Drinking the Kool-Aid
Ahh, the running Kool-Aid! Akin to the Kool-Aid served by Reverend Jim Jones to his cult followers but with much less dire consequences. A means of getting people to do something they really want to do, but just don’t know it yet. Anyone can whip up a batch and start serving. Here’s how it's done:
Step 1: Someone gets a bright idea and signs up for a race. (Let’s say it’s a destination marathon in Maine).
Step 2: They start arm twisting their friends into signing up and the friends comply.
Step 3: Now that there’s a little gang going, they widen the net, perhaps looking for newbies to the distance. They try to convince them it’s something they really want to do or maybe even NEED to do.
Step 4: One of the original friends posts a picture of the 26.2 sticker sent to them by the race and it has a mermaid on it. Uh oh!
Step 5: The newbie starts chugging this kool-aid like it’s last call and signs up.
Step 6: Regret, vomiting, tears and general malaise.
Step 7: Watch the race video and cry every day. No one said there were gently rolling hills that look like mountains in the video.
Step 8: Train like there’s no tomorrow and love every minute of it.
Step 9: Survive the really hilly course and have an epic finish with your whole team cheering.
Step 10: Start looking for your own Kool-Aid to serve!
OK, that was my first Kool-Aid story and since then, I’ve been the victim of much more and I’ve served my fair share too. Kool-Aid is not limited to running either; I accidentally drank some and ended up becoming a dang triathlete. That was a surprisingly potent batch served by a master mixologist.
Sometimes the Kool-Aid comes in the form of real libation. Maybe your victim needs a little fireball or perhaps some Trish Delish to press the register button. No shame, whatever it takes.
There are definite pros to drinking the Kool-Aid. Right after my first batch, I drank a second batch and ended up running the Chicago marathon. How the heck did that happen? I even had to raise money for that one, talk about 100 proof Kool-Aid! BUT, what a fantastic experience, a great city, a great race with a flat course and it remains my marathon PR. Drinking Kool-Aid also led me to NOLA where I learned of the open container law. Umm, hello, if crossing a finish line with a mimosa is not a pro, then nothing is!
Now, the first batch of triathlon Kool-Aid had a distinctly different flavor. It tasted like Benjamins, as I doled them out for a bike, wetsuit, Tri kit and numerous other things I had no idea I needed. But the training brought a whole new batch of crazy people into my life and that first race finish was a thrill. Since then, I have served my own Tri Kool-Aid to innocent victims and although they may have felt I betrayed our friendship by doing so, they too felt that immeasurable thrill at the finish line. And yes, we’re still friends, but I may be pressing my luck as I nudge them toward a longer distance!
Everyone has their own Kool-Aid stories and not all Kool-Aid is dramatic. Sometimes it’s just about getting everyone to sign up for a local race to enhance the huge finish line party, or it may be to support a great cause in your community. Just know, if you run with a group, you are susceptible. What the hell, take a sip! It may not change your life, but then again, it very well may do just that!!
Run and done