Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fall From Grace

I like to race people a lot. Not on foot obviously, but in my car. I like knowing I can beat people to something, even if they’re not aware that we’re racing. So I’m the guy who switches lanes at the last second so he can be first in line at the light. And I’m the guy who crosses the double white line when exiting (I know. Hardcore, right?).

The problem is that my race mentality has started to spill out into other parts of my life. So now I can finish eating in about 3 minutes. I barely taste my food sometimes, just so I can be the first to clean my plate. And it only takes me 4 seconds to brush my teeth. (Top, bottom, spit.) But there is definitely a downside to always racing other people. I now have heartburn, gingivitis, and nine speeding tickets.

A few years ago I decided it would be a good idea to race someone on foot. It was, of course, not a good idea. I’m 6’3” tall and at the time of the race, I weighed about 300 pounds (a.k.a. “peak physical condition”). And I chose to race a friend of mine who I outweighed by about 90 pounds. And before you think I’m a fool for wanting to race this guy, you have to know why I wanted to race him. First of all, I didn’t think I would beat him. In fact, I knew I couldn’t beat him. Second of all, he runs funny. Really funny. He’s particularly slow for someone his size, and he runs like his knees are tied together. It’s like the part of his body from his shoulders to his knees is not allowed to move, but his arms, head, and lower legs can flail about as much as they want. So I figured it would be a good way to embarrass him by challenging him to a race that everyone was watching. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we scheduled this right outside our office building and hyped it to the entire company. He talked a lot of smack and made himself look like an idiot, and I assured everyone that I was going to lose soundly. Everything went fine for the most part. We had some pre-race interviews that we staged, and the “gunshot” to start the race was our boss popping a balloon. Predictably, I was behind pretty early in the race, and lost by a good 10 yards.

Now if I had just left it at that, I would have loved this story. I lose like I’m supposed to, he wins like he’s supposed to, and he makes a fool out of himself by talking smack about being faster than a fat guy. Nothing to lose, right? But instead of losing like I was supposed to, I slipped in the last 15 feet of the race and skidded in the mud across the finish line. I guess all these years of diligently avoiding exercise finally got to me. I couldn't run 200 feet without falling. I slid a good 10 feet and did so while being filmed from two separate angles. So all his ridiculous personality flaws were overshadowed by my youtube-worthy finish. I almost quit my job out of shame. And if you want to see it, look up “race to save face” on youtube. You’ll get some good insight on the reason I decided to lose some weight.


jodi said...

Oooh! This is why I've avoided most physical activity since roughly age 11. I kept hoping I'd grow out of the clumsies. But at 35, I've pretty much given up hope. Losing weight really does help though. I went from a size 14 before I had the triplets to a size 8 afterward (they were far more effective than weight watchers), and I've found I hurt myself less. Although, I can usually count on the kids to leave me bruised and battered when they all try to hug me at once.

Matt said...

When is the rematch?

Taylor said...

I'm training again, so as soon as I lose those last 60 pounds. (The last 60 are so pesky!)