Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Getting some wood

Shannon has wood. This is her fish, and she also has a turkey vulture.

Currently my goal in life is to get a little wooden plaque. That is, to finish in the top 15 males in the Umstead Marathon. Other people I know have higher aspirations, or spend their time on more laudable pursuits. Shannon is a successful artist with her photography. Our friends Randy and Lori just got back from doing charity work in Nicaragua. My sister Monique was signed up to run the Umstead Marathon with me this year, but she had to drop out because she was busy saving a child’s life. Really. She helped arrange life saving surgery for a child from Honduras who was born with a congenital defect. Monique is now caring for her until she is well enough to go home, and has had to pretty much give up running until then. But of course, she already has a plaque.
Little Keydi. Sure she's cute.
But she is no chunk of wood

How did I end up with such an arbitrary and frivolous goal? I don’t know. I was going to write all this blather about how running is so important to me and bla, bla, bla. Who cares.
Basically I love running in Umstead, so much so, I bought a house close to it. Then I heard about the Umstead Marathon, which gives out pint glasses to finishers and these little wooden plaques to the top finishers of each gender. I thought, "Hey, this is a race for me!". When I ran it in 2005, I discovered that there are a lot of people who love running in Umstead Park, and that plaques are not awarded to mere mortals like myself running 9 minute miles. I then dreamed up this seemingly impossible goal of getting a plaque, something so far fetched that I could count on it for many years to come, probably as long the race is held. It just added another reason run, and something to distract me when I’m sitting in my little grey cubicle typing up TPS reports.
“I hope you don’t get a plaque”, said Monique on the phone the other day, “Because if you do. What then? You’ll no longer have a goal. It’s your White Whale”.
So I will be running it for the 4th time on Saturday, hoping for that 15th place finish and that chunk of wood. I have been training for it ever since I crashed and burned in the race last year. But I think my sister is right, and that 16th place might be better, because then I won't have come up with a more worthy aspiration that wouldn't involve running in Umstead.

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