That one time I was passed by a speed walker

My mom and I apparently cannot talk enough. Even after my impromptu stop at her house during my last cross-training workout, we had an hour long conversation on the phone. We live about ten minutes away, I probably could have just biked over, but ehhh *shoulder shrug*, I just finished a short three mile run and just felt like being lazy. The bon-bons were calling.

We got on the conversation of speed walkers. I am absolutely fascinated by them, especially the uber competitive variety.

My mom and I were chatting and she suddenly broke out laughing.

"Wouldn't it be funny if you were passed by a speed walker during a race," her laughter continued, but suddenly halted when my end of the line remained silent, "Honey, are you still there?"

"Yeah, um actually--I have been passed by a speed walker before."


"It was kind of cool though, she had the motorcycle following along side and everything, you were there..."

At first I could hear the remorse in my Mom's voice about bringing it up, but then she started laughing again, "You were passed by a speed walker!"

Why I associate speed walking with comedy

The first time I had ever heard of competitive speed walking was during an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. It's the one where Hal decides to take up completive speed walking. Bryan Cranston who plays Hal always cracked me up, but when he put on the whole outfit, and topped it off with the helmet, it made me chuckle.

To top it off, Hal was naturally talented at it and trying to figure out why one of his rivals was suddenly so much better than him. He went so far as to video tape his competitor and analyze his gate. The punch line of the show was when Hal realized his competitor was letting both of the feet leave the ground ever three steps, an illegal move that made the walk be considered "running".

I loved how ruthless and competitive Hal was.

When the next summer Olympics were broad casted, I watched the speed walking race with my brother. He was hesitant at first, but I wanted to see the real thing in action, seeing as my only exposure was a thirty minute sitcom. It did not take long, we were soon both mesmerized.

"Look how smooth they are," Bro said with wide-eyed amazement.

"How do they move their hips like that?" I pulled out a notebook to take diagram notes and planned to dissect them later.

"They look like gazelles in water, with hideously colored lycra feathers."

"So beautiful," A stopped myself before the drool started to drip from my chin.

Speed walkers are even more amazing in person

Flash forward to the same fateful half marathon that RB and I ran together. The same one that the chub rub incident occurred. Just after the time my chaffing started to kick in somewhere between mile 11 and 12, I heard a motorcycle pull up behind me.

An official placard donned the front of the bike and the rider was cheerfully talking with the leading speed walker. The speed walker, a rock star woman was leading the pack (victory fist pump for women's awesomeness) and keeping up her part of the conversation without even sounding winded.

"I've finished second and fourth place the last couple years," she told the cyclist, "But this year I want to be first."

They passed me, and a whole pack of folks up on our right side --see, no shame if it was a mass passing, she obviously was just that good--and continued on for the last two miles.

After I reminded my Mom about the race she suddenly gasped, "I remember that now! I was by the finish area and everyone was cheering her on. That was really neat."

Neat-o indeed. I wished I could have seen her finish too, but I was still about a mile back grimacing with my red, irritated chubby thighs.

No shame

There is just something about speed walking that is so mesmerizing. It is not like most folks go out and say, "Honey, I'm going out around the block for an amazingly fast walk. Be back before supper."

No, its that they will go out for a run. I am a runner. I do not think I would have the patience to go out and learn the technique to be a competitive speed walker. But there is something about that just makes you want to watch. There is no way to look away.

I suppose it might be a bit of an ego blow for some to be passed up by those walking gazelles, but I thought it was awesome to witness. No shame in watching someone so talented in their craft that they can just leave you in their dust.

I will eat it humbly.

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