Running with Ed

I will do anything—anything—to support education. And, as it turns out, so will tons of my fellow Park City residents. I’m not talking about endless hours of school volunteering, committee meetings, homework help, or even schlepping around town to tutoring sessions. Many, many of us do that, too. But we all turned out on Saturday in teams of five-10 humans of varying age ranges, for Running with Ed, a 38-mile relay that passes every school in the district, plus a few other scenic spots. Created by the Park City Education Foundation, the race raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to support programs in our awesome school district.

Go, Team! Powered By Proforma, ready to race

Go, Team! Powered By Proforma, ready to race

 

Let me tell you this: I never run more than 5 miles in a day. So, as I recruited a team—including my kids, another family with two kids, and our friends Kathy and Mel—I looked for a mix of fun people who would take on legs of varying length. I committed to a 5.15 mile leg of the race, from City Park to Treasure Mountain Junior High School. Which sounded fine to me, until mid-leg, when I realized I would be climbing FOREVER AND A DAY through a mountain trail in the blazing midday sun. Thankfully, I got to share a few strides with my friend Carey (who smoked my sorry butt, but whatever), which made the run more fun. But, I digress. I was in awe when my friend Kerrie said she’d run two legs, back-to-back, and do an extra mile with all the kids. And when my pal Kathy said, she’d way rather run the short, impossibly steep, leg up to Utah Olympic Park.

Like everyone, we had our pre-game rituals—ours included running behind schedule, forgetting hats and going back to fetch them, eating bagels in the car on the way to meet the rest of the team, plus some impromptu breakdancing.

Pump up the jam!

Pump up the jam!

The team spirit of the event—not just our team, but all the teams, exchange station sponsors, race volunteers, spectators around town—blew me away. As Jeff said, “It felt like a block party for the whole town!” One where the official food is donuts. No joke—donuts were featured extensively at every exchange station. Plus, candy, orange slices and water. Our friends at Educational Advantage offered dozens of Krispy Kremes, for instance. At Trailside Elementary School, there was sparkling cider in plastic wine glasses. Teams had elaborate costumes. I ran behind one woman in a demure tutu (thank you Pink Tutu Lady for keeping me going), alongside a woman in a bumblebee-striped t-shirt, behind a man in camo base layers, that, perhaps, were not the most well-thought-out costume. As I jogged behind one runner in this getup, I dubbed his thin shorts, “TMI shorts.” Sorry, dude—maybe a base layer under your base layer next year?

We hooted and hollered at various decorated vehicles, like this one.

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Cheers! (Fizzy-juice style)

Cheers! (Fizzy-juice style)

We giggled at the presence of a limo, provided by a sponsor to the team who raised the most money in the weeks leading up to the race:

Relay in style

Relay in style

 

At each leg, the rest of the team picked a spot to meet the running members and escort them into the exchange point. It wasn’t planned—I decided to go meet Lance and his pal as they approached Ecker Hill Middle School, then the kids decided together to run the last 50 yards of the killer Olympic Park hill with Kathy. Our kid-led runs included the leg from Jeremy Ranch Elementary School to Ecker Hill Middle School, Park City Mountain Resort to City Park, and Trailside Elementary School to the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse at Newpark.

Running up Utah Olympic Park Hill with Kathy

Running up Utah Olympic Park Hill with Kathy

 

And, then, we made a “thing” of it. Here we are with Mel…

Running with Ed, Running with Mel

Running with Ed, Running with Mel

 

And then my boys and I found a way to run the last mile or so with our teammates, and gathered a few more team members to cross the finish line, together.

Woooooot!!!!

Woooooot!!!!

Our family’s business, Proforma Peak Printing and Promotions, is a race sponsor. We created the step-and-repeat where teams pose for pre- and post-race photos, the route guidance signs that keep runners headed in the right direction, the lawn signs that racers place in their yards, declaring, “I’m Running with Ed!”

Look how much fun we had—and how cute we look in front of that step-and-repeat! We even did a few other projects—like team running shirts for a few clients, and the swag bags for the event. As the de-facto team captain, I was too distracted by, you know, all the other things I do in a day, to order screen-printed t-shirts, so I did the next-best-thing (or maybe even the better thing) and had the kids decorate our team shirts. They designed the logo—a battery—and wrote “Powered by Proforma” on the back of each shirt. Very cute.

We finished! (Two team members departed early for a birthday party!)

We finished! (Two team members departed early for a birthday party!)

This Ragnar-sponsored event, has a home-grown feel. Though, as a non-competitive runner—really, seriously, I have such short legs and small feet, that I look like a cartoon character, blurry from the waist down, when I run—I had to say, it was cool to see the actual athletes glide by me with their perfect runner form, and still yell out, “Good Job!” as they passed me. Our town takes a lot of pride in this event, and it shows. In fact, when Mel took me to a hot yoga class at our neighborhood studio, Tadasana, the next day, the instructor gave the event a nice shout-out. “Who ran? Show of hands?” she asked, before we began. “Thank you for supporting our kids’ education! Let’s stretch those hips!”

Here’s a cool video recap of the event, from Park City Television. For the record, the editor of this video had access to footage of me, mugging for the camera, arms raised in victory, looking like I was absolutely enjoying the endless hill. You will see, at about 00:58, that the editor made the choice to show, well, a different perspective.

Any way you slice it, the day rocked.

(all photos courtesy Jeffrey Rothchild)

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The Unhealthy Health Writer

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You know how, sometimes, you read health stories in magazines, or you listen to a report on TV about the latest research, and you think: “I can’t possibly do all the things the world recommends to keep myself healthy?”  Well, imagine you are a health writer, and your job is to be on top of the latest research—to find that magic bullet that is protective against breast cancer and heart disease (oh, right, it’s exercise, and maybe chocolate, and possibly wine, but only if you have no family history of breast cancer and you’re half orangutan. Ok, I made that middle part up, whatever.). You spend your days mentally checking off the boxes in the “I’m not supposed to do/eat/think this column.” Or, if you’re me, you think: ‘Oh, great, I just ran three miles, but I forgot to stretch, and now I’m sitting on my butt writing for the rest of the day, and I read somewhere that that could be worse for me than not exercising at all.’

And then, of course, the science changes. Things you thought you were supposed to avoid (hello, eggs), turn out to be just peachy, thankyouverymuch. Still, you can’t shake the notion—or, at least, I can’t shake the notion—that while I’m doing research on a story on heart disease prevention, it’s a sort of sacrilege to down three mini-quiches at the coffee shop while I send email queries to experts. I know, I know, I’m a rebel without a cause. Here are some other things I do, dead wrong:

I don’t sleep much. At all. Instead, I struggle to stay awake to see how House Hunters: Renovation turns out. (Hint: It cost more than they budgeted to spend. There were unexpected delays. It’s more beautiful than they can imagine. And they are now trapped in a museum quality masterpiece of a house that they cannot afford.) Sleep is one of those things experts like to tell me, for attribution, that make a difference in weight gain, weight loss, inflammation, heart health, and a host of other health issues. That’s all well and good, but if the Property Brothers are on my DVR, well, they’re not going to watch themselves!

I over-caffeinate. This works out well for no one. Except for the imaginary people who are chasing me.

I forget to floss. My awesome dental health professional, Mike, likes to tell me I can get by with a few days a week. This, to my ears, is code for “not at all.” Oops.

I try to “win” yoga. This is defeatist in about six different ways. First of all yoga is where you are supposed to find your Zen, go inward, and forget that other people are in the room. Missy, the instructor in my Wednesday morning class, overheard me telling a pal, before class, that I had gotten so enchanted with the idea of “flipping the dog” and doing “wheel” pose, because the substitute instructor said something about “reaching for a goal,” in the previous week’s class, that I spent the rest of the week with a pinched nerve in my neck. So, the whole class got a lecture about checking our egos at the door, and just doing what our bodies want in the moment. My body, it wants to WIN, dammit.

I bite off more than I can chew and burn the candle at both ends while thinking up other cliches to describe my predicament. This is a version of the lecture I received from my parents for my entire educational career, every time I took on a role in the school play, plus wrote for the school newspaper and joined three fun clubs, at the expense of my GPA. That last part just makes me a bad writer.

I don’t stretch after I work out. Not enough, anyway. My hamstrings are forever tight. I have failed massage. Twice.

I eat sugar. Not tons. Unless there’s a bag of marshmallows in the house. Then, watch out, people.

I want fries with that. Every time. Never, ever, ever do I substitute the salad.

I spend too much time on social media. It’s an occupational hazard. I am endlessly curious, and also always in pursuit of a story idea. And if three friends whine about the same thing—sore hamstrings from spinning, guilt over eating something yummy, or whatever…it could be a trend!

All in all, none of these are terrible health sins. I still subscribe to the “everything in moderation, including moderation,” mantra. But I know, too, that I let myself get away with too many of these things, too frequently. Especially the sleep thing. So, what are you letting slide? What health habits do you consciously overlook, and then berate yourself for doing so?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superhero Seth at 7: Seven Fun Facts

So, Lance always gets all the credit for making me a mom. He’s my first born, so that’s how it goes.

Seth, on the other hand, gets (and claims, at every turn) the credit for being my best Mother’s Day gift, ever. May 13 was a Sunday, Mother’s Day, in 2007. It was, of course, memorable. Although, I have to say, the pain-free version of Mother’s Day is always preferable. (Yes, yes, worth it all. Childbirth amnesia. Yada, yada.)

His birthday is today. He’s taking pencils as gifts to his classmates, a book to donate to the classroom library, and he’s been promised a cake by his reading tutors at Educational Advantage. He will cheer for his brother at the Park Record Spelling Bee. These are the trappings of Seth’s seventh birthday. The trappings of his life are first grade, religious school at Temple Har Shalom, and sleeping every night with our “bonus” family member, a blanket bunny named Dine Dine, that I hope he sleeps with, always. These are seven facts about Seth at seven.

 

Image courtesy Nixi Photography

Photo credit: Nixi Photography

1. He is, in his own mind, a superhero. Not just one in costume—but the Clark Kent side of Superman. And the kind of kid who’s so charming and fun, he’s bound to come up with some hair-brained scheme, and then charm his friends into going along with it. We try to guide him toward using his powers to good.

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2. His greatest superpower is empathy When we spend time with his grandparents and great-grandparents, he is solicitous and mindful. He knows, instinctively, that when his great grandmother forgets who he is, it’s her brain’s fault, not her intent. He offers to take my mom to find the restroom when we’re someplace that he knows she hasn’t been to recently—he knows she’s given to forgetting things.

3. He is both humorous and earnest. Sometimes he is both things at once, unintentionally. The other day, he was filled with angst about having to keep his Mother’s Day gift to me, a secret. I tried to play it off as no big deal, but that made him more upset. So, I proposed a solution: “Tell me about it, but save some details and I’ll be surprised by those.” His response: “MOM! I can’t do THAT! You know that I am FILLED with DETAILS and I always HAVE TO SHARE THEM. I CAN’T NOT SHARE THE DETAILS.” I bit my cheeks so I wouldn’t laugh. My cheeks bled. Other times, he just goes for the joke, because it’s there, and it must be told. I have no clue who modeled this behavior for him. Somewhere along the line, he picked up on the homonyms “duty” and “doody.”

4. He is coordinated. By the standards of his gene pool, he’s an Olympic level athlete. Sports just come to him. Balls? He throws them with a strong arm. He got every other recessive gene in our family—blond hair, blue eyes, colorblindness. So this “athletic” gene must have hitched a ride. And he’s a snappy dresser and a ridiculously good dancer. The kind of dancer around whom circles of people form on Bar Mitzvah dance floors. He gets that from his grandmothers.

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5. He is an expert cuddler. And he’s excellent at giving shoulder massages and foot rubs. He is learning the art of the stealth tickle, though “stealth” as a skill, is an uphill climb, for our boy. But if you tell him he’s cute, his stock answer is, always: “I’m not cute, I’m tough!” and then he slams his fist into his palm, for emphasis. (Sorry, Seth, but that makes you even cuter.)

6. He is an obsessed fan. Of Star Wars, of Billy Joel, of Lego—he builds countless creations out of his imagination, every week, and of all things superhero. For years, it was Buzz Lightyear. The kids’ rooms at the dentist are decorated with Toy Story decals, in his honor. He is, too, an obsessed fan of his family. Especially his big brother. This could help mitigate some of the issues I foresee with item #1, above, since his brother is not given to impulsive flights of fancy. This, I think, is lucky, too.

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7. He is just getting started. Right now, he’s finishing up his first year of a Dual Language Immersion program in French. What he lacks in vocabulary, he makes up for in accent. It is perfect. And hilarious. He is mentally preparing to ride his bike, well, this summer. He is ready to tackle the next challenge, and the next. I am so grateful he showed up when he did—but any day of the week, that kid’s arrival was a gift, and every day of the week, I’m grateful.

Happy 7th Birthday, Seth. You’ll always be my baby.

Love,

Mom

 

 

S@&t working moms say

Twice in two days, I was struck by the hilarity of the juggle.

First, a chat with my friend, ski coach and favorite congressional candidate, Donna, about why we can’t seem to do one thing at a time, and how frustrated we feel about doing things only partly to our standards. We live fragmented lives, and hope for the best.

Then, the next morning, I haul my butt to the gym. The butt is tired. It did TRX on Monday (ouch), spin on Tuesday, in which its buddy and neighbor, the lower back got tweaked, and then skied itself into oblivion on Wednesday. There was a twisted ankle at some point in the ski day, and I resolved to keep my butt in a chair for one day.

I am not good at the whole butt-in-the-chair thing—sometimes I write while standing up. And in order to write (butt-in-chair activity of choice and necessity), I must have my brain turned on. Which only happens if I exercise, first thing. Sadly, I don’t exercise before I get dressed. More on that, in a moment.

Anyhoo, I was attempting to take the day “off” from exercise. Which meant I was not going to attend my friend Keri’s “Buns and Guns” class. This involves many squats, lunges, curls, flys, and plyometric jumping. It is an aggressive, grueling 75 minute workout. And I love it. But, on this day, I would simply rock the elliptical ARC machine in the cardio loft. Keri pulled into the parking space next to mine, and we headed for the loft, together. We hopped on adjacent machines. We chatted. She looked at me, her expression a little bit off—”I didn’t eat breakfast. I don’t feel right. I’m going to grab a snack.”

This is not unusual—she’s a busy working mom. Meals get skipped. It happens. She returned, fed.

“Why don’t you just drink a smoothie?” I asked, after she explained that breakfast had fallen victim to the morning rush of trying to sign forms, write checks, and all the other crap we have to do in order to ship our children off to school in the morning, prepared.

“That’s the funny thing. I made one for them. But not for me,” she said.

And then, she looked at me. Really looked.

“Um, did you know your t-shirt is on, inside-out?”

“No. But that doesn’t shock me. I can’t think until I’ve exercised. And, apparently, getting dressed requires thought.”

“Shoot, you’re ahead of me: You ate breakfast.:

And, scene.