Stop running man!!


What came up with the idea that actively practicing sports is good for you? Your body? Your mind? About two years ago, I tore my left ankle tendon while playing basketball. My back is broken as a result of weight lifting. My left knee detaches from my body from time to time, resting from the experience of being a part of me I guess. Twisted fingers, and a collection of other injuries are the result of "being healthy." The latest one is by far the best/worst example that makes my point.

Yesterday morning I was at the beach in Northern Ecuador enjoying a great family trip. So as the "runner" I have declare myself to be, I geared up: yellow Asics® shoes, Chinese version of an iPod with the Counting Crows®, Nike® green cap, pouch with American dollars® inside, Nokia® cell phone, Sony® Cybershot® touch- screen camera, Polar® watch on wrist and band on chest, weddingring® on left thumb. And a long, long, and lonely everlasting beach was my track. I began running, listening to music, 100 degrees, Polar® watch on track and sweat flowing. Forty minutes and several digital pictures later, I decided to run back. So I did.

In the distance two figures walked on the beach. I thought to myself that they must be fishermen. "Cool, picturesque, could be a great photo," I thought. They got closer, my legs were already burned out, I was covered with sweat, 164 beats per minute, Polar® kept beeping, I've gotta slow down. They get closer. By the time I am close enough to actually see these guys, they suddenly change their direction and begin walking towards me. By that time I knew I was a deadman.

They got close to me. I pretend to have a gun and they stepped back. No gun, shit!! One of them has a knife, the other a rusty red screwdriver. I attack the first one; a direct hit on the jaw. It breaks and he begins bleeding and moaning. Then in a split second I go for the second one who is swinging the screwdriver at me. I remember Steven Segal's technique and twist his arm, the screwdriver goes straight into his right side and he falls... screaming, bleeding...

Yeah right. Actually that is one of the 15 different stories I came up with after the fact.

But in reality they approached me and I pretended to have a gun. They stepped back, I grabbed some rocks and they kind of freaked. But in a split second, I made the decision to let go, put the rocks down, and ask them to take it easy. They said "Don't move or we will kill you." I believed them. I said "Look men, I have two young kids, I don't care for the stuff, just take it and leave me." They took all my stuff except for the Polar® watch which I managed to convinced them that it would be useless for them because it's only good for running. They believed me. They also left my Nike® flashy green cap... which made me think: why was it invisible to them while the flashy yellow shoes were noteworthy? That is indeed a design question for the future. Was it location? Low versus high? Was it the fact that they did not have shoes but did have caps? I will never know. They finally left and I... to continue with the runner's dream Super Bowl ad... run home. Barefoot and expecting to see in front of me a closing screen with the text "Just do it" "Runners, yes we are different by Adidas®" of "Asics®: the passion for running." But they never actually appear. Bloody advertising.

Yes, it is a long story but I am almost done...

Later that afternoon I Decided to call my cell phone. The thief answered and says "Don't talk to the police, we decided to give your camera back. We want thir - ty dollars for it" I said that I would give them $60 to get my shoes back as well. We agreed to meet somewhere in town to complete the now ransom situation. They never showed up. I had to drive back to Quito. This morning I talked to them again. We made an agreement: 60 bucks, shoes and camera. They will deliver the bag with the doorman. No questions asked, tonight. At seven eastern time.

I am still hoping to recover my digital self but more hopeful for the photos. I hope they turned on the camera and took photos of things, people, themselves. Wouldn't it be great to have actual portraits of them encapsulated on the camera? And the shoes, my all mighty bright yellow running shoes... I have a 15k race to run in three weeks... because I am runner. Not a beach runner anymore, not even a street runner I guess, but a treadmill runner in the safety of a private gym; when I can afford one that is.

To be concluded...

mark, May 16 2006 1:37PM

geez. this sounds like a cross between camus and bruce willis. complete with plenty of corporate sponsorship.

i think being mugged on a deserted beach might be one of the most traumatizing criminal experiences i've heard. with a convenient place to dump the body (if necessary) and an easy post-crimescene cleanup it could seem like nothing ever happened.

glad to hear you are ok. thanks for sharing the story.

sandie, May 16 2006 3:28PM

You said that your "legs were already burned out" but did you think of trying to out run the theives? I've heard that adrenaline can give a boost of super-human strength to those facing danger.

micaela, May 18 2006 10:05AM

Chuta... De vuelta a mi querido Ecuador!!!

rusty, May 23 2006 6:09PM

okay, isn't it time for an update yet???

stay safe.