Sunday, July 23, 2006

See you at the races

A brief introduction to the people you'll meet at your local 5K

Jen: Jen is hardcore. There's no other way to say it. She probably runs twice a day, looking for negative splits on each successive mile. Hill repeats are her favorite, with tempo runs as a close second. She obsesses about heart rate, breathing rhythm and stride length. At about 26, she will win the womens' race. Don't count on her putting her hand over her heart for the national anthem.

Matt: Matt is the male version of Jen; this is probably approproiate as they are married. Being that both are Type-A and very competetive, expect a large amount of trash-talking between them. Currently, Matt is faster than his wife, but with his recent stress fracture from running too much, she has a chance to beat him this race. Matt normally takes first for the mens' race, but with the injury he also stands to lose to the newcomer, Jacob.

Jacob: Being only 16 years old, Jacob is relatively new to this race. He ran it last year and placed 3rd overall, but the kid has talent. He does not run as dedicatedly as either Matt or Jen, and it frustrates them both that he is naturally so fast. He's currently a high school athlete, but his interest in baseball and girls will probably distract him from making all of his running that he could.

Catherine: Catherine is a bit of a fixture at this race. She, like Jacob, is young, but unlike Jacob, she has run this race for several years. Having been competing from the age of 9, this is her 6th time to compete in this 5K, and she has a bit of a friendship with Jen, whom she idolizes though only seeing her once a year. A year younger than Jacob, she goes to the same school he does but does not compete in running sports there because she doesn't feel good enough. She will win for the under 20 age group.

Britney: Britney runs 5K races because it's currently the fashionable way to be in shape. At her house, you will find video tapes of Tae-Bo and Pilates, and she has gone all out with this running thing for now. She wears New Balance shoes, Nike Shorts, an Under Armor tank top and is ready to go with her Mini iPod. Expect her to take around 40 minutes to finish and be sore for the next several days. Britney just noticed Jacob.

Martin: Martin is around 40, and has been in the Marine Corps for 21 years. He is not particularly impressed with Matt, who is faster. Instead, he knows that he could crush Matt in any real fight and that a 5K race is not the only test of physical endurance. He will probably win the Masters' division race, after which he will probably try, just like he did last year, to recruit Jacob.

Ruth: Ruth is a 64 year old grandmother of eight who has competed all 11 times this race has been held. She runs slowly, but enjoys having the mobility a lot of people her age lack. She runs simply as a celebration of her physical ability, and though she will probably place in the 64+ age group and thus go home with a sweatshirt, that really doesn't matter all that much to her. She also thinks Jacob is cute, but that Britney is all wrong for him. She has tried since last year to get Jacob and Catherine to notice each other.

Jesse: Jesse is Ruth's youngest son, a 27 year old marathon runner and big-time liberal. He is a health fanatic and can probably be seen running several miles before the race, then having a fruit smoothie. After the race, he has bottled water ready. While Matt somewhat annoys Martin, Jesse's pony tail makes Martin flat-out angry. It's OK, though, because while Martin knows Jesse is a total wimp, Jesse knows that Martin could never run 26.2 miles in 3:09:24. Matt and Jacob admire Jesse's ability to run the distances, but are both much more suited to 5K's than he is.

Robert: Robert is Jesse's older brother, a 36 year old lawyer that lives about 40 minutes away. His attire is simple; a T-shirt and shorts, with a sweatband around his receding hairline. He spends most of the time before the race sizing up the competition, starting conversations and dropping hints about his best times and trying to find out theirs, usually to their annoyance. Unfortunately, he's not a very good runner except in his own mind. Expect an injury about a mile in that will require him to walk the rest of the race.

Heather: Heather is a 20 year old collegiate runner and very good natured, friendly, and outgoing. She picks Jen out as a fellow serious runner, who in turn is secretly very suspicious of her abilities. Heather will do well, but would never trash-talk. Instead, she is very humble and encouraging, which makes Jen all the more wary of her. Her college is about an hour and a half away, but she came up with her boyfriend Jonathan, whose hometown is nearby. Heather was listening very intently to one of Martin's stories about Kuwait, and when he finished, she went to find Jonathan, but unfortunately, Robert cornered her.

Jonathan: Also a 20 year old and also a college runner, Jonathan is probably about the 5th or 6th place runner on his team. His 5K times are good, but is more of a 10K runner himself. He had a crush on Jen for a few years before she married Matt, always impressed by women who took running so seriously. He has run this race for four years now, each time, spending a good bit of time listening to Ruth, this year, smiling and nodding, agreeing that yes, Catherine and Jacob really would be cute together. The rest of his time is spent trying to ignore Britney's flirting; the whole time, he is looking around for Heather because he forgot to warn her about Robert. Then he saw her, and saw that it was already too late.

Larry: Larry is Ruth's husband, having been to all 11 times this race has been held, and being that he is on the city board of commissioners, he has the privelege of announcing the national anthem and starting the race for the 12th year in a row.

There are, of course, varying degrees to which these attributes apply to different runners you'll meet. This is just a brief overview, that you can be prepared for the competition at your next 5K road race.


Blogger Hope said...

I decided about halfway through to not give in to the paranoia of trying to decide which runner I am. So from then on I enjoyed it thoroughly, I even laughed!!

12:38 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Yeah I tired to disguise them enough so you wouldn't know who you were.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Flower Child said...

Hope, I have to admit for a while there I was struggling with the same paranoia ;) Love the blog Nathan! very well crafted and true to the general atmosphere of the 5K world :-D

9:16 PM  
Blogger Hope said...

You goober, you didn't think of me at all when writing that because you know I would't appear in a 5K.

Your pitiful attempt at annoying me has FAILED!!!


9:53 PM  

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