Monday, October 24, 2011

Behold. My inner nerd.

I love inflicting Halloween costumes on my children.  Juliet was old enough this year to decide what she wanted to be for Halloween.  Bensen wasn't.  But I am afraid he will be old enough next year -- so this might be my last epic Halloween costume.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

So I ran 5k. Again.

Sorry this post is so over-due -- life got kind of crazy these last few weeks, but I did want to take a moment to write about my experience running the Susan G. Komen 5k.  I had a lot of support from friends and family, and some great donations from loved ones and even folks I don't know.  It is neat seeing people come together to help make a difference, and I feel like we did.

I am going to tell you the story of my 5k.  And I want you to know that even though this was a struggle for me, I know that other's have real struggles in their lives, that those who have fought and are fighting cancer know how hard, lonely and awful it can be.  I don't want my whiney post about hating to run to in anyway belittle that fight.

So.  October 1st, 2011 I awoke early, got ready for my 5k, drove out to the starting point and waited for that gun to fire and send me off into delirious running oblivion.

Honestly, running that 5k was the hardest, loneliest, most awful thing I have ever done.  I have to admit, if running a 5k  was the hardest, loneliest, most awful thing I have ever done, I have had a pretty easy life.  And I have. When I finally finished the 5k and sat down in my car I texted Brett "running that 5k was the hardest, loneliest, most awful thing I have ever done."  And now I will tell you why.

So I get there early, mainly because I get nervous when I go into a situation I'm not familiar with and I want to take stock of my surroundings and feel out what I'm supposed to be doing.  And also because I didn't have any safety pins to pin my number on my shirt and I thought they'd probably have some and I wanted to get there early enough to find some.  Mission accomplished.  At any rate, there are a billion people there.  In tiny groups, in big groups, couples, families, dogs (who weren't supposed to be there, shame on you!) and me.  Kristina Foutz.  All alone in the middle of this giant shifting kaleidoscope of people.  And everyone is staring at me.  And pointing.  And one lady whispered loudly, "look at that doofenshmirtz here all by herself.  Didn't she know when you come to run 5,000 miles you bring your entire extended family?" And then some people laughed and I tried to slink away but a huge spot light came down right on top of me and the guy on the stage said, "and we have a solo runner!  Does anyone want to pretend to be her friend?" and even more people laughed.

Yep, I was waiting for that gun to go off and secretly hoping it would just shoot me in the face and put me out of my misery.

So somewhere far away we hear the gun shot and people start milling in a general direction.  So I start milling that way too.  Occasionally some guys in tube socks and wife beaters elbow their way through, trying to actually run in this mass of barely moving tiny groups, big groups, couples, families, dogs (who weren't supposed to be there, shame on you!) and me.  I start feeling a little guilty because, well, I'm supposed to run the 5k right?  But secretly I am relieved that it's impossible to run without being a major douche, and since I forgot my tube socks and wife beater at home I can take out the first k at my preferred pace.  Slug.

The crowd starts to thin out and I realize I need to start running if I am ever going to get out of the walkers so I start running.  Here's something depressing I learned -- my run pace is not much faster than most people's walk pace.  So now that I am working twice as hard, I'm still not passing anyone.  I'm as depressed as a little blue hornbill, imprisoned in some animal's ribcage, singing "I have got a lovely bunch of coconuts" (have you caught the reference yet or do I need to keep going?) to a surly lion who has usurped his brother's kingdom by murdering him and convincing the true heir that he was at fault and must run away or he will be hated by his mother and whole family.  Who's name was Simba.  From the LION KING.  (I took you all the way there in case you didn't catch it)
Anyway, so I'm depressed.  And running (very slowly) alone.  This goes on for a couple more k, and up around the corner I see a bunch of bored looking cheerleaders.  As I start to round the corner, they suddenly start to perk up and start doing a cute little cheer.  I smile and wave at the cheerleaders, feeling my heavy heart grow a bit lighter. Two of the girls yell out "Keep up the good work! We love you grandma!"

I watch in horror as the most ancient lady I have ever seen passes me by, smiling and waving at the cheerleaders who continue to cheer her on.  She goes around the corner and the girls all sit down again, bored.

So yes, I do run slower than a 90 year old grandma.  This is too much for me.  I finally turn the corner, leaving the dumb cheerleaders out of sight, and I walk.  Because I ran a 5k the day before, and apparently you just aren't supposed to do that.

As I am walking, I look down a road and see more of the race.  I can just cut through this block and take a whole k and half out of my run.  It is beyond tempting.  I see someone else who had the same idea turn down into the shortcut.  This means it's okay, right?  I can do it too?  It doens't matter that he's carrying his shoes and his feet are bleeding, we're pretty much in the same situation, right?

I decide not to take the shortcut.  Still not sure why I decided that.

So I start running again.  I knew I was getting to the end because I could see other people, much more fit than I, running back towards me - searching for loved ones lost along the way.  No one is running back for me, so I press on.  Suddenly, I see the finishline!  And there, between me and that last kilometer of race, is my beautiful white honda, waiting right where I parked it.  So I veered off the track, hopped into my car, and drove home (picking up donuts on the way.)

Or I finished the race, and walked back to my car.  You decide.  Either way, donuts were involved.