Thursday, January 10, 2008

Greetings From the Heartland...


and, first let me say Congratulations! to all the new Slugs; and welcome (i've been following the '08 fattest butt story). there are hundreds of lies about this little gang of hoodlums, and how each came to be slugs. my entry into the "Warped-World" of Running Man & Co. came in the fall of 1990. and, it is TRUE. in the spring i had graduated from florida state university in tallahassee, and september found me sitting in a graduate statistics class at ODU in norfolk, virginia. just two seats in front of me, and one aisle over sat this short, barrel-chested fellow, that always seemed to be happy and gawking around. but, that's not what drew my attention to him. rather, this squat little fellow always seemed to be talking...about...running, and then giving you a funny, wicked smile. come on slugs, you know which one i mean, right???

now i was no athlete, though i did "throw back some serious 12 oz. curls" at fsu, back in the day. then, there was the intramural jello wrestling. but, i'll save that for another letter. as the semester wore on, myself and this odd fellow became fast friends. and we talked, running. and not just jogging for fun, 5k stuff, but marathoning; and intervals, and protein shakes, and hundred dollar pairs of shoes. he seemed to have a one track mind. just when i thought i'd heard it all he told me he was running fifty miles this weekend.

course, i didn't believe him; but did agree to meet him out in western maryland, at a tiny, teenie, little ultra-event; best known as jfk. and he ran, and wobbled, and struggled, and finished. i was smitten, not with this "psycho endurance athlete" but with the idea or running until i couldn't run any further. course the thought was fleeting, and once i saw his toes, and the way he walked for three days, i quickly came to my senses.

until about a month later at mr.taco in virginia beach. we were sucking down tacos and inhaling some cheap beer. life as graduate students ... GUUUUUDD. we were feeling better and better, and as drunk young men do began to get incorrigible toward one another. bottom line, he challenged me to finish a Slug-run, and i was so "wasted" i agreed, shook hands, and signed in ink. there WERE witnesses(who were sober). now, i don't know about you all, but in iowa where i come from a man's word, is his word. it was a done deal. my ass was grass.

so, da'hitman convenes every sluggo in southeastern virginia; and conjures up this fifty kilometer track TWO days. i can't back out, and i can't lie; though i'd never ran over five miles, he had convinced me i could finish. First mistake, i believed him; Second mistake, i wanted that Black Slug Shirt way too bad. though i can't lie, to this day, 16 years later, it's still my favorite t-shirt (though folks never believe how i came to get it)

there's not much else to tell. the pic at the top says it all. i did finish; 124 laps in just under nine hours. it was not pretty, and i was not happy about it. but, i refused to quit. i would prove him wrong, and take my shirt home. and i did. and i was pissed at him for months. i was sure he'd tried to kill me. in fact, i've never ran again, NEVER, not even a 5k. but, i'm still a slug.

and, now after all these years; i look back on that day with great joy. further, i'd share that i've been fortunate to have been loved by a lot of family and friends in this lifetime; but there are few that have given me what that "insane, dangerous, smiling, barrel-chested slug" gave me on that cool saturday morning all those years ago.
as my olde drinking buddy flatfoot fred would say...
happy days,

john "mr.clean" sorenson
tsi, iowa farming division

p.s. all those nasty rumours about the mayor's wife in amish country are true :)

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