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

April 19th, 2007

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.

Entry Filed under: Optimist's Guide

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