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Monday, January 16, 2012

Finish Line Donuts

Wind isn't always a bad thing.

In fact, for many people in specific industries or with specific hobbies, wind can be absolutely essential. Still, for every activity that is made better by wind (kite flying, sailing, spitting contests), there must be at least two things that are hindered by it (Jenga games, the wearing of skirts, lighting candles, tight rope walking, raking leaves, human pyramids). Running generally falls into this second category.

There is one notable exception to this rule: wind is awesome if it is at your back for the duration of your run. For most of us, however, this will not be the case. We need to get back to our homes or cars at some point, so the routes we run are circular. This means that half the time is spent running into the wind, and the other half is spent recovering from or psyching up for it. Nowhere is this more evident than on the track, where strides get longer and foreheads dip lower as competitors round that corner onto the windy backstretch. Sure, you get 200 meters to recover, but then you're back into the breeze, praying for the next turn.

Today was windy, which made the middle portion of my run a little more difficult than it needed to be. The physical challenge was enough, but then the weather just began taunting me. I ran past a donut shop, and the wind chased me with the smell of fresh-baked balls of dough for the next mile. I hadn't eaten before the run, and I cannot express just how good they smelled.

I actually got away from eating donuts for a while, and now that they're infrequent, they're all the more delicious when I have them. What always gets me, though, is the smell. A bakery has a certain scent filled with memories of Clem's and Mell-O Creme and all the places we would go on Sunday mornings when I was a kid. My mind wandered to filled sticks and jelly rolls, and those iced things that had the cherries dropped in the middle, and before I came back to myself, I realized I'd been running into the wind for quite some time.

That is when I had my latest brilliant idea. It seems to be an unavoidable fact that any race will end 1) on a great big hill and 2) running into the wind. Instead of this being the positivity-draining suck that it is, let's use the wind to our advantage. Finish line donuts. And I don't just mean in boxes. Set up the kitchen right there, and let the smell of freshly baking donuts get every last runner across that line.

Donuts not your thing? Pick anything you like. Cheesesteak sandwiches. Croissants. Anything with onions. Get a powerful, delicious scent, and give the wind a new tone. Instead of saying, "You shall not pass," the new words in the air will be, "Come get some," and like Fred Flintstone heading toward a pie, we'll let the smell lift us up that last hill faster than we could have imagined.

You see, wind doesn't always have to be a bad thing. It's important for wind turbine electricity, romance novel cover models, and now, finishing the race.

Just keep the donuts upwind.

Monday's Run:
5.15 Miles

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