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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

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Wed 13
Oct
2004

My legs are steel springs

Max I have started running. When I tell people this—people who know me, or went to high school with me, or have ever seen me run—the color drains from their face and they make little cawing noises in the back of their throat. I’ve never been one for running; in fact, I’ve never been a big supporter of exercise in general. Not as a participation sport, anyway. But when I had Snow I had to walk her, and that didn’t seem to wear her out so I started running with her (if her tongue was hanging out by the time we got home, I got a point; otherwise she did), then Snow went back to her owner but for some reason I am still running.

There’s a nice track along a river near my house, so almost every morning I go out and run along that. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Guys who run past me are just showing off
  • Guys who run past me and say, “Morning mate, how are you going?”, like one bloke did this morning, are really showing off. (In response, I managed to insert, “Hi,” into an explosive exhalation.)
  • Girls are bouncy
  • I don’t care how well-ventilated they are, I’m not wearing those tiny running shorts that are slit all the way up your hips.

Now I have done the unthinkable and entered a 10km (6.25mi) fun run. It’s on the 24th of this month (and sponsored by Nike, which is apt), and my goals are:

  1. To complete the course without stopping
  2. Or dying
  3. And before everyone else has packed up and gone home.

My Dad was a mad keen runner (some would say obsessive), so I feel incredibly stupid for only taking this up after he’s gone. I want to ask him a heap of questions. And I would have loved to have gone running with him. But I have his running watch, and I’ll be wearing it on the 24th, and in a way that’s almost the same.