2013 was quite the year (though you wouldn't know it from the lack of posts on my blog). Two weddings, a new house, a new cat, and so, so much more. Since a picture is worth a thousand words--and I have 16--I'm recapping the year with my favorite photos.
Chinese New Year in Seattle's International District
It's been quiet around here lately. I apologize for that.
They say that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. I don't know who the proverbial "they" are, but "they" are right.
In a nutshell, the Goodlaffs have had a lot going on. I didn't blog about it, but at the end of March, we took the first step towards becoming homeowners by attending a first-time homebuyers class. Three days later, we were pre-approved; two days after that we were meeting with a realtor. We began a house hunt and found one we liked. We made an offer and it got accepted.
The day we found out that we bought a house, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg. In a few weeks, I will be getting rechecked to make sure it's gone, and then we will set about finding out what caused it. I've been resting and healing, and I haven't been able to eat much in the way of green leafy vegetables, as it interferes with the blood thinning medication I've been taking. It's funny, but the minute the doctor told me that I couldn't eat spinach, all I wanted to do was sit down and eat a big old spinach salad. And I'm not even that big of a fan of spinach!
Since then, it's been a whirl of doctor's appointments and weekends at The Home Depot. We've learned how to use a lawnmower, hacked back the wilderness that was our backyard (see below!), installed a mailbox, had the electrical completely updated, and, in the course of appliance shopping, learned the hierarchy of refrigerator brands.
We move in less than two weeks.
We've started packing; the house is a disaster, with alternating towers of empty and full boxes clinging to the walls for support. The first of what I'm sure will be several trips to Goodwill happened today, and even though we took four trash bags full of linens and clothes, two paper bags full of books (yes, I got rid of some books. Be proud.) and various other sundry, a lamp, and a filing cabinet, the house still feels as full as it did before.
All of this means that I've been neglectful of this blog, and you, the five people who read it.
As soon as the dust has somewhat settled, I promise I'll be back. But for now, wish us luck with our move. We are going to need it!
A few months ago I saw my local fabric store, West Seattle Fabric Company, had gotten a new collection of fabric from Moda: Glamping. It was unbelievably cute, and I knew I had to have some of it. What would I do with it? I had no idea. But that wasn't going to stop me. (Side note--that's how I have come to collect an entire drawer of fat quarters that I haven't yet used.)
I mean, look at it:
I loved the cute tents and trailers, and figured that I'd find something to do with them later.
Well, it's later, and I did, in fact, find something to use that fabric for:
A glamping kitchen set! I embellished three towels and made two potholders and an oven mitt. I am so happy with how they came out:
The potholders are double sided. Glamping fabrics on one side:
And ginghams on the other.
I used Insul-bright to insulate the oven mitts and potholders, which means they are not only pretty, but they won't burn your hands when you use them--very functional! (BTW: If you're interested, I found the pattern for the oven mitt at Skip to My Lou. I didn't use a pattern for the potholders. I figured I could handle the square without needing instructions.)
I'm sending this entire set off to the Newman Memorial Foundation as a donation to their annual Fishing Derby's silent auction. Hopefully someone will love them as much as I do!
I'm also sending along these fun little key fobs that they can use for prizes. They are really easy and quick to make, so I figured--why not?
I've used my convalescence of the past week or so to check another item off the 30 Before 30 list. You all remember that I changed my goal of crocheting a blanket to a scarf. Well, goal accomplished!
I have been saving this super cute mustard yellow yarn for a rainy day (let's be honest--I pretty much save all my yarn for a rainy day), and finally found a project worthy of it. I put my new crochet skills to good use and made this braided scarf/cowl:
I spotted this on Pinterest, and instantly knew that I had to try the scarf. It turned out so well, and was a super-easy project, especially for a beginner like me. The suggested "pattern" for it didn't seem like it would really work for what I was trying to accomplish, so I changed it up a bit. I cast on 120 stitches and did 5 rows of double crochet, times three strands (size H hook). Braid them up, seam them off and voila! Scarf.
If you're like me and you use Google reader to keep up with all the blogs you follow, you're probably pretty sad to see that it's going away. It seems that everyone is jumping on the Bloglovin' bandwagon, so I though I'd give it a shot.
It's been almost a month, so I figured I would fill you in on my progress. I have taken a lot of steps toward accomplishing my goals, but I'm sad to say, I can't check anything off the list just yet.
So, what am I up to?
1. I'm reading Jane Eyre. I've gotten further in the book than I ever have before, but I'm nowhere near becoming a fan. Sorry to all you Bronte fans out there, but every time I pick up the book, I'm bored. Give me back my Jane Austen.
2. Become a homeowner. We have started looking for houses. This process merits a whole other post, which I may or may not do (depends on my laziness), but suffice it to say, we are looking at but not finding a whole lot...
3. Finding my style. I spent about an hour last week tearing all my clothes out of the closet and mashing them together in random outfits. I'm pretty sure my five year old niece puts together better outfits than I did. It's a process.
4. Run a 5K. I signed up for one, does that count? Sure, sure, there's a bunch of training to be done, but I am committed to running one at the end of August. In Disneyland. If you have to run, you may as well be running in the happiest place on earth, right?
5. Crochet a blanket. I learned to crochet a bit more, and I even bought a book to teach me the rest, but I think I was a little too ambitious in thinking I would be able to start and finish a blanket having barely learned how to do a chain stitch. I am amending my task to "crochet a scarf," because, as the old saying goes, you've got to crawl before you decide to run a marathon. Or something like that.
6. Let my hair down. I have actually been making an effort to wear my hair down at least once a week, and I've been mostly successful so far. I missed one week, but otherwise, hair has been worn down more in the last month than the last year. Success.
7. Floss Daily. I have been flossing every day. I've been so good, and I fully expect my dentist to look at my mouth during my next cleaning and say to me: "Finally. Welcome to adulthood where we suck it up, put on our big girl panties, and do unpleasant things like floss our teeth and take out the trash before it overflows."
8. Sew clothing for myself. I bought fabric for a skirt. Although, it should be noted that I already had fabric for two other skirts. Um, right...
And there you have it, my progress on the road toward 30.
Behold, Lucky Charms cupcakes! I found this recipe on Pinterest a month or so ago, and knew it would be perfect for St. Patty's Day. Green cupcakes with real bits of Lucky Charms cereal, marshmallow buttercream frosting, and green and gold sprinkles, topped off with a lucky charm. I brought them into work today, and they were a big hit.
My frosting skills still need a bit of work, but other than that, I'm pretty pleased with how they came out.
I do have to tell you, there was one huge advantage to making this recipe: I have almost an entire box of Lucky Charms left over. I'm so excited!
I can say, in all honesty, that I'm not dreading this milestone. I freaked out when I turned 27 (don't ask me why--it was just a scary number). Thirty? Not so much. Thirty is only really noteworthy to me because instead of starting my age with a two, I will have to use a three; this is fine by me, because half the time I can't remember how old I really am anyway. Am I 28? 29? Definitely 28, no 29. Seriously, sometimes I have to do the math, awkwardly counting on my fingers. It's a bit embarrassing.
Still, with such a milestone birthday approaching, I've been thinking back on what I thought 30 would be like. My younger self was pretty ambitious, and I'm nowhere near where I thought I'd be a few years ago, let alone over a decade ago. I'm not too disappointed: my twelve year-old self could never have known that being a ballerina was a dream that was over before it started (yet, I still wonder, is 30 too late to go en pointe?).
I've seen a few bloggers put together a 30 before 30 list--a sort of bucket list, if you will. Usually these lists are made years in advance, and include all manner of things big and small that a person wants to do before turning thirty. While thinking about what would be on my own list, I got a wild idea that, with less than a year to go, this would be a good idea.
It seemed only fair that since I am starting a bit late, I get to pad the list a little bit. I do like to think that the things I've included on my list that I have already done or accomplished would have been on there had I started five years ago, so my conscience is clear.
Here's what I've come up with:
1. Live in another country
I lived in Shanghai, China for a year, and I loved it. In fact, I would love to live abroad again someday.
2. Visit Europe
Thanks to our honeymoon, my husband and I have both been to Europe. There's so much more to see and do, and so many places that we want to visit, but consider this a big fat check off the bucket list.
3.Go to the Ballet or the Opera
I've been to see The Nutcracker a few times, but I would love to see another Ballet. I've never seen an Opera, but think it could be an interesting experience.
4. Read Jane Eyre
No self-respecting English Major admits to having never read Jane Eyre, but there you have it. I love Jane Austen; I've read Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count. I slogged through Pamela and Middlemarch. But I have never, ever been able to get into Jane Eyre. I've started this novel at least four or five times, and put it down every time. It's high time I read it.
5. Read Anna Karenina
Quite a few people that I know have at least one shelf on their bookcase that is full of books that make them look smart. I have one with a lot of "classics" (including Jane Eyre) and some very long, very thick books that I've never read but that make me look very well-read. Anna Karenina is one of those books.
6. Buy a house
I hope before the year is over to be a homeowner. There's nothing I want more than to choose my own paint colors and maybe take a gigantic sledgehammer to a wall that needs to come down. What? It looks like great fun on TV.
7. Do a half marathon
Been there, ran that. Notice how I didn't add "do a marathon" to this list?
8. Listen to the entire Beatles Catalog
My parents weren't big Beatles fans, so while I know the popular Beatles songs, I'm a bit clueless about the rest of them. Time to get a Fab Four education.
9. Find my style
I follow Kendi Everyday, and I'm so jealous of this girl's style. I want to develop my own style and make an effort to look a little more put-together everyday.
10. Get a "big girl" wardrobe
As much as I love Old Navy, I really need to take more care in selecting and taking care of my wardrobe. This, of course, means having a wardrobe that's worth taking care of, which means investing in things that will last a long time.
11. Learn how to put on makeup well
Foundation, powder, highlighting--it all mystifies me. I'm definitely not saying that I want to put on a full face of makeup every day, but I would like to find a routine and know how to do my makeup well enough not to feel like a rube every time I set foot in Sephora.
12. Lose 30 pounds
I was going to call this one "get healthy", but I think in this case, a specific goal is not a bad idea. I hope to lose more, but I think 30 is a pretty good start.
13. Run a 5K
I've done a 5K (two, actually), but I want to actually run one, all the way through, without stopping.
14. Move to another city or state
We moved to Seattle for no reason other than we wanted to be here, which is pretty awesome.
15. Make a new friend (outside of work)
I'm introverted, and it's hard for me to step out of my comfort zone and actually talk to people I don't know or to do activities that require more than superficial social interaction. Grown-ups should know how to make friends, and as I am a grown-up (most days), I will learn how to do this.
16. Try yoga
Last year, Mr. Goodlaff and I took a yoga class for about 7 months and really enjoyed ourselves. It wasn't something I thought I would ever do or enjoy, but I'm glad I did it, and I really did like it.
17. Crochet a blanket
Mama Goodlaff has a blanket on her bed that was a wedding present. It's crocheted and has little chevron stripes on it, and I love the way I can poke my fingers through the holes. I want a blanket of my own, and I want to learn how to crochet better--two birds, one stone.
18. Read East of Eden
The book is supposed to be amazing, and I've always meant to read it. Now seems as good a time as any.
19. Learn to like tomatoes
I do like tomatoes, I just like them cooked. I want to learn to like fresh tomatoes.
20. Kayak the sound
I think kayaking would be really fun, and we have a few local areas where we could easily do this.
21. Fly a plane
The other day, I saw a Groupon for an introductory flight lesson. I've always wanted to fly a plane, and maybe someday, I will get a pilot's license.
22. Let my hair down
I always wear my hair up. It's thick, it's long, and it's a pain in the ass. Still, I'm going to try to wear it down at least once a week.
23. Hot air balloon
I may have to get up super early to make the flight, but I think riding in a hot air balloon would be the most majestic thing.
24. Ride the Ducks
There's this crazy tourist activity here in Seattle where you get to ride all around in an amphibious water/land craft. The boat cruises all around the city, then drives straight into Lake Union. Plus, you can buy a duck quack kazoo. There's no downside here.
25. Sew clothing for myself
I have sewn a few aprons and a pinafore for my niece, but I've never made clothes for myself. I'm pretty sure that's the next step in my sewing adventures.
26. Buy a car
With Daddy Goodlaff being a mechanic, I had never had the experience of buying my own car. Last year, we bought two.
27. Floss daily
I hate flossing. I get a lecture every time I go to the dentist. Grown-ups floss on a daily basis, so it's time I do too.
28. Be a better friend
The friends that I have are long distance. I don't keep in touch with them as often as I should, and that makes me a little sad. I want to be better about keeping in touch so we don't grow any farther apart.
29. See a Roller Derby
All I know about roller derby is that girls on skates knock each other down. Maybe that's all there is to it, maybe not. Still, I think it'd be fun to see one.
30. Learn how to drive a stick shift
I honestly don't see how I'm going to be able to do this one. We don't have a car with a manual transmission sitting around, and it's unlikely that someone will hand me their keys and let me destroy their clutch. But it's always something I've wanted to learn, and the skill could come in handy one day.
It has been brought to my attention--by the two people who actually ran the race with me, no less--that my last post didn't really have anything good to say about the Sea Wheeze. While grueling, the experience was not without its positives.
1. I had the courage to start
At first, the idea to do a half-marathon was ludicrous, then tempting, but when I signed up, it became a reality. It was a crazy idea, but I'm pretty impressed with myself for even agreeing to do it in the first place. Facing such a long path towards doing a half-marathon was daunting, but despite all the reasons I shouldn't do it, I still decided to give it a try; I'm not sure that there are a lot of people in my same position that would have made the same decision. And that's pretty awesome.
2. I surprised myself
I didn't realize how strong I was until I dragged myself 13.1 miles and across that finish line. Though I wanted to many, many times, I didn't give up, and I was pleasantly surprised by my own determination, moxie, stubbornness, and grit. Mind blown--in a good way.
3. I Finished.
I ran a little and walked the rest of 13.1 miles in a day and lived to tell the tale. I didn't finish in the top anything, but I did finish, and they gave me a medal to prove how badass a feat it really is. How many people do you know who have actually done a half marathon? Because I have. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
4. I may actually like running someday.
It was only for a little while, and it wasn't something that I did particularly well, but I could see how people can actually like this whole running thing. I think given time, practice, and a better fitness level, it could actually be--dare I say--fun?
I've struggled with how to put this last bit into words. See, in general, I consider myself to be a positive person, but my experience with the race at the end was really awful, and I want my account to be as honest as possible. So, sorry in advance for the doom and gloom.
By the time we hit Stanley Park, we were only walking. My feet hurt, my back hurt, and it was all I could do not to throw myself down on the ground and sob. Uncontrollably. For the rest of my life.
I sat on a bench at one point to adjust my sock; getting back up from that bench was one of the hardest things I did all day. We stopped at an aid station to get a bandage on the bottom of my foot for an emerging blister, and I desperately wished that the cot I sat on was the finish line. I stopped talking to Mr. Goodlaff because I was afraid if I said anything it would be something I'd regret. I was really, really angry. At myself, at him, at the course, at my feet, at the patronizing bastards at the cheer stations (in retrospect, I recognize they were trying to be helpful and inspiring), at everything. I wanted so badly to give up.
But I didn't. And it wasn't because "I knew deep down I could do it" or "fall down seven times, stand up eight." I won't lie and give you schmaltzy crap about sunshine and rainbows and triumph and perseverance.
The fact is this: I didn't quit because I didn't want to be that girl. I didn't want to admit to myself that I was certifiably insane it wasn't the smartest move signing up for a half marathon when I couldn't even run half a mile. I didn't want it to be proven as fact that I was vastly out of shape for this. I didn't want to be the cautionary tale that they wheel out on a golf cart, everyone looking at you with pitying eyes, shaking their heads and saying later, she never should have tried. I did not want to have come that far and not cross that damn finish line.
I spent miles trapped in my own head, frustrated with myself, with our lack of training, with the world, and the only thing that kept me going, besides my overwhelming fear of failure, was the grim thought that anyone who doubted me, anyone who'd said I shouldn't do it or didn't have to finish the whole thing, would be proven wrong by the medal I would wear around my neck. Petty, but oddly comforting.
We walked so long that my feet were numb. I vaguely recognized that they were in pain, but ignored it. There were still people behind us; I checked all the time. We pressed on.
There's a joke I've heard that anyone can run 26 miles--it's the last .2 that gets you. Well, 13 miles is nothing. It's the last tenth of a mile that's a real bitch. Around every corner, I thought we were almost done. And after every corner, there was one more corner, and one more corner, and it seemed like it would never end. Before the race, Mr. Goodlaff and I had talked about triumphantly running--sprinting, even--to the finish line. I came around the last corner before the finish line, turned to him, and said (trying to hold back tears), "I can't do it. I've got nothing left."
It took every ounce of mettle and stubbornness I had to make it those last 100 yards. When we crossed the finish line, they were starting to pack it in--it had been just over four hours by that point. Mr. Goodlaff and I clasped hands and passed under the watermelon for the second time that day, and this time, a lovely girl handed me a medal; she asked if we wanted our picture taken, and we (I hope, given my mood at that point) politely declined.
We walked a few yards, were each given a bottle of water and a juice box of coconut water (nastiest thing ever--I'd rather eat the goo again), and found an obliging curb to sit down on.
Sweet, sweet pavement! I stretched out my legs, loosened the laces on my shoes, gulped down the water (spit out the coconut water), and tried, for the five millionth time that day, not to cry. We sat there, pathetic and triumphant. A few short minutes later our relaxation was disrupted by some teenage boys doing race cleanup, sweeping up the trash in the streets. Now, I know we were in their way, being perched on the street curb they were assigned to and all, but they swept and swept, getting closer and closer to us until their brooms were barely two feet away from where we were flopped. Clearly they (and their brooms) did not understand that we had just accomplished something major. The looked at us with annoyance and dismay, so we took the obvious hint and got out of their way
Before heading back to the hotel, LK, Mr. Goodlaff, and I took an opportunity for photos by the Olympic cauldron:
Because that's how the athletes do it...
Maybe you remember the kerfuffle about McKayla Maroney's face at the medal ceremony (she was the Olympic gymnast who should have won gold but fell on her butt and won silver instead)? Well, McKayla was not impressed by our performance--neither were we...
Photo ops done, we headed back to our hotel and flopped on the bed. I've never been more thankful for a bed in my life.
It was when I got up from the bed that the trouble started. My left foot hurt. A lot. I took a shower and my left foot still hurt. I had to hobble from the shower to the bed and the bed to the chair. It was excruciating.
There was ice, lots of ice. Mr. Goodlaff hobbled out to get us lunch--he had massive blisters on the bottom of his feet. There was more ice. We were supposed to go to a concert that was priority access for runners, but I couldn't walk. Still more ice. LK came up to our room and we ordered room service because any other restaurant would have involved walking (you see where this is going, right?). Through the night, ice.
The next morning my foot got better and then worse. I iced my foot in the car on the way home, and about an hour away from Seattle, decided I should go to urgent care to make sure nothing was broken. The nurse looked at my foot, told me it was probably a strain, and if it didn't get better in a week or so to come back in.
It didn't get better. A few days in, I asked Mr. Goodlaff to get me crutches because crawling around our apartment was becoming undignified. If you ever find yourself in need of crutches, head to Goodwill--tons of them, and very cheap! Also, crutches are deathtraps--crawling would have been safer.
I went to a different doctor for my check up and he said it wasn't broken. He told me I had probably torn or sprained my foot, and gave me the diagnosis: I had Plantar Fasciitis. I was to do stretches, and wear inserts, and it would get better.
I sort of did and it has.
I haven't run since the Sea Wheeze, and I'm off of half-marathons for the time being. I think it was a bit extreme to go from never having been a runner to trying to do 13.1 miles in a few hours without having put in the proper training. I was Barney in that episode of How I Met Your Mother when he tells Marshall that you don't train for a marathon--you just go out and start running it. He does and deals with the consequences. I did too.
I am willing to try again someday, but for now, I'm putting the training wheels back on. Until I can run, and I mean really, really run a 5k continuously, without stopping, I'm not going to attempt a half-marathon again.
Before I get going, I should give a shout-out to LK, who took pretty much all of these pictures. She ran with her phone and was able to take these shots--I wasn't willing to carry mine with me.
Finally after waiting an eternity, we crossed the start line and took off running.
I was a gazelle! We were passing people! We were running! We were awesome! That lasted for about five minutes before I felt like I was going to die Mr. Goodlaff and I decided to save our energy for the other 13 miles and slowed to a brisk walk, and LK took off like a little bunny rabbit, jogging off into the crowd in front of us.
We kept up a mix of alternating walking and running for the first few miles, and I obsessively looked over my shoulder to make sure that we were not last. We crossed over a bridge, wound our way through Vancouver's Chinatown, and hoofed over to the port. Right before we hit our first water/aid station, we were cheered on by paddleboarders in the harbor:
And serenaded by a gospel choir singing "Let the Sun Shine In":
Once we hit our first aid station, I gulped down a cloudy glass of what tasted like extremely watered down lemonade but was actually a cup of electrolytes. I've never in my life been so glad for any liquid beverage as I was that day. The magical electrolytes were an instant jolt of energy, as was the half a banana that the volunteers offered to me. I was rejuvenated! Onward we went.
We curled around city streets, climbed a hill, and began heading up what I now know is called the Burrard Bridge, but right then, I had a much different name for it. Let's call it, for the sake of any young eyes out there, the Bridge of Death. Throw a few expletives of your choice in there and you have a pretty close approximation of what I actually called it. At this point, I was cranky. I was tired, I was pissed off, and I was climbing a hill. We were about 8 kilometers in (what does that even mean? Silly Canadians and their silly kilometers!), and I wanted to cry.
Actually, I wanted more electrolytes.
Mr. Goodlaff and I came down the bridge hill and met LK, who was about to head back over the bridge. She gave us the good news that another hill was in our future. Perfect. Then she took this picture:
Mr. Goodlaff was just being funny. Well, mostly.
So, up the hill of death we went, past cheering crowds and awesome signs--"You've got the eye of the tiger--and legs of Gisele" and "You are 2 legit 2 quit". We passed a group of Beliebers (Justin Bieber fans), who for some unknown reason, got up early to cheer on half-marathoners. I guess they have to keep their lungs conditioned for when they can actually scream for Justin Beiber.
The aid station at the bottom of the hill was kind enough to fill my water bottle, give me more electrolytes, and pass another half banana my way.
And, even though I knew it was coming, I wasn't ready to cross back over the Bridge of Death. I ate a packet of goo, which is a specially formulated, runny Jello-like substance that is supposed to help you keep your energy up if you can force it down, which I did.
We kept on trucking, finally getting to the edge of Stanley Park, which Mr. Goodlaff and I had toured a few months before. Unfortunately we knew what we were in for. Even the drag queens cheering for us couldn't quite lift my spirits.
There's not much that I can say about my half marathon other than this: Thank God it's over.
I'm not even remotely only halfway kidding.
I had a lot of big goals when I agreed to do the Lululemon Sea Wheeze Half-Marathon. I was going to run. every. day. I was going to be swift and strong and ready. I was going to train, and it was going to be awesome.
To be fair, we did train. We just didn't train nearly enough. A lot happened between January and August, and not a lot of it was running. For several months, Mr. Goodlaff and I did really well. We walked every day, then we started running. Then it was raining, then I got sick, then we got busy with work, then it rained some more, and I got sick again, and, well....you get the idea. By the time we hit July, we sort of gave up and went with the mantra of "it will be what it will be." (Not a good mantra, incidentally.)
With the lack of proper preparation going into the race, I only had two goals for the race:
2. Don't come in last place
As you can see, my hopes were high.
Mr. Goodlaff and I headed up to Vancouver late Friday morning, and checked into our hotel (the Four Seasons--we are so classy!) a few hours later. After meeting up with LK and some initial confusion regarding the location of package pickup, we finally made it to the convention center to check in and get our race gear.
The minute we stepped foot in the convention center, I knew we were in for it. The place was filled to the brim with fit, skinny people who had been intense runners since the day they were born. I felt an internal wave of deep, dark despair, but then someone handed me a free lime-flavored popsicle, and the panic slightly ebbed. We got our bags and our free flip flops, and headed out to find somewhere to carb up for the next day's race.
That night, I laid out all my gear and checked over it twice:
Somehow I managed to get a decent amount of sleep before our alarm went off at an un-Godly hour. After a light breakfast of a banana and a trail mix bar that was one part gravel, one part cardboard, we headed out to our corral--that's marathon code for a group of people that go as fast (or in our case as slow) as you do. Our corral was the last one. Corral 8--the corral for everyone else.
We met up with LK and did a bit of stretching, but mostly we just stood around, waiting for our turn to start. It took a long time. We took photos to keep ourselves amused:
We were so far back from the start/finish line that we couldn't even hear what was going on. The speakers literally did not come as far back as we were, which was a little demoralizing--apparently only fast runners get speakers. We heard snippets of cheers and announcements as they bounced off the buildings around us, but for at least a half hour, we were not even in range to see or hear what was going on at the giant watermelon rainbow that marked the start line.
Finally, we got close enough where starting was a possibility. It was then that we put on our game faces, because it was finally go time.