Once upon a time there was a girl. She liked to run. She liked Tiffany’s. The jewelry store, that is, not other girls named Tiffany. Although she assumed they were very nice as well. The girl in our story wasn’t rich enough to shop at Tiffany’s very much, and she’d never eaten breakfast there at all, but she loved looking through their catalogs. In fact, she often flipped through Tiffany catalogs while she ate her breakfast in the mornings at her own kitchen table. And there, with milk from the cereal bowl dribbling down her chin, she could imagine, if only for a few moments, that she was beautiful like Holly Golightly and she was adorned with glittering gems from her favorite store… Until her six year old son interrupted her glorious daydreaming by demanding something like, “Belle! I need you to put this axe in Princess Leia’s hand. Thanks!”
Then the girl would snap back to reality and attach the LEGO axe to the LEGO Princess Leia, and the little boy would run off to play and the girl would glance at the clock, realize she was running late, and wolf down the rest of her breakfast before dashing up the stairs to get dressed for work.
This was all pretty routine until one fine fall day when the girl received an email from a running friend of hers, telling her about the Nike Women’s Virtual Half Marathon and how instead of a finisher’s medal, all participants who finished the race would receive a keychain designed by Tiffany. Well, if THAT didn’t get the girl’s attention, nothing would.
Now the girl had already run a lot that year as it was. Still, she had hoped to squeeze in just one more race that fall. The girl had given some thought to using her husband’s entry in an upcoming race that he had to skip due to his sore knee and his foot that he had run over with his lawnmower. She thought long and hard about it, but in the end she chickened out because, well, it’s against the rules to run a race under someone else’s bib number. And even though the girl suspected that other runners did that kind of thing all the time, she was afraid SHE would get caught and kicked out of racing forevermore. So she told her husband she wouldn’t use his entry after all. Imagine! The girl was actually starting to hang up her racing shoes for the season when that fateful email arrived!
The email explained that in order to participate in the virtual race, the girl would need to purchase her very own Nike+ iPod sports kit. The kit contained a little accelerometer that the girl would attach to her shoe and a receiver that would attach to her iPod. All wired up like that, the girl would run 13.1 miles any time of day and anywhere in the world on October 21st and the sports kit would track the distance she ran, the length of time she’d been running, and the calories she’d burned. If she completed the miles, the Tiffany keychain would follow in the mail.
The girl decided that this was a fantastic plan and she liked it even better when she discovered the whole Nike+ iPod sports kit was fairly inexpensive at $29. The girl compared that to the $200.00 Garmin Forerunner system that some of her running friends wore and she decided that the Nike+ iPod system was a bargain. Plus, the Garmin system didn’t come with the promise of a Tiffany anything!
So the girl bought herself a sports kit, set it all up, and went out to run. Once outside in the cold fall air, the girl learned very quickly that nothing keeps a girl running like trying to calibrate a new Nike+ iPod system.
The girl was the responsible sort and so she read the directions to her new gadget rather carefully. The directions suggested the best way to calibrate her new gadget was to run ¼ mile on the inside lane of a track. But the girl was running out of time. The date of the virtual half marathon was fast approaching and she didn’t know where to find a track. So the girl took her new gadget to her favorite trail and started running. The girl ran one mile but her Nike+ iPod system said she had run 1.05 miles. So the girl started over. She ran a second mile, and her gadget said she had run ANOTHER 1.05 miles. Frustrated with the inaccuracy, the girl continued on her quest to properly calibrate the device to her satisfaction. In the end, the girl did calibrate her Nike+ iPod kit, and she did it by running 11 miles…
A week went by while the girl dreamed about that Tiffany key chain. Then the morning of the 21st arrived. It was cold and dark as the girl awoke to dress for her race, but stars from the Orionids Meteor shower streaked over head and promised to help light the girl’s way as she headed out once again to her favorite trail. She started running just as the sun rose at 7:00 a.m., her favorite songs playing faintly in her ears. She ran and she ran and she ran until she had gone a little over 14 miles. When she was done, she stopped. She hopped in her car and drove home where she uploaded her running results into the computer and took a shower. She ate some lunch then took a restless nap by bribing her six year old son into taking his own nap. “I’ll pay you $5.00 if you sleep for an hour!” she said.
As she lay in her bed, tired and a little sore from all that running, the girl realized that everyone has their price. For her, it was the promise of a Tiffany’s keychain that will arrive in the mail. For her son, it was $5.00 cold hard cash.
The girl’s husband laughs at all of this. He says to her, “You better hope the keychain was designed by Tiffany the jewelry store and not Tiffany the teenager who used to sing in malls!”
The girl doesn’t think that is funny at all. Regardless, she’ll be waiting by her mail box…