29 November 2011

I'm running in Vegas... are you? Yes! I'm running in Vegas! How about you? Are you running in Vegas? I am! You? Yes, indeedy...I will be running in Vegas...you, too?

"Once a year the 'whore' population of Las Vegas quintriples when a ton of self-entitled (runners) who are willing to sell their souls for chocolate milk endorsements roll into town to complain for 26.2 miles at a 10:30/mile pace" My friend has an awfully twisted sense of humor and said he'd pay me to put that in this post. Guess that makes me a... whore.

This coming Sunday, I am running The Strip at night. 

I will be running with the 40,000+ other entrants (among them, what seems to be a sizable blogger population) in the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon, but unlike almost every other female, I won't be in a slutty costume or sparkly outfit. 

Okay, okay... I might wear a SparklySoul headband that I won in a giveaway at my friend Megan's blog. And I might stick adhesive rhinestones on my awesome $2 knee-sock/armwarmers just so I blend. And sparkles can be fun. shut up, haters. But there is something to be said for not blending, too. 

For example, if it is really, really cold, I might be tempted to wear my award-winning Winter Workout Gear...for real, I won a gym wardrobe makeover this week by submitting this picture to a contest...

this would totally not blend in Vegas...am I right?
note: hat doesn't come with reservoir tip

Knowing me, however, I will be running in my plain black Target shorts and tank top...and running shoes. And... of course, I'll be wearing my awesome Moving Comfort Juno bra :) I run "hot." That doesn't mean I look 'hot' when I run...quite the contrary...it means I get hot when I run. But I'm sure you figured that out without me needing to explain it, right? 

13.1 miles is still quite an undertaking for me. A lot of people say they are running this race 'for fun.' I can't do that. Sure, I'll have fun while I am there, and it will be a fun experience. But something about sick physical effort and fun and costumes... it just all seems a little incongruous. I will be busting my butt to put one foot in front of the other for close to two hours, give or take (does 'give' mean that it would be less than 2 hours...or is that 'take'?). 

In addition to getting my run on, I'm looking forward to spending some time in a fancy hotel without my kids and meeting up with some of my good friends from the ol' Nuun Platuun glory days...Jess the Blonde Ponytail), Tricia who knows Endurance Isn't Only Physical, and Caitlin and Kim from Nuun. And we'll get to see our Team Nuun teammates and rivals for the Nuun Cup (which seems to have gone missing, am I right, Tonia?), AfterNuun Delight's Sweaty Emily of Sweat Once a Day and Mr. Mason, prez of Nuun.

And Emz!

And...well... so many others :)

I wonder if they have gluten-free food in Las Vegas?

*If this post makes no sense or is utter tasteless, remember that I am tapering...which means I can't be held entirely accountable for anything!*

28 November 2011

A Mother's Favorite Images... and letter to an expectant mom

Kim, writer of Zook Book Nook, is about to have a baby. As a baby-welcoming and mommy-pleasuring gift, several bloggers are contributing guest posts and link ups centered around newborns and the senses for her. Today's focus is sight and is 'directed' by Northwest Mommy Stasha, combined with her Monday Listicles link-up. Many of you have seen some of these photos before, but I doubt Kim has

Dear Kim,

I am so excited for you as you await your third child. There is real magic in the number 3, and I hope you live it, feel it, love it :) 

What follows are ten of my favorite photos taken by my husband...because I can't say I only have ten favorites...

The day my third child was born...

...and how he was welcomed by his siblings.

Watching them explore...

...holding them close.

Their sense of awe...

...and of adventure.

From the thrill of cupcakes...

...to the delight of a boat ride...

...and the rapture of a sunset.

These amazing beings, our 'charges', our children...
are destined to venture forth on their own...

...out into the world...

...or lost in the world of imagination. 

We love them always, no matter what.

Wishing you the very best with your new one :)


27 November 2011

Boys with Big Sticks... a situation that rarely ends well

Today I was reflecting on how Thanksgiving feels best to me when the focus of the day is on moving my body not stuffing it. Interestingly, I don't feel deprived at all when I refrain from gorging myself on The Feast. While I was on my own for the morning Turkey Trotting extravaganza, my family seemed to share my disinterest in shoveling turkey and gravy and potatoes into their faces until their bellies felt about to explode. We spent the afternoon and evening with extended family. We ate, sure. And we were thankful. But the real enjoyment of the get-together was not centered around pigging out... it came after mealtime.

As we were getting ready to head out for a familial post-Thanksgiving dinner hike, Q-man hollers out, "Hey, Uncle B! Can we use your walking sticks?" "Sure, Q!" he replied.

I silently groaned.

Sticks become swords. Swords are weapons. Weapons are used in combat. Combat always hurts somebody. Or everybody.

But not wanting to be the family fun-sucker, I just took a deep breath, tied my shoes, and went out to the car to put on the baby carrier that I knew was going to make Miss C scream and writhe.

Really, how bad could it be? Just a half an hour...maybe they'll actually use them as walking sticks. I was trying to be optimistic.

But then they walked through the gate carrying 10-foot long poles! How can one remain optimistic when one's 6-year old and 12-year old boys are running rampant with freaking jousting poles?

Hey, everyone! Let's go for a contemplative, relaxing hike in the gorgeous Marin County woods... it'll be so peaceful. But first, let's give the boys gigantic lances!

How many times did your mom let you go on a hike 
carrying a pole twice as tall as you when you were six? 
Yeah, that's what I thought. 
That's 'cuz your mom was smart!...and maybe a little bit of a fun-sucker

See me? I'm looking the other way...

because I knew it was only a matter of time before this jedi match began. Or maybe it's kung fu?
The real question was: who would get wet or whacked first?

At some point, Big G found a lichen-encrusted tree branch.
He cast his bamboo pole aside and pretended had an Elf King Scepter...or something like that 
(actually, he just now told me it was Brom's staff from Eragon)

Anyway, it was much better because it was a peaceful stick and not a weapon. And instead of battling his brother, he spent the rest of the hike serenely surveying the lovely surroundings.

Q-man, on the other hand, continued to spin, twirl and thrust with his pole as if he were a champion color-guard flag-waving dude...or iaido master...or something that flails around with a large stick. 

Surprisingly, no one got hurt and no fun needed to be sucked.

Miss C did scream and writhe in that carrier... but that's a story for another time.

26 November 2011

The Best Turkey Advice EVER... *language warning*

So bummed I didn't know this before!

But I will be remembering it for next year...

My dry-brined turkey came out pretty awesomely, but wow... she makes it so much easier!

25 November 2011

The Long and Short of a 5K Turkey Trot

I spent the better part of Wednesday thinking about Fred Duling and the incredible power of the human spirit. Of course, all this thinking was done as I ran errands, cared for children, hung out with my awesome 88-year old mother-in-law, did my meager share of Thanksgiving preparations, and stressed about strategized for my 5K Turkey Trot...among other things.

The 5K was in the forefront of my mind. The plan was to head up to Sonoma for what I'll call the 6th Annual Bartholomew Park Winery Thanksgiving Day 5K FunRun Turkey Trot because I don't know the official name or if it even has one!

Gee, XL, why on Earth would you drive an hour each way to run in an eentsy weentsy race with no swag whatsoever or even prizes?

This is why...

AM and me this Thursday...
I'm the nearly naked one...you can tell by the hair.

I found AM and her blog, Goals for the Week (now called Feet in Motion) last year when I started running and blogging. The 5th Annual version of this race was my first race, and AM was my first blogger meet-up :) Last year I finished the 5K in 28:52 and was all fired up because I had been expecting a time between 30 and 31 minutes. It was so fun, the people were super nice, and it was a beautiful setting. I vowed to return in 2011.

skip to the bottom if you want the short version...it's in blue italics all the way at the end

While temperatures were sub-freezing last year, this year the forecast called for pouring down rain *GROAN* My thoughts flashed on Fred Duling, I shut up and packed a Hefty bag, and set to creating a race plan. I had already planned on shooting the moon...'A' goal set at 23:52 (exactly 5 minutes faster than last year) and 'B' goal at 24 flat. My plan was to start slow (7:55 pace for the first half-mile) and bump the speed up every half-mile to be finishing off at 7:30 pace.

Enter stage left:  optimistic and persuasive friend

Uttering phrases like "go for it" and "what have you got to lose?" via chat, he convinced me to push the envelope. Go out at 7:30 pace and see how long I could hang on before imploding or exploding. "It's just a 5K" meaning I'd still be able to finish even if I blew myself out in the first mile.

Here's what happened...

I awoke way too early for my liking and was out the door by 7. It felt weird to be going off to a 5K race instead of a 2+ hour run. The rain was so light it was more of a heavy mist, and by the time I got to the venue, even the misting was intermittent. With temps hovering around 50ºF, conditions were my idea of perfection.

As I trotted around this beautiful place during my warm up, I remembered how last year I didn't warm up... I had been worried about completing just the 3.1 miles of the race! Once I felt loose, I hit the bathroom and stripped down to shorts and a tank. I set my Garmin to show just lap pace/time/distance, programmed the auto lap distance as one half mile, and put The Cure's Just Like Heaven on continuous loop on my iPod. I was ready.

The start felt awesome! Downhill + Adrenaline = 3:46.40 (7:33 pace) for the first half-mile no problem!

The road flattened out and I pushed a bit harder... 3:44.81 (7:30 pace) for the second half-mile.

Then there was a hill.

It was not a big hill, but it was a hill nonetheless. As I worked diligently to keep it fast, the numbers just kept creeping up. And then this guy pushing a stroller passed me. Going uphill. While having a conversation with the person next to him. The ensuing momentary demoralization allowed the pace to climb over 8 minutes per mile, and I finished the third half-mile in 4:00.37 (8:01 as my average pace).

Don't get distracted! Don't let the numbers get to you! Pay attention to the task at hand!

And I thought about Fred Duling and his daughter giving it their all in Philly. And I thought dream big. I rounded the next corner and floored it down the hill and back along the flat straightaway... fourth half-mile run in 3:42.61 (7:25 pace).

For the next half-mile, "keep it in the 30's" quickly segued into "stay in the 40's" which turned into "stay sub-8" and ultimately became "just keep moving forward." And there was this kid. He had flown off the start line with his dad, and I was now running next to them. The kid and I pulled away from the dad and ran together for the last mile. Our fifth half-mile was 3:59.45 (8 min mile pace).

As the kid and I began the final ascent, we were both fading but refusing to concede. He definitely had more gas in his tank, though. He would surge ahead and then walk until I pulled even and then surge again. Had I not been maxxing myself, this would probably have been super annoying. I kept trying to keep up with his surges. In my mind I was, but reality was not cooperating.

He finished about 10 feet ahead of me. I crossed the line in 24:01.

I was strollered. I was kidded (what do you call it when you're passed by a child?). I just missed my goal. I crashed and I burned.

And I had FUN. While I felt like I was dying at the end, rarely have I felt more alive. And for me, there is no better way to start a day of giving thanks than reveling in and testing the limits of this glorious thing that is Life.


and the short version....

I ran a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Weather was cool and misty. Splits were as follows:

0.5 mile:  3:46.40  
1.0 mile:  3:44.81   
1.5 mile:  4:00.37
2.0 mile:  3:42.61
2.5 mile:  3:59.45
3.0 mile:  4:15.20
3.07 mile:  0:32.48

Finish time = 24:01


23 November 2011

What it is to be TOUGH...

My most favorite race I have ever run would be the Schuylkill Navy Run in Philadelphia, PA. It's a fairly small race run through Fairmount Park on every Thanksgiving Day. It is a closed race as you must be a member of a Schuylkill Navy club or a member's guest. This means that it is almost all rowers or former rowers.

It is cross-country... part of it is on streets but much of it consists of dashing across park lawns, and there is a section cutting through the Horticulture Center (I remember a few years the access gate was still locked when the runners showed up, so some of us ended up hopping the 20' fence while others ran around... sooooo much longer). Knowing the course is a real advantage. Practicing the sight lines and the tangents really increases your chances of placing well. If you are the front-runner and don't know the course, you will ultimately be screwed.

What I loved about this race wasn't just getting out there and sweating on Thanksgiving morning surrounded by a whole lot of friends and teammates. I loved that it was physically and mentally challenging. Working the course to one's advantage was a huge part of the fun...if you knew it, that is. One of my rowing coaches prided himself on how well his athletes did in the Schuylkill Navy Run every year...it was because he had us out there practicing the course. We did mile repeats over sections of the course. We did intervals coming up on the most challenging of sight-line sections. We were prepared.

It was an intimidating race, and I didn't run it every year. There were a couple of years I was injured, a couple of times I had out-of-town family gatherings, and one time I was snowed in at a friend's house in New Jersey. I only ran this race three times in the 8 years I lived and rowed in Philadelphia.

Just three times.

But this post isn't really about me.

This year, Fred Duling will be racing for the 52nd consecutive year. He has the oldest active race streak in the country. Fred is a long-time member of Malta Boat Club and former national team rower. And for many years, he was a solid masters competitor.

What makes his situation even more compelling is that shortly after Thanksgiving last year, Fred suffered severe injuries after a very bad fall. Please click the link to read more about Fred Duling's story. Paralyzed from the abdomen down, Fred will be competing in the Schuylkill Navy Run 2011 in a wheelchair. The linked story tells us that his daughter Sara will assist by pushing the wheelchair up the steepest and grassiest portions of the course.

When I think about the fact that he ran in this one race fifty-one years in a row... 
When I think about his fall and injuries and rehab...
When I think about his drive and determination...

It all renders me awe-struck.

And so very thankful.

It is not simply my own mobility for which I am thankful, it is also the knowledge that a person can persevere and keep finding a way to continue to do what he loves against seemingly insurmountable odds. I am thankful for the human spirit.

Go, Fred! Go, Sara!

Wishing you strength and desire as you head up to the Belmont Mansion at the turnaround...you can do it!  You WILL do it!

Happy Thanksgiving.

22 November 2011

The Ruby Slippers

A friend posted a picture of her new shoes on Twitter the other day... and I was smitten.

I coveted.

I needed.

While my current running shoes are far from run through, and while I do have a second pair of the same waiting in the wings, it really is only a matter of time before I'll be needing another pair of running shoes. Right?

Buying running shoes based on how they look is ill-advised. Different bodies have different biomechanics requiring different shoes. I used to work in a running specialty shop so I actually do understand this ;-)

I was certain that because these shoes were so perfect-looking, they would be the wrong sort of shoe for me, and I would be left simply longing for something ill-suited to my needs.

I was wrong.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 15 Limited Edition...Oooooo....Aaaaaahhhhhh...is a neutral shoe!

Of course, the fact that they are 'rare' adds to the mystique.

I have never worn Mizuno shoes, so I knew I wanted to try them on before dropping a whopping sum of cash. I headed to the local running store to see if they had what I needed. They did. They felt a bit small to me, so I sized up a half size from normal and fell head-over-heels in love.

I knew I could get them online cheaper, but in the interest of supporting the local economy and small business owners, I opted to buy them in the store. Add in the tax... awesome me, contributing to the state and city coffers... and the one dollar to the city parking authority (for a savings of $57 had I opted out of the meter and gone for the ticket instead)... and I was a well-shod, model citizen.

These shoes are totally different than the Saucony ProRide 3 I am currently wearing. The Mizunos feel like a lower profile, firmer shoe. I wore them for the cool down portion of my run last night. I can tell they will require some getting used to so I will not be racing in them any time soon. But WOW! Love the way they feel!

Aren't they pretty?
Click, click, click...
If I feel like it's taking too long to get to the finish line,
I can just click my heels together three times...

Another item I have had my eye on would be arm warmers. Not so sure why these appeal to me so much. I've never had a pair. So much has changed in the decade and a half since I was last running. Arm warmers and calf sleeves... who'd've thunk?

Given that I broke the bank on my fancy shoes, I knew low-budget was the direction to take for arm warmers. I had seen some made from tube socks with the toes cut out on other blogs. But I particularly wanted mine for Vegas and so ugly white, clunky tube socks were not going to be near glam enough. 

Enter: two-dollar knee socks at Target!

Sleek, color choices, patterned...

I went with black :P

I didn't cut the toes off because I like the optional mitten-effect.

I cut a small slice through the arch of the sock. This way I can cover my fingers or not.
The extra flap tucks up into the wrist very nicely.

Last night it was chilly, so I tried them out. They worked out perfectly!

And that was how the run went, too!

Three-mile tempo run at half-marathon pace after a two-mile warm-up and followed by a one mile cool down.

Warm-up:  2.25 miles @ 9:39 avg. pace  (21:24)
Tempo:     3.2 miles @ 8:39 avg. pace    (mile splits: 8:45/8:43/8:30 + 0.2 @ 8:00)
Cool down:  1 mile  @ 10:34 avg. pace

Sadly, I think I was pushing the pace a little too much. I wish I didn't feel that way. But for the sake of honesty, I need to come clean. The 8:45 felt really good...maybe if I had been able to just sit with that, I would feel better about it. If anyone has suggestions or advice, I'm open to hearing it :)

How many can I have?

When I was a kid, I fantasized about being a part of an enormous family. I wrote stories about families with double-digits of kids. They were all happy and got big allowances. Like, really big... $100 big. Big families and big money. I was an only child...and we were poor.

I didn't start having kids until I was 36 years old. My husband, however, had started young. He already had six by the time we met. And that was enough for him. I understood. But over time, we agreed that we wanted to have kids together. Sweet, I know :)  It was going to just be one. Then just two. Then just one more. And...well.. we have four.

So here they are... my Top 10 reasons why I'm not going to have anymore kids:
  1. 10 kids was a lot to ask of my husband, and he was a real champ to go along.
  2. 48 is feeling pretty old. And tired.
  3. I'd rather not be lactating when I'm 50. While I've enjoyed breastfeeding without a break since 1999, I'm thinking I'd like to wrap up this game kind of soon.
  4. Trader Joe's frozen waffles come 8 to a box...that's 2 per kid. Works out perfectly.
  5. I'm a woman on the edge...of being maxxed out by the four I have. 
  6. In theory, I'd love to have more...snuggling a tiny body to my chest, the sweet newborn smells, a new and different person to add to the mix. In reality, I do not want to be waking up every 90 minutes through the night AT ALL. I. Just. Don't.
  7. I can't handle my mom freaking out (in a bad way) again when she hears the news.
  8. My youngest says she wants to be the baby, and my oldest says we have the perfect amount of people in our family.
  9. I'd rather run a marathon.
  10. There's no more room in the bed.

Thanks so much, Stasha at Northwest Mommy, for giving us the Listicles link-up. And Jen from Just Jennifer, you were so timely in coming up with this topic. It was so good for me to reflect on these 10 reasons...I was starting to get the baby jones again :P

21 November 2011

That was NOT easy! Winners announced.

It was so fun reading the entries for my Rewarding the Faithful contest and giveaway! Thanks to all of you who played along and are looking to make life a little easier ... or at least get a good laugh when it's not.

I wish I were a millionaire and could get an Easy Button for everyone who played! Well, I guess I wouldn't have to be a millionaire...I'd just need an extra $239.60 + tax. And shipping. Okay, maybe I'd need to be almost a millionaire.


Announcing winners.

I have already explained why Emz is winning. So there's her.

The Grand Prize is going to SuperKate! And the Almost-Won-the-Whole-Thing Prize goes to MiddleAgedRunner! Ladies, tell me your Nuun flavor of choice... best to give me a few ideas because I don't have everything.

The Random Winner is Nelly! Whoa, Nelly! I have always wanted to use that expression. I'll bet you hate it. You need to go tell the world about your name woes over on this website. It's one of my new favorites :)

And I'm giving a button to Krystal.

And some Nuun to Sprout.

So all o' y'all, tell me where your goods are going...contact info in the 'Contact XL' tab up top.

And if you didn't win, thanks so much for playing!

You're all winners in my eyes :)

(did that make you want to de-follow me? remember, I watch Barney)

19 November 2011

Jingle Bell Hell 2011

After a fifteen-year hiatus, Jingle Bell Hell is back! 

The 4th running of 
Jingle Bell Hell
1/3-marathon and fun run 
Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 8:00 a.m.
Inspiration Point, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California
Rain or Shine

or wherever in the world you might be :)

The starting point of the real-life event is Inspiration Point in Berkeley, California and the course map is...

View Larger Map

and the elevation profile is...

as determined by my Garmin.

The History

My best friends from high school used to put on a race in December. It was small in terms of the number of participants but huge in terms of fun and adventure. Initially, it was a half-marathon, but they found that very few of their friends were at all interested in or capable of running that far. Additionally, the course involved some running on a twisty, narrow road with minimal shoulder that did see its fair share of traffic...especially on weekends. So they abbreviated it to a 1/3-marathon (more or less...a bit over 8 miles) and were able to run it entirely on a paved, car-less road.

My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I ran in their 3rd Annual Jingle Bell Hell in December of 1995 (see picture above...I am front and center with the socks on my hands, he is in the back in the light shirt). It was freezing by Bay Area standards...but not wet. Not everyone went all the way out to the turnaround...and that was just fine.

I won the trophy that year... the "Actually Trained for This Race" Award...

This year's winner will get to have their picture taken with this trophy and have their name added to the bottom... ballpoint pen inscribed on masking tape, 'cuz we're classy like that. And there will be some prizes that can be taken home as well :)

I am really hoping to see some local runners in attendance! It's not far from San Francisco, San Jose or even Santa Cruz... looking west or south. Concord is super close to the east, and Sacramento is just 90 minutes away to the north. It's a great follow-up to the early December races, like CIM and Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas

If you're coming in from out of town and need a super cheap place to crash...

The Occupy Berkeley-ers have a very central location. I am sure they wouldn't mind it you pitched a tent with them. 

But if you want an SF Bay view, a more solid structure, and don't mind driving a little farther...
The Albany Bulb Waterfront has some very artistic structures that may or may not be inhabited by squatters.

If you want to do virtual version of Jingle Bell Hell, here are the parameters...
  • Must be at least 5K in total length...no maximum.
  • Must be done on a challenging course (and if you hate treadmills, that means it could be on a treadmill) because the idea is "Hell" ... that is the important part.
  • Must be done the weekend of Dec. 17-18, 2011... any time of day or night.
  • You must laugh at least once... can be an evil laugh, a laugh of futility, any kind of laugh but laughter is a MUST.
  • Email me a link to your Jingle Bell Hell recap so I can post it that next week and we may all share in the fun... please include something about when, where, why regarding the laughing part :)
Participants in the virtual race will be entered in a prize drawing. They won't be big prizes, but I want to try to have something for everyone... depending on how many or how few participate. Going with that whole "Everyone's a Winner" thing :) Don't want anyone's self-esteem damaged by a silly sporting event.

Leave a comment if you want to participate!

17 November 2011

If you want to make progress, you have to actually start...

Last night, I saw progress.

I felt it.

destroyed my workout. The plan called for three mile repeats at 5K pace (actually 1.16-mile repeats based on my route) with 0.2-mile (approximately 3 minutes) recovery in between. I gave myself a 1.5-mile warm-up, running a little faster than 10-minute miles, and followed with a 0.75-mile cool down at 10:30 pace.

  • 7:55 pace     (quarter splits:  2:00/2:01/2:00/1:54 + 1:15)
  • 7:44 pace     (    "         "    : 1:56/1:59/1:59/1:53 + 1:06)
  • 7:36 pace     (    "         "    : 1:55/1:54/1:56/1:53 + 1:06)
It has been awhile since I've really taken a workout to task like that. As I ran the last straightaway up to my final turn, I felt myself flagging. I jumped on the words "Dream Big" that my friend and fellow blogger, Dorothy of Mileposts often says, and a visual of her strong running form popped into my mind. I held it together and accelerated through the finish of that repeat. I cannot believe how fast I ran it.

If you had told me a year and a half ago that I would run my last mile repeat at 7:36 pace...wait, no...if you had told me a year and a half ago that I would run someday, I would have laughed out loud to mask my anger and frustration and sense of despair. I'd like to tell you again why.

Four years ago, I was a depressed mess. Our family had had some very challenging issues to deal with and had just moved. Due to my bum hip, I had been in constant pain for roughly five years. I 'walked' with a pronounced limp. I couldn't move fast enough to escape an oncoming car or beat out a meter maid at an expired parking meter. If my toddler son took off down the street (which he did all the time), I was helpless as I watched him tempt imminent danger. It was terrifying, and it felt hopeless. This was not a diagnosed injury, but it was very much there. The situation was taking me to the scary edge. As I was 'hitting bottom,' I found my miracle-worker/physical therapist at SOLPT (see sidebar).

Three years ago, I was pregnant with my fourth child and struggling to maintain the increased mobility my physical therapist's hard work had yielded. The failing economy made regular visits less frequent, the pain returned, and my hip made little, if any, progress.

Two years ago, I had a new baby and had to relocate again. The economy still sucked. Life was still stressful. My hip still hurt but seemed to be in some sort of stasis. I was wondering if I would ever again in my life be pain-free.

Never lose faith.

Fifteen months ago, my son took off. He does that...just takes off...always has, remember? I chased him down and caught him. Wait...what? Yes. I ran for about one hundred feet! Pain-free! I knew it was time to begin. Within two weeks, I was slogging past three lamp posts (it took about three minutes), walking forty steps frontward, walking twenty steps backward... *REPEAT*  four times in a row every other day for three weeks. It was a fifteen-minute regimen. It was a start.

Fourteen months ago, I was plodding for five minutes straight, walking twenty steps forward, walking twenty steps backward... *REPEAT*  three times in a row every other day for two weeks. It was an eighteen-minute regimen. It was progress.

Thirteen and a half months ago, I was trudging my way through two continuous, slow, hip-pain-free miles a couple of times a week. Lumbering like a giant tortoise, I was out there...doing it. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't fast, and I certainly wasn't fashionable, but after two weeks of that, I graduated from trudging to shuffling! And I completed my first 'long' run of three miles :) Again, progress.

A year ago, I ran a timed mile. I ran it in 8:51. It was hard, and it felt like a step back because a month before, I had run my first timed mile since I had started running in a speedilicious 8:45. I was bummed. But I was not defeated. I persevered. It was mental progress.


I ran three mile repeats (the last one at 7:36 pace) last night. I'm running in a 5K on Thanksgiving, hoping to crush last year's time by many minutes. The RockNRoll Las Vegas Half-Marathon is December 4th, and I'm ready to take it on. I've bravely registered for a full marathon this coming Spring. I never thought these things would be possible.


All because I had the courage and faith to start.

15 November 2011

The Mistaken Generosity of the Tooth Fairy


suburban master bedroom

Scene opens with sunlight streaming through miniblinds, softly illuminating rumpled bedding and a couple engaged in quiet tête-à-tête (that means conversation)...
you will need to imagine the people

Enter stage left, bursting through the door without knocking is broadly smiling child, Girl, about 9 years of age, in pajamas.

GIRL:  Mom! The tooth fairy came!     Girl is excited because the resident TF frequently is sleeping on the job.

WOMAN:  That's great, honey! What did she leave you?    Woman gives Man sly wink and a nod...she is, afterall, the TF.

GIRL:  (exploding with excitement) TWENTY DOLLARS!!!!!!

MAN:  (choking)  Wow......  (Man looks at Woman simultaneously questioningly and disapprovingly). That's some tooth fairy.

WOMAN:  (who has been speechless until this moment and shaking head "no" at Man, finds her voice) What??????? TWENTY dollars?  You're not serious?     Her incredulity is genuine.

GIRL:  (nearly shrieking with delight) Yeesssssssss! TWENNNNNTY dollars!!!!!!!! Wanna see it?

WOMAN:  (still struggling to find words she can use in front of Girl) Ummmmmm...yeah... let me get up and you can show it to me.

Girl scampers out of the room. Woman gets out of bed to follow her, not scampering. Man looks at Woman with the disgust and contempt reserved for only the most over-indulgent of parents.

MAN:  (chuckling, thankfully for Woman) What the f*** were you thinking?

WOMAN:  (stopping at doorway, turning around to face Man) I did not give her a twenty. I swear it was a five.

MAN:  A FIVE? I still ask, what were you thinking?         Man is now laughing uproariously.

WOMAN:  I wanted it to be special because she lost two teeth in 24 hours, and I know she was super bummed about the last time.

MAN:  Still....

WOMAN:  I cannot believe I gave her twenty...I swear it was five.   She is visibly dumbfounded.

MAN:  (shaking his head and still chuckling) The numbers on the bill are usually a dead giveaway, babe.

WOMAN:  It was dark. I was already in bed and almost asleep when I remembered...I went downstairs in the dark and got the bill that had the Lincoln Memorial on the back...that's about all I could make out. I can't believe I gave her a twenty. That's not right. The five is the one with the Lincoln Memorial on the back, right? Right?

Woman exits stage left, off to see proof that the tooth fairy does indeed suffer from night-blindness or is an idiot or something.


What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to say, "Whoa, sistah... that wasn't supposed to be a twenty. Give it back and let's try again"? That would totally blow my cover. Baby X still believes.

Am I stupid? No. Am I over-indulgent? No. So what happened?

It was dark. I was tired.

It is easy to see the difference between this...

and these...

But look at how similar those three bills are...especially in the middle portion.

Buildings with columns. Easy to get confused, right?

Look at what happens when you fold them...it's even trickier to tell them apart...

And when you fold them again (which is what I did in the dark), they are almost the same...

easy to mistake windows for columns in the dark :P

I was so excited to have remembered before the disappointed child walked into my room in the morning. That is such a horrible feeling...for both parties.  And it happens often :(  Fortunately, I am really good at covering up tooth fairy forgetfulness.

I took my little, old-fashioned, columned building folded up into a little square and swapped it with this...

and went to bed.

And I gave us all a tooth fairy memory we will probably never forget!

What's your best or worst tooth fairy memory?


This is one of my favorite recent posts...I'm sharing it at...

come on over and link up a favorite post, too!

And I didn't mean to give her a twenty! 
To clarify...our going TF rate is usually a dollar :)

14 November 2011

Rewarding the Faithful...

One year ago, I wrote a post.

One person commented.


The Great Lady of the Treadmill was my first introduction to "fitness" blogging. I didn't know there were genres back then. She was one of my first followers...I have NO idea how she found me. The post was simply that I was super excited about closing in on 1000 pageviews. Woo hoo, right? :P

Fast-forward to today, I have held onto 500+ followers for a little over a week. Surprisingly. I'll be the first to admit I have a weird blog. One day it's pictures of my kids at the zoo watching the otters at feeding time, another day it's about running up some insane hill, and then there was the day we played the boobs-to-bloggers matching game. So, yeah... it's weird. But that's me :D

The parenting/mommy bloggers get bored by my running posts, and the runners get bored by my parenting/mommy posts, and the boob fiends...well, they quickly realize that the boobs featured on my blog are fully covered (except the scary boob-scarves) and go on their merry way.

Back the the 'reward' part of this post...the point of it...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that when I hit 500 followers, I would have a super weird cool giveaway. (note: the word order is important...not a super cool weird giveaway). I've decided that Emz gets a prize for being around and regularly commenting (even though she has not been lately... a-hem...but ummmm... living in the glass house, I don't get to throw stones) for pretty much the whole time I've been at this.

Everyone else who is interested can enter to win the prize.

What is the prize?

It's a mood-lifter, an ego-stroker, a reassurance-giver...

Who wouldn't want one of these?

I have one. It's at the top of my stairs. I wanted to bring it to Long Beach and whack it after every mile of that half-marathon...but I thought "nah...that'd be really obnoxious." Then I found out the Dead Jocks Van 2 had one at the Hood to Coast Relay...so definitely obnoxious but also cool :)

The buttondude's semihuman/robotic voice puts me at ease every time I whack the button. The most stressful and difficult of situations suddenly becomes, if not easy, at least relaxed. There is something about being calmly informed,

That was easy

that makes those words feel true.

So Emz gets an Easy Button. She can put it on her treadmill, and when she hits 20 miles, she can give that sucker a whack.


The rest of you awesome people will be competing to win your very own Easy Button, as well as a brand-new Nuun water bottle, a tube of Nuun (you can pick the flavor from my selection), a $25 Foot Locker gift card, and a $10 iTunes gift card (not pictured).

This part will not be a random drawing. The contest winner will be chosen subjectively by me based on responses to the following question:

Where would you likely be using your Easy Button?

That's the contest part.

Here's the giveaway part...

  • If you don't want to get creative and all you're interested in is 'easy'...simply leave a comment saying "That was easy" to let me know you're interested in winning just an Easy Button. 
  • These lazy easy people will be pooled with those who didn't win the contest, and one person from this pool will be chosen at random to win an Easy Button. There might be some extra goodies thrown in, too :)

Are we understanding this? There are two things ... a contest and a giveaway...you can enter one or both. Got it?

You needn't be a follower to enter either the contest or the giveaway.

Contest ends and entries for giveaway close Friday, November 18, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Good luck to all!!!! And thanks for following :)

Disclaimer: the Nuun was a gift from those awesome people :) and the rest of the prizes are provided by me as a way of thanking all of you! And if you really want 'easy,' you can go buy yourself an Easy Button right now at Staples for $5.99+ tax.

13 November 2011

Lake Chabot's Bad (B)Ass Trails

Yesterday's long run was done on the trails of Lake Chabot. We ran the course of the Bad Bass Half-Marathon that is run there on New Year's...there is race on the Eve and another on the Day. The scary-looking red line is what we did.

I ran with Aron who writes Runners Rambles and Tricia of Running, Life, Etc.
Sorry, ladies. We look pretty dorky, 
but the one-take wonder is more time-efficient and probably more honest ;-)

Tricia and I are training for the Eugene Marathon together, and Aron just entered an insane 50-miler that will take place April 7, 2012. Two things I must admit to: 1) we only ran 12...somewhere, my awesome map-reading skills combined with our shaking quads to leave out a side loop that was part of the official course and 2) we did walk parts of this trail that was more than a "beast"... we'll call this Grendel. (If you don't know who/what Grendel is, you'd better click that link).

Are you checking out Mile 3? Are you?

Here is what we saw as we made our way up...
It is always so disappointing to see pictures super hard hills...
they never look at all bad.

The reward when we got to the top was pretty amazing!
I LOVE this view... LOVE!

Such a gorgeous place to run... and none of us had ever been there before.

Here's Tricia running across a very cool bridge in the early going.

This would be a random part of the lovely trail...uphill, of course.

We had a great time tackling this trail. Lots of great conversation (which I probably monopolized :( sorry, ladies...I promise to let y'all get a word in edgewise next time...I'm just so thrilled when I have grown-ups to talk to that sometimes I can't shut my mouth off). The pace was as comfortable as it could be given the hills and the super slippy mud! I know I can't wait to do this crazy loop again :)

Maybe next time we'll do some fishing, too.
...not a bass...but those are there, too :)

**Many thanks to Aron for being our team photographer! **


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