Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Today is the day we exercise our right to vote. For me, this past Saturday was the day. I voted early, hoping to avoid long lines, missing work, and polling location confusion. Last time I voted, I arrived at the polling location only to find a sign directing me to some church somewhere, which took some time to find. Going a few blocks away to vote downtown seemed a more efficient use of my time. Mark was denied the right to vote on Saturday because he still has his Michigan ID; apparently you need an Indiana state-issued ID or a federal ID, even though Mark is registered to vote in Indiana and has been for over a year. The reports I had heard simply said to bring a photo ID. No matter, he voted today with his passport, but I was still angered by the annoyance and delay. What if he had showed up to vote at the last minute and been denied? I believe any state-issued ID should suffice as a way simply to identify the voter; the voter registration records should be the deciding factor in establishing the location and residence of a voter. Ugh, anyway. Go Baron Hill.

I have decided on a marathon for the spring, and it isn't Grandma's. I chose the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan, on May 26, 2007. Traverse City is closer, and the date works much better with the 500 Festival Mini. Now the mini will be a well-timed tune-up before the big race. The race got glowing reviews on marathonguide.com. Also, Mark's parents have a time-share in Traverse City and may be able to arrange to stay there over that weekend, which would make marathon preparation and recovery extremely pleasant.

Speaking of marathons, Lance Armstrong finished his first in New York on Sunday. He had this to say: "That was without a doubt the hardest physical thing I have ever done... In 20 years of pro sports and endurance sports, even the worst days on the Tour, nothing felt like that or left me the way I feel now."

That makes me, as a mid-packer, feel pretty good about myself. Lance said he isn't built to be a runner (although he did very well, especially considering his relatively light training). Guess what, folks...you can do what Lance Armstrong thinks is hard. A whole lot of you can, albeit a bit slower in many cases. A lot of Lance's mystique is built up on the fact that he's unbeatable, a machine. In cycling, yes. In running, the most basic of sports, no. There are two ways to look at it, I think: either the marathon has made Lance less cool, or Lance has made the marathon cooler; I consider Lance one of my heroes, so I will go with the latter on this one. To hear those words from someone who has been through the things he has been through makes me feel all the stronger for having finished a whopping four marathons!

I will be interested to see if Lance opts to try another one in the future.

So I started reading Eragon, the precocious debut of teenage writer Christopher Paolini (by now he's in his 20s). It's...pretty bad. The writing is bad. The characterization is wooden. The plot is a joke. The amount of cliches is overwhelming. If you look at it as a workshop offering by a teenager, it's extremely impressive. But as a finished draft, published work that has garnered all that critical acclaim, it's trash. However, I am still reading it; in fact, it's possible I will read the sequel. Don't ask me why (I think it may be morbid fascination and a possible masochistic bent on my part). I could write an interesting paper comparing use of cliches by J.K. Rowling and Christopher Paolini.

"He called the marathon "humbling." If it humbles Lance Armstrong, what it would do to most of us is not in the dictionary."
--Mike Lopresti

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