My husband and Meelyn participated in the 32nd OneAmerica 500 Festival Indy Mini-Marathon today, which happens to be the biggest half-marathon in the United States and the eighth largest running event in the same.
Their time was 3:04, which isn't too bad, considering that Meelyn's special really, really expensive running shoes with special really, really expensive running socks rubbed a blister on the arch of her right foot. It started bothering her, she said, right when they started their sixth mile at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A lady running close to them heard Meelyn say that she thought she had a blister, and that kind person unzipped her waist pack and brought out some Band-Aids as they all ran along. How nice is that? We had carefully packed Meelyn's waist pack with every possible thing we thought she'd need, including sunscreen, extra batteries for her MP3 player, tissues and some little gummi carbohydrate doo-dads for extra energy and a camera, but neither of us ever considered bandages since her shoes have never bothered her before.
So instead of kneeling to kiss the famous yard of bricks, Meelyn sat down to bandage her poor foot.
Although the temperature was a pleasant 68 degrees, the humidity was just awful. My husband and Meelyn have done their training, as all the other runners have done, during the low-humidity cold months. Only in the past three weeks of this fake spring we've been experiencing have they run in temps over 50 degrees. And the air has been as dry as a mummy's tongue.
Aisling and I were hot as we stood waiting in Military Park for them to come across the finish line, so I was having some worried feelings about how they were faring. They are both notoriously warm-blooded, the kind of people that think a good outfit to build a snowman in is shorts, a tank top and mittens. Aisling's ponytail was stuck to the back of her neck and all around me, I smelled a strange smell that overpowered the delicious aromas emanating from all the foood vendors' stalls: sweat. Everyone was sweaty - there was no "perspiring" or "glowing" about it and I hope I didn't type that loud enough for Orson Welles to hear.
Meelyn ran like an athlete of ancient Greece, my husband reported, powering through the pain in her foot and the misery of the heat to master this mini-marathon. She was so amazing and so cheerful at the end of the race that we, of course, had to stop at Frazier's on the way home for ice cream. She got a chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream which she is currently eating as she soaks her wounded foot in Epsom salts. She came home, like a Spartan warrior, with her shield, not on it.
I am deliriously proud of her, so forgive me for mixing the athletes and the warriors in that last paragraph.
Aisling and I scored a fabulous parking space right near Military Park on New York Street in the Residence Inn by Marriott parking lot. It cost $15 to park there, but it afforded us an amenity which is priceless in people-dense events like the Mini-Marathon: bathroom privileges.
Last year way my husband's first year to run the Mini (2:10) and the girls and I hung out in Military Park, trying desperately to hold our pee so that we could avoid the fearsome line of Port-O-Lets. I had thought to bring a roll of toilet tissue and a 55-gallon drum of hand sanitizer with me, but still. Still. Those things are so gross and I always seem to choose the potty that was last used by a person who apparently has eaten nothing but baked beans, raw cauliflower and bratwurst for the past lifetime.
Anyway, the girls held their pee like camels hold water, but I couldn't make it. Suffice it to say that I was trying desperately, upon my exit from the Port-O-Let, to wash my hands, hair and entire body in Purell. I had to be physically restrained from trying to wash the entire Indianapolis metro area.
This year, Aisling and I were allowed by the cheerful desk clerk to use the really posh ladies' facilities at the Courtyard Inn. There was a real flushy toilet. And a lovely smelling foamy soap. Artwork on the walls! Silk plants! A big sink with attractive fixtures with a large stack of soft paper hand towels next to it! I didn't know paper could be made to feel like that. Re-living my experiences from the previous year, I wanted to just stay and bask in the beauty, but Aisling sternly dragged me out.
We were scheduled to meet up with my husband and Meelyn about three hours into the race at the pavilion in the park. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that the Pavilion is being refurbished and was thus fenced off from everyone in the Rest & Recovery area. This left Aisling and I with nowhere to sit. We had come a little earlier than we'd planned (after taking a refreshing forty minute nap in the van, very necessary after going to bed very late and getting up at 4:30 a.m.) so that we could enjoy some people-watching, having also brought our back packs with books, journal paper and Aisling's knitting. Dismayed, we looked around and saw that we had no choice but to stand, not such a happy choice for me and my dumb Achilles tendon. I knew if I sat on the grass, I'd never be able to get up again. Aisling sat for awhile, but got up again when she'd nearly been stepped on or tripped over for the fiftieth time.
The four of us had a little trouble finding one another (we realized too late that Meelyn's waist pack should have also contained her cell phone), but we found each other at noon. Aisling and I presented Meelyn with a pink t-shirt that reads "I FINISHED!" on the back and she was very touched and grateful.
Did I mention I was proud?
As she pulled her shirt over her wet hair and beaming face, I wondered how long it would take her to remember that volleyball season starts in six weeks.
I think I'll not mention that to her just yet.
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