Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Believed I Could Fly

Wherein I cleverly disguise a discussion on Newton’s Laws of Gravity as a race report.

Like a lot of kids, I had this idea growing up that somewhere within me was this hidden superpower and that, if I believed enough, I could make it become a reality.  I was sure I was one Professor Xavier mentor away from coaxing it out of me.  As a young boy, I wanted to fly.  I wanted to soar amongst the clouds with my pillow case cape.  As a teen, I reverted to my base desires and hoped to make myself invisible so that I could foil a bank robbery or, um, say, walk in to the girls’ changing rooms unnoticed.   As a young man, I simply wanted the power to overcome Jagermeister with my impenetrable steel liver.

And now I’m back to flying again…mainly because I can’t stand small children kicking the back of my seat during a flight.  Rob all the banks you want but Nitmos is going Detroit to New York non-stop in one single, childless bound.  R. Kelly, he of questionable judgment, general douchebaggery, and toilet training issues, was right about one thing: I believed I could fly.  I believed I could touch the sky.  Isaac Newton and his apple had other ideas but there was only one way to settle this scientific debate:  an experiment of one.

The Dances with Dirt 100k trail relay race is a much anticipated race around these parts.  I ran it last year and told you about it here.  It’s a hilly, off-road, wet, difficult race filled with fun, falling, beer, mud, poison ivy and, usually, a few swollen ankles.  Appropriately, it takes place in Hell, Michigan.  We had a five man team ready to cover the 15 legs of the course.  I was blessed with one river crossing (i.e. the perfect opportunity to test the theories of gravity.)

My money – the smart money, in this case – was on R. Kelly.  He believed he could fly.  I believed I could fly!  My Asics would not absorb a drop of non-sweat liquid, this I vowed. 

My river crossing was set for my third and final leg.  I figured I would launch myself into the air and fly away all the way home as a spectacular way to end the long day.  But a funny thing happened at the end of leg two.  They redesigned the course slightly and, oh, no, a surprise river!  Unprepared, I plopped into the water like a common bipodal Metropolisite and trudged across.  Asics soaked.  Not very heroic.

And there was no time to change shoes as my final leg came after a brief twenty minute wait.  So, off I ran into leg 3 with heavy, squishy shoes through the weeds, onto a two track, up a hill and nearly bisecting myself on a barely visible waist-high wire fence marked with a single barely noticeable ribbon.  The wire gave enough at the waist to allow me time to stop, back up a step and duck under to continue towards my date with destiny. 

The river approached; I could see it after leaping through the mud bog from one of the higher elevation grassy patches to the next.  R.Kelly vs. Issac Newton:  Game on.

Down the embankment with a few cautious steps ready to leap and jet away into the sky…

I believe I can fly; I believe I can touch the sky!

Off I go, gleeful, majestic, the fulfillment of a childhood dream!  Soon, all of our scientific notions about gravity would have to be thrown out and reexamined!  Nitmos, the non-fiction embodiment of Superman, takes flight!

Seriously, have you ever seen a take-off with such impeccable form?

It’s going great!  I’m flying!  Look at the joy.  I'm mesmerized by the shimmering mirror image of myself in the river water. I’ve broken free of Newton…of the laws of Gravity…confirming soon-to-be-Nobel-winner R. Kelly’s theory! 


Prepare for impact.

Les Brown is attributed the following quote: “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll still be amongst the stars.”   I’d like to modify that a bit.  From my experience, “shoot for the moon and, when you miss, you’ll be amongst squalid, cow dung, fecally-infested river sludge with a better than 50% chance of just having acquired dysentery.”  True, not as inspirational or bumper-sticker concise but definitely more accurate.

I don’t know what went wrong.  Maybe I didn’t believe enough.  Maybe Newton is right.  Maybe Les Brown and R. Kelly are full of shit.

Either way, I believed I could fly…and I ended up with a mouthful of cow shit flavored river water.  Don't follow your dreams, kids, you might end up with cholera.

Maybe next year I’ll forget all of this flying nonsense and just drink more Jagermeister (aka Steel Liver!).

Happy trails.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (see sidebar) already knew this.  Lucky you!


Anonymous said...

The good news is, if you keep this up, you will eliminate the super powers you don't have. Then it's just a matter of what's left. Triangle Man - Ho!

Vava said...

My money is on that they're full of shit, like that River. Still, nice form.

Viper said...


barbara gill said...

Nah, keep it up for sure. There is something pure and wonderful about a mouthful of ditch water in any fitness regimen!!!

Marius said...

I’m a Norwegian two-time Olympic runner (13.06 5k back in ’04) as well as an MD. I have been following your blog and want you to know that I’ve added you to a list of the Top 100 Running Blogs for 2014!

You are there, and deservedly so, in spot # 51!

100 best running blogs

My blog is quite new and certainly not as established as your site, but I try to share quality, inspirational posts with my readers.

If you like it, please feel free to share with your readers. ;)

Keep up the wonderful work.

Kind regards,
Marius Bakken, MD

Stacey said...

I just found your blog, and am so happy I did. The pictures kill me! Nice work!

Vic @ Dinocracy said...

haha you look funny in those pictures hovering above the lake. Jagermeister would definitely help but not for flying, for not feeling the water impact anymore lol