Tag Archive: cheese


Pizza race number

So one week after I partook in a bike race by mistake, I found myself in another race this weekend.  This time, my entry was entirely on purpose.  And completely impulsive.

Because I’m surrounded by avid runners who take their sport very (too?) seriously, I’d been swept up with all sorts of talk about running.  I fucking loathe running.  I find it the dullest, most tedious athletic activity on the planet.  After all, per “the rules,” one should only run if being pursued; and one should only run fast enough to evade capture.  Everything else – fuck that noise.

So what the fuck was I thinking on Thursday when I opened my email and read an article about a foot race around Tompkins Square Park on Saturday?

This race was called the New York Pizza Run.  Apparently, this was the fourth year it’s been run, but this was the first I’d ever heard of it.  But unlike other races, this had a splendid twist to it.

The race comprised 4 laps around the perimeter of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.  At the completion of each lap, you had to devour one slice of pizza before you could commence to the next lap.  At the end of the fourth lap, you cross the finish line and you’d have 2.25 miles in the books.

Two-and-a-quarter miles, four laps around a small park, three slices of pizza.  That sounded so goddamn ridiculous, there was no way I couldn’t not do it.  And so I signed up.

But I also invited my runner friends.  The ones who run multiple marathons a year.  The ones who are constantly training for some triathlon or other.  The ones whose every conversation at every party is about running.  It was as if to say, “Hey, you guys, I’m doing a foot race, I’m one of you guys now!”

Except, I wasn’t, of course.  This was just running around stuffing our faces with pizza.  TOTALLY NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH.  Not within a million miles of being in the same league.  If they were the NFL, I was tossing around a Nerf ball trying to be cool.  “I’ve got not time for jokes, bro.”

Hardly anyone even acknowledged getting my email asking them to join me in this ludicrous run.  Not that I gave a shit because I was going to do this run with or without them.

So Saturday came, and I took the train down to Astor Place and walked the four blocks to Tompkins Square Park.  I might’ve even sprinted a couple of blocks.  Gotta warm up, get loose.  This is a race, after all.  (barf)

I checked in to the race, and got a race number.  Ooooh, a number, this is serious shit.  Then I looked to my left and saw the professionally-crafted start line on the sidewalk of in the middle of 7th Street.  SO OFFICIAL, you guys.

Pizza Start Line

And of course this was exactly the sort of race that draws participants who dress up, run goofy, and take the piss out of the whole running thing.  There was a girl dressed in a banana suit, another dressed in a pizza costume, another in a Superman outfit.  Shit, even I ran with baggy knickers but that’s because that’s all I had.

Shortly before the start, a friend from work actually took me up on my offer and joined me for this race.  Yay, somebody to run with!  Except he ran a fucking marathon this past spring, so, you know… I figured he was going to just lap me at some point.  He’s fit as a fiddle, I’m fat and slow, it’s inevitable.

Pizza3So we lined up along the chalked line, and without much fanfare, the race was on.  This was not a closed course.  We were simply running on the cobbled sidewalk around Tompkins Square Park.  That meant we had to swerve around the homeless.  We had to take evasive action from oncoming hyperaggressive city moms with their massive strollers that were not.moving.out.of.the.way.because.fuck.you.runners.  We had to run around tourists (those fucking, wandering guys).

Oh yeah, and at the end of each lap, we had to wolf down some pizza.  And it seemed a real goddamn shame to have to go all Joey Chestnut on these incredible slices.  Sure, by the time we got to them, they weren’t warm any longer, but holy shit, they were delicious.  They were supplied by Cer Te, and they were quintessential New York margherita pizzas.  Ultra thin crust, sweet fragrant tomato sauce, large discs of melted mozzarella, and slivers of basil on top.

Mmmm pizzaThe rule was that you couldn’t run with the slice of pizza.  Before you were allowed to start your next lap, you had to eat the whole slice.  You were permitted to run-and-chew, which is what I tried on lap 2, and that turned out to be another in a string of poor decisions.  Trying to run with a bolus of half-chewed pizza in my fat gob meant that I choking on bits of pizza that would go down the wrong tube.  When your mother taught you to not run around with a mouthful of food, she was right.

When I got to the end of the third lap, I paused before I took that slice of pizza.  Three slices of pizza on any day would be more than I would typically eat.  Three slices while trying to run – that was bullshit.  But I had one lap to go and my friend had started to take off for his final lap.  I grabbed the final slice, stuffed it in my mouth, slugged some water, and staggered on to the final lap.

When I reached the finish line – yes, it was also drawn out in chalk – there wasn’t any over-the-top fanfare.  There wasn’t any big noise or confetti or anything grandiose.  (It’s a fucking pizza run, what do you want, jeez)  Just a lot of laughter, a lot of high fives, a lot of beaming smiles.  And for me, a slight sense of “huh.”  Somewhere between “well, that didn’t suck” and “that was pretty awesome.”

And that was it.  Four laps and three slices later, we were done.  It was hilarious, it was ridiculous, it was oddly satisfying, it was brief, and no one threw up.  We got a bit of a workout, and we were well fed.

My first ever foot race, only my second time ever running outdoors.  I was never going to come in first, but if I didn’t come in last, that was my greatest achievement of the day.  You know what, scratch that – the fact that I even ran this thing was my greatest achievement of the day.  And if it wasn’t so ridiculous, there’s no way I’d have done it.

Count me in next year.  Because when there needs to be a futile and stupid gesture done on somebody’s part, I’m just the guy to do it.

 

 

Bacon on the side

Who knew that breakfast could be so confounding?  Did I say confounding?  I meant totally fucking aggravating.  While I was waiting for my breakfast sandwich at the deli this morning (egg and tomato on a plain bagel: so fucking awful – never get a breakfast sandwich without meat in it), two girls walked in, completely self-absorbed in some conversation which I’m sure made both of them dumber by the minute.  They stand at the counter, trying to decide what they want when someone else comes alongside and waits in line.  Because Dumb & Dumber couldn’t decide, the cook went to the next person in line.  She ordered, and the Dumb & Dumber got offended that they’d been “skipped over”.  They make a slight stink about it, but then Dumb begins to order.

“Can I have a bacon, egg, and cheese, on a roll?  With two bacon.”

“Two bacon?”

“Yeah, two…uhm, you know, pieces.”

“You want two pieces of bacon on the side?”

“Yes, two bacon, like strips, yes.”

“Only two?  If you get a side of bacon, you can get more pieces – it’s the same price”

“What?  I want two strips of bacon.”

“I know, I’m saying if you order a side of bacon you can get more, because it’s the same price if you get two or if you get five or six.”

“Oh, OK.  Then, can you put the two strips of bacon in the roll, and the rest on the side?”

“But you asked for a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll – that already comes with bacon.”

“I know, but I want two strips of bacon on my roll.”

“OK, I can make it that way.  Do you still want the side of bacon?”

Dumber steps in, “Can you just put all the bacon on the roll?  All five, six pieces of bacon?”

At this point, another cook hands me my sandwich, and I promptly leave before I literally kill everyone in the deli.  She didn’t say “please” even once.