There was something strange about the way runners were warming up Sunday morning. They were sprinting in droves to the sign-up tent. Then excitedly waiting in line. Starting position? Raffle? T-shirt sizing?
Wrong, wrong, and for sooth.
We were each given giant radishes for participating in the race.
3000 participants, at two radishes a head, and that's a pretty huge goddamn run on the local radish harvest. All these people, scurrying around chattering, psyched about running and stupid radishes, and I'm the only one still confused.
"Congratulations on your hard fought finish--here are your sweet and delicious Hiruzen radishes, better luck next year."
"Wait, wait, don't I get a t-shirt? Something I can at least wear!?"
"Yes, but t-shirts cannot be enjoyed in stews, salads, or with boiled meats. Next in line please!"
"Wait, what the f--??"
"[in Japanese] Hey bro, so like, are you gonna hang on to those radishes, or what? Cause..."
Functional clothing would have been nice. Instead, the race organizers assumed a white chocolate bar, a Hiruzen tourism pamphlet, and these damned radishes would be nicer. And to think, I was just starting to forget I was still stuck in Japan.
Figure I'll give one to a friend who actually knows how to cook, and then keep the other under my bed to bludgeon any would-be apartment burglars looking to relieve me of my now broken PS3**.
Oh yeah, the actual race? Sadly, for all the pomp and circumstance, it was still a sloppy bag of arse. I plodded through the hilly and windswept 10k course in 41:21--an embarrassing time. One I certainly won't soon forget. Still good enough for 35th place though--soundly crushing all the old women, handicapped children, and that gangly Australian dude, yet slow enough to handily lose to the runners who were actually there for more than giant, penis-shaped vegetables.
Probably should have just slept in.
Would have been more productive.
**Tragic, unrelated incident