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Well, the good news is The Observer’s ankle doesn’t hurt, thanks to increased naproxin dosage. The bad news is now our hip hurts. Later we plan to break that hip, and then begin a life full of bermuda shorts and velcro shoes.

But the great news is that we finished our first half-marathon, and we finished IN FIRST PLACE.

Ha ha, fooled you.

Our experience in the Little Rock Marathon, mile by mile:

Mile 0: We recall through experience that you know it’s cold when your pee actually steams.

Mile 1: The adjustable zipper on our water belt breaks, so now the bottle won’t stay in. We’re going to have to carry this sumbitch IN OUR HAND FOR THE NEXT TWELVE MI... Hey, the Arkansas River, sweet!

Mile 2: Against all reason, we peel off our long-sleeve shirt and strip down to our compression shirt. Five female runners start licking the sweat from our biceps.

Mile 3: We realize we’re about to pass the CEO of the bank we used to work for. We are gonna smoke this old fool.

Mile 4: A gospel band on a flatbed trailer. With electric instruments. And backup singers. COOLEST THING EVER.

Mile 5: The CEO of our bank passes us. This old man is going DOWN. Just as soon as we walk for a couple of minutes and have some Gatorade Rain. You know, it really is refreshing.

Mile 6: Clinton Library. You know what would be cool? If it was the George Clinton library. Funkiest books in all the land. We would take that tour, and Bootsy would be there. Damn, we love Bootsy.

Mile 7: HAHAHA LOOK AT THOSE MORONS STUCK ON THE FREEWAY OFF-RAMP DON’T THEY KNOW THAT IT’S — hey, is that our car? Yes, that appears to be our wife. Baby? Baby! OVER HERE IF YOU WANT TO TAKE THE PICTURE — Yes, hi, we love you too.

Mile 8: We can see the Capitol, and the finish line from here. We are heartened by this, if a bit confused, as it looks closer than five miles away. Then we turn left. We begin weeping.

Mile 9: You’re not tired. You’re not tired. You’re not ... damn, we’re tired.

Mile 10: Republican Runner No. 1: There’s the Governor’s Mansion. Wish I’d realized we we’re going by there, I’d have some suggestions to put in his mailbox. Republican Runner No. 2: Did you know Bill Clinton never actually had a residence in this state? RR1: Really? RR2: Yeah, no, seriously. Never lived or paid taxes in Arkansas. Us: Legs ... not ... strong ...enough ... to carry ... us ... away ... from ... morons ...

Mile 11: TWO MILES! WOO!

Mile 12: We’re going to just lie down here and sleep for awhile. Yes, forever sleep ... Hey, is that little dot up ahead our old boss?

Mile 13.1: We turn into a big pile of poo and lie, steaming and clumpy, upon the pavement.

The first purple martin report comes from Heber Springs, where one was seen Feb. 27. Another martin flew over The Observer’s head on March 5 in downtown Little Rock. Spring is around the corner.

Ah, springtime: that glorious season when The Observer can finally emerge, blinking into the sun, from the fleece- and wool-lined burrow where we huddled all winter.

Spring is our favorite season — temperate, full of life and birdsong. The older we get, the more we come to truly appreciate its greatest charm: warmth. This winter, around the third or fourth time we swore our nose was just going to simply drop off on the sidewalk — plunk! — like a frozen tater-tot, The Observer actually caught ourselves pausing on those “Buy Property in Costa Rica!” infomercials, dreaming of a land that frost never touches.

Call us crazy, but maybe there’s a silver lining around this global warming thing. Sure, all the polar bears will be dead, the geese won’t know which direction to fly, and mankind will be pretty much screwed, but think about the positives: Oceanfront property down around Smackover, Arkansas-grown tomatoes available year round and no more cold winters!

Unless, of course, global warming starts another Ice Age. If that happens, forget the critters and rising sea level; the real tragedy will be a visit to The Observer’s house. We’ll be the one bundled up under nine quilts, two dogs, and an afghan.

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