Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grand Strand Turkey Trot 5k

For the third year in a row, I ran the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand Turkey Trot 5K. There is an 8K as well, but since I hadn't run since the half marathon, I figured I would stick to the 5K this year again. Maybe I will get brave next year.

Let me just say one thing about the course - flat as a pancake. It was actually a different course from the previous year, but still flat. As a pancake. Completely flat. Score for me since hills have killed my left knee.

Ashley and my twin brother ran the 1 mile fun run together. My Mom also did it and pushed Audrey in the stroller. There weren't very many people doing the mile, and the fog made it difficult to watch them circle the lake, but since that race was 30 minute before ours, we were able to watch at least part of it.

Here they are at the halfway point. I was using the bathroom, but my brother's wife acted as our personal photographer that day. They were going pretty strong...And here they are at the end, and as you can see from the clock, they did it in 11:15, which was great. Ashley now says she wants to do the 5K next year...we shall see.

Ray also ran the 5K and we bantered back and forth all week about who was going to win. I was sure I was going to beat him since he hadn't run since he hurt his foot six weeks ago. Yea, I was wrong. And no, he wouldn't let me post any pictures of him, but he ended up doing it in 24:35, and was 3rd in his age group!

As far as myself? I obviously really suck at running hills, because I KILLED my PR from the 5K I did a few weeks ago that was the hilliest course I had ever done.

This is about 1/2 a mile left to go, and yup, I was smiling! From the start, I thought I was running so slow...I was convinced I was going to hit the first mile marker and look at my watch and it would say at least 9 minutes. Wow, was I wrong! I looked at my watch at mile 1 and I was at 8:03. Holy crap, I have never, ever run a mile that fast! Mile 2 was slower, I remember looking at my watch and it said 17 - something as I passed mile marker 2. Then I just tried to pick up my pace continually for the last mile. And that must have worked....

I finished with a time of 26:18, 68/280 overall, 4th for my age group. I ran an average pace of 8:28! I couldn't freaking believe it. That made for a good Turkey Day...and it helped when I wanted to have a second helping of my sister-in-laws strawberry pie.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

I am thankful for a PR in my 5K race this morning (race report as soon as official results are posted)...

I am thankful for a six year old who is just like me...

I am thankful for a three year old who thinks clothing is optional...

I am thankful for a husband that works hard so that I can go shopping at midnight tonight...

I am thankful for family and food while we celebrate Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach...

And I am pretty sure I will be thankful for the strawberry pie my sister-in-law is about to make....

Have a Great Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Backup

For the past few months, my head has been wrapped up in running, birthdays, girls weekends, cheerleading, more running. Oh, and "acting like a 16 year old" (Ray's words, not mine) and counting down the days until New Moon (which was much nicer to watch last night without the screaming, thank you very much!).

There are two really big events, okay three if you count Thanksgiving, but since I am not cooking, I am not really counting it, that round out the end of the year. Yes, Christmas which for the first time in about 10 years I haven't purchased not.one.single.gift yet. Am I starting to stress about this fact? Just slightly. More so on the fact that Ray and I did away with credit cards last year, and in years past I have literally gone online order crazy, and I can't really do that this year. I need to think about the purchases I make, and not buy some mundane thing just because I got that one marketing email that said this would be my kids' favorite gift. Yes, me = sucker. (Those emails and the free shipping! emails always get me....) And I am stressing because I have no idea what to get the kids. They don't know what they want, I don't know what to get them, it is one big guess at this point. I have a few ideas, but really? No clue.

The other big event? We leave for Disney World on December 5th. Yup, our annual Disney trip, thanks to our Disney timeshare we so smartly purchased pre-kids. And no, for those that don't know, we don't have to take Ashley out of school for this - she is in year round and tomorrow is her last day of school this year. She won't go back until January 4th, 2010.

In all other years, I have already made multiple lists and changed my spreadsheet a hundred times by now. This year? I guess I have had just too much going on before this to even remotely think about it. I do have my spreadsheet done with park hours and such, but I haven't even attempted to start stalking the weather websites or checking the Disney sites I often go to.

We are all excited to go - a week in the happiest place on Earth right before Christmas? Should be just what we all need.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lack of sleep is becoming the norm

Let's start with Thursday night. So on my list of things to do before I die was to see the midnight premiere of a movie. And what an awesome freaking movie to go see at midnight last Thursday night/Friday morning.

New Moon was so freaking good. So good in fact, I am seeing it again tonight. Hopefully tonight I won't have the 50 or so screaming high school girls in the theater with me or the staff at the movie theaters dressed up as vampires. And hopefully I won't have to be in my seat an hour and half early so that I can get a decent seat.

I got about 3 hours of sleep on Thursday night before I had to go to work on Friday. I am not complaining, it was my choice.

Then Friday night I was booked for a massage. My friend gave me a gift card for my birthday to see her massage therapist. He was a former personal trainer and an athlete, and could work out all my kinks and stuff from the half marathon I ran. He was really, really good and even checked out my left knee that still hurts two weeks after the race before even starting my massage. I will say this though, it was in no way a relaxing massage. At points, he had his elbow and full body weight on my muscles trying to work them out. I got home around 9:30pm and crashed that night.

Saturday morning was the Raleigh Christmas parade, and then I finally dragged my butt to the Urgent Care after being told by Ray I would have to go stay in a hotel if I didn't go. I have had a pretty decent cough since before the half marathon two weeks ago. In fact, I went to the doctor's office the week before the race and did 5 days of Zithromax, which obviously did nothing. The doctor at the Urgent Care diagnosed me with walking pneumonia and gave me an inhaler, steroids, stronger antibiotics, and some crazy cough medicine with codeine. Good fun.

Saturday night, my friend's two kids spent the night at our house. Her daughter is Ashley's age and a good friend, and her son is Audrey's age and goes to the same preschool. So they are perfect playmates. Everyone did well, but Ashley and her friend were up at 5:30am for good.

Then last night was the Miley Cyrus concert in Greensboro which is about about an hour and a half from Raleigh. I was serious when I said I haven't gotten much sleep in the past few days! The girls loved the concert, but I will say this. Miley needs to embrace the fact that her audience is younger than she wants them to be. I mean, all I saw were elementary aged kids, and some of the moves and outfits were probably a little bit too much for that age group. And Metro Station, the opening act, was AWFUL. I had no idea that was her brother who sang for them, but really, they were horrible.

We were home around 11:15pm last night, and thankfully, Ashley fell asleep on the way home. She was still dragging this morning. I am still dragging and counting down the minutes until lunch when I can run out and get a diet coke. Audrey is on her way to Myrtle Beach with my Mom and Stepdad (she had absolutely no qualms about leaving me for the first time, I even think she was laughing at me, the little stinker) and we will join them on Wednesday after Ashley gets out of school.

I am really looking forward to a few days off...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Pictures

I have a good friend who does photography on the side, and she has taken our family shots a few times. Back in September when Ray was out of town, I attempted to get shots of the three of us, in hopes of getting him a really cool birthday present. Then we swore off birthday presents, and now I just get to order pictures just because. Oh, and some of the family may be getting a few of these as well...

The three of us, and yes, my hair is naturally that black. And no, the girls obviously did not get their hair color from me. Although my Mom keeps telling me that my hair was like that when I was little, but I don't believe her. (Ashley's Grandma Diane bought her those boots, and she would wear them everyday if I let her.)
Oh man, we are in so much trouble with this one...

And I have no words for this one. She completely hammed it up the entire photo shoot, and all the photos were amazing. This picture, I thought, depicts Ashley the best - caring, outgoing, and just plain happy.
If you live in the Raleigh area, check out her site - Patricia Meszler Photography.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Year

This just might be the year Ashley stops believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.

And I TOTALLY blame Borders and all the other retailers that have the Elf on a Shelf blatantly displayed for all to see.

Last Wednesday, I took Ashley to a book store to buy a new book. She is finally enjoying reading and wanted some more chapter books to read. We were making our way to the front to make our purchases when there it was, a huge display of Elf on s Shelf. I tried to block her view, and I thought I was successful, until one night this week when we were reading books. I brought out a new Christmas book I had hidden away for them and read it to the girls at bedtime. This prompted a discussion about Christmas, and I innocently asked the girls if they were excited to see the Elf again.

At which Ashley responded very matter of factly that I bought the Elf, and he wasn't sent from Santa. She saw them in boxes at the bookstore.

Hmm. Well, okay. So yes, I told her, I bought the Elf, but he moves! All by himself! Every night!

Not sure she bought that.

Let's just hope Audrey believes for a few more years.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More on the Running Front

Last Thursday, I decided to go to a local running store and purchase some real running shoes. I happily threw my $35 shoes from Kohl's away. I got a pair of Brooks after trying on various pairs of shoes at the store.

And then this past Tuesday, I decided it was finally time to actually try the shoes out. You know, like actually exercise, something I hadn't done in over a week. So off to the gym I went in hopes of running on the treadmill for at least three miles.

Yea, that didn't happen. I made it two miles with some moderate to severe pain in my left knee. Not good. The shoes were great, but my knees are failing me.

I decided to turn to the internet to see what the heck was wrong. And shockingly enough, I have runner's knee. I know, so original. I probably did it running down the bridge at the half marathon (remember the pain I had right after that?) and it is probably exasperated by the fact my quad muscles are weaker than they should be. Good times. I am going to try to find a patella band to wear around my knee and attempt to run again this weekend.

And I am on day three of a fabulous head cold, plus I am on WEEK FOUR of a fabulous cough that I am going to assume I will have for the rest of my life at this point. I actually fell asleep last night before Audrey did (which doesn't say much considering the kid stays awake until 9:30/10:00pm on days she has a nap, that is a story for another post). I normally work from home on Wednesdays and I would have loved to stay at home in my pj's, instead I am teaching a class at work today. Even more fun.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome to the world of competition cheerleading

Saturday was a long day. Really, really long. And the end to a cheerleading season that I wasn't sure was ever going to end. Ashley's team is in the middle right, to the right of the squad in red and white. And no, Ashley's team isn't that big, it is actually three squads from our town, one for each age group. Ashley is a mini-mite, the youngest.

We had to be there at 8am, and the competition was supposed to start at 10am. It was more like 10:15/10:20 before they got around to starting. In fact, they didn't finish with the first division, Ashley's division, until after 11:00am. It was after 2:00pm when we finally got to see the award ceremony and left to grab lunch because none of us had eaten.

I will say this - it was pretty cool to be in that gymnasium with all the cheerleaders cheering and all the parents/spectators getting into it. I was actually nervous right before Ashley's squad went on. Those girls worked so freaking hard all season, and out of the four teams in her division, I thought they would get third. One squad really stood out (their lifts had movement for goodness sakes), so I knew they would probably take first.

This is Ashley at the top, the lack of spotting behind her made me just a little nervous....

And when the awards were announced? They took fourth. Last place. And yes, Ashley knew they were last. Everyone got a trophy and a pin. The other two squads from our town? Took first place. The oldest girls in fact took first overall. That kind of made our last place sting even more.

I saw a neighbor that evening that actually coached last year, and she was telling me that you can get deductions on the score sheets for crazy things. I know in Ashley's routine, one of the girls lost her shoe, and my neighbor said that it would have been a deduction in points for that. So the girls probably got some deductions for things that were semi out of their control. Am I being a slightly-crazy cheer Mom? Maybe. I just felt so bad for the girls and the coaches, but yes, I know, someone has to come in last.

And yes, despite the long day, Ashley wants to do this again next year. She really enjoys it, and really enjoyed the fact that one of her friends did it with her this year. Hopefully she will do it again next year too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Comeback is hard

I got back into town on Monday with plenty of time to chill out before getting Ashley off the bus, picking up Audrey and taking her to dance, switching off with Ray so that I could go to Girl Scouts with Ashley.

The first mistake was taking Audrey to dance. Ray always takes her (except for the week of class observations, where I took her and got to sit in on the class the whole time and take pictures), so she isn't used to me being there. Then add that I hadn't seen her since Saturday morning, and you have a recipe for disaster.

It was warm outside that day, and the dance school the girls go to, the classrooms have big windows, so you can stand outside and see in. I was standing with Ashley when I saw Audrey not participating.

Which is really not like her.

Then she started to cry, and the assistant teaching was leading her out the door. By the time I got to her, she was sobbing. Audrey rarely cries like this. This wasn't a "my sister just poked me in the face" cry, this was a god-honest sobbing "I missed my Mommy DON'T LEAVE ME AGAIN" cry. Not good.

Ray had shown up by then, and talking to Audrey about her recital and the pretty dress she will get to wear (and the promise of candy when she got home), I finally got her to stop crying and get back to class. I go to get Ashley to head to Girl Scouts, and she is crying.

GAH! I never really figured out why she was crying. She was in the van at that point, right next to Ray. Something about the video that was playing, who knows. I think she was just upset that her sister was upset. Which in turn makes me upset. This is why parenting is hard.

Post Run Let Down

So here I am, a few days on the other side of running a half marathon.

And I don't know what to do with myself.

My knees are still bothering me, so exercising is out of the picture for the moment. I want to run another 1/2 marathon, but no one seems to want to do the Myrtle Beach one with me. Ray wants me to take a break.

I want to keep running.

But only because I really want a Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks everyday.

I am going to buy new running shoes at lunch today - real running shoes, not the $35 ones I got at Kohl's. I am going to a real running store and having them tell me what I need.

Maybe that will help me for now.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Race Report - OBX 1/2 Marathon

I did it. I FREAKING did it.

Yes, it was hard. Yes, I am visibly limpy today because Holy Hell does my knee hurt. But yes, I am definitely doing another 1/2 marathon.

Here is the low-down.

We (me and two of my friends who were running as well) left Saturday morning around 10:30am from home, and with stopping for lunch we were in Kill Devil Hills around 3:00pm. We headed straight for the expo to pick up our race packets and see what the expo was all about. And yes, I picked up Ray's packet as well and texted a picture of his bib to him, because I am a nice wife like that. Actually, I just thought it was cool because our names were on the bibs. The only not-nice thing I have to say about the race was the fact that I registered for a small shirt, and I got a medium, which is actually more like a large. So that sucked, but really in the grand scheme of things, that was no big deal. I picked up a cool headband and some arm warmers at the expo as well. We checked into the hotel after the expo, hit Walmart and then headed to my favorite pizza place in the Outer Banks - Tomato Patch in Corolla. We filled up on spaghetti and headed back to the hotel for an early bed time where we all fretted over what we were going to wear for the race.

The weather was supposed to be mid-50s, but we were worried about the wind. I was pissed because the one of the arm warmers I bought was too big at the top of my arm and I wasn't sure I wanted to wear it. In the end I did and I was fine.

I think we were in bed by 10:00pm for a not-so-good night's sleep. I know I tossed and turned and by the time 5:00am rolled around, I was ready to get up and get the show on the road.

Right on schedule, we were out of the hotel and to the start by 6:30am. And it was crazy! The lines to the port-o-potties were huge. With 3,500 runners in the half, there was no way there were enough toilets. I checked my bag for the end of the race and found the 2:30:00 pacer. The plan was to start with the 2:30:00 pacer, and then hopefully go ahead at some point. I was worried about starting too fast, but I shouldn't worry about that with a race with this many people. Our first mile was slow because there were so many people around us. And we pretty much left the 2:30:00 pacer behind by the half mile mark. Here we are at the start (me and my friend Wendy, my other friend Stella was starting with the 2:15:00 pacer in hopes of beating 2:10:00, which she did). I am on the left, bib 6611. Yes, I am wearing Virginia Tech running shorts. Wendy's husband Matt came to be our photographer. In fact, he got up and drove from Raleigh at 2:30am in the morning to be there at the start.

Mile 1 - 11:06
Mile 2 - 10:31
Mile 3 - 10:31

We were right on track those first couple of miles. I felt great, and the miles were seriously ticking right by. The course was awesome and flat and the weather was perfect.

Mile 4 - 10:42

This is where we saw Matt, Wendy's husband for the first time after the start. I ditched my arm warmers at this point and we kept trucking.

Mile 5 - 10:32
Mile 6 - 10:28
Mile 7 - 10:20

Those miles were great. We were in and out of neighborhoods, there were spectators, the Sound to look at. Nothing was hurting, no cramps. I took a Gu at about Mile 6 and took some water at each water stop. The course was well equipped with water stops and medical stations.

Mile 8 - 10:37

This mile started the straightaway to the bridge, the only hill on the course. It was starting to go uphill from here.

Mile 9 - 10:39
Mile 10 - 10:36

Mile 10 was actually right before the crest of the bridge, right at the top. Wendy and I seriously hauled ass up the bridge, passing people left and right. And then once on the other side of Mile 10, I felt like I was really running down the incline.

Mile 11 - 10:17

And I was. This was my fastest mile, and the last mile I have data from the Garmin Wendy was wearing (I really, REALLY want one now). At Mile 11, right after we turned to head to downtown Manteo, Wendy started to pull ahead and I started to hurt. Between Mile 11 and 12 were the absolute hardest part of the race. I had some serious pain in my left leg all the way from my hip to my ankle. Both my knees felt like they were on fire. And I am not a wuss, seriously, my threshold for pain is pretty high, but this hurt. Plus, I was on the other side of 11 miles, and 11 miles was the longest run I had ever done. My body had never gone this far. So I started to have a little pity party for myself. I saw a neighbor (who's husband finished 28th for the half!) and I am sure she thought that I was dying. I was sort of running limping and probably had a terrible look on my face. It was right after her I started to cry. I wanted to walk, but I was so close to my goal. And then I saw Mile 12 and I thought "only a mile left, SUCK IT UP and get this thing over." And I did. My legs sort of went numb and I ran. And I felt better. My friend Stella was right at the end, cheering me on as I crossed the finish line: 2:21:03 (yes, totally kicking myself as I realized pretty close to the end that I could have finished in under 2:20:00, but oh well. Next time.).

Official results:

Chip time: 2:21:03 - 10:47 pace

196/373 for my age, 1023/2213 for femalesWendy, me and Stella at the finish.

So yes, there will be another one despite how horrible my left knee feels at this point. The excitement of the race, the thrill of finishing 13.1 miles was so cool, I can't explain it. Plus, I know Ray really wants to run one, and I would love to do one with him. I am eyeing Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February, and I am pretty sure I am in for the Disney Princess Half in March. For now, I am going to lay low on running for this week. I have a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day to do where Ray thinks he will beat me, so I need to be in top shape for that.

Anyone wants to train with me, let me know...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday! And an Award! And 2 days until 13.1 miles!

I have successfully made it to Friday. I was reprimanded as soon as I walked into my office building this morning by someone who didn't like how I coughed into my hands. Which is fine, I washed them immediately, but how about "good morning?".

And yes, I am two days from running 13.1 miles and I have a hacking cough and am on antibiotics. I am hopeful that come Sunday I won't cough up a lung on the course. I want to run a really good race. My goals? Everything I have read says do not have time goals for your first half marathon. Hmm. Well, I guess that makes sense but considering I did a 10 mile race and I know how I did that, I do have some sort of timey-type goals for this race.

I would really, really like to finish in less than 2 1/2 hours. That would be sweet. But that's it. I am not setting any other goals than to finish.

As far as how I have run this week? On the schedule were a couple of 2 miles runs which I successfully did 2 of. Hopefully I will be okay come Sunday, but I figured it was better to rest and get over whatever I have then to run and get worse. Let the carb-loading begin!

I was also given a blogging award this week by someone who seems just like me (in all the good ways) - make sure you check her out - Opinions from the Pressure Cooker.

So the award - Superior Scribbler

The rules:
* Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
* Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
* Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
* Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

So here who I pass it on to:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Becoming a healthy house

Everyone went back to school yesterday, somewhat healthy. Ashley is still on antibiotics until this weekend for her pneumonia, but she is completely fine now. Audrey had her seasonal flu shot on Saturday and had a fever for most of the day, but was fine on Sunday and yesterday.


Ray and I, on the other hand, have random cough, sore throats, etc. Nothing serious, I actually feel fine, just annoyed by my cough. So off to the doctor I went this morning. I have fluid behind my ears and swollen glands, so the doctor took pity on me since I have to run 13.1 miles on Sunday and prescribed me some antibiotics as well.


Halloween was fun and I had every intention of downloading some pictures last night, but obviously that didn't happen. Ashley ended up going as Pinkalicious (she wore all pink) and Audrey was Minnie Mouse. Tootles went as herself, an overweight Dachshund.


On other random news, slightly related to sicknesses (as in my sick household is preventing me from holding a newborn baby), my friend and neighbor had her baby Monday before last (beautiful baby boy, I hope to hold him as soon as I am sure I am not carrying any random flu germs), and I took them some food on Sunday. And guess what she had bought me?

The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook. Sqeeee! I was so freaking excited. I can't wait to cook something out of it...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Hollyfest 5K Race Recap

So three weekends in a row, I have a race to run. Weekend before last was the 10-miler, and this past weekend was a 5K race in my town. And of course next weekend is my first 1/2 marathon.

We were supposed to run 5 miles on Saturday per our training schedule, and we figured we could run the race, and then run home. Then it was raining/drizzling and me and my two friends that ran the 5K together TOTALLY KICKED A$$ in it, so we said that was good.

Seriously, I ran this 5K 6 minutes faster than I have ever run a 5K! Wahoo for a PR!

Our town is hilly, and it sucks. I don't think there was a flat part of the course for this race. It was either up a hill or down a hill. So that was hard. It was also a small field of runners, probably only about 150 or less (the official results have not been posted yet). The other weird thing was that we had chips for timing, but we didn't run over the mat for the start, only at the end. They just started the time I guess on everyone's chip at the same time. When we figured out that was what they were going to do, we lined up right at the start line.

So the first mile was straight up a hill, and I really didn't feel like I was going too fast. Guys were passing me left and right. I had started my watch right when we started so when we passed the first mile marked and I checked my watch and saw 8:40, I was SHOCKED. Holy crap, I just ran a sub-9 minute mile straight up a hill! Mile 2 and 3 I definitely slowed down on the hills and kept my two friends in my sight to help me keep a pace. I lost them near the end because we were rounding corners to quick. I had really, really wanted to get under 30 minutes, and when I rounded the last corner and saw 28 minutes on the clock, I was shocked!!

So unofficial time was 28:41, or a 9:15/mile pace. Not bad considering how freaking hilly it was.

This week we are supposed to do a couple of 2 mile runs in preparation for the 1/2 this Sunday. And yes, I have started checking the weather - Sunny and 60 so far. Keep praying that it doesn't change!

EDITED TO ADD:
I placed 8/21 for my age group (30-34) and 21/85 females with an official time of 28:43. WAHOO!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Donate a coat to Lands' End and get 20% off a new one

Lands’ End has joined forces with the National Coalition for the Homeless for the Big Warm-up. The Big Warm-up provides an opportunity for people across the nation to donate a gently used coat that will then go on to warm one of more than 3.5 million homeless women, men and children in the United States right now – each facing a cold winter.

Until November 30, Lands’ End is hosting Big Warm-up coat donation sites at its 252 Lands’ End Shops at Sears and 13 Lands’ End Inlets®. Donated coats will be distributed via the National Coalition for the Homeless in communities nearby. AND… Lands’ End is giving 20 percent off the purchase of a new coat for each one donated.

Visit WWW.BIGWARMUP.COM to see how each coat can warm a heart, track donations, find donation sites, watch an inspiring video and spread the word.

I don't know about you - but I could definitely go through my coat closet!