Tag Archives: 5k

The “Run”

After months of preparation, costume design, and annoying my friends on Facebook, the run is complete. Here’s how it went down.

My morning began at 3am. Because my wife was helping to run the event, we had to get there early. Super early. At 4am the park was dark and cool. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. After arriving, I helped place signs, set up tables, and move boxes of t-shirts.

It is amazing how much goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. There were hundreds of volunteers to direct, water stations to set up, and tents to arrange. Despite everything we had to do, it went smoothly and everything was ready by the time the first runners rolled in.

And roll in they did – over 2500 runners in all. Supermen, Batmen, Ninja Turtles, Marvel, DC, Nintendo and Nickelodeon. Simple costumes and elaborate costumes. I saw it all. Although I spotted several Groots, there were no other Star Lords in attendance.  So, luckily, I had a unique costume. Unfortunately, Star Lord doesn’t really stand out.  Very few people realized who I was. I think most people assumed I was some random futuristic biker. But all of the Groots knew who I was…so there’s that.

He is Groot.

He is Groot.

Before the run, I spent most of my time watching the costume contest. It was great seeing people show off costumes they put so much time into.  I have to say, my favorite was the “Mario Kart” family. Hilarious, and ingenious. Eventually, it was time to head to the starting line. I made my way there and ended up near the end of the pack.  That was fine with me.  I wasn’t looking to win any speed medals. In fact, I was so paranoid of dropping the Walkman that I ended up walking the majority of the route.  My brother, dressed as Duffman, walked with me.

I’m not going to lie, it was warm. Hot even.  The jacket and the pants are not ideal for running/walking. However, I’m proud to say that I survived.

Guardians of the Galaxy...and Robin with ice cream.

Guardians of the Galaxy…and Robin with ice cream.

Found some other Guardians at the run.

Found some other Guardians at the run.

Here is the full getup!

Here is the full getup!

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The Boots…er Shoes…?

Let’s start by taking a look at these things.  Here are a few pictures of the screen used costume pieces:

Another angle from the RPF.

Another angle from the RPF.

View from the back.

View from the back.

Like pretty much everything else Star-Lord wears, I’m pretty sure that these are custom made. They are definitely boots.  The bottoms look like sketchers with a sneaker like sole. At first, I thought he was simply wearing sketchers with boot covers. However, when you examine the back of his legs, you can definitely tell that he is wearing boots.  They are weird boots, but boots nonetheless.

As I saw it, I had two ways of tackling these.

  1. Buy Sketchers. Proper boot covers would conceal the fact that I’m not wearing shoes.
  2. Find boots – hope they look somewhat like the screen used versions.

I chose to go with option 1. Because the majority of whatever boots I bought would be covered by the boot covers, it made sense to me to focus on making the exposed part of the footwear – the part on my feet – match as best as possible. It also occurred to me that running in boots sucks. A lot. Wearing shoes would make things a lot easier.

For matching shoes, I went with these:

Available on Amazon!

Available on Amazon!

These sketchers seem to match the base of the boots fairly well. In particular, I noticed that the soles as viewed from the sides appears to be dead on.  So, these are what I went with. Let’s hope that it’s not too noticeable that I’m not wearing boots!

The 5k is getting closer and closer…

Why CASA? (true story)

Why CASA?

The court room was fairly empty the day I visited. Lawyers sat in the front row with an emotional mother who dabbed her eyes periodically. In the rows behind, a few CPS case workers read through their notes and whispered to each other. Everyone was waiting for the judge to enter, the judge who would decide what would happen to a child who CPS recently removed from her mother’s care.

The judge entered and the day began. The mother testified about the progress she had made and her lawyer made the case that it was enough. CPS and the state brought up their concerns. The judge sat and listened, asking thoughtful questions and gathering the information she would need to make this difficult decision.

And then, at one point, a woman took the stand. After she said an oath, I learned that she was the child’s assigned CASA. The judge proceeded to ask her questions about the young boy. How were his interpersonal skills? How does he act when he talks about his mother? What does he say about school? What does he want? Does he want to go home with his mother?

Slowly, thoughtfully, she answered each question.  Her answers and her tone of voice reflected the time she had spent with him and the relationship they had developed. She had been his CASA, a figure in his life, as he had moved from temporary home to temporary home. She was there for him throughout the transitions and was at court to advocate for him.

I found out later that she was a volunteer, that there were many CASA volunteers. But not enough. As the Family Court dockets grow in size, CASA can’t keep up with volunteers. But they’re trying. One CASA for every child – that’s their goal.

This is an organization worth supporting. This is an organization worth giving $5.00 to. This is an organization worth registering a website and fundraising for, even if it means hours out of each day and money spent on a superhero costume.

Thanks for reading! As always, I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

The Blasters…

For this transformation, I’m starting with the easy projects. First on my list: Star-Lord’s blasters.

His Quad Blasters, to be precise.

These things are cool looking, even for a casual sci-fi fan. Just look at the screenshot.

Yeah, these guns are cool. Uber cool. Photo credit: Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia. Click the picture for link.

Yeah, these guns are cool. Uber cool. Photo credit: Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia. Click the picture for link.

Like I said: cool. So where do I get my hands on a couple of these bad boys? After doing some research, there are basically two feasible options.

First, I could 3D print one.  After poking around online I found that an enterprising fan named Helagak on theRPF.com has painstakingly created a 3D print file for a Quad Blaster. Awesome. It seems that a number of people on the forum have printed copies successfully. Oh man, would I love to create an original prop with some 3D printed plastic weight to it that I can wave around (responsibly) the day of the race!

The biggest problem with this course of action is that I don’t have a 3D printer. I’ve never seriously considered owning a 3D printer. They intimidate me. They seem too amazing to be true, honestly. Like magic. Now, I could find someone to print it for me. There are services that link you up with 3D printing enthusiasts. I could also grovel on the RPF forums or go to a Fedex location (I hear they’re doing 3D printing now, right?). This is a lot of work for this ancillary prop, though, and I have no idea how much it would cost.

Luckily for me, there is a budget option. I present the Nerf Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord Quad Blaster:

Wait...why is it orange? Photo courtesy of Amazon. Click photo for link.

Wait…why is it orange? Photo courtesy of Amazon. Click photo for link.

This blaster is the right size and the right shape (and FIRES UP TO 25 FEET!). Costing a mere $13.50 (thanks Amazon Prime), this is definitely the way I’m going. I’m going to have to figure out how to paint the thing, but that should be a fun project. Hopefully.

I would love to have blaster with the heft of a 3D printed model, but with the potential cost of the rest of Star-Lord’s getup, I’m going with the cheap option here. Click. Ordered. On my way to being Star-Lord.

Why make this page?

I am not a cos-player.

Me

I don’t dress up and go to comic conventions and the like. Usually. I did once, but it was on a whim and I threw the outfit together in a day. Not terribly elaborate. You don’t know elaborate costumes until you’ve been to one of these conventions. People make some amazing costumes. They spend years on some of them.  Full suits of armor, epic Groot costumes, outfits with electronics, and more. I’ve never done that.

Until now. My wife signed me up for a charity 5K in support of CASA of Travis County. CASA is a pretty cool organization.  They help children in need – abused and neglected children. I won’t elaborate too much right now, but check future posts or the Donate page (or check out their website http://www.casatravis.org/).

Anyway, in order to run I need a costume. I could have thrown on a cape, rented a cheap Spiderman jumpsuit, or put a belt around by head and called myself Quailman. Unfortunately, I am incapable of doing anything half way. Nothing against anyone who goes like this…they help children just as much as I am going to.  But for me, If I’m going to dress as a Superhero, I’m going all out. Why?  Well for one, I want to bring a smile to the faces of children I meet at the event.  I want them to feel like they are meeting the real Superhero, not an imitator. I want to BE the Superhero. Second, it’s just the way I am.  I go all out.

After racking my brain, I settled on Star-Lord as my superhero. For a number of reasons. I will elaborate in a blog post later.

As I began the arduous task of fundraising, a very smart individual (by the name of Steven Olender) gave me some advice.  “People love stories and pictures,” he wrote me. Rather than just ask for money, Steven advised that I give people something back by documenting the creation of my costume and preparation for the race.  That way, it’s a two way street.  People donate money to the organization, and I give them stories, pictures, and highlights from the day of the event in return.  They SEE some of the impact of their donation!

What a great idea.  For the first few days, I began throwing random updates on Facebook and Twitter. After thinking about it (and learning how easy WordPress is to use), I decided a blog would be a better format to keep people involved and updated. For a modest investment of $18.00, I created this site. Cool, huh?

One note: All donations made go straight to CASA. Everything I am spending on the costume and on the site is coming straight out of my pocket! If you donate…fear not! All the money will go towards CASA’s mission of helping abused children.

So, thanks for joining me on my journey to become Star-Lord!