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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome to 2014 - What are my goals?


Happy new year everyone!  Hopefully no one is hung over, or if you are, it goes away soon (drink lots of water!)

What are your goals for 2014?  I never make "New Year's Resolutions" because that is setting yourself up to fail, I feel.  But setting a goal is different to me. I goal can be set at any time, even in July!

But in the spirit of the new year, here are my goals -

Run the Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon - it's in about 3 weeks!

Lose the last 10 pounds holding me back from ONEderland.

Work on becoming a better breather when I run - I'm still having a hard time with the asthma and breathing - I usually have to stop because of my lungs instead of my legs.

Other than that, just keep slogging - speed and endurance will come with time.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve 2013 Wrap Up

Today I did my final run of 2013.  Going back over my Nike+ activities, there were a handful that were wrong (like recording .8 miles for 3 miles, etc).  After adding up my actual hours calculated by Nike+, it brought me up to 252.6 miles for the year.  I did a final run of 2.4 to bring my final mileage to 255 miles. 

Sure, that's not a big number.  It really only averages out to .7 miles per day, or 2 miles for each of my 3x a week runs.  Plenty of other runners have annual mileages in the THOUSANDS! 

But you know what? I'm not them. They are not me.  I am not the me who was, even last year. 

This year, I ran a half-marathon. 

This year, I RAN. 

It's cliche, but if you told me a few years ago that the fat, lazy-ass girl that I was would become this girl that I am today, I would have laughed at you (and probably would've gotten some chip crumbs on you). 

It's amazing what time and patience can do for a person. 

So, what's ahead for 2014? I don't know yet, but it won't be going back to a fat, lazy-ass girl. 

Stay safe tonight everyone! New Year's Eve can be dangerous. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Celebration Course Revealed

So, here it is!

This is the Inaugural Celebration Half-Marathon course that I will be running in less than a month!

Half-Marathon follows the black route
My idea is to run intervals until I get to the boardwalk (near Celebration High School), then I can walk the boardwalk and pick up again on the other side.  This way, I KNOW that a break is coming and can push on a bit.  We'll see how that works out.

All in all though, it looks like a great course. I can't wait to kick it's ass!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reindeer Run 5k Race Report

So, just a week or so ago, on a spur-of-the-moment kind of whim, I signed up for the Reindeer Run 5k at Town of Tioga, outside of Gainesville. It was a night run, which I'd never done and it came with a medal. Gotta do it!

I quickly put together a costume, which included fun Nub Caps™ (ponytail holders to wrap around the bun(s) on my head), a green tee from JCP, socks, and tinsel garland!

Really cute knee socks that didn't fit
Nub Caps™
Red Christmas Tree Garland
Sadly, it was also going to include battery-powered LED Christmas lights, but it rained.  I'm not a fan of electrocution, even for the sake of a cool costume...

Battery-Powered LED Lights - unsused and lonely
I took my old silver Team Sparkle (Sparkle Athletic, whatever) and lined the bottom with the red garland, pinning it with safety pins (all runners have a plethora of those!), and then attached the skirt to my Purple Haze Sparkle Skirt with more safety pins, sitting it right at the hip seam of the Sparkle Skirt.

How I pinned the Team Sparkle to my Sparkle Skirt
And here is the finished project!  In reality, you couldn't see that there was purple under the skirt like you can in the photo - it just looked like a red and silver skirt.

The full costume (complete with other Christmas socks)
Hubby took a photo for me and said that my Nub Caps™ made me look like Chun Li from Street Fighter.

I headed towards Town of Tioga, and sure enough it started POURING as soon as I found a parking spot. I ended up putting on my green raincoat to hop out and go get my packet.

Christmas Tree in the Town Center
So much bling
The packet pick-up was fairly organized. One table for bibs, one for tees, one for glow necklaces and maps, and a final table for bling (this was only for wussies who wanted to skip the run because of the rain! Everyone else got bling afterwards)

Cutie kiddies handing out race maps and glow necklaces
I headed back to my car to drop off the tee and the map, and do my pre-race load up (pockets, inhaler, etc).  

I was able to get a photo of the digital weather temperature sign.  It sure felt a lot chillier than 68!  

Stop laughing, this is cold for Florida!
While everyone waited around for the start, people were huddled up under walkways and tents, trying to stay dry, and I was all like, whatever, and walked across the Town Center to the line of port-a-potties across the way. You're gonna get wet when you run anyway, might as well acclimate now!  So, the upside was NO LINE for the potties :)


Still raining...
Finally, though, it was time to line up. Well, bunch at the start line. There really was NO "Start Line" and no lines... 

However, that enabled me to become Start Line Buddies with... crap, what was her name?  It started with "J".  Well, it enabled me to become buddies with J.  This was her second-ever 5k and she just wanted to finish, basically. I think she mentioned a time (like, under 60 minutes), but I can't remember - this was a weird race.

Waiting at the starting line
We took off and she and I paced each other for a while, and eventually we settled in together, at the back of the pack - as usual. 

We were so back of the pack that the Bring Up the Rear car was right behind us. It was an Alachua County Sheriff's car who kept his lights on the entire time. THAT wasn't annoying at all......

I missed the signage for Mile 1, but J and I were doing intervals (very sad, more Walk than Run intervals), and chatting up a storm, so I'm not surprised that we missed it. 

We got to Mile 2 very quickly, and we were so upbeat about our progress!  Neither of us though to check our watch or app to see what our pace was. 

Mile 2
We kept up our intervals (slowing down for her) by way of "let's run to this fence" and then we'd reach the fence and I'd say "let's keep going to the corner." I think she hated me for that...

Not many people were out to cheer us on, and there was a glaringly obvious lack of volunteers out (only 1 or 2 people at turning points).

Just before Mile 3, we had lots (well, "lots") of people out, since it was closer to the finish, and they were telling us that we were almost done, yada yada yada.

Mile 3, almost done!
J and I decided to put on the speed and pass the few folks in front of us so that we wouldn't be last (though, I'm not proud - it was a 3 year old, an 80 year old and a dude who looked like he got dragged in to this)

When we came in to the Finish, the clock said 34:37! Holy shit!  Did I do a 5k in under 35 minutes? WTF?  I told J to run ahead of me so she could finish before me, then I came in after. I didn't take a photo, though, of the finish clock, and I'm so bummed!

We got our medals and took a cute photo in front of the huge Christmas tree, then J looked at her app and said, "Why does my app only say we did 2.3 miles?"  I was still so elated at my time that I told her it must be wonky GPS because of the rain - my Garmin was off too!

We hugged each other and I congratulated her on her great finish, then we headed our respective ways.  Passing the packet pick-up area, where they were packing up, I asked where the results would be posted, and she told me that the results were unofficial - meaning no PROOF that I did a 5k this quickly.  Seriously?

Me and my new friend, um.... Starts with a J....
On the walk back to the car, I saw that there was a Santa Claus spot, and he would be back in a few minutes.  I decided to move my car, and go see Santa! I don't think they knew quite what to do with me, but I had fun and even got a candy cane!

I've been a very good girl this year....
I stopped on the way home at Publix to pick up dinner. I had the forethought to pack a dress that I could throw on quickly, but not shoes, so I ended up wearing a blue, flowery dress with sneakers. I felt so conspicuous! But I grabbed my fried chicken and potato chips quickly and headed home.

Cute tee-shirt

A great pen, a stick pen and jingle bells

Cute bling
The next day, after I took photos of the swag and bling, I pulled up the map from Garmin and compared it to the map we got at packet pickup, and sure enough - the course had been shortened by three-quarters of a mile!  I was so ticked off that I found their Facebook page and asked about it. The response?  They were understaffed (under-volunteered?) due to the weather, and they decided to shorten the route for safety. Okay, I get that, but it would've been nice to know that BEFORE the race began!  J is out there somewhere thinking that she ran a 35 minute 5k, when in actuality, with the average pace we had, it would've been over 55 minutes!

In the long run, you just gotta say, Oh Well. Running in the rain makes you 100% more Badass, and it was fun to do an evening run, and the bling was worth it.

Will I do it next year? Maybe.  I love any race with bling!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday & My Upcoming Christmas Album


Y’all. I love Black Friday. Yes, I’m one of those people who wake up at an ungodly hour to go to stores to get a shirt for $3. I enjoy it. I thrive on it. The thrill of the hunt and the ecstasy of the deal!

However, we just put $7k worth of roof on the house, so there will be no crazy Black Friday this year. Sigh.

I slept in on Black Friday. It seems so wrong!  Other than a few online stores, I stayed in all day, cleaning up the house and doing the leftover dishes from last night.

I did get a few things at JCP though, like some jeans for The Kiddo and new work pants for me (their Worthington pants are the BEST, and when they are $12 you jump on it!).

I also saw a sale at The Oatmeal, and I scored an awesome “I Believe in the Blerch” tech tee for $12!


However, being the day after Thanksgiving, that meant it was time to bust out the Christmas Music!!   
I love Christmas music and when it gets chilly outside (think beginning of November), I just want to get the lights on the house and the tunes in the air. But I make myself wait – that makes them extra special.

While I was doing dishes, a funny question popped into my head – if I was a famous singer, getting ready to put out a Christmas album, what songs would I choose? And why?

So, let’s pretend I’m famous – here’s my upcoming Christmas Album!

  • O Holy Night
  • Jingle Bells (a la Streisand)
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  • Mary Did You Know?
  • Breath of Heaven
  • White Christmas
  • The Christmas Song
  • Merry Christmas Darling
  • The Christmas Waltz
  • Believe
  • Grown Up Christmas List
  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
What are some of your favorite Christmas/Winter/Holiday songs?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I got home around 10:45 from my not-so-fabulous Turkey Trot and the first thing I did was change into some fleece jammies and fluffy socks.

The Kiddo is still asleep, so I let her be and started taking care of the turkey.  I removed it from the brine, dried it off, buttered him up and stuck him in the oven.

Unrelated, but funny as hell
At about 11:15, Mom showed up. Seriously, mom?  What part of NOON means 11:15?  Ugh, I love my mom, but geez! She later said that she made really good time from St. Pete since there was hardly any traffic.

I woke up the kiddo and greeted mom, then put her on Turkey Babysitting Duty so that I could FINALLY have that hot shower.

Okay, so feeling human again, we all chatted for a while, then I get the weenies in the oven, then leave to go pick up Hubby from work (he had to work until 1pm).

Back home, I also put the rolls into the oven so that they can bake up, and we all chat more, eating our boring appetizers of chips and dip, crackers and cheese – you know, Middle-America, Fat People snacks.

When the rolls and weenies are done, I take them out. Weenies are the best part of the meal, but I undercooked them a bit, so the bacon was fatty. Oh well.

So we’re chatting, Hubby is avoiding my mom, doing who knows what in his office, and we’re watching the Dog Show.

It’s coming near 3ish, and mom asks how much longer on the turkey.  I go to check it, and oh dear – the oven is OFF!  When I took the weenies out, I turned the oven off, out of habit! I turned it back on, but mom wanted to be on the road by 3:30, so, we ended up having a meal of appetizers, weenies, rolls and desserts!

I guess I now have a “Hey, remember that one Thanksgiving?” story.

Ironically, the turkey was ready minutes after she left, so the three of us loaded our plates and vegged on the couch, watched TV and pigged out on yummy desserts like cookies, pie and cupcakes.

Also funny as hell!
After dinner, we cleaned up the kitchen, then I was off to bed for a well-deserved night of rest.


Would I do a Turkey Trot again? Maybe a 5k, unless I could finish a 10k a lot quicker. Would I do THIS Turkey Trot again? Probably not. I didn’t like the course. I didn’t like that there was no bling at the end. It didn’t feel fun. 

Turkey Trot 10k Race Report

After I volunteered at the Tom Walker Half Marathon, I made sure to register for membership to the Florida Track Club (FTC) so that I could take advantage of the FTC discount for the upcoming Turkey Trot here in town. I’ve always been curious (and jealous) of people who run on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is for sleeping in and cooking, not running!

But I decided to give it a try, since it was pretty affordable for a 10k. 

I was able to do packet pickup in the days before the race, which was good. That takes some of the stress out of the morning
Nicely packaged
The Shirt
Hubby, unfortunately, had to work at 7:30, so I had to work around that.

When I woke on Thanksgiving morning, it was 29*, according to The Weather Channel. Oh, Lord. I don’t know if I can do this!

I ended up in tights, Sparkle Skirt, base layer, tech tee, quarter-zip, BondiBand, fuzzy headwarmer from Walmart and gloves. I was still cold.

When we got in the car, there was ice on the windows, but the car said it was all the way up to 32*!

I need a car wash, air in my tires and gas
We joked about how stupid I was to run in this while the car warmed up, and eventually the windows were clear enough for us to drive, so I took him to work, then decided to stop at a local convenience store for hot chocolate. That always warms me up!

Traffic was heavy as I waited to enter Tacachale.

At least 10 cars at each turn signal, plus however many in my line
When I got to Tacachale (where the race was), I of course, had to pee.  I parked in the lot (near a guy getting dressed in a turkey suit), walked across the (frosted) field and found the bathroom.

He's a turkey, with a Santa Hat.... mmmm'kay
Yes, that is frost, not sand - this means that my feet were soaked by the time I got to the start line
It took a long time (everyone was peeing!), and then we all had to haul ass to the start line, which was about ½ mile from the bathroom (that would’ve been good information to know, people!)

As I’m walking to the start line, I see no trash cans. After we start, I see no trashcans. Where the hell are the trashcans!  I look like a fatass, walking a 10k with a cup of hot chocolate! But, because I’m a nice person, I didn’t want to just chuck it in the grass…

So, after about only 5 minutes, I was already last.  It’s cold, my nose hurts, and I’m behind three teenagers who keep looking back and giggling. I already hate them.

Black Shirt, Grey Shirt and White Shirt = The Snots
Within a mile, we get to trail. Let me tell you about this…. When I signed up, the Active.com page said that it was a trail, but that there were ‘plenty’ of places where you could choose between trail or pavement. I envisioned something totally different in my head. This was like 95% trail. I’ve never trained for trail. And the trail was wet because it rained last night.

It's pretty, but I didn't train for this
I walked a lot.

By Mile 1, I was dead last – so last that the clean-up truck was behind me.

Mile 1 - Deep in the woods
Back off dude, I know I'm last
And the snot-noses were still in front of me, moseying like they were at the mall.

Am I gonna get cancer from those?
One thing I want to point out, about FTC (who put on this race) – they did a GREAT job marking the trail, in regards to trip hazards.  As I was walking, I kept seeing random orange streaks on the ground. I realized after a bit that they had colored tree roots and rocks and stuff so that you would see them better. Good idea!

Getting to Mile 2, I was still last. Still on the trail. Not a lot of sun could penetrate the heavy trees, so I was still cold and snotty.

It does say Mile 2, I promise
Right about 2 ½ miles, we got our first water stop. There were about 3 people there. I think they looked bored.

The Snots
After the water stop, we finally got some cement!  A guy came from behind me out of nowhere, and basically said “Yay, cement!” and ran on. 

I love pavement! I wish it loved me and stuck around...
The yay didn’t last very long – within a quarter-mile we were back on trail. However, I used that quarter mile to get in front of those three snots, and I was feeling a bit better. I tried to keep Cement Guy in my sights, but he disappeared eventually.

Ugh, more ‘trail’. It was basically a cleared-out area filled with pine straw. Very slippery stuff. Mile 3 was in this area, and I was feeling good, even if I was pretty much last, doing a trail run when I‘ve never trail run before. I puffed on the inhaler and kept pushing on.

On the other side of the fence is a Super Wal-mart, and bad neighborhoods
Oh, look – it’s the Tacachale Star!  In our town, if you’ve ever gone down Waldo Road during the Christmas season, you’ve seen this all lit-up. It was really cool to see just how tall it was, I had to take a photo.

Shine on!
Oh, thank God – more road!  Mile 4 brought us into neighborhoods, and I was able to run my intervals again. The Snots are still behind me, but they are further and further away. At one point, the course curved around and you could see Point B from Point A, so as I’m walking past Point B, the Snots decided to cut the course and skip ¾ of a mile. This wasn’t the first time I’ve ever seen someone actually cut a course, but it was the first time it pissed me off.

Tacachale is a self-contained community for Less-Abled People (is that PC enough?)
We come to the split point, where the 5k goes one way and the 10k goes the other, and oh look, more ‘trail’ i.e. pine straw.


The Mile 5 marker was here, though, so I was happy! So was a water stop, a little further up
.

I said something inane to the volunteers, then thanked them for being awesome and kept going.

The volunteers are hiding in the trees!
I exited the Tunnel of Trail into a large field that just had a bunch of stakes and orange tape marking the ‘course’. It was very confusing, as the 5k went one way and the 10k went the other.  My course went pretty straight across, then back into the woods.

Can I just lay down in the grass and enjoy the sun?
Once in the woods, there was more orange tape, woven through trees and such.

There better not be any machete-wielding serial killers in these woods!
Finally, I see the sign for Mile 6. I’m close to the finish, and I can see the parking lot, where my car is, and it’s pretty empty – most people have already left.

So close! To the finish AND my car!
The volunteers directing both traffic AND me to the finish line were VERY cheerful and  nice (unlike the skank at Mile 4 who told me to hurry up so that cars could go by…).  Lots of clapping and cheers from them as I headed towards the finish line.

Oh, and who do I hear behind me? The Snots. As I run into the finish line, the guy decides to run in as well, trying to pass me.  Really, bro? Really?!?  Do your balls feel a little bigger cutting the course and then trying to pass a fat girl in a skirt? Screw you, cheater.

Besides almost being passed (I beat the guy by .091 seconds - The Snots came in last!), the finish line was just a joke. There wasn’t anyone around cheering in any runners (yeah, I know I was late, but still…) – Mary (a co-worker from a different department) did throw out a Woo-Hoo for me, but I didn’t hear it apparently. My official time was 1:44:40.395. (The guy was 1:44:40.486)

And to add insult to injury of this crappy race?  NO MEDALS!  To me, a 10k is a big deal. A medal would’ve been nice! (Edit – I decided later that I’m going to take that medal I forgot I had from the Tom Walker Half-Marathon and repurpose it into a Tacachale 10k Turkey Trot medal.)

Anyway, I got my photo taken at the Finish Line (that they were dismantling mere moments after I crossed…) and went looking for refreshments. No bananas (I don’t eat them, but still…). I didn’t see any bottled water, but there was GatorAde in the coolers, so I grabbed a cup of that and watched the awards for a bit.

I'm so cool - hell, I'm so COLD!
After a few minutes though, once I had cooled down and finished my Gatorade, I gave Mary a hug and headed back to the house – my mother was planning on coming over for Thanksgiving around noon, and I needed to warm up in a hot shower!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Where Savings is a Pleasure

You guys know I’m frugal, and a couponer. I generally do all my grocery shopping at Publix. 

The weekend before Thanksgiving is like my SuperBowl of Saving Money. I love finding deals and getting as much as I can for as little as possible.

I don’t think my car was ready for all these groceries. Let’s see if I can remember everything that I got:

Chinet plates
Chex
Turkey
Heinz Gravy
PowerAde
I Can't Believe it's Not Butter
Pam
Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Simply Potatoes
Eggs
Lay's
Thomas Bagel's
Domino Sugar
Wishbone Dressing
Nature's Own Butterbread
....and so much more (but I can't see the other side of the cart!)

All of this came to $272.22, but after coupons and store sales, I saved $176.39 and spent only $95.83. That is a 65% savings!! I absolutely love saving more than I spend!

Y'all up North just don't know the love of a Publix store!
When I got home, I posted this photo on Facebook:

The Photo that Changed Thanksgiving....
I got an email from mom a day or so after I posted that – she said that, since I already have all the stuff for Thanksgiving, maybe she should just come here instead of all of us going to Golden Corral. 

Uh, okay. How can you say no to a logical argument like that?

Looks like I’m cooking my first Thanksgiving for my mom. 

So, I’m going to Turkey Trot, then cook. Okay, hundreds of runner women do this every year. I can do it too!

Challenge accepted!