Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 51 - Polar Bear

Why must the universe test me so?

Things started out well enough...

(dissolve to crowded swanky dining/bar spot, interior, night)

Fantastic dinner of appetizers and a red wine flight at Northside Social. Long time heard-abouter, first time diner. Food and atmosphere, great. This is a real neighborhood place. Friendly regulars made us feel welcome immediately. Dude even got up and offered the lady his stool, a scarce commodity at 7:30pm, and not the least bit begrudgingly. When the food came, my new friend and NS regular Donna insisted I take her stool while I ate. Everyone around us was having a good time and quick to chat. We even got ourselves invited to a house party/concert for tonight.

Then we high-tailed it over to Birdy's for some live music (CD release party for Finest Grain). Super bonus, the appearance of my dear friend Nora. Good music, great company. Perfect Friday night.

Alarm erupted at 6:30am. Uhg.

This was a moment. A moment when I have to decide whether to do what I want to do (stay in the warm, soft, cozy-as-all-get-out bed, and go back to sleep, for maybe a week), or do what I should do (ignore the mild hangover headache, curse myself for not drinking more water, again, throw off the warm, soft, cozy covers, swing my legs over the side, and take that first step to the floor... into the morning, and head downtown for my race).

I hate those moments. Way too often, I opt for warm/soft/cozy. This morning, I fought it off.

My reward? The Polar Bear. A 5-mile run in downtown Indianapolis.


Doesn't that polar bear look pissed? Is it pissed at St. Franics Hospital and Health Centers? Nah. I'm guessing a "global warming is melting my habitat" thing.

Wouldn't you be pissed if someone was causing your neighborhood to, you know, melt? Neighborhood associations go ballistic if the utility company wants to install a booster station on their holy ground. Imagine if the utility company made your neighborhood melt! Good thing polar bears don't have lawyers.

The Polar Bear used to be the first race of the season, and huge. Hadn't done it in years, but the new downtown course, start and end at the historic City Market, and the fact that Marty's store, the best damn running store on the planet, was a sponsor, I was ready to jump back in.

Marty set me up with a secret parking place and a number. I got there in plenty of time to stretch and socialize. Things were going along just grand...

Went to change into my race shoes and synch my GPS watch. For those unfamiliar, these watches use GPS to the course of a track a run, as well as report your pace, distance, and in my case even my heart rate. Awesome technology that fits on a wrist. And not cheap.

These watches need to find their position on the planet (don't we all). This requires a line-of-sight to the sky. While I was changing my shoes, I put my watch on a window sill to synch.

Anyway, after changing my shoes, my watch was still searching the sky. I walked about 30 feet to put my other shoes into a safe place near Marty's stuff. I was gone maybe 20 seconds.

When I returned... you all see this coming, right?... the watch was gone.

There was a pico-second of disbelief. Checked my wrist. Nope. Pocket. Nope. My shoes that I just took off. Nope. I'd left it on the sill, across the table from a mom, and as fast as you can say "people suck" it was gone.

The race was about to start. No time for a tantrum. I told Marty what happened. Shrugged. Went out to the starting line.

I have to admit, I was surprised how calm I was about the whole thing. I just let it go.

Didn't hurt that I had a fun 5-miler right in front of me to take the edge off.


I ran, I'll say it, great! Smooth, easy first mile. Slowly fell into a groove once I warmed up. Steadily got faster throughout the race. Finished with a long, sustained kick.

The downtown course took us around the iconic Soldiers and Sailors monument.

Wonder how long that kick was and how fast I was going there at the end? Hmmm. Let me check my GPS watch... stupid jerk.

51 days of running, of taking note of my own needs and making them top priority for just a few minutes a day, has definitely mellowed me out. I feel more in control of my life. When something out of my control happens, well, that's just an incident. It's not yet another log on the bonfire.

Republican version of the Polar Bear. Smiling. Much less pissed.
Probably massive injections of Xanax.

When I finished the race, cooled down, had some water and a banana and a cookie, I found Marty. He'd had the PA guy announce the lost watch, had looked around for it himself, and finally told me I could have his watch since he doesn't use it much anyway.

Not all people suck.

Numbers: 5 miles. Oh, and... ahem... Hey! Jag-Off McDouche who stole my watch! About the time you figure out how to work the buttons, which I'm guessing will tax the gerbil-on-a-wheel you pass off as a brain, the battery will be dead. Without the dock, you can't charge it. Idiot. Your "intellect" probably can't process this, but you've just committed a crime, and sucked in a cool metric ton of bad karma, for nothing.