Up Before Light for Tofu and Bananas

This morning at 5:30 AM our alarm went off. This is quite unusual, even on a weekday. It is even more unusual that I will roll over and let it go until Sarah turns it off. She hit snooze... twice. The advantage to living in a house over an apartment is that I can turn a CD all the way to top volume to help get us rolling, and the neighbors don't complain, even if the sun isn't up yet.

By 6:20 we were out the door. After a few bites of breakfast, a lot of mad scrambling, and cramming three layers of clothing onto Abigail, we pinned racing numbers on Sarah and Abigail and headed downtown to participate in the "Race for the Cure" fundraiser against breast cancer. After a bumpy ride on a schoolbus shuttle, we found ourselves in Waterfront park, next to the river; the first wave of what would be 46,000 runners and probably another 20,000 supporters. Booths were set up along the length of the park which housed corporate sponsors including radio stations, Yoplait yogurt, a jeweler, and an Irish dairy! The sponsors were bent on being sure no one went hungry or without a hat or keychain! As the pink-clad crowds thickened, we battled our way through to stand in lines for handbags, yogurt, bananas, pink underwear (from Macy's), energy bars, hats, bottles of water, cubes of tofu, boxes of soy milk, and cubes of (delicious!) cheese! We were handed stickers, keychains, and coupons for innumerable items. Had we wanted, we could have even had a free massage or manicure!

I should mention the pink. Probably one in every two-hundred people there was male. The place was literally swimming in estrogen! Pink is the official color of support for the fight against breast cancer, and almost everyone was wearing some pink, not leaving out the grandmas with hot-pink dyed hair. If you didn't come wearing pink, you could get pink stickers with which to decorate your face or pink foam bunny-ears from the Energizer bunny.

At 7:30 the first wave of runners, the 5k race, departed. The news helicopter hovering overhead filmed the sea of pink surging through the barricaded streets of downtown Portland. At 8:00 we rushed to the starting area, quickly loaded Abigail into her "backpack," and Sarah and Abigail started on their 1-mile walk. I had the heavier burden of cameras and the amazing pile of pink objects and food we had acquired.

It didn't take long for them to finish, although with the crowds, it was more of a "stroll for the Cure" than a race. Fortunately we had agreed where to meet afterwards, although since I was waiting there, I wasn't able to be at the finish line. After another half-hour waiting in line for a hat, during which another group of (running) runners departed, we elbowed our way through the still-thickening crowd back to our schoolbus. Sarah and Abigail accomplished something neither of them had ever done before, and we still made it to church (a little late).