Something to Sneeze At

In case you missed out – the Dirty Birdy STELLAR!  I’d heard word of it for weeks.  To be honest, it didn’t sound like my kind of thing.  Avid hand-washer, I generally prefer to stay clean.

The idea – enticing as it was – seemed far fetched.  However, I felt it was my duty as a photographer and an artist to go shoot the heck out of it (especially since my cameraman, Vinny, was home sick).  That way I could transmit the messy ruckus to all those squares out there still afraid to get dirty.  Then again, if I got the gall, I could always jump on in and run as bandit.  That became the plan.  Anticipation began to mount in the last 24 hours leading up to the event to the point when we were finally on our way.

I got into Kristopher’s car.

“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” I said, hand on belly.  He looked at me nervously.  “Don’t worry, I’m just excited,” I told him.  It’s true – I get the same feeling before every kickball game.  I love it.

Pulling into PIR, we parked among a smattering of cars and people suiting up.  It occurred to me that it would be unwise to attempt photography while running such a muddy race.  Maybe I should just shoot from the sidelines, I thought.  But seeing them thoroughly hose down the course with a fresh layer of wetness made me want to be mucking around in it even more.  Kristopher wanted to run it no matter what.

The crowd clearly wasn’t big enough to preserve our anonymity as bandits – we started having a mild guilt trip about it.  In the end, my buddy coughed up some change to get us dialed in (Thanks Kristopher!).  Totally legit, it was ON.

The course was a massive mess: a winding 5k loop that included obstacles (forcing us to crawl through mud on our bellies) and 2 huge slip’n’slides (into giant mud puddles of course).  And get this!  They traditionally start the race with the previous Dirty Birdy winners, both male and female, wearing bright yellow Dirty Birdy jerseys, giving them a 30 second head start.  The dude was there, but the previous female winner was nowhere on site.  So Devin, the Oregon Active guy who put the event together, got on the horn and asked the crowd which chick would like to be the honorary Dirty Birdy and NO ONE spoke up.  Can you believe that?!

Cutting the silence, guess who volunteered.

Lo and behold, the Dirty Birdy jersey went perfectly with my golden legs.  And none of it was gold for very long.  About 30 seconds into the race I got clothes-lined in the obstacle course.  After that, I spent a good deal of time crawling through pits of muck.  Early in the second lap, my shorts filled with mud and fell completely off.  Heck – they were slowing me down anyway.  (Don’t worry – the golden tights remained.)

It was such a treat!  I hadn’t felt like that much of a kid since waaaaaay back in October during the Naked Pumpkin Run.  There’s just something about slogging around in the mud that’s good for the soul…

At the end of the race, Kristopher and I enjoyed a few beers at the bonfire, admiring the mud splatters among our cohorts.  It was only a small crowd, but given the circumstances, I’d say we were surrounded by some of the coolest people in P-Town.  If you’re down to get muddy, you’re rad.

All of a sudden, I felt a tickle in my nose.  On came a fit of sneezes – musta been at least 5 or 6 in a row.  But it was no big deal.  Sneezing is fun!  I shook it off.  We finished our beers and Kris brought me home.  By the time we got there, I was officially sick.

It seemed like the fastest moving cold I’d ever had.  At bed time, I was a wreck, but in the morning, I was better again!  Wow, I thought, I must be some sort of super-human.  I proceeded about my weekly routine of working out, working on projects, and hanging with family & friends in the evenings.

A few days later, the damn cold came back.  So much for that super-human idea…  But it did the exact same thing: hit me around noon, rapidly running its full course by the next morning.  I didn’t even have to adjust my schedule!

Fast forward through another fun weekend of hilarity (see Perpetual Nonsensical Greatness), where without a doubt, we were on a roll.  Vinny and I got a bunch more footage for the movie (not like we needed it – there’s plenty) and had a blast while doing.  Everything was peachy-keen until Monday night.

It felt like there were razorblades in my throat.  I could hardly sleep.  When I got up Tuesday morning, it was even worse.  I was sicker than I’ve been in as long as I can remember.  How was this possible?

Turns out, it’s H1N1 – the dreaded swine flu.  Then the pieces started falling together.  One of the symptoms is what seems like a false-starting cold.  Oh shit.  Then I remembered that Vinny had practically been on is death bed the week before.  I must have gotten it from him!

I’m not mad.  Okay – I’m a little ticked to be sick, but as long as Vinny keeps his distance till I’m feeling better, I’ll let him live.  Meantime, at least everyone’s well-occupied during recovery.  See you soon, friends.


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