BB10K 2017: Asthma Schmasthma and the rest of us.

Last year’s Bolder Boulder with the kids inadvertently ignited a small running candle inside my previously couch inclined husband. Miraculously and without coercion, he has engaged in regular runs with gradually increasing distance over the last year, apparently in anticipation of his shining moment of glory in this year’s “best 10K on earth.” …Ironic that this newfound healthy habit just happened to coincide with my running hiatus due to injury, and subsequent laziness in recovering from injury, but I digress. He has asthma, so he would be a natural running partner for me if only I could keep him from his inhalers. He vigorously sucks back the magical lung expansion treatments before jauntily producing runs with times I can only dream about.

Today was no different. He had qualified for a start time several hours before the rest of us, so once again we headed down to the race at an exceptionally early hour for a holiday.

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Piled in car at 6:15am for the Memorial Day BB10K 2017! Nathan’s friend, Evelynn is doing her best to prevent any identifiable feature from being in the photo. Gabby is, well, being Gabby.

Nathan had decided to run somewhere in the middle of the race with a friend, Evelynn, while Gabby and I would represent Team Bailey at the back of the race. Lungs expanded to what I can only assume are potentially illegal levels, we walked Dave down to the starting line and wished him luck and retreated to play games on the phone in the car.

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Who’s ready for a race?!?

Dave finished his race before we even left the car for our starting line. He was like one of those balloon race cars, sponsored by Advair, sailing through to the finish in just over an hour.

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That’s his lungs, people. On Advair. Oh, never mind.

He was amazing, and this family has never been one to let a little affliction get in the way of life goals!

Nathan and Evelynn were next to depart. Gabby and I dropped them off in their starting wave and snapped a few obligatory pictures, wanting to record the moment in case we never found them again, what with record breaking crowds and all.

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Left: has trained for half marathon. Right: jumped on trampoline for 3.5 hours yesterday.

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“Pretend to run!” …Seriously, I don’t know how you two finished before me.

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“Jump!” …Just in case you can’t figure out the running thing, just start jumping. You’ll be fine.

They are exceptionally capable teenagers, but the sheer crowd size of 100,000 makes it unnerving for a mom to let them fend for themselves.

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I know you’ve got this buddy. Taken yesterday, by the way. 

I grew a couple extra gray hairs and let them go.  My cat, Gabby, cheered me up with a couple of pre race pictures, and we found our position at the starting line.

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Cool cat and her momma.

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A salute and a dab with a whack to the chest.

After a few minutes, we took off! We jogged a bit here and a bit there, but mostly walked. Gabby was a terrific, non-complaining type of cat and we got along great! She only asked a few times if we were done yet, and she mostly dreamed about the promise of post race celebratory donuts.

We passed this guy:

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Party hat kid. While a wonderfully conceived concept, all hats went flying willy nilly upon the first jostle. Still, hats off for creativity!

And we passed the highest point:

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That hill gets me every time. 

And we plucked our way across the finish line. Well, I plucked and Gabby sprinted into cheetah mode upon entry into the stadium, where her throngs of fans leaned over to high five her as she zig-zagged around human obstacles and emphatically crossed the finish line waaay ahead of me. Well played, little kitty. Well played.

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Whew! We made it! Hooray!!

 

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The “single file” line for post race snack bags. This picture smelled as good as it looks.

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That’s a lot of snacks! And we were near the end of the herd! 

Bound and Rebound

They say once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget the skill. Running is like that too. Unless you have a cardiac history and previously birthed 2 children and you’ve stopped running for, say, 10 months, then there is no hope. In that case it’s like trying to learn a newly discovered tribal dialect that’s all clicks and grunts. While you’re deaf. And blind. All by yourself. In the arctic tundra, because it’s winter and you picked a fine time to start learning a new language.

And so, here I sit feeling deaf and blind, and both physically and mentally subpar to my human counterparts who are able to run without effort or forethought. My dear non-running husband, sensing my weakness no doubt, has stepped up his running game to weekly efforts, tackling increased mileage and speeds I can only dream about. I am unsure if I will ever be able to run again, and not at all sure that I even want to try. My mind has been at war with my body for months anticipating the inevitable defeat any actual attempt to run will bring.  My new normal is to get dressed in my running pants, headband and all, and sit around not even thinking about running anymore until it’s time to get ready for work. Initially I was sidelined by injury and illness, as is typically the case, but lately it is the lack of inertia and mental stamina that continue to keep me sidelined. Also, if I press real hard on my hip I can still make it hurt, so is it REALLY healed? Nope. Nuh uh. No.

Enter the trampoline. Santa brought my kids one for Christmas and I recently hopped on board and gave it a whirl. It was the literal kick in the rear my psyche and posterior required and the fog was jostled from my brain. I was suddenly both buoyant and brilliant! I quickly discovered low impact circular running and I’m pretty sure this will take off.

I had found in trampolining the sure fire transition I need to help restore my faith in my running career. And I fondly recalled my high school days as a cheerleader.

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Whee! …The camera angle helps. And if it makes you feel any better, I was sore for 3 days after this maneuver. 

And then I pulled out the donkey kick:

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A move usually reserved for accomplished trampoline masters. 

The trampoline proved to be a worthy adversary and, truth be told, it was not long before I suffered the consequences of my 10 month hiatus and high altitude activity.

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I’m OK. Just looking at my socks.

Though timid at first, it wasn’t long before I regained full mastery of the underrated seat drop.

Obviously, if there were an Olympic seat drop competition, I’d be a contender. My son, Nathan, decided to offer up some friendly competition.

And just like that my exercise routine is on the rebound. With the trampoline, I rediscovered laughter within exercise and remembered that at least some of the time, it should be fun and not just funny. Inspired, I headed out for a walk yesterday bundled up in my winter coat, a scarf and jeans. I did not try to run, did not pretend to be running, and didn’t even bother to dust off my running clothes. I just enjoyed the pleasant day and some quite time with my bubble gum.

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Mom-Walker here.

 

 

Adding Insult to Injury: Flat Pancakes.

Blah. The last 4 months have not been kind to my efforts to become the next greatest thing in the world of running. I’m still nursing a sore hip after an elegant and eloquent tumble down the stairs that I already mentioned here.

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My nasty bruise on a ginormous photo of my hip. I feel really great about posting this picture here. Also, that other thing is either a mole or a small planet around which my bruise is orbiting.

Additionally, I abandoned the gym and heavy weight lifting after a year of battling shoulder and back strains. Frustrated, I went back to my basics. Chocolate and wine. And after resting and munching my way through 20 lbs., I went back to my other basics. Jillian and her ripped in 30 days broken promises grated on my nerves though, so I briefly branched out into the Iron Strength for Runners DVD.

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Stronger, faster, injury-free running?!? YES, YES, and YES, PLEASE!!!

Unfortunately, thanks to its plyometrics, after a week I was left with a swollen and angry knee that could barely make it to a right angle. My knee is slowly on the mend but is not ready to run yet, and I even had to give up my lengthy walks in favor of sleeping in. Well, that could probably be argued, but MAN, I needed sleep. I’ve had minimal energy in the last 6 months or so, and found myself sneaking in “recovery naps” after my previously energizing walk/jog sessions. I also turned 45 this week and chalked my lack of energy up to age as well as probable further deterioration of my cardiac function. Turns out my thyroid is once again out of whack, explaining my current sub zero metabolism, my penchant for weight gain, and my lethargic attitude. True, my cardiac function could still be contributing, but it is a relief to discover an alternative component that can be easily remedied.

In honor of my 45th birthday, I treated myself to my first mammogram.

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Yippee!! Do I know how to party, or what?!?

Technically, I had one shortly after my son was born, but my “suspicious lump” was indiscernible within my then massive milk field. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing more than a clogged milk duct. Since then, I’ve successfully averted all other attempts by my doctor over the last five years to schedule the test, but finally succumbed to the pressure (Literally. HA!). I haven’t intentionally avoided the procedure, I just figured logistically I’m not equipped with much opportunity for lumps to hide. Also, I tend to be overloaded with tests and visits related to my challenged cardiac function, so other systems tend to fall to the wayside.

The medical intake form was mostly straightforward with questions about cancer and any signs or symptoms I was experiencing, all of which were negative. They really should have rephrased the question, however, when they asked if I had any complaints with my breasts. I thought about asking for another page to expand upon my lengthy list of grievances but settled on “they’ve become sad, droopy pancakes,” and handed my synopsis over to my technician.

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It’s like looking in a mirror.

She was pleasant yet still serious and goal oriented as she led me back to the imaging room. I donned the medical gown as directed and wondered if she actually thought I could be hiding something in my modest, broken-down bosom. I stared and the Xray machine and silently questioned whether I would have sufficient hoist-able material to image on the tray before me, but my technician was undaunted. She expertly commanded my pancakes forward only to be further flattened by the apparatus. My defibrillator briefly presented a challenging obstacle course of sorts, but eventually my technician was able to navigate around the chunky device. It didn’t erroneously misfire and to the best of my knowledge it remains adequately connected to my heart, so I consider the whole ordeal a success. But any remaining perky-prone part of my meager bust was undoubtably obliterated during this procedure, as if to reinforce and commend the havoc wrought from breast-feeding and punctuate the laws of gravity.

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Gabby’s latest drawing of me. She sees how it is.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no comparable imaging procedure for the male counterparts. Any man still reading this far into my blog is absolutely cringing at the thought. Surely an improved imaging technique could be devised in this technologically advanced day and age?!? As none has been invented yet and it remains the gold standard for early breast cancer detection, I will continue my rendezvous with this bust busting, chest compressing device on an annual (or at least semi-annual) basis.

Fortunately, my mammogram was completely normal (Hooray! …No one likes lumpy pancakes!). The lab work that was done simultaneously, however, revealed my wayward thyroid function. Now with my meds adjusted, I optimistically await new, surging levels of energy that will allow me to resume my musings in the running world. In the meantime, I’ve embraced yet another DVD set in the hopes of improving my flexibility and core strength: PiYo.

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PiYo. Not to be confused with “Pie!! …YO!”

It’s a combination of Pilates and Yoga and there are a dozen or so workouts included in the series of discs. The instructor, Chalene Johnson, is actually encouraging and positive, which is new. She doesn’t yell at me like Jillian used to do. Not that I mean to dis Jillian. We’ve been through a lot together, and she has earned a special place in my heart. But Jillian is more of a tough love, drill sergeant kind of coach and the change is nice, at least for now. As for the workouts, I suck. I’m an inflexible idiot frantically trying in vain to keep up and swing my leg into a standing split while my children and husband gaze on in confused horror, unable to identify what exactly I’m doing, certain I should not be doing it.

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Even the cat is concerned.

But I’m getting better and I haven’t managed to injure myself further as of yet, so there’s that. Then again, the journey has just begun…

 

Sole Searching

My sister’s orthopedic shoe nightmare is giving me flashbacks. A few months ago, when I increased my mileage after signing up for my first half marathon, I started to feel pain in the balls of my feet. I immediately chalked this up to inferior cushioning and headed off to a lovely local store with a wonderful reputation for analyzing gait and outfitting elite runners in the latest and greatest aerodynamic gear.

When I entered the store, it appeared that all of the store’s workers were busy serving other customers. Promptly, a gentleman on a ladder fixing a light fixture asked if he could assist me. In hindsight, this probably should have led me question his authority to provide me with knowledgeable guidance in proper running footwear, but his name tag seem to lend sufficient credibility so I proceeded to tell him about my affinity for Asics.

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My Leaning Tower of Asics.

I have worn Asics since day one of my running career without any foot problems and was hopeful to remain faithful to the brand. I told my store representative as much while he filmed my sluggish “running” gait.  He suggested I try the fully cushioned, top of the line model, to help correct my over pronating form. This sounded great to me, and I asked him to try it in a size 10. I have worn size 10 shoes since forever, and it did not cross either of our brains that my foot could potentially be even more humongous. I acknowledged the enormity of my foot before he disappeared to retrieve my pricey future purchase. He insisted on another video, which he claimed was to verify my lack of over pronation, but was probably also in disbelief of the ungainly slothful movement pattern I insistently refer to as running. I prayed to God I would not pee myself during yet another stint on the treadmill, and with prayers answered shelled out nearly $180 on my new and improved foot cushioning system.

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Big Asics.

The following weekend I attempted my long run in my fancy new shoes, but by the 6th mile my nagging foot pain was back. Frustrated, I trekked back to the store to complain. I found my store assistant and he decided we should measure those big boys at the end of my legs. Turns out one is a 10.5 and the other’s a whopping size 11. While I dealt with my mortification, he looked at my feet and then at me, and decided to confer with a colleague. They whispered a bit, obviously perplexed with how best to address my many running eccentricities with a single podiatric device. They finally nodded in agreement, then my attendant suggested I try a different shoe altogether, in the newly appointed size of eleven.

He disappeared on his quest into the most remote recesses of the deepest, darkest corner of the Men’s storage closet. What he retrieved for my extra appendage to try on is arguably the ugliest running footwear ever created. I have owned my share of unattractive footwear, but all of my previous running shoes have at least resembled sneakers. It was comprised of material I could not identify. I guessed it to be a thick, grey green felt with highlights reminiscent of vomit with no discernible contours and a wide styrofoam sole. Why it had felt in the first place remains a mystery as it did not look particularly waterproof and was definitely not aerodynamic or fast.  Perhaps in a smaller size it would have been less offensive, but on top of my body’s gargantuan infrastructure, it was ghastly. It looked swollen and orthopedic on the thing formerly known as my foot, and it looked like I needed a wheelchair instead of a run. I did not take a picture at the time, because I was so overwhelmed by its hideousness and enormity, rivaled only by the monstrosity of an orthopedic device currently found on my sister’s fractured foot.

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The likeness is uncanny. Really.

As I stared at the beast, I tried to contemplate what I did to annoy the salesmen that they would attempt to present such an encasement as a valid solution to my running woes.

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These are not running shoes. These are my cute and comfy SIZE TEN slippers, where the felt and furry world belongs. And where my hideous, colossal feet will remain hidden from the world forevermore.

I told my dynamic duo no way, and they then let me try on my original Asics in a size 11, a size 11.5, and a size 11 wide. The one guy was convinced these still weren’t big enough and he wasn’t sure they could help me at all. I decided to go with the more optimistic guy, but even he was torn between the size 11 and the wide 11. He finally settled on the regular size 11 and sold them to me at the mildly discounted rate of $160.

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Big and Bigger Asics.

That weekend I took my elevens out for a long run and woefully encountered my ball of foot pain once again. Perturbed, I headed back to the store, found my sales associate once again and told him of my persistent pain. He quizzically looked at me and my ginormous hoofs again and suggested metatarsal foot pads. This inexpensive option sounded plausible coming from my light bulb fixing sales representative, so I handed him another 5 dollars and headed off with a new game plan.

Unfortunately, after traipsing around the house in them for an hour, the small pads felt mountainous and I began to question the sanity of this strategy. At this point, my half marathon was two weeks away and I had been unable to complete a long run without significant, limp inducing foot pain. I came to my senses and decided to consult my PT friend and running expert, Lydia, who I have consulted in the past and who was already familiar with my spectacular running technique.

I met with Lydia and told her my sad and literally lengthy foot saga. She looked at my feet and advised me to not try the mountains-in-my-shoes option so close to my half marathon debut. She said it looks like I weight bear on my small toes instead of my large toes when I run, and that’s not normal. While I could argue that technically all of my toes are large, the less large ones do seem to carry the brunt of my load. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt my biggest toes do anything other than sleep. It’s like they’re royalty who just want to lie about while the abundant servants get the work done.

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You have no idea how incredibly difficult it was to take this photo.

Anyway, she decided I should attempt wedges under the pinky side of my insoles to help shift my weight toward the work resistant Queen bee toes. She also lectured me about brands of shoes and added that for unknown reasons some brands she typically loves have given her similar pain in slightly different models. She suggested I may want to try a different brand altogether.

I tried the wedges that weekend on my last long run before the race, and within an hour had pain all the way up my right leg to my hip. I ripped out that wedge, as Lydia had instructed me to do, and persevered with my left wedge. I dutifully tried to power through with my big toes in command. In truth, I’ve no idea whether those piggies performed appropriately because my long runs are actually miraculous feats of stagnant, snaillike endurance that consume me for hours and I can’t be expected to maintain my attention throughout its entirety.  It’s a wonder that the sheer size of my pedals can’t manage to muster a more impressive pace. By the end of my twelve miles, the left foot didn’t feel great, but it didn’t feel awful either, and I thought perhaps at least that foot had found a potential solution.

With less than a week before my race, I took my son shopping for his own running shoes. We went to a discount store and I was surprised to discover his 12 year old tootsies have expanded to within a half size of what I used to consider my appropriate shoe size. I eyed him empathetically and can only hope he continues to grow vertically so as to achieve some form of balance with his monumental inherited propulsion mechanisms. On a whim, I decided to try on a cushy pair of comparatively cheap, 60 dollar New Balance running shoes in an eleven. I had zero guidance and knew nothing about the shoe, but they felt comfy and I decided to buy them, feeling as though I had nothing to lose.

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New Balance. New hope.

Well, I wore them in my half marathon and have worn them on every run since without any foot pain, other than a minor blister on one of my over worked helper toes. Sometimes the best option is not the fancy, most expensive one, and sometimes you need to just listen to your gut. And your feet. And my feet. Mostly my feet. Unavoidable with my size eleven stompers!

 

 

The Art of Injury

About a month ago, I fell down a flight of stairs. This I did for no apparent good reason other than pure clumsiness coupled with a dose of misfortune and amazingly slippery bare feet. While speed has thus far eluded my feet in my running efforts, my tushy took the wheel and could not be slowed during its accelerated decent down our slick steps from hell. Fortunately, I sustained nothing worse than massive bruises on my right hip and ankle. Since then, I have been unable to run with any significant effort and have resigned myself to low impact walks in the pre-dawn hours of the day.

Not to be outdone, my running bestie and sister in clumsiness Kristiann sent me this awesome text yesterday:

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…Her boot looked reminiscent of a horrifically fugly running shoe a local expert running store tried to convince me would surely help my running efforts, but that’s another story. Turns out she ran both of her last two half marathons with a stress fracture in her foot. She had it Xray’d previously because of nagging foot pain, but the sly fracture was missed and was only confirmed this week. The poor girl is completely laid up with a forced non weight bearing status on her left foot. Feeling sad and probably self-conscious (because LOOK at that boot) she sent me multiple pictures of her woeful tootsies.K's boot w:sneakerk's boot w:bowlk's boot w:TV

Naturally, I did the only thing I could think of, being unable to pry my eyes off the misshapen orthopedic eyesore encasing her foot. I had a ball! And now, I am sharing it with the world, so that others may be free to tap into their creative, artistic selves and redesign and embellish otherwise unflattering orthopedic apparel.

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Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun dun…AAAAARGH!

 

K's foot teeth:tongue

Pbbblt.

k's running rocker

(**NOTNIKE is in no way related to NIKE)

And meet Phteven:

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K's foot teeth2

Come on.  THATHS PHUNNY!

k's vampire boot

Sooo scary.

And for the latest online optical illusion:

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Or is it three?

What orthopedic disasters have you had to endure? Feel free to decorate and otherwise deface your own photos (or those of your siblings), and leave a picture in the comments. It’s guaranteed to help you heal!

 

P.S. Just because I love my sister and want to help her “heel.”

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My hip monster. 

 

 

 

 

Bolder Boulder 2016: Mom vs. Kids

We may have picked our way ever so slowly through the actual race, but we totally won the race for parking! The other racers and even half of the set up crew had nothing on our 5:30AM arrival to the parking lot. With our start time near 9AM, and the first wave of some 50,000 participants starting close to 7AM, I was convinced there would be no remaining parking spaces if we did not arrive exceptionally early. I prepped the kids and our race accoutrements the night before and herded our party out the door before sunrise. Turns out, no one needs to arrive at that hour. After sampling several spaces we settled into one of the several thousand available spots.

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Note the abundance of cars we had to wrestle for a parking spot.

On the bright side (which arguably did not truly exist at that hour), at least I came prepared for our multi-hour camping excursion in the car. We brought pillows, blankets, drinks, and some pre-loaded movies on my laptop. We parked outside of Panera and once they finally opened, went inside for a leisurely and hearty pre-race breakfast with plenty of time to digest before our start.

At 8 o’clock, we left the comfort of our home away from home and headed for the starting line. I instructed the kids to stretch a little, so as to avoid the various injuries I have previously demonstrated for them. Typically, their stretches are lackluster and halfhearted, but apparently stricken by the pre-race excitement, they became Olympic hopefuls spontaneously executing complicated warm up maneuvers with ease and grace.

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Gabby: easy peasy jumping lunges.

I was mesmerized by Gabby’s newfound strength and coordination. Moments later, I was dumbfounded when my usually inflexible son launched into this:

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OK. Not exactly this. THIS was after the fact, and all I managed to capture at that moment as I scrambled to reactivate my camera.

After the race, I made Nathan repeat his yogi master pose for me and confirmed it was not an isolated fluke of nature occurrence.

Anyway, back to the race. Stunning warm up session concluded, we headed to the starting line.

 

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Go Time!

 

With 30 minutes to go until our start, I handed each of them my pre-race secret weapon. Chocolate. I figured a small sugar high from the sweet stuff would help boost their energy and prime them for a bit more jog time. Unfortunately, I seem to have miscalculated the time required for my littlest munchkin to absorb and thoroughly expend my sure fire rocket fuel. She ran into a classmate while waiting in our starting wave and euphorically bounded about like a crazy kangaroo for the next 20 minutes, leading to a perfectly timed sugar crash just as the pistol sounded our start.

We jogged the first few inches. Realistically, we were packed into the street like sardines at the start so it was virtually impossible to do anything other than move as a unit with the walkers in front of us until the crowd thinned. The sun was hot, and the crowds made it hotter. Gabby was having none of it. Nathan and I tried to point out the amusing costumes and the singing Elvis, but diversional tactics were only marginally successful in affecting her demeanor. A half mile in, I asked her if we should drop out altogether, but surprisingly she said no. On a whim, I offered her an energy gummy from my fuel belt, and it proved to be the pivotal trigger needed to recharge her battery and dropkick the grumpy attitude to the curb.

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THERE’s my girl. Back in the race with cartwheels!

After that first mile, my kids did great and enjoyed all the fanfare surrounding the race. This year, there was even an extra long trampoline for participants to bounce along as well as a full size above ground pool where runners could hastily submerge before rejoining the race. We passed on both of these attractions, but Nathan could not pass up on the infamous slip-n-slide.

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Strategic sideways approach to the muddy mud pit.

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Double thumbs up! That’s for the slip-n-slide AND the rocker dude in the background.

We continued and my kids remained amicable and happy. I fed them energy chews periodically and made sure they drank plenty of water to help combat the heat and further grouchy episodes.

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4 miles of peaceful sibling camaraderie. I’ve already won.

As we headed down Pearl Street, well into our 5th mile, we once again shifted into a faster pace. Whether it was from the knowledge that the finish line was not far in the distance or from the theme song from Chariots of Fire that spurred us onward, we’ll never know.

…Seriously, who doesn’t start to slow run when they hear that song? We moved onward to our grand finale in Folsom stadium. The cheering crowds spurred my offspring into high gear as they remembered their primary goal of finishing before their mother. Both kids sprinted around the final lap on the track and Nathan was first to cross the finish line.

BB10K Nathan finish

The fastest way to finish is through levitation!

Gabby was next to break into a full fledged sprint, but not before flashing a knowing smile at the cameraman.

BB10K 2016 Gabby & mom smile

“Yeah. I’m adorable. Eat my dust, Mom.”

BB10K 2016 Gabby Finish

“Catch me if you can, Mom. It’s like I’ve trained my whole life for this.”

I was forced into a run in order to retain possession of my children. Also, a giant beer can was threatening to finish before me.

BB10K 2016 Mom vs. Beer Can

Last of Team Bailey to finish.  Not today, Beer Can Man. Not today.

We regrouped after crossing the finish, triumphant in our quest to make it into the stadium.

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Hooray for Team Bailey! …Now get us our doughnuts, Mom.

Nathan and Gabby did not hesitate to remind me of my promise to buy doughnuts after the race, and they were anxious to claim their just reward. We gathered our post race loot bag and wolfed down some pizza before heading back to our perfectly parked car. I also insisted on quick showers before driving for doughnuts as our collective odor, while proof positive of the day’s effort, was slightly less than appetizing. Five minutes from our home and finally en route to VooDoo Doughnuts in Denver, the undeniable true champion of the day was declared.

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Official BB10K 2016 Winner:  Mom!

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Happy boy with his consolation prize.