merchandise tent

10

It’s hard to put down Ragnar into words. I signed up knowing it would be a huge challenge for me. After my surgeries, my running abilities nosedived to just about zero. I’ve worked to come back, but it hasn’t been as easy as I thought. Still, I needed to prove to myself I was capable.

I drove down from Connecticut on Thursday where the lovely @read-run-knit-drink picked me up at the Philly airport once I ditched my rental car. I was the last to arrive in Philly, so once we returned to her house, we were ready to head to Lancaster (emphasis on the KISS). Quick unpacking at the hotel and some van decorating followed, with an abundance of goat pictures and pizza slices. As I learned on the course, portable lights are also a fun option, and I fully plan on stealing that idea next time (because yes, there will be a next time).

Once finished with van prep, we headed to the local brewing company to grab a bite to eat, including our fallen teammate @kaylarunshappy, and I’m so very glad she did! We were so sad to see her injured just before the race, but she still very much remained a part of our team despite her absence. I hope she’ll be able to join us next time!

After what felt like a cat nap, the Van 1 runners got up at 4 AM and off to the start at 5. I was runner #1 following Kayla’s injury, so I was first out the gate. It felt like a nice easy run through generic urban environment, with a short but very steep downhill on one block that was a blast to hustle through. I ended up in the regional park, where we were directed to a trail setting. I was expecting a paved trail (I don’t know why, probably because it had a fancy name - the “Garden of 5 Senses). It was very much not, as it was actually a very steep trail section with exposed rocks and tree roots. I basically hiked it, and only panicked once when I reached a T-intersection with no signage. Fortunately, I went the right way and found my way to exchange #1 after 3.9 miles to pass off to teammate Lauren. (Side note: Ragnar should just call exchanges check-in points that coordinate with the leg that is starting. Ie, checkin point #2 is where Runner #2 starts. After lack of sleep, we kept getting confused.)

Our van continued to run and I hopped in for an extra leg mid-morning to help fill the open slots because we were down a runner. It was a short 2.8 entirely in the sun. It was WARM, but even as I was feeling a bit overheated (humidity guys, it does terrible things), a local Amish woman practically sang good morning to me. It was a mood booster for sure (as was the sound of a horse and buggy catching up to me), and I closed out the run to pass off to readrunknitdrink for our final leg of rotation #1.

We used our free time to grab lunch at a local market (peanut butter whoopie pies are totally acceptable running food) and try to nap before our second rotation. I didn’t nap at all, but the breeze was really nice and I did enjoy the quiet. Around 5:30 PM runner #12 passed off to me and we were back at it. While my run was only 3.7, it was definitely the most soul crushing of all the running I did. The uphills just never seemed to end, and it’s where I really wished I’d done better at hill training. Honestly though, as my first really hilly race, it was hard to know what to expect. I think I know much better how to train and what to expect. I finally got to the top and literally FLEW the downhill section. It was shady and cool and relatively steep. It felt awesome! The culmination was captured in one of my favorite photos from the weekend - my pass off to Runner #2.

Again, we continued through our legs, eventually finishing around 10:15 PM and meeting back up with Van #2 (Guard llama, where are you?!?!). We grabbed sandwiches at a WaWa and went to park at the next major exchange. We stayed in the van and I did my best to sleep, but I estimate I got no more than 20 minutes. I was paranoid we’d miss being ready to take over from Van #2 runners. I got up about an hour before they rolled in, stretched and downed a couple shot blocks because I felt like I needed some fuel, but just wasn’t up to food. The caffeine blocks helped quite a bit.

At 4:30 AM I was told to get my ass moving by Runner #12 (😂) and set off for 5.5 miles in the rain, apparently the fault of @runningforbiscuits. While it was chilly, once I started running it was perfect - the rain was refreshing, but not heavy, and it’s something I don’t get to experience where I live. The downhills were a nice break to start on, and I started climbing about halfway through. This was when I realized how fatigued I was from the previous hills. I just didn’t have gas left in the tank. My van checked on me about halfway through, but I struggled the second half. Still, the scenery was beautiful, the air smelled fantastic (I was running through Christmas tree farms in the rain, how could it not?!?!), and I was about to be done. I did the best I could and promised to myself I’d use this as an opportunity to learn from my weakest running abilities and how I can train better.

I passed off to Runner #2 once I finished, ate a delicious bagel courtesy of @breatherunlive, and tried to get warm. We found a gas station and got hot coffee, which was AMAZING at that point. It kept raining through most of the early morning, and finally broke during our last Runner #5 open leg. We were all feeling pretty tired, so @read-run-knit-drink, myself, and our Michigan runner split the mileage. Unfortunately, due to safe van parking for handoffs, I was only able to take over 1.35. Still, it felt like the quintessential "team” approach. It got sunny (and HUMID), but we were almost done. Our last runner set out and we finished up by late morning. Van #2 had already started by this point to ensure we’d finish in time, so we headed out to find @er1nruns on her brutal 10.5 mile Ragnar leg. We eventually parked at the bottom of her mountain descent and right before her last big uphill with about 2 miles to her finish line. It was fun rooting on the Ragnar leg runners until she came by, and I’m hoping it was encouraging for them.

After visiting @er1nruns, we drove to the finish to browse the merchandise tent for any new items that hadn’t been at the previous location (nothing), and grab a bite to eat. A quick stop at a local tavern for lunch, and we were off to pick up @breatherunlive at her exchange point. From there, it was just a short while at the finish line while we waited for our last runner to finish up. I have mad respect for the folks that did far more hill climbing than me and more miles, and I’m proud of pushing myself to do a “scary” race.

It was a fantastic weekend and I am so fortunate to have done it with the people I did. They made the experience. It’s a good sign when you’re perusing other races on the drive back from the finish line. :)

I finally got home last night around 8 PM west coast time, and finished out my weekend with 17.35 miles, about 1,000 feet of elevation gain (that’s HUGE for me), and about 8.5 hours of sleep total between 5:00 AM Thursday morning to 9 PM west coat time Sunday. I was exhausted and a bit delirious by the time it all ended, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Thank you @runningforbiscuits, @breatherunlive, @read-run-knit-drink, @er1nruns, @go-with-a-smile, and @mynewnormaluc for an amazing race experience and letting this less advanced runner join your team. It made my heart incredibly full to be a part of this experience with all of you.

Secret Letters to My Heart (Alexander Hamilton x Reader) 

Word Count: 3,867

Disclaimer: modern, You are the musician, Alexander is the fan

—————————————————————————————————-

Racing through the heated lot, your friend finds the booth for the both of you to pick up your backstage passes for the huge concert venue you just arrived to. You were planning for this day since for months even before you knew you were going. You were lucky that your best friend and your band’s manager, Angelica Schuyler, landed you a place on the tour. Putting the lanyard around your neck, you stare at your friend in awe and pure happiness.
“Angelica! You’re the best! Thank you so so so much!” A smile breaks out on her face, embracing you while gazing over the lot with the five stages, trying to find the van with our merchandise and instruments. Breaking the hug, you check the messages on your phone. As you pressed the button to wake up your screen, a message from your only band mate, Lafayette, and the merchandise tent worker. Reading his text, you respond with a simple okay as Lafayette says that the drummer who Angelica hired was helping set up the tent and unload the van. He also told you what stage you were going to be performing on. Grabbing Angelica’s hand, you drag her throughout the lot to see the other bands who were going to perform.
Spotting familiar band names or company merchandise tents, you loop your way back to the area where Lafayette was putting up the tent with the band logo on the top. Waving at the three people working, you skip to where your friend was and leaned your arm on his shoulder which caused him to slink under the small amount of pressure in a dramatic fashion.
“Laffy Taffy, how have you been buddy?” you ask jokingly while looking towards the morning sky.
“Well (Y/N), you petite asshole, I am peachy keen.” Lafayette’s french accent was thick as he lazily scrolled through his phone, finding and liking the posts from fans who wee excited to see you perform.
“We have two hours until the venue opens up the doors. Let’s finish setting up the merchandise and find out our set time.” Angelica ordered as the group complied. Finding a worker, you get a sign with the time of the set. Handing it to Angelica, she looks over it then hangs it up.
“You guys go on at five pm sharp. Be back here at 4:45 to help set up your instruments and warm up.” We all took a mental note as you go back to pinning up shirts and the correct prices. The set up was finished but then you remembered that the instruments had to be backstage. Sighing, you open up the back of the truck and start to unload.
After an hour and a half of setting up the needed instruments backstage, you dab sweat off your skin with a wet rag. Lafayette casually strolled over to you and pulled out his phone again. He took a photo of you, making you roll your eyes at his action. Going over to you, he leans next to you having a crate support his weight.
“You know,” Lafayette spoke to you happily, “John, Herc, and Alexander are coming today! I promise Alexander won’t be pissed off as much as he is when we are all around.” He jokes, singing Alexander’s name while wagging a thick eyebrow at you.
“He only gets pissed when the three of you find the liquid courage and chug it down then flirt mindlessly with me.” Rolling your eyes, you think back to when the whole group hung out at a bar in the city and within the first hour or so Alexander was pouting, clearly pissed, and John, along with Lafayette, start to flirt with you. Always ignoring the comments, you have become more concerned for the short tempered, curly haired man who was sulking which was out of character for him. However, if it was just the two of you together Alexander would have long debates that would last hours.
Sighing, you pop out of the memories. Fans start to slowly pour in the lot filled with band and company tents who are on the tour or sponsor the tour.
“(Y/N)!” Three male voices call out. Looking ahead, you see three figures that you’ve been so comfortable with come rush over to you. Running in their way, Lafayette intercepts the hug and smirks. The three of the guys roll their eyes and break out of their French friend’s grip then run up to you.
“Alexander! John! Herc!” You laugh happily as you finally embrace them one at a time. While John and Herc quickly parted, Alexander’s hug was long and even lingered after we part. Grinning at you like a goof, John perks his eyebrow which signified that it was time for your secret handshake.
“Up, up, down, side, slllllide, turn, twist, jump over, duck under, up slap, center slap, bottom double slap, bird, double center slap, hook arms around the neck, lean, chill, and SNAP!” The two of you chant while going over the motion. The words quickly spill out from your mouth as you finish the signifying handshake from when the both of you were children finishes within thirty seconds. People surrounded the two of you, gazing in a mesmerized way.
“Record timing!” Alexander high fives the both of you and winks at you. Meanwhile, Lafayette notices a small box in Alexander’s drawstring bag. Poking it, the cocky Frenchman smirks which caused the shorter man of the group to squirm.
“Mon amie, what’s in that box? Actually, who’s it for? Is it for moi?” He asks his loud-mouthed friend who was becoming an angry, flustered mess as his comrade mercilessly interrogates him. Rubbing the back of his neck, Alexander looks over to Hercules, his big brown eyes begging for help. Chortling a loud, hearty laugh, Hercules rubs Alexander’s head which pulled hair out of his perfectly maintained man bun.
“It’s nothing of your concern guys. It’s just a gift for a band member I like.” Alexander confesses, making everyone in the group to ‘ooh’ flirtatiously except for you. It made you upset to think of Alexander crushing on anyone else though you don’t know if he likes you like you do. You couldn’t deny that over the few years he has been with the group, you have fallen for him. 

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Five Ghouls, One Golf Cart

I COULDN’T RESIST. FACK.

This is fueled by @eaterofthings‘s post and fantastic little picture!

My ghouls, I request your presence at the main merchandise tent by the gates at the earliest convenience (i.e. immediately). And what kind of Papa would I be if I made you walk that whole way? Of course I have provided transportation, I am a generous man after all. More so, you have even more reason to move with haste! No stuttering of excuses if you dillydally. 

I wait with bated breath. 

Regards,
Emeritus III

Water read the sticky note out loud to his band mates with a crease between his eyebrows. Lowering the message, the ‘transportation’ Papa spoke of came into view: a small golf cart. 

‘Small’ was almost an understatement if you could imagine 5 grown men shoved into the thing. The front seat had a steering wheel and just enough room for someone to ride shotgun, while the seat in the back would be a tight fit for three others. There were zero restraints.

Omega was the first to speak. “He knows that he wants us to get to literally the opposite side of this huge venue, right?”

“Well of course he knows; he went so far as to give us this oh so generous mode of transport, did he not?” Sarcasm laced Earth’s words like poison. 

Water sighed. “Anybody know how to drive one of these things?” 

Alpha thumped a hand on the Water’s back and turned to him with his eyes squinted in a smile. “Thanks for volunteering, buddy!”

The bassist shot Alpha a glare and crumpled the sticky note in his hand to throw it at the man. It merely bounced off the guitarist’s mask and came back to hit himself instead.

Alpha howled with laughter and Water merely grumbled and walked to the golf cart, the others following in tow.

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9

My day, in pictures. Checked in, got all of my race stuff/swag, managed to escape the merchandise tent without buying anything (had 3 things in hand and put it all back, tomorrow’s another day though haha), walked around the village and got to see the finish line area (shit shit shit), and finished the day with my last beer until after the race! The energy in the air here is second to none!

5

What Happens When a Club Dies?

By Zack Goldman and Maxi Rodriguez

It’s often said that a football club can form the cornerstone of a community, but few pause to consider what happens to that community when a team closes its doors.

On Sunday, that idea became a reality for one group of supporters in Los Angeles.

When Jorge Vergara, the Mexican owner of Guadalajara club Chivas, was awarded an expansion team in Major League Soccer in 2004, it marked a major step forward for the league, linking it to one of the most storied football clubs in the Americas and the promise of massive foreign investment.

What resulted instead was a decade of record-breaking futility on the park, consummate mismanagement off it, and a headache for a league that was left with, plainly, a mess of a club—one that couldn’t win games, couldn’t draw fans, and even became embroiled in a lawsuit that alleged the team discriminated against its non-Latino employees.

Put simply, what was once seen as MLS’s golden ticket was now unquestionably its weakest link and trailing unacceptably far behind the pack, culturally and competitively, in a proudly diverse and rapidly improving league.

Sick of losing money and credibility with an organization unable to thrive in its uniquely lucrative market, MLS opted to purchase the team back from Vergara at the beginning of 2014, with the intention to resell and rebrand the second Angeleno franchise.

But while that decision was initially met with enthusiasm from supporters, that sensation quickly became uncertainty and anxiety as no new ownership group materialized and reports surfaced that the team would not simply rebrand, but take an indefinite hiatus.

As such, Chivas USA took the field on Sunday in what most expect to be the final match in club history — and the scene did little to refute such claims.

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Once Upon a Comic Con: A little OUAT Drabble

A/N: Ever since I had gotten back from Dallas Con, this idea had been in my head. Finally, I had the time to get it out. It is a little something combining my love of the MCU with OUAT. I will be tagging at the bottom, of course. Hope you guys like it. 

As always, for this and many more: ff.net / AO3

“Excuse me! Do you mind if I take a picture of you guys?”

           They expected this, entering the convention center in their coordinating group outfits. “Of course not! Come on gang, first one of the day!” exclaimed David as he gathered everyone together for the photo.  The shutter of the camera went off moments after they posed for a few pictures; and after a quick thank you from the photographer, the gang made their way up the escalators to the second level of the convention center where the bulk of the activity was being held.

           No one in their group had ever been to a comic convention before—mostly due to the fact that until about a year ago the town line prevented any sort of travel beyond Storybrooke—but once they were able to fix that spell, and through the insistence of Henry, they planned for months and saved enough money to spend the whole weekend at this particular one. Not surprisingly, it was also Henry suggested the idea of everyone dressing up in the outfits they were all currently wearing. He was always dragging everyone to the latest Marvel movie whenever it came out.

          “This place is huge,” Mary Margaret whispered as they took in the amount of booths laid out for the convention goers to peruse. Artists, toy collectors, and merchandise tents fanned out as far the eye could see. “How are we going to be able to see everything?”

           “That’s why we paid for the weekend pass, dear. In case we miss something today, we still have time to explore,” explained David, holding a shiny shield with red and blue stripes and a silver star right in the middle.  He grasped Mary Margaret’s hand and placed a gentle kiss on her knuckles. “Did I mention how amazing you look, by the way?” His wife began to blush as David took in the dark blue suit jacket and skirt and signature Peggy Carter red fedora hat.

           “Just like your daughter and her pirate—always making eyes at one another,” Regina quipped behind them.

           “And you don’t make eyes at Robin, Regina?” Mary Margaret shot back even without looking back at her.

           “Of course not…”

           “Oh really, darling?” Robin said as he sidled up to his fiancé, being careful not to hit her with his bow. He lifted his dark glasses and said, “Since when do you not ‘make eyes’ at me?”

           “I was just…”

           “You were trying to get a rise out of them, I know. You are very good at that. But can you just leave them alone for a moment and enjoy being here?”

           Shrugging, Regina said, “You’re right, as always.” Regina stepped into Robin’s arms, but as she was going to in for the kiss, his bow accidentally knocked her short, red wig out of place. “Hey! Careful with that thing,” she said as she put her hair back into place. “It was hard enough wriggling myself into this outfits,” she said as she gestured at the slinky black leather cat suit with the plunging neckline. “Don’t go getting my hair all messed up, ‘Clint.’”

           Robin took the barb and responded with, “My apologies, ‘Natasha.’ The bow does have a mind of its own sometimes…”

           “Don’t I know it…” teased Regina.

           “Oi, mate. Could you assist me with my arc reactor? It’s falling out again.” Killian interrupted their moment, walking briskly up to Robin in order to get some assistance with his costume. Emma and Henry—who was pushing his uncle in his stroller—followed right behind him.

           “It wouldn’t be if you had just let me get this on you in the first place…”

           “There you go, Swan, getting into the character!”

           “Ugh…” Emma sighed in frustration.

           “He is right, Mom,” Henry said to Emma, “You really are the Pepper to his Tony.”

           “I am so aware of that, kid. That hammer of yours really turned out great.”

           “Thanks!” Henry shouted, as he began spinning the hammer insanely fast in his hand.

           “Careful, Henry! Your uncle…” Henry hadn’t realized his hammer-wielding skills were so out control, because if he would have been a few inches more to his right, he would have hit his uncle. And even though he was dressed in a tiny suit that consisted of green muscles and purple shorts, there was no way he would have been able to shield himself from that.

           “Oops..sorry,” Henry said as he ceased the movement of his hammer.

           Emma, her son and her brother caught up to the group just as Robin was done fixing Killian’s costume. Emma said that he could have just gone with the dark tee shirt over gray-long sleeve and jeans Tony look, but Killian insisted on wearing the suit. She knew how much he loved Iron Man, but she was certain he would get uncomfortable walking around in that bulky suit all day. But he was as stubborn as she was, so she relented.

           “All systems go, Swan!” Killian said, basically waddling up to her and plant a kiss on her lips. As he was mere inches from doing so, she pressed the button on the side of the top of the suit to shut the matter. “Come on, love…that was uncalled for…”

           “Got to cool you down somehow, ‘Tony,’” she joked.

           Taking his metal-enclosed right hand and opening the mask back up to reveal his face, Killian responded, “But you look at me with those gorgeous eyes and just heat me back up, ‘Pepper.’ Did I mention how fetching the strawberry blonde color is on you?”

           “Many, many times.”

           “At least I’m consistent,” Killian said, winking.

           “Hey you two! You guys coming or what?” Henry screamed from a few feet away. He had caught up with the rest of the group, leaving only Emma and Killian behind.

           “I think it’s time we catch up with the others.”

           “Aye, I believe that is the right course of action,” said Killian as he lifted arm for Emma to take so that he could escort her while catching up to the rest of the Avengers.

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