At the 2014 finish line

The 2014 Chicago Marathon, like it says.

The 2014 Chicago Marathon, like it says.

I don’t post kid or pet photos, but I do occasionally prattle on about running. It forces me out of bed at unreasonable hours, costs more money than I’d like to admit and (sometimes) fills the need for competition. Yes, just like the aforementioned.

So, to close out 2014:

1 marathon
(my first, in Chicago in October)

In the middle of the pack in the Chicago Marathon (photo courtesy of sports action pro Adam Gerik, who also insisted I wear the hat).

In the middle of the pack in the Chicago Marathon (photo courtesy of sports action pro Adam Gerik, who also insisted I wear the hat).

1 number of dogs who beat me in a 5K.
Her name was Katie. I wish this was a joke.

2 pairs of Brooks Adrenaline shoes

3 half marathons

The Peoria Marathon half in May, with Journal Star colleagues Thomas Bruch (left) and Shannon Countryman, who are both faster than me.

The Peoria Marathon half in May, with Journal Star colleagues Thomas Bruch (left) and Shannon Countryman, who are both faster than me.

16 total races

At the Morton Pumpkin Festival 10K, trying not to get passed at the finish.

At the Morton Pumpkin Festival 10K, trying not to get passed at the finish.

485 total miles (which seems low, but proves you don’t have to run 40 miles a week to do a marathon).

Here’s to a few more finish lines in 2015.

Still standing after the marathon. Success.

Still standing after the marathon. Success.

 

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Something for the reindeer

tree

Chopping carrots at 1.m. on Christmas Day seems a logical place to find solace. It’s a tradition I seem to have forgotten – until very recently.

Like many children, my sister and I left cookies and a glass of lukewarm milk out for Santa as we headed to bed on Christmas Eve. And as extra insurance, there was a push to include carrots for his reindeer.

I now realize, of course, that all of those magical years, my parents must have dutifully ground up (or eaten?) those carrots and cookies, leaving obvious crumbs behind, along with a note. The barely concealed handwriting, which I can still see, was either my mother’s careful script of half cursive or my father’s no-nonsense all capitalization.

I’m alone for Christmas this year, part of the unfortunate circumstances of a newspaper job and illnesses that have kept my small family apart. Slicing carrots for a stew, made for one, was all it took to bring back happy memories.

I hope there are children out there this morning who will get that same note from Santa. Forgotten amid the excitement of presents, it might still be there – years later – when they need it most.

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