Monday, February 26, 2018

#5: run in some sort of race in another country

I was clad head-to-toe in unforgiving red felt, breathing more heavily than I should be, all while questioning my level of fitness...and sanity. To make matters more ridiculous, I was galloping with a horse head on a stick between my fashionably on fire Santa skirt. And it was all happening on the south island of New Zealand

Why was running on my list? Certainly not because I was good at it. 

I'm not going to lie and say that running is a source of positive inspiration and I feel amazing if I go for miles upon miles, blah blah blah. It turns out it's the most effective form of all around exercise in one shot kind of deal, and lessens the guilt involving my pizza habit. Once in a blue moon a genius idea pops into my head whilst pounding the pavement...I'll give it that. Speedy brilliance. (Ok, slow and steady brilliance.) 

The other thing that should be noted is that the conditions have to be just right for a run to be successful in any sort of sense. (Or to happen at all, actually.) The perfect combination of sleep, hydration, and not having eaten for 3.4 hours. 

On this day, the conditions were close, but not quite. They were: 
- "slept" in a hostel for 2 nights.
- sustained on peanut butter and pretzels for 24 hours.
- drank a fair amount of local beer the night before.
- weather was 20 degrees warmer than it should've been for that time of year. RECORDS WERE BROKEN, PEOPLE.

So, here we were in Lord of the Rings land, with a semi-forced KJ signed up for the Great KidsCan Santa Run as my running buddy. Because she's a great sport, she had agreed. It was meant to be 5K of holiday spirit fun, draped in Santa garb, for a good cause. I could get behind that for sure, and the fact that I'd be checking number five off THE LIST was a bonus. 

With numerous cities hosting the Santa run, and the video of throngs of jubilant Santas running the previous year's race on their website luring me in, we landed on Invercargill. It was also the only location that lined up with our itinerary. 

We needed props, obviously. That's how we found ourselves in the local dollar store. It did not disappoint. Steve and I fell in love hard and fast. He was the reindeer on a stick I didn't know I needed. One that now had the privilege of joining our escapade

We arrived at the park in the small hamlet of Invercargill, on the very south of the south island in New Zealand. Nevermind I was wearing a ridiculous felt suit- I was going to jog around in it in NEW ZEALAND. NEW. FREAKIN'. ZEAL. AND. I should also mention there were mystery prizes on the line here. I didn't know what the categories were, but I knew that I was, in no way, shape, or form, going to snag a gold ribbon for crossing that finish line first. I hoped to tick off another category and trotted away with Steve towards the starting line. 

I took a solid gander around, sizing up the other Santas. There weren't so many as hundreds or thousands of people ready to run this thing as there were about 45-50. And that's being generous with my holiday math. 

Much to my dismay, it was not a booming "HO, HO, HO!" that kicked off the race, but rather a regular dude on a microphone with questionable dance moves to the thumpin' jamz, yelling "Go!" 

KJ and I started off strong for about 60 yards. That's when the felt fabric took a turn for the worse, heating our bodies well past comfortable.  We were sweating, and panting and looking at each other in disbelief. 

"Are we that out of shape?!" I asked KJ. 

"It does feel that way!" she exasperated. 

Tiny kid Santas passed us. Dogs with hats smirked knowingly at us. It was embarrassing. 

If only Steve was a real horse, I thought. I spent the next 32 seconds angry at Steve for not having the magical ability to transform into a living breathing animal of his kind. And then I remembered something. 

Who thought that running in a skirt would be a grand idea?
I pressed Steve's antler. And with that Steve's power song was activated. We galloped along to the reindeer stylings of Jingle Bells, over, and over, AND OVER again. By the time we rounded to the finish line I never wanted to hear Jingle Bells again and I wouldn't have minded throwing Steve in the nearest bush. 

But this was it, the shining moment where I was, in fact, shining with immense sweat. Steve and I took our places and I summoned the last shred of energy by way of the promise of the beer that was only about 20 minutes away from that moment. We cantered our as*es through that finish line like the stars that we were

KJ, Steve and I collapsed on the grass thankful to be done with this exercising in third grade arts and crafts materials thing. I would've left straight away because beer, but there were prizes to be had and I felt as though I deserved one. Also, why is felt SO ITCHY. 

It was prize time. I'm not great at math but by my calculations I was not to be accepting the first place award. Whatever else they had up their sleeves was keeping me in suspense. And the award for 'MOST SPIRIT' goes to...

I'll give you a wild guess.

And that's how I became the owner of a fantastically ridiculous and hefty coffee table book of weird fashion trends. 

Totally useless but also hilarious. One day, when I had a coffee table again, I'd glance at it, and remember this moment where I received a book of high fashion for running slow but with loads of spirit in the lowest of low fashion, on a stick reindeer in New Zealand. And that? That was something. Getting it into my already stuffed to the gills luggage was going to be another story however.

Beer me.

**Run in some sort of race in another country? CHECK! Run in a felt skirt with a reindeer stick that cost $1 and win a hefty book for my efforts? CHECK, CHECK!

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