I got an email from the nice people at the Fargo marathon the other day. I guess when I signed up the run the 5K this past spring I gave them my email address. At the time I assumed that they would remind me when it was time to sign up for the upcoming spring because how many emails about an annual event can you really send out? Turns out they have a monthly newsletter.

Why would a marathon need a newsletter? After the race they sent out a link where you could look at the pictures they took of you sweating, struggling, and cursing life as you work through the race course. I did not find any pictures of myself, but it was thrilling to look at other people and realize that I don’t look so much like a jackass when I run.

Since then, I’ve gotten plenty of emails, which I just deleted imagining they said something like “Only ten more months to go!” This month’s had a pdf attachment of a brochure about an upcoming race in Fargo sponsored by the marathon. Intrigued I opened it up.

2.62 miles–thats kind of cute, not much of a challenge I can run the whole thing at top speed and leave people panting in my wake!

Run across the bridge–oh how scenic and lovely. Especially in the fall

Starts in the evening–again how lovely

$20–fuck that. Wait! I get a free long-sleeved t-shirt.

When I ran the 5K in the spring, I also received a free t-shirt. I misread the information on the website and thought that if you were only running the 5K, you didn’t need to go get a race packet at the FargoDome. I was wrong, but thankfully the whole Tieman brood was in town that weekend, so my parents and brother went and got it for me while I was at work. I was giving my brother my license to legitimize their picking up a racing packet that was obviously not for any of them (mom, dad, brother), when my mom asked “What size shirt do you need?” I shrugged, “small.” My dad shook his head frantically and responded, “Oh no, you need at least a medium, maybe a large.”

I am used to my mother calling me fat, or hinting that I’m fat, “Do you really need to make another trip to the salad bar?” The salad bar, for gods sake! Thankfully, my dad never before hopped on this particular bandwagon of hers. Conspiracy theories abound in my mind: Oh my god, have I gained weight? Is he just parroting what hes heard mom say so many times? Do they talk about my size when I’m not around and lament how I’ve let myself go? Have I let myself go without realizing it? I kept this all inside my head and presented what I hope was an expression of indifference and apathy. I shrugged, “medium, whatever.”

The medium was huge, thank god. It was mostly huge in a weird, poorly made t-shirt kind of way in that around it was too big, but mostly it was just way too long. I really don’t know if a small would have made that much of a difference, but I do resent the fact that I didn’t get to make that decision for myself. After trying on the t-shirt and seeing how long it was, I decided to just cut it off to normal length. It was just for running, I didn’t care if it looked good. After I did that it rolled up to just above my navel so I looked like a less fashion-savvy Gwen Stefani. I do not show my stomach unless I am in a bikini, and no amount of unrolling and ironing (ironing a t-shirt!) would get the damn thing to stay where it was supposed to. I threw it away.

Now I’m offered the chance to buy another crappy t-shirt for the low, low price of $20 and 2.62 miles. What a racket. And the amount of trauma caused by reliving the previous t-shirt debacle isn’t fun either. I might have done this race if it was $10, or if it was $20 for the race and the t-shirt with the option of not getting the t-shirt.

I’ve been trying to come up with a low-maintanence money-making scheme for months now, and I think this might be it. Have a race, give away crappy, poorly made t-shirts, get sponsors, charge a fee. Its so simple. Runners are crazy. They pay for the privilege of running on ground that belongs to everybody who pays taxes. I could make a killing.