Fuel belts, attack dogs, and crack houses oh my!

    Ahhhh running. Just when you think you're starting to get the hang of it they throw you a curve ball. Like, for example, all of the must have gear. The gps watch, the heart rate monitor, and the ever dreaded....fuel belt. This fanny pack of running is generally worn when one does not or will not have access to water while running long distances, or in extreme heat. I myself currently live and run in the south where temperatures have reached what scientists are now referring to as, "frickin hot."

  After bonking* on several of my last runs and having to bum water and Gatorade off the people in the park with the promise that I wouldn't "bother them or their family again," I decided to invest in one of these things. I have since decided that the catholic church should make an investment into these things as they are about THE most effective preventer of pre marital sex I have ever found. Allow me to share an example. While running the local greenway this past weekend I encountered three gorgeous, barely clad coeds on roller skates. ROLLER SKATES. An event not since seen outside of a Cinemax midnight movie since the late 1970's. I, of course, was wearing my brand new nifty, pink Gatorade filled fuel belt.

  On a normal occasion I can usually get a smile and a wave, or at least an "awwwww.....look at that one over there! Poor thing." Alas, not even the lining up up venus in front of the sun and whatever other other-worldly events had to coincide to produce this event could outmatch the Urkel glasses of running gear. As I garnered a complete non-look from the girls I wondered how bad dying of dehydration could really be?

The fuel belt just completes the image.

*note to the reader: "bonking," much like "fartlek," "pr," "Bq," and "dnf," are running terms that long ago a bunch of running nerds made up to sound cool and failed abysmally at. In this case it refers to essentially running out of energy / will power to do something dumb on your run. Rest assured faithful readers, as soon as they accept me as one of their own, I will try to introduce words into the sport that do not look like they should be coming out of the mouth of someone at a star trek convention.
   As I continued on my run I was lucky enough to see several sheriff's cars pull over and initiate a raid in a crack house. Fun stuff! As I watched and realized that the female officer was not in fact beckoning me over, but giving me the "move along" signal I became so very familiar with in college I was again treated to a rare spectacle. The next house over had a rather large dog in the front yard whose owner was being assaulted by his neighbor. (I run only in the finest neighborhoods.) the offending neighbor then made his way over to the dog and what followed looked like a police  training video. Another few minutes of gawking went by before I realized that I am in fact, a white guy in short-esque shorts wearing a futuristic looking fanny pack around his waist, standing in the ghetto.  Deciding that I should probably get ahead and get moving I headed back along my route and towards my car, the rest of my run uneventful. The worst part? I didn't even need the fuel belt that day.

If I've learned anything along my runs it's that sometimes you get to see interesting stuff. From morning walks of shame, to drug house busts, on the rare occasion it pays to be out there getting your run in.
 In completely unrelated news every time I pass a house or an apartment where I see a plethora of dirty running shoes outside the front door my mind automatically plays the scene from the original ninja turtles movies where Michelangelo encounters another nun chuck user. "A fellow chucker, eh?"

   Or maybe it's not so unrelated.  Just like maybe those running lingo words that only runners use aren't really so bad. Just like the dirty and beat up shoes out front, maybe those words help to remind us that there are fellow runners out there, to help define us, to remind us that we are part of an exclusive club. A club that includes athletes of all levels, from the Olympics to the average joe. A club that just about every human being on the planet can join, and doesn't cost a dime. So, on second thought, let's keep those terms around. Fartlek on runners, fartlek on.

   Thanks again for reading, and as always, ANY advice for this newbie runner is always appreciated! Here's to all of you out there crushing the roads, trails, tracks and especially the ones cheering at the finish line! (We appreciate you more than you know.)


  1. I made a belt a few months ago. To no surprise my too was also pink. Although it didn't have any water bottle holder. It did have a pocket for my huge phone (used for gps) at that time. I no longer use this belt as I began pushing my self farther and farther. I have now purchased a hydration pack. I used this pack almost every run but try not to drink out of it unless running 10 miles or more. I do by the way put between 5-10 lbs of leg weights in along with the water. This has improved my time. Belt, packs, hand held bottles, shorty shorts, whatever. I don't care what others think about when I run because the people who usually make comments are inactive. Stay active any way you look and keep running!


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