Push Away the Screen: The Color Run Clearwater 2014

by jennifer26. January 2014 16:45
The Color Run 2014 was supposed to be our "redemption run." Last year my family got sick with the bird flu (Type A Influenza) and only one child had recovered enough to participate in the Color Run. Ella and I had a great time and we couldn't wait to #pushawaythescreen and do it as a family in 2014. And then this happened....THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE!!The boy child was at a friend's house for a play date and he fell and cut his knee pretty badly. 5 stitches later, and we knew he was out for the Color Run 2014.We came home from the doctor, told his sister's and they cried for him, and adamantly said "IF RONIN DOESN'T DO IT, WE DON'T DO IT. WE WILL STAY HOME AND KEEP HIM COMPANY."  Such sweet girls. I put out a call on social media that I suddenly had 3 extra entries for the race and would love some company so this mama didn't have to run the race alone! One of my friends answered my plea and we made plans to meetup and carpool before dawn! Ronin woke me up at 2am crying and in extreme amounts of pain. A little bit of Motrin and some mama snuggles and he was back to dreamland. Before I knew it my alarm was going off. I had my clothing ready, got quickly dressed, kissed sleeping children and husband goodbye, grabbed my coffee and headed out the door! My friend was right where she said she'd be, jumped in my car and off we went! We arrived at the start line with plenty of time to spare. We even got a super close parking spot. The race was off to a great start, and we hadn't even begun! This is our selfie just as we parked the car! Because we all need selfies! As we approached the start line we could already hear the music pumping, and we quickly made our way through the expo area. We found this cute Yoplait Greek yogurt tent that took your photo throwing color into the air. They also took a video that posted on Facebook, and you can see that HERE  Arriving early meant we had plenty of time to look at everything and get photos at the start line before the massive amounts of people showed up!We had planned to do the race with my friend Carolyn who had picked up our race packets on Saturday, but after meeting up with Carolyn, heading back to the car to drop off the bags, going to the bathroom, and then heading to the start line, we lost her and never found her throughout the race. But I did find fellow runner blogger, Nanci from This Crazy Life of Mine.   Thousands of runners gathered near the start. But the Color Run is not like your typical race. Instead of everyone starting at the same time we went in staggered waves of a few hundred at a time, spaced about 5 minutes apart.We waited, and waited, and waited, and at about 9:15am we were off!! My Color Run partner considers herself a "non-runner" but like me, makes goals during her runs, so I followed her lead. She'd say "let's run to that sign" or "let's run to that light." And we'd do it. I'd say most of the time we were running 800 meters before we'd stop for a breather. It really worked out well. Our first color station was PURPLE!!We emerged through the Purple Haze laughing, coughing, and covered in purple! And off we went on our run! Next up was PINK!! My favorite color!! Who loves pink? This girl LOVES pink!And then there was water!! Glorious water! We rinsed out our mouths, drank some water and ran some more. In fact, we ran straight to the Sunoco gas station for a quick break. Thankfully we were in and out fairly quickly after I discovered a hidden bathroom that was also being used as a supply closet! Never underestimate the will of a runner who must pee. Back on the course, we quickly came across yellow. And looking back now, I find this photo very funny considering what I just said in the sentence above!Next up was Blue!  And then another water station! And then surprise! Another bathroom break was needed. Little did we know that blue was out last color station. We started running, heard a police officer tell another participant that the finish line was 1/4 mile up the road. He lied. But along the way we came across the famous Clearwater Dolphins. Here I am with Harrison and Spot!   I thought these dolphins were scattered around the city, but we started seeing more of them, and I said FORGET IT, I don't need any more photos with dolphins, let's just run!! That 1/4 mile was the longest 1/4 mile of my life. We run 400m quite often at CrossFit, so I know how long a 1/4 mile is. And this was not a 1/4 mile. We ran, and ran, and ran. We dodged walkers, and ran some more. Suddenly we saw the bridge in the distance and knew we must be close. We rounded the bend and bam...there it was!! The finish. I said to my buddy "now let's go, this is why we do sprint work at CrossFit" and off we went! We made it! We finished!We wandered around for just a few minutes, but needed to leave. Between the two of us we have 7 children, so we needed to get back home! But not before I spotted this sign!Unicorns are cool. This was a great race. A little different from last year's Color Run (no orange, more water stations) and I really enjoyed the new location at Coachman Park. This is the first run in the past year where I have run more than I have walked. I feel like maybe, just maybe, I have re-discovered my running legs. This was my friend's FIRST 5K and she LOVED it. She loved everything about it and can't wait to do more. Good thing since we have the Spartan Race in 2 weeks.    Have you ever done The Color Run? Where?   Disclaimer: The Color Run provided me with race entries to participate in their event. All opinions are my own.

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Push Away the Screen: The Blue Man Group Orlando

by jennifer5. January 2014 19:24
Haley's birthday was very blue! Not blue because she was sad, but blue because we had the opportunity to go to Orlando and see the infamous Blue Man Group.Our show was scheduled to begin at 6pm, so we arrived at Universal City Walk by 5pm, had some snacks and drinks, and then went to pick up our tickets at Will Call. Walking up to the box office the #TampaTrio was getting so excited by all the colorful paint inspired signs that they were seeing!We picked up our tickets and saw that we were in row BB. I had no idea where that was and thought maybe it was in the 28th row with A-Z being the first 26 rows, and then starting up with double letters for rows behind that. I was wrong.We were in the 2nd row. Which is considered the "splash zone" and they provided us with ponchos. As you can tell from the photo, they also serve food and drinks at the show. The kids each had a Churro (their favorite amusement park snack) and James and I each had an adult beverage. The show has a very strict NO CAMERA, NO PHONES, NO SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING, so I happily turned my devices off. I was there to #pushawaythescreen, so it made it even easier to just say NO! The show started with the BANG of drums, and didn't let up the entire time! They are more than musicians though. At one point during the early part of the show, one of the Blue Men popped open a bag of marshmallows and tossed a few ordinary marshmallows into the audience. Then,  Blue Man One takes his position about 20 feet from Blue Man Two, reaches into the bag, takes aim and arcs one right into Blue Man Two's open mouth. The feat earns a smattering of applause. But the Blue Men are just getting started. Rocking to a drum beat, Blue Man One tosses another one to Blue Man Two. And another. And another. Each marshmallow lands in Blue Man Two's mouth, with his cheeks bulging, and eyes widening! The applause turns to hoots and hollers and the audience counts along, 19, 29, 21, 22, 23. After a pause to shove these back, he's ready for more. After 35 or so direct hits, Blue Man Two ends the ceremony by recycling the slobbery white mass as a free-form sculpture. It looks like a pile of cream cheese, but it's art. And this is when he held it out on his hands....offering it to the audience, looking at my son Ronin as he did this. So what do you think Ronin did?? HE CLIMBED THE STAIRS, GOT ON THE STAGE AND TOOK THE SLOBBERY SCULPTURE FROM BLUE MAN TWO'S OUTSTRETCHED HANDS!! And walked back down the stairs, smiling and laughing....so proud of the white wet masterpiece.  Special thanks to the Blue Man Group for taking this photo and sending it to us! I immediately took off my poncho, met Ronin at the stairs, wrapped the sculpture in it, placed it under my seat, grabbed Ronin's hands and we quickly exited the theater to head to the bathroom. After a hand wash, and a good laugh, we went back to head to our seats where we learned that we were locked out of the theater because the Blue Men were doing an act that couldn't be disturbed! I understood, but Ronin did not. He was upset. Not throwing himself on the floor crying upset, but bummed out because he was missing the show. It was at this point that the Show Manager came out and asked if this was the boy who had gone on stage for the sculpture. I said "yes, this his him." And he proceeds to tell us that in the HISTORY OF THE SHOW NO ONE HAS EVER TAKEN THEM UP ON THEIR OFFER TO TAKE THE SCULPTURE. The manager proceeds to tell us that he'd like to have our family meet some of the Blue Man Group and band members after the show, and he gives us a designated meeting spot. Say what??? He also tells us that the sculpture is not made of marshmallows, but rather of SOMETHING ELSE!! Yuck, not that it wasn't gross enough with marshmallow, but to learn that it was something else, something secret, super gross and that he's going to send someone to pick it up from us before the show's end. The doors re-opened and back we went to our seat. We made it through the rest of the show, and it was fantastic. The music was lively and the beat was contagious. There was only one negative (though James considers it a positive) and that is that we did not get sprayed with paint or water, or ANYTHING! I guess that's good since I had my poncho wrapped up with a mystery substance sculpture, but the kids were pretty disappointed. They were hoping to get MESSY! But their disappointment quickly turned to smiles! If you look closely in my hand, you can see the white mystery substance sculpture all wrapped up in my poncho! We got to meet TWO members of the Blue Man Group, including the one who made the Marshmallow/Mystery Substance Sculpture, and he gave to Ronin a REMO DRUM HEAD THAT HE HAD USED IN THE SHOW!!  We also got to meet Kevin, one of the drummers in the group and he gave the kids a quick drumming lesson. I spent the rest of the evening listening to Ella play "her sticks" on various objects throughout Universal City Walk. She's actually pretty good. She certainly has an ear for music. Overall we all had a night that we will not soon forget! It was a great way for us to laugh together and Push Away the Screen.   Have you ever seen the Blue Man Group??   Disclaimer: Our family was provided with 5 tickets to see and review the show. All opinions are ours. 

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Jenny

Push Away the Screen: Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Tampa

by jennifer2. January 2014 19:20
The circus is a HUGE family tradition for us. This is our 9th consecutive year of attending RBBB Circus. Our first visit was in January 2005 right around the time Haley turned 1. Haley is about to turn 10 on Saturday and every year the circus has come right around her birthday, and every year we go to get an early jump start on birthday festivities. This was the first year, however, when we've gone in the evening to see the animals before the show. We've seen them plenty of times, just normally during the day, so I didn't get that many pictures of the trio with the animals. They love the big cats (and so do I) so we were all happy to get to see lots of tigers and lions. Super cool. A pair of lionesses was play fighting, so snarling and typical big cat behavior was going on and we all really enjoyed the thrill of seeing that.  And keeping with tradition Haley picked up the molds of the elephant teeth. I remember when she first did this 9 years ago. My how times have changed.   We had 4th row seats, so we were very close. The kids wanted to get on the floor and sit on the motor bike. Ronin thought it was pretty neat.I thought so too.The first half of the show was pretty incredible. The kids and I all agreed that the lion and tiger show was our favorite.  Photo courtesy of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus We all also really enjoyed the Torres Family, a set of 7 brothers and 1 sister who ride motorcycles TOGETHER in the Globe of Steel.  Our hearts would drop as they went faster and faster swooping in and out of each others space. Photo courtesy of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus They also had a unicorn and Pegasus. But my kids didn't buy that they were real. They had an amazing cycle show with spectacular acrobats from China. We left the show at Intermission having seen our favorite parts of the circus. James had to work the next morning, and I was pretty tired, too, as were the #TampaTrio so we decided it would be in our best interest to head home. You can buy tickets here and use the code MOM4 to save on select performances in Tampa through January 5, 2014.   Disclosure: I received 5 tickets to attend and review this show. All opinions are my own.  

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Jenny

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