Friday, May 23, 2014

How runners do Iowa Nice

Yesterday I rode my bike to fetch my car from the mechanic's. It was a minor victory that turned into a major victory.

There were actually two minor — and I mean minor — wins:

1.) I decided to leave in the morning, when there were scattered light showers, instead of waiting for 1:15 p.m., when told me the showers would end. It turns out that I am still not made of sugar, because I did not melt.

2.) Rather than tack on extra miles to avoid a hill, I took the more direct route and made it all the way to the top without stopping. Not without swearing, but without stopping.

Because my ride was cool and slightly rainy, I was rocking my fluorescent Des Moines Half Marathon zip-up jacket that morning.

When I returned home and parked, my neon top caught the eye of a repair guy who'd parked near me: "Hey, I have that same shirt! Did you run it, too?" he called to me.

And so, in what seems to be very typical Iowa fashion, we embarked on a five-minute conversation about local half marathons and our successes/failures in training for them.

I told him I'd run it last year but was on the fence about doing it this fall; that depended somewhat on how Dam to Dam went.

"Oh, I'm doing Dam to Dam too! The funny thing is, me and my wife, we're really just not looking forward to it. Not sure why. Maybe that horrible winter just got us down."

There's something so magical about when an outsider expresses the exact negative, possibly unpopular view you've been nursing for a few weeks.

I told him I could empathize, 100 percent, with him. He was relieved to hear he wasn't just being a big baby — another emotion I shared.

It was one of the most cheerful whine-fests I've had in a long time, and certainly a rare occasion on which I appreciated a strange man commenting on my clothes.

I may hate how the past few springs here have turned out, but I sure do love Iowa and Iowa Nice.

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