Directional Differences and Slattery Sister Camping

Last Friday I was picked up from my job stocking shelves (with all the newest seaweed products!) at the local food co-op by a very chipper Mary.  After purchasing coffee (me) and ice cream bars (Mary), we hit the road, headed out to Baraboo, WI.  What was in Baraboo, you ask?  Well, somewhere around there was a lake and somewhere around there was a campsite for the people signed up to run the Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake Half Marathon.  among these crazy 600 people, Mary and Colleen Slattery were two.

It all began approximately 10 days before the day of the race.  While out on a run, Mary suggested that we run this race, one she’d been hoping to do for years.  I agreed in a heartbeat (which is very fast when you are running).  The fact that Mary hadn’t really trained at all and that I’m actually training for 6k races in college wasn’t a big deal.  Or that we’d have to camp out the night before in some field and wake up at 6 am for a 7 am race.  And oh, have I mentioned that we hate camping?  There’s just something about the bugs and the first and the lack of running water and the cold, hard ground that neither of us enjoy.  Hunh, I wonder what.
Anyway, Mary and I were feeling pretty good about everything as we drove through a golden Friday afternoon and into the unknown.  The feeling didn’t last.  Mary is in many ways, my opposite, especially when it comes to planning.  I’d decided to leave the navigating and camping part of the trip up to Mary.  And well, we did get there.  But, only, oh, and hour or two after we’d hoped.  MapQuest’s directions worked while we were on the interstate, but when we hit a round-about, things got interesting.  The next three were just as entertaining.  In each one, things went like this:

Me: “Okay, Mary, we need to get off there-”

Mary: *promptly drives into closest possible road opening*

Me: “Agh, no! Not here! Okay, okay, let’s just go back in again.”

Multiply this by four and you get a headache.

After stopping for directions twice, Mary and I finally managed to get to Devil’s Lake, where we were informed that we still weren’t where we needed to be.  By this point I was seriously frustrated.  I do not like being lost, but most of all I hate wasting time and inefficiency.  The solution to the problem (actually looking up where things are) was so easy that it drove me crazy.  Mary’s response: “It’s an adventure!”  As we got back into the car to drive to our final destination, my crabby comment was: “I really, really hope that your future husband likes adventures.”

It was nearing sunset when we got to the campsite, but the weather was still hot and muggy.  The field was strewn about with runners and tents, spandex and expensive running shoes abounded.  My beat-up Pumas were no match for the Asics and Brooks everywhere.  After getting out bib numbers and t-shirts, Mary and I set about constructing our tent.  Mary went straight at it:

While I decided to read the directions.  (Personality difference again)

I thoroughly approved of our hammer to pound the stakes into the ground-an old exercise weight.  Doesn’t everyone have one in their car?

When we were done, we had constructed a mighty fine looking tent, for two avid camping haters.  And as we settled down for the night, I realized that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or to drive to Baraboo and set up a campsite in preparation for a 13.1 mile race.  Mary and I may not agree on organization and planning, but we sure do agree on one thing: the race we ran the next day was pure torture.  But that story is yet to come…

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