Friday, November 8, 2013

Zoe vs. the NYC Marathon

I loves me some marathons. The physical and mental challenge, the human body pushed to the edge of endurance, the runner's high and the sense of achievement.
It's why I enjoy watching them on TV.
What? Oh, you thought I was talking about running in one myself. What a silly blog reader!
She needs a bucket for
more than her list.
I actually used to run track and cross country in school, but I've never run a marathon, and it certainly did not make my bucket list. TV-show-watching marathons are more my style---Dexter, Breaking Bad. But I also like to watch actual marathons. Ironman Triathlons too.
The Husband, a sports fanatic who even wrote a sports blog for a few years (And a Player to Be Named Later) before Zoe broke him, doesn't get it. He finds running itself to be boring and says watching someone else run is akin to watching paint dry.

I participated in an Iron Man Triathlon.
All three movies in a row. Exhausting.
Anyway, this past Sunday was the NYC Marathon. When Zoe was born I had this idea that we'd make going to the marathon a family tradition, and since then I'd been waiting for her to be old enough to enjoy it. We live at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Brooklyn and as long as we've been here I've gone to watch the race and cheer the runners. It's a very festive atmosphere: There's a band and people from different countries all waving their flags. Plus, some of the runners are in costume.
At Zoe's first marathon she was just a few months old, so it was a bit lost on her. The second time she was still too young, but as I told her on Saturday night, her aunt had participated in that one and we'd brought her to watch though she probably didn't remember. Last year, the marathon was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. So I was pretty excited this year and tried to infect Zoe with my enthusiasm.
I started priming her a few days before. On Sunday morning, I turned on the TV for the start of the race and told her the runners were lining up to go over the bridge, the same bridge she'd pointed at the day before in the park. All those people would be running over it and when they got to the other side, we were going to see them.
She seemed to be catching some of my energy so, feeling hopeful, I strapped her into the stroller and away we went. Meanwhile The Husband stayed behind to watch the pre-pre-pre-game stuff on ESPN, to me, the equivalent of watching another person watch paint dry.
On the way neighbors asked Zoe if she was going to see the marathon and she said, "Yes." As we got closer we could see the runners and hear the band playing and people cheering. I glanced at her face to gauge her response but her expression remained impassive. At the corner, I rolled her right up to the tape separating the spectators from the runners, and before you could say Meb Keflezighi, Zoe said, "I wanna go home."
Me: "I thought you wanted to see the race." 
Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi.
He ran a mile for each letter of his name;
the last 4 he ran for free.
Zoe: "Yes"
Me: "Well, this is the race."
Zoe: "No."
Me : . . .
Zoe: "I want to go to the other race."
Me (reasonable): "There is no other race."
Zoe: "Other race!"
And she pointed back the way we had come.
Okay, I figured it was cold and she hadn't eaten much breakfast, so we'd go get some tea for me and a doughnut for her (and maybe, just maybe, I'd have some of it too), and then we'd walk a bit and circle back to the race as if there were two citywide marathons occurring that day and this was that other one.
At the coffee shop we ran into one of her daycare friends who was with her parents. This little girl was not in a stroller and yet she remained at her parents' sides (!). I'd never seen such a thing.  I have a dim recollection of such behavior being called obedience. Clearly her parents trusted that she would not run out into the street and trip the runners. Astonishing!
Zoe told the girl and her parents that we were going to the other race. The little girl looked at me for confirmation. I signaled desperately with my eyes that she should go along with it.
Then we got my Zoe's doughnut, said goodbye, and headed down the block. I walked for a bit and then turned back toward the race. This time when we rolled up to the tape she didn't make a fuss, probably owing to the glazed doughnut that I had cunningly just presented to her. But also owing to the runner dressed as Elmo, the dog on our left who was jumping up and down, and the two little girls on our right who were stretching out their hands to high-five the runners as they passed.

The idea was that his energy wouldn't drag.
However, a doughnut only lasts so long, especially in Mommy's vicinity. Glazed goodness dispatched, Zoe looked at her sticky hands and then told me she wanted to get out. Because I have yet to learn, I unbuckled her, warning her to stay on this side of the tape, emphasizing on the curb, reminding her that she's not allowed in the street unless she's holding Mommy or Daddy's hand.
The testing began.
First, she fingered the tape. Then she pushed on it, glancing back to see my reaction. I shook my head. But I could see the mad desire growing in her eyes. She stared directly into my soul and inched a toe off the curb. And who knows what mayhem would have ensued for she was suddenly overcome with hiccups, probably due to the gulping down of the doughnut combined with all the air she needed to support her whining. Then she peed herself. After which she turned to me and said two things:
Trent could be such a martyr
sometimes about exercising.
1: "I'm wet."
2: "I want to go to the other race."
Sighing, I led her away, deciding to let Zoe walk her wet butt home.
Did I say walk?
I meant run.
Apparently this was the other race Zoe had been referring to all along, the one where she ran next to Mommy and the stroller, laughter interspersed with hiccups the whole way. 
Guess we'll try again next year, when it will most assuredly be "another race."
Zoe: 20; Universe: 0


  1. I'm a runner, but the most I've done is a half marathon, which I loved but am not sure I want/need to do again. I think 10K's and 15K's are just about right. :) This post was freaking adorable. I loved your hilarious thoughts throughout (watching ESPN is like watching someone else watch paint dry...ha!).

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting! I don't think I'm even up to a half marathon. 3K's my limit, and a former limit at that.

  2. Bwahahahahahahahaha. I have to say if I ever wanted to run a marathon (note: I will never want to run a marathon) the photo of the lady hitting the wall would change my mind. YIKES!!
    Your captions had ME laughing so hard I was hiccuping! --Lisa

    1. Haha. Thanks. Public voiding of bowels. Um, no thanks.

  3. So, last year my husby and I trained for New York, but since it was canceled, I ran Philly. This year, he ran New York. Poor Henry -- he's always just stuck in a stroller freezing cold and confused.

    Zoe is kicking the Universe's ass, isn't she.

    1. She sure is but sounds like you and your husband are too. Wow, well, you know what they say, the couple that marathons together stays together. Ok, no one says that, but I'm still impressed. And Henry will be someday!