Saturday, October 4th I ran my first 5k race.
The day before the race, I looked around the house for my new running shorts I bought just for this special occasion. I didn't want to stand out and not look like I belonged. The shorts are made from a very light breathable fabric and they have their own built in underwear. Tight and pinchy- kind of like man's swimming suits. Light, uncomfortable, but what I was sure everyone else would be wearing. I couldn't find them anywhere.
I asked my wife Amy if she had seen them.
"No." she said as she is looking through our first grader's backpack.
"Did you wash them?"
"I haven't seen them." She said with a little bit of attitude.
"Well you had to have seen them because I hung them up on the closet doorknob in the living room. I didn’t move them, so I know you moved them," I said accusingly.
"Al, they were dirty and smelly, and we had people over last Sunday, and yes I moved them! They were disgusting!"
"Ah, ha!" I shouted. "I knew you moved them. So where did you put them?"
"I don't know!" she yelled, and then ever so quietly she followed it up with, "Idiot!"
"What did you say?"
"Nothing," she said as she pretended to have forgotten about the whole thing and dove back into the never-ending book bag.
The next day, at seven in the morning, I am still fixated on the shorts that I can't find. I get out of the shower and see a dark pair of shorts on top of the dirty clothes basket. I grabbed them and ran downstairs.
"See! I told you that you moved the shorts! Because I didn't take them upstairs," I said with triumph like I had just made a major point in a nationally televised debate.
Amy is sipping her morning coffee and watching some cartoon the kids have on the TV. This is where Amy proved, without a doubt, that she is superior to me. "That's great honey. I am glad you found them. Are they dirty or clean?"
I didn't think about where I found them, I just looked at them for a second and went completely blank. "I don't know."
Amy was already two steps ahead of me. She knew that there is only one way to tell if the shorts were clean or not. Without thinking, I did it. I smelled my own dirty shorts. As my own personal funk hit my nose, I knew that she had gotten me good. I could not hide the instant revulsion I felt. I thought Amy was going to hurt herself she was laughing so hard.
I showed up to the race wearing my clean basketball shorts. Not authentic running shorts.
The race itself was hard. I have no hills in my neighborhood, but the race had these slow rolling hills and it made it very difficult. I did not like the sun in my face either. The important thing to me was that I finished the race and I ran the whole way. I did it. I came in 94th place. There were a few hundred people there so I have no idea what that means outside of my personal goal of completing the run.
I may run another 5k someday, but dirty or clean, I will never smell my own shorts again.