Monday, May 09, 2005

Dropping the M-bomb

Running a marathon is supposed to be its own reward. But the feeling of finishing is nothing compared to the opportunity it grants to those of us who are prone to bragging about ourselves.

The marathon is both an achievement and an excuse. It is a chance to impress and shock, and a chance to assure someone that, despite all appearances, you are really a dedicated athlete; your body the flesh equivalent of a Ducati motorcycle: fit, lean, built for speed.

Telling someone that you ran a marathon recently immediately changes the complexion of any conversation, demolishing the former subject like an explosion. Anytime you say, "I ran a marathon last weekend," you are dropping the M-Bomb.

A little ski-trip is the perfect opportunity to drop the M-bomb scores of times during the day. I used it often to impress strangers on the chairlift:

CHAIRLIFT CONVERSATION 1:

STRANGER: So, what brings you out to Colorado?

JON: I ran a marathon last week, and I thought I deserved a break.

STRANGER: You sir, are a god among men. (Although I never pictured god to be so overweight.)

-scene-

CHAIRLIFT CONVERSATION 2:

STRANGER: So, isn't the weather nice?

JON: The snow is nice and all, but this wind really reminds me of the wind on the course of the Big Sur Marathon, which I happened to run last week. Did I mention that it's the hardest major marathon in the U.S.?

STRANGER: Well, if you can run one, I guess anyone can,

-scene-

CHAIRLIFT CONVERSATION 3:

JON: Isn't this a big mountain.

ATTRACTIVE FEMALE SKI-BUM STRANGER: It's the highest in Summit County, 12.500 feet at the summit.

JON: Wow, that's just a little taller than Hurricane Point, a hill I had to run up when I ran the Big Sur Marathon last week. Did I mention I ran a marathon?

ATTRACTIVE FEMALE SKI-BUM STRANGER: I'm having a party tonight. Want to come and tell all of my very attractive friends about the marathon? I have a hot tub.

-scene-

Of course, the M-bomb doesn't always have to be used to impress people. It can also be used to re-assure people of your athletic prowess. Believe it or not, much of my ski trip was spent panting, trying to draw oxygen out of Colorado's Everest-thin air. I only blacked out twice while skiing, but my apparent discomfort prompted concerned strangers to inquire as to my well-being:

CONCERNED STRANGER: Are you okay there buddy?

JON (Panting): Yeah.

CONCERNED STRANGER: Then why are you coughing up blood onto the snow?

JON: I'm fine. (Cough. Cough.) I ran a marathon last weekend.

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