“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do NOT take my cookies.

I always have the best intentions of blogging about blog-worthy stories when they happen.  I even am careful to get pictures of some of the relevant stuff....
Runners/Walkers and paintings...an interesting combination
...and then somehow, days pass before I actually get around to doing it these days.  I guess I'm selectively "on task."  Calling myself selectively insert-current-descriptive-word-here is my thing of the day.

Last Friday, a group of people I run with and I decided to do something DIFFERENT with our Friday night.  Call it a celebration that we'd completed our races and didn't have to be up at at the high school for a group run at 6:30am on Saturday morning.  Richard suggested a "wine and canvas" event.  The idea of the event is that they provide canvas, paints, brushes, and an artist instructor, and you paint a picture while drinking wine.

Now, I am not a very crafty person.  I even told them that the idea of me painting anything was scarier than running a marathon when the suggestion first came up.
I feel a little cheated by the event.  Although it was CALLED wine and canvas, wine was not included in the price.  It should have been called paint and canvas.  HA.  There was a cash bar where you could order food and drinks.  One of the other gals ordered 1/2 dozen chocolate chip cookies and wanted someone to share them with her.  I'm nothing if not supportive of my friends' cookie habits, so I agreed to share.

So, now, we come to the important part of the story.  As we were innocently enjoying our cookies, we made the mistake of setting the tray on the empty chair next to me.  Despite warning the lady next to them not to steal any....the guy next to her asked for them and SHE HANDED HIM THE BASKET TO TAKE ONE.

Seriously?  Seriously??????  I just stared at her in utter shock.  I then said in my scolding-Avery voice.  "That was really wrong.  I cannot believe you did that so blatantly."

She acted like it was no big deal and said that they would replace it when THEIR order of cookies arrived.  Hours passed. Still no cookie refund.  I was grumbling about it nonstop to Laurie.  What kind of a person steals someone's cookie?

No one steals my cookie!
During a break, several people pointed out to me that the couple HAD received their cookie order and had it hidden around the corner behind their canvas.  I went over and there were two left.  I asked the woman - "is this the cookie order where I can take from to replace the one you took?"  And she shrugged and said "if you want."

I blinked at her.  In my head I screamed "IF I WANT????"  I not-so-politely said, "well, of course I want, you took one of my cookies."

Her reply?  "I don't think it matters."
It's a cookie....how can it NOT matter????
At this point, I was in complete shock.  It wouldn't matter...maybe...if I even knew this lady's name.  If we were friends.  But, for the record, complete strangers CANNOT STEAL MY COOKIES!  :D

I politely informed her that it did matter, that I had paid for X number of cookies, and I wanted to eat X number of cookies.  I snatched the cookie that was rightfully mine and went over to talk to all of my friends about her craziness like a completely mature 2 year old adult.

Despite the cookie thief, it was fun seeing my friends in normal people clothes and as time passes from the trauma of a cookie theft, my painting has been growing on me. I definitely still don't like it that much up close, but from across the room, it looks pretty darn cool.
I should be a painter!  Or not.
Would I do it again?  Definitely not with this same painting.  It involved over 3 hours of painting tiny little squares, VERY tedious...and my arms are definitely not trained for that kind of an endurance event.  I'm not sure if I would do it again in general though, I have discovered that cookie stealing painting is not really my thing.

Have you ever painted anything or done an event like this?

Would you have just let the cookie theft slide?  What would you have done?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Columbus Marathon Recap

Race: Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon
Distance:  26.2 miles
Date:  October 21, 2012, 7:30am start
Finish time:  4:52:30
What sets this race apart:  My First Freaking Marathon!  Patient champions at each mile marker - 

Best 3 things with respect to course/management:  (1) Water stops were done fantastically.  In the first half of the course they were HUGE.  I never had to wait for anything.  (2) They used Gatorade!  (3) Good on course entertainment.

Least favorite 3 things: Diversion through the shoe, non-stroller friendly expo, lack of finish line photo for me at this point.

My parents flew in to cheer me on and to watch Avery during the race.  My Dad and I went to the expo together to pick up the pretty empty good bag, and then we drove the course so that he could pick out where they would be on the course.  (Give my Dad a map and something to plan and he will be happy for WEEKS!)
Rice?  Really?  Also, lots of paper.  But, there was a coupon for BOGO Chipotle
The morning of the race, Mark, his friend Matt and I drove to the hotel where MIT gets a conference room for us to meet pre-race.  (Mark was pacing me for the half).  
11:30s Full Group
After a few potty breaks, we all headed to the corrals.  Mark, Laura, Tara, Jen and I tried not to lose each other, but it was a close call a few times.  Turns out, 18,000 people is a LOT of people.

It took us (we were in Corral E) 18 minutes to cross the start line.  And, in less than 0.5 miles, we were dodging walkers.  Wow.  Just wow.

Mile 1 was one of my least favorite miles.  There was lots of excitement, but it was REALLY crowded, and we focused on trying not to start too fast.  Turns out, with the crowd, that was really easy.  Slowest mile of the entire race, and way slower than I'd wanted.  (Over 12 minute mile!)  Tara and Jen managed to squeeze through and take off.  Laura, Mark and I tried to stick together.  
Photo courtesy of Fleet Feet.  Had to be in the first 13 miles - still together!
Somewhere in this mess of a first mile, I coughed up some nastiness (as has been routine since my sinus infection).  Not wanting to spit THAT on anyone nearby (although maybe that would make people get out of my way?  HA!), I spit it into my throw away gloves.  I know, you all wish you were as classy as me.  As a result, I ditched my throw away gloves a little sooner than intended.

Around mile 2.5, we saw my family cheering from across the street and waved like crazy people!  Returning runners were between us and them at this point, but we would get closer around mile 6.5.
Some version of this was a very popular sight.  I saw them 7x on the course!  So. Awesome.
Occasionally, in this section, we got separated because it was just that crowded.  Somewhere around mile 4, I remarked to Mark that my hands were still cold.  Another runner overheard me, and offered me gloves.  Said she had an extra pair and then gave them to me.  That made for such a great story, that I made Mark keep them in his pocket when I was done with them 4 miles later instead of tossing them.
I will treasure them forever.
Around mile 5, Mark told me that his knee was flaring up and that he "only had 1 or 2 miles left in him."  This would become a recurring statement, but he never did quit.  I really enjoyed this first half of the marathon, I felt really strong.
And maybe just a little crazy!
We saw my family again around mile 10.5.  Laura stayed with us for most of the first half, and then she needed to slowed down a bit, so we waved the okay as we split.  We then saw some of my MIT coaches, said hello, and kept on chugging along!  I have to admit really, really enjoying feeling so strong at this point, especially seeing all those doing the half marathon that were hitting that "OMG" point. 

Several of my running buddies were on this part of the course, getting close to mile 13.  It was right at the turnoff for the half marathon finishers.  Such a nice boost to see all of them!  Plus, I was still feeling really great.  I gave some hugs, declined some food, said goodbye to Mark and felt a little bit of awe as I took the narrow chute for the full marathon course leaving behind 11,000 half marathoners.

After the turn, the course was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH emptier.  It was nice to run without dodging, but you could also see people starting to falter.  This was a LONG almost 4 mile stretch straight up high street, mostly on an uphill incline.  My Dad had told me that they intended to see me at the turn off from that street.  Mostly, I just tried to really enjoy the scenery, repeated to myself that it was my first marathon and to soak it up.  This helped kept any negatives at bay.  Every now and then, my right ankle would twinge and I would back off just a bit.  I got a huge boost from seeing my family at Lane and High Street and turned off the incline towards the stadium area.

This was my LEAST favorite part of the course.  The gimick this year was that the full marathon course went THROUGH Buckeye Stadium.  In order to pull that off we had a lot of strange windy twisty turns to run down a ramp, across the back of the endzone and back up a ramp.  Complete.  Waste. Of.  Time.  Granted, I'm not a Buckeye fan, so maybe it was cool for those who are.  

The big stinker?  With all the turns, I ran this part of the course poorly and gained 0.1 mile in mile 19.  It's one thing to gain that much over a half marathon, but in one mile.  Mentally, I was devastated.  My 20th mile was my toughest mile mentally as a result.  I also felt like I had to poop and kept watching for an open potty.  By the time I saw one though, I felt better and decided to suck it up.   I did pass my friend Amy who was running towards the stadium!  Fun!

I saw my Dad around mile 19.5, which was a nice boost.  I told him I was starting to feel tired.  He told me that was okay and that they would try to see me at mile 23.  Avery was asleep in the car, so I didn't see her or Janette.  I saw my friends Richard and Sarah near mile 20.  As I gave them high 5's, I just kept saying "I needed this, I needed this."  I don't think they fully appreciate what a boost they gave me and how they helped get me out of that extra 0.1 mile mental block.  That 20th mile was my slowest mile on the course outside of the first mile (11:38 min/mile).
See the focus!
Somewhere in here, I also started getting little pains that shot down my arm to my right hand....from the shoulder strain.  I kept trying to rotate my shoulders to loosen them up.

I spent most of mile 22 thinking - I hope I see my family at mile 23.  LOL!  An ipod might have been a better option than my thinking at this point.  A LOT of people were walking.  Since they were walking because they were exhausted or hurt, they just stopped wherever they were.  I almost ran straight into someone at one point.  I had to spend more energy dodging again.  

Somewhere in the 20's one of the patient champions was an older kiddo.  He was standing out in the middle of the street giving runners high 5's.  That was awesome.  WHAT AN INSPIRATION.

As I came up on mile 23, I could hear my name being shouted.  My Dad, Janette and Avery were out there screaming with their sign.  I'm not going to lie to you, I cried.  At this point, emotion and joy just overcame me.  So. Glad. To. See. Them.  Janette later told me, "I couldn't figure out why you were crying, you still looked so strong!"  Joy.  That's why. 

I told myself - only about a 5K left, you can do that in your sleep.  This became a sort of mantra for whatever distance I had left at that point.  2 miles - you can do that easy.  Longest 5K EVER.

Around mile 25, I saw the pink tutus of my MIT coaches.  I knew one of them would probably run with me and was so happy.  Then, I saw Mark.  And yes, I cried again.  Just call me an emotional sap already!   Mark ran with me for about 0.7 miles.  He turned off when I hit the inflated "0.5 miles left" marker.
His knee was really hurting him - but I LOVED him for this!
At this point, the crowds on the side were much bigger and I saw so many of my running buddies that I couldn't possibly list them all!  I picked up speed and just soaked it all in.  As I ran down Nationwide, I even saw my parents in the crowds at the finish line!  I was able to sprint the last little bit and crossed the finish line at 4:52:30, under my 5 hour time goal and meeting my "I want to ENJOY it" goal.

My muscles definitely stiffened up as I stopped, got my medal, water, food, and walked to meet my parents at the MIT tent.  I congratulated a few friends and then headed home, where I proceeded to talk about the race for the next 24 hours.  HA!  I signed up for my next marathon before the 24 hours were even up.  Yup, I'm that gal.

I realized later that for the first time, I was so focused on just living it, that I neglected to take many pictures.  There isn't even a posed picture of Mark and I.  Oh well, next time!
You got one with me mommy, that's all that matters.
This was my first long distance race that I only walked during the water stops.  (except races I paced).  I really need to learn how to drink from a cup and run at the same time!.
My chip start was approximately 18 minutes after the gun.

Regardless, today - I'm a marathoner.  And.  It is awesome.

Edited:  After I wrote this, finish line photos appeared at Marathon Foto.  As a result, I kept my silent promise to the powers that be and purchased the digital downloads of all the photos from my first marathon.  I will treasure them always...and not violate copyright laws by posting them in this post!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Perfect Carb Loading - Fair Food

Just after I posted my "Thankful" post, both Avery and I got sick enough to require matching antibiotics.
Being sick, means crashing out mid-playtime.
Then we left for our trip to Texas.

Let's just say that a 14 month old with an ear infection on an airplane is a truly AWFUL combination and leave it at that.  After the first flight, I swore off flying ever again.  Unfortunately, we still had to come back home.  Luckily, the extra few days of antibiotic doses worked wonders and the return flight was much easier.  Still exhausting, but not screaming child exhausting.

Despite our matching antibiotics, it was a fabulous trip!  We got to Oma and Opa's house on Wednesday.  Avery absolutely LOVED all the extra attention she received.  I think she wanted to take their screened porch and the Texas sunshine home with us.  Unfortunately, neither one fit into our luggage.

On Friday, Mark and I drove into town to visit the Longhorn store.  With all my weight loss, I'm having trouble finding non-running clothes that fit in my closet.  Besides, nothing cuter than putting your kiddo in clothes from your college.
Hook 'em!  (she's smiling because we let her sit on the counter and Opa was playing with her)
On Saturday, we drove to Dallas for the state fair and the TX-OU football game.  We picked up my friend Cynthia and her brother along the way.  The game was miserable (If you're a Texas fan), but the state fair was lots of fun until it got too absurdly crowded.  The nice part of at the fair with four people is that you get to TRY a lot of fried food without having to EAT all of every item.

State fair foods that I sampled included: chicken fried bacon, fried jambalaya, fried PBJ and banana, fried s'mores, fried frito pie, fried oreos, fried cake balls, a corn dog, caramel apples and corn on the cob.
Nothing like starting your day with a nice Fried PBJ and banana sandwich!
Fried PBJ & banana, fried frito pie and caramel apples stay on my list of state fair favorites.  Fried s'mores and corn on the cob also made the list this year.  I don't ever have to taste chicken fried bacon or fried cake balls again!
Fried s'mores may be my new favorite thing ever!
I did get both of my runs in while on vacation - a 6 mile jaunt on Thursday and an 8 mile jaunt on Sunday.  My in-laws live in a neighborhood near the Brazos river, and I made some turns during both runs that turned BOTH runs into hill workouts.  Yikes!  As a result, the 8 mile run felt like a struggle until mile 6.  It didn't help that my sinus infection has the lovely side effect that I a cough up junk every now and then.  Twice on the 8 miler, once on the 6.  I just hope the antibiotics do their job before this Sunday!  I did try running with an audiobook for the first time ever, and it was interesting!

This week is marathon week - but I'm not sure fried food is what was intended for carb loading.  Time to work on hydrating and sleeping for the rest of the week!

What's your favorite fair food?  Least favorite?

Do you run with music, audiobook or just as you are?

Anyone else racing this coming weekend?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I am sorry that I seemingly disappeared after writing the extremely emotional post about my sister a few weeks ago.  I want to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone that expressed their support after that post.  That week was especially hard because my husband was also out of town on business.  I learned to be thankful for several things that week.

1.  My amazing friends, both in real life and in the blog world.  Several of my friends who also happened to be moms, conspired so that I was rarely alone on my sister's birthday, despite Mark being out of town.  Two friends met me at the Polaris Mall playground when pouring rain canceled our zoo date.  Another great friend had Avery and I over for post-nap fun and fixed us dinner.  As a result, the only time I spent alone was when Avery was napping and after she went to bed.  Since I am oh-so-exciting and rarely stay up later than she does any more, that worked out fantastic.
The additional upside was that Avery got to play with her bestie.
2.  Hourly daycare.  Whoever invented this concept is a genius and a life savor.  When Mark first told me he would be out of town for the week, my first thought was - "oh no, how will I get in my runs!"  The answer?  Hourly daycare.  I filled out all the vaccine and other registration paperwork, paid a $25 fee, and reserved the hours I wanted to go for my runs.  The place is about 0.5 mile from my house and it worked fabulous.  My husband was out of town, and yet, I didn't miss a single run.  I also didn't have to resort to forcing Avery to spend over an hour in the jogger, not did I have to resort to a treadmill.  Winning!
No.  No I didn't. 
Since I'm in the mood to be thankful - some other fun things that made me happy from the past few weeks.

First - Fuel Belt.  Many of you know that I run with one that I'd purchased at the Knoxville Marathon expo this past April.  During the week of daycare provided runs, the velcro on my belt failed.  The belt actually fell off.  I managed to rig it up so that I could finish the run (without realizing that a bottle fell out when it fell off), but wasn't going to trust it again.  Needless to say, I was not pleased that the belt failed after so short a time.  I emailed Fuel Belt explaining my displeasure.  After a few emails with pictures and stuff, Fuel Belt mailed me a brand new replacement belt at no cost to me.  Talk about FANTASTIC customer service.  
It's so shiny and new!
Second - another 5K race success.  I ran in a 5K September 23rd, and yes, I will do a recap soon.  Even though I ran 12 miles the day before, I ran the race because a friend I used to run with was the race director.  It was a small 5K and at one of my favorite local parks.  I beat my previous 5K PR set two months prior by over a minute!  
Me and my age group award.
Clearly, everyone should run 12 miles the day before a 5K.
Good things come in threes, right?  I've found another running buddy!  Yippee!  You can never have too many running buddies!  My friend Tara lives pretty close to my house and is also married to a Mark.  Too funny!  We both are pretty evenly matched with respect to pace and the need to be home early for kiddo duty.  It's worked out really well for making sure we both get all our runs in!   This increases the chances that all of my running buddies won't get sick of me before the next race!  HA!
Me and Tara.  After our 7 mile daycare-enabled run!
I got to run in daylight!
Or maybe good things come in fours?  I got notice that I won a price pack from Run With Jess for participating in her Marathon Weight Loss challenge (I didn't lose a marathon, but I did participate!).  Can't wait to see what it is!

In other news - I'm pacing another race this weekend.  It's part of the Scioto Miles Training Series.  I'll be pacing the 15K.  It is a 5K loop course during which participants can complete any of the distances, 5K, 10K or 15K.  I'll be pacing the 11:45 min/mile avg.  I'm pretty excited to pace again!

Since I fell off the planet dealing with renewed grief about my sister...and dealt with running a mom's group (what idiot agrees to DO that?  LOL), what have a missed in your lives???  Give me all the good gossip please!

And because no blog post would be right without some Avery love...
This bear would never put me in hourly daycare Mom.