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The Egg Came First | June 21, 2011

Running, like riding a bike, is a fairly easy thing to remember to do. As is the knowledge of how far you’ve run in one go on previous occasions, which is 13 kilometers for me. This is unfortunate; it makes you say things like “yes” when you’re asked by your better half if you’ll run the 10k race on Wellington’s Marathon day.

Some chickens have all the fun...

I knew I wasn’t fit enough when the idea was thrown at me a couple of weeks ago and I continued, through lack of effort, to remain just as unfit, in fact more unfit because my birthday landed a bounty of cake on my doorstep, which travelled to the kitchen, then onto a plate, and finally into my belly.

Running has been an irregular event this year: My globetrotting shoes finally got some speed up in foreign climes (the UK in February), where they returned the verdict that it was far too cold, and my lungs concurred. Back in NZ for the arse end of summer I put in the odd few kilometres, not enough to be fit but enough to keep me accustomed. Or so I thought.

Or at least half thought, because there was a twist in the mix that I suspected would create problems – I had to dress as a chicken. The purpose of the costume was to help in the campaign to put and end battery hen farming in NZ, please buy free range eggs. Technically this suit was a pretty good excuse for any kind of poorness, its extra weight, heat insulation and wind resistance all being high grade A excuses.

So, on Sunday morning I stepped out as a human turducken – on the outside a chicken, then inside that a fat, then inside that a skinny lad who’s too lazy to get out.

I was not the only chicken, there were several of us but I’m not a pack animal when it comes to running, I like to go at my own pace – slow enough not to hurl, which is very slow indeed. And I pecked and scratched my way around that course. That’s a metaphor for grim determination, I didn’t actually act the part of a chicken.

Running makes you look like you've lost your teeth...

Wellington knows how to do fancy dress, the whole town wears costumes for the Rugby 7s, but us chickens seemed to be the only people in costume. And partly because of this I got a huge amount of support from people, both crazy bystanders, lounging about in the rain and fellow runners, on a mission to get out of the rain. If it wasn’t for the crowd and kids shouting out ‘go chicken man’, people jogging past and saying how much they admired the message and the marshals flat out lying about how well I was doing, I think I might well have just ground to a walk.

Mind you, that might not have been much slower, at one point I was passed by the 80 minute pace setter, and they were walking.

You can read other accounts of my poor running here.

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