Growing up, my grandma took my sisters and I to the zoo frequently. Fond zoo memories include - train rides, sea lion shows and air-conditioning breaks in the reptile house. I loved those plastic Mold-a-Rama animal molds and lunches of ham sandwiches and sodas wrapped in aluminum foil (natch).
Then came the kids.
I figured a race at the zoo meant kids would be in attendance (the Children's 1/4 Mile race was also a clue), but I didn't anticipate running next to nine-year-olds. Nine-year-olds can run six minute miles while discussing Justin Bieber. We made it a mile-and-a-half before we stopped to complain about our cold toes and pointed at elk. We ran by families with strollers and a pack of firefighters. We huffed by real runners who were lapping us - or running multiple races with their kids. When all was said and done, we ended up finishing in a reasonable amount of time and left with a race shirt, Caribou coffee and renewed sense of motivation.
Next year, I hope to make this an annual family tradition. The whole Atkinson clan will be bundle up and run (and/or walk) one of these races. Just because it's January, doesn't mean we can't enjoy looking at elk and mountain goats. And maybe if the mood strikes us, we'll splurge for a plastic mold of a crocodile. Any maybe, I'll be able to keep pace with a nine-year-old, who is too cool to zip her coat.