First time ever flying into Jacksonville. I have been there a couple of times but never flown in. It is rare these days for me – after 20 years of flying in US – to say that I am visiting a particular airport in this country for the first time. Jacksonville will be the 103rd airport I have ever flown into. 58th in US. Why I keep track of these things, I do not know. Some more statistics I keep track of – how many countries I have visited (30), how many countries I have run in (11) and such… Do you have any such statistic that you keep track of?
There are certainly days when the nagging problems of the left knee and right hamstring make me wonder why I continue running. Soon, invariably, comes along a very forceful answer in the form of a day like today.
Our Sunday Funday Runday was canceled because of the rains. I decided to go ahead and keep up with the tradition of the early morning run on Sunday – albeit all by myself. The 5 mile run in rain on Greenway Trail was an absolutely delightful immersion in nature.
It was nature’s pristine beauty at its mesmerizing best. The early morning light struggled to break through the firm grip the dark clouds had over the sky. The verdant spring leaves were even more resplendent with the glisten from the overnight rainfall. As far as I my eyes could go there was the narrow trail snaking thru the tall impressive trees vanishing in the misty white drizzle in the distance.
The drone of the continuous pitter patter of rain on the leaves were interrupted only by the mellifluous chirping from the birds and the occasional darts of rabbits and a particular deer startled by me. Saw a couple of other runners too – reassuring that I was not the only madcap out there!!
Couple of times I ran by and over creeks brimming with muddy water from side to side. The unbridled mind floated back to the days a few decades back, when my sister and myself would make boats from paper and float them down small rivulets made from sharp rains. And go out after rains to check the water puddles for tiny tadpoles. I wondered for a while while I can still make those paper boats… or for that matter when was the last time I saw a tadpole.
Five miles later, I was back to my starting point, dripping wet but with a serenity that probably comes with stepping out of the four walls and being one with nature on a dark rainy day. And as I started drying myself up, I remembered – Indeed, that is why I run. With the hurting knee, hamstring and all…
Flying back from St. Louis. Thought of a puzzle that incorporates my love for running in it..
There are 4 runners in a race. How many possible outcomes can be there in that race. Be aware that there can be ties. Which means two or three or even all of them might finish the race at the same time.
To explain it further, if A B C and D are the runners, one outcome could be D came first, A and C came joint second and B came last. This would be different from D coming first , A coming second, C coming third and B coming last. Got it?
For people who is reading this on FB and not on my blog, always send me your answers by personal message. I just made this up – so I do not know the answer myself, but I have an hour of flight left to figure it out 🙂
Thanks to Midwest-sized hospitality from my good old friend Dann and his team in St. Louis – Vince, Debbie and Scott and the rest, I saw my first full (ice)hockey game of my life. Best seats in the stadium. We had the two teams and the commentators on either side of the plexiglass. Right on the center line. And on the ice. And I mean right on the ice. I was one plexiglass away from pronouncing “boss, it was blown to smithereens” as “boff, ith waf fluh fo ffithereenf” (Tintin aficionados, no doubt recollect the villain Alan’s talk after his teeth got blown out 🙂 )
I had no idea about the rules of hockey. As it is, whenever somebody says hockey, I think of the hockey I used to play in India – which is called field hockey here, I think. I had no idea growing up what ice hockey is all about. Ice is something you got out of a refrigerator and on very hot days (which means any day in India), you put it in Dipy’s Squash and enjoyed the drink. That you can cover a whole darned field with ice was beyond my wildest level of imagination of refrigeration capacity.
My brush with a field filled with ice in Dallas, wasn’t a particularly pleasant one. There is nothing more frustrating than being an adult and having to go thru the same process you went thru when you were eight months old – trying to stand up and falling down. In front of our friends. Repeatedly.
And then I had heard about the old saying – “I went to see a fight and a hockey game broke out”!!
So, you will pardon me for not knowing what to expect. I have to say I had the best time of my life. Learnt a lot of rules. BTW, whose great idea was to put 3 periods in a game? It is like “we are not as small as soccer but not as big as football either”!!! I also learnt three key things:
1. Plexiglass is very important 🙂
2. Concept of fun while playing can be highly relative concept 🙂
3. Midwestern hospitality rules !!
Above all, I know have some awesome friends in St. Louis.
Funny incident at the gym today: Sharmila and I had decided to meet up after our morning exercises at the LA Fitness on Holcombe Bridge. The idea was to hand her over my gym bag after shower so it would not have to sit at the airport parking lot for three days in the car. (I was flying out this morning).
After a beautiful run by the Chattahoochee river (brought back memories of the runs by the Potomac), I ran back to the gym, took a shower and sat at the juice / coffee bar inside the gym since I was a few minutes early.
There was a cute lady at the bar who I was chatting up as she made my drink. Most of the time I was trying to convince her that just because I pay LA Fitness 35 bucks a month to take a shower four times a week in any gym, does not mean I have lost my marbles. I do not think I was waging a winning battle.
Eventually Sharmila showed up and the lady, obviously recognizing her, asked if she would have her usual drink. (This is my first time at that gym but Sharmila uses it a couple of days a week). And then when Sharmila started talking to me, the lady was shocked. I guess, in her mind, she would not associate people like Sharmila with people who pay to take a shower 🙂
She looked at both of us and exclaimed to Sharmila – “You look so young and beautiful”! – once again proving the age old adage that the best way to look young (or thin) is to be seen with a old person (or fat) 🙂 As my good friend Matt Semrad had mentioned, it is always about comparative excellence 🙂
Not sure what Sharmila’s facial expression was to that comment – but the lady had some doubts. She gingerly asked – “You guys are married, right”? You could see that it was getting really awkward for her and she was trying to ease it up. But before I could say anything to increase her awkwardness, Sharmila burst the bubble by saying “Yes”. I was going to say something like “She wishes” and see how the lady would react 🙂
Down, but not out, I also said “Yes”… but put in a rejoinder – “but not to each other”. You should have seen the look on her face as she was trying to figure out whether she was in the middle of a very dicey situation or a very funny one 🙂
After a few seconds, Sharmila let her off the hook. “He is kidding”, she said.
We had a hearty laugh.