SAT., SEPT. 6, 2003
Running – or for that matter performing any of the motions the body should be doing in order to ensure its survival even though they’re no longer really necessary to ensure survival – sounds like a good idea until the shoes hit the pavement, until you remember the theorem that states that a body at rest should remain at rest until acted upon by another force. Runners like to talk about endorphins and that mercurial state of euphoria known as “runner’s high,” but getting there is usually a long, ugly trip over several miles of bone-jarring pavement – sort of like a heroin junkie stabbing himself repeatedly in the arm in search of a vein. Seen objectively, either fix is a tough sell, yet there are other undeniable health benefits to running that heroin addiction can’t match even if endorphins only place a close second in the euphoria race. For instance, the only track marks in running are the ones you leave on the pavement, meaning you can wear those scandalously revealing running clothes and people won’t mutter words like “intervention” behind your back – unless perhaps you’re popping a grossly offensive Lycra bulge at the coffee shop after your morning jog. Also, the endorphin high is a legal and socially acceptable buzz for everyone from atheists to Zoroastrians – even fundamentalist Christians are down with it and they’re not even cool with masturbation. Such universal popularity should always raise suspicion, but the truth is that with the endorphin high, all of the cards are on the table. If you want it, you have to earn it. This weekend, you can get all jacked-up on endorphins at the Keep Austin Weird 5K, a locally sponsored fun run and charity event for Austin’s own “Lourdes on the Crick,” Barton Springs. You might have trouble making the connection between weirdness and a 5K, but thankfully the race’s organizers have gone all out to keep you on task. In addition to the usual water stops, they have included an ice cream stop, a beer stop, and a bacon and doughnut stop. What’s next, a defibrillator stop? Runners are also encouraged to wear costumes, which may affect finish times and ultimately put the kibosh on the endorphin high, but the best one receives the title of “Weirdest Person in Austin.” Prizes will also be awarded for “Best Willie Lookalike” and “Best Leslie (Cochran) Lookalike.” The Willie may be easy to pull off, but as Leslie himself would probably tell you, it’s not easy to even walk sporting ill-fitting pumps and a navy blue polyester stewardess outfit. Of course, a longer stay at the beer stop may be in order as well. Finishing off the day is a big concert featuring Jane Bond, Ghandaia, Grupo Fantasma, Podunk, and Steamroller – an eclectic lineup for what looks like a wacky event. Will it Keep Austin Weird? Will it Save Our Springs? Probably not, but this is a rare opportunity to get high with potentially thousands of other sweaty, scantily clad people of various genders without getting arrested. If the endorphins don’t get you, the pheromones might.