Sunday, February 13, 2011


“I gave my love a cherry without a stone
I gave my love a chicken without a bone
I gave my love a ring that had no end . . .”

. . . I gave my love a footrace and made her run it by herself.

Okay, that sounds worse than it really is. At least from my perspective. You’ll have to ask my love what she thinks about it. Or read her nonexistent humor column.

Kristin has participated in a few footraces since my obsession began in 1999. She’s completed a number of 5Ks, and even ran a hilly trail 10K a couple of years ago. Okay, she didn’t “run” the trail race, but neither did I. Did I mention it was hilly? We finished together, as we often have. If I participate in a race with Kristin or one of the kids and the point is to do it together, I stick with ‘em through the end.

On occasion, if she has other company, I’ll run my own race, like we did in San Carlos a long while back. I run, finish, rest, eat, drink, rest, pace around the finish line, and here she comes! Of course I cheer loudly for my wife, being very proud of her and her accomplishment.

Last year I heard about a race in Oakland that we couldn’t assimilate into our busy schedule. It’s called a Couple’s Relay and is run around Lake Merritt. It intrigued me because in ’09 I spent twelve hours running around Lake Merritt and racked up 54.2 miles. This year this particular Sunday morning was open, so I signed up Kristin and me to participate in the Couple’s Relay. The only problem was I didn’t tell Kristin.

We are scheduled to run on Sunday, February 27. Consider it a late Valentine’s Day present. We have to get up to Lake Merritt by 8 a.m. and then Kristin will run around the lake, I believe in a clockwise direction. Hopefully I send her off facing the right way. When she completes the approximate 3.1 mile distance (the standard equivalent of the metric 5 kilometer) we will tag off in some manner and then I will run the same circuit.

Judging by our recent running, and the results of other teams in the same race last year, we won’t come in last place. That’s always Kristin’s concern. She doesn’t want to come in last. On January 1 we started the new year out right with a 5K in Palo Alto, and Kristin was worried that she’d come in last.

She didn’t, naturally, because she is determined. She even thought all of the 10K runners, who only started fifteen minutes earlier than we did, would beat her. Some did, but certainly not all.

If you think of this as a Valentine’s Day gift, you might think me daft, inconsiderate, sophomoric, or just plain cruel. Certainly unromantic. Which is fine with me; I don’t think I have ever been particularly romantic. Not like the Latin lovers in those movies I’ve never seen. I don’t take Kristin to the latest romantic comedy every mid-February. Usually I am trying to convince her to go see the latest Sylvester Stallone shoot-a-thon.

Not to say I’ve never done anything nice, I just don’t want to catalog them here. I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

Meanwhile, I am making post-race plans. We will either go to a movie theater to see “Just Go With It” starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston (which sounds horrible) or maybe eat at Chez Panisse in nearby Berkeley (which sounds expensive) or, barring either of those because I’m too sweaty for public interaction, we’ll go home and I’ll sit on the couch for the rest of afternoon.

Hey, what can I say? It will be nearly two weeks after Valentine’s Day. Surely I can be forgiven some selfish behavior at that point.

So I say she is going to run the footrace by herself, and this is true. To a point. She will run without me, but Kristin is well able to make friends everywhere she goes, and I have no doubt she will find someone of a similar pace and will be able to complete her lap at a rate that does not preclude a little friendly conversation.

Perhaps Kristin deserves a true valentine in advance of our sporting spectacle. If only I was still a classroom teacher I could regift a box of chocolates or little stuffed animal I’d get from a student.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

1 comment:

  1. Unromantic? Nah! Not you, however I will not burst your bubble here by listing things that come from my memory, not my imagination. In fact I can probably accuse you of stirring me to at least one of my own romantic ventures, but that will be in another story.

    Good luck to both of you in the race, and you can stop by our house afterward, even if you are sweaty.