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Pittsburgh Great Race 2014: Balloon Fight (05 Oct 2014 at 11:03)
Last weekend was my 35th (!) birthday. Does it make you feel weird that there's been more than 14 years of Tom 7 Radar and that I used to be young? Of course not, since you know that people get older and haven't actually been reading my dumb blog for that long. Makes me feel weird though. Weird and kinda old. Anyway, one thing that happened to my adult self is I bought a house last month, and I promise a nice internet writeup of that experience and some photos soon, but I have a limited mental energy budget for house things which is consistently exhausted. But I had some old friends stay on my birthday weekend and we had a fun party and also ran the Great Race, which five years ago I ran on my birthday carrying a cake. Unknown to me until a humorous low-coffee series of escalating realizations, my friends ran the race in costume; that costume was me in 2009:

Michelle, Bronwen, Tom, Cortney
Michelle, Bronwen, Tom, Cortney


I'm the least dressed like myself on account of not wearing the huge plastic frames, and I wasn't carrying a cupcake either! I can confirm that all three cupcakes made it safely and more-or-less cleanly to the end, because I dutifully ate them there.

Does it look like I'm doing a bad job of hiding something in that picture? It's true. I still have a little tendinitis from the last bad idea so I decided to not do something foot-hurty. Going with the birthday theme, I instead spent the whole race inflating balloons and tying them to myself. I bought this super expensive race photo to illustrate:

Balloon fight! Only 1 days left to purchase your proofs!
Balloon fight! Only 1 days left to purchase your proofs!


This was my easiest costume ever, not on purpose. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to occupy my breath with the balloon blowing, but the balloons only take two seconds to inflate, and I spent the entire rest of the time just trying to tie them to myself. I had picked up some fishing line (I know, I know) right before the race and cut it into 3 foot segments and tied a bunch of them to a piece of string that was my belt, very fancily. Sitting still with dry hands, tying fishing line is not too bad. But on the move, especially trying to keep a reasonable pace, with sweat-fingers, it took like a minute of frustrating concentration per balloon. Plus the fishing lines would get all tangled with each other and pull off my belt and send balloons flying, off to the races. Terrible choice. So really it was an exercise in multitasking and not very athletic. I managed to inflate 44 balloons, which was more than the par of 35 (obvious rule: you must inflate the number of balloons commensurate with your age), and tie each one onto my belt at least momentarily with two half-hitches (actually I carried three across the finish-line in hand). More than half of them were subsequently lost. I finished in 58m35s, not fast for me, but I was in the throng the whole time and mostly looking down at my hands and couldn't open the throttle much. I don't really care about the time; the big disappointment was not being covered in balloons so you could barely see my body and being challengingly out of breath. I feel that I may need to come back to this one.
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Nels (cable-85.28.93.117.coditel.net) – 10.05.14 16:28:56
Always purchase the official race photos.
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Tom 7 (pool-108-17-125-112.pitbpa.fios.verizon.net) – 10.05.14 17:54:55
This was my first time actually buying one. They're usually such a rip-off and so workmanlike, but what sold me on this one was all the death faces behind me.
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Sophia (108-89-38-179.lightspeed.sntcca.sbcglobal.net) – 10.05.14 19:36:41
FYI I have been reading your blog for that long (and also am that old).
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Harry (198-0-45-19-static.hfc.comcastbusiness.net) – 10.06.14 01:19:21
The nicest sort of marathon has been reading your blog for nearly that long Tom. Happy Birthday! and best wishes as you keep going and going..
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jonas (catv-89-132-197-38.catv.broadband.hu) – 10.06.14 07:28:17
Happy birthday!
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Tom 7 (pool-108-17-125-112.pitbpa.fios.verizon.net) – 10.08.14 00:14:36
Thank you long time marathon-readers! :)
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scottf (c-50-131-214-91.hsd1.ca.comcast.net) – 10.10.14 01:20:52
happy birthday! The colors in that race photo are tremendous. I've been reading for like 7 years I think.
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Harry (c-71-236-219-238.hsd1.or.comcast.net) – 12.31.14 05:01:47
Hi Tom. Want to wish you a happy new year, and I hope 2015 brings the causes, conditions, and openings on talk show schedules for completing Pac Tom! =) May you be healthy and prosperous ongoingly.
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Tom 7 (pool-108-17-125-112.pitbpa.fios.verizon.net) – 12.31.14 16:30:07
Why thank you, Harry! :)
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