Sunday, September 17, 2006

Run, run as fast as you can

While he was at work one day, Paul got in contact with me to say that, oh by–the-way, he had signed me up for an organised 5 mile run. I was a little annoyed at the prospect of this for several reasons: 
 1.   I had no idea how long 5 miles actually was
 2.   When was I going to find the time to train?
 3.   What about some input from myself into these decisions? 
Too bad, he had already paid the money and I was signed up. 

Paul then found out about a nearby running group that I could train with, organised by a sports shop named Fleet Feet. The group was specifically for women and trained on a Tuesday evening. He assured me that it was a very casual group and beginners were welcome. Paul was training with a triathlon group on Tuesday evenings but we were able to get Lisa to babysit one night and I trekked down to participate. I was a little shocked when I found out that there was a choice of a 3 mile 4 mile or 5 mile run. Walking did not seem to be an option. Running with others enabled me to keep a pace and I was surprised to complete a 3 mile run without being overly stretched. This surprised me as the last time I had run was since taking part in the International Womens Day run in Brisbane when newly pregnant with Nicolas. A lack of time, rainy weather and hot weather all provided excuses not to make it back to train. I did however, manage to get out for a few runs by myself. 

August 17th was the night of the run: the Nike Run Hit Remix. Paul hadn’t been feeling too well in the previous week and I would have been happy if he told me he couldn’t do the run (providing me with an excuse to pike). No such luck. We had organised Kate to babysit the boys and caught a taxi downtown.

The run itself didn’t begin until 9pm, so we spent our waiting time checking out the numerous stalls set up to provide runner sustenance (smoothies, after run snacks) and enticement to all athletes and wannabes (sports wear, burgers, ribs and beer!). The event was extremely well organised and had staging locations for people who run a 7 minute mile, 8 minute mile, etc. Not knowing how long it would take to run a mile, we chose the 10 minute mile location to start. We met Chris, one of Paul’s colleagues and some of his friends, who were amongst the 10,000 participants.

Each mile of the run was marked by a performing band. This really added to the atmosphere, and the pace as people altered their stride to the beat of the music. This was particularly noticeable when running under the convention centre with the sounds of a Japanese Taiko drumming band reverberating around the walls at a quickening pace.  A dark underground section was enlivened with lights, flying sparkles and trance tracks. I have never been to a run where everyone was in such great spirits. I have also never been to a run that took place at night and where all participants (over the age of 21) were entitled to a beer at the finish! An office building, in line with the final length of the run, had organised for its windows to spell out a giant ‘RUN!’ providing added incentive to finish.  

I was taken back to my uni days (college) with such performers as Digital Underground and Young MC  and cover bands playing early 90’s tracks. The main attraction was De la Soul playing a concert post-run. It was such an enjoyable experience – we really want to do it again next year. 

Paul completed the Chicago Triathlon on August 27th and is now in training for the Chicago Half Marathon on October 1st.

Photo: Anne and Paul crossing the finishing line. Photo courtesy of 

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September showers

One of Luc’s latest obsessions has been the Wallace and Gromit movies. In particular, The Wrong Trousers. He walks around doing his best goosestep, looking a little like John Cleese’s Minister of Silly Walks, saying he is a ‘pants robot’. We were walking down the street with Luc doing his robot impression one day, when I accidentally bumped into him. I said “I’m sorry darling”. Luc said “No. You say ‘Sorry Robot’”. So I have been referring to him as Robot Pants or Techno Trousers for some time now. Luc became really annoyed when he found that he could not walk up walls like the techno trousers, despite his best efforts (of course, being ex-NASA the trousers have suction cup feet). Paul assists here by holding him and lifting Luc above his head, while Luc walks up the wall. I found a pair of pyjamas in a clearance store with robots on the top. Luc is obsessed with these pyjamas and it takes some effort to get these off him in the morning. He would wear them night and day if he had the choice. 

When I scold Luc or send him to the corner during the week, he whimpers “I want Daaaaadddy!” (because, of course, Paul is not here). One weekend, after we had both scolded him, he surprised us by whimpering “I want David!” I was dumbfounded by this one and couldn’t quite work it out until I realised that he meant David Wood - whom we had recently spent time with in Ohio. 

Nic is now ten months old. He has started to play games now. He is a little obsessed with cars and any toy with wheels and pushes these along making his best impressions of car noises. He loves standing at the window and pushing cars along the window sill (which is very low in our living room and the perfect height for a little guy). Nic is also doing impressions of Luc. It is very funny seeing them in the bath together, with Nic trying to imitate everything that Luc does including: splashing, crawling along the bottom of the bath, clapping, yelling at the top of his lungs… (not so cute). Nic is still a very happy little guy and smiles for the majority of the time. Conversely, he has started noticeably expressing his frustration: - knocking unwanted food items to the ground, yelling for attention, kicking his legs when put down for a sleep or being picked up when he doesn’t want to be. 

We took Luc to a sushi restaurant on Saturday as a reward for his recent exemplary behaviour. I offered him some pickled ginger (which he adores). He pointed to a pile of pickled ginger on a plate and referred to it, with a great big smile, as ‘dog’. I was a little taken aback and really couldn’t work out what this reference was to until I remembered that the dog living across the road from us is named Ginger! 

We attended a street party on Sunday afternoon. This was a great opportunity to meet some of our neighbours, despite being outdoors on a very rainy afternoon. The rain didn’t seem to bother anyone. Following the request to take along food, we decided we would make a Pavlova. Some consternation as to how to ‘dress’ the pav took place but we managed to have a pretty good looking sample to bring. I was about to set it down on the food table when a lady exclaimed “That looks like a Pavlova!” I couldn’t believe anyone would have known what it was. The lady, Donny, had spent some time living in Australia so was well versed in Pavlova. Much to Donny’s insistence that people sample the pav, it went very quickly – and was much appreciated. One lady mentioned that perhaps we should all bring dishes from our homelands next year (planning to bring soda bread from her native Ireland).  We will probably take… a pav!

Photo taken in the ‘Circus’ exhibit of the Museum of Science and Industry