I finally resumed running today after the ill-fated Corn Dog Plague of 2015. 7 cautious miles (12:59, 13:15, 13:38, 13:47, 13:38, 15:46, 15:34) on the bay. And I thought about what an odd thing running is. How it can be going so well and then go horribly wrong. Just ask Track Jenny.
Jenny Simpson is my second-favorite runner named Jenny S. She won the gold at worlds in 2011 in the 1500. Then she missed a repeat in 2013 by 0.32 of a second. 0.32 OF A SECOND! That’s less time than it takes the other Jenny to down a donut with sprinkles. OK, maybe not. She had been working relentlessly to get that gold back. By her count, 2,040, 805 steps, to be exact. She was ready. She was in the finals. She was duking it out for the finish line. And then, her shoe got caught by another runner. She had to finish the race with a bare foot. It was the cruelest face possible. She never got the chance to see what she had at the finish. Still, she didn’t quit.
She finished the race with a bare foot. 11th place. I don’t think they give medals for 11th. It had to be totally heartbreaking. And still, her tweet: “Many times things have gone my way. Tonight they didn’t. I have a lot to be grateful for especially incredible support of family and fans.” No Mary Decker whine, no call for sympathy, just a graceful nod to her supporters and a bit of wisdom. Somewhere along the path to the finish, we all eat a corn dog or lose a shoe. All we can do is shrug, pick ourselves up and try again. Well done, Track Jenny. Jenny runners are the best. Kick some butt at Rio. Just another 2,040, 805 steps or so away. But if they have corn dogs in the cafeteria there, maybe go for the Cocomama instead …
(full disclosure: track jenny and i both have shoe deals with new balance. they send her money and she wears their shoes. solimilarly, i send them money and i wear their shoes. she must have a better agent than i do.)