It just had to happen at the top race of the year.

I try to do everything right. I live right. I eat right. I exercise, meditate, and get plenty of sleep. I watch my macros and I supplement my diet and I follow my coach’s training program to a ‘T’. I do all the things we’re constantly told to do to stay healthy and be competitive.

And I’m knocked out of the most important race of the year by a gum issue. Yes, gum. A large pink wad of the stuff that someone chose to spit out onto the street instead of into the trash can positioned not more than fifteen feet away. The blacktop of the street insured that it would be at absolute maximum stickiness in the boiling summer heat when I stepped on it in my $400 race shoes one minute before the race was supposed to begin.

My saboteur’s rich diet of rubbery goo needed only the split second of contact when the ball of my right foot pressed down to bond itself with the sole of my shoe in a way that only a PhD chemist from an Ivy-league school could properly explain.

It took a few moments before my brain reacted to the new and contrasting sensations of squishy stickiness and rough grating traveling up my leg. This was long enough for me to take several additional steps before stopping and looking down, first at my shoe, then back down the tendrils of pink webbing that now connected my foot to the road several feet behind me. With the start of the race only seconds away, I immediately sat down to free myself from my entanglement. The squishy feeling was obviously from the gum, the grating sensation was coming from sand and peddles that my additional steps had picked up and added to the mix.

In a panic I quickly began trying to scrape the concoction from my shoe, first with my hands, then with some paper and other bits of trash I found lying on the street next to me. These attempts succeeded only in further ensnaring me in the former gum chewers trap, who I was now convinced must have been one of my fellow race competitors hoping for just such an outcome. As I continue to try and free myself I fantasize about getting in a heated argument with the race director, loudly asking “How could he let such a thing happen?!”, and then realize that the most I would probably do would be to write an inane memo politely stating that “It would really be a good idea to ask that people not chew gum before races.”

A loud clicking sound interrupts my combination of daydreaming and frenetic machinations and I look up from the entanglement of sticky pink strings which now connect not just my shoe to the pavement but have ensnared both hands as well. Across the street the official race photographer has aimed his camera directly at me and is madly pressing the shutter to record the scene I have presented him with.

In an almost out-of-body experience I imagine myself in the photographer’s position, seeing in my mind’s eye the potentially Pulitzer-prize winning photos he must be framing up and recording through his viewfinder, realizing that he could not have created better images had he tried to pose me himself.

Word Combinations: top race, live right, gum issue, rich diet, inane memo, pose me