Visitation of a Mom-mee & Denver Gorilla Run 5.7K @ 0:44:30

31 10 2008

You know – It’s nice when your Mom comes to visit in the middle of a year that can be categorized as “OH CRAP!!” followed by one of the following statements:

“The race is … this weekend?”
“Oh my … uh … better make travel arrangments.”
“I’m flying out at what hour again?”
“Um … are you free to Bailey sit?”
“Injury, smingery … there’s a finish line to get to.”
“You’re flying in … when? … Tomorrow … ooh … uh?”

The last one, of course, was directed at my Mom! The house is a complete and total disaster as I’m going through absolutely everyting while I’m writing this book I’ve been working on. Fortunately, this year has been so chaotic and strange that it didn’t bother her that her younger daughter was finally trying to get some control of things.

Mom’s a good egg … stays at a local hotel (which just *happens* to have a Starbucks located conveniently between my house and ‘hers’) and uses my computer (complete with trac ball located on the left) for her business e-mails. She came out to watch her younger nutcase racewalk the Denver Gorilla Run for the second time.

The thing about my Mom is that she’s got a pretty awesome sense of humor and wanting to make the world a better place. This event is for the mountain gorillas. Jackie and I did it last year. She’s always pink (the baby gorilla I’m holding is part of her costume) for Breast Cancer. I usually take on the rest of the cancers. Mom was a pediatric oncology nurse, so I tend to have a soft spot for kids. Last year, I raced for St. Jude Hospital during the Bolder Boulder and San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. This year, I added it to my gorilla. Once a really good photo comes in, I’ll send it along to the hospital as I think the kids will get a kick out of it.

Last year there were just over 300 of us. This year there were over 700 representing 25 states. Denver was the largest gorilla run to date. First go, you pay in excess of $100 and get the gorilla costume. After that, you’re a returning gorilla. People go completely nuts with their costumes. I got the purple tutu last year (and it was fun to get through SFO security). This year was a bit harried.

Friday, when Mom was checking her e-mail, and wanting to toss my trac ball as far as she could until she got the hang of it, I was up in the attic looking for my skin. I’d put the body (which has a rubbarized chest) in one box and the head was missing (which has a rubbarized face). “Hey Mom – I can’t find my head!” Just what every parent would like to hear coming from the attic of their daughter’s apartment! It turned out it was in the box with my fairy wand, reindeer ears, bunny ears, cat ears … you get the point. Mom was needing a smidge bit of help with the computer and over her shoulders were these black furry arms! 🙂 giggle!

I got the costume put together and all was right with the world. We met up with some friends over at … I’m NOT going to say the name of the place as I’ve got it wrong in my head — NY Pizza is the largest part of the sign. It is fairly small and comfortable. Had a great time swapping stories. Great group: Scott & Q from the running club, Val from pilates … she’s also a Rocky Mountain Road Runner and has been in that pack of fast runners with Scott & Q, Joan from the museum and Jackie from just about everything else!

The race starts outside of the Wyncoop Brewery – owned/formerly owned by Denver Mayor John Higgenlooper (sp). We got there seriously early as I still needed to check in and we wanted to find parking. Thank GOD Mom is who she is as we were in that parking lot helping people with their costumes from around 8:45 to start time! Jackie’s mom came out as did Lynn & Lou. KristEn came out of Wyoming.

The thing about this event ( is that people seriously go to town creating costumes. I was in “slammed” mode, so I only added a pink feather boa from Jackie and added the white flower. My gorilla is the Cute Girl gorilla … and does curtsey for photos, at bystanders and as a thanks to the cops holding traffic back. “Sane” is not a word to describe me, hu?

The costume contest was fun. KristEn had a tall pink Marge Simpson wig on from Jackie and next year will have her costume together. Jackie had her black 40 DD bra on that usually has her iPod speakers in the styrofoam “boobies”. Jackie’s mom has a series of health issues, so we had to get her seated in one place. Lou, Lynn and Mom all hung out with her through the event.

The thing about my Mom is we’re a lot alike. She was trying to take photos (will post when I get them) of the costumes and floated around talking with just about every gorilla there! When KristEn, Jackie and I got off stage, we were off to the side talking with Gorllas Next Door (based on Hugh Heffner’s show). The guy in the group was a card. A mention was “Hey – where’s your mom?” Um … I did have to laugh because I realized she was all in black – but that blonde hair made her easy to spot … that and our trademark laugh!

We wandered with each other for a little before the race started. She was marveling at the costumes. “Ok Liz’ard … you are going to take it easy, right?” I said I was planning on it, but started to warm up my shins a little. No stretching, just  a little standing shin warm-up. “Yeah – I’m here for fun!” I think we both knew that probably as soon as I got going, all bets were off, but …

The course wanders out toward the running path along the Platte River. 700+ gorillas running/skating/cycling/scooting/walking w/one tutu & boa clad racewalker must be a sight. There was another event at the same time for diabetes. The really nice thing was that there were people out there who actually knew what it was that I was doing!

Last year, I remember feeling pretty sick wearing that head and trying to be able to see. My glasses are propped out on the outside and the only way to be timed is to be wearing the gorilla head and costume when the course monitors take photos! Seriously! At around mile 1, Jackie cut across me and, I found out later, she didn’t know she had. I figured we’d meet up again as she jogs and hops around. I got up to the place where we met last year – around mid-way – and I was doing fine. I carry my own Clif-Aid/Water Cocktail … especially due to my recent hydration issues. I just kept going. I thought I’d see KristEn’s Marge Simpson wig when I double backed on the folks behind me, but I didn’t.

From a race standpoint, I felt pretty good. I couldn’t see … much less hear … my watch so I was trucking along at a pace I could handle as I was overheating in a gorilla suit. As I got off the last bridge, I saw the Marge Simpson wig … and a couple of gorillas … sitting on the side. I cocked my head and was told it did look like “What the fuaaah?” KristEn and her friend started the race 20 minutes late and sat down to watch everyone come in. That’s this race. If you’re not worried about time or anything – you can go a few blocks, cheer folks, and come in when you want! It’s a true fundraiser.

I couldn’t see the finish line, but knew it was by the Icehouse sign. This guy who had been playing leapfrog with me kept saying “You’re doing great, Walker, but you need to pump your arms harder and higher. Move your feet farther apart …” Again … “What the fuaaah?” I wasn’t chaninging my walking style for some guy I’d never met. I kept doing what I was doing and told him “I like my form, but thanks!” AND BEAT HIM IN THE LAST 200 METERS!!!

Lynn had never seen me come across the line. Mom said she didn’t quite recognize me except when she saw the purple tutu. I could hear them, but my visuals were pretty bad and I was really overheating. I got across the line and RIPPED off the head. I got a great hug from the tall (and handsome) guy in rollar blades and a San Jose Shark’s costume. The “advice” giver came in and was in bad shape. “I couldn’t catch up to you in the end.” I smiled and said “I racewalk … not powerwalk.” I don’t know if it was Lynn or Mom who said “Lizzy racewalks 1/2 marathons and marathons and just finished one in 2:40.” I love my crew.

Of course, after slamming some post race go-go juice that was in the RMRR backpack Mom was toting & removing my race number, I was back out on the course looking for my team. I was surprised Jackie wasn’t right behind me, but I had a feeling she was waiting around for KristEn. I was cheering all the gorillas saying “AIM FOR THE ICE HOUSE SIGN!!!” As you can see of the post-race photo of the four of us, the start/finish sign was pretty bloody low!

I couldn’t believe how far back Jackie was. I walked pretty fast about a mile back and asked a walking can of Gorilla Brew where she was. “She’s about 1/4 mile back singing 100 bottles of beer on the wall.” Um … ok. She’s one to cheer everyone in so it didn’t surprise me at all. 

We did finally see each other and it was a real relief! “Where’s KristEn…” When I told her, she laughed, but she had been waiting. She could easily have finished this race in under an hour and next year it’s “Every gorilla for herself!” I grabbed her Gorilla Baby for a photo and ended up carrying it in.

We grabbed KristEn and did the last bit … Jackie is more of a jogger — and she wanted to run in. I’m an old sprinter, so what the heck! We got to a stop sign and I started to *run*. Lynn and Mom were, again, at that finish and I kept pushing the pace a little harder to get Jackie in. It was fun actually and I like running little bits here and there. I’d have to say it was a bit awkward running in a tutu, boa and carrying a pink gorilla baby … but whatever.

It appears that Lyn has already started figuring out how she’s going to modify her Gorilla to accommodate her oxygen tank … and KristEn will be coming out of Wyoming again.  What started out as Cancer Sux Gorilla Girls of Super Velvet (Jackie) and Wonder Zsa-Zsa (me) will be at least four! If Mom’s knee would hold up, I could see her coming out to play too! There was post race food, but Lyn and Mom said that there were announcements about what a zoo (pardon the pun) it was. Jackie and KristEn went up after Jackie dropped her mom off and said it was really packed. Mom and I took off.

One of the biggest concerns for Mom (and everyone else) was the fact that I’d gone through another spate of not eating. It’s been just a forgetful thing on this go around and I nearly passed out at the museum. As you can see, Mom’s pretty trim by nature and I’m the family Viking. No problem really – but we did have the “eating” discussion. Mom and I had our Thursday dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and thought we’d never eat again as the portions were so huge. Friday night was dinner with friends at the pizza place where part of our portions were sent home. Saturday was a late lunch … all this gorilla wanted was corned beef – which kills me every time, but we went to the New York Deli where she had a rare roast beef sandwich. The funny thing is what happens post-Church. I pick her up after Church and it’s “where now?” Last year it was a trip to Bonnie Brae Ice Cream and a walk in the drizzle around the neighborhood there. This year it was helping a lady find her car in the parking lot and then going to Cherry Creek Maul … and realizing I was getting dehydrated and having a HUGE fresh squeezed lemonade.

Sunday came a little too fast. Mom and I didn’t do a ton of tourist things, but we did have a good time. Life was real – not manufactured. I’m hoping she comes out for next year’s Gorilla race … I know I’ll be there!

More photos when they arrive!

Next Race: RMRR 9 Mile Trophy Series




2 responses

23 12 2008

The person who was only there to cheer and eat (me) would appreciate more accurate credit. The name is spelled “KristEn”!!!!!!!!!!!

23 12 2008

I’m such an amazing idiot!!! I keep blowing the spelling of two of my closest friends’ names … the KristIn I spell EN and KristEn I spell IN … aeeeiiii!!!!!

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