Pre-K Track Star

The girls’ school had its annual track day today. ¬†There was a mile race for the third-graders. ¬†Claire bravely took pet in this race and finished near end, tied with a new friend, Anna, who she met¬†on the track.

Molly took part in the 1/4-mile race for the pre-K class.  Molly finished as second place for per-K girls and got a medal!  A total of three pre-K girls participated, and one girl finished behind Molly.  Still, second place is second place, and a medal is a medal!

Fun Run

Claire’s school hosted a fun run for the students this weekend. ¬†Claire got to take part in the quarter-mile run around the track at the middle school. ¬†She was not too enthusiastic about the run until she got there and saw her friends. ¬†Claire finished near the end of the pack, but to be fair, one of her friends took a nasty tumble on the second turn, and I think Claire slowed down to see what was going on.

Molly was thrilled to get a shot at running the track after the race was over. ¬†We asked if she wanted to run, and she said, “Yeah!” ¬†So I thought I’d take her for a run on one straightaway side of the track. ¬†But Molly turned the corner and just kept going. ¬†She wanted to do the whole track. ¬†Molly gave it her all, bouncing up and down like a bunny rabbit down the track.

Kit got some great pictures with our new Cannon G12 camera, so mostly, I wanted to include those.

Claire in mid-stride
Claire in mid-stride
Claire celebrating after the race
Claire celebrating after the race
Claire celebrating with her mom
Claire celebrating with her mom
Claire celebrating with Molly and me
Claire celebrating with Molly and me

Capital 10k

As she had a few years ago for the Peachtree Road Race, Kit convinced me to go run in the Capital 10k fun run today. ¬†I only registered yesterday at the “last-minute” registration at the convention center. ¬†I was not really in shape to run the full 6 miles, and our morning was squeezed for time, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that our house was almost exactly along the half-way point of the course. ¬†The plan was for Kit and the girls to drop me off at the starting line, drive back to our house, and wait for me in the crowds along Enfield Road. ¬†I would run the first half of the race, bow out at our house, and get on with the day. ¬†This was a good plan. ¬†Only later would I find out that our house, besides being almost exactly half way through the course, was also located almost exactly at the highest point on the course. ¬†So I would be running mostly uphill for 3 miles. ¬†Believe me, that last stretch burned!

Cap 10k starting crowd
I waited at the starting line...
...while the girls waited with Kit back near our house.

Anyways, Kit and the girls were a welcome sight at that highest point.  Claire, as always, had made some friends, and the girls had managed to borrow some pom-poms from someone nearby.  I decided that I did, in fact, want to exit the race at our house and suggested maybe next year I could run the whole thing, when I was better prepared and we hopefully did not have haircuts and furniture shopping to deal with that same morning.

...And we made a sweaty race-side reunion.
I ran to the top of that bump between 4 and 5 km. I probably could have skate boarded to the end with one push.

Team Tornado

Claire participated in her first soccer game today. Not just that, but it was also her first ever organized sports game of any kind. Well, sort of organized, anyways… as organized as a bunch of four and five year olds chasing around a soccer ball without any teamwork or strategy can be. Still, it was, without a doubt, kids playing soccer.
Claire had asked me to sign her up for soccer after burning out on the old swimming/ballet routine at the YMCA over the last few months. Even with her friends Coco, Zoey, and Isa in the classes with her, the routine had turned into a grind. Claire had been interested in basketball ever since wandering into a YMCA youth league basketball game a couple of months ago after ballet class, but we had to wait for the next sport to come around, and that just happened to be soccer. Claire was not “into” soccer before this. We had kicked a ball around a few times in the back yard before, but she usually lost interest in favor of just running around, especially simple foot races back and forth, over and over.
Still, Claire was really excited to start soccer. And that we even before she knew she would get soccer gear. We made a trip to Academy late Wednesday night and picked up some silver and pink soccer shoes, pink shin guards, and pink shorts. We failed to find any pink socks that went up high enough for shin guards, so we had to settle for plain old white socks, but still, she looked really cute, if not 100% pink. The soccer league would be supplying the shirts, which were, sadly, black and red or gray. Those are not princess colors! Claire tried on her outfit in the car and surprised her mom with her new look. Claire looked like a real soccer player, and a surprisingly grown up one at that (but still really cute).

Claire had been assigned to Team Tornado via email, and we did not know any of the names on the Tornado roster. There would be one other girl on the team, named Francesca, and the rest were all boys. Overall, there were over 400 kids signed up for this season of soccer at this YMCA alone. I had decided to go with the YMCA soccer league instead of the heralded WAYA league simply because YMCA had games on Saturday mornings and no practices, while WAYA had Wednesday night games (seriously, every Wednesday?) plus weekend practices.
Claire’s first game was scheduled for today at 10 am, when Team Tornado would be opposed by the dreaded “Aztex”. That was all we knew going into today’s game. Before the game, Kit and I prepped Claire on the first (only?) rule of soccer: don’t touch the ball with your hands. Good enough crash course, right? I might have added “kick the ball towards the other team’s goal, and away from yours” but that was a relatively minor point, I suppose.
I took Claire to soccer while Kit took Molly for the morning, as Molly was already rubbing her eyes by about 9am and would clearly be needing a nap during the 10am game time.
You can see Claire running quickly, mostly towards the ball, in the middle-right of this picture
The team made some very quick introductions and got right into some pre-game drills. Claire looked pretty sharp for a kid who had kicked a soccer ball a total of about 8 times in her life. After about 10 minutes of drills, the game started. The herd of kids chased the ball around the small soccer field, and Claire chased the heard of kids chasing the ball around. Claire ran like crazy.  She seemed to be all over the place, always hovering about 5-8 feet from the ball. But she didn’t make much actual contact with the ball.

At halftime Claire seemed concerned and a little dismayed, and she sort of wanted to just go home. She said she could never get to the ball. I told her that she was running faster than almost any kid, and if she gets a chance, don’t worry and don’t wait; just kick the ball as hard as she can (I guess nevermind which direction the ball goes). In the second half, I prodded myself to yell out “Kick the ball, Claire!” whenever she was in range. She did get a few kicks on the ball this time around. She even managed to clear the ball from her home team’s goal area a couple of times. This seemed to make her feel marginally better, although she still was not having too much fun. When the final whistle blew, and the game seemed to stop, she ran over to me and said, “Is the game over?” I said, “I think so”, and she replied, “Yeah!!!”  I was proud of her for sticking through the whole game and even giving it something extra in the second half.  As far as I can tell, the Tornadoes probably lost, but the game’s outcome did not seem to be of any real significance to anyone.

Pre-game drills
After post-game snacks with the team, we walked towards the car, past the YMCA where her old ballet class would have just let out. We peaked in the window, and right there on cue were Coco, Zoey, and Isa, all dressed in tutus. We went in for a quick visit. When Isa’s mom asked Claire if she liked the soccer game, Claire hesitated and said, “A little bit.”, which seemed pretty accurate. Still, everyone agreed that Claire looked really good in her soccer outfit.
Time to cool it off

Out for a Walk

Yesterday on the way home from school, Claire said, “Maybe tonight, after we do all our work and stuff, we could go for a walk.” I don’t know what inspired this. Maybe the new neighborhood? Maybe all the walking we did on our vacation in Florida a couple of weeks ago? Maybe the beautiful spring weather? It was brilliant how she framed it as “after we do all our work and stuff” so I would not object or say, “Well, sorry, but we don’t have time”. Not that she had to convince me. A walk in our new neighborhood on a nice spring evening? I was sold!

I did tell Claire that there was not much time for a walk, so we would have to eat dinner quick. Claire said yes, but we should not eat too fast because we did not want to get food stuck in our throat. When dinner was done, Claire and I got geared up for our walk. Claire suggested that Kit stay at home because Molly, who was asleep, would not want to be left all alone. Wow. Claire had all the angles figured out.

Claire and I took a 10-minute walk around the corner and back. We talked mostly about street walking safety, the plants and trees, and some of the pretty houses. Claire wanted to go longer, but we needed to get her back for bath & bed.

Tonight, Claire suggested we go for a walk again. This was not a bath night, so we had a little more time. This time Claire wanted to go for a longer walk and bring along her water bottle in case she got dehydrated. We brought along Muffin this time too, as per Kit’s suggestion. A block or so out, Claire said she wanted to run to get more exercise. So Claire, Muffin, and I jogged down the street. After another block or so, Claire asked for some of her water, and Muffin was panting a lot. We did intervals the rest of the time, walking a block, jogging the next, and so on for about 15 minutes. This was all Claire’s idea. She said exercise is really important, and kids and adults should do it every day. I really don’t know where she is getting this crazy information.

Mad Rolling!

Between stomach problems and various illnesses for the past few weeks, Molly has not been making great strides physically. She is still a very small baby and mostly lays around on her back. But for the first time since early-to-mid January, Molly has had a solid stretch of full health and good eating.

Last weekend, Kit and I both agreed it was time to get Molly exercising again to work up her strength and endurance. Namely, this means tummy time, or laying flat on her belly. This does not sound too tough, but it is a workout for Molly. She strains and cries as she arches her back and lifts her head to look around. After only a few minutes, she is crying and exhausted, and we have to pick her up to let her catch her breath. Last weekend, Kit started Molly on a really tummy time regimen of three times a day.

Well, Molly’s good health and this focus on tummy time seem to be paying off. Molly hit a major milestone at school today. During tummy time, she rolled from her front to her back, and then again from her back to her front. She even repeated this a few times! She also started to relax during the tummy phase, and looked around and giggled instead of straining and crying. Way to go, Molly! we are glad to see you “back” on track!
todo: picture

Peachtree Road Race 2007

Today I ran down the middle of Peachtree Road from Buckhead to Piedmont Park with 55,000 other people. I was part of the world’s largest 10k fun run, the Peachtree Road Race. This was actually my first fun run since I was a kid, when I would only occasionally tag along on runs with Dad and Tim.

Technically, it took me two and a half hours to run/walk the 6.2 mile course through the heart of Atlanta. The actual time was not as bad as it sounds. I spent an hour and a half at the starting line, near the Borders where we take Claire for story time with Miss Wendy on Saturdays. I was waiting for 50,000 runners to get going ahead of me. I had made the mistake of entering in the “casual runner and walker” section, which put me in the last section of the race, the “heart and soul of the Peachtree” someone said on a loudspeaker as we finally crossed the starting line. I could have gone a little quicker if there weren’t so many slow people in my way!

That’s nice, you may say, but this is Claire’s blog. What does this have to do with Claire?

Well, in a way, she got me into the race. You see, the first two years we lived in Atlanta, we ignored the Peachtree Road Race entirely, even though it runs only a mile or two from our house. Last year, because we had Claire to entertain and did not have the viable option of sitting around the house on our keesters, we went to watch the race from the sidelines in Peachtree Hills. It was amazing to watch the sea of humanity pass down Peachtree Road, all types of people sweating, smiling, some in costumes, many dumping water on their own heads. I was impressed, and I said aloud that it would be fun to actually do the race next year, before we (maybe) move. Of course, I was not in running shape, and it seemed basically impossible to run six miles. Besides, just getting a number in the race was tough. It was just a nice (abstract) comment.

A few months later, Kit showed up with an application from the Emory hospital. I could get into the race as an Emory spouse. How could I pass this up?

After a very untimely knee injury and the ensuing three week “accelerated” training regimen (at nights after Claire was asleep), I finally made it to the Peachtree sort of in shape and had lots of fun in the race. If not for Claire getting us out of the house, we would have never seen the big race much less been in it. Thanks, Claire, for getting me off my butt.