So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, May 23, 2011

We Don't Think All That Much

As I was driving home from work on Friday afternoon I observed what I consider one of those "things which might make you go 'Hmmm...'"

Take a look at the cars around you the next time you're on a road trip or sitting at a crowded intersection. In much the same manner as a picture tells a story, like deciphering the ribbons and service medallions to figure the story of a military service member's accomplishments, we can learn much about our fellow travelers:

Where they live. License plates usually are a narrow-down, but not always. Extra hints can come from drivers with vanity license plate tags (Florida has probably the widest variety of vanity tags of all fifty states.). Sometimes you get a sneaky, esoteric vanity tag owner who gives their tag a more subtle meaning (a fast car with "B4NE1,"). Gives the DMV workers something to think about.

Marital status, number and gender of kids, animal and religious preference. The "cartoon character eared" family line-up is probably the strangest one I've run into, with the Native American kokopelli and the Polynesian-themed turtles being the coolest.

Where they or their kids go/went to school/college. Occasionally you get couples whose loyalties are split between two rival schools, which adds the Lincolnesque "house divided" identification. But there are vehicles and drivers ahead of me on the roadway who I knew were more likely dedicated to the "institution of higher football;" often proven by an action which reinforced their lack of academic (or financial?) wherewithal to get in. Okay, maybe not; common sense does not always equal common knowledge.

Their favorite athlete, team, sport or sports governing body. I bet NASCAR fans go into a tizzy at the end of the season, hoping and praying their favorite driver doesn't move to another team. Triathletes, especially those who participate in those events which start with an "I," always seem to have at least one sticker for every venue at which they've participated. I jokingly used a derogatory term for these persons after seeing car after car loaded with stickers for Wisconsin, Lake Placid and a Wal-Mart parking lot in Panama City.

Their political stance, to include support of present or former successful/lost causes. Come on, guys...the election was over years ago; in some cases we're talking ten. I peel that sucker off the glass the day after the election results are announced, win or lose. Gotta feel sorry for those poor Minnesotans who waited six months to figure out whether Coleman or Franken won.

Their sense of humor...which often ties directly or indirectly to all of the previous categories. Every once in a while you see a bumper sticker which transcends most of the topical areas. My favorite had to be one I saw years ago while living in Tampa: "Cat Lovers Against The Bomb."

A smart person equipped with a notepad and a smart phone can probably gain enough intelligence on the modern middle-class driver to wreak havoc on their life, all in the course of a 60-second period of time...the time it takes to pull a snapshot. But what kills me is this: The people who display their identity, affinity, proclivity, and "derivity" so openly on their motor vehicles are usually the same persons who complain about the invasion of the internet, the World Wide Web, service providers, and the government (at varying levels) on their privacy.

Sometimes, we just don't think all that much. Not about how weather conditions like heat and humidity affect our running performance. Not about adapting our workout intensity, duration, location or time to account for those conditions. Not about wearing clothes and accessories during our workouts which can reflect heat from above and below. And, most of all, not about hydrating during the day, rather than just during the run.

I went to run a 5K road race - on a lark - mere hours after I wrote a blog post about hydration. I hadn't drank much after an early morning visit to the gym, and I didn't even think about what possibly could go awry during my warm-up. In fact, I had the pre-race jitters and the feeling like I should make a run for the porta-potty. However, I knew once I started sweating things would be all right.

Boy, was I wrong.

I was parched by the time I approached the first aid station; usually I'll take a cup to pour on my head, but this time I needed two in me. Simply put, I forgot all about my own recovery and pre-race advice and counsel... Seven months is a long time between races; sometimes we forget the simple things - hydration, nutrition, warm-up, pacing, and patience - in that period of time.

As George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic said: "Think. It Ain't Illegal Yet."

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