Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Day at the Races

Thank you all for your kind words about Grace! I appreciated every comment. For those of you who commented on how fast I knit, I'll tell you my secret. I'm one of those weird knitters who has the ability and the desire to concentrate on one project at a time. Sure I knit Grace in a little over two weeks, but I didn't knit anything else during that time. (Oh wait, I knit that Cupcake hat, but that only took a few hours.)

This morning, Peter dragged me out of bed at 4:30 to go to a race with him. The 20K race is managed by Peter's running team, so he was volunteering before and after the race. He bribed me with a purple t-shirt to get me to volunteer with him. So, we had to get to the race course by 5:30 (that's 5:30 AM, folks) to help distribute ChampionChips to the runners. Once that was done, Peter went off to run the race and I went to hunt for coffee and then staked out a spectating and knitting spot.

The course is three loops around the downtown-ish area in Houston. Peter finished the first lap in good time (he's the shirtless one):
Go Peter!

Then, my Secret Project and I waited for Peter to come by on the second lap (note other runners in the background):
Peter should be by any minute

By the second lap, Peter was running by himself. (I'm going to have to learn how to take better "action" and "distance" photos.)

Then, my knitting and I went to the finish line to do the second half of the volunteer work. For this work, I had to help collect the ChampionChips from the runners after they finished. ChampionChips are little computer chips placed inside plastic holders. Runners attach these chips to their shoes with zip ties. Mats with chip detectors are placed at the start and finish lines of a race. When a runner steps on the mat, a computer records his or her time. The computer then calculates the runners exact race time and spits out race results. (Pretty nifty, if you ask me--but I'm a geek.) I had some time to knit and enjoy my purple shirt before the runners started arriving:
Much more fun than running

Anyway, I soon learned that ChampionChip collection is nasty business. To get the chips from the runners, you have to cut the zip ties from the runners' shoes. Some runners also use their shoelaces to attach the chips, so you have to untie their shoes to get the chip. Either way, you have to touch another person's shoe. The race is a 20K. That's 12.4 miles for you nonmetric types. People who finish running 12.4 miles in the Houston heat are way past perspiring. "Sweating buckets" is a much more accurate description. I won't go into more details.
Here comes my first ChampionChip customer:
Good Job Peter!

Peter finished in 1 hour and 15 minutes (and some seconds), was the 18th finisher overall, and 6th in his age group. He improved his time and place from last year, so he was pretty pleased.


amylovie said...

Way to go Peter!!! You go boy!


Rachel said...

First of all: Eeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwww, foot sweat!

Second of all: Congrats to Peter on his excellent (and improved from last year) time!

Third of all: Will I EVER beat Amylovie to the comments?

monkee said...

Never. She will ALWAYS comment first. Except for when she doesn't - but other than then, she'll beat you.

About the buckets of sweat... who follows them to catch the sweat in buckets?

Stephanie said...

You aren't just a fast knitter - you are a really good one by the looks of it! Your stuff always looks so even and nice. Envy! :)

I hope you didn't get sweated on. Ick.

What are you working on in the photo???

Mintyfresh said...

Ha! My boyfriend and father are both runners, and I've spent way too many hours at races. (I've actually pretty much stopped going, bad girlfriend and daughter that I am.) But getting a shot of someone as they run by is always hard. And I used to volunteer all the time, too--though I never had to touch shoes. I've had to corrall runners themselves, which meant occasionally touching their arms or torso, and that was gross enough.

Congrats to Peter! That's a great time.

Laura said...

I used to work for a law firm based in Houston (I was in the DC office though) and used to visit downtown Houston from time to time. So it was fun for me to see your race pics! I think I know right where one of those was taken. I used to stay at the Four Seasons (the firm had a deal with them) -- am I close? :)

Gorgeous sweater too!

Jennifer said...

I'm very impressed with your husband's commitment to running. If we all could be as committed to staying in shape!