Monday, May 12, 2008

Should have been a boat race....

So, Mother's Day. Ahhh, yes - day of waking up late to partially-burnt pancakes made by sweet little boys helped by Daddy, yes?

Mmm, no....sounds nice, but uh.....nope....

Not for us, anyway!!! Last year, my mother and I decided to do the Y-Me Mother's Day Race. So we signed up again this year. Except, I wound up co-captain of our karate school's team. Which, then, meant I had to be in Grant Park at 6 am. Any Chicagoan in the crowd will know what kind of insanity THAT means.

Instead of waking up about, oh, say - 3 am, trying to get the little boys dressed, in the car, while pouring coffee into the BIG boy and getting HIM out of the house, then drive downtown (approximately an hour trip, EVEN that early - it's just nutty around here), find parking, THEN find the team tent??? All while the guys don't even need to be there till 7:30 am anyway?

No thanks, I'll pass.

Instead, we got a room at the Silversmith Hotel. We were about 4 blocks from where the race was being held, so PERFECT!!! We hit Chinatown for AWESOME Chinese food Saturday night, checked in, and hung out a little in our gorgeous suite (which incidentally was a KILLER steal of a deal due to Wabash being closed for construction right now - so all Chicago folks, hit and book yourself a suite there, and enjoy yourself!!!). This hotel is in our favorite style - Stickley, aka Mission style. So we adored the wood floors, the beautiful furniture, the little emblems on every room door. Just wonderful, and I hope to go back when not preparing for a race!!!

My plan was to wake up at 5:15 am (yes, the extra 15 minutes helps!), get dressed in my crazy Breast Cancer race wear, walk to the team tent to meet the other co-captain, have a nice toasty cup of coffee, and have fun greeting the rest of our 52 team members!

First hitch - I decided NOT to take my "pillow." I have a neck issue, and have one of those wacky wave-shaped pillows and it truly helps. Well, I figured, one night, right? How bad can it be? Well, try waking up pain.....and stiff.....lovely. Ok, I could deal - I do carry pain meds with me.

Second hitch - I brought the wrong jog bra. All the ladies out there will know what I mean - I brought the "comfier" yet "less supportive" one. Ooops! Well, ok, again - got pain meds, I can tough it out.

Third hitch - it's really, REALLY cold. And windy. And I didn't bring any kind of warm sweatshirt or fleece, just my water-proof windbreaker (more on this so-called "water-proof-ness" in a bit...). Let's just say I hoofed it fast along Michigan Avenue, which I've decided is the windiest street on Earth. Period.

But, voila, I do manage to find the race setup! Hooray! White tents and blue port-a-johns, the hallmark of a good race! Except the tents I found first weren't the team tents, and NO ONE there knew what in the world I was talking about. all work for Y-Me, yes??? I swear, if only they would just give these people MAPS.

So I walk on....and on.....and find the volunteer tent. They do, in fact, have a map. Bad news, however. Team tents are even further along. Who thought THIS one up?? I'm a participant, and I'm planning on running and/or walking a they assume I need a warm-up 2 hours prior to start? Do they think I need just a wee bit more training?? Hello, people! When someone is about to participate in a race, the LAST thing they want to do is walk any more than they have to. And then to top that off, the team name started with "Sup" and the tents are alphabetical. Lovely.

I get to our tent eventually (and about 10 minutes early, actually - yay me!), but there's no coffee. Not even people bringing said coffee to the tents, as they claimed they would be doing at precisely 6 am. I sit alone, in the gloomy pre-dawn of Grant Park, wind whipping through the sad little tent, and contemplate the warm bed I've left behind. I also wish for a warmer coat. And then it happens.

The sky opened. This wasn't just rain. This was torrential downpour. One minute, just windy and cold. The next, there are rivers in between the tents. And I think about how my co-captain, who is very punctual, is still not IN the tent. The poor thing came in soaked to the bone.

Now, we'd both been told to be there at 6, as the coffee was coming, and they refused to leave it without someone present. Fine, we'll do it for the coffee.

Except they LIED. The people bringing the coffee didn't show their darned faces till 6:45 am!!! Do they not REALIZE how badly a person NEEDS coffee at this time of the morning?

It was rough going, I'll tell you that much.

I did call my darling hubby and tell him to keep the kids indoors if the rain doesn't let up. Advice which he promptly ignored, sadly. But he got the kids about 10 steps outside the cab they took to the race site, and promptly called me to say, we're headed back. Um, I do believe I told you not to HEAD, let alone need to head back, yes? Oh well - he was the one who had to deal with the whiny little boys, not me. No, I was in bliss at that moment, happily drinking my coffee.

The rain did not let up for one second of the morning. It was fairly miserable outside, and yet I was completely amazed and horrified to see how many people still took their small, SMALL children outside in that weather! I'm not one to say someone shouldn't do something as a parent, but this was borderline. There was even a woman pushing an INFANT in a stroller - without any sort of rain cover. The baby was wailing....and still this woman walked. Sorry, that's just wrong, plain and simple. She'd be upset if her child got sick, yes? Well, do what you can to keep the baby out of harms way, darn it! There were altogether too many people with tiny tots out in that horrid weather, and it made me more than a little mad.

The other thing that was driving us crazy was umbrellas. Now, as a rule, I don't mind an umbrella. But when you are cramming thousands of people into a chute for the start of a race - shouldn't SOME person tell people to CLOSE THEIR UMBRELLAS??? HELLO!!! I got poked in the eye 4 times, and in the back of the head 5. People in large groups are essentially cattle, and need to be told how to behave, in my opinion. They should have made a rule about this. One woman had a rain poncho on that said "No Umbrellas!" I wanted to kiss her. And in all honesty, none of these umbrella toting people were even remotely dry. Their heads were nearly as wet as mine. What is the point? Unless they enjoy skewering the eyeballs of innocent fellow racegoers?? And the wind. Oh, good gravy! People kept getting shocked when their umbrella was turned inside out. Welcome to Chicago, oh bright one. So to make a long story short - if you're running/walking in an event with large numbers of people, and it's raining - leave the umbrella behind. Otherwise, people might take it from you and hit you with it.

My parents were the smartest of anyone there. They wore their horseback riding rain gear. Sure, they looked out of place. But they were warm and snug. There is a picture, but I'll have to steal it from my parents' house tomorrow. I promise, it will be worth the wait. There's also a picture of bedraggled us - ever so amusing, as well.

We made it MOST of the 3 miles - but when we got to the point where my hotel was closer than the porta-potties, I decided my knee (and my dad's) needed a shorter walk back.

All in all, quite the adventure. It was funny as all heck, though, and I got to go to Dim Sum after I took a hot shower. Then headed home and basically vegged out and slept all day, recuperating from the turmoil (and the feasting).

The best part of the day was seeing the buildings in Chicago either lit up pink the night before, or the ones who made designs in their windows - CNA had a big ribbon on all 4 sides, the diamond-shaped one (from Adventures in Babysitting, if you remember that one) had "Y-Me Race" and another had "Y-Me" spelled out. I was touched, and loved it!!! Nice to see the recognition!

That, and the fact that our team alone raised over $8,000 for the cause!!!


KathyLikesPink said...

Buildings lit up PINK - I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THAT!!!!!

Congrats on raising all that dough! Good for you!!!

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