Monday, October 13, 2008

Tropfest NY 2008 winner, "Mankind Is No Island" by Jason van Genderen

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Marathoner's Notes

"I'm hoping to meet some ladies during the Chicago Marathon on Sunday."

"But they'll all be running away from you," my mom replied.

"And that's different how?"

I have heard from some female runners I know that when they need that extra motivation during runs, when they just want to quit, they envision that I'm chasing behind them asking if they are free this weekend.

With that encouragement, I woke before the sun to take the blue line into the city on a Sunday, which doesn't sound very appealing. But the annual Chicago Marathon proved too alluring. As someone who has never run a complete mile, I can't fathom the appeal of running 26.2. The Young Alumni Club organized a group of volunteers to work the finish line and I gladly seized the opportunity to see the masochistic saga first-hand.

After a fair amount of wandering looking for the volunteer tent and my group I finally found my posse.

Among my recollections and lessons from this day:

Possibly one of the most rewarding moments came when I spotted two Aussies crossing the finish line. My duty was to provide cool, wet towels to runners to aid them in the cool down process from the atypically warm Fall day (low 80s). As soon as I spotted my soon-to-be fellow mates I hustled over to them and gave them towels. I detected an awesome accent when they thanked me and decided now wouldn't be the best time to discuss my plans to come down under next year.

The easiest way to boost self-esteem is to volunteer. I had people praise me for giving out towels and thank me for helping. Being appreciated fuels the soul. Some called me "God-send," I said "No, my name is Andrew." Others asked for God to bless me. I'll take it.

Running a marathon is a religious experience. Apparently atheists don't run marathons because everyone seemed to be praising the man upstairs or the divine blessing of cold towels.

Marathons discriminate against the obese.

At least 45,000 people are more fit than me.

Never underestimate the power of a hose.

Yes, you can get a sunburn in October.

Marathons aren't pleasurable. I saw very few people with smiles at the finish line.

Finally, marathons aren't motivational. Today only confirmed my policy on mobility. There are certain things the human body was not designed for. Running 26.2 miles is one of them. My firm belief is that there are better transportation options for distances greater than half a mile. I will gladly walk distances less than 2 miles. I will bike distances between 2 and 6 miles. For everything else there is the automobile and public transit.

The only digits I got today were those on the bibs of the runners.