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Can’t Stop at the Finish Line.

For Bryan’s birthday (aka Memorial Day to the uneducated), we spent a day lazily wandering around, napping as we felt like it, and gorging on platters of splendor. OH HAHA JUST KIDDING, BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE LAZY.

We got up at 6:30 to start preparing for the race. Tony and I had done some prep work the night before as well:

And Bryan must be Tony’s favorite parent because he gifted Bryan’s sign with a portrait of Beekey:

(You’ll notice Beekey’s “hairs” on top of her head. She looks like a Kewpie doll to me.)

And we met Aunt Gee and Dude at a Starbucks for pre-race child-swapping.

Where Aunt Gee and Dude totally geared Tony up with a breakfast of champions.

And then off we went!

Of course, since there were roughly 2k people running our race, it was a LEEEETLE crowded when we got there, but through determination (and me ditching Bryan), I was able to find my running group. (Said Bryan, before I ditched him, “I’m not walking anymore. I’m staying here.” I was like Yes, Lord forbid you WALK before the 5k you’re about to RUN. ANYWAY.) There had been tales of pace-markers for this race, folks with tall signs that would rise above the throng and tell us where to stay in the pack. Alas, they were indeed only fables, because no mythical pace-markers appeared. So we hoped that staying in the middle would work out for us. I still couldn’t find Bryan. (I had ditched him GOOD.)

The race began and I hung with Alicia and Katie for a good bit, but the heat. OH THE HEAT, Y’ALL. It was easily 90+ when the race began, with not a SINGLE FREAKING CLOUD IN THE SKY, and .. y’all know I now avoid sunscreen like the plague. (Unless you’re reading this, Dr. Tim! Then I swear I SLATHER MYSELF IN IT FROM HEAD TO TOE.) So about 1.5 miles in, I had to walk more than I ran.

But! Before we got to that point, Bryan found us! So, as is our way, we made a point of humiliating the birthday boy through song. The funny thing about “Happy Birthday” is that everyone knows it, so it’s kind of a reflex. You hear someone singing, so you join in. Soon, all the runners around us were joining in AS WE RAN and Bryan blushed and ran faster to get away from us.

BRYAN BLUSHED, Y’ALL. Never ever. This is the guy who let me take a picture of him in women’s show choir dresses.

(I guess he’s getting shy in his old age.)

Anyway, I finally made it across the finish line. (I made this STUPID ASS mantra up as I ran: Run in the sun, delayed in the shade. Because I’m apparently Rainman and need rhymes to remind me to get out of the sun.) My time was crap, but Bryan made a great time, and finished his first 5K AND my whole family turned out to hold signs and cheer him in.

(This was about the time that Tony started telling Dude he needed to pee. Which is awesome. Nothing like a little preschooler urine to cool you off.)(He didn’t ACTUALLY pee.)

After everyone made it in (me being the last, OBVIOUSLY, because why would I finish a race with a decent time, right?), the family headed to brunch while Bryan and I ran home to get the cake and presents.

We had a delicious brunch at Cracker Barrel, and there is no food more delicious than your after race celebratory meal. I’m pretty sure you could be served cold canned dog food and you’d be like YES, THIS IS THE BEST EVER CAN I HAVE SECONDS?

Post cookie-cake – because Bryan really is 12 at heart – we all headed north to pick up Jack for the rest of the day’s festivities. We had a surprise for him for his birthday (next weekend) that we were going to go look at.

See, for years now, I’ve been nudging Bryan into considering a ball python. I LOVE SNAKES and thought that it’d be a cool pet. Way cooler than, say, a STUPID CAT. But instead, we kept getting STUPID CATS. But then! Then we met VooDoo the snake. VooDoo was raised by a family that we know through theatre (he was actually IN a show with Aunt Gee and Dude several years ago), and since all of their kids are in or leaving for college, we asked if VooDoo needed a new home! And he did! So I WON!

We head north to pick up Jack and learn .. oh, they got a new puppy. NAMED VOODOO.

(Y’all, I shit you not. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES.)

So we’re all like, “Okay, yeah! Your puppy is really cool! (.. seriously, SUPER cute puppy.) Huh. Well.. um..” and we didn’t know where to go. Still do the snake thing? Are we stealing thunder? I DON’T KNOW. We debated and headed back to the house for a while. Where Jack promptly fell asleep. Yes, this day was going SWIMMINGLY.

After ten minutes of POKING JACK WITH A STICK TO WAKE UP, we headed to VooDoo’s house. They were having a barbeque, and as is their hospitality-ess (?) ways, the boys were promptly handed a hot dog and pointed to the trampoline. Which was the first hour of silence I’d had in probably five days.

(Tony has hit this mental spurt where – not even exaggerating – he NEVER STOPS TALKING. ALL THE TIME.)

So Jack was excited about VooDoo the snake. And with the blessing of the family, we agreed to rename the snake. And we loaded the snake up. And took the snake home. AND I AM SO THRILLED. Here’s Cain, our new baby:

Then we ate dinner and took Jack home. And .. I noticed it was really quiet in the car. Like, I could hear myself think. Sure enough..

I sighed deeply, happy at the silence, but also happy that it’s so often filled with chatter and laughter and squeals and tales.

Bryan and I held hands the entire drive home.

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This Weekend, If My Site Decides Not to Eat It.

Y’all, I don’t know. I wrote a totally introspective piece that, yes, maybe leaned a little on the emo side, and then my site ate it promptly six hours later. I don’t know. Every feed reader in existence picked it up, but my site acts as if it NEVER EVEN HAPPENED. I don’t know. It is not anywhere on this site. I DON’T KNOW.

If you are hacking my shit, please stop. (That should take care of that.)

This weekend was a lot of me at the office. So I’ll spare you that. Well, sort of.

Friday, I unexpectedly had to work until 7:30. I had men all over the city running to pick up kids (.. I knew these men, to be clear)(and they were MY kids, to also clarify; these were not just random strangers stealing children), and I didn’t make it home until 8:00. I was pretty peeved about that.

The boys, however, had a blast. They went to a men’s barbershop – WHY ARE THEY OLD ENOUGH TO VISIT A BARBERSHOP, I ASK YOU?! – and had special haircuts. Well, Jack and Bryan did. Tony regaled all that would listen with re-enactments of the last episode of Power Rangers Samurai. He’s getting quite good at “samuraizing”, as he calls it.

After the hot towels and neck massages and whatever else they do at those places, they came home with their chests puffed out. I’m surprised they didn’t just whip it on out and pee everywhere, such was the testosterone flowing through their veins. Because it was so late, almost everyone turned in. Especially me because working till 7:30 makes me T-I-R-E-D.

AND! Also! I had a date in the morning. Katie from Running (as is her name in my house) and Marsha from Running both picked me up at 6:45 so we could go run downtown. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE INSANE. That’s what makes us good runners, you see. We are the kind of people who will spray sunscreen directly in our eyes and then run several miles like a pirate. We are practically olympians.

(I am not kidding when I say that I dreamed that about applying sunscreen to myself on Friday night.)

We met up with lots of other Running Friends (and I LOVE THIS ABOUT RUNNING) and we all lined up, two or three deep in the street, and ran lots of miles. It was pretty awesome. I actually had a REALLY good run. I kept about a 13 min pace, which is okay for me, but I kept my intervals (run 3:00, walk 1:00) through the entire course. I usually give in about 2.5 miles in and walk the rest. So I was pretty stoked.

We all piled back in the van post-run, drove-thru for some chocolate milk, and then they dropped me off curbside.

A good employee? Would’ve probably showered and changed before heading into work.

I totally did not do that.

Okay, full disclosure. I wanted to shower. Because I smelled BAD. And I knew that. But I had scheduled the starting time of the day, and I was already running late for the SATURDAY that I HAD SCHEDULED. You see what rock and hard place I was in between, right? So I thought, I didn’t even WANT to work today, so this will punish them for asking me.

Well, so, here’s the thing I realized about THREE HOURS after I got there.

When you’re running and with runners and whatnot, there are certain things that are forgiven, and not even really acknowledged. Smell is among those things. Bodily functions in general are not really acknowledged. I am not a marathon runner, but I’ve seen COUNTLESS pictures of people who run marathons and seriously don’t stop to use the bathroom, IF YOU CATCH MY DRIFT. Okay, so that is not where I was going with this, lest you think I just went into work having shit my pants earlier.

But another one of those things that runners generally don’t acknowledge is the fact that most sports bras don’t do much .. by way of .. hiding .. erect nipples. And after you run for a long time, your blood is flowing. So. Even after you run ..

I JUST WANTED TO CRAWL INTO A HOLE AND DIE IS WHAT I’M SAYING HERE.

Anyway, I worked all day Saturday. Got home around 4:00.

Saturday night, everyone turned in pretty early as well. Mostly because I was tired, BUT ALSO because Bryan and Jack were joining Kim for a trail running session! Kim, God love her, offered to take a bunch of beginners trail running on Sunday morning and I totally volunteered the boys to go. Kim is the insane exercise maven who RAN A MARATHON ON TRAILS ON SATURDAY, and then volunteered to take these newbies out for a 4 mile trek.

(Jack looks unsure.)

****

About the time I got to this point, our power went out. It was out for the next three hours. So technically, this is the next morning, but I’m not about to go back through and change tenses.

****

Anyway, Jack and Bryan held their own on the trails until Jack’s knee started bothering him, so he and Bryan walked the rest of the trail. They were the token males of the group, so their stride was so much longer than everyone else’s that walking was just fine. NOW EVERYONE KNOWS MY PAIN AND WHY I WALK SO FAST.

So the reason I really wanted to get through this last night was because I was really, really proud of Jack yesterday.

Jack’s mom works in a special needs classroom at their local elementary school. (“their” elementary school because it’s a good 45 minutes away from us.) As such, Jack tends to do things like volunteer there, and with Special Olympics, and all sorts of amazing things that my heart is just too weak to list here.

We stopped by the bookstore at the boys’ request after dinner, and there was a mentally disabled man playing with the train set in the kids’ section. THIS ROCKED TONY’S WORLD. He wanted to go play with the trains, but.. that man was there. A MAN. I was off browsing on my own while Bryan was with the boys, so when they found me, Tony would talk of nothing else. He kept glancing longingly back at the trains. “I want to play with the trains,” he’d whisper.

So Jack took him back there. When we came back, the gentleman was dutifully reciting an episode of Thomas the Train for the boys while acting it out with the appropriate trains, and Tony was riveted. Jack was smiling and cheering him on. He had already made friends with the man’s guardian, and they were chatting it up too.

When we left, we all told them goodbye and Jack said, “It was so nice to meet y’all; have a great day!”

HE IS ELEVEN.

He is amazing.

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My Weekend Wrap Up Because I Didn’t Realize it Was Tuesday.

Last weekend was incredibly epic. It was epic in so many ways, but mostly epic in that I took absolutely zero pictures of anything cool as it was happening.

Friday night, Kim threw an amazing book club party and I actually — once upon a time — belonged to a book club once and they let me keep coming even though I rarely actually read the book. In truth, I didn’t finish this book either, but I read over half of it and that’s really really good for my usual rate. Anyway, so about a bazillion people came and there are some crucial points to Friday night:

  1. I met lots of very funny, very smart women.
  2. There were Snausages on the table.
  3. Kim’s husband introduced me to the Margarona.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with the Margarona, so let me introduce you: it’s if a Corona and a margarita had pretty liquor babies in a glass with a salt rim. In theory, I know, sounds gross. Especially if – like me – you’re not a beer fan. But it makes it fizzy and far less sweet, so if your husband is a complete and total gentleman who believes in refilling your glass without your even having to ask, YOU GET SLOSHED AT KIM’S HOUSE.

Saturday, I had a 5K to run.

I asked Kim’s husband before I went home (you know, while I was holding on to the floor for dear life) if this was a bad training idea. He said, no, he had done this exact same training right before a half marathon. I felt better right up until he confessed that he projectile vomited all over the Finish Line.

Saturday morning, I didn’t QUITE realize how hungover I was. I didn’t have any problem french braiding my hair for the race, so I figured I was good to go. Bryan left before I did to pick up Tony from my parents’ house, so I was left to my own devices. Again, I dressed myself and EVERYTHING. Then I promptly went into the garage, remembered sunscreen, then sprayed the 85 SPF spray DIRECTLY IN MY EYES. Imagine someone literally TRYING to spray sunscreen in their eyes. That was my method of delivery, albeit entirely unintentional.

Now, most sane people would go, “Hm. That stings. I may have a slight chemical burn inside of my eye hole.” But I am not sane by any account, so I drove my weepy ass over to the meeting point with my running friends. Because they are all very nice people, they kept kindly asking, “Are you SURE you want to race like that?” and I’d say What, this little thing? The fact that my face and cheek are melting off and my eye is straight up leaking? Nah, that should clear up ONCE I START RUNNING IN THIS HEAT.

God love those nice, nice people.

So off we went, and I did finish the race, although about mile 3, I had to physically hold my eye close to make the pain subside. Not “go away entirely”, mind you, merely subside. And everyone looked at me weird. But I got a medal, so!

Here’s our “Woo Hoo” picture with our larger running group, and please to be noticing that I hid my right side of my face behind a hand. So as not to scare the public. (I am in the back in a neon orange headband that was later used to hold my eye closed.)

To show you how bad it was – SEVEN HOURS LATER – here is my face. To reiterate on the pain and the ensuing numbness, I believed I was smiling in this picture.

We all agreed that I would not visit an ER because 1) I’m pretty sure I owe them from my last visit still and 2) most of my family was already there. (It was a bad weekend all around.)

Sunday was Mother’s Day! I was surprised by a child yelling HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! and then throwing a gift bag at me and then retreating to Fruit Ninja. But I got a lovely bag of gifts, one of which was this ULTIMATE TSHIRT:

We met my family for a lovely brunch that included mimosas, so you know we enjoyed that. (They had food too. I think.)

Then we visited Toys R Us, because why not? And, naturally, hijinks ensued.

All in all, a pretty good weekend. Other than the debilitating eye injury. Which, you know, I don’t think we should base much on.

Lastly: Bryan in my junior year Show Choir Dress.

Comments { 4 }

Fellowship in a Surprising Congregation

When I started the year, I set a goal for myself that I would run 9+ miles a week.

Aaaaaand we’re easily past the first quarter of the year. I would not judge myself kindly on that goal being accomplished. Because I put something out there quantifiable, easily measured, and by that reason alone, I’ve failed. Already.

But I’ve done something BETTER. It happened by accident – sorta, mostly because I never thought it would – and it crept up on me.

I’ve learned how to run.

In 2009, sure, I ran my first 5K. I ran LOTS of 5Ks that year. But I trained by myself – badly – and wasn’t sure of what I was doing. And I got bored, quickly. I ran mostly on a treadmill. Indoors. Alone. Sometimes reading, sometimes listening to music. But I hated it.

Now, I make time for myself twice – sometimes three times! – a week. I make sure that dinner’s taken care of, and Bryan is going to be home, and I head out to run. I meet my peeps and we take off on a new challenge. We all keep eachother honest and motivated and we’re good to eachother. We talk, sometimes about surface stuff (like how much we all hate running), but sometimes about real stuff. It’s .. amazing, really.

As I get older, I find myself gravitating toward a less social position. I don’t mind the occasional hello, but I’m not one to really call someone on the phone to gab. I’m much more of a “Thought this funny thing right now so I’m sending you this text, but I have nothing beyond this quip to convey” person. So the idea that I run .. hang out, really .. with these guys is insane to me. Surprising. And lovely all the same.

Saturday morning, we were all at a quick clip for a five minute burst when we turned down a well-manicured street that was entirely covered with mature sprawling trees. The patterns through the leaves left lovely lace details for our feet and the breeze through the residential sprinklers was so welcome.

Our resident male remarked, “Y’all. This is downright holy.”

And he’s right. It’s our own little church, where we find fellowship and peace. We cleanse ourselves of the wrongs of the days behind us, and we prepare our bodies for whatever lies ahead. We take deep, restorative breaths. We hydrate. We occasionally stumble, and our brethren pick us up. At the end, we all hug and wish eachother well in the coming days.

It is not yet 9 miles a week. But my GOODNESS, it is definitely a necessary accomplishment.

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Playing Catch-Up Since it’s Already Tuesday

Remember how I said I was feeling a little .. unappreciated on Friday?

This kinda cured that.

So on Saturday, I had my big race. I say that, but I’ve run 5Ks before. But I’d worked REALLY HARD on this. 1) I’d started running with a group. Which is not only a giant step toward a fear of mine, but it gained me some great friends. 2) Um, I was diagnosed with asthma during this. So.. that was kind of giant. And even though I’d “run” a 5K not two weeks earlier, this was My Big Race.

I ran into Miss Zoot and her kids at the race store on Friday afternoon when Tony and I stopped in to pick up my race packet. The kids mentioned making signs or something, which I giggled at because HOW CUTE THAT THEY DO THAT, RIGHT? So sweet!

And sure enough, on Saturday morning, I had kids holding up signs that said GO SARAH! GO SARAH! and even FEATURED A PICTURE OF MYSELF ON THEM. Oh, guys. You know how the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day? THAT.

In general, my time was not my best, but I had some trouble breathing right out of the gate. But I did it. I did a training program – WITH OTHER PEOPLE – and I ran a 5K. I stuck to my intervals (give or take :15 or :30 seconds), and I did it. I did not die. I did not feel like death warmed over at the end.

To the contrary, I actually planned our next 5K. (May 5th.)

I know that a flaw that I have is that I’m not good at asking for help. Or attention. Or anything. I kind of just .. EXPECT people to know what I find important. So when I realized I had no one at the finish line cheering for me? I was hurt, admittedly.

But I had folks. I had LOTS of folks.

If you’ve ever considered doing a No Boundaries training program, I cannot say enough good things to encourage you to bite the bullet. The sea of blue NOBO shirts that cheered me on from the last mile marker in? Was astounding. Mentors circled back, running folks in. No one crossed the line alone. No one crossed the line in silence. And it just further cemented my feelings about running with other people: it’s totally, totally worth it.

Also worth it? Having friends who have great kids. Seriously.

****

My big treat for the big race was a trip to the salon, and I had been looking forward to it FOR-EV-ER. I think back fondly on the days, pre-kids/husband, when I would take my monthly trip to the salon for a cut and color. OH HA HA HA. Now, it’s box color all the way, with a cut MAYBE every four months. Which is fine! Really! I don’t miss it at all! (I MISS IT TERRIBLY.) But that’s okay.

I decided I wanted to brighten up my color because I’ve been feeling .. well, very frumpy mom. The running is starting to pay off, and I can see a change in my body, but that wasn’t enough. I have to look at my head every single day and MY GOD, it looked old. So old. So I wanted something a bit more .. funky? Young? I was basically trying to suppress my sudden urge for a facial piercing by going bold with color is what I’m saying here.

So I went in with three examples of the RED I was looking for. And what I left with was .. not.

(Also, see that piercing on the girl at the bottom left box? On her lip? It’s called a Marilyn, and I want one. Badly.)

Anyway, so I left a little bummed. The color execution was flawless and the color was GORGEOUS .. on someone else. I am just so fair and so pale that anything darker than, say, RED looks vampyric on me. Spellcheck is telling me that vampyric is spelled wrong, but I think I get my point across here.

So my options are to have the stylist try and correct it and .. yeah, no.

So I’m trying to pretend I’m okay with it. See how okay I look here?

No, seriously, I’m fine. I’ve washed it, oh, about eleventy frillion times so it’s starting to lighten a bit. And I only startle myself every third time I pass a reflective surface.

On the plus side, 1) I am now reveling in wearing bright lipsticks because my hair looks ridiculous, so why not?

And 2) I think I TOTALLY have the right to have another hole installed in my face.

****

A no-shit conversation I had tonight.

Tony: Momma?

Me: Yes?

Tony: Want me to get those bugs off of your back?

Me: Um.. are there bugs on my back?

Tony: Yes. There are.

Me: Okay, but .. like, real bugs? Or pretend bugs?

Tony: Bugs, Momma. On your back.

Me: WE’VE COVERED THAT. Are they real, or pretend?

Tony: Want me to get them off of you?

Me: Yes! Yes, either way, get them off of me.

Tony: Okay, hold still. I’m gonna use my sword. It should only hurt a little bit.

(SPOILER ALERT: MOMMA GOT IMPALED A FEW TIMES AND IT HURT A BIT MORE THAN A LITTLE.)

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