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Doing the Roadkill Slink

Doing the Roadkill Slink

Article by: by Sherryl Nash

Reproduced with permission of the author

You know immediately what this article concerns. It's that walk we runners sometimes get. It's not the "Scoping Hotties" walk, no, dear Watson, it's not. It's more the "Got Shot in Leg" Shuffle, or the "Cool Clothes Did Not Help Me" Stagger. It's the godawful Roadkill Slink.

It's what I get every time I lose a race to Dianna, my buddy, or my other friend Janice. Sure they're my buddies, but I hate to lose to them, or to anyone older than me and faster, like Anne for example. I'd rather spit on Superman's cape than lose to those guys. They beat me severely about the head quite a bit and never let me forget who is superior on most days. Thus, the Slink...

I feel the walk coming on when they pass me in the race, which is commonplace. All of a sudden, various ailments emerge. Following is a list of several great excuses you can write down and remember. Each excuse comes with it's complete set of permitted actions in order for you to choose the one that suits you on that fateful day when you find yourself doing the Roadkill Slink:

The big old HEADACHE excuse

  • staggering
  • dropping out of race holding head
  • sitting down midrace -big variable on finishing times

The STITCH excuse

  • contorting body in various angles while running
  • gasping
  • laying on side of road moaning and writhing, legs bent at odd angles
  • side bends on side of road
  • ugly facial expressions


  • lose race, go to toilet, sulk alone--no time limit
  • audio effects on course including reverb/echo
  • whiny attitude
  • the amazed expression
  • a great excuse to drop totally out of race


  • a snide "Happy Birthday" to the winner
  • kicking tires, generalized stomping about
  • sneering at winner allowed
  • pompous vows of retribution broadcast over crowd at awards ceremony
  • flagrantly not taking Tee Shirt from race on purpose (double points for giving it back)


  • extremely slow times due to stupendous training program
  • giving up in midstream once the fasties descend on you, smiling wide
  • easy to blame on insufficient carbos or marathon training pace

So, I'm sure you are asking right now, "What in the heck is the Slink? How do I know when I've been infected with it? What do I do about it?

Buddy, I promise you, you can feel it coming on. All of a sudden, you're just waddling. You think "HOOWEY, I'm doing great" until your competitor passes you (especially at the end of the race). All of a sudden, your butt slows down to half pace. Your legs are moving, but you are in complete slo-mo. You look around and you blurt "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO", but they continue to pass you. Your brain kicks into excuse mode.

Endless questions..."Why did this person pass me?", "Why did I let that happen?"...Observations such as "Whoa, that person is the real thing" or "I am definitely not the real thing"....Totally abandoning the race and instantly seeking the justification of doing so rather than going for it and passing them back.

I've been in both places. I've been where I've known I could pass and win, and didn't on purpose. I've mostly been the one passed soundly and decisively by others. One thing's for sure about me most races-- I have a hard time pushing myself. So when I do, it's usually against someone besides my friends. They make it a habit of beating me. I always cringe and die when they pass me, but I've grown accustomed to it. Sometimes in the morning before the gun goes off, I turn to my buds and say "I feel like a good butt kickin' today", and they never cease to oblige me.

The Slink is an artform perfected by people like me who lose alot. I guess losing and winning are relative, but losing is a lot more common in running. If all the losers of road races would stand together in a line each holding a piece of spaghetti (nice effect), the line would stretch to the Moon (complete speculation). Losers all have that walk at one time or another, and we come in droves.

I had it just the other day after losing by about 14 seconds to a person that had just moved up into my agegroup. Thinking she was no threat, I didn't find out until later that I had miscalculated. I walked back to my car as if I were dragging concrete overshoes. I was complete Roadkill. The Roadkill Slink had hit bigtime. You know, the guts splattered on the pavement thing. The complete dejection and what-if thing. The rethinking of the race...the reckoning...

If you get it, you know what I mean. You can't stand tall until you try again. That Slink follows you around. Everyone knows you have it. They can tell by how long it takes you to walk across the parking lot. You're just slogging slowly in your boots. You're just an old tired dried up piece of shoe leather and that other person that just beat you is the bomb. You are generally sweating bullets and they're fresh as a daisy. Their freshness makes you slink even harder.

So glad to meet you, fellow Roadkill Slinker. I know you've been there, and I know where you are going. The cool lesson is that we have to lose alot in order to win. Think of Babe Ruth and his endless strikeouts. No one remembers the outs he made. Everyone remember his incredible history of home runs.

The key is getting in to the race in the first place, which sets us all apart. Getting up to bat. We've earned our right to win, and the loss is a byproduct of our attempt to win. Well, good luck with the excuses. Oh, and by the way, I seem to stop slinking about mid-day after a race. I crawl out from under the rock and it's a new day. I will live to race again. So will you. The Roadkill Slink. It's not a pet. It's a way of life.

Sherryl Nash
Dallas, USA

This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

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