Long ago in a far off land there lived a people in the kingdom of "it". Within this kingdom there was a particular village that I want to draw your attention to. This village was called "Runnerville"
Now, for the most part the towns' folk of Runnerville were simple people. They lived simple lives.
They lived healthy. They ate healthy. They drove green cars and recycling everything. Everyone drank water and not one water bottle went to the landfill. Everyone carried home their groceries in reusable bags.
But what made them the healthiest is that they loved to run. To tell you how much they loved to run, they named streets after runners. There was Frank Shorter Blvd which crossed Gold and Silver Avenue. There's Meb Blvd which cross Silver Avenue. There is the Bill Rogers Rd which is just 4 blocks long. Then, there is the downhill auto bond freeway named after Ryan Hall. His road intersects with Kenyan way which ends at Victory Lane.
They even named their children after famous runners. Just yell Kara or Ryan and at least 20 kids would a come running.
Runnerville was abound with parks and trails. One of the biggest parks in town was called Marathon Park. Everyone loved running in Marathon Park for it had everything a runner needed. There were long straight sections for running intervals. There were straight mile long hills. There were loops around the park so long that a runner could do a 30 mile run and never need to retrace his steps. Every path was marked in 200 meter increments and there was a restroom located every 3 miles. Runnerville runner's just loved their park.
After years and years spent holding just 5k, 10k, and 15k races in the park. The local running club decided to do something spectacular. They decided to hold a marathon. Now, everyone in town was super excited about the idea and almost everyone jumped on board to help out.
That is all but one person. His name was Fatigue A. Miles.
Fatigue didn't live like the other people in Runnerville. He was about average height and slightly overweight. He had big hands and feet that turned slightly outward when he walked. His house was a one story flat with all of the windows boarded up. He drove a big diesel truck – a 12 cylinder job which bulged thick clouds of black smoke.
But what made Fatigue most different from the other people of it was he hated exercise. Walking from his lazy-boy to the refrig left him winded. When taking out the trash on Friday morning, he had to bring along a chair so he could rest at the curb before walking back. Yes, Fatigue was out shape because he didn't enjoy running like the other residents of Runnerville and he didn't like it that they enjoyed it.
So when the flyers circulated about town that a marathon was to be held in two weeks, Fatigue was beside himself. How could they hold a marathon in his town and even want to run right down his street. No, this couldn't happen. He had to prevent it.
Just so you know, this was not the first time that Fatigue had railed against sporting events. Every year in the days leading up the New York, Chicago, and Boston Marathon he would send a very strongly worded email to the Race Directors detailing the pitfalls for running and ruining one's health.
When the emails didn't work, he would protest. He carried a sign before, during, and after races – shouting in large letters the "Hazards of Running". And, on one occasion he had attempted to block the start of race by having a sit down in front of the starting line. His cries to cancel the race could be heard over the noise of 5 bands and the cheers of the racers as he was handcuffed and dragged away by the local constabulary.
Now that a marathon race was going by his very doorway, he had reached his limit. He would do what he must but there would be no marathon. But how; how would he stop this marathon from occurring?
Then, the idea hit and he knew what he must do.
There was a precious few days before the marathon was to be held so he had little time to waste.
Pushing out of his lazy-boy and heading for his workshop at the back of his house, he started to work. He would not sleep. He would not eat. He would work day and night to make his plan a reality. He would do whatever he must. The pounding, the sawing, the wielding, the many trips to the local hardware pushed him to his physical limit, but he had no choice. The marathon shouldn't happen. It couldn't happen not on his watch.
While Fatigue was preparing, the people of Runnerville was also making their fair town ready for the marathon. The streets were cleaned. The lights were polished. The miles were marked. The porta-potties rolled in on the back of a flat bed truck. Hundreds of thousands of T-shirts were printed. Race numbers with the runner's names were prepared.
The vendors from the Shoe companies, running apparel companies, food companies were just a few of the people arriving into town for this big event.
This would be the biggest event to take place in Runnerville ever.
On the night before the big event, Fatigue was putting the final touches on his plan.
For this plan to work, he would have to remove every running related item from the town of Runnerville. To do this, he built the largest dump truck ever created. Just imagine if you will, the largest dump truck in existence and then multiple it by 10 times. In fact, just filling the tank cost him $567, 432.12.
When he cranked it up, the engine spewed exhaust into the air so black that one could not see their hand in front of their face for a half mile.
While Fatigue was making ready, everyone else in town was running the marathon so they were all off to bed early. Around, 10 pm he started silently slipping into each home in Runnerville and taking all of the running related items. Every singlet, running-T, shorts, socks, and shoes he took. He grabbed all of the petroleum jelly and body glide that he could find. He took the food from the frig. He took the oatmeal, peanut and almond butter jars. He took every ounce of sports drink that he could find. Gatorade, Powerade, Nunn it didn't matter. He loaded up on the bagels and bananas. He snatched up the gels no matter what the flavor or brand; he took it. He even took the last roll of toilet paper from the holder. One would think this would put runners in a world of hurt.
But Fatigue wasn't finished just yet. When there was nothing runningwise left in the house, he crept over to the alarm clocks for each family and turned off the alarm. What could be crueler than waking up late for a race?
When he had visited every home in town and removed their running stuff, he knew there was one last thing left to do.
So he drove over to the starting line, mashing everything in sight with the large rubber tires acting like four individual steam rollers. Once there, he loaded up the banners, the tables, the water, the fruit, the timing equipment, the mile marks, and the race numbers. And before leaving, he even scraped up the paint used to mark mile points and the start/finish line.
As he rolled out of town, there was nothing left in Runnerville that told of a city ready to host a marathon.
He would drive this stuff over and dump it in the nearby landfill where this huge waste of material would never be seen again. The road was bumpy and the springs on the dump truck creaked under the massive load as he ever so slowly rolled along.
As he left the city limits and headed up a mountain road, a freakish little smile came across his face. He had done it. He had stopped this exercise thing called a marathon in its tracks.
Reaching the dumping site, he turned the truck around and backed it up to the edge. Nearly 4 hours had passed since he had left. He thought he would take one last look at Runnerville down below before dumping this load.
He opened the cab door and climbed to the top of the truck so he could get a better view of Runnerville.
The marathon was to start in 20 minutes but he expected to see no one out. All should be worried and scampering around their houses wondering where their running stuff had gone and why their alarms didn't go off.
His eye must be seeing things. There was a huge crowd of people in Marathon Park. He scrambled to the cab for his binoculars. Yes, there were tons of people in Marathon Park. They were wearing boots, jeans, and coats as they were warming up. They had makeshift numbers made using notebook paper and a sharpie. A new line has been drawn across the road with two letters beside it "S/F" for start and finish.
And what astonished Fatigue the most, they were happy. Everyone one was smiling and ready to run. Why was this he thought? He had removed their running stuff. They should be miserable.
That's when the thought finally hit him. No matter how bad things are, people don't run because of the material stuff. Yes, the running stuff does make it easier and nicer, but more so, they run because it makes them feel better and it makes them happier when they do it.
He knew right then and there that he couldn't dump this stuff. He had to return each and every item back to its rightful owner.
With one hand he swung back into the cab and revved the engine. Down the road he went. Taking each turn at breakneck speed with the wheels scrapping the edge he was barely staying on the road.
He arrived back in town barely 10 minutes before the race.
Pulling up at the race start, he slowly climbed from the cab. Eyes down and chin on his chest, he begged for their forgiveness and explained the error of his ways.
To his surprise, the people of Runnerville forgave him. They immediately started passing out everything from the back of the dump truck. Within 5 minutes and with everyone's help every item was returned to its rightful owner.
The town's people were so sure that Fatigue had changed his ways that they invited him to race and give him the number one. To which, he gratefully accepted.
That day, he ran for the first time and finished the marathon in 5 hours and 7 minutes.
As he crossed the finish line, they put a finisher medal around his neck and asked him how he was able to do it. The lifting, the pushing, the hard work making the dump truck, the running to the local hardware store, he had been training his body.
Exercise in and of itself is good, but when combined with a goal, a purpose, then the hard work all makes sense.
Sharing one thought at a time,
The Cool Down Runner