The Free Goody Bag (Shirt, Water, Coupons...No Easter Turkey)
At the start, I was in the "wave" of amateurs and novices; my daughter (CBW) was farther up the road with runners/walkers of legitimate abilities. Even so, Meg, my new friend from Williamsburg, took off at the starting line and I never saw her little pink hat again; ditto, Ann Marie, our friend in her little red crab hat. There were people in costumes, which I did not require to elicit pointing and laughing. I still marveled at the competitors who blew past me: the highly motivated, the gray and thin-haired, the morbidly obese, the amputees with artificial limbs. The good news: no terrorist snipers leaning from upper windows. Still I was proud of myself for trying and determined to finish well.
To preserve dignity, I ran when necessary to secure the good opinion of onlookers who lined Monument Avenue shouting, "You can do it!," "Just 5 more miles!," or "Free hot dogs and beans!," which on hearing my stomach almost caused my knees to buckle.
My Little Outfit (Not Pictured: the panty-girdle which will accompany me to the crematorium )
After the projected consequences of my foolish commitment set in, I enumerate all the possibilities and prepare for: (1) an undistinguished upright finish; (2) embarrassing failure to reach a porta-potty in time; (3) mental confusion; and (4) sudden death. I decided to maneuver things toward number (1) with a cautious eye on number (2).
At about the half-way mark, the bricked road became uncomfortable underfoot and brought me back to Paris in 1983, where my feet cursed my shoes for just such inhospitality. I made a mental note: "Don't forget where you are, stay focused; and should the worst happen, DO NOT ASK, "Is this Paris?" It is my fondest wish not to die in a mental hospital.
At the finish line, I ran confidently, my apple-red cheeks spreading to the whole face; and after a Chinese buffet, a turn in the jacuzzi, and a three-hour nap, it has only recently returned to normal. I may do this all again next year!!