Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Now I know what’s behind the green door.

I'm not a runner.

In fact, I hate running with a searing passion.

My wife's a runner, my sister runs and my dad has completed thirteen marathons. A lot of my friends like to dart around on the pavement as well. I know it's a great form of exercise, since all you need are forty-five minutes, some decent shoes and the earth's surface.

Yada yada yada.

I've definitely participated in other activities while running, like yelling at buses to stop or fleeing from a college girlfriend I'd just broken up with, but I'd rather do just about anything than pound the asphalt with my size nine-and-a-halfs.

Sometimes, however, there's not a choice.

My wife and I have been encouraging our ten-year-old daughter to be more physically active, whether it's playing soccer, the Wii Fit or sucker punching me in the kidneys and wrestling me to the ground. So, when she agreed to participate in an annual Seattle event, the five-kilometer St. Patrick's Day Dash, I felt compelled to acquiesce, even though I'd rather guzzle a beaker of laboratory waste than plant myself in the middle of fifteen thousand fun runners.

My other daughter, the fifteen-year-old, is half shark, so her state of perpetual motion assures that she can finish a 5K without ceasing a text message, and my wife runs that far every single freaking day.

In other words, mouth, I'd like to introduce you to my money.
 
The four of us awoke early on a rainy Sunday morning, like early-church-service early, only this time, my mom wasn't around to spray my hair with Aquanet and help me clip on my tie. We parked a few blocks from the starting line, and didn't leave the extreme luxury of the heated minivan until the last possible minute. After all, why subject yourself to a torrential downpour when you can listen to two kids arguing about personal space in the back seat?
 
We decided that, prior to embarking on the nearly four-mile odyssey, we should hit the massive row of portable relief stations. I realized immediately that I had won the day's dirty parts lottery. Upon noticing the green "open" signal on the Honey Pot door, I advanced quickly and threw it open.
 
The butt was female. Two questions flooded my consciousness:
1) Why hadn't she locked the door?
2) Why is her naked bottom facing me?
 
She looked like a half naked football center, ready to snap me some sort of ball, but I wasn't sure about from where the ball would originate. I jerked backward faster than Tom Brady shifting into the shotgun formation, and sidestepped to a vacant box.
 
I needed a couple of minutes to relax after that. I rationalized that perhaps that lady practiced some sort of new age body syphoning, but I was a little shell shocked by the Eight a.m. moon rising I'd just witnessed.
 
Seattle people are funny.
 
The run began, and my fifteen-year-old disappeared into the distance with the runners, while my wife and I walked/ran with our younger daughter. The mood was festive, but the weather was cold and wet. I found myself encouraging our ten-year-old by pointing out that guy over there carrying an open keg over his shoulder. See how dedicated he is? He's also sharing, which is an admirable quality.
 
Maybe not the best example.
 
We walked and people-watched all the way down Aurora Avenue and back, and before long, we'd polished that course off. As we made our way through Seattle Center to rendezvous with our shark daughter, men in nothing but leprechaun hats and green underwear shivered as they lined up for the beer garden, but our experience was wrapping up.

Together at last, we dragged our soggy bodies in the direction of the minivan, but first I had to make one last stop.

This time I knocked first.

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