June 21, 2013

Please join me for snakes (and a track club social)

Another week of summer is gone, and every hot day is melting into the next way too quickly to catch up with all that we hoped to accomplish.

One of the cooler things that we made time for this summer was Cub Scout day camp for my eight-year-old son. Camp lasts one week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the boys get to do organized activities like learning how to identify plants and shooting BB guns and unorganized activities like finding snakes and peeing in the woods (that might just have been my son). 

Oh, and here's that found snake. I don't know what kind it is because I like to stay as far away from unidentified snakes as possible. If a snake expert hands me a snake and tells me it's not venomous, I'm fine with holding it, but I'm not interested in exploring that avenue blindly. Anyone have ideas about what kind of snake this is? It's probably hard to identify from this picture, but I was already peeing my pants getting this close to take the picture. It's not verified that snakes can leap off the ground and strangle/bite you, but in my mind it can and definitely will if I get too close. 

 Much less scary and way cooler than snakes: soda bottle rockets.

You fill the soda bottle with water and launch it with the help of a homemade launch pad and an air compressor. I had to rewind to :25 a couple of times to watch that classic fall.

My other three kids went to the Tot Lot, where for they could do similar activities as the Cub Scouts while their parents volunteer with the den. At $3 per child per day, it was also a really great deal. It took the twins about three seconds to fall asleep in the car at the end of our camp days. 

My personal favorite craft was stamping the leather bracelet. It's probably my favorite because it involves hammers and lots aggressive pounding -- a great way to vent any frustrations.

In addition to the camp excitement, I also had my first post-running-break long run. Nine miles with the Birmingham Track Club.

Natalie, above in the center with her dog, is about to have a baby any day now, but she is still organizing our routes and water stops every week and coming out to get us started. I'm pretty sure when I was 9+ months pregnant all I did was waddle to the bathroom five times an hour and complain about my frozen corn dog supply getting low. I was definitely not waking up at 5:30 to go volunteer outside in the middle of summer. Natalie, if you read this in your spare time (i.e. labor), you rock!

My brother joined me for those 9 miles, and we had a solid catch-up session. Thank goodness for running, or I might never talk to people. 

Shocker of the morning: my water stop was still there when I went to pick it up six hours later. I forgot about it, and it was hard to find the time between chores to get out of the house to go back and get it. Thank you, honest Birminghamites, for not saying to yourself, "Hey, free cooler."

If you live in Birmingham and are looking to run in the morning (Saturday, June 22), come out and join us at the Birmingham Track Club social at Vulcan Park. Here's more info. Starting at 6 a.m., I'll be leading a 12-mile group at 9mm pace. Come run with me!

Do you love or hate snakes? Hate is such a strong word, so I'll go with one step above hate. Lizards, cool. Snakes, not cool.

What was your favorite summer activity as a kid? I loved going to camp too. I went to a yearly girls camp from ages 12 to 18, and instead of hiking and crafts, my favorite activity was playing pranks on people. I'm sure my camp leaders were not at all annoyed by that. 

Long runs: are they best solo or with a group? 


  1. Long runs are definitely better with a group since the time passes much quicker and it's fun! I have been thinking about joining a running club for that exact reason. I am afraid of snakes and would probably freak out if I ever saw one!

    1. Good luck finding a group to run with. Now is a great time because everyone is starting to train for fall marathons.

  2. Snakes are DEFINITELY not cool! That would be some run motivation for me! Blah!
    I am a solo runner, for sure.
    It seems like I am always around 'someone' except when I run.
    I was in 4-H, so summer was all about horse shows and the county fair!

    1. I have no idea how fast snakes can slither, so I wonder if I could outrun them. ???

  3. I think snakes are really cool, but I'm still not totally comfortable with them. That is a really long snake, but it looks like a yellow rat snake to me, which is non-venomous. But, I'm not entirely sure if that's a correct ID!

    I loved summer camp when I was younger and when I was older I loved working my summer job at a local minor league baseball field. So fun!

    I definitely like doing long runs solo, but this weeks long run was interrupted with kisses from random corgis and I wouldn't have it any other way!

    1. I thought of you when I was trying to identify that snake in the pic!:) I hoped you might have an idea for me. Also, had no idea what a corgi was until I googled it. Behind on my dog knowledge.

  4. No to snakes. I was WAY too slow to keep up with the running club I joined today. And I don't remember summer activities as a kid. Probably enjoyed picnics and stuff like that.

    1. That stinks that no one ran with you! Our run group has a facebook page, where you can try and hook up with people running your same pace or verify that they'll be at the run you want to attend. That way you don't have to run alone.

  5. I run alone and I am sure that group long runs are more fun and the time probably passes much quicker...lol! I would love to find a running group that accommodates run/walk intervals...lol, that's probably a pipe dream! Snakes creep me out for sure..looks like the week was a success to me!

    Shannon at I Survived and Now I Run

  6. That snake is freaky. I don't mind snakes - I don't look at them and quake like I do with spiders. But I treat them with immense respect and give them a wide berth in the wild! I saw one when hiking the other week and it made me very nervous!!

    Long runs are best alone. Only child here!

  7. I hate snakes, and I hate them even more when I almost step on them on a trail. Yuck!


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