Of course, that’s the easy/fun part: Leftover BolderBOULDER packed lunches = 100,000 pounds donated to Community Foodshare!

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