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day 68: thrilling sunday giveaway

April 10, 2011

Oh, what an eventful weekend this has been.

Friday night, my sister-in-law Melissa arrived with three of her children in tow… much to my boys’ delight.  While she was at a conference all day Saturday, Steve and I took the five kids to the science museum and to Local Yogurt, where they ate cups of chocolate yogurt drowned in gummy bears.  Two themes emerged by the end of Day 68:  1) my nieces and nephew are really, really well-behaved, and 2) if my brief experience is any indication, parenting a large family is really tough.  One day with five well-behaved kids overwhelmed me, so I offer a bow of recognition to Melissa (who has seven children) and my sister (who has six).  You are calmer, better-organized women than I.

Melissa returned Saturday’s favor by watching our children this morning as Steve and I ran the Raleigh Rocks Half-Marathon.  As we were getting ready early this morning, I asked Steve which of the world’s problems he planned to solve while he pounded out 13.1 miles.  Without even putting down his toothbrush, he responded, “Definitely Maria.  I’ve been working on that one for years, and I still can’t solve it.”

And with that, I’d found my earworm for  the morning.  I left the house singing, “How do you solve a problem like Mariiiiiiaaaaa….” and, since I don’t know any of the song’s other lyrics (clearly, I need to watch “The Sound of Music” a few hundred more times), I continued to sing it for another hour straight.

As I began the race, I considered the fact that I had about two hours of thinking time stretched out before me.  You’ll be disappointed to learn that I didn’t solve a problem like Maria, instead pondering the following substantial topics:

  • NBA players had better watch out.  Amateur runners are nipping at their heels in the race to be crowned “Most Tatted Up.”  Over the course of my run this morning, I saw several running-themed tattoos, including a road runner on an ankle, a 26.2 on the back of a neck, and a very large Ironman symbol on a right calf.
  • Runners are suckers for gadgetry.  Camelbak water carriers, arm covers, Garmin GPS watches, and other newfangled contraptions predominate.  Even the seemingly anti-gear movement of barefoot running (popularized by the bestseller, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall) has resulted in the marketing of shoes that simulate bare feet, like Vibram Five Fingers and Nike Frees.
  • On the subject of gear, I abhor the overabundance of I-pods and headphones at races.  I know I am a curmudgeon, but I wish those plugged-in runners would just leave their music at home.  Today’s race had live bands posted throughout the course, but the majority of runners never heard a single performance.  I find that — and the fact that headphones make striking up a neighborly conversation with a fellow runner impossible — depressing (oh, wait… maybe they don’t want to have a neighborly conversation with me…).
  • I pity those runners who missed today’s live music, as it was varied and truly entertaining.  From the African drum circle to the high school boys banging out “My Generation” to the white guy with a perm and a synthesizer playing “No Diggety” at mile 8, it was not to be missed (incidentally, it was the lyrics to “No Diggety” that finally replaced “Maria” in my addled brain, so I send a major high-five to Mr. Perm-and-Synthesizer).
  • As much as I enjoy watching other runners at races, I think I like observing spectators even more.  I found myself running a few paces behind a woman named Ansley, whose entourage of cheerleaders trailed her for all 13.1 miles.  I never let her get too far away from me, knowing that at any moment I’d be met by enthusiastic squeals of “Go ANSLEY!!!!  You can DO IT Ansley!!!!”  It was sort of like having my own cheering section, if I pretended my name was Ansley.  There were children and dogs and one frail, be-visored grandmother (great-grandmother?) holding court and cheering on their loved ones every step of the race.  It’s such a sweet sight to behold.

I approached the race’s final stretch with unfinished conclusions to my weighty thoughts.  I’m pretty sure I was dehydrated.

Still, despite being both sweat-soaked and shivering, I opted not to change into my Raleigh Rocks Half-Marathon swag — a t-shirt and a hat — because I’d earmarked them as my Day 68 gift to you.  I am a sucker for free stuff, and I love having shirts to commemorate my races.  Still, there might be one of you out there with a friend or a colleague who’d like a little running inspiration.  Leave me a comment below if you want the shirt and hat, and I will get them to you.  If no one wants them, they will find happy company in my donation bag.

Happy Sunday, y’all.  I hope it finds you solving the world’s problems, and thank you for showing up.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2011 2:20 pm

    I stumbled on your blog via the “possibly related” tags at the bottom of my own…. I also ran Raleigh Rocks on Sunday.

    The idea was novel at day 68 (day 1 of my reading)… But now I’ve caught myself checking in daily to see what new it is you’ve found to give away, material or time, and I stop and think– maybe I too should be giving more away….

    I also must thank you for the idea behind my latest post “runners are suckers” talking about all the tech-gear runners use now.

    • April 13, 2011 8:48 pm

      thanks so much, patrick. i loved your post and will be sure to check out your blog from now on!

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