Tuesday, 20 October 2009

women, run raster!

I’ve only twice ever beaten my wife in races, and both times, she was really unwell, so they don’t count. In every other event we’ve run together, I’ve usually seen her getting further and further away, until she is a little black and white speck in the distance.

In the latest of these – the Cabbage Patch 10, a pleasant 10miler up and down the Thames – I had a bit of time to think about it. Why am I slower than my wife? She’s got shorter legs, less muscle and she’s a girl, and girls have always been slower than boys by about 10%. I have no excuse.

Or do I? In one hour and 26 minutes, I had a lot of time to think about why our ladies aren’t regularly beating our men, and I don’t get it.

Girls are smaller than boys, so therefore have less to carry round the distance. Remember all the tiny (by height) weightlifters at the Olympics? Its all about power to weight ratios there, and the same should be true with running. I’m slower than her because despite my best efforts I weigh over 12 stone, and she weighs less than 9. If I was 25% lighter, it would be 25% easier to run.

Girls, by virtue of being smaller, are also more aerodynamic. My broad man’s shoulders, wide, lovehandled midriff, massive thighs and big spiky hair, can surely be only causing enormous wind resistance, not to mention my ears, which despite the best efforts of Chepstow’s finest plastic surgeons, are still far from flush against my head. You know how a formula one racing car is all pointed at the front – Girls come with two ready made pointed bits at the front, specially designed to help them cut through the air.

Evolution will have also enabled girls to become natural runners, as they will have spent their entire lives running away from men, as if they were caught, the natural brute strength of the man would win through, (don’t hate me for thinking of this, we’re talking cave men here) so in the last million years, surely women should have evolved a natural speedy defence against (sexual) predators.

Men also have an enormous natural disadvantage, when it comes to running, two in fact, in the shape of testicles. Watching the world gymnastics championships, it would appear that the events have been adjusted to protect the testicles of the men involved, and this has become another reason that man and women aren’t able to compete on a level playing field. I say allow the men to compete against the women on the beam, and penalise them (hurrah – appropriate use of the word penalise!) if they don’t do the landing on their butts and swinging the legs behind and moving to a handstand. If they do, and they can do the rest of the bouncing around as well as the girls, give a guy the beam gold medal – he’ll deserve it. Having a pair of balls swinging around, getting in the way of the legs, which are after all the most important aspect of the running equipment. What do the girls get in that area? Nothing but a little natural lubrication.

Add to this small feet (less blisters), long hair (better removal of sweat from the face), less leg hair (wind resistance again) and I’m amazed I’m not getting beaten by all the girls in the race, not just most of them.

So, to conclude, I’m going to race against the men from now on. I have no excuse for the fat guy I saw enjoying a cigarette at the end of the Thanet 20, while I’d still not got to the 19 mile mark.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Original Flavour

I was sent to the shops to buy some toothpaste, but what to buy. I was looking for something minty I guess, but I found something more unusual.

Toothpaste in “original” flavour. What retro wonder is this – was there something in it when the Victorians first started using soot to clean their teeth? Then I thought, no – people were cleaning their teeth long before black fingers... Maybe original flavour is referring to the original flavour – what was the very first flavour to be tasted? I couldn’t imagine toothpaste coming in Mammoth flavour, or “gathered berries” flavour. Maybe mother’s milk flavour? (Doesn’t bear thinking about...)

Then I sussed it – the only other time I have seen original flavour before – Doritos. No-one wants toothpaste to taste of a mildly spicy and salty corn snack, so I moved on.

Regular flavour? Great regular flavour?

I guess no-one wants their toothpaste flavour to become more or less intense as the tooth cleaning experience goes on. Therefore, in order to eliminate irregular flavour syndrome (think a poorly stirred curry paste, or a sudden mouth based explosion as you accidentally crush a cardamom pod – neither are what you want while brushing your teeth) so for this particular brand, regular flavour is what they sold it on. Still didn’t give me any ideas on what it might actually taste of, so I opened the box, pulled off the lid, removed the teensy bit of tin foil (imagine how nasty that would be if you brushed your teeth with a mini foil grenade waiting to electrify your fillings?) and tasted some.

It was kind of minty, which I liked, so I bought the one next to it that someone hadn’t already been tasting...