Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fun and Photos in the Chili Chilly Extreme 5K

Last November when I ran the Chili Chilly Extreme 5K (Nov. 30, 2014, post) I got so caught up in trying to cover it for the local newspaper that I forgot my number one rule for running:

Have fun.

I mean, I did have fun.... But I was so worried about everyone else finishing and leaving before I could take pictures or get quotes that I didn't really have fun.

So, when they moved the Chili Chilly to March, I had to try again. But this time I wanted to focus on having fun instead of focusing on photos.

Which is a really good thing, because now I'm thinkin' pictures during a race – especially an “extreme” one – might be a really bad idea. Or a really, really good source of blackmail material.

For example...

The Chili Chilly starts on semi-solid ground before going off-road through a field. The established trail quickly turned into a slippery, slidey, bog of sucky, sticky mud, so I decided to blaze a new, more solid route by doing a “high, wide knees” run to straddle the corn stubble next to the trail.

The only problem is that I am about as graceful as a water buffalo when running on dry, solid surfaces. Add in the slippery-slidey mud and high, wide knees and I was about as graceful as a drunken water buffalo.

Then, just for kicks and giggles, let's say there were cockleburs mixed in with the stubble. The stubble that I was straddling.

There I was, trying to run and pick cockleburs off my crotch when I looked up and realized I was quickly approaching a volunteer who was directing us out of the field and into the woods.

And laughing. Really, really hard.

I was really, really glad he did not have a camera.

Half a mile later I looked down and saw a gigantic spider climbing up my thigh. My forward progress was eclipsed by my skyward progress as I flailed about trying to dislodge the... mass of cockleburs.

“Not. A. Spider.” I explained to the policeman who was directing traffic on this portion of the course.

And laughing. Really, really hard.

Really, really glad he did not have a camera.

A few hundred yards later the trail ran smack-dab into a huge, fallen tree tagged with a sign indicating we could go over or under.

“This one's for you!” race course designer and evil mastermind Jerry cheerfully announced. Note to self: Quit taunting evil mastermind race course designers.

Faced with the option of hard or harder, I, of course, chose harder. Placing my hands on top of the log (about chest high), I gave a mighty jump, hoisted myself up, and flung one leg over. Relieved to have more or less made it to the top, I lay there straddling the trunk.

Then I realized I still had to get back down... before Jerry could quit laughing and grab a camera.

I managed the dismount with all the grace of a drunken water buffalo and scrambled off up the trail. A couple of twists and turns and 30 yards later the trail circled back to a small rise beside the Sequia obstacle. I was just about to call out to Jerry and tell him how glad I was that he didn't have a camera when SCHWA-LIP my feet shot out from under me and I slid down the trail on my cockelbur.

Really, really glad.

The final, big obstacle involved sliding down a creek bank to wade across the Mississippi River... or maybe it was just a creek. A really, really cold creek that was ankle deep on one side and chest deep on the opposite side.

The drunken water buffalo was finally in her element.

I am really, really glad there were no cameras to prove otherwise.

After the race I was trying to clean off the worst of the muck when a chipper girl from the youngest age group asked if I had gone through the creek.

“Of course!” I answered. “That was the best part!”

“I know!” she said, excitedly. “Some people skipped it, but me and my friends sprinted to get there!”

An ear-to-ear smile lit up her mud-covered face and she laughed really, really hard.

She really, really had fun.

And I really, really wished I had a camera.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nerd Shoes

I am in love.

With a pair of shoes.

Slip ons, to be precise.

They literally... wait for it... slip on. My feet. Without tying.

I had a friend say “Oh yeah, I have a pair like that. I hardly ever have to tie them.”

I had to get all “Oh, No-O” on his feet. (Imagine this accompanied by a horrified expression, vigorous head shake and full-on finger wag.) “You don't understand. I don't have to tie these...EH-VER. ”

Because they... you guessed it... slip on!

I just hold my foot over the... ummm... open part where you put your foot... and VIOLA! They slip on!

It's like freakin' magic.

I don't have to bend over and wiggle the shoe onto my foot. I don't have to touch them at all with my hands. I don't even have to think about it. BAM!

Nooooo touchy!

Nooooo bendy!

Just slippy.


There are no laces! None! Nada! Whatsoever!

No tying! Never! Nunca! Whensoever!

No annoying Velcro-rippy sounds and icky balls of fuzz stuck to the Velcro, either.

In a word: Genius.

In two words: Effing Genius.

Why has it taken me almost fifty... I mean almost thirty... years to find out about these miracles of modern footwear?

I know what you're thinking and NO. These are not sandals.

These are NOT dollar store flip-flops, schlip-schlap-schlip-schlapping down the hallway while they eat away at that tender skin between the little piggie who is going to market and the little piggie who is staying at home.

These are not slides which are suprisingly comfortable, yet leave all your piggies exposed to the cruel weather elements and whatever you might drop on them. (Trust me.)

These aren't some high-heeled, toe-crushing, Sex-Kitten, F***-Me, Hooker-Pumps that leave me teetering precariously down the sidewalk. (Because let's face it, I can barely walk in flats without tripping over empty space. Sad but true.)

These are not slippers. They are SLIPPERS ON STEROIDS. These are slippers that I can wear ANY. FREAKIN'. WHERE. I. WANT.

Because they are slip-ons. Not slipp-ers.

These are honest-to-God, full-coverage, fat-soled, hipster-souled, tennis shoes. Ish. With attitude.

Because these bad boys are leopard print. 

They aren't particularly comfortable for extended wear (ie: farther than from the house to the car or for more than five minutes). But they were on sale. So... there's that.

Did I mention the leopard print? Jealous much? 

Ohhhh, I remember how we mocked that boy in high school. You know, the one who wore the slip-on, plain, black, elasticized,  tenny runners.

Dude. Dude.

I am so sorry.

You were ahead of your time.

And I believe you are now an astrophysicst, (or a geneticist, or something science-y-ist). So. You know. No hard feelings, right? No "accidentally" blowing me up or sending the IRS my way, right? (Not that I Google-stalked you or anything. Who's the slip-on wearing, techno-nerd now ? Huh? HUH? Bazinga!)

And that's the problem. Back in the day, slip-on shoes were soooo... for lack of a better word, nerdy.

Now I know the truth: They are miraculous, labor saving devices that go on your feet!

Because I'm all like, “I don't have time to tie my shoes before heading out to the gym since I just finished makin' dinner and the garlic bread has two more minutes don'tletitburnorI'llkillyou, but I am throwing one more freakin' load of laundry in the washer before I go and – oops – scoopin' the litter box because – GoodGod – what has the cat been eatin' and how the hellcanIbelateagainforcraps'sake?”

I mean, I'm all like “I am pinpointing the position of that incoming asteroid which will seal earth's doom while simultaniously curing cancer, decoding Beethoven's Fifth and calculating Pi to its not not-so irrational (yeah, you heard me) final (that's right, final) number. Aaaand figuring out who gives a rat's ass why anyone cares which one is Kourtney Kardashian.

Because I am THAT cool.

In my nerd shoes.