Clubs   Places   Groups   Races   Results   Writing   Message Board   Search 

Junque Miles:

By Mark Roberts

It's In the Bag

There are a couple of things that all runners have in common:

1 The ownership of a gear bag to carry supplies for running, like shoes, socks, shorts, etc.

2 The chaos and squalor within that bag... because of all the stuff in there besides shoes, socks and running supplies.

A while back I switched to smaller, easier to carry bag, but what I lack in volume I make up with the sheer intrensity of Chaos and Squalor. (And wouldn't that be a great name for a law firm?) A recent exploratory trip through the depths of my running bag (don't worry; I'm specially trained) was kind of like an archaelogical expedition. Not (quite) in terms of the age of the artifacts I uncovered, but definitely in terms of their unfathomability. Along with the inevitable "why is this in here???" were a few items I couldn't identify at all. For all I know one of them could be a high-tech bugging device mistakenly planted by a confused FBI agent trying to eavesdrop on a terrorist whose lookalike bag passed through airport security at the same time as mine. "Agent 26 to base. He's going to do something called a Fartlek! Do I have permission to use deadly force?"

Having gotten the obligatory "fartlek" joke out of the way, here are a few things I could identify:

An all-day pass for the London Underground. Expired six months ago. No telling when that might come in handy.

Entry forms for several races I didn't run last year.

A pass to the 1996 Boston Marathon post-race party. I think I was the only one of my friends who didn't give his away to a homeless person on the street. It felt really good to help out someone in need ...and I'm sure we made that party a much more interesting event.

Here's a legacy of my days as a motorcycle roadracer: the plastic puck used to protect the knee of racing leathers when it drags on the ground in fast corners. I must admit that I keep that around for sentimental reasons, but I suppose I could come up with some sort of rationalization for saving it. It could make a good weapon in an emregency. On the other hand it might be mistaken for one of the less edible varieties of "sports nutrition" bars on the market. Some of which also qualify as weapons.

I have a package of band-aids and other such supplies that I got in a marathon goody bag some time around 1995. (I've never used any of them because the label says "Guaranteed sterile until opened" and I've never figured out a way to use the damn things without opening them.)

An empty Aleve bottle. I think the pills themselves may have been consumed by someone mistaking them for candy...or by an ultramarathoner who knew what they were but, like all ultramarathoners, eats anti-inflammatories as if they were candy. (They probably grind them up to use as toppings on their ice cream cones, too.)

A key ring with a tag engraved "GRTC Freezeroo Series - Second Place", which I've been meaning to take to an engraving place so I can have them add "yeah, and third place was Dennis Moriarty* - nyah, nyah, nyah!"

Two floppy disks. Probably containing results from races long past and kept on hand in case I want to get Don Mitchell to download me results of another event some day. That is, provided the disks are still any good after being subjected to the environment inside my gear bag for a year or two. Microsoft is working on a new error message just for me: "DISK ERROR - ABORT, RETRY OR BUY A FRESH FLOPPY DISK YOU CHEAPSKATE".

Enough pre-paid Runner's World subscription cards to form a long, if somewhat repetitious, paperback book.

Enough Powerbar wrappers to sew together to make a quilt space blanket. (And aren't you jealous that you didn't think of that idea first?)

One spare sock that doesn't match any other sock I have ever owned.

Safety pins. Lots of safety pins.

And here's a gem: Last year's list of New Year's resolutions. I can always keep that for use next year and just add "clean out running gear bag" to the list. Fortunately that gives me 8 months breathing room. Now let's see, there must be a pen in here somewhere...

* The only reason I finished ahead of Dennis in the series was because he missed one of the races. Sadly, there probably won't be enough space to include that information in the engraving.

Copyright © 2001 Mark Roberts

Back to page top

  Next article: The Year of the Bus.

  Previous article: Wineglass Marathon.

  Back to Junque Miles Index.

  Back to Rochester Running Page home.

Rochester Running Page Home

Page design copyright ©2014 Mark Roberts