If you’re going to San Francisco
be sure to wear a flower on your ankle
— the prophet Scott McKenzie
Longtime readers know I’m a student of running. OK, I’m the student who sits in the back row catching up on my beauty sleep during the lecture on Keynesian economic theory vs. the Nike Oregon Science Project. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here for The Great Flower Ankle Sweatband Experiment of 2018 ©.
A couple of days ago, I saw a Fast Guy running with sweatbands on his ankles. This didn’t make sense to me. But then again, I never understood how a stark-raving-mad narcissist could be a button away from nuclear annihilation (dear employer: i speak here only in purely hypothetical terms and present no opinion on the current state of the country please don’t fire me), so maybe I could be wrong.
The only answer: Try it and see if it works. The sweatband, not the nuclear annihilation.
The only problem: The only thing we have that resembles a sweatband in the least has a flower on it. We must not sweat much. But I’ve run across the Golden Gate Bridge and up and down the Dipsea in San Francisco, so I think I understand what the song meant. And isn’t running all about LSD anyhow?
A flower sweatband seemed close enough, and it made me feel pretty, so the test was on.
We started at the SCC track, but there were a bunch of Artichokes on the field. Ma used to tell me growing up, “Never run on a track wearing a flower when a bunch of large football players are nearby.” I always wondered what that meant.
So we went instead to the lake loop. There are always cute dogs and kids peeing on fire hydrants, so it’s the perfect place to run unnoticed. The experiment was on.
It was a hot day, but I was wearing my Santa Elf bite me shirt to counteract the heat, so it felt OK. Nothing felt different, other than the white Zantes I wore because white won’t clash with any floral selection. Scott McKenzie doesn’t pair well with the Clash.
We were sidetracked after a couple of miles by some kids playing a variation of what could generously be described as baseball. Basically, a kid swings at pitches till he or she loses interest, then hits the ball off a tee. Fourteen infielders go chasing after the ball. One of them eventually picks it up and throws it straight into the dirt. Runners round the bases, taking their helmets off and putting them back on as they run for reasons that remain a mystery to me. The dust settles, the next kid goes up to the plate, the party repeats itself. This is SO much better than the baseball I played as a kid, which consisted solely of striking out or getting a walk zzzzzzzzz.
We eventually resumed our run when Mo asked a parent for the rules and the other people figured out we had no child there and must be crazy stalkers. It’s hard to be seen as a Serious Student of Baseball when wearing an ankle sweatband with a flower on it.
It was an otherwise uneventful outing. Ducks, walkers, Fiona singing Frosty the Snowman over and over and over and over and over. And then we stopped.
Which brings me back to the The Great Flower Ankle Sweatband Experiment of 2018 ©. Did it work?
I don’t know. Maybe you have to have two of them for the maximum results. Maybe the flower isn’t aero enough. Maybe I’m slow. For whatever reason, it didn’t feel much different.
But sometimes running is about distractions, the little things along the way that makes each run a daily adventure. Was yesterday’s better? Maybe not in the clinical sense, which is likely why people don’t enjoy running in clinics.
But we ran through a sea of yellow flowers in a tiny forest. We stopped at the xeriscape pond to splash and cool off. We cheered Peanut as she fiercely guarded third base. And I ran with a flower on my ankle. Solely because it was silly and pointless and fun.
And isn’t that exactly what running SHOULD be?
Ankle sweatbands. I think I get it now. Thanks, Fast Guy.