Note: I have no intent to make this a regular, running series despite the episode numbering scheme. If conditions conspire, it may become one. The option is left open.
Episode 1: The Great Esophagus Freeze
The man dons his battle armor: Hind running pants, two moisture wicking shirts which, between them, send the sweat droplets into an alternate dimension, a zip up vest, North Face bionic jacket, hat, gloves, Garmin, and mp3 player tuned to Social Distortion followed by the greatest hits of one Hue E. Lewis.
The Asics are laced and double knotted.
Ready, set…Garmin activate. The count up begins.
The icy cold wind slaps the hero across the face with repeated south easternly blasts. Fifteen degrees feels like five degrees. But he is up to the challenge.
Four hard miles to do battle. Four miles to prove his worth. Four long miles to come up with a way to over dramatize a fairly normal mid week run.
An extended stop at a busy rush hour intersection puts the Garmin briefly on pause. The icy winter claw grabs at his wrist and envelopes Garmin. Winter attacks his weakness. The legs don’t move if the Garmin doesn’t tick tock. Or so it seems.
An opening and the man battles onward across the frozen intersection. He pushes the start button on faithful Garmin. He pushes again. The button stays depressed but the Garmin doesn’t respond. The breeze blows in a gleeful cackle. Garmin is disabled. It is frozen on his wrist.
Hope is lost.
But the legs are still moving. The man is still running! Without Garmin, he is running blindly. Or, at least, he risks incorrectly estimating his distance on this familiar course by around 1/10 of a mile. The man is a numbers geek. One tenth mile might as well be 53 miles. Tragedy. Death.
If Garmin is sacrificed, the run must not be in vain. He presses on.
Two miles in, a wad of pre-run chocolate cookie residue mixed with nasal drainage lumps at the back of his throat. The spitting mechanism is strong in this runner. He coughs up a tight ball of expellant on the back of his tongue. The command to spit is issued. The neck and mouth lurch into expectorant duties.
He tries again. Same result. The gooey concoction is suspended at the back of his throat.
Winter has claimed a second victim. Frozen air traveling over a frozen tongue has caused a frozen throat.
The man presses on. Winter attempts to knock him off stride with sudden, unexpected ice patches…the spit lump swishing side to side.
The man musters steely resolve and hacks a strong, cannon blast loogy echoing across the frozen tundra. It lands with a brownish plop in the snow bank. The man has triumphed! His throat continues to hack out loogies every few steps in an open act of defiance.
By the time the man completes four miles and returns to his front porch, he notices that Garmin has started ticking again. His spits are frequent, thick, and unfettered. He may be coming down with a cold. Or stop eating mushy cookies before he runs.
A new man ascends the steps and enters the house. Winter has been defeated amidst a flurry of nasal mucus stained sidewalks. He has met the enemy and came away victorious.
He is no longer a man. He is a superman able to reclaim a frozen throat from the clutches of dastardly Old Man Winter.
He is Captain Esophagus, the newest and lamest super hero in the pantheon.
All hail Captain Esophagus.*
* Look, it was either the esophagus or the epiglottis. I realize the esophagus might not be the correct biological term to use for what I'm describing. Maybe the epiglottis isn't either. In any case, I didn't want to go with Captain Epiglottis because, obviously, that just sounds stupid.