Friday, October 12, 2012

Lesson 189: It's Over!

It's Over and Ain't She Happy!

This is my friend Northern.

She achieved her ultimate goal of running the Chicago Marathon last week!  She got this really awesome medal.  I was her first stop on her way home.  We squealed and hugged in the driveway of the Lamp Post for a good long time.  Eloise is so happy!

In case you've joined following this blog late in the game, I have two friends named Tracy.  One lives here in the beautiful north with me.  I refer to her as Tracy Northern, or Northern in brief.  The other Tracy abandoned me and went to live in the Cotton Pickin' south 18 years ago.  I call her her Tracy Southern, or Abandoner Southern, for short.

Northern is my gal pal running partner when I feel like some company.  She ran 26.2 miles in the Windy City last Sunday.  When your running partner accomplishes a feat such as this, you are elated. I've been with her every step of the way since she called me early last spring and said, "I'm thinkin' marathon."  There we began our journey together; driven woman and a loyal friend.  I pounded the pavement along beside her, distracting her with my chatter many a time while she was training.  The run is now complete.  It's over....but not really.  I need to give my friend a little space in blog world to let her relive her accomplishment for a little while longer---all the way to Slovenia and back.

Northern got this cool shirt.  She looks nice in red.

Here are some photos from the Chicago Marathon in case you weren't one of the 45,000 who ran through downtown Chicago that day.  This is Northern and her true running partners---the three other girls who she followed the training plan with---all moms--either over 40 or creeping up on four decades. 

The Chicago marathon drew them in, as well as 44,996 other people who decided 26.2 miles would be the ultimate challenge.

This is them at the start line.  Northern is the pretty one in the middle. 

This is Northern at the end of the race.

Kidding.  She and her group finished strong.  Had to put this picture on here though because Northern did buy me that exact same pair of running shorts, and also because I think that chick is drinking a beer.

 Just looking at the photo of that crowd gives me hives.  Eloise does not care for crowds.   I had a mini panic attack that the start of the dinky Erie Half Marathon.  When my emotions got the best of me, I screamed in a shrill voice "Is anyone else thinking Armageddon?"  All those people running in one direction......   Northern told me to shut up and listen to Tim McGraw.  Good friends know the exact right words to say when you are hurting, don't they?

I like creeks and woods and fields full of wildflowers.  I prefer to run in places like this.

I love the vineyards.  They make for great pee spots and a hit or two of grapes from the vine in the fall makes for just the right amount of sugar to keep me going.

And that is exactly what Northern and I do---keep each other going.  She's the one who made me officially run the half marathon in July--with a real number (not a real name though--I ran under the name of former US President James Monroe).  During training she'd call me and cry and tell me that she was quitting.  I'd tell her she's crazy and to get her shoes on and meet me in the grapes.  When I call her and tell her I lit the book I'm writing on fire because it sucked, she keeps me writing.  "I woke up Saturday with my coffee and I did not find a new blog to read....."  This was a message she recently left on my cell phone.  You'll be happy today then Northern, because this one's for you!

Northern and Company didn't win, in case you were wondering.  These people did.  

The Ethiopians edged out the Kenyans this time.  Tsegaye Kebede set a course record with 2 hours and 4 minutes for the men.  Atsede Baysa claimed the title for the women with a time of 2 hours 22 minutes.  The only intelligent thing Eloise has to say about this is DANG!

While she was running I tracked Northern on the Live Marathon tracker and gave all my friends facebook updates.  This little red icon moved all over the map during the race and I could see exactly where she was.  It measured her distance traveled in kilometers, so I had to have the mileage converter open on another tab because of my piss poor math ability.

The experience of waiting for her to finish was the exact same feeling as waiting for her to call me after she had her three babies.  Neither Northern or I wanted to know the sex of our children in advance.  When she called me after her third boy, I said another of my most intelligent remarks.  "It's another boy!" said Northern.  "Are you sure?" said Eloise.  I had myself convinced she was having a Tessa.  Got that wrong.

I got some other things wrong in my life, too.  Like what marathoners actually are like, for one.  World class athletes.  Exercise fanatics.  Personal trainers.  20 somethings.  Nope, nope, nope, and nope---that is how those four phrases apply to Northern.  She's a wife, a mom, a daughter, sister, teacher, and friend.  She's as busy as the next person.  But what sets her apart is her determination.  Once she makes her mind up about something there is no stopping her.

I also got wrong about what other marathoners would be like.  I googled some photos of the Chicago Marathon and found that some people take a liking to running in odd get-ups.  My sister Kenyan does the Boo Run every year in Erie, and people dress up because it is Halloween.  I asked her how she did last year and she told me, "I got beat by some b*&$! in a bride gown."  But running a MARATHON in a costume takes things to a whole new level.  Look:


Burger King crowns?

Superman and what Eloise can only hope is a banana!

And my personal favorite....Waldo!

Eloise says whatever floats your boat.  You want to run as a piece of fruit, more power to ya'.  Heck, I just ran my race as this president.  I am no direct descendant of this man, but my hair did look like that when I had a moment of insanity and cut it off once.  Which president did I run the Her Times under last week?  Consider that your thinking homework for the weekend.  The answer will appear at the bottom of the post.

Great job, Northern.  It's over.....but is it?  Is anything really ever over?  It's Saturday morning and you are reading this blog while sipping your coffee.  You don't have a 17 miler to do today, so now what?  I know how goal oriented you are.  You always need to have something to work for. This reminds me of the Jennifer Lopez song I'm Into You, featuring Lil Wayne.  One of the lyrics goes like this:  Every finish line is the beginning of a new race.  So true.  What's next, Northern?  Time to start your new race.  Whatever it is, you know I'll be along for the ride (or run).

Onto some other It's Over news from the week:  

Remember him?

This is Adam Greenberg.  I blogged about him a couple of weeks ago.  He was the guy who got hit with a 92 mile an hour fastball on his first at bat in the major leagues.  Someone got a hold of his story and seven years later he got a second chance.  The Marlins signed him to a one day contract so he could have another chance at bat on October 2nd.  He got up to the plate and tried to hit the crap out of that ball.  He hit a homer during practice, so he believed he could do it.  But guess what?  He struck out.  In the end, he was thankful for the opportunity and when asked about the chance of a lifetime, he looked back on it with no regrets.  "It was magical," said Adam.  His second chance at bat lasted 33 seconds.  Such a brief time, but that is one good number, Readers.  Eloise says this is proof that the Lord had a hand in it!  Amen.

Another dose of It's Over News:

How about him?  Can you place these two?

This was my X-Factor hopeful Jeff Gutt (pronounced Goot) and his son Talon.  He was the 36 year old the show cameoed and made me fall in love with!  Darn those producers!  They had Eloise and half the female viewers rooting for this guy----and then they cut him.  Jeff didn't make the top six in the "older" category.  He did one of the best renditions of Hallelujah I ever heard.  I would buy the song right now if I could.  I have my credit card ready X-Factor Producers.  I think you made a terrible mistake.

One of the things I am waiting for is for this guy's comeback.  Will X-Factor call him back like Melanie Amaro from last season, who went on to win the competition?  According to Jeri Packer, a Staff Writer for The Voice webpage, a facebook page titled Bring Back Jeffrey Adam Gutt to X-Factor has emerged.  Did the producers see this?  Could this be part of the long range plan to boost ratings?  

After the webpage posting, Jeff Gutt got 1,155 likes by noon the next day.  Even high powered celebrities like Snooki herself facebooked about Jeff.  For once, Snooki and I agree on something.  We like the same guy.  I'd hate to miss a word from the ever-intelligent New Jerseyite, Snooki, so I will cut and paste directly from The Voice website:

Even Jersey Shore’s Nicole Polizzi got on Facebook and penned, “Oh my God, my fave guy Jeffrey Gutt didn’t make it. What the (expletive), X Factor. Kewl,” Nicole Polizzi@Snooki.

Isn't Snooki the best? (That is implied sarcasm, Slovenians--I think she's brainless).  That is so Kewl!!!!!

For as little as we've seen of Jeff, he appears to be a class act.  He expresses himself well in his writing--usually a direct reflection of one's intelligence (see Snooki's post above as proof).  Not too many big words inserted intentionally to impress.  No run on sentences.  Gets his plurals correct.  Just straightforward, honest, and to the point.  This teacher gives him an A plus.  See for yourself.  Here is Jeff's response to all of the recent attention, again taken directly from The Voice website.  Thanks for the quote Jeri Packer.

“Hi everyone, this is Jeff Gutt. I was very disappointed in not making it through to the judges’ houses. Although seeing LA Reid's reaction to getting the ‘overs’ and having a child who's never known struggle in his life to help mentor, I can honestly say that I am in a good place. I have a wonderful team behind me and am ready to take on the future, whatever that may bring. I am determined now more than ever to succeed and appreciate everyone’s support. It feels good to not have all these secrets to keep from all of you anymore. I will be releasing 'Hallelujah' as soon as I am able to contractually. Please keep coming back here and checking my website and Twitter for announcements. And I'd officially like to thank the X Factor for giving me exposure. I won’t let you, my fans, down again. You have my word. Thanks and God bless.”

Atta boy, Jeffrey!  What a great attitude you have.  I will continue to check your website and you can bet your tattoo that I will be purchasing your song as soon as it becomes available.  I agree.  It does feel good not to keep secrets.  They eat away at your insides.  Secrets aren't good for anybody.  Also, don't berate yourself, Jeff.  You didn't let me or anyone else down.  The people that cut you just didn't see how awesome you were.  Something better is coming for you, Brother.  Eloise feels it in her bones. Hang tough and read that son of yours an extra story tonight before you tuck him in.  You already are blessed! 

And some more It's ALMOST Over news:
Sam's upper front tooth is VERY loose.  I love it when kids lose their front teeth.  It will be the punctuation mark in the Raising Young Children portion of my life if Sam is missing his front teeth at Christmastime!  I got blog ideas out the wazoo for that one.  

And this blog is about over, so here is the answer to your homework question (and you don't even have to wait until Monday):  Eloise ran under the name of Martin Van Buren.  He was a Democrat and also a twerp.  He only stood 5 feet tall.  Betcha I could have beat him in a 5K on leg length alone.

Enjoy the video of more Chicago Marathon pictures and some fall nature photography from some of my students.  

Over and out,

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