Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Don't Give Up On Me, Baby


Here it is…the middle of summer…and life has been moving at BLAZING speed lately.

We went to Europe.

We came back from Europe.

We went to Florida.

We haven't come back from Florida - yet - but will one of these days.

I've been running. Still.

I've been going to baseball games. Still.

And I have an upcoming 10-day adventure to Orlando.

I REALLY want to write of our amazing adventures in Europe, but right now, I'm trying to go through the 5,936 photos that I took.


I took THAT many.

Because, really, just ONE photo of the Eiffel Tower, for instance, isn't enough. I MUST HAVE 436 PHOTOS OF THE EIFFEL TOWER.

With a 'selfie' thrown in for good measure.

Complete with a creepy photo bomber.

I know some of you are anxious for the adventures to begin, and you're probably thinking, "Oh photos, schmotos…who needs pictures??!! Just get to the amazing, hilarious, educational and informative stories of all the places you visited, already."

Um, I will. Get to it, that is.

Pinky promise.

Stay with me, and don't give up on me.

It's coming.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Color Run 5k: A Review

On a normal day, if my 15-year old daughter were to rub her psychedelic chalk-covered hands all over my face and neck, leaving me looking like a Salvador Dali painting on acid - I'd pretty much slap her upside the head, and then ground her for a week.

Yeah…that is totally me.

But…when one is running the psychedelic-infused Color Run 5k with said daughter - you just go with the flow, and then try to exact a bit of revenge with your OWN psychedelic chalk-covered hands.


All is fair in love and war…or in this case, at the Color Run.

The "Happiest 5k on the Planet", aka "The Color Run", blew into Kansas City yesterday morning…and how could I NOT sign up for a race that promotes "healthiness, happiness and individuality"???!!! Several months ago, when I looked into signing Hubby, my regular running buddy, and I up to run this, the conversation in my house went like this:

Me: "Hey - the Color Run is coming! Wanna' do it with me?"
Him: "Color Run? Never heard of it."
Me: "It's really fun. You run while people throw colored chalk dust on you."
Him: Totally silent at this point, but he had this weird expression on his face that looked like this:

Needless to say, Hubby was NOT on board with doing The Color Run, so I had to find my next victim running parter. It didn't take me long to figure out that anything involving "individualism" is PERFECT for my opinionated, strong-willed Daughter - so here we were…signed up to participate in our very first 5k as a Mother/Daughter Duo.

Of course, when she heard she'd be getting up early on a Saturday morning to run a race with her Mom, you can only IMAGINE the excitement.


Saturday morning dawned cool and cloudy…with a slight northerly breeze in the air. We wanted to leave the house at 6:30 a.m. (for an 8:00 a.m. race start), so I waited until the last possible second to wake up Daughter. She, uh, tends to be…um…a tad bit…grumpy…if woken too soon.

Although Hubby wanted nothing to do with getting messy, he was more than willing to drive us to the race and cheer us on from the sidelines. While he drove us, I spent time going over the race strategy with Daughter, who, I'm SURE, was attentively listening to me behind her dark sunglasses from the back seat. I know that she wouldn't have been using this time to sleep, or anything….


We arrived at Arrowhead Stadium by 7:00 a.m., and HOLY TRAFFIC JAM, BATMAN…you would have thought that the Kansas City Chiefs were playing a Super Bowl game that morning…cars were stretched out for miles, attempting to get into the stadium for parking. It was crazy. I knew this was a popular race, but I was still taken aback by the number of participants….I never heard a final number, but I DO know that my race bib number was six digits. Yowza.

The Race Gods were smiling down on us, as we managed to snag a second-row parking spot, which actually sounds pretty dumb to be all excited about when you're getting ready to RUN for 3 miles, but hey.

This is a "wave" race - meaning they send out so many runners per wave - and I was determined to be in the first wave. Not sure why that was so important, as it's not a timed race or anything - but I wanted Daughter and I to be able to run without 20,000 other runners breathing down our necks…and if we were out first, we could quickly get up ahead and leave the other runners in our dust. (Hee hee…see what I did there? "Dust" - as in "colored dust"!!!)

Fortunately, arriving an hour before the start pretty much guaranteed that we were literally at the starting tape:

Yup - nothing but empty pavement before us…SWEEEEET!!!

We killed time by dancing to the obnoxiously-loud music blaring from the speakers, as well as taking silly selfies:

Before we knew it, it was 8:00 a.m. - we were OFF!

The course basically wound around the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium, and it didn't take us long to settle into a good, comfortable pace. Within the first quarter of a mile, we were greeted by a Drum Line, and because percussion along race courses is ALWAYS cool, I stopped to take a quick photo:

Race directors take note…more drum, please.

It was about here that I had a bit of a race snafu.

I was wearing a neon orange hat - not so much to protect my hair from the colored dust - but to keep the rain off my sunglasses. There had been a bit of a 'spit' - or mist - that morning, and I hate nothing more than getting rain-soaked glasses. Gah. Well…remember that northerly breeze I mentioned earlier??? Every so often, that "breeze" turned into a major gust of wind (there was a cold front blowing in, apparently), and unfortunately, my hat became a victim. One minute it was there - and the next - it was gone.


(I only have about a hundred hats, but still…)

Daughter came to my rescue, and quickly retrieved my hat…she then even volunteered to wear it, tucking her pony tail through it so it wouldn't go sailing off in the distance again.

My hero.

And this will explain why you'll see the orange hat on MY head for some of the photos, and on DAUGHTER's head for others. Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.

Soon, we were approaching our first color station - ORANGE!!!!

Daughter and I tentatively approached the line of volunteers on either side of us, and then screaming like banshees, we ran through, waving our arms in the air like fools, and laughed and giggled the entire way as we were getting bombarded with oodles and gazoodles of orange-colored cornstarch.

Ahhh…good times.

And I took NO pictures! Gah.

Not to fear, though, because about a half-mile later, we were approaching our second color station, YELLOW!!!

We repeated the same process as before, running through and screaming, laughing and giggling like crazy, through a golden cloudy haze…

And it was here that I realized something had to change. I was reluctant to take my phone out and take too many pictures - ESPECIALLY when we ran through the clouds - as I didn't want to potentially damage it. But…I was missing some good blog material here, darn it!!! Fortunately, it was about this time that Hubby appeared like magic on the sidelines, and he agreed to take over my phone and photography duty. From now on, Daughter and I had our own personal photographer to document our adventure.

He got right to work in his new important role, taking a photo of us as we finished the Yellow station:

And another one:

After this brief break, Daughter and I hit it again, hurrying along until the next station, but not before grabbing some water at the (one) water station along the course. Soon, we were entering Smurf-land, aka BLUE!!!

By now, we'd perfected our strategy. I'd send Daughter a bit ahead, so we wouldn't "block" each other from the dust. And we would turn and spin our way through the dust cloud, so we'd get color both coming and going. We looked like drunken sailors, but it worked, as far as spreading the color to the front AND back of our shirts. We saw other folks start adopting this strategy as well, so we were knew we were on to something.

Before we knew it, we were approaching the last color zone, PINK:

I lost Daughter in this picture…she must have gotten a bit too far ahead.

But that was short-lived, because before we knew it, we were approaching the Finish Line, and she insisted that we hold hands as we ran through it together:

Did you catch that?

I'll repeat it.


Be still, my heart.

After finishing, you get handed a cool medal and some color packets & glitter. We then made our way down to the stage area in the parking lot for the After Party, and here's where the REAL fun is.

See, we were a bit "colored" up - but not too bad.

That was about to change.

After hundreds of runners gathered near the stage, the deejay did a countdown - and then everyone threw their colored dust, from their color packets, up in the air - and when the cloud cleared, we. were. covered.

Of course, Daughter decided to dip into her colored packet before the "official" drop, and decorate my face and neck a little with her pink powder. I looked like a clown.

So, I retaliated with a bit of my yellow powder on HER face.

We had powder EVERYWHERE. On the front of our legs. On the back of our legs. In our ears. In our mouths. And even up my nose, which made blowing my nose very interesting later that day.

Soon, we decided to head home…fortunately, Hubby had spread some old beach towels on the seats in the car, so we didn't totally colorize the upholstery.

When we got home, we spent a few minutes taking some more photos to document our experience:

I'm thinking, that no matter how cool she tries to be, or nonchalant, that she had some fun today. Call it Mother's Intuition…but she definitely had fun.

Finally, we turned the leaf blower on Daughter to blow off some of the dust. Seriously.

Bring it on.

I'm sure our neighbors thought we were crazy, but what else is new??


1. Wear sunglasses (to protect your eyes from the dust).
2. Wear old tennis shoes.
3. Everything washes out fine in the laundry - so don't worry about stains.
4. Bring old towels to sit on in the car for the way home.
5. Everything washed out fine as far as our hair goes, too. No issues.
6. Try to get in one of the earlier waves if you can - less crowded!
7. Go with an open mind and good attitude.
8. HAVE FUN!!!!

Oh, one last pic - check out the swag! Besides a t-shirt (which is amazingly soft, by the way), you get a headband, tattoos, and a medal!!!

It's funny, because on the way to the race, I was telling Hubby that this would probably be a "one and done" race for me…but now, looking back, I would do this race again in a heartbeat!

Besides the fun that the Color Run promises, I wouldn't trade the memories I made with my Daughter for ANYTHING.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead 5k: Recap

They what???

They changed the course???!!

Say it ain't so!!!

This would be my second year of running the 3rd Annual Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead 5k, and I was NOT HAPPY when I heard they'd made a "slight" course change this year….

As in, we'd no longer be able to run into and finish on the 50-yard line at Arrowhead Stadium, all the while seeing ourselves up on the giant Jumbotron screen.

What? I don't get to see me up on THAT??


Bad form, Chiefs.

Still, though, I was (somewhat) looking forward to this 5k on Saturday, May 23rd. Last year's medal was pretty freakin' awesome, and I figured I could run through a garbage dump for a medal as cool as last year's:

One of my favorite medals, like, EVAH!

Speaking of last year…at some point along last year's race, I hurt my foot…to the point that afterwards, I was wearing a boot for two weeks, as I was pretty much crippled. The funny thing is, I have NO IDEA to this day what I did to hurt it….Did I roll it? Did I sprain it? Did I twist it?

I have no clue. Weird.

But, as Hubby would be the first to tell you, it's not unusual that I can hurt myself and have NO IDEA later what I did to bring on said injury. Seriously, I could lose an arm one day, and someone could ask, "Hey - you lost your arm! What did you do?" And I'd be like, "Huh. You're right. Wow. I have NO IDEA how that happened. Weird."

What can I say? It's a gift.

Anywho, I was a little leery about running this again…what with the change of course, and mysterious foot injuries that could hamper all of my training efforts…but hey. It's a medal.

I'm in.

Normally, our "tradition" is to send Hubby out on a Hunting and Gathering mission before every race to pick up race packets on the Friday before…but because I was a bumbling idiot and didn't read the race instructions carefully, I didn't realize that packet pick-up was ONLY available on Thursday…and/or Saturday morning, race day. This is because packet pick-up was being held at Arrowhead Stadium, which is right next door to our major league baseball stadium, Kauffman Stadium. (Yeah, Kansas City's cool like that…we call it the Stadium COMPLEX because we have two side-by-side stadiums for our football and baseball teams.) Anyway, our MLB team, Kansas City Royals, were playing the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night - to a sell-out crowd - so there's NO WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH that they were going to let anyone come in on Friday to pick up packets.

I didn't realize this until I sent Hubby out there on Friday to pick up the packets.


So…needless to say…we didn't get our bibs ahead of time.

Our plan was to get up at 6:00 am, get dressed, leave the house at 6:30 a.m., and be at Arrowhead Stadium at 7:00 a.m. This would let us accomplish several things:

1. Get a good parking spot.
2. Pick up our bibs before the line started.
3. Hit the port-a-potties before the line started.
4. Run a 2-mile warm-up before the race.
5. Socialize with friends. Duh.

And, of course, because I have this amazing ability to NEVER, EVER sleep the night before a race, I dozed off after 12:30 a.m. and was wide awake a mere 5 hours later, at the God-awful hour of 5:30 a.m.

Everything went according to plan…donning our bright red Chiefs running clothes, Hubby and I were on the road and enjoying the no-traffic, no-obstacles drive to Arrowhead. We got there early enough to have front-row parking, and walked up to the packet pick-up tent with nary a person in front of us.

Cool. Cool. Cool.

Heading back to the car, we sat inside for a few minutes, donning our bibs and waiting for a very brief and light shower to roll on overhead. Fortunately, the sprinkles moved on and out, and we were able to take advantage of the overcast skies to start our warm-up without dying of heat. So far, everything was going very well, according to our best laid plans. I was still leery of the course change, but I was willing to go in with an open mind.

Besides…did I mention?? This "race" was not being timed.


No chip.


It was to be FOR FUN.

I know. I was confused, too. We aren't being TIMED??!!

Hubby and I then ran two miles around the stadium BEFORE the race started, because we're weird like that.

Pre-race warm-up…running around the stadium...

After our warm-up run, it was time to start socializing…because, really, that's what running is all about.

The friendships and the camaraderie.

I needed to talk to someone, and I needed to talk to someone, NOW.

I headed over to say hi to my friend, Philip. He wasn't running this one, but was proudly carrying the flag and supporting Team RWB. Philip works up at my local running store, and has been a huge help when I go in looking for various goodies to help me with my racing. He had sold me my black compression socks, which I was proudly wearing today, so I had to go show them off.

Philip's going to think that I didn't get his photo, but actually, I did. Check this out:

There you go, Philip. Don't ever say that you haven't been featured in my blog. You're welcome.

Leaving Philip, I ran into Derek Mitchell…and if you don't know Derek's story, you need to check out his Facebook page, HERE. Derek is a local Kansas City guy who is on a journey to lose weight…and he's doing it by running a 5k race every month…. His story is amazing, and has been picked up all over the world, as he's an incredible inspiration. Check out this article in People Magazine featuring Derek.

He's also an incredibly nice guy, and I wanted to say hi and give him some support.

At this point, I was on a mission to find another friend, Janae…she's someone I will run into at various races, and I knew she was supposed to be here - somewhere - along with her entire family. I turned around to find her, and incredibly, bumped into her at that very moment:

That was oddly weird, and yet oddly convenient!

And of course, I had one more "friend" to check in with…the Kansas City Chief's mascot, KC Wolf. "Wolfie" has been our mascot since 1989, and was named after the "Wolfpack", a boisterous group of fans who used to frequent Chiefs games.

Is it just me…??? Or does Wolfie look more like a giant raccoon than a wolf???!!

Soon, it was time to get into the corrals, and here's where Hubby and I separated, as he went up to run with the speedy Kenyans, while I headed to the back with the Turtles.

The corrals before the invasion of the masses...

Last year, Hubby insisted that I line up with him and his fellow Kenyans for this race, and so I found myself at the very FRONT of the Start Line as the gun sounded.

Huge mistake.


This was the very last time that I ever, EVER, listened to Hubby and his hare-brained ideas while racing.

Imagine being a turtle when 1,000 rabbits are breathing and running down your neck…it was awful. I seriously thought I was going to be trampled, TO DEATH, by men (and kids, for that matter), who were treating this "family-friendly" race like they were being chased by man-eating Zombies.

Source HERE

I ran like my life depended on it (maybe it did…so that I wouldn't be SQUISHED!!!), and perhaps, just perhaps, that's when I hurt my foot.

Yeah, no. I'll never forgive him for this.

While waiting, I start chatting with the guy next to me, and as we're talking, he mentions that he'd been doing some hill workouts SPECIFICALLY for this race, as he's worried about running up the ramps.

Wait, what?


There's ramps???

Dang, I KNEW I should have studied the course map before this morning. Too late now.

Without any further ado, the National Anthem was played, and we were off.

2015 Course Map

This year, they had walkers and strollers start the race behind all of the runners, which was AWESOME. I was able to get out pretty quickly, and not get hemmed in by folks who are even slower than me. Because we were running (initially) around the parking lot, the lanes were wide, and there was no danger of getting trapped in. Not to mention, the first 1.5-miles were pretty much downhill…which was giving me some pretty good speedage under my belt.

And yes. I know that technically, "speedage" is not a word. But you get my drift. My blog. My rules.

Last year, we pretty much ran the first 3 miles completely in the parking lot, with only the last tenth of a mile going into the stadium. This year, we'd ran about 1.5-miles in the parking lot, when suddenly…I saw THIS up ahead:

A tunnel???!!!!!


It's the little things in life that make runners happy.

A simple change of scenery…from a boring, asphalt parking lot…to a dark and spooky TUNNEL???!!!

And seriously…I kid you not…this is a photo that I took inside the tunnel:

And no, it wasn't that dark in there…but somehow my camera took a photo of how I PERCEIVED the tunnel to be.

How cool is THAT??!!

My giddiness over the tunnel, though, was short-lived. We exited the tunnel to find ourselves confronted with…

…the ramps.


Arrowhead Stadium has these unique, spiral ramps on each of the four corners, and we were now experiencing the "joy" of running up one of these…around and around and around, up and up and up, for four stories…


Nothing to do but go at it, as hard and as fast as I could, and just when I thought I was going to puke, we'd reached the top. Running through the interior of the stadium, we went through this one area that was bathed in red:

Again…another burst of giddiness, as this was so different than the "normal" 5k experience…

Soon, we were running DOWN the corkscrew ramp…which was REALLY awesome, as it was all I could do to not fall flat on my face, as I dizzily spun in circles to the bottom:


This took us back out to the parking lot, but a short bit later, we were running into the Chief's practice facility, and crossing the finish line.

Remember my friend, Phil? He took this very impressionistic, very Monet-like photo of me crossing the finish line:

I think it's blurry because I kicked it up, as fast as I could, as I ran through the finish line…and I think it's highly suspicious that my black compression sock…which just so happened to be sold to me by the guy taking this photo - is the ONLY thing clear and highlighted in this photo.



I finished this race in my fastest time yet, an amazing 29 minutes…(I know, not official - but that's what Garmin watches are for!). After gathering my banana and my bling, Hubby and I headed to the car to head home.

What I Liked About This Race:

1. The course. I was worried that by removing the "Finish on the 50" aspect of the race, that we'd be faced with a boring run of 3 miles around a parking lot. To my delight, I ended up LOVING this course. The ramps were pretty cool - both up AND down - and I enjoyed the training facility. I also enjoyed the freedom to run - it was never pinched or crowded.

2. The swag. The t-shirt is a tech t-shirt, and although I wish it came in a Woman's Cut, I still like it. I love any tech tee I can get my hands on. The medal, although not as nice as last year's, is still pretty cool.

3. The size. There's not that many runners in this race…it's not very well advertised. I like the intimacy of it; I think more runners could lead to more logistical issues.

4. Good volunteer support. Lot of volunteers along the course to direct us in the right direction. Chiefs Cheerleaders at the finish line, which was cool.

What I Didn't Like About This Race:

1. Hmmm…I don't know that I have any negatives. I would most definitely do this race again, especially if they keep those ramps in the equation!!!