Friday, June 8, 2012

Parade Floats and Porta-Potties

I have alluded to (and even called out at one point) the fact that I plan to have some sort of run/race as part of the wedding festivities. You can blame Lindsey.

I hadn't even thought of how important
safety gear might be... (courtesy of
http://lasvegasbride.files.wordpress.com)
I'm not sure how long ago it was, but sometime after my lady and I started dating - a pretty significant amount of time, actually, as no one wanted to rush me into the whole "marriage" idea again - dearest Lindsey shared with me either a dream or brainstorm she had about my future. It was also right around the time I had decided I was going to (and did) run eight half marathons (you might see how that is important in a moment). She pictured me running a half marathon in a wedding dress (and veil) and getting hitched at the finish line...

Since then, I haven't been able to get it out of my head that running will most certainly be a part  of my wedding. Especially since it is blindingly clear (especially to my lady) that I absolutely must run the morning of my wedding unless the guests (and again, my lady) wish to have an irritable and anxious little white dress wearing firecracker. As anyone else who has ever co-habited with me can tell you (I'm looking at you, mom and dad), I become a little grumpy - sort of like an explosive device that can blow up at any moment - when I do not burn off a significant amount of energy via working out, running, etc. (doing something that requires me to sweat profusely for at least an hour). It's ugly.

Running has been on my brain lately more than ever. In the midst of this house buying, job changing, and wedding planning craziness, I am also training for my first full marathon on June 23rd in Seattle (as well as my second, which will follow on October 7th of this year in Chicago). After eight half marathons in 2011, I decided that I was too crazy to not want to try a marathon. So naturally, if I do one, why not do two?

As all of you sane and healthy minded people who aren't in this position have inferred (which is why you aren't doing it - bravo!), training for a marathon takes a lot of time and energy. Significantly more than any training I did for my halves, even before my final one in Savannah where I set my personal record. Sundays are my long slow run days and as of last Sunday, June 2, I officially finished my final long run before taper - 20 @#$%ing miles. That is a really long way (and time) to run, in case you needed a qualifier on that. As I have said for the last few weeks of this training, this is silly. I'm not sure what possessed me to do this but moving forward I will likely stick to the 13.1 miles after the Chicago marathon in October. I know I am a little off my rocker in life, so running over twenty miles shouldn't seem a stretch, but 26.2 pretty much takes over your life... and when you already have job hunting (and now transitioning), house buying (and now moving), and wedding planning (and more planning) going on in your life, there isn't much capacity for something else that needs a lot of space, time, calories and muscle tissue. Oh the muscle tissue.

So, initially, I thought it would be a great idea to have everyone (healthy and able - not trying to kill anyone) run a half marathon with us and actually have the wedding ceremony at the end. Turns out, that was lofty. On the bright side, I think we truly would have gotten that "super small wedding" dream - but I don't want something that small and exclusive, I want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves. So then we discussed having it be 13.1 miles that you could get through anyway you wished - running, walking, biking, scootering, etc. This was when a former colleague and friend of ours came up with the idea to basically have it be a parade with floats - floats where the occupants could ride on it and drink beer the whole way, etc. This is also where the porta-potties come in at...

There is a story (which my lady finds so incredibly entertaining that you have likely been privy to hearing it if you have ever conversed with her and gotten on the topic of my crazy + running) that accompanies why I did eight half marathons last year, all over the country. In November of 2010, after having run my first half marathon the month before in Denver - it was a Rock 'n Roll Series event - I got an email about a "cyber monday" deal from the Rock 'n Roll Race Series. It said if you signed up for all (at that time) sixteen races in 2011 you would be guaranteed a fabulous prize.

Naturally, I was in. I immediately called up my lady (I was in the burbs of Chicago at my brother and SILs house as it was Thanksgiving weekend) and said,
"so I think I am going to run 16 half marathons next year." 
 "OK, well, that's interesting, why exactly did you decide to do this?" was her (ever so careful) reply.
"There is a PRIZE!" I said. 
"Oh, OK. Well what is the prize?" she asked.
"Oh. I don't know - but there is a PRIZE and I would be guaranteed it!"

I mean, come on people - a PRIZE. Prizes don't just grow on trees - nor do they go to just anyone. We sat in silence for a bit after the few lines above. I slowly processed where all of these races where and not to mention the fact that 16 races in a single calendar year equated to more than one race a month (one and a third, if we want to get mathematical aout it). Inner though process: Wow. That's a lot of running. Well, that's a lot of travel. Let's say each set of plane tickets was three hundred a piece, times two, that's six hundred dollars just for the plane tickets. Plus hotel, likely at least another two to three hundred. Then meals, the actual race entry which is anywhere from sixty to a hundred dollars each, and you know, travel costs. Boarding the dogs, parking the car, possibly needing to rent a car... geez. This is going to be pricey. 
"Hmmm. Maybe I will just do eight."
"JUST eight?!" she questioned.
"Yep, I guess that is a lot more reasonable, makes a lot more sense. But that means I won't get the prize..."
"What is the prize?! Have you figured that out yet?"

Naturally I did not hear the tone of her question, "Just eight?"... The fact that she really meant "as if you think eight is normal? That is still eight half marathons - that is over a hundred miles just in race miles alone!" I think the conversation ended soon after this point, cyber monday was still 4 days away at this point and I think she hoped I would take off the crazy pants by then. 

She got an email Monday morning sharing every date/location I had registered and paid for.

Just needs more room for seating and a keg!
(of champagne?)
(courtesy of http://vintage.johnnyjet.com/)
So, back to the porta-potties. As we discussed keg-holding parade floats and my lady told the story of the "prize," everyone of course want to know, what was the prize? I actually did end up finding out what it was before I signed up for only the eight. I could not remember the details, but I do recall part of the VIP treatment being a personal porta-potty (if you have ever ran or cheered someone on at a race you know how the lines at the porta-potties pre-race get super long). Well, the group of people that had come up with the keg-holding parade float obviously thought this was a riot. As such, they invented an "upgrade" to the float that would include a traveling porta-potty for your truly to use. I mean, obviously - it is my wedding day after all.  Doesn't that top the wish list of every bride-to-be?

After all has been said and done, there will be no half-marathon running on our wedding day. There will, however, be a morning run around Lake Estes. The paved path around the lake is 3.75 miles long and I intend to have those who wish do two laps. However, one lap will be more than amazing for many and walking, crawling, biking, skipping, or any other form of transportation that the park allows will be welcomed and appreciated. Expect finisher medals and t-shirts at the finish.  Or maybe I should give out pants. Crazy pants.

Sounds like a great start to any wedding day, right?

Oooh, and maybe some sweet potato hash browns for breakfast. Mmmmm. 

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