Saturday, June 13, 2009

06/13: Dadfest 5K

WARNING: This report contains descriptions of intrusive medical indignities, a by-product of the aging process, of a moderately intimate and mildly disturbing nature. In other words, perhaps too much information. But if you can’t blog about your first prostate exam, then why the hell did Al Gore even invent the internet?

Having finished all my usual prerace ablutions - stretching, jogging, retching - and still having almost a half hour before showtime, I decided to check out the free prostate screenings since I am approaching the age (or past it, depending on whose literature you read) where these things need to be monitored on a regular basis. I thought there wouldn’t be much of a crowd before the race and I also thought they would only be doing the minimally invasive PSA test.

I was half right. It wasn’t the half I would have preferred to have gotten correct. The volunteers were unsure how long the process would take but the heat index outdoors was already in the quadruple digits. I wouldn’t be crushed if I missed the race.

So, about fifteen minutes before the start of a 5K I was in a hotel meeting room, stuck behind a flimsy privacy curtain with my shorts somewhere between my knees and my ankles, bent at the waist and clutching a metal folding chair for physical and moral support while some dude’s finger was poking around up my butt. If there is a too-much-information section to this account, I’d like to think we’ve safely navigated past it now. The attending medical attendant did try to put me at ease - bought me dinner, a couple of drinks. The seductive vocal stylings of the Rotund Romeo played over the muzak system. While not one I’m anxious to repeat, it wasn’t that horrific an experience - on a par with, although in no way similar to, eating beets.

After he was done with the exam and his ensuing purification rituals, he checked normal on the form and said, “There’s nothing we need to be worried about right now.” What comforting phraseology! I hope when it is time to start being concerned he remembers to let me know because I’d hate to miss out on some good worry time.

The race hadn’t started yet. Properly traumatized, I made my way to the staging area and got in a few more stretches before they sent us off. I know it’s partially a hangover from last week, but I really didn’t like this course which mostly meandered through a major mixed-use development and some adjacent not-yet-developed streets. We didn’t run on the Central Expressway access road but we came close - twice. I’m pretty sure the running surface was 100% concrete although at times it seemed more like 200%. They can’t all be winners, I guess. I ran the first half of the race at a mediocre pace and that turned out to be the highlight; there were frequent short walking breaks over the second half. After thirteen miles last week I ran the last tenth in under 43 seconds; after three miles this week I ran the last tenth in 48 flat. We’re about a week away from the start of summer and I’m already counting the days until October.

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