Sunday, October 4, 2009

Because Life Is Sometimes A Spectator Sport

Craig participated in his third Army Ten Miler this morning, joining 29,999 other running enthusiasts, fellow soldiers, comrades, big wigs (the DC mayor) and Brazilian running stars (with neon yellow shoes) on a ten mile jaunt around the Federal City. While Craig ran his heart out, Caroline and I watched. We're good at watching; we were made to be official cheerleaders. Every year I say I'll run the next year, but this race is HUGE (30,000 participants) and seems so overwhelming to me. Besides, what would I do with Caroline?

Kids sure do cramp your style!

As much as I enjoy physical fitness and am beginning to like running, I think I might enjoy being a spectator than a participant in these types of races. However, I must admit that it's slightly horribly discouraging to see so many fit and fast running women with their washboard abs and cellulite free legs while I'm in my comfy stretch jeans and flip flops eating a pop tart on the side lines (hey, at least it was a Fiber One pop tart).

It's discouraging alright. Sickening, yet motivating at the same time.

Anyway, our morning started EARLY. Caroline and I were a few steps behind Craig and caught the Metro at 6:48 am. We initially wanted the 6:36 train, but got in the wrong line to purchase tickets. Not surprising since I'm a space cadet and I didn't have any caffeine this morning. Normally a 5 am wake up calls warrants a caffeine jolt, but I have a SEVERE aversion to port o potties. They are used only in emergent, SERIOUSLY emergent situations. So that basically means no liquids for Alison. I'll gladly refrain from caffeine if it means I'll never have to set foot in a port o potty.

Caroline on the Metro, shooing away the paparazzi.
It was still dark out!

We took the Metro to the Pentagon where the race starts and finishes.

There was word that the Army Golden Knights parachute team would be jumping during the pre-race festivities. Caroline, ever fascinated by sky diving, wanted to get there to witness the jump. That's why we left so early. We thought we wouldn't make it in time due to the fact that we were slowed down in the Metro ticket line, but good news, the Golden Knights jumped later than the program stated. Hooray for not being on schedule!

After the Golden Knights jumped and before the race began, Caroline and I hopped on the groupie mobile Metro to the Arlington Cemetery. Upon departure, we walked to the Memorial Bridge (which was around the race's one mile mark) to wait for the runners to pass by.

Potomac River

Here's Caroline peeking through the bridge to look at the ducks in the "ocean." I kept telling her it's the Potomac RIVER. She still kept calling it the ocean. I told her I wouldn't jump in and save her because the water is a bit murky, but she insisted she could swim in the ocean. Sigh.

Thankfully she didn't plunge into the water OR get her head stuck.

We waited for a while on the bridge, enjoying the beautiful cool morning. Once we saw the police motorcycles, we knew we'd see runners soon.

The wounded participants, with hand crank bikes or running on prosthetic legs, came around the corner first. No matter your political views, there isn't a doubt in the world that watching these brave men and women pursuit dreams and remain fit and active after sacrificing their bodies is truly inspiring.

Truly. Inspiring.

As the speedy runners in the front of the pack passed us, I tried to get my camera ready while clapping and cheering them on. I had intended to get a shot of Craig as he passed us on the bridge. What's that saying about good intentions.....?

Instead I got this:

A blurry shot of his right arm.
I mean well.
I figured he wouldn't turn around and come back for a good shot, so instead I took some random photos of the runners in the group behind Craig. If you squint and tilt your head 37 degrees to the left, there's one dude in light blue that looks like George W. Bush.


After Craig passed us, we walked back to the Metro station to get back to the Pentagon to catch the end of the race.

Here's a picture of the massive group of runners making it on to the bridge as we were walking away.

While we waited for runners to start crossing the finish line, I ate my Pop Tart and banana for breakfast and, like last year, Caroline climbed on the walls of the overpass we were waiting under. I actually packed myself a raw, vegan, healthy Lara Bar for breakfast, but the Pop Tart was broken and the neurotic, control freak in me cannot let a broken Pop Tart be. It simply had to be eaten or the thought of it's crumbled nature in a Ziploc bag inside my purse would haunt me.

As it turns out, Caroline and I waited in the wrong spot. Thankfully I figured that out before Craig looped around to run to the finish line. So much for my steel trap memory!

Here's a wind blown shot of me in front of the ambulance. I find it necessary to locate the nearest ambulance because even though Craig is a gifted runner, I still worry about injuries. I always joke that I'll wait with 911 on speed dial, but so far a call for emergency help hasn't been necessary. There's always next year! Or the marathon in three weeks!

Craig shaved over two minutes from last year's run which made him very happy. We found him after the race in the food area where they were passing out cookies and bananas, among other things, to the runners. If a chocolate chip cookie at the end of a race isn't incentive enough to participate, I don't know what is.

I did it all for the cookie.....

The thing about these races is that you're finished and home at 10 am, leaving a whole day left. However, Craig is snoozing on the couch as I type this and if history repeats itself, there won't be much going on in the Smith house this afternoon.

Ah, an afternoon of rest and relaxation.


nancy said...

I'm clapping and hooraying, both for Craig running and you spectatoring.
Mmmmm....Pop Tarts....

Alison said...

You've taught me to be a great spectator!

Sissy said...

Two things:
1. I discovered almond butter this week. My IC diet tells me to stay away from peanuts, but I can have almonds, so I bought some MaraNatha No-Stir Almond butter and it is so delicious.

2. I am reading a book that I think you would like called the Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanna Fluke. It's a Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes and it was on our free trade stack at work. It has 18 different dessert recipes and they are making me hungry as I read. Now I know why you have to bake!

Alison said...

Yes, almond butter is great; I'm glad you discovered it. I've never seen the no stir variety, but I'll have to look for it.

I've actually read all the Hannah Swensen books. I picked one up on a whim a few years ago and have read them all. They're not great works of literature, but they're easy to read and lots of fun. And I do like cookies. And cake. And brownies.