Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why Not Slide?

Thanks to my bro for pointing me to this Guardian article about Carsten Höller's slides that are currently being enjoyed by folks of all ages in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. While museum visitors may view these slides as a novelty, Höller sees them as a "serious architectural proposition." And why not? Slides would make office jobs more exciting and fun-filled; who doesn't want to see the boss in a 3-piece suit sliding on his ass to meet the Board? And what mall wouldn't benefit from the installation of slides? They'd be more efficient than escalators or elevators, that's for sure. And quite attractive, as Höller's Tate Modern example shows. So, how about it? Who wants to join the newly established Minnesotans for a Swifter Society?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Have You Pooped Yet?

That was one of the more interesting signs I encountered on my 26.2 mile journey through Minneapolis and St. Paul during yesterday's Twin Cities Marathon. Thankfully, I hadn't yet pooped, nor did I have to throughout my entire 5 hour, 23 minute, 29 second run. (Thank you, bowels.) The whole experience was simultaneously wonderful and hellish and I couldn't write a coherent or complete post about it if I tried. But, here are the most important anecdotes and observations from my first (and perhaps last) marathon:
  • Waiting for the bus at 6:40 a.m. with my white marathon sweats bag, I was confronted by an eager beaver of a young lad who asked if the 4 bus was due soon. I saw his identifying sweats bag and responded that it should be arriving in a few minutes. We then bonded over being first timers and not getting much sleep the night before. While he's regaling me with tales of a silly dream he had (something about a friend damaging his parents' car, which is an Acura in the dream, but they have a mini-van in real life, so it was like, so ridiculous), a nice couple pulled up to the curb and offered us a ride to the Metrodome. We accepted. Shout out to the nice couple.
  • The view of downtown Minneapolis from the starting gate in the early morning hour was quite astounding.
  • There were so many spectators and volunteers along the way to help the runners along. From cheering to handing out water and lube (now what was that for?) to awarding medals and finisher shirts to blasting music on their front lawns, they all rocked. Truly awesome.
  • I missed seeing Mark (and he missed seeing me) all three times that it was possible: at Lake of the Isles, Minnehaha Falls, and when I crossed the finish line. Them's the breaks. But I'll have you know he was a great post-marathon help once we did meet up at the State Capitol, supplying tissues, water, energy bars, bus fare, and a much needed hug. And what a sport to traipse all around the city on public transportation for a 5 second glimpse of little old me gasping for breath.
  • While some runners write their names on their shirts so spectators can yell out, "Go Stan!," my identifying characteristic turned out to be my trusty Red Sox hat. Especially during Twins playoff fever it was a risky fashion decision, but I appreciated all the personalized cheers -- even the nasty ones: Go Boston! Yay Red Sox! Yankees Rule! Wait Till Next Year! Red Sox Suck! The "Wait Till Next Year" guy will forever be in my debt for making me laugh when I felt like crying.
  • I heard that this course was supposed to be flat, but no one tells you that the last 5.5 miles are graded inclines! Seriously, most of the course in St. Paul was like one long hill. All along Summit Ave. spectators would yell, "Just wait till you get to the top of the hill," but not one of them informed me that the top of the hill was the 26th mile.
  • By the 16th mile, I was getting doubtful of my ability to finish. This was also about the time that I decided it would be my last marathon. Finally, though, I reached the 21st mile and realized I could walk the rest of the race and still finish within the 6 hour time limit. I felt much better after that realization and did walk quite a bit of the last 5 miles. And reconsidered my anti-marathon stance.
  • And then I reached the top of the hill! The view was spectacular and I could see the finish line and was inspired by my accomplishment to start running again so I could cross it on a strong note. (OK, like many of the runners out there, I didn't want any of the spectators at the finish line to know that I had been walking the last 5 miles. That's really why I ran to the finish.)
  • Like the dork that I am, I made an ass of myself when I saw Sven Sundgaard (of KARE 11 Weather fame) in the finish area. I was so giddy about having made it the whole way that I sauntered up to him with a goofy grin and said, "Thanks for the great weather!" Hyuck, hyuck. He gracefully chuckled and said, "You're welcome." Then I made my exit. Let me tell you, that little Sven is built. You would never guess he had all those muscles under those drab suits. Or that he was only 25! Check out Mr. Sundgaard's results here.
  • And then it was over. I gathered up my medal, finisher shirt, and sweats bag and met Mark under the 'D' sign in the family waiting area. We boarded the bus home and I hobbled around the rest of the day like an old woman. Actually, I'm still hobbling around. But it was worth it. And maybe I'll do it again -- once I forget how much Mile 17 sucked.