I ran in the Pittsburgh Marathon 5k on Saturday, and I know what you’re going to say, “Oh, great, another one of those ‘Forty-something white guys joking about how out of shape he is’ articles. What does this have to do with the Steelers? Must be a slow news day.”
Touche. But I don’t care.
Anyway, back to my story. I not only ran in the Pittsburgh Marathon 5k, I set a personal record of 29:48—or a 9:37 minute per mile pace, if you will. Now, I’m not sure if you know how fast that is, but it’s the kind of pace a forty-something white guy who likes to write funny articles about running would have.
I’m not exactly bragging about my pace, either, because had it been one second faster, I would have hurled. I know this because it took everything in me to not hurl for the 20 or 30 seconds that followed me crossing the finish line. Worse than almost hurling was seeing all the little kids who not only finished with faster times than me, they looked bored after they were done—as if they were just running so they could have something to do in between games of Fortnite or whatever.
So what does this have to do with the Steelers? Nothing, other than it gives me a whole new appreciation of what they must put their bodies through in order to just get out there and compete every Sunday. It finally makes me realize, on the cusp of my 47th birthday, that they may actually be in better shape than me.
I mean, who am I to judge the athleticism of D.K. Metcalf, he of the the single-digit body fat and He-Man physique? “Sure, he’s ripped and fast, but did you see his three-cone drill at the Combine? Dude is totally uncoordinated,” I say right before turning on my steps counter and taking a brisk walk around the block in order to meet my daily goal of 500.
How can I question the dedication of any Pittsburgh Steeler? Can you imagine the work ethic even the most average player must have? Can you imagine the dedication to nutrition? Like even the big linemen probably have to avoid eating too many donuts in order to prevent their internal organs from turning on them. I’ve got some nerve, me with my 49 percent body fat and half a liver from drinking beer after every six-mile run, still being angry at Mike Wallace for skipping OTAs back in 2012.
Thinking back to Casey Hampton’s heyday, forget the one or two times he failed the conditioning test that opens every training camp. How did he—a 325 pound man nicknamed “Big Snack”—not fail that thing every single time? I can’t even make it through a Kenny Loggins song at spin class without thinking I’m going to die (“Highway to the danger zone!”). Even big Hamp was a great athlete (in his own unique way, of course).
How can I ever post those videos of Lawrence Timmons vomiting on the field? His hurling was likely the result of getting punched in the gut by a 300-pound behemoth, while my almost hurling was the result of not taking it easy on the pizza.
I’m so far from being an actual athlete at this point, I’m not having fantasies of scoring the game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. My fantasies involve pickup games and a Nerf football—even in my dreams, I worry about breaking my fingers on a real ball and having to miss work.
How can I mock non-Super Bowl achievements like conference championships and division titles and reduce them to mere participation trophies (“This generation is weak!!!!!”) when my bedroom doorknob is filled with participation medals from all those 5 and 10ks I ran in over the years?
OK, I think this lesson about the fitness of average civilians as compared to even the most average professional athletes will resonate with most fans, and they’ll go easy on the Twitter devices this training camp.
Haha, yeah right. That fatty Ben Roethlisberger better come to camp in shape!