The elite of the elite in the world of track and field flock to Philadelphia every April for a weekend of great competition, old/new friends, and well..it is a party……Penn Relays a true tradition for many track fanatics…

Yes Leslie, Shelly, and I love track and we are all elite at something….but honestly we just make up excuses to be together.. 😦 Sadly Dawn our 4th Amiga wasn’t with us…We hit the relays because Alexis (Leslie’s daughter) was running. Since we all arrived much earlier than Alexis’s ran time..we headed out for a stroll through campus and some lunch

Every track and field fan should go to Penn Relays at least once.. not just because it is an incredible meet..but also because the University of Pennsylvania has a beautiful campus

 Extraordinary architecture is what you experience…such rich history

U of Penn is right in the heart of Philly..you cross a street and Bam!!! bars, shops, and bistros. We hit Blaney South Bar & Grille for lunch……

 Blarney Bar & Grille was packed upon our arrival..not just with track folks but with what appeared to be locals…now that’s always a good sign. Shelly and I opted for the classic burger and Leslie had a chicken cheesesteak… All three of us gave our meals a big thumbs up…so much.. we returned after Alexis ran for our dinner/Happy Hour 🙂

56.6 seconds that was the split Leslie wanted Alexis to run in the 4×400 relay…she was practicing her skills with the stop watch..in an effort to master her thumb speed she wanted us to race by chugging our drinks….Shelly and I would NEVER do such a thing being the prim and proper ladies we are….

On our way back to Franklin Field..we came across these young ladies..giddy with excitement…Below you will see some of their cool spikes

Spikes….runners, jumpers, pole vaulters, and hurdlers rely on this tool…..times have changed so much as they can now be customized.. these are sensational and functional

Check out the crazy tights……

Even the the warm-ups are stylish….I feel sooooo cheated

Finally..we made our way to Franklin Field…notice the rain or shine….there is nothing worse than running in the rain..actually I’m lying running in snow or sleet is pretty much a nightmare

Franklin Field is honestly breath taking….look at these buildings

With all of the modern sporting venues…this place is steeped with a sense of tradition

If you are a novice to the world of track and field…here’s the deal.. I was there to watch 47 heats of high school girls run the 4X400 meter relay..So in layman’s terms 47 miles of running 🙂 Just high school girls alone..in one event.However, field events go on simultaneously

As the 47 relays got off to a great start…I had a truly pleasant surprise…I see York High..William Penn High School..running around the track…Not only did I coach the team for several years (a long time ago),  but more importantly I saw two of my former 7th grade students running… tears came to my eyes with excitement at the joy of seeing these girls run at Penn Relays

Not the same runner for York High…my students were twins and just lovely, lovely,lovely girls….teachers typically feel like parents..

 The York High girls were 3rd in their heat..Donella Nelson (anchor leg), Jastocia Sexton, Destacia Sexton, Kelleann Graham (lead off leg) and Cheyanne Brown. So proud of the twins 🙂 and Coach Tony Jones…he has done a great job with this program…

While waiting for Alexis to run.. we watched many events….the long jump is all about the approach..

It’s a process…lots of deep breathing

How on Earth does one get themselves up like that…go’head girl!!!

High jumping…another big old process…Shelly was very excited to watch…Shel is all of 5’4 if she’s lucky and has jumped 6’0 that is one of the reasons why she was an All-American at Penn State..

Concentration…

And success….look at that lift..

Up until 1990 something pole vaulting was only for men but then women moved on the scene. At the time I was coaching high school girls and the athletic director asked me did I want to attend a clinic to learn how to pole vault…I looked at him and laughed directly in his face..I was too scared to high jump in high school let alone pole vault. He didn’t know how insane he sounded asking me that question.

The officials tell you who’s up, who’s on deck, and who’s in the hole. The flag is white if you clear and red if you foul or scratch…I am sure many of these officials have done the Penn Relays for years..

Hours later….really hours.. Garden City and my girl Alexis was running..her team was in one of the top heats..This is Emma as the lead off leg…Emma is a beast

Alexis on the second leg….and she ran a .57..NICE!! They were 9th overall. 8 teams run in the finals..that is one of the most bitter sweet moments any athlete can ever experience..

After her race Alexis came to see us in the stands..this is Alexis with her father  Phil Yeboah-Kodie (also a Penn Stater and football player) he is also affectionately known as Uncle Phil

Just another piece of this iconic facility…

After our goodbyes to Alexis..our quest was souvenirs for the kids and Blarneys for dinner….

So my kids get to share a gift…I refinanced my house to buy this baton. My hope is that one of them will end up with a track scholarship as result of the relay races I will force them to run 🙂

Our day had to come to an end….we were all sad and then they ditched me at the train station….

And yes….what an amazing train station…

Even if you aren’t a track and field fan..you should come to Philly to experience a beautiful city that has something for the entire family..

Philly Cheesesteak Wontons….YUMMY

Please try this appetizer that is cheap and easy…

-8 minute steaks

3/4 cup cheese whiz or 1 block soften cream cheese

– 1/2 shredded cheese if using cream cheese

– 1 small green pepper diced finely

– 1small white onion diced finely

-42 wonton wrappers

-vegetable oil for frying

Directions

1. saute peppers and onions in medium sized skillet (use a little olive oil)

2. Remove from skillet and place in medium sized bowl. In the same skillet, brown minute steaks (chop up while browning) this will take….well just a few minutes 🙂

3. Place in bowl with peppers and onions. Now mix in cheese whiz or cream cheese and cheddar cheese. I use the whiz..

4. Pre-heat oil to a medium-low temperature..300 degrees

5. Arrange wontons on work surface, place a dollop of mixture in the middle of the wonton…us a teaspoon. Wet the edges of the wonton and fold over to seal..You could even use a fork to seal the deal…

6. Fry until golden brown…..and serve with warmed marinara sauce..

Remember..Who Do You Want In Your Kitchen On Game Day??