Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting ready to Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo

I’m feeling pretty good about my running these days.
I can stroll out my front door about noon and make it around the neighborhood before dusk. I’ve started using a watch and not a sundial to time myself.
Getting back in shape isn’t easy. It takes work. It is sort of like marriage, only much sweatier.
That is why I have my eye on the Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo event that will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15. Proceeds benefit the Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex and veterinary care.
The event includes 5K and 10K runs as well as a noncompetitive 1.5-mile fun walk.
With that in mind, I went to the zoo the other day. I figured I’d take a stroll and size things up. See which animals I could take in a foot race.
I went by the camel habitat. They did not look too active. Mostly loitering, chewing, spitting and and looking mildly disinterested. None were wearing Nikes. No headbands or ear buds. No heart monitors or belts holding more bottles of water than the Absopure delivery man totes. No problem taking one in a race, right?
Wrong, according to Patricia Janeway, the communications director at the zoo. Suren, the zoo’s five-year-old Bactrian camel, can go 100 miles without water. She can travel up to 25 miles per hour, too.
Then Janeway made me feel even worse about myself. Suren has 80 pounds of fat stored in her humps that can be converted into energy. I’ve got nearly that stored in my belly. So how come it does not get converted into anything but another couple of inches on my waist and a trip to Kohls for bigger pants?
All right, so the camel probably is not the beast to challenge. I kept looking around. I wandered by the polar bear exhibit. They were doing a lot of swimming. They were doing some lounging. They looked like me on vacation, minus their copious back hair.
Wrong again, says Janeway. The Zoo’s eight-year-old polar bear, Nuka, can also sprint at up to 25 miles per hour. She has paws the size of a large pizza at Green Lantern.
This was getting discouraging. I knew enough to stay away from the cheetahs. Even the one whose diet consists of Cheetos and soda pop. And the jaguars. Even those with the hood ornaments. And the kangaroos. Even those with Twinkies and Ho Ho’s in their pouches.
And Janeway kept it up. There’s Kisa the Amur tiger who run up to 50 miles per hour. Over there is Kivuli the giraffe who tops out above 30 mph. Even Jasiri the white rhino motors at 20 mph when properly motivated.
Not that I’m Usain Bolt, but this was getting downright discouraging. I had to ask Janeway; isn’t there a limping llama on the grounds? How about a hobbled hippo or a wildebeest with bursitis? Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo was coming up and seemingly every darn animal could make me look like a sloth.
Bingo! There’s Homer the two-toed sloth. He’s 21 and we seemed to share a lot of the same characteristics. We both like to just hang around. We both are inclined to move only when seriously prodded. Just guessing, but Homer and I have honey-do lists that go on and on like a Tolstoy novel.
Janeway confirmed my suspicions. Homer can manage a paltry 0.15 miles per hour. I’m not above a little trash talking. Hey Homer, your mother was a bean bag chair!
I’m going to get out of my chair and head back over to the zoo on Sunday, Sept. 15. There’s the 5k, the 10k and even an untimed 1.5 mile walk that seems to have my name emblazoned all over it.
Runners in the 5K and 10K events will start at the Zoo’s 10 Mile Road entrance and wind through the scenic streets of Huntington Woods surrounding the Zoo.  Walkers will follow a course past award-winning animal habitats as they stroll through Zoo grounds. 
If you see me at the Zoo tht day, make sure you say hi. I'll be the one in the XL running shorts trash talking Homer the two-toed sloth.

Online registration is available at until Sept. 11, and registration will also be available at the Zoo on Sept. 13, 14 and 15.



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