Saturday, May 30, 2009


Recently I read an article in Time Magazine that challenged the institute of marriage. In “All but the Ring: Why Some Couples Don't Wed”, author Lisa Davis presents various arguments for why marriage is not only unnecessary, but even damaging to what it ultimately tries to promote: a lifelong commitment between two people. "Every day we're making this decision and this commitment anew," says one unmarried husband figure. "I'm not with you because there would be legal speed bumps to get through if we weren't. I'm with you because this is where I want to be." "People mistake the government sanctioning your marriage for commitment," says another.

Yet, remaining unmarried has impractical consequences. You can’t be on your spouse’s health insurance, for instance, if you are not married to him or her. And if you’ll have trouble explaining the decision to move in with your unwed partner to a too-traditional family, try explaining the decision to have a child while still sans-ring.

Marriage—and un-marriage (i.e. divorce)—has been such a prevalent topic in my life lately that this article really struck a chord. Right now, the finality of marriage terrifies me. I have never and will never consider divorce an option. This of course means that the person I end up marrying had better be the person I want to spend the rest of my life with (and a person who wants to spend the rest of their life with me!). Considering I have never even had a pseudo-serious relationship with a boy in my life, the prospects of this look dim. (If I haven’t tried this out, how do I know what I like? What works? What I can and cannot tolerate? What I have to change and improve in myself before I am wifely material?)

Previously, whenever skeptics and pessimists would scoff, “No one can have a happy marriage,” I would cluck and point to my parents. “They’re happy. They’re together. And we know other couples who are, too. So you can’t say that.” Lately, however, the idea of getting married has become less and less appealing. Seeing family members rip one another’s emotions to shreds over a simple impending marriage seems almost not worth the struggle, and seeing a close friend suffer through a divorce he never wanted makes me wonder if you can ever truly know or be happy with one individual person. Change is inevitable; in the past, I always thought marriage was the contract that meant a couple would work to change together and accept one another’s changes. I am beginning to second-guess that assumption. What is in a contract? What is a promise? It all comes down to trust.

Which brings me to this article. I have only seen one family follow this perceived-as-married-but-not-officially-wedded model, and they seem no different from any other family I have encountered. Thus, I had never considered reasons for actively choosing not to marry. I think there is something to be said for this, as it does force each partner to think of the relationship in a more active, participatory way. In this light, a wedding seems more like an end than a beginning: it marks the end of the effort to “keep” the other person. Maybe the option of leaving should always be open. I once had a professor who said that marriage should expire every seven years. At the end of those seven years, the couple would have the option of renewing. However, a lot can change in seven years, and if those two people were no longer compatible, then they should be given freedom to part ways. The more I watch relationships as a third-party observer, the wiser this suggestion seems.

Because I took such an interest in this article, I decided to forward it to several friends to find out their opinion on the matter. Rather than summarize their replies, I will simply quote snippets below.

What does it mean to get married if you are truly in love? After all it is a contract that is not necessarily binding, but I think like what the article mentioned, it has real and material consequences…. Marriage imputes roles in people -- husband, wife, in-laws on top of the roles they already play and it (in)directly exerts pressure to conform or live up to these additional roles…. Of course, marriage CAN be liberating -- it can assure the persons involved that the other half will not just 'walk out' of the relationship, or at least attempt to salvage a floundering marriage…. However, be it marriage or UNmarriage, it requires the respective necessary 'sacrifices', and to give up part of that makes what a person is to make room for another.—A

The Time article prompted me today to check out from the library Marriage, A History by Stephanie Coontz. For now, I can only say that it (marriage) works for me!—M

I do like the idea of "I want to be with you because I want to be with you, not because I'd have to jump through a thousand hoops to not be with you any more."…. Of course, that's not to say that I think that marriage is a silly idea or that I don't want to get married. I do want to get married SOMEDAY, just not right NOW. I'm in no rush, and I think that trips up a lot of people. They worry about biological clocks or very outdated views of virginity and so they get married just so that they can live together and have sex, because they think that if they have sex before they're married that they'll go to hell. And granted, I think the latter type of people have a very different view of marriage in general and are more willing to go the extra miles to not get divorced, but that doesn't make it any better.—K

I had a problem with marriage because of its religious and patriarchal connections. I agreed with many other "Committed Unmarrieds" that marriage was not necessary and that as long as you and your partner are equally committed to each other, who cares what other people (including society) thinks. But now that T__ and I are more committed to each other, I'm thinking more about how our relationship affects other people…. Also, although I understand why others would not want to get married, I think our society pushes for it, definitely through the legal system…. Maybe things will change, but probably not in the close future.—S

Friday, May 29, 2009

[follow-up] Quote of the day: Patience, Suffering

"Patience. A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue." - Ambrose Bierce

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quote of the Day: Patience, Questions, Living

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." - Ranier Maria Rilke

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snapshot Book Review: The Mole People

The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is definitely one of the most fascinating non-fiction topics I have read about in a long time. Perhaps I am particularly vulnerable to this subject because I live in NYC and therefore spend a significant portion of my time riding public transit and passing homeless people, but this book opened up an entirely new window to me not only in terms of the possibility of people living in the subway tunnels under NYC (which I had never before fathomed), but also in terms of my views of homeless people and why they act the way they do. In spite of Toth's conclusions--and I must remark that she seems awfully brave to have done all the exploring and interviewing she did in order to write this book!--it seems like homeless people are merely "normal" members of society who have decided to remove themselves from the systems we have set up in order to nurse their particular neuroses or grievances with life. Abuse, prostitution, dependency, addiction, drugs, alcohol, violence--all of these things seem components of these people's lives, amplified by the fact that they are living unconstrained (for the most part) by societal rules. Even underground communities with "mayors" and "nurses" are not simply idealistic replacements for those aboveground, as Toth reveals just by documenting conversations with some of their inhabitants.

The book itself was well-organized by "topic" or type of person/relationship, although I wonder why Toth did not choose to write this book chronologically and allow the reader to learn about the tunnel people in the same progressive manner she did. This may have made for a much more compelling read, particularly because ultimately, she does not seem to be trying to make a particular argument with the book. It is my understanding that this whole thing started out as an academic thesis, and if that is true, then its format really hasn't progressed much beyond that. (E.g. the very informative but very dry and oddly placed Chapter 17: The Underground in History, Literature, and Culture.)

I may be partial to a good story, and The Mole People could easily have been written as one. I realize that not all non-fiction works best as a narrative. However, I also realize that most non-fiction does not "work" at all if it is boring. Ultimately, this book was an interesting read because of the journalistic truth to it as well as the unusual subject. The paragraph/sentence-level writing is good, but I do wish Toth had written it as a narrative. Either way, she is one brave and accomplished woman.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Depression is such a controversial condition. First of all, is that even the proper term for it: “condition”? Is it an illness? A disease? A disorder? Either way, it means that something is wrong with you, and only lately has anyone decided to claim that the defect is medical.

Forty years ago, if someone said, “I’m depressed,” the reaction they received was usually along the lines of, “Oh suck it up,” “Get over it,” or, if the listener was feeling particularly compassionate, “Don’t worry, things will get better.” Now, the moment anyone hears the word “depressed,” their reaction is, “For how long?” “Can you eat?” “Can you sleep?” “Do you ever think about killing yourself?”

Back in 490 BC, Empedocles tried to measure different amounts of the “humors” in the body (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile) to determine whether someone had depression (see Pre-Twentieth Century Theories Of The Aetiology Of Depression). Today’s measurements, while significantly more respected, are equally as elusive. Who doesn’t contemplate suicide at some point in their lives? Psychological diagnoses are tough to make because no one can physically see what is wrong with another person; you can only see the behavioral manifestations. Neurologists would beg to differ—“Look at the synapses! That serotonin is being absorbed too quickly to do its job!”—but we don’t test every patient’s brain who arrives at the doctor's office and says, “Doctor, I think I’m clinically depressed.” No—this person is asked a series of questions, the doctor makes his/her best guess, and then something is (or is not) prescribed.

This, then, leads to another source of controversy: overprescription. I agree that antidepressants are overprescribed. If someone has a bad day or has had trouble sleeping over the past week, the immediate response should not be to label them “depressed” and to toss them a bottle of Zoloft. Overprescription is a serious problem, because it is the mark of the lazy doctor and ultimately doesn’t solve anything. If the person truly has issues that have manifested themselves as depression--anatomical or not--these outer manifestations will merely multiply into other problems, which will then require another medication, and the next thing you know, some poor hapless patient is wobbling out of the pharmacy with two shopping bags full of pills.

However. This is not to say that antidepressents are merely ineffective sugar pills or, worse, suicide-instigators that should be abolished. In spite of all the research that has been done, the predominant attitude toward depression is still, “Get over it.” Only people who have suffered traumatic events in their lives “deserve” to be depressed. And then, once these people have taken enough medication and gone to enough counseling, they should finish their prescriptions, say goodbye to their counselor, and rejoin the world of “normal people.” God forbid someone who seems "together" admits to being depressed. “Everyone feels sad,” will be the scoffing reaction. “What do you have to feel sad about?”

Unfortunately, "feeling sad" is not all there is to depression, and antidepressants do not make you feel “happy.” If they did, everyone would want to be on them! Instead, no one wants to be on them—including the people who need to most. It’s my opinion that whether or not the treatment is prescribed, all depressed people will find an antidepressant of some sort to alleviate their disorder. Is it any surprise that the darkest and craziest artists and thinkers were the worst drunks and drug addicts? Think of Edgar Allen Poe! Beethoven! Freud…! If the world of medicine can’t or won’t provide the help they need, people will find ways to self-medicate. And wouldn’t we rather have a team of doctors trying to return functioning members to society rather than slews of people merely trying to avoid pain?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Regarding Parents

When does the change happen that the relationship with our parents begins to change? Is it when we start to see their rules as “unfair” and begin to rebel? Or is it when we begin to see the reasons behind these “unfair” rules and to appreciate what they did for us as we grew up? The more time that passes and the further I move along in life, but more I come to value my parents as resources. They are certainly still my role models, but not in the idol-worshipping sort of way they are when we’re silly, thoughtless children; now that I have thought over all they have done and how they have gone about raising me and my sister, and as my peers and I begin to confront the question of raising children ourselves, I am finding that the people I would most like to use as role models in this instance are my parents.

But as I said before, I now have come to value my parents as resources. This is differently than how I valued them as a teenager, or even when I was in college. In those years, I still expected them to take care of me. When I had a problem I couldn’t seem to solve myself, I didn’t go to them with it in order to seek out instructions for how to solve it—I went to them with the expectation that they would solve it. Now, however, things are different. Not only do I not expect my parents to solve my problems, I wouldn’t want them to.

Somewhere along the line, at some point in these past few years—maybe within the past twelve months, even—I have come to feel protective of my parents. I want to take care of them. I don’t want them to worry for me or about me. They have enough worries of their own. I use them as my support system, to be sure, but I feel an even more yearning desire to allow them to rely on me, as well. When I am at home (their home? In Pittsburgh?), taking anything for free feels almost like stealing since I know I would ordinarily have to pay for everything on my own. My desire to be independent is no longer so much a need to “prove myself” as a need to leave them free of worries and concerns they have had their whole lives.

I see families with young children, and I shake my head at the years of stress they have ahead of them. Joy too, to be sure, but I can only imagine how much mental anguish I caused my parents as I grew up. Even now, I have no concept of what they think or feel on my behalf. Do they want to still do everything for me and actually have to restrain themselves and suffer from feelings of powerlessness? (I am positive that is how I would feel, which is why I suggest it.) Do they think I am overdramatic zing every little issue that comes into my life and yearn to tell me, “This is just the way life is; suck it up!” Do they never worry until I ring them up with yet another stressful, harrowing story of falling off my bike on the streets of NYC or struggling with an insurance agency that won’t pay claims?

All I know is that when people ask me if I will ever move back to Pittsburgh, I usually respond that it looks doubtful—except for one caveat. If my parents were ever to fall ill, I would move back to Pittsburgh. I don’t know when my idea of the role of the caretaker changed, but I only hope that when the time comes for me to fulfill my role, I will be prepared.

Monday, May 18, 2009

HOHA! Not Quite a Marathon

But still more impressive than I expected. I typically run 8min/mile during "practice" runs, so I figured I could probably manage a 7:30 pace at best under race conditions. I wanted to do this run in order to set a baseline for "shorter" races (i.e. races less than 10 miles and don't leave you dehydrated for the rest of the day) so I could see what my "sprinting" abilities were. (All of these quotation marks are clear indicators that I still do not consider myself a Real Runner, since I am not entirely sure what I'm talking about. After all, this was only my fifth officially registered/timed race ever.) Considering that I was registrant #532, I certainly did not expect to be placing amongst the runners, particularly because this race was being hosted by a running group--the Hoboken Harriers--who would more than likely have a number of members participating.

But once again, lo and behold, I surpassed my own expectations. Somehow--honestly do not ask me how--I averaged sub-7-minute miles. Considering that I started out at an approximately 7:20/mile pace, this means I had to have seriously sprinted that fith mile. And yes, I was trying to beat the girl in the green shorts who kept creeping up behind me in the last fifty yards or so, but still--I never ran before in my life! Two years ago, I was in a pool doing 7,000 yard workouts!

What's more, I'm somehow actually good at this for my age. 3rd out of 91 women 20-29 years is kind of incredible, considering I was 23rd out of 23 swimmers on my college swim team, and the age range there was only 17-22.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Warm Fuzzies #9: Fabulous Friends

It’s official: I have friends in New York City. Real friends. Thoughtful people who care what happens to me, who note my absence and enjoy my presence. People I look forward to spending time with and who, amazingly enough, look forward to spending time with me, too.

I have the marathon to thank for this realization, but in two separate capacities. First of all, the day after I arrived in Pittsburgh, as I was running around doing errands, meeting up with old friends, and basically utilizing every minute I had, my mind kept wandering back to New York. I can’t wait to go back and tell _______ about this I would think. _______ is going to love hearing about this. As I caught myself thinking these things more and more, I realized that the people I wanted to tell about what was happening to me were mostly present in my “new” life: they were the people I worked with, the people I played volleyball with. Granted, I was thrilled to death to be home and visiting with my lifelong best friend. Yes, I had a college friend in Boston whom I would immediately call when the marathon was over, because he is near and dear to my heart and had supported me throughout my training. And I would certainly contact my dear friend in Singapore, because she was so amazing that she was following my race online from halfway around the world. Ultimately, though, the random, silly thoughts that floated through my head as I walked around town, the excitement I was feeling about the race, the reactions I felt to my terrible date—these were all things I found myself wanting to share with my New York friends. Being away from them and realizing I was eager to return and tell them things is what made me realize that these people were now the ones near and dear to my heart, no longer people I spent all four years of high school or college with.

The second way in which the marathon made me realize the quality of my New York friendships occurred once I returned. I was on my computer at work a few days ago when one of my friends from volleyball, L____, contacted me.

we (m____, d____, and p____ and me) wanted to give you something for finishing your first marathon. i know this is long overdue but we figured out what to give you! i couldn’t get it because i need most of your personal info. M____ has been buggin me about it for days and i couldn’t seem to get it. we wanted it to be a surprise but i don’t know how to get it to you. we would have wanted to cheers for you at the finish line instead but pittsburgh is way toooo far for us....
Needless to say, I was shocked. Really and truly shocked. I had been surprised enough when I had first returned after having run the marathon and found that these people—M____, D____, P____, and L____—had already looked up my results online in order to congratulate me. Sure, I had emailed everyone the link to the results page, but really, that email was more self-serving than anything else. I was really excited and wanted to share my excitement; I didn’t actually expect anyone to go and look. I, of all people, know how incredibly rare it is for others to share in someone’s excitement and enthusiasm for something, particularly if taking action is involved. So just the fact that they bothered to check up on how I did—that in and of itself really touched me. But to find that they were buying me a gift??? Because they were proud of me and my accomplishment?

This is one instance where words fail; there are simply no words to describe how meaningful it is to have people demonstrate that they care about you. The word “touched” is sentimental and weak. To describe wanting to laugh and to cry, wanting to hug these people and to punch them simultaneously doesn’t make sense of the emotion and indeed just makes it seem more complicated. “Ecstatic anguish” sounds far too dramatic for the reality of the situation. The bottom line is that I feel undeserving, but I do still feel overwhelmingly grateful.

The hardest part of all is that this is NYC: everyone moves on, sometimes almost immediately. Thus, I will do my best to accept kind and generous people in my life as they appear and do my best not to cling to them. The kinder and more generous they are, however, they harder this is going to be.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blogging [Sexual?] Freedom

So now that I’m a dual blogger—since I’m blogging here as well as on Beyond the Bench—I have begun to more seriously evaluate what is appropriate to address in the “blogging world.” Because more people are reading my personal blog than I originally anticipated (and people I never expected!), it has become dangerous to write about person-related experiences in any negative context whatsoever. (Positive experiences are always good material, because everyone likes to read about themselves when the portrayal is complimentary.) Meanwhile, I have to consider that what I may find interesting and compelling to write about for the “company blog” may not always be topical—or even appropriate. For instance, nearly every purely scientific posting I have written thus far has been neuroscience-related. Coincidence? For someone who voluntarily double-majored in Brain & Cognitive Sciences . . . doubtful. Then, as I was seeking blog-worthy material today, this was the article I found most compelling: ‘EQ’ linked to frequency of orgasm. Unfortunately, although I would most certainly enjoy reading about proof showing that the higher a woman’s emotional intelligence, the better her orgasm, it is probably not the most suitable topic to cover on a professional scientific/publishing blog.

However, there’s nothing stopping me from covering it here! Honestly, I didn’t think this article was worthy to be posted on a science blog—ultimately, it had the same content as any basic Cosmo article. The bottom line of the studies was this: the better a woman knows her body and communicates it to her partner, the better her orgasms are going to be. Nothing groundbreaking there! What I loved was that in one of the cited articles, they actually had a clinical name for the female version of erectile dysfunction: female orgasmic disorder. Now I’m curious: do they have female Viagra? (The short answer is no. Somehow, I am not surprised. After all, men’s sexual satisfaction has historically been more important.)

What was interesting—and I thought worth reporting—was the 2005 Dutch study they cited that talked about orgasms actually turning off emotional centers in women’s brains. Basically, for a woman to have a successful orgasm, all of the parts of her brain concerned with emotion (proessing her emotions, others’ emotions, stress, etc.) have to shut down. Imagine that! No thinking; all feeling! Now this I would like to read more about.

Alas, I am relegated to researching other topics for the work blog, so there is no time for researching brain functions during orgasm. If anyone has any other interesting, more suitable topics for Beyond the Bench, though, please do pass them along!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Who could have predicted that back in July of 2007 (nearly two years ago!) I already had aspirations for running a marathon: New Plans, New Goals. I don't think I was entirely serious about this at the time, but I knew swimming as a sport was over for me and that I had to find something else to occupy my ambitions. How fitting, that two years later I have completed this feat and am now floundering for my next goal!

Meanwhile, here is a look at the one just passed:

Ready to rock and roll!

Here I come!

Finished! Rain frizzed hair and all, surrounded by my lovingly made signs.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why Delta is not Alpha

First, they take my facewash. And this wasn’t just any ordinary facewash. It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill bar of 99 cent Dove soap. This was my $8.99 Clean and Clear foaming facial Acne Cleanser. And to make matters worse, they hadn’t said jack to me at JFK. No, I had gotten through security just fine there. Here in Pittsburgh, not only did they scan my backpack twice, they then singled out my duffle bag and completely unpacked it, only to apprehend and detain my dangerous 7 oz. facewash.

Then they delay the flight—not once, but twice. The first delay is fifteen minutes. Fine; I have no problem with a fifteen-minute delay, because I understand that things happen. But then it’s another half-an-hour before the plane even shows up, and as soon as its passengers debark, the crew is hustling us on, telling us we had better hurry if we want to “make it in time.” We had better hurry? We have been sitting in the airport for forty-five minutes!

Thirty minutes later, after sitting motionless on the runway, an announcement came on, rousing me from my Pittsburgh-to-JFK slumber. In this announcement, the flight attendant informed passengers that we must debark, because this plane will not be departing for JFK now until six o’clock. Apparently a crew member had timed out and will need to be replaced before the plane can take off again, and so our flight will now be delayed until 6p.m.

We all file off, with important-looking businessmen already on their phones with their travel agents, everyone waiting for their non-checked, stored-under-the-plane baggage (since Delta now charges $15 per checked bag). Everyone with connecting flights lines up at the counter, and I take my seat. Six o’clock rolls around, and we all get back onto the plane. Twenty minutes later, after a suspicious silence from the engines and no movement from the crew, the captain comes over the loudspeaker and informs us that he has some very unfortunate news. Apparently due to a runway issue at JFK, there is an air traffic delay that will be causing yet another stewardess to time out, and so we will have to once again debark the plane. They have no further information at this time. They are very sorry.

We get off the plane and pick up our luggage again. Now the businessmen are louder and redder as they spit into their cell phones. “Unacceptable” and “ridiculous” are the buzzwords of the day.

No sooner have we deboarded and lined up in front of the counter, when the airport attendant comes over the loudspeaker to apologize for the delay and informs us that a new flight attendant has been located and we will be re-boarding the plane as soon as she is ready. We all stand clustered around the entryway grumbling and wondering how legitimate this claim is for another thirty minutes before getting back on the plane. It is now 7:15 p.m. The plane is finally in the air at 7:35 p.m.—over four hours after it was scheduled to depart.

I am officially irate. My flight coming to Pittsburgh was delayed by more than an hour both in the airport and on the runway. All that, and now a crew member who couldn’t manage her schedule? If anything deserves a letter of complaint, it is certainly this. Delta management, you will be hearing from me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

First Marathon

Distance: 26.2 miles

There’s the 8:30 pacing group. I should start out with them, but I really don’t want to be going that slow. Lee. Slow-LY. I shouldn’t tire myself out, but I don’t think I’m really that slow. I mean, if the tapering worked, I’ll be at least at an 8:15 pace. Too bad there’s no 8:15 pacers. Maybe I can keep the 8:00 sign guy in sight. That’ll be good. But do they run with those signs? That would be exhausting. I don’t even like carrying my little iPod. MP3. Why do I always call this thing an iPod? Stupid Apple monopoly. It’s like calling tissues Kleenex. God do I need one, although I probably shouldn’t blow my nose at any point. Maybe I should have put Vaseline in my nose this morning. If it starts bleeding again, I am going to be so angry.

Winning Times:

Men: 2:22:51

Women: 2:36:33

I don’t want to see the mile markers! Mile five. Okay, less than a fifth of the way done. What’s 26.2 divided by five? I need Excel. Today’s Sunday . . . I wonder if they’ll make me blog again on Tuesday. Is there anything scientific about marathon running? If someone dies, I could definitely tie that in. Not that I want anyone to die. Not that anyone’s going to; it’s way too cold out here. My hands always get cold. Thank god I wore a tank top, though; I am sweating like crazy. Body glide rocks. Wow, is that the 7:30 pacer? 7:38, okay. How did I catch up to him already? I didn’t think I was going that fast. Maybe I should slow down, but I feel so good! I’ll just listen to my body. But if I keep up with him, I’ll finish in 3:20:00! That would qualify me for the New York Marathon! Although this is not a qualifying race, so really there’s no point. It would definitely get me into Boston, though. I never train with a pacer though, and they say to do everything the same on race day. I’ll just try to keep him in sight if I can and try not to care. I am way too competitive sometimes. Plus we’re not even close to halfway, it’s no wonder I’m not tired. At mile 20, if I still feel this good, then we can talk pacing.

Placement: (Overall) 255/3,439

Look at all of these people! God I love Pittsburgh! No other city would be like this. Philly was nothing like this. Okay, so it was November there; I guess that’s not a fair comparison. Would these people be out in their coats and hats cheering and waving and being so awesome in November? But it’s raining! That surely says something. And all the volunteers look so—whoa! I do not want that cup of Powerade, thank you. Why did they have to use Styrofoam cups? They do not crush underfoot, and the poor environment! What a lot of unnecessary waste. The oranges were such a good idea. Why didn’t they make the little kids wear gloves? Maybe the fingers didn’t fit. That would look so funny, with the fingers flopping all over that orange slice and some runner pulling off the kid’s glove along with the orange….. Good lord, do not spit in front of me! That almost flew right in my face! Haven’t you ever heard of wind? This street is enormous, and you had to spit standing straight up, right here. There is such a thing as a curb. Hell-ooo? God, I would have been so pissed if that had landed on me. Oh, look at those little kids all in a row. I’m totally hitting them up. Is the first one going to put her hand out? Ugh, this stupid iPod cord is always in the way…. Yeah! I love high-fives.

Placement: (Women) 32/1,279

One mile one mile onemileonemileonemileonemile. There’s going to be a bathroom at the end and I don’t care if my dad’s standing there I’m just going to go straight to that bathroom ew although it's going to be a port-a-potty and I should probably stretch first but I really have to go now I know why runners mess themselves they don’t want to stop when they’re so close to the end it’s just not worth it but that would be so humiliating I would never do that hey there’s that woman I saw walking how dare she pass me I definitely have enough energy to keep her in sight. Longer strides! Remember how Ben taught you to sprint! All these people are smiling you’re almost there it’s only a mile you run this in your sleep you definitely have energy left and it’s not even raining anymore dad’s probably in the crowd somewhere watching you don’t want to look pathetic you definitely have energy you’re almost there come on longer strides there’s the yellow sign! 26 miles! You can sprint for .2 miles that’s not even a quarter mile not even two minutes you still have energy go, go, go come on that lady is still in front you’re letting her get away she was walking for crying out loud you didn’t come here to finish like a wimp the finish line has got to be in sight soon maybe they lied maybe the 26 mile marker was off where is the finish line keep going there it is, go, faster, this is a race you’re almost done they just announced your name!

Finishing Time: 3:20:57