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Kopac's Corner

The Truth About Cats and Dogs and Runners

by Bob Kopac

Some time ago Newsweek published an interview with Janeane Garofalo, one of the stars of the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs, wherein Ms. Garofalo was quoted as saying "I have weird rules about running." There was no mention of what the weird rules were, and running readers and reading runners must have been left perplexed and right perplexed. At least I was, until I decided to attempt to determine what the weird rules could possibly be. As the result of my analysis (Jungian), I offer the following as possible weird rules that Ms. Garofalo may follow.

  1. The Blue-Moon rule. Run only in a month that has a blue moon. For the uninitiated, i.e., those who never joined the Masons or the Dixons, a "Blue Moon" is the second full moon within the same month. The odds of that happening are, well, once in a blue moon.
  2. The Great-Dane rule. To avoid being attacked by large dogs while running, run with an even larger dog. By holding onto the leash, you can consistently set PRs as you are dragged along the course. Alternatively, you can run alongside a Viking (perhaps this is how the Rosendale, NY, Viking Run came into existence).
  3. The Run-With-the-Wolves rule. This extension of the Great-Dane rule is for running in neighborhoods with very large dogs. Combining this rule with Rule 1 results in your running with werewolves.
  4. The R rule. Run only in months that do not contain the letter 'R'. This hot rule seriously cuts down on the number of months you can run, unless you live in Boston.
  5. The Safety-In-Numbers rule. Run with enough runners that you feel safe from irate motorists with IQs lower than the speed limit. In Dutchess County, NY, the number is two (the number of runners, not the IQ of the motorists (on second thought, both)). As you approach New York City, the number of fellow runners should increase to two to the hundredth; with so many potential victims, you can easily be overlooked and thus escape. Alternatively, run with the President and get the use of his bodyguards for free (and their firepower for New York City).
  6. The Jerry-Springer rule. Run only on days when you feel that the topic of the Jerry-Springer Show describes your life. Then, run as hard as you can and don't look back.
  7. The Largest rule or Largesse rule. Run only in those races that offer the greatest number of free handouts. A good rule of thumb is to find races that give back ten dollars of merchandise for each dollar of the race entry fee; that is, find government races.
  8. The Strom-Thurmond rule. Avoid running with Strom Thurmond since he'll run forever.
  9. The Cross-Training rule, Part A. Run with someone performing another sport. For example, you'll run faster with someone who is inline skating but slower with someone who is performing Tai Chi.
  10. The Cross-Training rule, Part B. Run with RuPaul.
  11. The Millennium rule. Run as if the end of the world were nigh. Or the end of your running career. Or both.
  12. The Tanker rule. Run only after consuming four gallons of liquids to avoid dehydration. However, this limits you to running circles around a portable toilet.
  13. The Safety-Pin rule. Run with four safety pins pinned to your top in case you ever need them for race numbers. This isn't so weird unless you run shirtless, but then you become popular with the body-piercing crowd.
  14. The Workaholic rule. Do not run on a workday but run extra hard on weekends. This is the rule most appreciated by your doctor when he or she wants to buy a Mercedes-Benz convertible.
  15. The Leveling rule. Avoid hills--train only on totally flat roads. This shouldn't put you at a disadvantage in a race because of the following logic: a) all runners hate hills; b) all race directors are runners; therefore it follows that c) all race directors hate hills. Conclusion: race directors would never put any hills in a race.
  16. The Electrifying rule. Run in a lightning storm while wearing a Sony Walkman and carrying metal hand-weights. If you would like to reduce the odds of being a human lightning rod, run around a golf course. The chances are that golfers will be out on the course, and they will be more likely to be struck by lightning because polyester attracts lightning. The only other explanation for why so many golfers are struck by lightning is that God does not like polyester.
  17. The Symbiotic-Leech rule. Find a running partner who runs faster than you run. The theory is that your partner will help to push you to faster times. There are two flaws with this theory, however. The first flaw is that it is impossible for your partner to push you if he or she is ahead of you. I could see pulling you but not pushing you. The second flaw is what if everyone follows this rule? Then no one would run with anyone who is slower, but with two people, one would have be slower. Therefore it is impossible for two people to run together, which is why running is such a solitary sport.
  18. The Fashion-Statement rule. Do not run unless your running outfit is completely color-coordinated. This can lead to difficulties if you want to run a race wearing the T-shirt that is found in the race packet. You must carry enough shorts, socks, shoes, bandannas, and hats for every possible T-shirt color. The downside is that you might get arrested for not having a vendor's license. This rule has been simplified in the past few years by most race directors opting for white T-shirts.
  19. The The-Truth-About-Cats-and-Dogs rule. Run in neighborhoods that contain cats, not dogs, unless the cats are cougars, in which case follow Rule 3.
  20. The Ninja rule. Run in black or dark running clothes early in the morning or late at night. If cars can't see you, then they have less of a chance of hitting you.
  21. Finally, the What-You-Don't-See-Can't-Hurt-You rule. Run with traffic instead of facing traffic.

These last two rules seem to be the weirdest rules of all, but I see many runners following them. The longer they follow these rules, the more chances they will encounter the Darwinian-Theory-Of-Running rule: the natural selection of those best adapted to survive in the struggle for existence; or, in other words, Stupid Runners Die.