Nine months ago, on the hottest day of July, at 2:47pm, I ran a 6:09 mile. I had not run a mile at any reasonably respectable speed since the fall of 1993, when I ran a 5 minute mile on the tarmac at Goodfellow AFB. Back then I was single, weighed 160 pounds, and had yet to discover alcohol, sushi, second breakfast, and a great many other vices that can impede performance.
Anyway, I would not have run nearly that fast last July had I not had a compelling incentive; there were 11 members of the Mexican Mafia of Marion at the track, ready to enforce the outcome of the event. You see, I was racing against one of their own. El Conejo was 22 and very eager. I suspect he had never had the straight-up opportunity to beat a white man at anything. He drank a contraband energy drink before the race and was bouncing around the track. I was stretching and drinking water.
If I won, which they all deemed highly unlikely, then a friend of mine who had gotten himself into debt with the MMM (and had no easy way to repay), would be released from their grip. If I lost, then this friend of mine would become the, how shall I say this, the ‘servant’ of the MMM. It was imperative I win, and so I had skipped my normal morning weight-lifting and scheduled the run at the hottest time of the day. You see, … Read the rest