Out Loud: Races & the zoo

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I only participated in the 5k/10k race once and that was years ago. I did the 5k walk and actually managed not to come in last. I still keep my number from that year hanging on my softball glove, an item with little wear even after three seasons. That’s the athlete I am.

Every year, I consider preparing myself for the walk and signing up again. But I don’t. This year was no exception, though from what I read in Marshall’s story, I think it would have been a blast. What a Keystone Kops moment with Mountain Community Patrol chasing down the wayward 5kers and redirecting them back to the finish line. What a kick.

My Navy son’s birthday happened last week so we took his kids to him last weekend for some family fun time. Saturday we spent at the San Diego Natural History Museum, managing to walk 2.8 miles, and up or down five floors (according to my iPhone) visiting the bones of ancient dinosaurs.

My grandson is a sponge, like many kids, for dinosaur information. He walks the halls telling me all he knows about each animal and then soaks up whatever new information he gathers from the graphs, signs and other details provided.

After leaving, we took the kids to the Balboa Park carousel. My son encouraged me to take a ride, too, so I climbed up onto an inside ostrich, strapped myself in and hung on tight. It was surprising how fast the carousel spun and with the ostrich gyrating up and down, the ride required me to keep a tight grip.

I can honestly say I can go the rest of my life without riding a carousel again. Back on flat ground, I felt a bit dizzy and queasy inside my guts, but probably  no worse than I would have felt after the 5k walk. Either way, at the end of the day, walking always gives me a great sense of accomplishment not being an athlete.

At dinner, the five of us tossed around ideas for the following day that had earlier leaned toward a SD Padres vs. KC Royals afternoon game. In the end, we decided on the SD Zoo and to invite the two grandchildren who live in SD. Their parents came, too, so nine of us met up at the zoo entrance and headed in.

Up until noon when the four of them had to leave, interpreting the zoo map and herding and pleasing nine people, including four children, proved a challenge. But we succeeded.

After they left, we found ourselves at a small comedy act learning about koala bears and other zoo animals. My grandson volunteered for an act in front of the audience and surprised us all by taking the dare of eating a meal worm. “It was actually tasty,” he said, but not as tasty as fried mozarella, he said later.

We stayed to the end, walking as much of the zoo as possible, soaring in a sky bucket and then taking the last bus tour of the day.

After we gathered the kids and their things back in our car and said goodbye to my son, everyone collapsed. I visited my iPhone app to see what it had logged for our walk that day and was quite impressed to see 4.6 miles.

So, I have no excuse for a 5k walk in the future, except for a prior commitment.

Becky Clark, Editor

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