The obsession began somewhere around the same time I got my first pair of Underoos.
Or maybe it was the 3-D Superman picture — I painted three different clear designs on cellophane pages that sat in a tiered frame — that hung in my rooms for years.
There was also the fact that I had nearly every Mego 8-inch superhero available other than the Flash, which they didn’t make, but I had two Batmans so I cut the ears off the top of one of them, painted his face red with small, yellow lightning bolts on the side and my friend’s mom created a red jump suit for it.
Like most boys, and some really cool girls, of the 1970s superheroes and “Star Wars” were everything — from underwear to lunch boxes to daydreams.
While I definitely can longer fit in my Underoos or have much need for a lunch box, I still daydream now and again about being a superhero.
That changed, to a certain degree, on Saturday when it became reality.
I didn’t save Gotham or stop a speeding locomotive, but for a few hours I looked the part and took on one of the coolest fun runs in the nation with the seven other members of Mixed Nuts AZ.
I donned a Flash costume some 35 years after creating my own action figure and took on the absolutely hilarious and creative Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge 5K at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
It’s an event that got its idea from the TV show “Wipeout,” you know the one where you stop and watch as idiot contestants look like they broke their spine when they get scorpion-ed (when your feet painfully hit the back of your head) while falling off some crazy contraption, and added a 3-mile run to it.
And yet, I convinced my wife, Misty (Spider-Man), and six of our friends — Sidekick Steve (Green Lantern), Chia (Captain America), Dave (Batman), Carmen (Supergirl), Alyssa (Green Lantern) and Matt (Superman) — to join me in tackling 12 different obstacles over the 5 kilometers.
Some of the obstacles also took me back to my childhood as the first one was a set of Gorilla Bars, monkey bars on steroids, and the second one was a red and blue wall of varying heights that reminded me of the old “Battle of the Network Stars” show where athletes and TV stars competed against each other on obstacle courses.
We didn’t set any course records as we walked a good portion — we heard a few snarky comments like superheroes don’t walk by those jogging past us — but we had an incredible time doing flips in the world’s largest moon bounce and finishing the day by taking on the world’s largest inflatable slide made slippery by soap suds.
There were some difficult obstacle courses — jumping (or perfecting a belly flop maneuver like my lovely bride did) over concrete barriers was the most tiring — but for the most part you got the chance to be a kid again or act like a superhero as we did in becoming a pseudo Justice League of America (more like Just Lethargic in Arizona).
The Foam of the Fury was sort of like flying as Superman and the Tarzan Swing gave you an idea what Spider-Man must feel like swinging from building to building.
It was a complete blast trying to dodge the Wrecking Ball (two large balls rotating on a crane while you attempt to cross a padded log surrounded by water) and some of the other obstacles.
I made one grave mistake (two if you count using my GoPro incorrectly and missing out on priceless video of my bumbling self and friends) by wearing a Flash costume to a race.
Certain expectations come with that lightning bolt and red mask.
Talk about an oxymoron (or just moron when I think about screwing up the GoPro) because speed I ain’t got.
But I do have an annual outlet to address an obsession that began about the same time I first pulled the gift from under the Christmas tree to find my first pair of Underoos ('Underwear that is fun to wear! if you remember the commercials).
Until the ROC 5K returns, let the daydreaming resume.
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