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Monday updates

Monday, December 05, 2011

Haha, you thought I was done! No such luck.

My son plays fife in the 1st Michigan Fife & Drum Corps, which focuses on Revolutionary War era costume & music. They march in parades and play in a number of events each year. The biggest event is Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village (an extremely large historical village with homes/shops/exhibits/etc. of life in the US from the 17th century to early 20th century, started/supported by Henry Ford / Ford Motor company). Each year the Corps. stands around one of the fires and plays period & Christmas music for the people who come to the event; they do this for 14 nights total (taking turns, not everyone plays every night). Given that my son does not yet drive I get to spend the evning there as well. This year he is committed to 4 nights, and possibly a 5th. So that's where I was Saturday night, sitting in the admin building catching up on e-mails and playing mah jong for 4 hours. Parents don't get to go into the village unless they've also bought a ticket for that night and, quite frankly, if you go once there's not much point in going again as very little ever changes. I'm hoping his dad agrees to take 2 of the remaining nights. Other members have also offered to drive him but we tried that last year and it didn't work out very well.

On Friday night my son wanted to go to the Holiday Nights as a spectator, with his girlfriend. And my daughter also wanted to go again so I bought the tickets and away we went. I had a Groupon so beforehand we had dinner at a place called Black Market - a bar/grill type place with a standard menu of appetizers, sandwiches, pizza and burgers. Their claim to fame is that the burgers are made from exotic meats (all farm raised, no illegal poaching or trafficking despite the name). On the menu Friday was bison, ostrich, alpaca, kangaroo, yak, alligator...and african lion.

They were out of everything except bison, yak and alligator so my son & his girlfriend had alligator and I had the yak. Yak is (un)surprisingly pretty similar to bison, it was good. I was taken aback though by the african lion. I have to think about why since none of the other meats made me stop and think and somehow ordering lion for dinner just seems...wrong? You can argue that all meat eating is wrong, starting from the living conditions of the animals right up to killing a feeling creature for food...I don't necessarily disagree although I am not a vegetarion; I respect the choices of those who are and expect the same consideration. Although I'm going to have to really think about why lion bothers me and yak does not.

My karate dojo found a new location so the increase was reduced a little bit. At the end of the day I'm paying $10 more per month total; the space is supposed to be larger. So that worked out in the least for now.

Sunday I am running the Jingle Bell Run locally, a 5k. They give us bells to wear and the race happens regardless of the weather. Some previous races were run in heavy snow conditions. So far the forecast is partly sunny with a high of 36F.

I need to sit down soon and figure out races for next year. Not necessarily to register yet but at least get some on the radar. I was not able to find one in the London area for the period I am there so don't think I will be able to run any races in London or Paris. Kind of bummed about that but I suspect I will live LOL. I did find one about an hour north of London but the logistics of getting there in the morning are more than I want to deal with (if you have ever seen me drive you would understand why I don't wish to rent a car in a country where they drive on the opposite side of the road) so I will probably pass on it.

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    Good food for thought! I'm with you on the lion meat. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I see way too much lion in my sister's cat to even fathom going there. There are a lot of animals I can't fathom eating because of the "cute" factor, for that matter. Totally hypocritical of me but we all have our own definitions and limits. Interesting discussion!

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GETFIT2LIVE 12/6/2011 1:43PM

    Busy days! I have to say, I feel the same about lion versus yak--I think I could do yak no problem, but lion? Nope! Too bad no races available while you'll be in London, but yes, I'm sure you'll live--just try to find somewhere to run there so you have that memory. Doing great!

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GETSTRONGRRR 12/5/2011 9:31PM

    Very cool updates and plan. When we were in Boston, I lived real close to Minuteman National Park and really enjoyed going to see the re-enactors stage the Battle of Lexington Concord and the siege of Boston. The Fife & Drum corps had us standing tall in patriotic pride!

Forget London, if you're going to race on holiday, book a trip to Hawaii!

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    I really enjoyed reading your blog! I don't know why either, but I feel the same way you do about the lion! I'm not sure about yak! LOL I'll be interested to hear what you come up with after you think about it! emoticon

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DOODIE59 12/5/2011 2:29PM

    It cracks me up how busy you are. Now, I was probably just as busy when I was in my 30s, but I can't remember:)

All power to you!

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CANDOK1260 12/5/2011 2:09PM

    Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. You seem to be doing great my spark buddy/ Hey bison don;t sound bad to me but yak nah.

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/5/2011 1:56PM

    Wow, I have never heard of a restaurant that sells those meats. Good for you for being so adventuresome! (smiling) Have a good day.

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APIRLRAIN888 12/5/2011 1:24PM

    Wow busssssy!

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Sunday updates

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Oh wow, I am behind. Time flies when you're fighting hibernation.

On 11/18 we had our company "soup kitchen", where volunteers bring in crock pots of soup and the employee activity committee provides the crackers and dessert for a communal lunch. We usually get quite a variety of soups with almost no duplication. This year I made vegetable beef soup; except for the beef and the barley every single ingredient, including the seasonings, came from my garden. That was immensely gratifying...and pretty tasty too.

On Thanksgiving Day I ran the 10k Turkey Trot in Detroit, before the big parade. That was my first official 10k; there were 20,000 people in the races (there was also a 1 mile and a 5k). Nearly 8000 people ran the 10k. That was also the biggest race I have been in and it was pretty cool running with a lot of people. In every other race I've done I've run alone for stretches of the course; in this one I was surrounded by a lot of people every step of the way. I met my goal of 60 minutes, finishing in 60:05. And I did it without any idea of my progress during the race. I never saw a single mile marker (complaint #2) and so never had any idea of my pace. Complaint #1 is that people did not respect the starting corrals so you had walkers starting with the faster runners and getting in the way, people with baby joggers not going in the back of the corral as required, and even a group of people carrying a float that took up a lane or more right at the starting line, which slowed everyone. It was still a great experience though and I plan to do it again next year.

Although I am disappointed that I was not in a single posted picture. I was in costume, having found a pair of leopard print spandex pants to match my skort in the costume shop after Halloween and a full face cat mask.

Last Sunday I had to have an emergency plumber visit for a large water leak in the basement. I was having visions of having to pull out the bathtub and two floors to get it fixed; the plumber walked downstairs, never even looked at where the water was dripping and - I am not exaggerating - in 1 second said "it's your ice maker". Sure enough, the water line to the refrigerator had a hole in it; he replaced the hose and was gone in less than 20 minutes. Everything is now dry and no more leaks can be found.

Last week I had several go-arounds with the high school administration. They expelled my son for "making a bomb threat"...except he never made a threat. Well, they said, he didn't really violate any rules but we're not comfortable letting him back in school and we had to write it up somehow (meaning we're afraid some parent will sue us if we let him back in and if you try we will find some other way to get rid of him). So, they said, have him take his classes online through this program and you can apply to the board next year to let him come back (meaning after everyone has had the rest of the year to forget about what he didn't do). Except that the online program costs $4000 and the school district will not pay for it.

So, I said, it took you 3 weeks to figure this out? 3 weeks of telling us you are filling out the applications, yada yada yada, and then you tell me oh by the way it is all your cost, here is the web site so go take care of it all yourself? I asked to see the formal program description, which details how the program is run, who is eligible, etc. Oh, they say, we don't have anything written down, maybe we should. You think? So they don't have the program formalized but they "know" beyond a doubt that he is not eligible for the district to cover the cost. And, of course, this is the only program they will accept to transfer back into the school next year (although it isn't written down anywhere of course, they just "know"). Gee, I wish I had the ability to just "know" everything too.

Some people just shouldn't be allowed to reproduce.

Instead I have decided to home school him. I found an online high school program for him to follow and we will supplement with community college classes as an early admit student. He will end up with a home school diploma once he meets the State's subject requirements and won't be going back to the high school next year.

I picked up my new running shoes Friday. I'm a bit disappointed that my old ones did not last longer, but these are a half size bigger and fit better. I'm glad they came in early enough for me to break them in before my race on the 11th.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCJULIEO 12/5/2011 5:04PM

    Just for the record, I LOVED homeschooling my kids! (We had them at home from grades 3-8) They transitioned perfectly back into public school when the time was right, were National Merit scholars and then later were honor students in college...

I even overheard one explaining that home schooling is what taught him How to Learn! emoticon They all are also very Other oriented, socially interacting easily in many situations (across cultural, economic, and other demographics), so that often heard caution about socialization is a bunch of bunk IMHO, and though they were back in public school for high school, only one went to prom (the others weren't interested and had better things to do)

It sounds to me like your son has been self motivated to find out about certain topics already, and I can see tailoring a curriculum to exploit those interests (you might need a little help in finding the specific ways to integrate the math and sciences into the history subjects he already wants to know about- I think I remember his being fascinated with some social studies, wasn't it?)

There's probably a whole community of home schoolers in your town, and I'd bet you could find them on Facebook, or by asking at your local library. There are even some interesting court cases that have been heard regarding public schools having to offer sports and facilities to homeschoolers... your state home schooling group will know....

A helpful resource for us was the Home school Legal Defense Foundation
They "get it"!

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BUTEAFULL 12/5/2011 12:37PM

    emoticonbureaucracy and red tape, funny how the schools can go all vigilante without any proof of wrongdoing and the innocent have no power to defend themselves

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    Oh, that is so sad about the school! School's can really be ridiculous, and I'm afraid it's only getting worse! My poor husband is such a hugger, and he has to be afraid to put his arm around any student unless he is in the hall in front of everyone. I hope the homeschool situation works out for both of you and that you can keep your sanity through it all!

Too bad you don't have the wherewithal to get an attorney to sort this all out for you! Ugh! emoticon

Hang in there, my sweet friend! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEZZIEJAMES 12/5/2011 9:57AM

    Oh you have so much going on with your son! I really feel for you. Really sucks for him too - I'm guessing home school means no prom? No extra-curricular activities? No social interaction with his peers. (I might not sound pro- home school, but I am.) Is he upset at missing all of this? What a bunch of jerkwads the school admin. are...

Grats on your 10K. Your time is just amazing!!! I'm bummed there were no photos either! I would love to see them!!!!


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DOODIE59 12/5/2011 8:35AM

    Hi Becky
You are so busy! Getting your son educated will require lots of focus and determination -- luckily, you've got it in spades. You will do this!

Best wishes, and congratulations on all the races you've been doing -- Runner.
Take care

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CODEMAULER 12/5/2011 8:22AM

    You HAVE been busy! I hope you find a time for a break in all the holiday and school stuff.

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INIT2LIVEIT 12/5/2011 5:50AM

    Way to go on your run! and for your awesome support of your son.
Which sneakers did you have and what are the new ones?

Comment edited on: 12/5/2011 6:04:54 AM

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EUPHRATES 12/4/2011 10:55PM

    Good for you going to bat for your son - seriously, my daughter fell through every educational crack known to man, there are SO many things I'd do different knowing what I know now. They always blame the parents, but then they keep us in the dark about what our children's options are...makes me SO angry!

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APIRLRAIN888 12/4/2011 10:13PM

    first woohooo on your fitness accomplishment and sorry about the school and add on responsiblity at home

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 12/4/2011 9:59PM

    All's I can say is - You Got It Going On!! All those things & still a sense of humor!! Way to go!! I lived to Royal Oak for a year & worked in Auburn Hills while there so the whole people thing at the Turkey Trot & the pot holes comment on your main page make total sense to me! Kudos also on deciding to home-school! :)

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GETSTRONGRRR 12/4/2011 9:55PM

    Sounds busy....rough and busy.

That's a big investment in time for you, but sounds well worth it for you and your son...good luck!

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    I wanted to do the Detroit Turkey Trot as well, but I worked the night before so I knew that wasn't going to happen. I'm glad I didn't run it now by what you've said, wayyy too many people for me. That was the problem with the Detroit Half in October. I missed my goal by 3 minutes (which I was ok with) because of all the people.

Awesome job on meeting your goal!

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AJB121299 12/4/2011 9:20PM


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The Red Fox in the Closet

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In lieu of having a skeleton in my closet I have the story of The Red Fox.

Last night while doing laundry my son and I had a "discussion" about whether he gets to keep an old souvenir t-shirt. I got it for him a few years ago when we went to Big Stone Gap, VA. Their claim to fame is an outdoor theater where each summer they put on The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, which is now the official Virginia State Outdoor Drama.

The play is based on the book by John Fox, Jr. in the early 1900s and which was quite famous in its day. It was made into a silent movie in 1916 and redone in 1936 with Henry Fonda and Fred MacMurray. The book is historical fiction, based on events that took place in and around Big Stone Gap, which was also the author's home. The story is about a feud between 2 families in the Appalachian Mountains.

The important part here is one of the characters, Dr. M.B. Taylor, otherwise known as the Red Fox. A minor character in the story but important nonetheless. Taylor was a faith healer and a "revenuer" in the employ of the government, hunting down moonshiners. He was ideally suited for that role as he traveled constantly throughout the Appalachians as a healer and had the opportunity to find the moonshiners and stills.

In the book, and in real life, there was an ambush of one family as they were traveling somewhere, and several members were killed including a woman and teenagers. The family that was ambushed had, the story goes, been plotting to have the Red Fox killed because he was a very effective revenuer; they offered to pay a "hit man" $300 to kill the Red Fox.

According to the story/history the Red Fox learned of this and decided to pre-empt the hit by ambushing the Mullins family as they took a load of shine into town. The Red Fox and his compatriots opened fire from behind some boulders and killed most of the party. One of the survivors said she identified all the gunmen from hearing their voices, and after a number of days the Red Fox was captured. He stood trial, was convicted and sentenced to hang.

He wore a white suit to his execution. On October 27, 1893 he was escorted to the scaffolding where he preached his own funeral, and was then hung by the neck until dead. At least according to official history.

Except it didn't really happen. The Red Fox was my great-great-grandfather (or maybe it is 3 greats, I can't remember). According to family history he was cut down from the rope before he was dead and placed in his coffin, which was taken to his home. He was then smuggled out of VA across the border into eastern Kentucky where my Dad's family is from (and many of whom were and are moonshiners, including my great-uncle who hedged his bets by running shine as the Sheriff).

There is a museum in Big Stone Gap, much of which is concerned with that period of it's history. It was pretty indescribable to go into a museum and see your ancestor's pictures and life history hanging on the wall. And then to drive half an hour to visit family who have the same pictures and more in the photo albums and to know a little piece of history has immortalized one's family tree (however infamously).

My family bias aside it is a pretty good play so if you are ever in the area (northwest VA more or less) I recommend going.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEZZIEJAMES 12/1/2011 1:26PM

    Very interesting!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

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FUSCHIA6 11/25/2011 8:43AM

    That is really cool, cooler than your running skort, and that is way cool. I too want to know what the verdict on the shirt was. My brother-in-law's great-great-great....was a Stoker, Braum Stoker, the dude who wrote Dracula. Any chance of royalties?
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOGSTARDADDY 11/24/2011 4:49PM

    Not to be confused with Red Foxx the comedian.

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MCJULIEO 11/24/2011 9:56AM

    So, let me get this straight... Part of the family were moonshiners, and part were revenuers.... must've made for some interesting family reunions!

Reminds me of the classic hillbilly song
"Her Daddy Was a Moonshiner But I Loved Her Still"

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CODEMAULER 11/24/2011 7:58AM

    But did the t-shirt survive?


That's an amazing story, rich in history and local lore; thanks for putting that up!

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CANDOK1260 11/23/2011 10:20PM

    happy thanksgiving and thanks you for being you and love the blog and history lesson

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DOODIE59 11/23/2011 9:15PM

    That IS a great story ... there isn't a boring bone in your body:) Historical fact.

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APIRLRAIN888 11/23/2011 8:11PM

    Wow cool :)

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GETSTRONGRRR 11/23/2011 8:06PM

    Very cool....I recommend a re-make of the movie with Ryan Gosling as the Red should have a cameo role as well. You can be in an action sequence running through the woods with a jug of moonshine in your arms, vaulting over flames and muddy streams!

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CHANGING-TURTLE 11/23/2011 7:49PM


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DEBBIEOLMOS57 11/23/2011 7:31PM

    how cute

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Becky the Bear

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apparently my crazy, psycho cheerleader on speed alter ego Becky is a bear. Just what sort I am not sure but as the days get colder and shorter she is no where to be found without some serious searching. I finally found her yesterday holed up under the electric blanket in the recliner (her version of a cave) getting ready for hibernation, chanting "feed me, feed me".

Don't think so sweety.

I made us get our backside up and out running yesterday, a 10k at what I intend to be my minimum race pace on Thursday and another 5.75 miles at a much slower pace, to start building up my miles again. Today I frog marched us to the gym for some time on the bike and a full circuit of ST that we've been neglecting. And stayed within nutrition ranges for both days.

Exercise and nutrition have been missing more days than not the last few weeks. I never thought I had Seasonal Affective Disorder - and I still don't - but there is no denying that the cold and dark is affecting me by making me want to eat and eat and eat...and then eat some build up fat stores for the cold months, along with skipping the exercise so as not to deplete the fat stores.

Fortunately I have learned and acquired enough skills this year on SP to nip that trend in the bud before and major damage occurred. This week I am committing to staying on track every day and getting some sort of exercise in so I can reacquire my healthy habits.

But I definitely live in the wrong state (MI). I really belong somewhere where the lowest temperature ever is about 65F and that is considered a freak occurrence.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOODIE59 11/25/2011 9:25AM

    You're not a bear, you're a ROBOT. You've got willpower like nobody else. There is no doubt in my mind that you will get to exactly where you want to be -- and then reset your goals ... and I'm not talking just nutrition and exercise. You go, girl.
Deirdre emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FUSCHIA6 11/25/2011 8:50AM

    Interesting, maybe that is why so many people feel the need to make New Year's Resolutions - they want to kick themselves out of a few months of pseudo hibernation.I too am missing the sunshine, warmth & dry paths.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOGSTARDADDY 11/22/2011 5:02PM

    You need to go where it's warm! You need palm trees...

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DEZZIEJAMES 11/22/2011 4:00PM

    *hugs* I too have been wanting to hibernate. Skipped exercise the last two days b/c they have been cold and rainy. I am mentally prepping myself to get in gear today and lot some fitness minutes!!! Good to see you're whipping Becky back into shape!


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1BEARWIFE 11/22/2011 1:38PM

    Winter is the time to change our light bulbs to those of "natural" sunshine. It makes a big difference with me and hubby!

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MCJULIEO 11/22/2011 1:33PM

    You are welcome to come to Texas, as generations of immigrants have discovered...but the heat in the summer might not be so appealing...

As Davy Crockett once said, "You can go to hell -- I'm going to Texas!"

He also said , "First make sure you're right, then go ahead."

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APIRLRAIN888 11/22/2011 12:00PM

    So my gosh dies Beck know FITME lol no run in like a week noe

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CANDOK1260 11/22/2011 11:22AM

    great blog and I understand as the temperature get colder inCleveland I want to eat

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CBAILEYC 11/22/2011 10:41AM

    Sometimes, you just have to not think and simply do. Nevermind bargaining or arguing with yourself.. or Becky in this case. You do exactly what you did - ignore the yackity-yack and simply start moving and don't stop!

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CODEMAULER 11/22/2011 8:30AM

    Way to kick some "bear butt!"


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GETSTRONGRRR 11/21/2011 11:20PM

    OK little sister, you and me both this week!

Let's do it! Workout, eat well, log it and blog it!

See you in cyberspace!

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INIT2LIVEIT 11/21/2011 11:13PM

    Great job on keeping it focused! emoticon

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I'm a reindeer! But which one?

Monday, November 14, 2011

I just registered for the annual Turkey Trot in Detroit, on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently this is a huge deal, they cut off registrations at 20,000 participants.

There are 3 races, the Mashed Potato Mile, The Stuffing Strut 5k and the Turkey Trot 10k. Costumes are encouraged. I registered for the Turkey Trot.

Because there are so many people they are having starting corrals this year. This is they first large race I've been in so I've never used a corral. The corrals, apparently, have names:

Comet (5-8 minute/mile pace); Blitzen (8-9:30); Dasher (9:30-11); Prancer (11+); Rudolph (walkers)

The website doesn't really explain exactly how to choose a corral. I expect to run an average pace of 9:45 over the total distance based on previous runs, which makes me Dasher. But I start out at a Blitzen pace for the first few miles.

So am I supposed to choose the reindeer based on how I will start so I am not trampling others who start slower and risk getting trampled myself (Comet & Blitzen start together & I will be at the slower end of the range)? Or choose the reindeer based on my total overall average pace and go for the trampling others option? With that many runners will it be really crowded for most of the distance or will we just sort of space ourselves out after the first bit of distance? If my costume includes a faux weapon can I use that to clear my path?

OK, I was just kidding about that last question. emoticon

I had to choose in order to register so I signed up as Blitzen. I figure I can unofficially attach myself to someone to pace off of when we start as I will run faster if I'm running "with" someone. And by the time I start to slow down into the Dasher pace the crowded will have eased somewhat. I'm hoping my assumptions are correct, but if needed I can probably just re-assign myself and go to the Dasher corral.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIQUEY73 11/19/2011 2:37PM


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MCJULIEO 11/15/2011 12:37PM

    What!!!??? What happened to the OTHER reindeer? Do Cupid and Donder take the holiday off??? What about Ralph, and Arnold, the backup reindeer?
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MS_DOLLY 11/15/2011 11:23AM

    Great luck in the race. Loved reading your thought process about the corrals. So what's your costume? Remember aerodynamics...

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INIT2LIVEIT 11/15/2011 3:03AM

    That is so exciting. Can't wait to read all about it. Hope you will post pics!?!

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GEORGIZ 11/14/2011 10:31PM

    I imagine that a public run that involves 20,000 participants who put themselves in categories named after reindeer isn't nearly as structured as you (or I) might be. I do appreciate the attention you've put into this (and I think your plan is solid). Have fun and kick butt!

Comment edited on: 11/14/2011 10:32:41 PM

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GETSTRONGRRR 11/14/2011 10:00PM

    Hmmm, interesting problem. I'd try to get to the front of the Dasher corral and see what happens from there.

In the end, starting lines are always a chocolate mess, it's a lesson in group dynamics.

Of course you can always splash yourself with some Whitetail Doe Deer Scent before the race and see if that helps with the crowd control

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ZEESPARROW 11/14/2011 9:33PM

    Sounds like a good plan! I'm thinking the faux weapon is a great idea, though... will there be pictures? emoticon

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FUSCHIA6 11/14/2011 9:19PM

    I love the idea of the reindeer being corralled. Do you think Santa would approve? I bet they corral reindeer in Siberia. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOGSTARDADDY 11/14/2011 5:11PM

    Sounds very cool! have fun, and try to get pictures.

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1BEARWIFE 11/14/2011 4:30PM

    I like the Blitzen for you, too. We all know emoticon, especially if you're in a pack and have competition!! Did you give any thought to your costume? I still think turkey feathers and a pilgrim hat would be very chic. emoticon

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    OH, what a funny girl! emoticonI'd just pick the closest one to the one I think I'm most like, no matter how fast! For me, well, Dasher just wouldn't do! emoticon

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KKINNEA 11/14/2011 1:21PM

    I would have advised the same. You can start at the back of that corral or even move back on race day if needed. Just stay to one side and you shouldn't get run over regardless. Love the reindeer name usage :)

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BLUEANGELLK 11/14/2011 1:17PM

    I think the Blitzen category is where you need to be. Just wear the antlers and you can use those as your weapon!!!

Best of luck!!!

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APIRLRAIN888 11/14/2011 1:11PM

    Good forgot all my reindeer names glad u figured it out

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