Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Dangling Carrot

Always looking for ways to motivate myself out the door, the distance to McDonald's is about 3.6 miles.  And it's all on beautifully new, safe sidewalks.  It's an easy target to aim for and this morning seemed like the perfect morning to reach for that carrot.   Cool and foggy...very foggy.  Damp and drizzly.  The perfect morning to reward myself at the far end with a McDonald's holiday drink.

What will it be?  A peppermint hot chocolate?  A caramel mocha?  Or maybe a peppermint mocha?  I thought about this the whole way there.  The fog was ridiculous!  Visibility was - at best - 100 yards, and in some stretches it was much less than that.  It plays tricks on a runner.  Accustomed to judging distance by landmarks up ahead - mostly those key "landmark traffic lights" - I was running "blind" for much of the outbound leg.  But I knew that I had that reward waiting for me...eventually.

When I finally arrived at the McDonalds I was feeling righteous and opted for a plain cappuccino.  No high-calorie, delectable peppermint or mocha drink for me this time.

While waiting in line to order, a man turned to me and asked if I had been running.  I love it when this happens!  Turns out he just ran the New York City Marathon, and we talked about that a bit, and he encouraged me to apply.  "You simply must do it once, while you still can."  I told him I was a bit intimidated by the logistics of the event, but he assured me it was easy, although his describing it to me didn't sound easy at all and was about as involved as I imagined it would be.  Well, anyway, it was an interesting and nice chance encounter. 

When I stepped up to the counter to order my drink, it was the same nice woman who was there the last time, the one who made the comment to me about my running and who said that I made her feel guilty, that she should be out there running, too.   I remember making the observation in a previous blog entry that she looked like a runner, so no doubt she meant it.  Well, this morning, when she took my order, she didn't take my money, so I thought, she'll finish ringing it up once she's made the drink.  But she returned with it, handed it to me, and said this one was "on her."  Oh, my!  I thanked her profusely and wished her nice holidays.  That was so nice!  And she didn't need to do that.

I half ran, half walked those 3.5 miles back home:  Run for a bit, slow down to a walk to take a sip of the wonderful, foamy cappuccino, then run a bit more.   It didn't even matter that it began to rain lightly as I ran along...the warm and welcomed drink was carrying me along toward home.

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