Alex has joined his high school cross country team. He never has been a runner, but decided to try it. He's now starting his fourth week of running, and doing very well. Better than I thought he would, better than he thought he would. This weekend was the annual "Hood to Coast" running relay, a 197-ish relay that goes 'round the clock. A team of 12 runs, through the night even, 36 legs from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon. They have a high school cross country category which goes "only" from Portland to Seaside for a grand total of 127 miles in 24 legs. Alex had a 5-mile leg at about 1:30 in the morning. Along a highway. With a reflective vest and headlamp. By himself. I had to keep all my thoughts captive or I would have been a wreck. I told him to text me as soon as he was back in the van, but they had no cell service until just after 3:00 in the morning. He "slept" for about an hour and a half on the ground in a sleeping bag next to speakers that were continually calling out the numbers of teams that were approaching the exchange, which would then be followed by either shrieks of women or grunts of men, depending on the team.
His next leg was the last of the relay, 5 miles ending in Seaside on the beach! We couldn't not be there for that, so we got up and hit the road just after 5 a.m. Saturday to be there for the finish. They were a bit later coming in than they estimated, so we were there with plenty of time to people watch and wait for the big announcement that "Team 3002 Olympia Slackers, your runner is on the promenade!"
With that, the rest of the team loads into a cattle shoot-type lane and waits for the runner so they can cross the finish together. Alex came lumbering in looking absolutely beat. Then to have to run in fluffy sand to the finish line? Ugh. As he got closer to his team, a different team came up on his heels.
realizing he'd been passed...
He later said that he had fought that whole 5 miles to stay ahead of this girl. He was determined to not let her pass him. When he got to his team, he slowed, thinking that was the finish. When he did that, the girl passed him...and Alex took off.
...and then overtaking her at the finish!
He sprinted the final distance to re-pass her and his team took 4th place (out of 45 finishing high school cross country teams) by one second!
I don't know how we managed to overlook the fact that we took the picture in front of the banner that said "Portland to Coast Walk". These kids did not walk!
It was a fabulous, team-building time, and quite an accomplishment. And quite exhausting. I don't know how those 2 van drivers did it...up all night driving from exchange point to exchange point and circling back to encourage runners and having 6 sweaty teenagers crammed into your vehicle throughout it all...God bless 'em.
Finally back home, I set out to make and decorate enough football-shaped cookies for my squad to hand out to each of the players on the three teams we cheer for. Crazy to undertake that when I was so tired, but they turned out great. I'm disappointed that I did not get any pictures. One mom asked me if they were from Wagners! Bless her.
Sunday morning...Brad popped out of bed (okay, maybe crawled out) at 4:30 to head to Seattle for his annual swim across Lake Washington. I hated to miss it, but knew I couldn't possibly be home in time for the football Jamboree. So Alex went with him to be his rooting section and photographer.
this is proof that you have to be careful who your event photographer is...
"The sea was angry that day, my friends...Like an old man trying to return soup to the deli." (Just a little Seinfeld quote that I will try desperately to tie-in to Brad's swim, because he loves this "Marine Biologist" episode so much.)
Yeah, he was in a lake and not a sea. But it was a blustery, choppy, angry lake. The waves were rocking and rolling. Brad even got dizzy while he swam, trying to negotiate up and over the choppiness. In fact, the swim lane is lined with boats and kayaks so the swimmers stay on course, and one kayaker flipped from the choppy water. It was rough. The swim, as a straight-shot, is 1.5 miles. Brad is guessing he swam farther than that just going up and over so much, and it certainly was a swim that took a lot more effort. He finished a bit slower than last year, understandably, but he made it!
My day was all cheer. The big football Jamboree went on all day, and I am so proud of my squad! They have worked so hard, and they are really coming together. We had a fun time, and they were a delight.
16 of my 18 in all their cuteness!
And then it was Brenna's turn to take the track with her squad! A whole lotta more cuteness there...
End of the day, I come home to my filthy house. I had not cleaned the kitchen since making the cookies the night before. I can't stand to go to bed with a dirty kitchen or cluttered house. But exhaustion won that night, so I did. As soon as I came in, I started cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. I finally noticed that Brad and Alex were standing near by watching me, even though I thought they'd already left...they said they were waiting for me to notice something. After finally having it pointed out, I noticed a beautiful, glorious, "I think the trumpet is sounding" sight:
They went to Trophy Cupcakes while up in Seattle, and brought home dessert!! My very favorite cupcakes, right there in my kitchen! I do love that man. It's the little things, you know.
What a perfect way to end a crazy-busy weekend! Too bad they didn't get any for themselves.