We have contact from the outside world!
First, from my favorite writer/music critic/bartender Nora:
Nora: How did the whole fountain fetish, um, fountain fascination thing start?
Me: Hi Nora! Great question. Since the dawn of time man has been drawn to water, to return to that from which his primordial ancestors first emerged, crawling on their flippers, hopefully wearing sunblock.
Nora (in my imagination): No, dumbass... your fountain fetish.
Me: Oh, ok. That makes more sense... After a Polkaboy show in the summer of 2006, I was newly single. I mustered up the nerve to ask out a girl I'd been mega-crushing on for months. She said "Not right now." I had no idea what that meant. Befuddled, and needing to walk off my German beer buzz, my sister, pseudo-sister-in-law, and I walked around downtown and ended up sitting across from The Veterans Memorial, discussing how foolish she was to pass up a "Golden Ticket". I don't remember who's idea it was, but my sister and I both defiled the fountain, which was surprisingly deep and very slippery. Somewhere there are pictures of the two of us standing by the obelisk.
Nora (again, I'm making this part up): But... why? Why fountains?
Me: I'm not sure... I think it has something to do with crossing an invisible barrier, breaking a rule that everyone follows just because everyone follows it, and doing it in a totally harmless manner. Standing in a fountain, especially when it's fountaining, is an exhilarating experience, and it bums me out that everyone else is missing out on it. Try it sometime, but only if you can see the bottom. :-)
[Note the link to a map of all of the fountains I've defiled over there on the right, under "Links to useless crap".]
And now some great questions from Ali, who hangs out at the world's best running store, and could almost certainly run me into the ground:
Ali: What's your favorite and least favorite thing(s) about running in FiveFingers?
Me: Favorite is easy... changing to minimalist running saved my running career. It changed my gate, my strike, and my posture. Before going minimalist, I was pretty beaten up. If I ran on Monday, I couldn't run again until Friday, because my lower back would be toast. Now, as we all are painfully aware by now, I run every day.
As for the Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) in particular, the ground feel is excellent. It might look silly, but having my toes free to move independently keeps me in touch with the ground and helps me run more efficiently.
Least favorite, also easy, and two winners - they smell to high heaven. I sweat a lot when I run, and thanks to gravity, a lot of it ends up in my shoes. You can wash VFFs, but sooner or later, they will smell... awful. I still have my first pair. 500 miles on them and they'd go another 500, if they didn't smell like Oscar the Grouch's butt. Second least favorite, when I stub my toe, it hurts like a mutha.
Ali: Do you think your dog will notice when you come to the end of your streak?
Me: Depends, is there a squirrel, or a chipmunk, or anything that sounds remotely like a squirrel or chipmunk anywhere remotely close? If so, then no, because in that case she wouldn't notice me shaving her. If not, then I think she will. I don't run with her every day, but we do run a lot. With the streak going on, I've been pretty conservative with my runs, keeping them short-ish, and I haven't done any speed work to speak of. I expect that she'll notice the runs getting longer and faster next year.
Ali: Where is the hands-down best place you've ever run?
Me: Wow, very hard question. I've been thinking about this one since I peeked at Facebook earlier today. I'm going to award a few categories:
Best local spot is Fort Benjamin Harrison. Eagle Creek is fantastic, but I spent a few years running at Fort Ben almost every day and I have so many fond memories. Plus, I know the place like the back of my hand. Some of my favorite sections of trail have been "Easy-ified" a bit with stairs and decking, but I still love it.
Best city to run in goes to Washington DC. I haven't been there for years, but there are so many fantastic places to run, and so much to see. Second is San Francisco.
The Low-Gap Trail. I've only run it a couple times, but I've never felt so alive and so much a part of nature. It's rugged. It's difficult. The blazes are confusing. It's wonderful. (Here are some pix posted to Flickr from a run where I got lost, with commentary.) Runner-up goes to Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas.
Thanks for the great questions, ladies!
Hey readers, feel free to share your favorite places to run in the whole wide world, right down there, in the comments... anonymous is ok... really... or better yet, send in some more great questions.
Numbers: 1.4 miles - One more day of precautionary post-stretch session rest-mile.