Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smashing Pumpkins - Evergreen Pumpkin Run 10 Miler Race Report

I was so psyched to finally be able to register for this run!  It's always on a Sunday, which, in the past, had been a bad time for me to do races, since Hubby had to work on those days.  Well, this year, he still worked on Sunday, but he went in much earlier, so I was able to run!

However, I made the amateur mistake of signing up before reading all the fine print...  The course time limit (when they'd start breaking down) was 2:30!! Even on my fastest day, I would finish until 2:51! Last year's last finisher came in at 2:55... Well, fuck...

I decided to do it anyway, and if I came in last, whatever.

This is to the left of my monitor at work; whatever race I'm doing next is posted here
This race was awesome (and the reasons I'd wanted to do it for so long) because 1) you get to run through Jacksonville's "oldest and most prestigious operating cemetery" and 2) costumes are encouraged! I've never done a race (outside of Disney) where costumes were a must, so I was so happy! I spent a good two months trying to figure out what I was going to be.  The costume had to be easy to make, inexpensive and runner-oriented (easy to run in).  I wanted to use my black SparkleSkirt as a base, since that would cut out part of the costume pieces to make. I settled on a ladybug, and purchased the pieces needed.

The top is a Sport-Tek Women's Sleeveless PosiCharge Competitor Tee. It is light as a feather and doesn't cling to my big ol' rolls either!

don't we all have some old computer CDs lying around?
I also purchased some Fabric Creations fabric paint in Black (obvs) for the lady bug dots. I am in a running costume facebook group and they suggested this type, over regular (inexpensive) fabric paint, because it wouldn't be stiff.

$2.99 at Hobby Lobby
I decided to go with big dots to make it more visually striking and to cut down on painting time. At first, I used a small foam brush, but it was hard to get the edges right, so I first outlined with a small artist's paint brush.

Paint and cheapie foam brush (these suck, don't use them)
I will say that this paint was easy to work with and didn't dry stiff. I will also say that this paint just got SUCKED into the fabric! I went through the majority of the bottle for just the front dots (7!).  And thanks to hubby bugging me (pun not intended), I ended up doing dots on the back too.  For those, I used regular fabric paint (yeah, the $1 kind).  After that dried, and I could compare the two types of paint, I understood why the fancier paint was recommended - the cheap paint was stiff, and since I'd left the cardboard in the shirt while the paint dried overnight, the shirt was literally stuck to the cardboard, and when I pulled the shirt off, cardboard stayed stuck to the dots!  I had to take a huge leap of faith and try to soak the cardboard off, but I didn't know if the other fabric paint would run!

Luckily, all the dots remained dots and my shirt was done (ETA, I've since washed the shirt, and all the dots are still there!). I'd also purchased a red visor to attach antennae to (no pic of that - see photos further down). And, because I'm a procrastinator, I was making antenna last night!

I did NOT paint my visor because I wanted to be able to re-use it

After taking Hubby to work and driving to Jax, I got a great parking spot, near the exit of the cemetery.  It was still very dark when I got there, and I had to make my way across the whole front of the cemetery to get to packet pickup!  Glad I'm not an easily-spooked or superstitious girl!
I headed back to my car to eat breakfast and wait for run time.
No worries, we aren't parking on graves
Maybe I shouldn't have waited so long, because as I got near the front, my body decided it needed to pee...

Yeah, as you can imagine, lines weren't short.

She's so skinny I can see her bones... oh.
Everyone needed to pee, apparently
Plenty of time for a selfie! (Antennae are pipe cleaners and sparkly pompoms, also from Hobby Lobby)
It was almost "pee? or run?" decision-making time, but I was able to tinkle about 5 minutes before the race started.  They had pace flags set up, but since we were all walking to the Start Line at that point, it didn't really matter where I lined up. 

I wish I got the cool ombre shirt, like the people above, but ombre doesn't come in XXL I guess
Off we go!  I was really impressed with this cemetery.  Beautiful grounds, lots of different burial options (graves, family plots, mausoleums, crypts and cremation urn niches).  Beautiful oaks draped with Spanish Moss. All the trees kept the route pretty cool, too, so it wasn't horribly hot.

I didn't see any mummies, so we're good
Another draw for people (not me) is that the entire course is lined with pumpkins, and you are allowed to take home a pumpkin when the race is over.  While it's a nice touch, I saw too many people tripping over pumpkins when trying to pass around people. 

I wonder how many total pumpkins they used for the 10 mile course?
I was sad to see that not nearly many people as I expected dressed up. Come on, people! It's a race the day before Halloween, and a race a few weeks before a big Disney race - where are the costumes!?!

Check me out, I'm a ladybug (notice a dearth of costumes in the background?)
I don't know what she was, but that was a lot of satin
Don't know who she was supposed to be either, I'm guessing something candy-related
Am I really ONLY at Mile 1?

Well, fuck. It's gonna be a long race.
Pumpkin fatality.

This is what happens when people try to pass on the left and hit a pumpkin
This guy got the costume memo!

I vant... to suck... your PowerAde
By Mile 2, I was realizing that this race, well, it's BORING! The grounds are beautiful, but it's just boring! Eight more miles of this is really gonna suck.

20% done with this very boring race
Mile 2 also took us around the Garden Cloister Mausoleum - I think this is where people are "buried" above ground. So, there's skeletons in there right now? Cool. 

It's like dead-people condos
Apparently I missed the Mile 3 mile marker, but since it's a boring race, you didn't miss much either.

Mile 4 was going out of the cemetery along some sort of walking or biking trail.

My pace is meh
Hey look, there's like 2 people up there
Dare I say, it's even MORE boring out here.  And yeah, I'm now LAST.  I'm surprised it took this long. 

Hello, PoPo. You don't need to really follow me on a walking trail, do you?
Back inside the cemetery, I passed some runners who had already finished and were taking their pumpkin.  Hey, jackwad, what part of at the end of THE race do you not understand?  Some of us are still running and want to see the damn pumpkins!

Put. The pumpkin. DOWN!
And here we have the Mile 7 sign.

I can hear you... Hey, Lazy, where's Mile 5 and Mile 6?

Well, apparently I missed them.  I think I cut the course!  On the walking trail on the way back, I was trying to catch up to the lady in front of me and get in front of her, so she was all I was paying attention to.  When she got to the head of the trail, she should have turned to the right, but she turned to the left. Did SHE cut the course on purpose, or did she screw up too? I don't know, but because I wasn't paying attention, I missed two miles of this race!  Let that be a lesson kids - pay attention to race signs!

That is the fastest 2 miles EVAH!
A close-up of the map, badly annotated with Sharpies (and I'm pretty sure the arrows are going the wrong direction...)
That purple-circled area? Yeah, those are my two missing miles
Once I realized what had happened, though, I was kind of glad. I was hating this race, pissed that I'd not been training well, and just really wanted to be done.

Seriously? You didn't even RUN the damn race! Put it DOWN!
Of course, even at Mile 8, I was still in the back of the damn pack. How sad for me.

Lone-leeeee. I'm Mr. Lone-leeeee.
I got passed by a full-blown Sally.

Her running partner dressed as Jack, of course (though I don't know where he is)
Hello, Mile 9 (which is really my mile 7)! I'm so glad I'm almost done.

Thank God. I'm so done.
Wow, I feel so cheered on.  Literally, NO ONE cheered when I came by.  Usually there are at least some volunteers that cheer, but I might as well have been invisible. Very upsetting, and adding to the list of why I don't want to do this race again. 

Dude. When someone comes to a finish line, you CHEER. Whether you know me or not
My Official Time was 2:28:32. And sure, I did finish in that time. But I didn't finish a ten-mile race in that time. I finished 7.9 miles in that time. Using stats from my Garmin, I would have finished around 3:05 (pace 17:35).  Ironically, I would have beat ONE person (she finished 3:10:26!).  I came in before 64 other people, but I felt bad, since technically I cut in front of them...

I got my medal and found a volunteer to take my photo. 

I wish my antennae were bigger
I wandered around for a few minutes (they were doing the awards ceremony), but there was no post-race food or beverages (that I could see anyway; they were probably all gone since I'm so damn slow), so I said fuck it and went back to the car.

I sat in the car in the AC for a while, waiting for the traffic jam to clear, and took some photos of my medal. (It glows in the dark, too!)

Sharpies were used to make my ladybug dots on my nails (most of them survived!)
Looks awesome with my black skirt as a backdrop
Once traffic seemed to calm down a bit, I was able to exit my parking area, and exit the cemetery by way of a back gate (thanks, parking volunteer!) and a red light. I was on a mission.

My family loves chicken.  I make boneless, skinless chicken breasts a lot. I'd say 75% of the time, they get marinated or breaded.  I've been using an old set of Ziploc rectangular containers as my breading station, or to hold my Ziploc'd bags of marinating chicken.  Hubby hates them because when I wash them, water gets trapped in the rolled edge, and I have him trained by now (hehehe) not to put wet dishes away. So, they usually never get put away!

Anyway, I want to find something about the same size, but without a rolled edge. I tried using pie plates (like they do on all those fancy cooking channel shows), but they were too big and too shallow for how I like to work.  And so far, I've not been able to find anything suitable in stores nearby (like Walmart or Big Lots).  I was hoping that Old Time Pottery had something (they have everything!).

After changing clothes there, I headed to the kitchen section.  I found a great set of ceramic bake ware that looked to be perfect.

I was able to score two of the ovals in a dusty blue, which match my kitchen, for about $8.50 after tax.  (ETA - these are PERFECT!!!  Deep enough to contain the breading, enough wiggle room to bread the chicken, cleans up wonderfully because nothing sticks!).

After OTP, I was starving, so I just cruised until something looked good. Whataburger looked good. I've not been to a WaB for probably a decade! I got a bacon cheeseburger combo for $7. 

Bacon Cheeseburger (only mayo) with fries
The burger and fries were good, but I wasn't impressed with the sriracha ketchup.

I do love how condiment cups fit in my door caddy though!
 I ended up just eating while I drove; I was ready to go home.

Boring, all-white tee
Hey, it's Sport-Tek too!
Location: Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville FL
Host: (Who put on the race) Evergreen Cemetery Association / 1st Place Sports
Packet Pickup: Easy (I was 1 ½ hours early)
Parking: Easy, since I was so early. Hassle to get out (I sat in the car while I watched people wait in crazy-long lines at red light). Nice guy pointed me to drive wrong way on one way road to get to a different gate to exit. MUCH easier to exit. (And this was TWO HOURS after the speedy runners were already done!)
Support: (on-course) Almost non-existent. I remember 2, maybe 3 water stops.  No fuel like Gu for the long runners. Some signage was non-existent or hard to see (like at the finish line for the 10m folks).
After Party: WHAT after-party? By the time I finished, they were doing awards, but all I saw food wise was water (given at the finish line, at least it was cold) and a small stack of bananas. I didn’t stay at all.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Just Yank It Outta There! - Another Dentist Story

After an extremely stressful week in August, I had a dentist appointment the following Monday for the next step of my treatment plan; yeah, another crown (this time, #18, all the way in the back).

So, I'm sitting in the chair after they take my x-ray, fretting about the AC work that needs to be done, when Dr. S comes in.  I need another damn root canal!  For those of you playing at home, this would be my third root canal. Okay, four if you count the one I had when I was a kid.

He said that they could either refer me to the endodontist, or they could pull the tooth. He tried to discuss the pros and cons of each option, but the more we talked the more irritated I was getting and I told him to just yank the damn thing out of my face (this is pretty much word for word what I said). After a minute, though, I asked him if I could have a moment to think about the situation.  I think he was glad to leave (I can get kind of mean & spooky when I get mad & irritated).

I sat in the chair for a bit, deep-breathing and trying to calm myself down and think rationally.  I could hear Dr. S talking to Cassie (the hygienist) about me, and soon she came in (I think he sent her to be the Voice of Reason). She said that I should definitely consider the root canal because, eventually, I'm going to need a partial (I'm missing multiple teeth on the bottom). A partial needs to have two teeth on each side to anchor the harness.  If I pulled this tooth, I'd just have to have a fake put in anyway, when I got the partial. So why not save money and save the tooth at the same time?  I saw her logic, and I apologized for my attitude, and I was given a referral back to Dr. Tyler.

I was able to keep it together until I got to the car. When I got in, I knew I was going to lose it, so I raced around to the side of the building, where no one could see me, and man! I just let it go.  Full-on "Ugly Cry," smacking the steering wheel, letting it go.  The AC. The dryer. The root canal. The crown. THE COST OF ALL OF THIS SHIT. I just lost it.

It took me about 5 minutes to get myself back together, but I did and I called Dr. Tyler's office for an appointment. They had an opening on August 17th, so I booked it, straightened myself out, grabbed some lunch and went to work. Later that day, I met with the AC guy from Bertie and signed the paperwork to get the process started.

On August 17th, I headed to Dr. Tyler's office, and due to some heinous traffic, I was over an hour late (I'd called them multiple times to let them know I'd be late).  I'd forgotten my referral paper, so when the receptionist didn't ask for it, I figured that they'd had a copy sent over from Dr. S.

Luckily, she was able to fit me in, so into the chair I went. My sunglasses broke somehow when I took them off my head, so I had no glasses to protect me from the lights and flying spit.

It took many, many tries to get me fully numbed this time around.  I'd feel numb, she'd go in, and I'd need more drugs. Shot, numb, drill, more drugs. We did this like 10 times.  She tried to make me feel better, saying sometimes when a tooth is really infected, it takes more drugs, but I was still feeling guilty, like I was a wuss or something...  Eventually, though, I think I was numbed to my knees and we could finally move along.

Since my root area as so inflamed (according to Dr. Tyler), she gave me a temporary filling and told me to come back in two weeks, once the swelling was gone.  I wrote out a check for a whopping $308 bucks for this root canal (apparently prices, even with insurance, vary depending on which tooth is worked on, who knew?) and got an appointment to return on August 31st.

I returned to Dr. Tyler on the 31st and it was a quick numb, drill, and fill.  The next day, I went back to Dr. S to get the permanent crown started and as he began working, he noticed that Dr. Tyler didn't leave room for a post.  (Remember how I didn't bring my referral? Yeah, the referral specifically said to leave room for a post...).  Dr. S thought that he'd be able to do it himself, but halfway through, he broke the distal, and had to stop.  I got yet another temporary filling and was sent back to Dr. Tyler on September 6th.

Now with a shiny new hole in my already falling apart back tooth, I returned to Dr. S to finally get fitted for my gorgeous gold tooth.  There were no issues at this point, and after a month, I was able to return to Dr. S and get my new crown.

I've never had a meltdown like that before (back in August) and hopefully I never will again.  But holy shit was it needed!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tijuana Flats Summer Beach Run Race Report

Due to Hubby's new work schedule, he decided not to join us for this race - the Tijuana Flats Summer Beach Run.  Unlike many races, this was an evening race; it started at 6pm. 

The Kiddo came again this year, to conquer the 1 Mile Fun Run. I was going all in on the 5-Miler again.

We stopped at the Circle K for some road snacks and caffeine for me (I don't think I even ate the cookies), and the trip to Jax Beach was pretty uneventful. 

All runners prep with gas-station cookies!
Beautiful Partly Cloudy Florida Sky

I was smart enough to put in the address of the 7-Eleven (close to the beach) so we didn't have to drive around again to find it. As we were coming into town, I happened to look down at the thermometer in the car...

Yes, it's actually 103º (and yes, my dashboard is dusty!!!)
I think we're in for a HOT race today. (It topped out at 99º today).

We got a spot right near the 7-Eleven (three years in a row!), geared up and headed to packet pickup. The vibe of the area was completely different this year - since there were only two of us, and both women, we got a lot more "hey, how you doin'?" from the local beach bums.  Flattering, but annoying. 

We got our bibs and tracking chips, then headed down to the beach.

This is maybe a 1/3rd of all the runners
The Kiddo™ - toting the BEST water bottle ever! (Polar)
You betta werk

We split up after our pre-race photos; the Kiddo didn't take off until after we did, so she was sidelined for now. 

I got a shoe selfie while we waited for the race to begin.   Then I got my Garmin and tech ready.

C'Mon, Get Happy SparkleSkirt
Hanging out in the middle of the pack
Those are Warrior brand bluetooth earbuds - Big Lots, $15!
Soon, we began to storm the beach, and I could tell that there would be no PRs at this race. It was hot, it was thick and it was almost painful to run in. I was getting passed left and right.

I didn't keep up with them like I did last year
It seemed to take forever to get to Mile 1, and I was truly regretting doing this race again. I questioned it last year, but the Kiddo really wanted to do it again, so what's a gal to do? 

Yay. Mile 1. Am I done?
I was passed by the front runner between Mile 1 and Mile 2 (about 23 minutes in).

Go, Speedy, Go!

I think this photo is supposed to be Mile 2, but by this point, I was giving no fucks, so it could just be a water stop.

Could be Mile 2, Could be Water Stop, who knows?

Also, it was very windy, which can be a godsend on a race, but it was a HOT, WET wind that blew right in my face.

I made it to the turn-around and started to head back. 

Whoa, where did she come from?

There were still people behind me, so at this point, I knew I wasn't last.

Look, people!

By the time I got to Mile 3, my stomach was hurting (which has happened EVERY year I've done this). It's like major bloating or gas. Really uncomfortable, and renders me unable to run (because of the jostling). 

Mile 3?  I think so... Why is the sign so far over?

I wasn't feeling much better at Mile 4 either. Still bloated. Really hot, really ready to just be done.

There's a sign up there somewhere
I saw this sign and I truly wanted to punch it.  Go for what? See how quickly I can pass out at this sign?  See if I can throw up higher than the sign? 

How about YOU go for it and I sit on this damn beach and die?

Oh thank you Jesus, I see the finish line!


My official time was 1:34:33.  I beat a big whopping FOUR people (I think three of them were in that photo up earlier in the blog) and I came in last in my age group (F35-39).  Definitely not my best race.

Somehow I had enough energy to get a great pro photo though... and I think it's my first "flying" shot!

I got my medal and a bottle of water and immediately looked for somewhere to sit down. My heart was beating a million miles a minute and I felt like I was going to pass out.  Last year was bad - I got Heat Exhaustion. I'm pretty sure this year, I went all the way to Heat Stroke. The kiddo was there with me, and we just traded race stories back and forth for a few minutes until I was feeling well enough to walk back up to the pavilion. 

Smaller medal this year

At the pavilion, we got in line for our free Tijuana Flats tacos, chips and salsa.  I was feeling good for about 5 minutes, then I wanted to pass out again.  We got our food and took it over to a corner of the grass where it wasn't super-crowded and I just laid out on my back while the Kiddo ate her taco and chips. 

See all the people behind the tents? That's the line for tacos!
I laid there for about 10 minutes, then I tried to eat my taco, but there was no way that was gonna happen.

I got up and walked over to one of the trash barrels and kind of leaned on it. Then I bent over it. Then I hugged it. Then I, .... well, I think you can guess.

See that trash can behind Yellow Shirt Man? Yeah, I puked in that (these people just posed with it)

It was mostly water, so it didn't hurt, but I did it for a long time!  At one point - God help me if I ever find this guy - at one point, while I was actively vomiting, a guy (or gal) came by and threw a half-drunk cup of beer in the trash can, inches from my face!  Like, seriously, if you saw a fat chick hovering over a trash can puking, wouldn't you a) have the decency to NOT throw anything away in that can, and b) ask that person if they were okay? Yeah, this guy did neither. 

Once I was done with that and I was up to walking, we headed back to the car. We changed our clothes in the 7-Eleven bathroom, grabbed some snacks (I think I only got a soda, for the bubbles) and just came home. I obviously wasn't up to grabbing food anywhere, and the Kiddo had already put away two tacos (she ate mine), chips and salsa. 

I'll say it again... I really don't think I'll do this race again. At least, not until I'm in better running condition!