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Will Run, For Food… or Sucking Face

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Veni, ego ran, comedi…

This is a running story.

I came. I ran. I ate. 

It’s also a story about appetites.

It sounds pretty simple but it’s that middle part about running that always hurts. Sometimes the hurt is good, sometimes it’s the shits.

Either way, it’s a lot of work for a banana and some energy juice like Gatorade…

Actually… this year’s energy drink at the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon Aid Stations was called NUUN… as in NUUN of the good tasting stuff… it should be renamed … YUCK.

Finally, this is a story about different reasons for running.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: Not all of the words I write in this post will caress the politically correct or gender-sensitive #MeToo notes that will please you all.

Don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Running Reason #1 – As a man, I figure it’s important to subject myself – as if I’m in the throes of childbirth labour – yes, to subject myself to a mere couple of hours of discomfort building into a major pain in my lower half by the finish. Surely this makes me more empathetic to the suffering of my female brethren who bravely bear little vernix-greasy ragamuffins.

Understanding in all its forms makes the world a better place, right?

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Running Reason #2 – One of the big reasons I used to run in marathons and half marathons and 10k races was for the food.

They say that running is supposed to make you a healthy stud but MY big motivator after the gun or horn sounded to begin the race was to drive a mad headlong rush towards the food table at the finish line.

In years past, the food table… sometimes called the refreshment or recharge zone, was an enticing spread: lots of fresh fruit and muffins and donuts and bagels, chilled chocolate milk, occasionally yogurt or ice cream, even pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. Wine or beer. Guilt-free gluttony.

I’d walk the line, sweat dripping profusely and load my arms to the gunnels with carbs aplenty.

Who wouldn’t run 21.1 or 42.2 kilometres for this buffet of gustatory delight?

More recently, on a tragic note, my experience has been a dwindling of the repasts that greet us sweaty, smelling-like-The-Walking-Dead-zombies at the finish line. They boost entry fees ever higher while trashing the carb quotient… WTF!

In future, I’m going to stage a sit-in at the halfway mark and disobediently refuse to run further until the food situation is remedied… or… they institute a tradition akin to that at the Boston Marathon as outlined below…

Running Reason #3 – The Boston Marathon offers another type of buffet… another appetitic (my word!) temptation for the runners.

Thousands of young women from Wellesley College, scholarly ladies all, line the halfway point of the route in the renowned “Scream Tunnel”.

Kiss Me, I’m an International Student”; “Kiss Me, It’s My First Marathon”; “Kiss Me, I’m an Econ Major”; “Kiss Me, I’m Single”; “Kiss Me, I’ll Try Not To Puke”.

Yes, for decades now, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors from Wellesley have mobbed and “signaged” the 21k. point of the marathon: screaming, high-fiving… and… kissing the athletes.

Like ghoulishly-garbed kidlets candy-counting their Halloween loot, the young women compare kiss counts at the end of the day.

And a large group of sweaty, blotchy runners get a joyful moment of reprieve from their discomfort.

OK, it’s maybe not #MeToo friendly, but I won’t judge!

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Running Reason #4 – the final, and for me, the most important reason for running is the endorphin-laced sense of achievement.

Crossing the final few metres of a long run where your Prussian blue New Balance shoes feel like they have gooey bubblegum attached, body caked in salty sweat, scanning the timing clock ticking off the seconds, hearing the cowbells and the announcer’s voice and the loud music is high on the heaven-on-earth scale of inner joy.

Running is a solitary challenge to the body, mind and soul.

Solitary while surrounded by thousands of other human passengers all in alignment with their personal dreams and goals, the joys and sorrows that brought them here to persevere through the taxing kilometres.

Solitary while jostling along the imagined food table line, angling for the freshest, yummiest, chocolate-dipped donut on the serving platter. The final endurance test.

Soul food for the soles.

 

Sweet Bliss and the First Kiss …

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Katy Perry kissed a girl and she liked it.

Katy Perry

I’m pretty sure if Katy Perry kissed me, I’d like it too. Although knowing that those lips had touched Russell Brand’s lips and naughty bits … EWWWW… not quite sure how I feel about that.

Have you ever thought about kissing a person of the same gender, even once in your life? ( Of course, if you’re on the gay side of the fence already, rephrase the question to kissing the opposite gender, OK?). I know I’ve had the thought, maybe twice in my lifetime, years back, and I’m not naming names, but it was a surreal experience. It wasn’t an attraction, just a compulsive moment.

There are some funny things that go on in our heads sometimes. I doubt that I’m the only one who has stood at the edge of the precipice of Niagara Falls or on the knife edge of a steep cliff and thought,

“What if I just took that next step and plummeted over the edge?”

It’s a scary scenario when we know that all rational thought is against doing the deed, but the damned little devil voice pipes in there nonetheless.

It could be such an easy step...

It could be such an easy step…

Kissing someone that you know you never would … maybe you’ve felt a strange compulsion to kiss your brother, sister, or a hot cousin in a non-relative sort of way, or an aunt or uncle, I don’t know. Just someone who is TABOO, and you know it.

I’m shocked at myself for thinking these thoughts, but it’s not like I have some sort of conscious control over the momentary notion. I do have control – thankfully – over exercising the idea into action.

Anyway, I’ve never had one of those first kisses. But those are just random thoughts when what I really want to talk about is :

What is the true meaning of the first kiss?

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I’d say that 99% of us have or will have a first kiss. And to take the point a bit further, some, maybe most of us, will have a number of “first kisses”.

A first kiss is like jumping over into that river above Niagara Falls, you could end up crashing on the rocks below and the pain would be unbearable.

The risk level of a first kiss in human terms is higher than a wager at the baccarat table in Vegas. You place a bet and wait, moving delicately forward, either anticipating the delicious reward or the brutal smackdown.

I’ve never been a high risk player on the love scene. I’ve rarely, maybe never, asked someone for a date where I didn’t believe there was a 95% + certainty of getting a “YES” response. Everything worked out well in the long term for me with this cautious approach, but this may not be the best thing for a young person wanting to experience a variety of personalities in the dating pool.

If I reflect back on the number of girls I was interested in as a young fellow and might potentially have dated, minus the flat out ego-deflating refusals that would have been inevitable, I would have invested a lot more money in movie tickets and dinners. There would have been some outright disasters, but, some of those investments may have been pure gold. My ego just wasn’t up for the rejection.

For me, the kiss is a huge part of whether the relationship will be continued. The point where lips melt together in smooth and velvety bliss tells a whole lot about the compatibility of a pair. It can be the make it or break it point.

The excitement and passion of a first kiss is the romantic pinnacle of a relationship, and a warm memory that simmers in the stillness of our memory trove of life.

Again, without naming names, I know that I ruled out one potential young lady as partner material based on an overly thick tonguing that threatened to cut off my air supply. If you love me, don’t suffocate me. Great person, terrible kisser. I feel badly that I didn’t say something at the time other than “Goodbye”, but it was sadly easier than saying, “Good God, what kind of a lizard did you descend from?”

The First Kiss.

A good, hotly anticipated, maybe slowly drawn out first kiss leaves us on a cloud – floating in a mesmerized, dreamy state of hope and longing.

Move over Katy Perry, I’ve kissed a girl. And I liked it too.

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