Sunday, July 5, 2009

07/04: Four on the Fourth

I pulled into the parking lot of Ada Hayden Park a little before seven in the morning on a rainy Independence Day, listening to "Achtung Baby" and thinking about failed relationships and fractured hearts. I was in Ames, Iowa, for the Four on the Fourth race and I was mired in melancholy, probably brought on by dreary skies, too little sleep, and geriatric drivers, all of whom looked like the American Gothic dude. They were European geriatrics, apparently - they seemed to think the speed limit signs were in kilometers.

When "Love Is Blindness" ended I got out of the car and went to register. which I guess meant I was actually going to do run this race. I had had my doubts; I'm not a huge fan of running in the rain but this wasn't much of a rain. It was more like a light drizzle or heavy mist and the temperature - low to mid-sixties - was better than anything I'd seen in Dallas in a couple of months. I blew off running the previous afternoon because of rain even though I found an awesome place to run (the Iowa St. cross-country course) so I needed to do this race if for no other reason than to get some miles in.

After registering I went back to my rented Suzuki SX4, which is a dumpy crossover and not the elite racing machine its name might suggest, to listen to some more tunes and check out the schwag. Which wasn't much - a t-shirt and the bag it came in - but was of above-average quality. The bag was a green, reusable cloth bag and the shirt was Gildan Ultra Cotton, which means 50% cotton, 50% polyester. It has a good feel and it's pinkish, but a deep, dark pink, not, um, emasculating. I also changed the shirt I was currently wearing, from a sleeveless black to a short-sleeve gray, to better match the weather. I was wearing gray shorts and I don't like my shirt and shorts to be similar colors - I'm not into that whole monochromatic thing - but I value comfort over aesthetics. I think I've proved that on multiple occasions in my life.

I ejected the U2 CD and popped in "The Neon Bible." I listened to seven songs: "Keep The Car Running," "The Neon Bible," "Intervention," "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations," "Antichrist Television Blues," "No Cars Go," and "Keep The Car Running" again. With the exception of the title track these are all propulsive tunes - they make me want to move and my preferred form of movement is running. I sat in the car with the rain falling gently on the windshield, watching more people show up for the race, listening to Arcade Fire (and U2) and getting excited about running. Not racing, necessarily, but running and trying to run fast. It was an unorthodox warm-up but it was effective - it got me to the starting line feeling good and ready to go. They started us off and I went. The rain had nearly stopped.

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