May 1, 2010 | Spanish
I try to win an iPod to play my Pimsleur lessons on.
I need an iPod for future Pimsleur lessons. I think I am one of the few adults in New York City without one. I have an iPod Shuffle, but it is old and doesn’t really have enough room on it for Pimsleur lessons and my running music, and I like to take both with me when I go to Central Park.
As it happened, earlier this week when I was looking for a five-kilometer race to run this weekend, I came across information on the Bronx Community College 32nd Annual Hall of Fame 10K and 5K. To my delight, I saw that the top two finishers for each distance, male and female, would be awarded iPods.
This is an unusually high-quality prize for a small local race. The most I had ever won previously was dinner for two at a Mexican restaurant, which was nice, but an iPod would be much, much better, especially since it would support my language project.
Perfect, I thought! How this would all work was very clear to me: my legs would simply do my brain’s bidding and win it an iPod. I really liked the idea of my body being used in the service of my mind. You know, that whole mens sana in corpore sano thing. I could of course use those same legs to walk six blocks to the local Apple store and buy an iPod, but that wouldn’t be fun. Winning one would be fun.
So, this morning I headed up to the Bronx. Once at the college—whose campus was surprisingly beautiful, I found—I warmed up, I stretched, I did everything I could think of to ensure my iPod dreams would be realized. And things went pretty well for most of the race.
I wasn’t in the lead, but I knew I was close. By the last mile, I could see the first-place woman about 30 or 40 seconds ahead of me. As I watched her run, I thought iPod thoughts. I wondered whether I could catch her. I decided I could not. I knew that coming in second meant that instead of winning an iPod Touch, I would be downgraded to an iPod Nano. I decided I could live with that.
Complacency is a terrible thing.
Within maybe 75 yards of the finish line, a woman came out of nowhere and blew by me at track-meet speed. I could not keep up. She finished four seconds ahead of me, and my iPod Pimsleur fantasies were dust in all the wind generated by her much more swiftly moving feet.
So, I came in third. Instead of an iPod (and a beautiful engraved plate), I got a trophy.
Don’t get me wrong, I like and appreciate trophies. However, you can’t play Pimsleur lessons on them.
I guess I will be taking a walk over to the Apple store.
P.S. It is official: I am adding an extra month to Spanish. The start of Greek is being postponed until June 1.