Sunday, October 02, 2005

Causes and Water Fountains

I don't keep up with the 5K run and walk scene, so I found out the hard way that today was the annual Race For The Cure event along the bayou. On my first loop around the bayou, I thought nothing of it. Some people were milling around and I had to take a slight detour to avoid the worst of it, but no big deal. I finished my first loop, ran up to the Memorial Park Picnic Loop to see the cyclists and refill my water bottles, then returned to the bayou for a second loop.

And that's where I ran into trouble.

I had thought that by this point (10 am) the worst of the ruckus would be over. After I came out the other side of the Memorial Drive underpass I could hear music and an announcer on the other side of the bayou. I thought maybe it was some sort of finishers party, but as I crossed the bayou at Sabine and entered the Allen Parkway trails, the voice resolved itself into that of a finish line announcer, congratulating the walkers. From his words I inferred that breast cancer survivors had some sort of identifying bib or shirt, because he was singling them out for special congratulations, asking their names, encouraging them to raise their hands in the air as they crossed the finish line and then directing them to pick up a carnation. And indeed, I saw some women wandering around the post-walk area with big pink carnations in their hands.

Inspiring, really. My roommate from my first year of college had breast cancer in her early thirties, so it made me a bit misty-eyed to see the crowds and hear the announcer congratulting survivors. He said that the event had raised over $2 million! We are a rich people that after giving so generously to hurricane relief we can still give so much to other types of causes.

So even though my legs were stiff (I definitely need to make an appointment with Mary) and I was ready for the run to be over, I was reminded that my own troubles were nothing compared to what some people have survived or are going through right now.

This feeling lasted about half a mile, which is the point at which I rounded a bend in the trail and came face to face with a solid wall of walkers. They spilled over Allen Parkway, which had been closed for their benefit, and onto my trails. My trails! OMG! Come on, ladies (and a few gents)! You paid for the roads to be closed for your benefit and now you're going to deprive me of my taxpayer's right to use the trail? Survivor or not, that's downright unfriendly!

Well, there were far too many of them for me to even attempt to continue running west along the bayou trail. It was go back or nothing.

So go back I did. I was glumly trying to recalculate what my mileage would be if I had to retrace the area from the underpass across Sabine and around to the circular garden. It wasn't an easy task since I didn't know the distance of that specific part of the route and wasn't wearing my GPS. But then I noticed a Mexican family I had passed a few minutes before walking off the path as if they had some secret knowledge of an alternate route. So I followed them and was surprised to find that there was a safe way to cut back to an earlier part of the Memorial side of the trails without revisiting Sabine, the outdoor chapel and the underpass. I ended up re-tracing only the part of my route that corresponded to the part I would've done had the walkers not been in the way, so the mileage remained the same-- no math involved, thank goodness. So to the clever familia on the trail this morning, I offer a heartfelt gracias, amigos!

I cut back over to the Allen Parkway side of the bayou at the earliest opportunity and finished my run as planned. On the final stretch of the route home I passed the new water fountain by the Memorial Drive bus stop. It's shiny. It's green. It's fancy, with three levels-- one for adults, one for kids and one for dogs. It's even got its own little fence around it to keep it safe from who knows what. Too bad the water tastes and smells like rust. Yuck. Oh well. The better to keep the water fountain looking shiny and new, since I doubt anyone will actually end up using it.

It's a funny world we live in.

Recent Workouts
Saturday: 14 mile run


Comm's said...

good for you on the 14.

I stopped running Race for the Cures last year. I can't take it anymore. Just too many non-runners getting in the way of a good race. I understand the cause, support the cure, but man its a wreck trying to sprint between 10 minute milers thinking they can rabbit up front.

bunnygirl said...

Maybe you would like to sign up to Sleep In For The Cure?