25 August 2010

And then I got beat by a three year old...

I think it's time to write about something completely, 100% positive, for a change.

That's right. No discussion of public transportation, or the foul smell that often accompanies that experience. No mention of long waits, inefficiency, or any of those things. Just a great moment from today.

I went for a run a little before dusk tonight. The timing of my exercise is all part of a masterful strategy to keep myself running. You see, I don't live in the best neighborhood, and have made an agreement that I won't be out gallivanting by myself at night (I have to say that this is something I typically try to avoid no matter where I live, but I digress). I have promised to take a taxi when I come back after the buses have stopped running and get all of my running in during the daylight hours. There have been some interesting 'new experiences' as a result of my new location (like the time two police cars drove in front of me down the trail I was running on to chase what we will call 'unidentified males who must be assumed to be alleged delinquents' into the forest--which I proceeded to continue to run around), but in addition to all of the adventure, the one thing that I really love is that I feel like I live in a neighborhood. There are tons of parks and they are almost always full with organized and semi-organized games, parents playing with their kids and families just hanging out. I really like that.

But in addition to that, the people are really friendly, and I have enjoyed my interactions with them. And tonight just adds to that experience.

So, as I mentioned, I was out for a mid-evening run (because if I run far enough that I have just enough time to get home before it is too dark, then I am forced to keep running), and had just turned at the half-way point. I was passing a popular bus stop and was relaxed by the number of people who were around (strength in numbers you know). I was checking out my surroundings--as any street-smart person would do, of course--and was puzzled by a sign that advertised that 'We Sell Mattresses'--which appeared to be in front of a random souvenir/things-that-no-one-needs-but-someone-will-pay-for shop, and I wasn't even really paying attention to this couple with their small daughter who were talking in front of the sign. As I looked forward after gawking into the junk store, I saw that the little girl had run away from her parents, and could hear them calling to her over the music streaming through my headphones.

It only took me about 2 seconds before I thought, "Is she trying to race me?" Well, I was about 20 minutes in to the run at this point and pretty set on my pace, so I didn't think about speeding up. And then about 10 ft later, it was confirmed. I had just gotten beat in a foot-race by a three year old.

She ran down the wide open platform area where the bus kiosk was located, and then when the side walk narrowed, she kind of awkwardly lunged across in what must have been the natural reflex to break the tape. Then she looked over her shoulder and just grinned up at me.

It was awesome.

I kept hoping that that little girl would have the same qualities she just demonstrated--fearlessness in front of foes with more advantages, determination, and competitiveness--when she is learning to read in 1st grade, learning to multiply in 5th grade, writing a five paragraph essay as a freshman, and applying to a selective college at the beginning of her senior year. If she is like the typical kid in the school district where she lives, then there are probably plenty of things in her life that are similar to racing a bigger, taller, older runner. But hopefully, she will win those races too.

And I ran the rest of the way home with a cheesy grin and lifted spirits. And I might have even run a little faster.

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