Sunday, August 31, 2008

Joining the Human Race

It all started, as most good stories do, with men dressed in banana suits. We were wandering around downtown Taipei on Saturday when we saw a big crowd with some tents set up and, of course, the infamous banana men. We went to go see what all of the commotion was about and we learned that Nike was sponsoring a 10K run in different cities around the world on Sunday called The Human Race. My friend Rachel and I decided that it would be a cool thing to be a part of and so, with only a little over $10 standing between us and a ridiculously early Sunday morning (and a free t-shirt), we signed up.

Only slightly regretting our decision at 5:00 this morning, we hailed a cab to take us to the starting line. After snapping a quick photo, Chris and Ben (Rachel’s husband) left us for a quick breakfast and to find a place to meet us after the race.

While we stretched, we were pumped up to the sound of the loud-speakers blasting “Bleeding Love” as a woman led the masses in an aerobic warm-up followed by cheering “Taiwan is number 1!” in English. I guess English is a more peppy language to get the crowd geared up? Who knows. Anyhow, as the crowd began to move across the start line, Rachel and I melted into the red mass. True to form, right as we were passing under the starting gate, I tripped on a post and almost twisted my ankle. Go me! I managed to escape injury, however, and I did not have to take a taxi to the finish line.
They asked us all to wear our free t-shirts during the race, which happened to be red, so we were a pretty impressive sight as we swarmed the streets of Taipei.
Now, I have to be honest. I really expected this to be one of those “I’m glad I did it, after the event is over” kind of a thing. But, I had a really good time! I know, I am a crazy masochist but I actually enjoy running. And, considering that we didn’t know that we were participating in the race until the day before, we did pretty well, finishing in just over an hour. Not spectacular, but respectable. The constant shouts of the spectators of, "Add oil!" in Chinese were also nice. Wouldn't you be encouraged?

The adventure wasn’t quite over when we crossed the finish line, however. When we finished, we looked around and realized that we were in a completely different place than we thought we were going to be at the end of the race. Consequently, we had absolutely no idea where the guys were among the thousands of sweaty people. Wanting to keep our loads light, neither of us had a cell phone to call or money to get home. We happened upon a Good Samaritan from Chicago who kindly lent us his cell phone. However, Ben forgot their phone at home and I, being the genius I am, don’t actually know our phone number. Back to square one. Luckily, only after about twenty minutes, we saw the red sea split and Ben stride proudly over to us. As it turned out, they had been wandering the city looking for the end of the race when they happened upon a race coordinator who invited Chris and Ben to ride with them to the finish line. So, it all turned out just ducky. We even made it home in time to shower and get to church after a quick pit stop at Mr. Donut.
The moral of this story is if you do all your marketing with men in banana suits, your business will succeed.
Being interviewed after the race
Check out the website if you are interested:


Alice Robbins said...

May I just say that I LOVE YOUR STORIES!! I love the way you use the word, "ducky"! Every entry brings a smile to my face! Keep it up sweetie! Ah. . . . you too Chris. :)

Cyndy said...

Wow, Ashley! You go, girl. I'm amazed that you ran a 10K race with only one day to prepare. Oh, to be young again....

Abbey said...

Well, Tica will be jealous to hear about your running, as I am a lazy butt and have hidden the leash from her (in case she sees it and wants to go for even a walk) until it cools down!! TOO freaking hot for me!

But yay you! You've always managed to run under the radar (which is difficult to do at Fullness, I might add), so I'm not surprised. But congrats to you & your friend!! :)

Oh and you are such a good writer! Keep keeping us posted!! :)

The Stinson Family said...

Yeah Ashley! Good for you girl. Pretty fast too! Maybe we could start a Pelham running group when you get back