Wednesday, March 23, 2016

c2e2 2016

A few more random photos from the con.

Jace Plaianswalker (Magic the Gathering)

Steven Universe group

Stevonnie and Rose Quartz (Steven Universe)

Medusa, Crona, and Ragnarok (Soul Eater)

 Jude as Blu Engineer (TF2) posing with some Star Wars cosplayers

Mazzy and Brent as Crona and Ragnarok (Soul Eater)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 C2E2 Soul Eater and TF2 cosplay

Spring Break 2016 was super fun. Mazzy and I spent a couple of months making costumes for the whole family and a last minute addition when her friend Brent asked to tag along. I begged him to dress as the Ragnarok to her Crona and it turned out great. I'll leave some comments under each picture with breakdowns of our costumes in case anyone stumbles on this post researching ideas.

On Sunday, half of us cosplayed Soul Eater characters
Medusa - I recycled the lab coat from last summers children's play where Jude was a professor. The stethoscope was easy because of Gab being a medic. The clipboard too. I found a black rubber snake in Jude's room. The dress was a simple black dress that I altered and then added the white fabric in the arrow details (fusible webbing ironed on and then stitched.) The wig I did purchase because I figured I could not style it and have it stay in the twist.

Eruka and Azusa were done by my friend who met us there.

Crona - I found a long black dress with a scoop neck. She already had the black boots. I dug through my scraps and found enough white fabric to cut the rectangles for the cuffs (both boot and sleeve).  We opted to wait until she was dressed and ready to go to attach the cuffs but had pre-painted the black lines (using painters tape and black acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium). I had the six black buttons, black thread, etc. with me at the hotel. I used sticky velcro circles on each cuff to hold it in place then sewed the buttons (three on each cuff). We just used a black sharpie and colored circles on the back side for the illusion. The boot cuffs were just tucked into the boot and folded over.
The collar was tough. I cut the four pieces and sewed them together to form the collar shape. I had to leave the front open because I didn't want to bother putting button holes. So we again waited and once it was on, I just sewed the buttons on and that held the front of the collar together.
We bought a cheap lavender wig and she cut and styled it. On the first day of the con, she bought a pair of pink contacts which made a huge difference and brought it all together.

Ragnarok - Since this was a last minute costume, it had to be quick and easy. I told Brent to wear black pants and black boots and a black hoodie. I found cheap white "marching band" style gloves and then I painted the black lines (again using painters tape and acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium). The spiky cuff bracelets were a last minute touch (he is also wearing a black studded belt around his shoulder which you can't see in this picture). I knew he wouldn't want to wear a full on mask the whole time (since he was playing in the Magic tournaments), so I repurposed a plastic "Jason" hockey mask. I used an old black t-shirt and hot glued it to the mask tucked under the backside. I cut out a styrofoam ball in half and used black electrical tape to make the "x" on the eyeballs (it didn't stick very well so I smeared it with E6000 glue). I cut the X shape from white felt and glued that on. I love how it really pops in the photos. He was able to just wear it up on top of the hood and pull it down when people asked for photos.

The guys did Blu Team TF2

I made the Engineer and the Medic - Pretty easy. Found the blue short sleeve shirt at a garage sale and added the engineer logo using the freezer paper stencil technique. Borrowed the bibs from my sister in law. The black doc martens are my old boots and he tucked his pants into them. I purchased the knee pads (in black) and then added the yellow detail using duck tape. The glove was my husbands work glove that i used silver duck tape for the details. Goggles were borrowed (easy to find in this steampunk era), he had the hard hat from one of his toy sets. I made the wrench from foam core board (cut the shape out twice and glued together so it was heavy duty). I had picked up some gold sparkly tape at an after Christmas sale super cheap so i covered it in that.

The Medic - Again, I had the Lab coat from past costumes so i dyed it in blue dye ( normally you don't want to dye synthetic fabric but this worked great because it faded the blue to just the right shade). I added the logo on his sleeves also using the freezer paper technique. I had planned on cutting and sewing it into the "mad professor" style (short in the front and double breasted) but ran out of time. Instead we just applied the six large black buttons down each side to give the illusion. Blue rubber gloves and he wore his medic pants and boots. He made the pack using a shoe box and 2liter bottle (covered in blue duck tape). The detail on top is several plastic lids glued together and painted silver. We used black suspenders to attach the whole thing (and gorilla tape to hold it together).

Friday, August 21, 2015

gishwhes 2015 Monkey Brigade

This seems to be my yearly post...GiShWhEs time of year again.

a dignified game of croquet on an historical lawn (Abe Lincoln's house) zombies

2015 was a great hunt for us. For the first time, many of the Monkeys took most of the week off from work so overall the team wasn't as tired as we have been the past couple of years. It absolutely makes a difference when you don't have to work 8 to 10 hours during the day when you'd rather be creating an Amish App or driving to Chicago to take trapeze lessons in a business suit.

The majority of the Monkeys came back with just a couple of new members. Lindsey joined the team to replace our LA connection and she was excited and immediately got friends involved and seemed to have a blast. Her pet hair portrait was hilarious but made epic by actually meeting the CW actor and giving it to him (she said he was thrilled to have a pet hair portrait of himself).

Stephen Colletti and his dog hair portrait by Lindsey S.

Our other new Monkey was Karen who lives near our Texan Tremmels. Karen was on last year's winning team but met Cindy and Pete and they all became friends. When Karen asked to join the MB, I was hesitant (not because I didn't think she was a great gisher but worried having a previous winner would handicap us). I wanted the Texan two to have more help so after  long conversation with Karen, invited her to the brigade. Thankfully it was early enough in the year that we all had time to get to know her and we were not disappointed in her efforts. Her skydiving Elopus is masterful and though I have not seen ALL the videos, I can't imagine there are ANY that are better. She had a full on furry pink elephant head on when she jumped out of the plane. Crazy. She also tackled a lot of other challenges...

vacuum the lawn like june cleaver

This year, Colin and his mom actually planned ahead to be in Pontiac for the first couple of days of the hunt. We all wanted them to be part of some of our epic group shots and it was super fun having them around. Considering this was really only the second time we had met, they just felt like old friends and it was easy to have them here (we hope they felt the same). Fortunately for us (not so much for Chantal who got to do all the driving), one of the challenges was to go on the ultimate road trip (48 states hitting major landmarks along the way) - you had to get a friend and hit at least 9 of the places on the list (both posing in a funny way doing the same pose in each picture). When we did the croquet at Lincoln's house, they got a photo there then they drove on down to St. Louis and got the Arch and they drove back to Pontiac for the night. They hit the road the next day to conquer Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Delaware, DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  They got home and then did several MORE challenges (as if that wasn't enough).

ultimate road trip

one of the epic group shoots. love that colin and chantal are in this one with us.
team member Joe actually submitted this challenge so we had to make it a great one. Rick the cat once again makes a gishwhes appearance in his own tin foil hat. By far my favorite thing in the photo is Jude's "Bart Simpson hat" and the hilariously appropriate shirt he wore by happy accident that day.

This year we were lucky to have Donnie here the whole week and he was a great asset. Besides his amazing musical talent, he is a lovely human being and kept us entertained. He was on a mission to kiss all the monkeys in one challenge or another. He started with Chimp (same sex kiss tweeted to Rick Santorum), then me in the "break the internet" challenge as we parodied the old Lennon/Ono Rolling Stone cover, and then Kathy after he got drunk while tilling up our community garden. He plans to kiss the rest next year...

show Kim Kardashian how to really "break the internet"

I especially loved all the nights when Donnie's friend Hannah would come hang out and they would play guitar and ukelele and sing while we were all working. It reminded me of being in college when so many people played music and I miss it. It was lovely.

The whole team really pulled some wonderful stuff from deep deep down. On Sunday we were all exhausted of course but more than that we were all emotional and the only way I can describe it is "transcended". I know I just felt really at peace with what we accomplished and felt that we didn't leave anything on the table - we gave it all. Joe definitely had some of my favorite pieces - his Portal Toilet to Tap is really clever and his Nimoy tribute is spectacular. Obviously Pam is invaluable as our photographer but she is also great for bouncing ideas off of and when i was struggling with my maxi-pad dog she was a great set of clear eyes to tell me where I was going wrong (and right). She also made the flower dress and she and mazzy whipped out the construction paper dress too.

Dress made from construction paper, posed in front of a vintage car or magnificent building

Stunning origami bouquet. Mazzy created all the flowers and geometric designs.

I usually make some notes about what worked and what didn't but I just really feel so satisfied with our efforts this year I am not sure I need those notes. I know many other teams made some amazing stuff so I am not at all confident we are the winners but win or lose, I know we gave it all this time around so no regrets.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Team MonkeyBrigade Runner Up

Update on Gishwhes 2014

We didn't win (doubted we would since we missed so many mega point items) but we were thrilled beyond belief to see our name listed as a "Runner Up" team.

chimp showed up with champagne, wine and pizza followed.

five members of team monkeybrigade plus bruce's proxy

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gishwhes 2014

Gishwhes 2014

we had to create an angel from feminine hygiene products. my weeping angel is completely made from maxi-pads, panty liners, and tampons (with hot glue) (her insides are made from the inside of a maxi-pad). I left her sitting on a table in front of an open window on a humid night and the next morning she had plumped up. Hmmmmm.

have a wedding or vow renewal in a stunning location. bride/groom must be wearing items from the kitchen and the officiant is a ship's captain.
Bride is wearing: pie tins, cupcake papers, rubber gloves, forks and spoons, colander with cheesecloth veil, oven mitts with coffee cup heels, steel wool, with slip made from shelf liner. Bouquet made from cheese grater with mixer utensils, sponges, and measuring cups
Groom is wearing: Aluminum foil suit with drawer pull buttons, sponge bow tie and boutonniere, dish towel cummerbund, rubber glove cuffs, shelf liner vest, oven mitt shoes, and colander hat

This was our second year competing in GISHWHES, we were slightly more prepared than last year but it was still a crazy, chaotic, creative week.

After all of the brainstorming on names for our team, we all just kept coming back to "monkey brigade", just seemed to fit us best. (I now realize that is the name of Indira Gandhi's child "army" created to help end British rule in India - although she created this in 2004 and Gab and Chimp Jones have used the name since the mid 90's). It's evidently also a Spanish rapper?

Unfortunately, Gab's dad passed away right before the hunt. His family held their reunion/memorial on the same weekend that the hunt kicked off. I prepared HQ (our house) as best as I could and gave the key to Chimp Jones. I tried to do what I could from St. Louis but felt like the first full day/night was wasted (for my part), thankfully - the team was really rallying and got off to a banging start (especially cindy/pete, and colin). Gab's cousins did help me out with the candy bathing suit so I got one challenge done on the road (but with very minimal supplies, it was definitely not my best work).

Reading through the list, I came to item #75 and realized they used my suggestion for having a magnificent Elopus related art piece in a real gallery show. That was a fun surprise and obviously I "claimed" that one.

Stopping in Springfield on the drive home ate up more time but was necessary because Gab's Grandmother had fallen and was in the hospital. We were glad to see her and she was more clear and alert than we expected. She recognized the whole family!

Back on the road and another stop in Bloomington at Best Buy. My laptop charger had crapped out the night before (GREAT timing, ugh). Grabbed a charger and some dinner and finally on the road for home. 4pm and I enter HQ and see what everyone has been up to.

The kale throne was being assembled in the front room (it was amazing), costumes, laptops, legos, and wine were spread across the dining room. Action. I got my bearings and jumped in.

The Judester and Rick the Cat posing regally. It wasn't hard to get him to be serious as he was angry about the number of mosquito bites he had endured while we finished setting up the shot.

A lot of lining up of props and costumes, creating a wedding dress from kitchenware, making an angel from maxi-pads, texting team members, updating lists, finishing the elopus costume, photo shoots, filling water balloons (thanks to gab for this), helping create a Rube Goldberg machine...

Gab got a tattoo of the pope.

What I learned and what was helpful and what was not:

The fewer people getting drunk during the hunt, the better.

I appreciated all of the extra help but I have a pretty high level of expectation and if you're just going to fuck a tweed purse on video, I will not be happy about it.

Don't get on a horse if you aren't experienced. Seeing Donnie get bucked off of a horse was a terrifying experience, very thankful he was not seriously injured. Think things through!

The dry-erase board was helpful for me to keep track each morning.
We definitely need a team member in Vancouver/Seattle area!!
Line up a military pilot before the event (yeah right)
Team members need to be able to take some time off of work during the week
Pay attention to hints ahead of time (acorns, batman costume/bingo...)

All of the tips from last year were helpful, the submission process went much better having just Cindy in charge. (not sure how she felt about it). I would try to go through the spreadsheet daily and update and make sure people who signed up for things were on track, etc. We did have a few challenges where we doubled up and that is fine, nothing that was too time consuming and was good to have the backup in case.

One thing I didn't do that I promised I would was to attempt the impossible tasks, and i'm kicking myself a bit. I didn't even attempt to tweet NASA or the government. I didn't even attempt to get an interview with Larry King. I'm not sure how many teams accomplished those but I should have at least tried. I was super impressed with my team's ability to get some of the really difficult challenges like getting a NYT best selling author to read the California DMV book and scoring some IMDB celebrities to wear MB shirts, also Duffy's connection to Ed Westwick for the paper "machete" head (although it wasn't completed as directed, it was a great effort).

Will I do this again next year? Well of course, there is always some "down" time right after the hunt where we doubt we will do it again but ultimately I know that I thrive on the challenges and love the creative burst it gives me.  I did feel this year's list wasn't as "fun" overall as last year. A lot of pandering to (and stalking of) celebrities, a lot of negativity online surrounding the hunt (not blaming Shatner but he did create negativity whether he was joking or not and after a while it got old), and I really disliked the addition of the time and location specific challenges vs. last year's "bonus" item which was a creative one. I know next year will be a totally different list with a totally different set of experiences.

Troy Baker IMDB challenge

four people, formal dinner off of lego dishes

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

GISHWHES - what not to do.

Medieval Runway: unconventional challenge using kale to create a dragon dress.

I am coming down from the GISHWHES high. Relieved it's over, but also feeling a bit empty and lost just sitting here quietly wondering what to do (believe me, there is PLENTY to do given that my entire house is trashed from 7 days of sewing, gluing, cutting, and painting. Not to mention the costumes, wigs, props, and borrowed items that all need sorted out and the laundry, dishes, and cat litter that have been neglected for a week.)

In the last three years I have run a 10K, competed in a Sprint Triathlon, and performed a Spartan Mini-Beast and this scavenger hunt was every bit as physically demanding, mentally challenging, and emotionally draining than any of those (if not MORE SO).

This blog isn't to talk about everything we did but more to document what we will do differently next year. If any of my team members read it, please don't be offended. I understand we all did the best we could given that we jumped in with four days before the hunt started, little time to prepare, and NO WAY to know what was in store for us. I had a GREAT team but there was room for improvement (on all of our parts, mine most of all). 

I guess because I am the one who discovered this hunt and begged my friends to jump in with me at the last minute, then we were paired up with a team of teenagers - I became the unofficial "leader" of the group. My competitive nature and natural bossiness were probably not well received by my team (especially the teens who I imagine kept thinking "um, you're not my mom"). 

I will be referring back to the list next summer when Gishwhes (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) begins registration.

in no particular order:
1. Gas up your car before the hunt begins - not just $20 but fill it up - you never know where you'll be driving at a moments notice and it's very frustrating to have to stop for stupid reasons like gas and stop signs...and police.

2. Clean your house, do your laundry, and mow the lawn before the hunt begins. I should also add shower - you might not get to it in a few days.

3. If you are married or in a committed relationship, have sex with your spouse the morning of the hunt. It will help ease the tension over the next 7 days while you are a total psychotic bitch. (sorry to the teens, guess what - adults have sex)

4. A month or so before the hunt, start saving weird stuff like cereal boxes and cans and stuff. You just never know.

5. Have a costume box and hit some garage sales.

6. Groceries. Whichever house you are going to call "central station" needs to be fully stocked with drinks (RedBull is helpful), healthy snacks that are easy to grab, aw fuck it - frozen pizzas and chips it is.

7. Cancel all appointments and other engagement for the week. Trust me, you will either forget you even have the appointment OR you will go to the meeting/appt and not be paying any attention because all you can think about is getting home to finish sewing a Flash costume. If you work full time, you might consider taking a day or two off. 

8. Your team. In one sense I can see it being much easier if you actually know your whole team - easier to communicate (cell, texts, meet ups, etc.), it's easier to tell them when you think they need to "get their asses in gear" (because you know they will forgive you and vice versa), and it's easier to know which task is best suited for which member. On the other hand, we had a nice little group of teenagers who all seem like really good humans and we enjoyed meeting them. We grew especially fond of one who was dealing with some major unexpected drama during the hunt and he still came through while living in a hotel/hospital combo all week.

9. Unless Gishwhes changes their upload system then ONE person needs to track what items are submitted. There is no way to ensure stuff is getting submitted the way it is set up currently. (maybe that is part of the challenge on purpose - who knows but it sucks). That one person should be your MOST organized team member. 

10. Don't spend stupid amounts of time on things that will barely be seen. I spent several hours sewing the entire GISHWHES logo onto a sweater that would be put on a statue and you can really barely see it in the photo. A simple logo tacked on would have sufficed and freed up a lot of my time to make other stuff for other shoots.

11. Make sure your printer has ink.

12. Switch to unlimited texting or plan to exceed your minutes.

13. You are going to get tired. Pulling one or two all nighters will probably happen (as long as you aren't also working full time or going to school it's fine). BUT when you are so tired that you are no longer productive (like when you start burning your fingers on hot glue or talking like you just had a stroke) then GO TO BED.

14. Get an IMGUR account now and start using it so you are familiar with it - also Dropbox (this is mainly for me because i hate technology)

15. A few people on your team need to have some editing software and ability to use it 

16. You will want a musician on your team

17. If you claim a challenge then you are responsible for it - get it done! If you realize it's not going to happen (and we certainly know stuff happens) then UPDATE the group as soon as possible - another person might have a solution or be able to get it done. There were several "easy" challenges that got left on the floor because we all thought someone else was doing them.

18. DON'T have more than one spot where you are communicating. Some people were keeping track of the google doc and others were just posting their stuff on the FB page and it wasn't getting updated on the google doc page. Too confusing. Having only one person submitting entries will help with this also. The person submitting can be the one updating the google doc. maybe?

19. Even if someone has claimed a challenge - if you have the opportunity to achieve the same challenge without too much effort/time/money - just go ahead and do it! Having a back up version of a challenge can only be a good thing - 

20. Plan play dates and sleep overs for any nine year old boys who might live in your house. They won't be a fan of GISHWHES unless there are farting challenges that involve watching Adam Sandler movies. Grandmas come in really handy in a pinch.

if you have suggestions or notes, please feel free to comment and i can add it to our plan for next year (unless all of my team member's spouses plan surprise trips to bora bora during gishwhes week)

Monday, January 23, 2012


I thought I blogged about my spring tri experience. I better get it down while I still remember it.

Last year at Easter my sister in law asked me to do a 5K run through the woods for the Children's Advocacy center. I laughed because I have never ran in my life. I was told in high school (by the track coach) that I didn't have a runners body (big boobs and about 25lbs over weight) so I assumed that meant that I "could not" run. I fully was under the assumption that I could not run so I never attempted it (though what I wanted to do in high school was run the 2 mile).

I did agree to do the run (figuring I could walk it) since it was for charity. As it worked out, we were out of town the day of the run so our other sister in law (Liz) ran it instead (she also had never ran and never thought she could). She did run it and finished, she says "it wasn't pretty but she did it". It inspired her.

Liz started looking up other local 5K races and stumbled upon a sprint triathlon that was to take place early August (2011). This race was a quarter mile swim, 15 mile bike ride, and a 5K run and was in New Glarus, Wisconsin. This one especially appealed to her because of the New Glarus Brewery. She asked me if I wanted to do it and I laughed. I told her "I can't run" and she said "you can do ANYthing for two hours", claiming that the longest times were around 2 hours and she pointed out some photos of finishers, who were quite large. She said "if that person can do it, WE can do it". Their were other heavy people in a few other photos and I started to think, "no kidding, MAYbe I really can do it".

I mentioned it to our other sister in law (Kathy) and she was all about it. She got me excited and we told Liz we would do it. Gabriel came in and told me that he was going to do it too. I laughed and asked him if he should see a doctor first (I have been working out with a personal trainer for 3 years and he had not done any physical exercise for..well...ever). I said "great, i'm glad you're going to do it. Seriously, can you swim?" he answered "nope". He figured he would just work it out.

We made a plan to start training June 5th. I walked Magda to her girl scout meeting at the church about 3 blocks away and decided I would run back home. THREE blocks and I was DYING. After half a block I sounded like Darth Vader but I made it all the way home.

The training schedule said to run 20 minutes, so I set my ipod and ran - once I hit 10 minutes, I turned around and ran home so my total time was 20 minutes. I did this for about 5 days then switched to running 2 miles. Once I could 2 miles pretty easily, I upped it a little at a time. Finally after about 5 weeks, I had Gab plan me a 5K route. I set out and did it without stopping at all. I was very excited. I thought about that coach who 25 years ago told me I didn't have a runners body and thought "screw him". If he had encouraged me then, who knows what might have happened.

During this whole time, I also started riding my bike. The first time Kathy and I decided to ride to Humiston Woods. We knew it was 16 miles from my driveway to the woods and back. We checked the time and set out. The ride out was pretty easy, more worried about getting ran over because the roads were busy. Coming home was harder because of the wind and by the time we got home our legs were a little like rubber. It took about an hour and 2o minutes. We felt pretty good about that but knew we wanted our bike time down to under one hour.

We started riding in the country where there was no traffic. There was one good hill also. We would do the 10 mile ride a few times a week and we felt pretty confident with the bike portion.

Swimming...we needed to time ourselves at the swim because we had to have a time for registering for the race. Gab and I went to the Elks and I swam first. My time was 13 minutes (can't remember exactly). Gab got in and panicked and had to get out of the pool. He said he would try again next time. Same thing happened the next time we swam. My time got better and he could never get past the first lap without feeling like he was going to vomit. I asked him again "are you sure you want to do this? seriously, how are you going to get through the swim?". He said his plan was to "drown in the first event and then he didnt' need to worry about the bike or run".

I added bricks. I rode 10 miles on the bike and then immediately ran a mile. My feet felt like bricks but I ran through and knew it would take about half a mile to work it out. I was prepared (i thought).

Finding something to wear. Big boobied women are s.o.l. when it comes to athletics. Performance swim suits don't come big enough so I had to wear a lycra sports bra under my swim suit.

The weekend of the tri came (too fast) and I prayed for a severe thunderstorm that morning. We did get a thunderstorm but it came (and went) too early and by the time the race was to start, it had cleared up. We headed to the park and all the other athletes were there and they all looked totally buff and fit. I looked around the park for the other out of shape runners and said to Liz "um, where are all the freaking fat people Liz?". She looked around and pointed at us and said "right here". We realized that WE were the ones people would look at in photos and think "well if SHE can do it, then I can do it". I was terrified but had come too far to not go through with it. I put my bike in the staging area, got my ankle timer and number and lined up in my swim group. Gab was in the first group (slowest times went first). We had just guessed on his time (20 min.) since he had never actually completed a run. Luckily they put him the lane next to the wall, he got through by walking, hanging on the edge, and doggy paddle. He kept going though and was out and on the bike within 18 minutes.

When it was my turn to get in the water, the other people in my lane looked all athletic and skinny. A young girl was right in front of me (there were 3 people per lane - i think, maybe 4, i'm forgetting now). Anyway, we swam down one side of the rope then swam back the other. A few head bangs but I swim with my face up so I could see. I totally lapped the skinny young girl and felt awesome about that. My swim was 12 minutes.

Jumped out of the pool and ran/walked to the bikes. Dried off a bit, shoes on, tee shirt on, helmet on. Grab bike and walk it to the street, jump on bike and take off. I seriously UNDERestimated how long it would take my heart rate to come down from the vigorous swim. The bike ride went around the corner and immediately started going UPHILL. It basically never stopped going up hill, it was INSANE. The one part of the whole race I was not worried about was the bike ride and here it was killing me. I seriously almost started crying at one point. At the top of every hill I expected some relief but was met with another series of hills, mostly going up. As bikes would speed past me, I felt like I was crawling. The young skinny girl who I had lapped passed me pretty quickly into it. Ah well. Just when I started thinking I couldn't do it, an athlete would come up on me and encourage me "good job" and "keep going" and "you're doing awesome" REALLY helped keep me going. I thought "i have been out here for HOURS" (definitely taking a watch next year). I wished I had my cell phone so I could call Gab and see if there was ever an end to this bike ride. The people along the route would yell to me "this is the last hill, then it's all downhill from there" and I would be like "YEAH" then I would get to the top and see four more hills and think "those fucking liars". All I kept thinking was "well at least I know I'm not totally last since Kathy hasn't passed me yet" and then I hear "SHANNON!" and thinkg "oh damn". The very last mile of the ride, Kathy caught me and we rode in together.

Hang the bikes back up, helmets off, bandana on. Start running. OMG. I was prepared for my feet to feel like bricks for a little bit but this was something totally different. My feet didn't feel like bricks but my thighs were quivering and shaky. Because all the hills worked totally different muscle groups. I ran for about half a mile and then took three small steps and that was a huge mistake. Kathy kept going like a champ. I completed the 5K doing some run, some walk but I kept going. I honestly thought Gab, Liz, and everyone else had finished so far ahead of me that I pretty much gave up and just was going through the motions. As I headed out, some runners were heading back in (the 5K route was straight out one side of the road and then turn around and head back the other side). I see Gab coming back and he's going strong. I think "damn, they aren't even finished yet, WHY did I slow down so much?". About half way through I see Liz coming back, I yell "I fucking hate you Liz vincent" (only half joking because she convinced me to do this). Some very kind people had set up a table with water half way through and that was very much appreciated. As I approached the end, Gab had come back and was running with me encouraging me to keep going. I crossed the finish line and was SO glad it was over.

I got my medal, we took some pictures. I could barely walk at this point and we had to walk back to the hotel (just a few blocks) and clean up and pack and get checked out. Definitely next time we'll stay two nights so we aren't in such a rush after the race. We missed the big awards, etc. and the free beer was all gone by the time we got back so we just headed to the brewery. I was driving to Lake Tomahawk after that so I wasn't able to ease my pain with beer either (another reason I will be staying a second night).

For the first couple of hours after the race I said there was "no way I would do that again" but by the next day we were all talking about "next year" and we realized what we were saying. Soooo, as it turns out I am a runner. Not a very good one, but who cares. I finished and I wasn't even last (5th from last) and a whole bunch of people dropped out altogether so I feel pretty good about that.

2012. practice on more hills or take spin class. get a better swim suit/sports bra, wear a watch/pedometer