Sunday, May 15, 2011

High Five

     I spent most of Saturday morning chasing my Baby Doll around as she participated in a half-marathon power walk (she did a tremendous job of it too I thought, with a time under 4 hours and an average speed over 3 mph).  Basically, she walked 13.1 miles through the forest along with people who were running 13.1 miles through the forest, other people who were running 26.2 miles through the forest, and still other people who were driving their cars down the roads where everyone was running.  Get it?  Because the marathon, half-marathon, and power walk all used the same course and it was run entirely along public roads that were open to traffic.  And it was all through the forest.  Anyway, like a good boy I tooled around the back roads and met her every three miles or so to see how she was doing and cheer her on.  Because I was using a miracle of modern technology - an SUV - I was making considerably better time than she was and I had time to wait at each spot and watch other runners go by.  And since I was always to where I was going about a half hour or 45 minutes before she was there, I saw the same people over and over and over.  And I was cheering them on.
     Yeah, that's right, I was cheering them on too, chatting with them and telling them they were doing great.  Offering words of encouragement as it were, because they were out here doing something that I sure as hell wouldn't want to do, and they were trying hard, so they deserved all the encouragement they could get.  So I am sitting at about mile 9 or so, which would be like mile 22 for the marathoners, and it is raining.  In fact it had been drizzly and rainy and windy and raw and cold all day long.  I am standing on the shoulder of a road holding an umbrella and giving out high fives.  I am about 30 yards from a corner, right at the point where the runners are crossing the road to cut the corner.  One young woman - probably in her late 20s - was starting to cut across when she suddenly veered back towards me.  I was confused.
    She ran towards me and stuck out her hand.  She had seen me giving people high fives and she said "I really need one of those right now."  I don't understand what it is like to run 26.2 miles because I have never done it and I have no desire to do so, but I can't imagine that it is fun.  Runners talk about "hitting the wall" all the time but I would imagine that I would hit wall after wall after wall.  And I can imagine that this girl was hitting a wall something fierce.  So I was more than happy to give her a big high five.  I may have even jumped up in the air when I did it - but we aren't sure.  We are still gathering witness reports.  I don't if she finished or with what time, but I hope she did.  Because I gave her some sort of strength and will to go on with her bad self.  All by standing in the rain and slapping my palm to hers.  Strange how things work.  I wonder what a fist bump would have done for her.

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