Never Been Kissed

It’s been a while since my last update because I’ve been pretty busy, but I do miss writing it. Plus, some poor soul has been checking in on my blog regularly. Mom? So, I will sit here with a cold bottle of home brew and recount my latest adventure – dedicated to you, loyal reader.

The last race of the season (fall through spring) is the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k. It is also my favorite because I run it with my boys, Parker and Carson. This was the fifth year and we were all looking forward to it. Well, I was looking forward to the run. The boys were looking forward to the treats at the finish line. The running was just a means to the end.

IMG_1233There we were on the crisp cool morning in a sea of green shirts wearing our green Irish buttons, necklaces or necktie and flashing gizmos, looking at all the funny people and dogs wearing kilts. One particular bulldog with a tiny leprechaun hat looked at us pathetically. “Don’t you poop on the course,” I told it.

A loud squelch followed by garbled music blared over the loud speakers. Nobody could make out a word of it and there was no flag in sight. But assuming it was the national anthem, we exchanged glances, put our hands over our hearts and sang along – everybody staring off in a different direction with a reverent look.

No gun, but the guy said, “Go!” Parker turned to face Carson and me. His face was a bit red but he was smiling.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

He said nothing. Just kept staring with that creepy smile. As the crowd in front of us began to move, I said, “Alright! Let’s go, guys!” Parker blew a fart in our general direction (because farts are still funny to a 12 year old) and took off.

Carson, bless his heart, tried to keep up. I was left back with the bulldogs and crying toddlers. Slowly, I trotted along and soon came upon Carson who was clutching his side.

“Got a side stitch?”

“No.”

We walked for a bit then ran every time the camera drone flew by. When we reached the first water station, I said, “Carson, do you think Parker is done yet?”

“Yeah.”

We ran-walked the rest of the way. The course looped around the Cardinals football stadium and as I ran, I imagined myself as receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Carson was quarterback Carson Palmer. “Carson, I’m open! Throw me the ball.” I said running forward.

“What?”

“I can score a touchdown! Pass it!” I hollered back.

“Dad…”

In my head, I made a spectacular one-handed fingertip catch, scraping my toes along the grass to win the Superbowl and was contemplating my celebratory dance moves when somebody shouted, “Drone!” We all faced forward, smiled and sucked in our guts.

I coaxed Carson to push it a little bit and sensed he was low on gas. As we approached the last turn, I said, “Ok, we’ll walk up to the corner then run in to finish strong.”

He didn’t wait for the corner. He took off at a full sprint. I thought, well he’s got a last spurt of reserve energy afterall, he, he. He’ll poop out in a minute though. When he kept going I decided I had better run and stepped on the gas. I ran full tilt and passed people left and right, “Freight train coming through!” Sideline supporters stared and gaped. Probably wondering why I didn’t go potty before the race. As fast as I ran, I still couldn’t catch the little squirt and he finished a few seconds ahead of me.

We high-fived and hugged and congratulated ourselves and got our medals. Then we went to look for Parker. He was standing at the finish line still looking down the road for us. We collected him and declared, “Time for treats!”

IMG_1242There was a long line for mini bundt cakes, KIND bars, Muscle Milk, Gatorade and various fruits. We sat stuffing our faces in front of the Irish band (I’m sure they appreciated that), then had to be going to get to the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. As we were walking to the parking lot, a lady passed by and, indicating the boys, said, “Did you check the times? They might have won their age group.” Hmm…

IMG_1243Sure enough, Parker took third place in his age group. But it wasn’t until days afterward when I saw the races photos that I learned the exciting truth. He was in a battle to the finish line with another kid! The crack photographers caught all the action and snapped a shot every second so clicking through the sequence looks like a stop-motion movie. They were looking at each other, hoofing it out on their skinny legs until Parker finally edged him out, leaping across the timing line like a gazelle! That’s my little wide receiver, I thought. I’d show you the pictures but I’m too cheap to buy them. Above is a pic of him getting his medal with a giant leprechaun. I asked him who stole his Lucky Charms but he just stared at me. Kind of like the time I tried to start a conversation with Mickey at Disneyland.

So, another year passed at the Kiss Me I’m Irish race and I still have not been kissed. Nothing lost though, because nobody kisses like my sweetie.

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