Wonder what sort of romantic activity we get up to on Saturday nights? Well, this past Saturday night we hit the streets of L.A. for the Nike Run Hit Wonder 5K/10K race. The race started on Exposition Boulevard, right between the Exposition Park Rose Garden and USC. The course ran down Figueroa to Venice, then wound its way back to the Coliseum by way of Hoover and Vermont, passing through USC’s Fraternity Row and other lovely sights. Along the way several bands played. This year Fountains of Wayne, the Donnas, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were playing. Joan Jett played at the Coliseum and was the after-race entertainment; the other groups had stages set up along the course and provided symbols for facebook” title=”music symbols for facebook”>musical motivation for the runners (the theme of the race was “run fast, run loud”). We stayed for her oldies (like the classics “Cherry Bomb” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!)” and “Bad Reputation” – that last one had all the runners in the Coliseum on their feet), then we took off as it was getting pretty cold sitting there in our wet running clothes. It was pretty cool when they turned on the torch – I didn’t know the thing just turned on and off like that! I was reminded of the last time I was in the Coliseum – it was 1984 and Bruce Springsteen was in town for his Born in the U.S.A tour. Wow! What a night that was!! But last night’s crowd (20,000+) did solidify my determination to remain true to my unbroken record of never attending a USC football game (24 years employed there and going strong in my total non-attendance) – it must be a nightmare when 100,000+ people are bursting out of the Coliseum’s seams. I felt good finishing to 10K in 68 minutes, considering I hadn’t run in four weeks due to my wrist surgery. Chuck did even better, finishing in 60:53. Everyone had to wear these dorky lime-ish green shirts for the race – a Nike thing – so it was weird seeing this sea of lime green running down the street. The shirts made sense later in the race as it got dark and they took on a day-glow effect, making us all stand out better (hmm, does that make us safer or better targets?). I had my camera phone with me and took pictures along the way. This helped me decide what I want for my birthday, though – a tiny three or four megapixel camera that will fit easily into my running short pockets that will take decent to good shots. Here are the blurry camera phone shots I took last night. You’ll agree they could be clearer.
Best moment of the night came on our way to the race. We parked across the street from the Coliseum, around 39th Street (We lucked out and found free street parking – all the lots were charging $10 and up). Anyway, as we’re walking to the start Chuck gets this really funny look on his face and I notice that he’s trying to put the car keys in his running shorts’ pocket but can’t. Yes, he put his running shorts on BACKWARDS. Oops! So he dashes behind a nearby half wall and takes his shorst off and puts them on correctly (a chancy procedure as Chuck wears underneath his running shorts the same thing a Scot wears under his kilt). Luckily no police walked by to cite him for indecent exposure, and he was much happier with his shorts facing the right direction.
After the race we stopped by a Taco Bell a few blocks from our house for something to eat (the romantic evening continued, as you can see). As we parked we noticed a chihuahua-like dog eating leftover taco fillings. We both pretty much at the same time said, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” and that was the end of it for me. Chuck became concerned as thee dog was a friendly little fellow with a collar that identified him as Woodrow. He appeared quite lost. It was a busy parking lot off a busy street, and Chuck couldn’t leave the little guy, so we took him home and called the number on his collar. To get the number, Chuck took the dog’s collar off and didn’t put it right back on. Mistake! We put the little guy in the backyard and after about 10 minutes looked out and he was gone. Oh great. So now we’ve taken the dog further from his probable home, taken OFF his collar, and we’ve lost him AGAIN. Chuck was now feeling really, really awful. We searched and searched, and it occurred to me that the little dog was small enough to get under things, so I checked our fences’ corners and discovered a gap into our neighbors’ yard. Chuck went over to see if Woodrow was there. In the menatime, the dog escaped back into our yard. Chcuk and our neighbors go out to look for the dog, and he’s not there. It was at this moment that Woodrow’s owners called and said, “Do you have our dog?” Chuck was, for the second time that night, not sure. Lucky for him I had found Woodrow (now back in our yard) and brought him out so Chuck could say with relief, “Yes, we do!” The owners came and picked Woodrow up and by 10:30pm we were officially done with our good deed of the day.