The first thing we did was start fighting. This was our chance, our opportunity to pretend we were on the Amazing Race. Our chance to test our Race prowess — our smarts, our speed, our super-sensory perception of the world around us — and we were fighting about not having a pen.
My guy and I want to be on the Amazing Race. For a short while, we wanted it bad enough that I actually tried to keep a blog on our desire. We wanted it bad enough that I, a chubby girl who hadn’t been athletic in years, took up running. We wanted it bad enough that we went to the lake and practiced herding ducks because they did that on the show once. I was googling “Farms near Seattle. Milk a cow.” I was pricing giant wheels of cheese to practice carrying up and down our steepest grassy hill.
And so here we were — starting our work on the Emerald City Search’s Scramble. The event held as a kick off of the Seattle Center’s Next50 celebrations (wait, wasn’t there just recently a post about World’s Fairs!?). Here we were trying to tackle a mini-Amazing Race style scavenger hunt, and we were arguing about a pen. But in our style, we shook it off fast and went on our merry way. At first we took our time with each question, wandering the Seattle Center campus rather casually. Then they started to tell us we were ahead; we were the furthest they’d seen; we might be in first place! We started running. Our mistakes were easily shaken off; we were cheering one another.
When we started our training, I didn’t think we’d ever amount to much of a team. My guy is wildly encouraging, where I am competitive in all the wrong ways, and a bit of whiner. But he coaxed me through the Couch-to-5k program, and cheered me through my first half marathon. When I put on a thirty-pound pack for a week on the Pacific Crest Trail, he said “This’ll be good practice for the Race.” And when I came home from the trip early because that same pack and my planned 20 mile days had created the world’s most painful blisters, he said “we’ll break in our shoes if we make it on.”
One of these days we might even apply, audition, try to talk our way onto the Race, but already it has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I’ve shed 25-pounds. I’ve learned to use a compass; tackled my hatred of running; taken to the trails with my provisions strapped close to my body through what I am insistent on calling bear country; been brave enough to face my fears of snowboarding and whitewater rafting; and run around in public with a pair of sticks and my best friend, herding ducks.
Oh, and we didn’t win the Scramble. But we did come in a totally respectable third. Maybe if we’d had that pen…