Due to popular demand, #MotherSpartans near and far will get to hear how I wrangled tots and babes during my obstacle race. Part I is here. Don’t call it a mud run! Mud runs are for those other, non-hardcore ancient Peloponnesians.
Disclaimer: the giveaway at the end of this post is sponsored by Reebok Spartan Race but I was not paid for this post, my opinions are all my own, and I paid my own way into my race. And let’s be real, who would want to share my opinions?
This was by far our longest “road trip” as a family of four, and driving three hours was something I was really dreading, since Henry is not a fan of the car. If he is tired, he will nap in the car fine, in fact, that’s mostly where he naps at home, driving here and there. But if he’s not tired, he has an expiration date. He’s a 20-pound sandbag of love, a ticking time bomb of cuteness.
My husband took off from work on Friday and we left early, but after rush hour. Henry fell asleep according to plan (you see where this is going, right? Planning crap with a nine month old baby?) but then we spent one hour crossing the Bronx because of construction and he woke up. In bumper to bumper traffic before we even left New York. That meant I had to do what I always do, jump into the backseat for Mommy juggling clown singing feeding anything clapping pattycake peekabo oh my God are we still on the Cross Bronx Expressway? Luckily enough he remained in good spirits due to my skills as a baby entertainer and we stopped for a delicious, nutritious pre-race-day lunch at Wendy’s in New Jersey.
After lunch and nursing and milkshakes for all and sundry children, he slept again, and so did Anna, all the way to Jim Thorpe, PA, a tourist town in the carbon mining hills of the North Poconos, a town once charmingly referred to as The Switzerland of America.
Probably by the town itself, and also people who have never been anywhere else, ever. Just kidding, it was a…town. I mean, a cute town, and we took a tourist antique railroad ride while we tried frantically to find a hotel. We were originally planning on staying at my sis’ boyfriend’s parent’s boarding school (turtle’s uncle’s sister-in-law’s ex-husband’s third-cousin-twice-removed’s old Sunday school teacher’s neighbor’s friend’s…) two hours away in Hershey, PA but I quickly changed our plans when it was clear I’d rather pay $200 for a night of bedbugs if need be than do more desperate singing of Old McDonald Had a Farm to stave off incessant crying. But the hotels around were booked (I like to travel like a leaf in the wind, like it’s 1999 and I’m bunking around European hostels and my husband likes to kill me.)
So we found a Marriott in Allentown (doesn’t that sound like the setting for a David Foster Wallace short story?) and everyone enjoyed the pool except for my husband because there was a shard of glass on the bottom that went into his foot and then the hotel staff didn’t think that was grounds for any kind of apology comping (Yelp reviews here I come). But luckily this chain-hotel injury was not enough to derail our dreams of Spartan glory.
The next major logistical obstacle was getting a family of four to sleep in one room with two beds when one of us (not naming any names here) enjoys sleeping with the LIGHTS ON. And when I mean enjoy, I mean will not sleep otherwise, and will throw a tantrum and sob sadly if lights are off. And some others in the family cannot sleep with any light. So that was tricky. Henry slept pretty well for the night demon that he is, and if he woke me up three times I call that a win. For contrast, last night I think he was up probably 8-10 times, no exaggeration.
My mom wanted to come on our little getaway, and that was great because she could watch the kids at the race site (along with Alex’s sister who tagged along to help). She drove with my sister that night and stayed next door in the hotel and then we were all a caravan of weirdness the next morning.
Henry slept on the way to the race, and for a bit afterward while we were hosing off our mud and getting Anna pizza (her main sustenance) so of course he screamed and cried and wouldn’t sleep the next two hours to Hershey. We stopped at a town that now has the honors of serving me the worst salad of my lifetime.
The scenery was lovely, yet I was too busy putting socks on my head and hee-hawing while Henry laughed for a second then started crying again, like I know what you’re doing, Mom! You can’t make me forget I’m in the car! So we made it to this school and at that point I had a raging migraine headache and I took like seven doses worth of Excedrin Migraine and it didn’t really go away and then Henry fell asleep five minutes before we actually got there (of course) and then I still had mud in my ear but my head hurt too much to wash it out. Then we were all hungry and realized trekking around mountains made us tired and then I decided to call “uncle” and we planned to leave the next morning super early so Henry could sleep more in the car and not stay and go to Hershey Park the next day as planned. Sorry, Anna. But you’re not even four and you’ve already been to Disney Land, Hershey Park, and Dollywood (don’t ask). You’ll live, kid.
My plan worked brilliantly. Henry cried halfway through PA, then slept until the Holland Tunnel. No traffic, and we stopped for coffee and breastfeeding near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. And truly, what better place in the world for coffee, bagels, and public nursing? The Spartan Sprint starting line is also a good place for breastfeeding in public, though. Just ask…me.
So the moral of the story is: next family trip we will take trains, planes, boats, dog sleds, water tubing OR antique rail. No cars, until Henry is old enough to watch movies on the iPad like a big kid.
Okay, the giveaway! Post a comment below, maybe about what you think you’d rock at in a Spartan Race and what scares you the most and I will generate a random number from a random number generator thingy and the winner will receive free entry into any upcoming Spartan013-2014 in the continental US. These races aren’t cheap, so let’s hear it. I was completely right about my predictions: I knew I would excel at pain, and suck at sports. What about you?
And there are still sprints coming up in Virginia, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee and Nebraska. I wouldn’t recommend driving to Nebraska with my baby, though. You can’t have him anyway, baby stealers. I know he’s cute.
Oh, and if you don’t win the giveaway but you still want to see if you can do less Burpees than your husband, you can get 15% off any Spartan Race - http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior. And the best way to convince your husband and friends to do this with you is to sign them up for it and then they have to do it since you paid for it already.
Contest will close by Friday at midnight!