Fun At The Zoo

Long packet pick-up lines seems to be the theme here. Alright if you read my previous post about the Royals 5K packet pick-up then you know how surprised I was that the line was that long. It was crazy. The packet pick-up for the zoo was a bit of a drive for us to Fleet Feet Sports but it was bearable. I was surprised again at how long the line was. I got a good look because the parking was insane as well. I drove all around the shopping area to try to find a spot. I got lucky and got one in front of one of my favorite pizza places, Minsky’s. I had the kids with me because I had just picked them up from preschool. Hubby was working from home, so I could have left them with him, but the kids have been in the house too much recently. In hindsight I should have taken the kids home.

The line was out the store and down the sidewalk passed quite a few other businesses. The big difference about this line was that it went a lot faster than the Royals 5K line. We also heard that some people were there to sign up for the run that day and they had to be turned away because it was sold out! How great is that for the zoo run! The kids were good in the line. I was actually real proud of them. When we got inside they had a big cute stuffed dog that the kids petted. I saw a tattoo of the TIE fighter on a guy behind me in line. It was on his forearm and then I realized he had the Xwing Starfighter on the other arm. I couldn’t help but ask him about the Disney Star Wars runs. He asked if they were in Kansas City with a tone that made me think either he just didn’t have time/money to travel or was maybe anti-Disney. Not sure but I definitely picked up on something. I told him they were at Disney. I mentioned that we were doing the superhero half this year and we wanted to do both dark and light side Star Wars runs sometime soon. I pointed out how the kids don’t complain much when we make these type of family trips for races. Then the next thing I know, I had the shirts and bibs and was on my way. I think the lesson learned here is not to get a packet within the first two hours and if I can go by myself, then do so. On the bright side, it was still a little mini adventure for the kids and kept them out of the house.

The plan on race day was very similar to last year. My in-laws had something they needed to do that afternoon, but they stayed the night before the race so the kids could get some rest in the morning. They were going to bring the kids to the zoo so we could have a zoo day. Last year my in-laws didn’t stay, but this year they said they might.

Of course the kids woke up before we left since they are used to getting up early for school. We kissed them good-bye and headed to the run while my in-laws got them breakfast. We were about fifteen minutes later than I wanted. I remembered that we had to walk to the start, but I couldn’t remember how far. The lady at the packet pick-up said it was a twenty minute walk. It wasn’t. It was maybe a five minute walk. We were there in plenty of time. We got in the correct wave and waited a few minutes for the start. The sun was coming up and it was getting hot but other than the heat it was a beautiful day.

I really wanted to do a sub forty minute race so I knew that pictures would be tough. When I was running I saw one girl take her phone out and take pictures while running! I thought, “Hmmm, I could do that, but then again maybe not. I would probably fall flat on my face while being distracted.” The route was the same as last year. I don’t think there were any changes. It is a fun route that is mostly in the zoo. The hill coming back to the main part of the zoo and out of “Africa” really sucks. I walked that part. I also walked one or two hills in “Australia.” I know when I reached mile two in Africa I was doing about ten minute miles which is my goal. The hills kind of killed it for me for the last two miles. I was also really hot. I did keep up with a lady dressed as a lion and a gentleman running in camouflage running clothes. I feel like my pace was good.

I found Hubby pretty quick at the finish. We stayed in the shade by the medical tent for a while to drink some water and cool off. My Garmin said I did 3.96 miles in 41:41. My official time for the four mile run was 41:25. My official time last year was 42:14. I did better but not by much. When I go back and look at the videos on the results website I look like I’m limping. I’m  guessing that is my plantar fasciitis. The video from the year before does not look like that. I’ve got to correct that! I’ve been told to do more strength training. I don’t like the idea of joining a gym, but that might be the only way I can do it. Strength training at home is soooo boring.

My elastic hair band broke before we left to the main parking lot to get our Sweet 16 Series prize and food. I thought I would give it a long shot and ask the nice lady at the medial tent if she had just a basic rubber band lying around. When I asked her I said it definitely wasn’t a medical emergency but I wondered if she had an extra band lying around. I showed her my broken one. There were no runners at the tent. So they were not over run attending to anybody. To my surprise, she pulled the hair band from her hair to give to me! I told her no that I’m sure she needed her band for her hair on such a hot day. She said no, that she knew she had an extra band plus she had some bands on her wrist she could use. I said thank you and put her band in my hair. Hubby poked fun at me for taking the band from her hair like I took the shirt off her back or something. I started to feel bad instead of finding it funny. He then back peddled and said he was sure she was fine since she said she had an extra. So to the nice lady at the medical tent, thank you! We stayed at the zoo with the kids for hours and it was hot. Without that band I would have been miserable trying to keep my hair up  and off my sweaty back and neck.



Crowd and band at on after party


Now here is where the real frustration starts. We saw a McDonald’s tent with a long line. We saw people eating doughnuts and cinnamon rolls so we just assumed that we were in line for food especially since it was so long. While waiting we listened to the band play and saw someone dressed at a T-Rex. We were in line for a bit when someone said they thought the line was for results. Well we know we can look up results anytime. So Rodney asked if I would check out and see what was what for sure. I got out of line and saw that it was for the Sweet 16 Challenge tent. I thought it was fine that he stay in line because we still needed to pick up our prize which was a fleece blanket. There was a super short line next to it for results and an even shorter line for McDonald’s which is nothing other than water, apple slices, and coupons. I grabbed a few coupons and turned to get back in the other line with Hubby, but I almost ran right into him. I asked him why he got out of line before I came back to him. He didn’t answer. I told him why we still needed in that line and he still didn’t answer. He got a few coupons as well and we went looking for food. We found the cinnamon roll line, but it was for Stroud’s which he doesn’t like. There was a tent next to it with no line for bread rolls which I didn’t want either. There was a bit of a long line for Shatto Milk which is a local dairy farm here in Kansas City. They have some really yummy milk. They were pretty much out of chocolate when we got to the front of the line. I had some cookies and cream milk. I can’t remember what Hubby got but he got more than one. I wasn’t real happy about that. I figured one for each person and go. I didn’t want to be stingy, but nobody said anything to him so maybe it was okay.

We finally double backed to the Sweet 16 tent. Hubby did not want to stand in the long line again. It was still huge and getting bigger by the minute. We thought that people just didn’t know what was going on and got in a line kind of like we did. A whole group of people walked away when they said it was just for the Sweet 16 finishers. Hubby jumped in, told them our name to scratch off the list, grabbed two blankets and we were out of there. Strange thing was that the doughnuts were right next to the tent on the other side opposite the McDonald’s tent with no line. We got our Krispy Kremes and headed for the parking lot since that was about the time my in-laws called.



View of the party


We told them to hold tight and we went to find them. It just seemed easier than trying to find us in a crowd. Once we found them, we walked to our car that we rode in that morning to change clothes. The kids and my in-laws hung out in the shade of a big tree in the parking lot. It was amazing how much cooler I felt in nice dry clothes. We went in the zoo so the kids could have some fun zoo time. My in-laws stayed with us for a bit. My mother-in-law mentioned that the Tuxedo Grill was not open the last time she was there. I was surprised. I think it has been open for at least two years now. We showed them some of the other new things at the zoo like the Koala bears. We enjoyed the air conditioning at the polar bear exhibit and the snake house. My in-laws had to leave before we had a chance to see the penguins and then make our way to the train. We rode the Sky Safari and walked back to the zebra tram. We were all so tired and hungry. We got an Icee to share and then headed to McDonald’s on the way home. We don’t eat there a whole lot. We try to make it a treat once in while. I left the coupons we got that morning in our car that my in-laws took back to get to our house and get their car. Come to find out it was only good for restaurants near the zoo. Ugh! I hate it when they do that on coupons. We stopped at a McDonald’s closer to our house.

It was a tiring fun filled day. We even got the kids some toys from the zoo gift shop. We love being members of the zoo and getting discounts with our membership. That added to the happy meal toys and the kids made out like bandits. I think I really like the Sweet 16 Challenge. I hope I do it again next year. I’m not sure if Hubby will do it with me. Like I said, he is not super excited about getting up and running anymore. He is all about the cycling though.