Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pie. Sky.

Mom and Dad came to Chicago on Friday. They arrived at 3:02 pm and immediately fired up the oven. And over the next 24 hours, we all cranked out 17 pies (and, of course, a giant bowl of whipped cream because no pie has any business in my house without being smothered in real whipped cream). More hot pies!

Mom makes her pies from scratch—including the crusts—and she often has pie parties to celebrate things like birthdays and homecomings and adequately folded laundry and days that end in y. She has a large library of pie plates, but we really had to beg, borrow and steal to get 17 of them in one room at the same time. In order to do my part, I have become the proud owner of four, which means I should probably learn to make some pies on my own one of these days.

I also finally found (and ironed!) a damask cloth big enough to cover our dining room table when it has all 73 leaves in it. Because homemade pies display best on freshly ironed damask.
The final tally:
3 pecan
2 pumpkin
2 cherry
2 banana cream
2 apple
2 lemon meringue
1 custard
1 raisin sour cream
1 strawberry
1 chocolate meringue

And then we invited about 100 people over for a housewarming party on Saturday. Which was lovely, but once I took pictures of the pies I set my camera down and never picked it up again to take pictures of the guests. But the party was really just a thinly veiled excuse for me to pull up a chair and shovel pie down my throat in the name of carb loading anyway. Because this morning I got up at 6:00 and climbed 94 flights of stairs with two friends in Hustle up the Hancock. All without combing my hair:
For the record, Hustle up the Hancock was fun. And by "fun" I mean "poorly organized, painful and kind of gross." By the time we got to the top, we were all tasting blood. Which we later decided was metal. Which we later surmised was from breathing in all the rust dust that had been gathering undisturbed in the metal stairwells since last year's Hustle until it got kicked up by this year's Hustlers. It's currently 13 hours since I finished, and I still have a cough. What's more, the John Hancock Center has at least five floors that are two stories high. Which means we really climbed 99 flights but we got credit for only 94. Where is the justice?

Honestly, though, I'm glad I did it. I've always wanted to see what Hustle up the Hancock was about, and I was fascinated to see how the organizers moved 2,765 people (plus hundreds of volunteers) through space and time in a building with a footprint that's significantly smaller than a city block. (I humbly recommend more signs telling people where to go and what they need to do.) I also had no idea what to expect and certainly no idea how long the event would take me. Past winners have made the climb in under 10 minutes with most people taking 30-40 minutes. We forgot to pay close attention at the top, but we think we made it in 20 minutes. Our official times have yet to be posted.

[This just in: The times are finally posted, and I did the climb in 19:09, which placed me 199 of 445 in my age group and 877 of 2,655 overall finishers.]

Having no way to train for the event (the tallest building I have access to at the moment is 14 stories), my body was quickly shocked by what I was asking it to do. My lungs were burning, my thighs were shaking and my gym shorts were so full of static cling that I was probably a fire hazard with all that dust in the air. But unlike a race where the mile markers are 9 minutes apart, you can watch the floor numbers climb higher and higher in a matter of seconds. Which is a total motivation booster. And unlike a marathon, which typically lasts longer than a Rush Limbaugh marriage, this thing was over in a matter of minutes. So it was more like a Britney Spears marriage.

And Monday morning, I put my name in the lottery for my next challenge: the New York City Marathon, which is a month after the Chicago Marathon, which I'm already entered in. If I get picked for New York, I'll run two marathons back-to-back. So I'm gonna need a lot of motivation. And carbs. Which means Mom is gonna have to make a whole lot more pie.

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