T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f C h i c a g o J o

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My Rant After the SLC Marathon

2006-06-04† Ė† 12:15 p.m.
Dear Angel/Angela/Whatever your name was,

I encountered you yesterday as I trudged along in yesterdayís SLC Marathon. Those miles along the highway were especially rough since there was no shade, water stops were scarce when you considered the June heat, and there was seemingly no end in sight.

Iíve been running for a little over a year, and Iíve got to say that runners are by far and large some of the friendliest people Iíve ever met. Whether itís understanding the pain endured that disappears as soon as the finish line is crossed, knowing how long each of us worked to get to a point where we could keep our bodies in motion for 26.2 miles, or knowing that each of us will hop in the shower later that day to find chafing in places we didnít think to check, thereís an instant camaraderie between those who hit the pavement.

When I passed you sitting on the edge of the highway, initially I was concerned. If you were in such bad shape that you had to sit down at mile 13ish, Iíd need to summon someone to give you a hand. After all of the effort Iíd already expended, could I run fast enough to the officer down the way? Would a bike official be around faster? Was there a highway mile marker I could use to point out to aid the safety personnel in finding you? Did I need to give you some of my water?

However, as I approached, I saw a puff of smoke.


When I said, "You are *not* smoking," as I passed you in the SLC Marathon yesterday, I wasn't saying it to make you feel all cute and funny that you stopped during the marathon for a smoke.

When you giggled and said, ďIím a smoker [shrug],Ē you embodied everything thatís awful about smokers: the inconsiderate, self-entitled crap that bothers the hell out of the rest of us who choose not to smoke.

Yes, itís your right to smoke anywhere the laws donít prohibit you from smoking. I would never give you the stink eye in a bar or while driving your car... But on the fucking marathon path?!

And after enduring the massive hill at mile 7ish, navigating the marathon and half-marathon splits, the lack of shade throughout, the unending boredom of running along a frigginí highway, and being at whatís already a mentally challenging part of any marathon, there you were, pulled over on the side, puffing away.

There were 5,000 others out there who worked their tails off to be there. We logged our weekly miles. We rubbed Vaseline on our blisters post-run. We wore Band-Aids on our nipples. We endured cold baths and showers to avoid muscle soreness the next day.

God forbid you take any of that away in making the marathon -- the pinnacle of our efforts -- anymore difficult on any one of us who breathed in your bad habit.

Shame on you for being such a jerk!

P.S. Donít think that my mind has glossed over the irony that a good chunk of the runners were running the race to raise money for cancer.†

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