Archive for April 19th, 2007

Running a ½ Marathon – an Optimists Guide for the Impatient and Ill-Prepared IV

It was like that scene in Hidalgo – where Viggo Mortensen’s character looks back and sees a monumental Arabian desert sandstorm whirling up behind him and his horsehidalgo1.jpg. They race for shelter and barely make it to safety behind a convenient wall. A few minutes later they stagger out, spitting sand out of their mouths; Vig pouring what was once water – now encrusted sand – out of his water skin. With a slight change of principle characters and location, that was me – out for a training run the other day on Santa Monica beach. Malibu, which is generally perfectly visible, was totally obliterated by the crazy Santa Ana winds. A sane person would have gone home… but when you’re in training, you’ve got to persevere. So instead of being sane, I stuck it out and compiled a list of fun things to do while running through a sandstorm on the beach:

1. Multitask! Since the sand is already scouring away all of your exposed skin, just think about the exfoliating you won’t have to do in the shower.

2. Did you know that your eyes need exfoliating too?

3. Prolonged exposure to an aggressive sandstorm can be an excellent way to remove protein buildup from your contact lenses.

4. If you’ve never taken a moment to be grateful that your nose acts as a sophisticated filter, now is the time.

5. Been awhile since your last visit to the dentist? No problem – even if you don’t open your mouth, sand will somehow infiltrate and get caught between your teeth. Surely it’s removing tartar, and giving you a brighter, whiter smile.

6. This is a great chance to develop strategic thinking skills! While running with your eyes closed and dodging fleeing tourists, you can also contemplate whether you are more likely to be decapitated by a flying street sign on a side road or on the beach path!

7. Also a great opportunity to hear the Doppler effect in action. Note how your fellow beach-goers screams get louder and then softer as you run past them with your eyes closed?

8. When the sheets of flying dagger-like sand become unbearably painful, you can huddle down next to a public beach toilet and watch the other crazies who are walking, running, or riding bikes while doubled over with their eyes closed.

9. When else will you consider carrying your new mini iPod in your mouth for its own safety?

10. When you finally stagger home, no need to tell everyone that your all-over-body rosy hue came from taking a violent sand-bath; let them assume you’ve been sunkissed.

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Poesie Quotidienne - Characters I

Venice I – Mad Maxx crossed with the Professor from Back to the Future, playing a mermaid-muraled piano on the beach with wild energy and considerable talent.

Venice II – a young man wearing a knee length tunic, turban, and knee pads, rolling gently down the Venice Boardwalk with a beatific smile while playing a cordless electric guitar.

Beverly Hills I – a painter right out of the 19th century, complete with smock, palette and easel, set up on the side of Santa Monica Boulevard at rush hour, doing a sketch of the outside of a shopping mall.

Beverly Hills II – a bicyclist, clearly down with his Zen, riding the wrong way down a major thoroughfare at rush hour, arms crossed across his chest, eyes closed.

Beverly Hills III – random driver stopped next to me at a traffic signal, urging me to roll down my window with great urgency and enthusiasm. Turns out, he’d spotted my Montana license plates and wanted to talk about Big Sky Country.

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Tales from the Gym – Proselytized by Euphemisms

Affectionate nicknames for the Almighty, as shared by the FROBSS ladies in the sauna this evening:

“The Big Boss”

“My Senior Partner”

“Lou” (stands for “Lord of the Universe”; chosen for its gender-neutrality)

“Sai Baba” (I think this refers to Sathya Sai Baba, a guru who lives in Puttaparthi, in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, India.)

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