Run...It's the Orangutans!!!
OK, now I'll explain. Today (in about 3 hours, actually) I'll be doing the Kansas City Zoo run (oops, I just revealed my location on the Internets...hell, I think I've already said at least once that I live in Kansas City, so never mind. The cat's been out of the bag a while already). This year, the proceeds, or donations, or whatever you're supposed to call them, are going to the orangutans. It's a different endangered species every year; last year it was the elephants, the year before, the rhinos (but WHICH rhinos? The white? The black? Dammit, why does it have to be a racial thing?).
It's a 4-mile run, which is kind of a bizarre distance. A 5-K is 3.1 miles, a 10-K--remember your elementary arithmetic?--is double that, 6.2. And of course there's the mother of all races, the marathon, which is a hearty 26.2 miles of muscle cramping, vomiting, chafing and hallucinations. Seriously, one of my friends who's run a marathon said she started seeing things at around mile 20. I think the human body is just, in general, under the impression that it's never going to be called upon to run 26 consecutive miles. Just a hunch. Of course, the very fact that marathoners are crazy, badass mothers is the very reason that I'm aiming to do one before I head off to med school. Honestly, for the next ten years or so (med school, internship, residency) I might not have time enough to blow my nose, let alone set aside an hour or two or four at a time for training. I'm not planning to be a lifer; I just want to do one, and say I've done it. "You could just say you've done it." Shut up.
So, I spent my childhood being yelled at NOT to run around in the zoo ("Dammit, stop running or we're going home!" "But I want to see the monkeys NOW!"), and thus it should be a refreshing change of pace to be hauling ass around the monkey enclosure, the tiger display and the meerkat colony. I wonder, though, if it distresses the animals at all--or if it excites them. The tigers, for instance. What do they chase/catch/eat? Running things. And here come all these running little entrees dressed in running shorts, their drumsticks on display...imagine being in an old-school pizzeria where they have all the pizzas behind the counter where you can see them, then being told, "Oh, sorry, you can't eat those." That's cruelty. Which is why I recommend that next year, rather than a Run For the Tigers, there be a Run From the Tigers. Like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, but with Panthera tigris instead. You wouldn't have to be terribly fast, you'd just have to be faster than the person you were running next to. Or carry chunks of raw meat in your pocket to chuck over your shoulder when the tigers got too close.
I'm hoping to keep up a 7:30-mile pace for the duration of the race, which would put me at a healthy 30 minutes. We'll see.