April 10, 2012

I cannot believe we did this.

There are times you dream up an idea. and then you sit on it.


We made a roller coaster.

this is the original plan. as seen on archival and fancy...um. cardboard.

sketch everywhere people.


Ok, a little context: 

The Monument Avenue 10k is a race in Richmond, VA

(that's 6.2 miles) 

along historic Monument Avenue

which is a street.
but it looks like giant trees are holding hands over top of you.

with statues of Confederate Generals placed along the grassy median like cake toppers. 

later they added Arthur Ashe. 

So some are on horseback and some are holding tennis racquets.


USA Today named this road race one of the 10 greatest in the United States.

There are 4 billion people who run it.

And I got that information from an accurate source. My brain.

I estimated the amount of people I saw. so.

4 billion.

and that is coming from someone who spent the last 3 years weaving through that crowd in a cumbersome costume.

(picture above is us in the roller coaster costume trying to stay in our starting wave. so difficult. people go nuts on race day and think they may possibly beat a coworker's time. and yes. on race day. that matters to them so much.)

all of this brings me to the best part:

The race has a costume contest.

enter @RVAcostume stage left


@RVAcostume is a group of friends that go over the top.
Thank goodness.

This year's cast.

RVAcostume teammates change around. but once a teammate. always a teammate. Hi guys not pictured. xo

(one year we ran the race as a curling team. except. well...
an athletic mocumentary? yes.

and once I paddled with them.)

6.2 miles in a costume means
a- you need to be able to run the race. and b- you need to own it. you need to own the fact that you dressed up. and commit.

OK. Let me start over.

~ This Year ~

Let me start at the ugly beginning. 

Because let's face it. 

Beginnings. are. ugly.


and later... funny.

when a costume is just a thought and the parts are all over a driveway. it is overwhelming.



this is becca. sometimes she takes this exact picture. and all the time it is in front of something ridiculous.

in this case. a roller coaster construction project.



I typed 5 things to justify this picture. and deleted them.


more crazies:

exhibit a. laura and rachel.

exhibit b. laura and rachel.


Problems you never saw coming in your life

like this:

(cautiously driving with giant materials overhead.)

and this.

Laura and Corey try to store the base.

A lesson I have never ever learned:

Think about where you are storing something before you start building it.



We brainstorm the ideas for these costumes at bars and ice cream shops in our neighborhood.



This year we were about to run as a bowl of spaghetti. I mean. very close to going that route.
(meatball hats. sh)

But then we said. no.

no. we should be a roller coaster.


And timing worked out. in a bad turn of events.

when they cancelled the State Fair of Virginia. And we were not cool with that.



It's just part of who I am.

I was raised on pickles and funnel cakes and betting games that have you gambling desperately for stuffed bears!

I got stung on the neck by a bee one year at the fair and a man took a cigarette apart and put the tobacco straight on my neck. THINGS LIKE THAT ONLY HAPPEN AT THE FAIR.


but back to making our own roller coaster...

necessary tasks look crazy.

we had to weight the track as it dried. it sandwiched chicken wire to hold its shape.


oh, and also there was this:

someone got a tetanus shot about 10 minutes after this picture was taken. holla.

find the injury.

surprisingly, this ended in no injury.
and maybe we got some additional cardboard.


and then I found a beekeeping outfit. so I put it on.



hello truth.

I think when you learn that you love art you are destined to fight for it the rest of your life.

and sometimes that looks like this:

late night test runs of a coaster costume.

a late night to tie dye.

but we know we have to finish this out. to the max.

so we made a preview video that we released about a week before the race.

a costume trailer. yes.

When you enter a race you have to pick up a race packet the day before.


We went. 

and I mean, 


we took those balloons and props to the race expo and told everyone we were looking forward to using our ride tickets tomorrow.

We confuse.

there was a truck outside the packet pick up/ expo that made us feel at home.

and we happily answered the question in this booth.
what moves you: duh.


our smiles are all nerves and excitement.
and Laura's weather anxiety is through the roof as the forecast calls for definite rain.




We woke up at 5:15am and walked down the road to a parked van on a dark street hitched to a trailer. 
(it feels exactly like it sounds)

And then went to get the coaster... and loaded it on the trailer.

(and for thinking it was cool.)

then the sun came up.

and the rain came down.

and the coaster rode to the race while we watched it and prayed it did not fly off into traffic.

it made it. 

and so did we.


and this other guy there had the SAME shirt we did. so we added him to the team for .4 seconds.

eeek. waiting for the start. 
We have to get there early so people file in around us. Otherwise we would never make it into the crowd.

which cracks me up because we never saw that coming. 
maybe some screaming. but not the entire way. 

and not with everything we had. 



it needed major additional cardio training. that we did not do.

But we did a practice lap for a TV camera where we all let out blood curdling roller coaster screams. 
And instantly realized that it made no sense to ever stop screaming. 

I want to applaud everyone for staying in character.
despite the pain.

( !!  note the sign to the far right. )

When else do you have the job of looking afraid for an entire road race?

no lie. I think someone captured one of the times I was telling Becca I thought I may pass out.

constant major screams make you lightheaded... a little.


well. this is why the race is awesome.

he also had a great sign on his back. he was racing in honor of his partner.

We finished it. and the coaster was in one piece!

at the end.
we were delusional.


soaking wet.
and exhausted.


Our work here is done.

one wheel.


Do something that seems ridiculous.

It totally pays off in the end.


I cannot believe we did this.



p.s. costume is my middle name. here are more costume facts:


1. Once I thought I didnt have a costume for a party. and was slightly embarrassed to realize I owned all accessories/parts without having to buy anything. and I located them all less than an hour before the party.

2. My sewing station in my room looks like it may be a corner of a fabric store. I have so many ribbons. and this is a really good thing. some are glitter turquoise. yes... I said SOME. as in more than one.

3. Once I made 3 foot tall boots and my friend- WREN BALKUS wore them to mcdonalds and I recorded her ordering a happy meal at the counter. keep in mind she was nearly touching the ceiling in giant shoe stilts basically. everyone acted normally when this happened. she is my hero. 

4. Once I half-assed Halloween.......... silence

5. that will never happen again.

6. Once I won free dinner for about a week when I dressed as a peacock in a Florida CiCi's Pizza. 

7. I love Alice in Wonderland. I went by the name Alice when I worked in Disney World. That is what the kitchen staff of my restaurant called me. and I loved it with all my heart.  I have been Alice  on Halloween. I also have been the Queen of Hearts. and rode a bus through San Francisco as this the queen. check.

(want to ever know why I draw rabbits? it is partly because of Alice in Wonderland. sh. secret) 

8. I adore the Circus for a million reasons. one is costume.

9. I was a tornado one Halloween walking around with two other "disasters," I won a Justin Bieber journal. and other noteworthy things.

please look. I sequined a SMALL CHILDS MITTEN!!!! (consider that a hint.)


go all out.


Rhonda said...

Seriously, you are THE funnest person I "know." Kudos on the race in a roller coaster costume screaming the whole way. That exhausted me thinking about it. I was very sad to see you tearing it all apart. Love Love Love!!

Anonymous said...

You never waste a single word (or day).

Erin said...

This is awesome! I loved the trailer.

I am sorry I missed meeting up with you, I was in Richmond on the 10k weekend! It was crazy. We shot an engagement session the day after and the bride told me she saw you guys running!

You are totally inspiring!

i love music. almost more than everything.