When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide -- The Beatles, Helter Skelter
I (rslight) possess a copy of one of the most bizarre 5K course maps in existence. I would scan it and post it here if I could.
On Saturday I ran the Mountain Home Half Marathon for Kenya in Mountain Home, Ark. No problem there. It was a flat, straight, out-and-back course with beautiful scenery. Small crowd. Few volunteers. No spectators. Cool Springfield-area contingent (Max Stephens, Dean Casady, Stephen and Jill Aleman). Nice PR for me (1:52:57). One nasty scar on my head from hitting it on a rail during a bus ride from the high school to the start line (fortunately it's a high wound and my hair covers it).
On Sunday I was among hundreds who participated in Kansas City's Jingle Bell Run 5K. It was a sweet, charming event in chilly weather. There were kids disguised as elves, women dressed like Mrs. Claus and a manic Santa Claus inexplicably leading runners in a Kansas City Chiefs cheer.
The course was three loops in Zona Rosa, a very fancy outdoor shopping mall.
Loop one went through Zona Rosa. Simple.
Loop two went through Zona Rosa. Easy.
Here's where it even gets tricky for Houdini.
The third, final loop was a smaller one inside the two loops. Parts of the third loop were the same as the first two.
Volunteers held signs telling the first two loops people to go this way, and the third loop folks to go that way. Since legions of walkers went slow on the first two, it seemed like everyone was heading in different directions.
To make the experience even goofier, it started to snow (lightly).
On the third loop, I reached a corner that would take me to the finish.
However, the speedy little boy I had followed since the halfway mark went straight.
I stopped in bewilderment. Was the kid on a different loop? Or did he make a wrong decision?
When I decided to turn, I thought I heard a volunteer scream in anger: "No! You're supposed to do three loops!"
I paused again. Was she yelling at me? Apparently not.
When I saw the clock in the distance, it read 22:40. I finished in 23:25.
If I had been more confident in my directions on this crazy 5K, I would have gone under 23 minutes. Heck, the course was weird, but it was flat. I might have had a Jim Evans sort of time.
Oh, the heartache! What calamity.
After my selfish, petty complaining about not getting an award at the Parkinsons 5K, I placed third in my age group at Jingle Bell. Third out of 21 dudes in the 30-34 bunch. But I wish I hadn't.
That's because I was forced to have my picture taken with Santa Claus.
When they announced my name during the awards ceremony, I didn't get a medal or trophy. They just distributed little jingle bell ornaments.
A photographer waved me over to Santa. I hate having my picture taken, so I politely said, "That's okay," and attempted to sneak off.
Santa frowned at me.
"Oh, all the winners get a picture taken with Santa," the photographer said, unable to fathom anyone declining. Santa gently squeezed my arm.
I decided it was wiser to just pose for a quick shot than to start fighting with Santa in front of an enormous crowd. As the lone Springfield-area runner there, I didn't want to give us a bad reputation.
Later I ate at Bo Lings, a Chinese restaurant, before seeing the movie "American Gangster" (which was awesome). I was surprised when I opened my fortune cookie and it had this message: "You will outrun Jim Evans."
What? You don't believe me?
Okay, the actual fortune said: "Physical activity will dramatically improve your outlook today."