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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Answer Is

I love Jeopardy.

As a kid, I remember watching Jeopardy in the afternoon with my father, and offering the occasional futile attempt at an answer. Dad was always nice enough to wait a moment or two before he answered to give me a chance. Sort of an intellectual head start.

Now, we actually record all the new episodes. For one thing, we're usually not able to sit down and watch at 4:30 in the afternoon. For another, there's about 20 minutes of commercials for 10 minutes of game show, and we'd rather not sit through that many drug side effects lists. I suppose they know their market, but really, if you don't know that you should contact your doctor when you lose your vision, exactly what are you doing watching Jeopardy?

We sit and watch the trivia, and every once in a while, I actually learn something. Not often, mind you. There are reruns on right before the new episodes, and though I remember the contestants, I still don't know half the answers. But I usually at least remember Final Jeopardy, and one of my favorites involved the phrase "turning point," which once referred to the spot where Roman chariots would change direction, and now, obviously, applies to any watershed moment. I love knowing little facts like that.

It's fun to think about that kind of nonsense when you're out on the road, and I was thinking about it this morning as I hit my own turning point in the run. Not like a Roman turning point (my out-and-back days are Monday and Wednesday), but in the modern colloquial sense of a great change. I was stiff and more-than-usually sore as I headed out the door this morning, on top of the fact that I had an abbreviated timeline, so I felt a little rushed. I'd chosen my direction around my 8-mile loop so that I'd hit the hills early, and after the first couple ups and downs, my mind wandered to useless knowledge and imaginary conversations.

When I made my turn south, I was surprised to feel the force of my turn pull me to the side. I stopped contemplating whatever infinite mystery I was pondering and felt my pace for a moment. I was flying. Somewhere between the agony of the start and that corner 2.5 miles in, my legs decided that they wanted to play. All I had to do was stop thinking about the run, and instead think about pretty much anything else.

In a couple weeks, I'll (once again) take the online Jeopardy qualification test. Obviously, I haven't done well enough on it (yet) to get a spot on the show, because I always get tripped up by British literature and American poets. And art from pretty much anywhere.

Maybe what I need to do is the opposite of the running strategy. When I want to be good at running, I have to think of anything else. So when I have to think of anything else...

Guess I'll be running during the test.

Saturday's Run:
7.93 Miles

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