Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Letting them Fall

We had a picnic last night for dinner.
Mostly because I was feeling lazy and didn't want to cook dinner.

And, while suggesting that we have jelly & cream cheese sandwiches for dinner isn't all that exciting, when I suggest we have jelly & cream cheese sandwiches outside The Munchkins practically fall all over themselves to get changed into their play clothes after school.

So I threw together some sandwiches (on tortillas instead of bread because it's "more funner that way" *cringe*) and some cold pasta salad and a bag of potato chips and some cookies and our water bottles, and we were off.

We hit up Garfield Park, because the tiny hoarde demanded it, and it was a nice change of scenery. And The Munchkins and I lounged on our trusty picnic blanket (which is really due to be replaced, but that I just can't see spending any money on it when I could certainly MAKE something to replace it...Stalemate.)

We ticked off the remaining days of school on our fingers and discussed Isabelle's crush in secretive whispers and planned our weekend in excited tones with words like Parade and Pool and Park. And all around us was the hum and squeal of metal-on-metal swing chains and rubber sneakers on plastic tube slides. It sounded like summer.
And at one point Sophie, my fearless little monkey, found herself on top of a climbing structure shaped like a caterpillar...with 75-some-odd rungs in a roller coaster-esque shape.

Imagine this...painted a chipped and fading blue...linked together in triplicate

I noticed her as she began her descent and I jogged over to spot her, just in time for her to lose her balance and grip. She tumbled about six feet down through and in between the bars and caught herself (albeit on her hip) before she bit the dust completely. I scooped her up and we toddled off the playground, her coughing out huge sobs and me murmuring little inanities and swiping off big dusty tears as they tracked down her face.  I hate it when they hurt. No amount of Wolverine-shaped ice packs or Strawberry Shortcake BandAids can make up for that instant when you realize you weren't able to prevent them from getting hurt. And every time it happens I just want to wrap them in bubble wrap and sit them next to me on the sidelines for a minute. Just for a minute. Just to keep them safe before releasing them out into the wilds of the playground again.

But you know what? just as soon as she'd calmed down, Monkey insisted she had to get right back on the same darn thing.

"Really?" I ask. "Are you sure? Don't you want to slide instead? Or how about the swings? I'll even push you!"
"No, mom. I want to climb"
"But what if you fall again?" I nearly wail at her. To which I get an eyeroll and a quick hand on her hip.
"Mooo-oom. I won't fall AGAIN I've already done that."

And so, back to the caterpillar we go.
Where she successfully climbed it forward and backwards. Twice.
I was properly chastened. Life lesson learned.
But inside, my stomach churned with the realization that I'm going to have to let her get hurt again and again, in different ways, as she grows. I'm going to have to watch splinters and scraped knees from two-wheeler bikes. I'm going to witness bad hair cuts and catty friendships. I'm going to have to deal with failed test papers and broken hearts. I'm going to  have to let them grow up. Every day. And try not to hold them back. I'm going to have to be that rock that is there when they need to lean on it, instead of the one in the middle of their path. There's such a short span of years where a kiss from Mom heals everything.

Incubating them is the easy part.
Letting them go is so much harder.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Formal Onsies

What I've been working on lately...

How hilarious are these?
Little Mister soon-to-be Landon is going to the best-dressed babe on the block.
Easiest. Applique. Ever.
I forgot, for some godforsaken reason, that straight lines and sharp curves are ridiculously easy to applique on. Which is a good thing, because I was totally out of Wonder Under and had to just sort of pin & eyeball these babies.

I went ahead and hemmed under the edges of each 'tie' before using a tight zig-zag to affix them to the onsies. It made for a nice, clean edge, which I prefer, even though you're basically covering it up completely with the zig-zag stitch.

That blue swirl just put me right in mind of a tie... it made me giggle every time.

And brown swirls...for the business casual baby?
I figured you just can't ever have too many onsies.
Considering you go through at LEAST three - four clothing changes a day in those early weeks, when you're just discovering the length-of-life of a normal diaper and overflow potential for said diaper.

This past weekend's baby shower puts me firmly three-for-three in the handmade gift column.
I feel like I'm finally being productive with my sewing, instead of just sort of screwing around with my machine on the weekends. Bigger and better, folks! Bigger. And. Better.

More to come!
I've been a busy little bee lately...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer Festival Smackdown

It's very nearly my favorite time of the year:
Summer Festival Season!
Every weekend in June is already triple booked!

This is by NO means an exhaustive list, and it's pretty tailored to my specifications (largely kid-friendly, sadly devoid of the summer concerts because their price tags tend to be a little on the uneconomical side...)

It's just a quick round up of what we've found and
what the kids demanded we put on the calendar for next month. Hope to see some of you out there...

Groovin' in the Garden
Where: Easley Winery
When: Tuesdays 5-7 and Saturdays 2-5
ProTip: Last summer they sold sparkling grape juice & goldfish crackers for the they could sit & "taste" just like the big kids while rocking out to the live music. Band schedule can be found on their website.

Vintage Indiana
Where: Military Park
When: June 4, 2011 ~ 11a - 7p
Tix: $22 in advance, $25 at the gate, $10 DD tickets, ages 6 -20 $5, agest 6 & under - free.
ProTip: Your ticket gets in onto the grounds but if you're smuggling food & drink in, the best way to do it is in the under-basket of a stroller. But you didn't hear that from me! Ticket also gets you one souveneir tasting glass. I have quite the collection...

Kite Making Workshop for Kids
Where: Downtown Central Library (imcpl)
When: June 4, 2011 ~ 2pm
Tix: FREE but you'll need to call & register prior to the event

Classical Concerts at Central
Where: Downtown Central Library (imcpl)
When: June 5, 2011 ~ 2pm

Science Odyssey: 2011 Summer Reading Program
Downtown Central Library (imcpl)
When: June 6 - August 1
ProTip: You can let your kids squander their hard-earned points on bouncey balls & silly bandz OR talk them into saving them up for things like Gift Certificates and Indpls. Indians Tickets for a summer game. I think we all know what I'LL be hoping for - baseball for everyone!

Summer Showtimes: Central Library
Where: Downtown Central Library (imcpl)
When: See their websites for dates/times. Showtimes are usually mid-week @ 1:30 depending on what branch you head to...
ProTip: There's no better FREE way to beat the heat than watching a free movie & munching on some popcorn at your local library

Strawberry Festival
Where: Monument Circle
When: June 9, 2011 ~ 9a - 6p
Tix: $6
ProTip: The lunch crowd can be crazy, but if you can manage to find a short line, there is an undeniable perfection in lounging on the steps of the Monument, watching the workday world wait in line for a taste of Summer.

Italian Street Festival
Where: Holy Rosary Catholic Church
When: June 10th & 11th 5 - 11p
ProTip: Try the fried ravioli, the lasagna, the stuffed shells, the gelato, the canollis and wash it down with an ice cold Peroni or three...or four... Come early for the processional into the 4:30 mass. Stop by & see Sr. Rita in the back ticket both for your Kojak, and twirl the night away up front by the bandshell. Come find me, I'll be the one spinning the girls dizzy and dancing, beer in hand, to 'Amore'. This is my absolute, all-time-favorite, not to be missed summer festival.

Where: Indianapolis Zoo
When: June 10th 5:30p - midnight
Tix: $200members, $225 non-members.
ProTip: I've never been to this one, but I have friends that rave about it & plan their June calendars around it. If you have the cash, it's not to be missed!

Indpendent Music & Arts Festival
Where: Harrison Center for the Arts
When: June 1th, noon - 8p

Let's Meet PBS Kids in the Park
Military Park
When: June 11th, 10a - 4p
ProTip: This + Ital.Fest always makes for a whirlwind weekend. Pair that with Mr. Man's birthday Friday and by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around we're ALL ready for a nap. But it's another one of those that we haven't missed for years, and that all three Munchkins look forward to determinedly. Where you'll find us: Up front by the stage or hiding under a shady tree going through our freebies and applying our looted tattoos.

Talbott Street Art Fair
Talbott Street (duh)
When:  June 11th & 12th, 10a-5p
ProTip: Parking is always INSANE this weekend. Best advice is to park at LEAST three blocks in any direction and walk. Seriously.

Wicket World of Croquet - feat. Alice in Wonderland theme
Where: Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
When: June 11th, 8:30a - 2p
Tix: $110 for a team of 2
ProTip: I'm thinking a drive by is DEFINITELY in order...if not a walk by with camera at the ready. This has real potential if exploited to its fullest by those in costume. Pleasegod let them be carrying around flamingo mallots...

Scavenge the Ave.
Presented by Nuvo
The Athenaeum Theatre
When: June 15th 6 - 9p
Tix: $10 pre-registration, $12 day of the event
ProTip: What it is: a six-block scavenger hunt down Mass Ave to promote awareness of adult literacy. Teams of one, two, three or four participants. Awesome prizes await.

Marsh Cookout on the Circle
Monument Circle
When: June 16th, 11a - 1:30p
Tix: $6 in advance, $7 day of the event
ProTip: What it is: the 20th annual fundraising event for the Crossroads of America/BoyScouts. Where you'll find me: Probably sitting at the base of the Monument with Nicki St.John like every year!

Summer Night Series
Where: The Indianapolis Museum of Art
When: Fridays, June3 - Aug. 26
Tix: $10 Gen.Public, $5 Museum Members; Kids 6 & under - FREE
ProTip:  This series has gotten increasingly kid-friendly the past few years. There are still a slew of adult films where you can pack & picnic & smuggle a bottle of wine in, but there are also films like The Wiz and The Sandlot that I'll be dragging the Munchkins to for sure! Where you'll find me: 2nd terrace. Dead center. It's my spot. Better recognize.

El Dia De La Familia Festibal
Indiana State Fairgrounds
When: June 18th, noon - 11p
ProTip: This festival quickly outgrew its humble beginnings downtown in University Park. To my recollection there was always great food, great music, LOTS of dancing

Family Fun Day Experience
Where: White River State Park
When: June 18th, noon - 4p
ProTip: This is the first year this fest has been moved off The Canal and to the much larger White River facility. By all accounts it's going to be much bigger and much better than past years. We've always come away with lots of goodies and coupons. I highly recommend.

Concerts on the Canal
Where: Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
When: Thursday nights May 26 - Aug 11, 6pm
Tix: $45 per table of 8, $35 per table of 4, $10 single seats
ProTip: Where you'll find me: across the canal on the hill (i.e. the FREE seats) with a picnic blanket and a basket of snacks.

Phoenix Theatre
When: June 25th, 3 - 7p
Tix: $30 at the door (cash only!!!), $25 in advance, $10 DDs
ProTip: another not-to-be missed event of the summer. Craft beers + local vendors + live music.

Indian Market
Where: Military Park
When: June 25 & 26th, 10a - 5p
Tix: $8 in advance, $10 gate, 17 & under - FREE

N.I.T.E Ride
Where: IUPUI Carroll Stadium
When: June 25th 11p; Registration begins 4p
Tix: $29
ProTip: Now in its 18th year, this annual Ride is held to promote biking for health, fun and commuting. I always thought this one would be cool, but haven't yet attempted it myself.

The Monkees Reunion

Where: Old National Centre (The Murat)
When: 7:30p
Tix: $65 - $102
ProTip: So worth it. Seriously.

Rock and Roll BBQ
Where: Victory Field
When: July 1 - 3, 11a - 11p
Tix: FREE before 6p; After 6p - $8 adults, $4 kids ages 7-12.
ProTip: Do I know what this is? No. Am I going to go? You Betcha. Why? Well, firstly, it's FREE and secondly it's the Innaugural event, and thirdly it seems to combine two of my favorite things. That's enough for me!

NGAI 12th Annual Car Show
Veteran's Memorial Plaza
When: July 2nd, 7a - 4p

Canal Family Fest
The Canal/Eiteljorg Museum
When: July 4th, 4:30 - 9p

Pokemon U.S. National Championship
Where: Indiana Convention Center
When: July 8 - 10
Tix: Admission Prices vary
ProTip: I'm hoping for good people-watching mostly!

IndyWine Trail BBQ Event
Where: Easley Winery
When: July 16 & 17th, noon - 6p
Tix: $25 in advance, $30 day of

Indiana State Fair
Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds
When: August 5th - 21st
ProTip: Where you'll find me: Either just outside the Krispy Kreme Burger stand with Aimee Achenbach laughing while I lament how full I am, or holding a pineapple whip while in line to ride the Elephant. Because I  REALLY want to do it this year!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rookie Run

The weekend's already blurring into a soft fuzzy memory, and I need to get it down before I lose some of it.

Saturday was gorgeous out and I dragged the Munchkins to the baby shower of one very lovely Shauna Burns. I whipped up a couple baby dresses for the up & coming Little Miss, and I'm pretty darn pleased with how they came out!

They took about an hour-ish each to put together from pattern to product and I used this tutorial over here with some basic changes and adaptations for size and skirt length... Not to shabby, eh?  I love being able to put a handmade touch on a gift. And, at a fraction of the cost of running over to a boutique to find something sweet and unique (yep, that's my cheap side coming out, welcome it to the party, gang.)

The baby shower was a feast of cupcakes and finger foods and hosted by some of the sweetest, most stylish ladies I know. It oozed charm.

Sunday, however, was gloomy, overcast, and rainy. Oh, and it was the Rookie Run!

The Munchkins, having realized that they were missing out big time on the Mini Marathon, decided that they wanted to "Run a medal race tooooo, mooooom" So, for $5 each I registered them for the  Chase 500 Rookie Run this year. There were hundreds upon hundreds of little second, third and fourth generation runners out there. They staggered the kids in heats by age group and then released them in waves to run their 2 block ( three & four-year-olds) and 1/5 mile ( five-year-olds on up).

The rain, and ohhh was there rain, soak-your-hair, run-down-the-tip-of-your-nose, bounce-off-your-eyelashes, squish-in-your-socks rain, served to make it all one giant crazy day. But it didn't put a damper on anyone's enthusiasm.

Kids still appeared, parents in tow, in droves to run their heat,  play their games, decorate their 500-Festival Princess Sashes, buy hot chocolate and kettle corn, and take pictures with The Smurfs, Yogi & Boo-Boo, Shaggy & Scooby and the rest of the various assorted cartoon characters and mascots that roamed the Circle.

Despite the rain, or perhaps because of it? (Jury's still out there) it was an absolutely unforgettable day.

Seeing that mix of joy and pride on The Munchkins faces will never get old.

It wasn't the length of the race, but rather the crossing the finish line, that gave them such a kick.
It was completing a task and having family there cheering them on.
It was friendly competition with their peers, and playing in the rain

The Munchkins were completely exhausted by the end of the day, and we stayed for HOURS because I saw no signs of fatigue until the very end. I've already got this one on the calendar for next year. I can't wait to see that burst of speed in the turn; those long, stretching strides at the finish line; that grin that splits their face in two when they look down at their medal for the first time. The rain was worth it. Trust me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sanity Saver

Some evenings you simply have too much to do.
Some evenings The Munchkins are whining the minute you cross the threshold of the front door.
Some evenings you have .no.freaking.clue. what you're going to fix for dinner.

On days like these we completely abandon our responsibilities in favor of our collective sanity.
We have bowls of cereal and glasses of Koolaid for dinner.
We walk to the park.
We climb trees.
We take out our frustrations on swings and slides and running paths at Highland Park.
Some evenings, the only thing that saves us is our ability to play.





Do you know who runs 13.1 miles for recreational purposes?
Crazy people. That's who.
People who dress like cartoon characters.
People who wear shoes that look like feet.
People who have feet that they're embarrassed to show in public
People who wear chicken hats with little dangly leg/earpieces.
People who have less-than-believable percentages of body fat.
People who eat salads for three meals a day.
People who are trying desperately to hold on to some shred of their youth... who are simply trying to prove that that can still do it.

Okay...maybe that last one is just me.

But this year? I came at the Mini from a different angle than normal.
13.1 miles.
I had something to prove.
I've been running this race on and off for 16 years now
On being most years and off being College graduation and several pregnancies in the late spring/early summer months.

And, for the past few years, the Mini Marathon has been this lovely little catalyst, bringing my entire far-flung family back into Indy for a weekend.
And, for the past few years I've finished dead last in our little clan.

It wasn't just for fun this year.
I was determined not to be last this year.
I actually trained this year.
Kind of.
As much as running for half an hour three times a week on your lunch break and long runs every other weekend can count as serious training.
Which is to say hardly at all really.
I had the best of intentions though.
Hey...look at that! They're repaving the road to...oh. right.

And you know what?
Despite those best intentions, I STILL came in last.

I was defeated in time by all three younger siblings and two siblings-in-law (one of which has multiple ACTUAL MARATHONS under her belt. *sigh* Kelly, I want to be you when I grow up). I was beat by both parents, who have taken to running 14+ miles on Sundays before lunch. I was even beat by my youngest brother. Who DIDN'T FREAKING TRAIN. AT. ALL!  I would shake my head in disbelief if it still weren't sore from Saturday. Along with my quads. And my calves. And the oddest little muscle that connects the top of my thigh to my hips. I like to call it my picker-upper muscle. Who knew there was even a muscle there? Not me. Not actively anyway.

But I still ran it.
Knowing I was probably going to come in last...I still ran it.
And it was amazing.

And so, Because it has become tradition, here is my 2011, One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon Recap:

Corral P:

It was, for once, not freezing cold at 7am as we're assembling ourselves into the corrals. This is the first year in as many as I can remember that I didn't run into someone I knew en route to the start line. Vinny & I keep a running patter worthy of recording and playing back I'm certain. It ran something along the lines of "....fondant balls...sleep...or lack again...angry birds lack of cable and/or general knowledge of any of the current food network shows...cookies...shiny things...etc."

Notice a particular lack of any discussion of running and or training there? Yeah. We're not fond apparently. We're hard core like that. We don't need no stinking training.  Well, HE didn't apparently. He scooted across the Finish Line a good 25 minutes ahead of me. *sigh*


Mile One
There are men with chickens on their head.
Not live chickens. Stuffed chickens.  Seriously. Chicken Hats. They are the chicken men.
Chugging right along and Vinny points out a walrus. I turn to scold him then realize he's right. It's a walrus. We're just outside the zoo and there are people dressed as merecats and walrus...walruses? walrusi? hmm...  We weave in tandem in and out of the crowd, making a game of it... "Going left!" "Going right" "Shooting the gap". The mile flies by in a blur of slow ponytails and race-walkers.


Mile Two
Michigan & Belmont and I slow for a sip of water. I'm stiff and haven't quite found my stride yet. Vinny lopes calmly along beside me and points out the grouping of firefighters in full regalia & oxy.tanks. I wonder aloud if they can do the whole race on a single tank or if they have a relay set up at different miles to trade off tanks... Oh look! There's the chicken brothers.


Mile Three
Where'd that last mile go?! Three already? Alllllll right. I am made of win, apparently. We're at Michigan & Tibbs and I recognize right where we are. I've driven by here a million times. About now I'm finally starting to warm up and wonder if significant training might have been a good idea, hm? Clipping right along at 10 minute miles on the dot. We're killing it. Absolutely killing it. Also my calves are starting to cramp. And I have to pee. But I'm hoping that will pass.


Mile Four
Wherein I lose Vinny & find my stride. Finally.
It took four miles! Four freaking miles! It's never taken me this long to find my race pace! I'm getting old. And slow. What will by my race pace for the next 11 miles is closer to 12 minutes than 10. Grrrr.   In this mile we'll zigzag around from Holt to 10th and get to see a bit of Speedway. I swing my arms loosely and high five a bunch of little ones lining the road. That's still one of my favorite parts of this race...the crowd. Bands were awful this year. Except the cloggers and line dancers. Boyscout Band at mile one wasn't bad, and there was a great Rat-Pack style lounge duo at Mile 9...but I get ahead of myself. Four down, Eleven to go. oh god.


Mile Five
Main Street in to the Speedway and onto the Track we go!
As a whole, we send up a hoot and a holler as we lean back and run on just the balls of our feet on down the ramp into the Speedway. What a great echo. Breathe deep. Square your shoulders. It's easy to hunch over when running down hill I've learned, but if you just relax and lean back a little it takes so much less energy. There's probably a life metaphor in there somewhere, but after five miles I'm not pressing it too hard. I'm anticipating Gatorade. Uphill, on the other hand. Uphill I hate. And love. It's a challenge, and I fell into stride with two hard-core runner gals in neon yellow, skin dark and spotted from being outdoors swimming & running I'd guess by the long, lean look of them. They're sort of hum-singing a cadence up the hill and around the bend, and I notice several people around us fall into step. Running is one of those solitary sports that you can do in a pack. Does that make any sense? Good. Stay with me here.

Mile Six
The Cheerleaders. I forgot about The Cheerleaders. [shudder]. I've already been cutting deals with myself for the last half mile. "Just run through the straight shoot and you can walk the turn", "Just run through this turn and you can walk through the next water stop". But I've kept going. Mostly just to get past the damn cheerleaders. They are relentless. You'd think three+ hours of screaming and cheering would render them deaf and dumb. They must have trained. There are nurse cheerleaders and pirate cheerleaders and cheerleaders under the sea. I run to get past them. I rachet up the speed just to get away from them. They grate on my nerves and I lengthen my stride.


Mile Seven
I have never, in all my years running this race, stopped to kiss the bricks on the track.  I contemplate it gently. step...step..step...step...Maybe I could do it quickly?...breathe in...step...step...step...step...I could get run over!...breathe out...step...step....step...step... And by the time I've resolved myself to slow and drop to my knees to kiss the bricks for the camera? The moment has passed. Next year, perhaps. And then, the rain starts. It's welcome at this point in the race, and I tip my face back and enjoy it. Runners nearby are annoyed at it and I wonder why. Is there anything better at this point than a cooldown? No. No there's not. Bring on the rain.


Mile Eight
I have never felt this good this late in the race. Not in years. I'm still right on track at 12 minute miles (which is NOT stellar by any means, but I have not slowed, and this cheers me on). I turn and scan the faces of the people still just pouring onto the track. Nearly 2 miles behind me. And I smile. I smile and smile and consider sweetly all those people I am BEATING.  I am still mid-pack of runners. There are no walkers here. And we're off the track and nearing the next pitstop of water/Gatorade.


Mile Nine
I forgot my jelly beans this year. Did I tell you that? I separated out 12 cherry jelly belly's in evenly space lines of four, for Miles seven through 13, and I forgot them on the kitchen counter Friday night. Mom & Pops offered up Gummi Lifesavers, at which I first scoffed and shuddered. I don't DO gummi candies. Ever. These babies however, turned out to be a godsend. Who knew? I just sucked on one each mile starting at mile nine. Little burst of sugar, little spikes of confidence, no fumbling with dropped jelly beans. Running snack perfection acheived~ It is about this time that the rain lets up and the sun comes out. I could not have requested better weather. There's a slight breeze and the rain has cooled the morning off. It's gorgeous. I have candy. I only have four miles left to go. I could conquer the world right now. Before breakfast.


Mile Ten
It sneaked up on me. Which sounds ridiculous, I understand. But it did. And It's awesome. Somewhere along the line we passed the Hi Neighbor Tavern, and, MUCH to my delight there were giant hulking, leather-clad men with bandannas wrapped around their heads, pouring beer out of grimy plastic pitchers into tiny dixie cups.  I might have squeed and told them it was good to see them out again this year, and that I'd missed them last year! They might have rumbled out a gruff chuckle and nodded, letting me know it was light beer they were serving up. Ew. Light beer. What a riot. A beer sounded perfect right about then. And then were were at the ten mile marker and I don't especially remember much else.


Mile Eleven
Mile Eleven, on the other hand, sucked balls. What a long, excrutiating mile. I walked a good portion of this mile. No shame. My body was just tired and didn't want to go any further. Period. Crowd size was low here, there were few bands lining the streets. It was a long depressing mile and I realized I still had to pee. After last year's battle with an unstable port-o-let I wasn't about to stop though. There were a number of railroad tracks to hop a skip across during Mile eleven, but mostly I was getting hungry and ready to be done with this race.


Mile Twelve
And finally, Finally! The end looms near. Crossing the river on the New York Street Bridge I see runners coming back toward us wearing their medals, Cruising along, plastic Kroger bag in one hand, half-eaten banana in the other. You are not encouraging me, mister I've-been-done-with-the-race-for-an-hour-now. You are not charming when you wink and cheer for the two highschool girls in front of me in short-shorts. You are not...oh! look! The Chicken Hat Guys! Right on. Attempting to finish the race with these guys just for the photo op now...Here we go. Let's wrap this thing up.


Mile Thirteen
I hate that last 3/4 of a mile. You're so close to being done and all you want to do is stop and walk, but pride and the pair of Chicken hats hovering on your peripheral just won't let you. 1/2 mile to go... I am literally going to inhale that banana once I get across the finish line. 1/4 mile to go...I am NOT going to let Chicken Little One and Two beat me... I lengthen my stride and hope I don't trip, because wouldn't THAT be just like me to go face first over the finish line... 0.1 miles to go... got them! At the last minute I pulled a few strides ahead. Chicken Brothers went down at the last minute.  I realize belatedly that I miss the steady whining hum of everyone's timing chips beeping in the finish chutes. I walk. I stretch. I hop from one side of the finish chute to the other, grabbing double on granola bars and the manna-from-heaven that is the St. Francis Chocolate Chip Cookie. This is something the newbies have yet to master, sneaking double snacks. I've honed it to a fine art. I feast every year after the mini. You have to be quick, and not make eye contact particularly. They have fruit cups this year instead of chips. Fruit cups and no plastic silverware. Genius. Whose horrid idea was that? I want chocolate chips and salty snacks after 13.1 thankyouverymuch.


All in all, 13.1 miles and 2.5 hours after I started? I feel amazing. Other than a slight twinge in my calves and my picker-uppers I'm even-keel. I'm kosher. I'm copacetic. I'm obviously delerious and need to go home if I'm still smiling at this point. I'm hungry, which is easily remedied, and in need of a good stretch, also easily taken care of. But I am done. I am confident. I am high on the fact that I just killed my time from last year by a good chunk.

Everywhere you turn there's a sea of smiling, people stretching and walking and exchanging horror stories about bloody toes and sore knees. It's easy now to stop, take a deep breath and realize you've accomplished something.

The annual group shot

 And the Tough Guy pose. Always my favorite.

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