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Wednesday (The Great Treadmill Race Controversy) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Sports, Minnesota state tournaments Updated: January 4, 2012 - 9:40 AM

Some people who were very competitive as kids eventually grow out of it as they get older. They learn to savor the experience of competing more than the win/lose outcome, and they achieve a certain level of emotional maturity in the process.

We are not like that. Nor is Local Quipster, a noted Friend of RandBall. Let that be the backdrop, then, for something we would like to refer to as the Great Treadmill Race Controversy. We will attempt to lay out the facts and even admit culpability in one area. But in the end, we are pretty sure you will feel the same way we do.

So: We made an appointment last night to run at the Target Center LTF with Local Quipster. The game plan was to meet after work, run, and then watch the Sugar Bowl. LQ upped the ante by throwing down a six-mile treadmill race challenge.

Unfortunately, we were late getting out of work (our fault). We quickly shifted the plan to meet at the treadmills. We fully expected LQ to start first since he had to run home between the workout and the game.

Upon arrival, we found LQ was about 15 minutes into his run. No worries, we figured. These machines are not going anywhere. They are self-timed. We are not making anyone with a stopwatch or cups of water wait any longer if we start at a different time. So we hop on the treadmill, calculate LQ's pace and immediately set a slightly faster pace. We were pushing it -- for us, anyway -- but even within this ridiculous competition we wanted to win.

Around the time LQ hit 4.5 miles, we were around 3 miles. He looks over and says something like, "You better start moving or you're never going to catch me." We replied, "What do you mean, we're already ahead of you." He replied to the effect of, "All I know is that I'm at 4.5 miles and you're at 3. First one to 6 wins."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's crazy. In fact, a good 80 percent of us was pretty sure LQ was just trying to mess with our head. But still, for the final 1.5 miles, he could talk about nothing except his impending victory, how it wasn't his fault we showed up later than expected, etc. Our counter was basic logic: That the person who finished six miles in the fastest time should be the winner and that such a ground rule -- while never made explicit -- was at least implicit and any waiver would have needed to be agreed upon before competition began.

Still, LQ finished -- in 51 minutes, 51 seconds -- hopped off the treadmill, declared victory, even asked a nearby woman on an elliptical which one of us appeared to be done while the other was still running, then left. We finished a little while later -- in 50 minutes, 32 seconds -- also smugly assured of victory. Neither one of us has permanently acquiesced since, although LQ did slip up later last night in saying "when you beat me," before quickly demanding that the remarks be stricken from the record.

What we ask of you, dear reader, is not to solve this race dilemma. We're pretty sure it is not a question that needs solving. Rather, we ask:

1) Are you still so ridiculously competitive that you would do something like this, and if so would you be so kind as to provide an example in the comments?

2) Is there something wrong with us?

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