day was sunny and cool. A long line of cars pushed its way through the startled, quiet residential streets. They snaked their way around silently searching for a parking lot. The mental health volunteers screwed up; they didn’t really know what they were doing. About ten of us overshot and hit the Institute for the Blind - then we all did 3-point turns. We were looking for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and kept driving until we found the right lot. Yes, the mental health volunteers fucked up a little bit but no driver dared get mad at them.
There were almost 400 people at the 5k and 10k race and I was in a competitive category. I furtively checked out the other females. A tall, slim blonde girl was doing ambitious Yoga stretches on the rocky rough pavement. Her lithe body appeared to be built to run and her eyes held a determination required for success. Another girl with a giant ass - a body holding as much weight behind her as a picknic-filled backpack, stood confidently.
I struck up a conversation with a girl with a friendly face about running, universities, and the north vs. the west . Suddenly, she cooly stated ‘I am getting water, good luck on the race though…’ I felt like a dismissed slimy guy trying to talk her up in a bar. I vowed to never speak to her again. Ever.
The 10k race finished one hour and six minutes later. A couple of people cheered as I passed the finish line and a mental health volunteer handed me an orange-cup. “thanks!” The hill at the end; it was steep and terrible and it was hot. Those are my excuses. I grabbed a lot of orange-cups and watched people who came in almost 2 hours after the race started ‘hooray! It is over!’ I yelled in an encouraging way. I did not clap for people who walked over the finish line.
At the award ceremony, the yoga girl and the girl who-I-will-never-speak-to-again wore medals together for a media shoot. I won a Latino Dance Club Mix CD in a random draw at the end. The female winner of the 5k race walked up with a baby and gave the medal to her. She was amazing. The top male finished thirty minutes ahead of me. He was amazing. Soon after, I drove home in my little black car. My legs hurt. The sun was too bright. I was thirsty. I performed well that day for my category: a pleasure seeker who still drinks, smokes, and eats french fries and chocolate. I heard the voice of a sweet mental health volunteer in the air saying thank-you as I turned up the dance music.