Maybe I need a new hobby
May 21, 2007
I run. It's what I do for fun, it's my hobby--I put one foot in front the the other for as fast and as long as I possibly can. I subscribe to running magazines, chat about running on internet forums, and buy running things from running stores.
Most people tend to shy away from running. They'll only do it when they absolutely have to--like if they're being chased by a rabid bunny at the park, or a pre-menstrual wife with a flat iron, or the cops. Not me, I do it 100% voluntarily.
Maybe I need a new hobby. I would probably like to try speed-eating, or homemade handicrafting, or dating. There could never be any question as to why I participated in those hobbies. They are indisputably fun--for all people.
The straight-up weirdness of my hobby hit me yesterday morning, the day of the North Trail Half Marathon. Let me just sum it up in a few sentences:
I paid $50 to wake up at 5:30 am on a Sunday to run 13.1 miles
I paid $50 to poop in the stank-nastiest port-a-potty of all time--twice.
I paid $5o to get passed by a 75 year old man who had a limp in each leg.
I paid $50 to hope that a road biker would run over at least 3 of my toes at mile 8.
And I paid $50 to hope that a different road biker would run over my torso at mile 11.8.
But as I rounded the turn to the finish at mile 13 and spotted my little boy, all of the effort suddenly seemed worth it. After six months of dedicated practice, James has finally learned how to get a little bit of air when he jumps. And there he was--working so very hard to jump up and down as he cheered for his beloved running mommy. His little voice was straining, too. "Yay Mommy! Mommy wunnin' a wace! MOM MA!"
As I ran that last .1 mile I pondered the blessings of motherhood, and large tears welled up in my eyes. Upon crossing the finish line, I veered to the left, sat on the ground, rested my face on the raised sidewalk curb and began to gasp and heave--I even had some tears. A giant, sweaty, shirtless good samaritan came over and helped me off the ground. The moment we made eye contact, my pseudo-crying ceased.
Good Samaritan: Are you okay?
Me: Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks.
Good Samaritan: Are you sure? You were crying for a second.
Me: I know. I started crying because my two year old was cheering for me and it was pretty touching. Then I really started crying because I realized that I could have crouched down behind that bread truck for two hours, popped out, run the the last quarter mile and he would have been just as excited. And I think I'm a little dehydrated.
So that's the new plan. From now on, I'm going to start the race, find a comfortable hiding place, watch a few shows on my pocket TV, and then finish strong. In my opinion, that is a much, much wiser way to spend fifty bucks on a Sunday morning.