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! 

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.

k's shark foot

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:

k's 2 feet

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.”

L's bruise

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bolder Boulder Baileys

Obviously I cannot be trusted. I said I wouldn’t, but here I am registered once again for this year’s Bolder Boulder 10K. It happened a few weeks ago when my kids were asking if we could partake in our annual tradition of munching on doughnuts while watching the televised version of the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day. My husband is usually the one they ask, knowing full well he is hardwired to wholeheartedly embrace the rally cry for doughnuts on this occasion. This year, however, Daddy will be conducting research and sipping hot cocoa in northern Alaska (probably with a doughnut, if he can find one), far, far away from the race day festivities. So, the kids were forced to present their case to Mom. Faced with their best wide-eyed, sugar deprived and truly starving melodramatic pleas, I dug in my heels and announced that this year will be different. This year, doughnuts must be earned! I bargained a trip to VooDoo Doughnuts in Denver in exchange for their successful completion of the Memorial day race.

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The quintessential destination for delectable Denver doughnuts. Hold onto those memories, kiddos: this picture is from last year. You’ll need to earn your sweets!

Nathan was easily persuaded to claim his spot in the famous 10K. He has been running intermittently with both me and Dave, and he could probably run the whole thing without too much effort. Gabby was a slightly harder sell. She has a 5K behind her belt, but routinely feigns exhaustion during the 2 mile loop around our neighborhood. She initially abandoned the quest for doughnuts altogether, but eventually conceded and agreed to the race after a bit of tantalizing doughnut imagery by her very hungry big brother.

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Mmmmm. Doughnuts.

With both kids committed to the race, I secured our registrations in the walking/jogging category. Then we embarked on our (albeit meager) training plan.  Obviously, times are irrelevant and we are just in it to finish. Still, I wanted Gabby’s little legs to be used to the distance in the hopes of averting a meltdown at the halfway point. As family-friendly as the Bolder Boulder is with all its hoopla and entertainment along the entire route, I’ve witnessed many a child in full tantrum mode around the 4th mile mark, and I’d prefer to avoid any such public proclamations of child abuse. Two weeks ago, we managed one 4 mile walk without any major incidents. Last weekend’s effort was more noteworthy.  We increased our mileage to 5 miles, and Gabby magnificently melted shortly before finishing the first mile. Once she realized my intended route, there were tears, arguments, and a prompt refusal to move. She sat down on the dirt trail, arms folded and pouty lower lip thrust outward at me in resolute defiance. To her brother’s horror she swore off doughnuts altogether, along with the race. Delirium from training in a high alpine environment took hold and she complained of hunger and thirst, oblivious to the pre-walk snack she had consumed not more than 10 minutes prior. Had we been running, I’d have plopped down beside her and echoed her cries for mercy. I offered up a hug and my “welcome to the club” fist-bump of solidarity, knowing she was my child.  I prattled on with some helpful advice about our picture worthy surroundings and how at least she didn’t need a bathroom, but I’m fairly certain it was her brother’s empathetic doughnut depiction that finally spurred her onward. It was a grand display and with a resigned and hopeless demeanor she eventually resumed her “quality time with Mom and Nathan” walk.

She remained in this state until 2.5 miles when an adorably small, 2 or 3 month old golden lab puppy came tearing down the trail at breakneck speed. His eyes were huge with excitement and he was undeniably thrilled to have found us, his long-lost best friends who he’s never met.  His owner was frantically trailing some distance behind him, shouting futile attempts to retrieve his pooch and apologies for the off leash time. Meanwhile the joyful creature misjudged the time required to stop and crashed head first into Nathan’s legs, dissolving into a wiggly mass of wagging tail and tongue, slathering my son with sloppy wet puppy kisses. The puppy then noticed Gabby and myself and hurriedly wiggled his way over to spread the love, leaving no spot unlicked.  While I did not manage to capture a photo or a video of the incident, I did film a slow-mo of Gabby’s reenactment.

Gabby found this haphazard encounter both hilarious and uplifting, and with her jovial demeanor restored, she proceeded to recount it incessantly throughout the remainder of our hike (Exhibit A. Her prompt restoration to a happy, care-free 7 year old for the remainder of our trek offers irrefutable evidence as to why we should get a puppy).

While we were eventually successful in completing the planned 5 mile distance, the entire excursion lasted over 2 hours. That included pouty meltdown time, puppy petting, and some playground reward time for happy Gabby.

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Tired? Who’s tired?

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Perhaps I should have signed them up for an obstacle course race.

To be fair, there was also a bit of generalized laziness and lack of inertia. If it takes that long for us to finish the 10K, we will not make it into the stadium at the end of the race and we will find ourselves barred from the finish line.

This morning, Nathan decided to exercise his developing skills as a teenager and could not be pried from his bed to accompany Gabby and I on our final training session. I let this slide because, teenagers, and because he’s not the one I’m worried about finishing. I settled on a girls’ only day and set out with Gabby equipped with a small water bottle, tunes, and tissues. Gabby was full of positive energy and started out strong, joking about her guaranteed success today. She enthusiastically made it to the end of the driveway before she had to pause for a drink.

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Better make sure the water bottle works.

Gabby remained perfectly positive as she slugged back her water like a pro, each time noting how refreshing the water felt. She happily jogged and walked intermittently as we started around our neighborhood lake and entered into our 2nd mile. The wind picked up slightly and she asked me for a tissue. I smiled and reluctantly passed her one of my treasured stash, unable to refuse my adorable mini-me.

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Like mother, like daughter.

I realized quickly I had not planned appropriately in terms of tissue reserve for both of us, and it was likely to get messy in another 3 or 4 miles. Gabby also continued to cheerfully chug her water bottle every few feet making me fret she would be completely out by the time she was starting to feel the heat of the day. I warned her to slow down her water usage and we adopted a policy of extreme tissue preservation and rationing throughout the remainder of our route.

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Twinsies.

My cautionary tales fell on deaf ears and by mile 4, Gabby’s water supply was spent and suddenly the remaining distance could have just as easily been the Sahara.

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So. Far. Must. Rest.

Did I mention my daughter is somewhat theatrical? Though she required a little more prompting and encouragement for the last 2 miles, she still managed to spring to life and dash ahead of me on occasion as well as periodically throw in a few cartwheels. Because cartwheels!

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5.5 mile level of exhaustion.

All said and done, we finished in well under 2 hours and I no longer fear being unable to finish with my kiddos next weekend. In all likelihood, both kids will be overcome with race day exuberance and I will struggle just to keep up with them throughout the event. In any case, we are as ready as ever and there is nothing to do now but rest up and tackle the distance the best we can next week! See you at the start!

The Diva Half

It’s official: we’re divas! My sisters (Mag, Kristiann, Jennine) and I, and my niece (Madeline) converged in Myrtle Beach for the one and only Diva Half Marathon last Sunday. Even at 5AM before sunrise, no one can argue we know how to be divas!

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Divas. Doing ambivalence. And pucker faces. Half of us seem to think divas pucker.

Part of our pre-race swag included hot pink tutus. Tutus are fun and apparently divas wear them. I, however, could not fathom wearing the subtle little number while running, as it was not equipped with pockets and would clearly obstruct my access to the thousands of tissues crammed into my fuel belt. My sisters were similarly not keen on sporting the “universally flattering” tutus throughout the race, so we opted to tote them along for a diva photo op before the race.

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Oh, please. This is tutu much. (…Our mother is kicking herself right now for not coming up with shirts like these while we were young).

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From left to right:  Carpe DIVA!, DIVA Knievel!, Viva La DIVA!, Living La DIVA Loca!, and UnbeDIVAble!

Then we headed off to the start, along with 5 thousand other divas.

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Starting line selfie.

And we parted ways. Jennine and Madeline had a 10-minute head start by tackling the 5k, their first ever race of any length.  They finished as Kristiann and I were heading into our 2nd mile, gloating via text with their race medals and snapping pictures with one of the few crazy male divas in the race.

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It’s all in the eyes.

Well, the joke was on them, though, because after finishing they had to stand around and wait for Kristiann and me to finish the half marathon, and anyone can guess how that went! Mag was with us for the first 30 seconds and I pride myself in being able to keep up with her for that long.

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She looks friendly, but she will run you over.

The real drama was with Kristiann and me. And the porta-potties. I, of course, had to poop. If you’ve followed my blog, know that no one was more alarmed at the change in venue than myself. The lines to the porta-potties at the starting line were so impossibly long that I was forced to forgo my tried and true final pit stop before starting the race. (Incidentally, so was Mag, which I think explains her pose in the above picture). Ironically, when I started running the spigot was dry; the river did not flow through it; the drip did not drop; the climate remained sunny south of the border, at least on the beachfront. While I was delighted with this revelation, I was immediately stricken with the unfortunate sense of a thunderstorm brewing inland. It is in this way that running sucks the most. When something goes right, it will find a way to turn your body around and screw you. ANYWAY, after persevering a couple of miles and sadly bypassing a couple of lone porta-potties with huge lines along the route, I finally had to pull over. Because my sister was by my side, ready to fulfill her duty to record all of my humiliating life experiences, I have the world’s least flattering photo to insert.

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Porta-potties. They’re not pretty. Thank heaven I didn’t bring my tutu.

Moving on. Kristiann is the one true diva out of the lot of us. Somewhere into the 6th mile, Kristiann, who is diabetic, started to have problems regulating her blood sugar. She is on an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. She ate some fuel to try to bring her blood sugar back up, but her sugars were reluctant to respond. Then she became nauseated because of the fuel. And if that weren’t enough, her legs started cramping–visibly.  At one point it looked like she was trying to grow a 2nd calf muscle on top of her regular one. I found myself to be exceptionally helpful with motivational sayings such as, “Wow, that’s a really big cramp,” and “ooooh, that must hurt. A lot.” I sympathetically offered to massage it out, only to horrifically rediscover 2 seconds later that people get really, REALLY, sweaty after running 10 miles in South Carolina with 99.9% humidity. So no, I could not continue, no matter how many calf muscles my poor sister intended to grow.

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I WAS able to take this picture when she stepped aside to stretch it out, though.

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And this one. Because, sisters.

Leg cramps can happen to diabetics when their blood sugars oscillate wildly. Under these circumstances, it is amazing that she was able to finish at all. We were forced to walk much of the second half of the race but Kristiann remained light-hearted (maybe that was low blood sugar confusion), and in good spirits throughout the race. Not once did she whine about how running sucks, how diabetes sucks, or how she wanted to flop around on the ground and take a nap. I don’t believe the thought of dropping out ever even crossed her mind. She never asked me to carry her, and I can assure you I would have readily done all of these things in her place. The fact that she was able to persevere and finish the race under the most extreme, adverse circumstances makes her the biggest Diva of us all. We made it to the finish line together ahead of some, and Kristiann was last in our group. Sometimes the last finish is the strongest.

 

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Divas? Definitely.

 

 

…And afterward?

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Firemen don’t wear shirts in SC. Also, my niece is the only sane diva.

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Post-race bliss. My tiara lasted long enough for a picture then it snapped in two after tumbling off my head.

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Official medal, actually quite heavy.

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Post race party.