Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Rain Provides...

"I'm invigorated, Mr. Anderson."
Spidey and M.J. shared their first kiss in the rain.  Neo and Agent Smith held their final showdown in the rain.  Andy Dufresne tasted the sweetness of freedom in the rain drops pelting his face.  Gene Kelly loved to sing AND dance in the rain.  Countless movies heighten the excitement of a scene with hard, drenching rain.  Hollywood tells us it's invigorating, the thought of being outside in the rain.

In reality, actually being outside in the rain is a wet mess.  It leads to wet clothes, a messy floor, a dirty car, and sometimes the common cold.  Our kid's sports activities are frequently cancelled because nobody wants to be outside in the rain.  Ultimately, millions of people check the weather every day in order to plan events around the chance of rain.  It's not invigorating, the thought of being outside in the rain.

The thought of running in the rain is also not invigorating.  Even though countless posters tell you how amazing and powerful running soaked is, I avoid it if I have to.  If it is unavoidable, I have to re-arrange my wardrobe, find an older pair of shoes, and calculate a route with the best drainage.  Once you're out there running in the rain, you have to deal with heavy shoes, wet clothes, rain in your face, and more.  Not invigorating, this thought.

"Invigoration, er, freedom!"
When JJ and I signed up for the Amy Thompson 5K, it represented a rare opportunity for us.  You see, we don't get many chances to actually run a 5K hard, as we're always in marathon training, recovery, or taper.  We each have 5K goals that we plan to knock out of the park at this particularl race.  The timing is perfect.  We're not in the middle of a training program and we're in great running shape.  However...

On Memorial Day, JJ and I wake up to prepare for the Amy Thompson 5K.  Sadly, our goals are out of view.  We spent the last three days playing golf (drinking), cheering on the Royals (drinking), and hanging out (drinking).  Oh, and there's a 90% chance of rain.  Heavy rain.  We have little expectations for ourselves.  The plan is to show up, give it our best, get home, and rest.

We park about a half mile away, jog to the starting area, and head for the nearest bathroom.  All is well until we step out of the bathroom into a chilling downpour.  A cold, windy, fat rain drop, bunch of rain.  We take shelter in the nearby pavilion, like many others.  Our usual warm-up is out of the question.  Two minutes before the race start, we dash out of our shelter into the rain and head for the start line.  We step into the corral, wait 20 seconds, then GO!

One mile into the 5K, the already heavy rain picks up even more.  These colossal rain drops are big enough to fill all Chuck Noland's coconuts in minutes.  Our expectations drop lower and lower.  Still, we fight on, as if the invigorating awakening is right around the corner.  I keep reaching towards the sky like Dufresne, but nothing.  Eventually, I cross the finish line, grab a soggy bagel, (skip the water) and wait for JJ to finish.

JJ crosses the finish line, grabs herself a soggy bagel, (skips the water) and we start jogging toward the car.    This event comes and goes in a wet mess.  We're both disappointed and soaked. This rare opportunity is foiled by bad timing and Mother Nature.  We head home, wondering when another rare opportunity will come along.

Afterwards, at breakfast with my Mother and Dean, I decide to check the results online.  First place in my age group with a PR 19:24.  I swing over to JJ's age group.  Second place with her second fastest time of 24:28.  Immediately, we check the website to see if they provide placement medals.  They do!  Our first earned medals in a public race!  It seems Mother Nature weeds down the competition enough for us to squeeze into the winner's circle.

After all the disappointment and Mother Nature's best shot, we exceed our expectations.  We might have to rethink our thoughts about running in the rain.  Although, I'm not going as far as 'invigorating.'

Fun Facts:
  • Searching for "Running in the Rain" on iTunes will return 41 different songs, including remixes.
  • In .32 seconds, Google will kick out 825 million results when searching for "weather forecast".

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bite your tongue...

As an official grown-up in the Wolf family, it's my job to question bold statements made by younger Wolf's.  When Jack Busy Wolf tells me, prehistoric Rhino's are real, I scour the web for images.  When Ashton Honorary Wolf says, you can't setup a Minecraft server on XBOX, I fire up Google.  Why?  I don't know.  Do those little punks think they know better than me?  No way!  How can they know more about X, Y, or Z when I have so many more years of life under my belt?  I know, I know...  be the grown-up, nourish their intellect, blah, blah, blah...  It's instinct and I have no control over it.  The urge to question them is always present.

Grandpa, me, and Caleb walk to an ant hill
Case in point...  During a regular visit to Pawnee Rock, Caleb Idolized Wolf, my younger brother of 10 years, explains a fairly bold truth.  I would even go so far as to say it's beyond bold.  It's neighboring ludicrousness.  Possibly plaid.  He says to us, "ants won't bite if you're biting your tongue."  I Mature Wolf just smirk.  Did he just say that?  Even now I remember thinking, Caleb's 22, not 8 like Rhino boy.  How can he throw such a slow lob  statement over the home plate that is my questioning maturity?  Anywho, I don't hesitate.  Ha!  Impossible!  That makes no sense.  I even fire up my phone's Chrome browser to prove this falsity doesn't exist on the vast collection of bits and bytes across the globe.  All the while, he's going on and on about how true it is.  Low and behold, Google has never heard of this ant bite prevention method.  I victoriously deliver the sad news to Caleb.  He only responds with, "I'll prove it."

Grandpa and I waiting to laugh

I'm excited.  I can't wait to watch him get bit.  We walk out into the pasture, where Caleb Brave Wolf proceeds to stick his hand in an ant hill.  He wiggles his hand to aggravate the ants and they immediately begin to populate on his hand.  All the while, he's biting his tongue.  Strangely enough, they're not biting him.  50 plus ants camp out on his hand for what seems like 15 seconds.  Finally, he shakes them off, releases his tongue from tooth grip, and smiles.  No bites.  I Confused Wolf don't know what to say.  I don't believe it.  I mean, I literally don't believe it because I still won't go through the act of letting ants crawl all over me, whilst biting my tongue.  This defies all that I know.

Grandpa becomes a believer

My father Grandpa Wolf is starting to believe.  He has seen some semblance of proof.  For him, there's only one test left.  He has to try it himself.  Biting his tongue, he sticks his hand in the ant hill.  He lets them crawl on him for over 20 seconds.  He finally shakes the ants from his hand and releases his tongue.  Grandpa is bite free.  No red marks.  No swelling.  Nothing.  It was as if by biting his tongue, he became one with the ants.  As they crawl on his flesh, they somehow feel the incisor connection that only a tongue can provide.  They know not to bite.

At this point, my smile is straying from laughter's doorstep and is headed for anxious town.  It's two to one.  I'm losing this battle.  I Nervous Wolf am left with only one option.  I have to bite my tongue.  JJ Future Wolf is there to record it.

After all is said and done, through physically biting my tongue, I Mature Wolf might be one step closer to actually biting my tongue.