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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.
Unrelated, but funny as hell
I removed it from the brine, dried it off, buttered him up and stuck him in the oven.

This grosses out the Kiddo every single year - I have my hand between the skin and the meat
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.)

Here is my "Medal" for the Turkey Trot - Let's hear it for creativity and stickers!
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!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I'm a Member, I should have a jacket



When I got home yesterday, one of the first things I did was get my FTC Membership!  There’s a race I want to do, it closes tomorrow, and FTC members get a discount!

So this morning, after futzing around on Facebook and checking my email, I registered for the Tacachale Turkey Trot 10k.  With the FTC discount, I think it was about $20 or so. Not bad for a 10k.
Also – this is my first Turkey Trot!  I can’t wait!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tom Walker Half-Marathon Volunteer Report

I follow Florida Track Club on Facebook and over the week, they posted a request for volunteer’s for this weekend’s Tom Walker Half Marathon.  They offered a free race tee and a free membership to the Florida Track Club in compensation. How could I say no to that? I volunteered that day!

I got to Boulware Springs Park around 7am, and, well, kind of stood around for a while.  I found Mark, the Race Director, to get my assignment, and picked up a shirt.  He gave me directions to the Water Stop / Turn Around area, and I volunteered to drive another volunteer to the area (we were both Water Stop volunteers). 


We watched the race begin, from near the Finish line, then drove out to the Water Stop.



Two other volunteers were already out there, and most of the set-up was already done. We all chatted for a while – we were the Halfway Point, so no runner was there for the first ½ hour or so. 

Eventually, I made my way over to the Turn Around spot, which was just an orange cone, to cheer and high five.  The first runner got there in about 35 minutes!


Mary, the other volunteer who came with me in the car, stationed herself at the turn-around and announced peoples’ times as they passed – the runners all seemed to like that a lot.

The other 2 volunteers stayed with the water table and handed out drinks.

After about 1.5 hours, two final stragglers came in – Thames and Short Lady. Short Lady apparently does this race every year, and walks the entire way.  Thames looked like he was having issues.  Turned out he was cramping pretty bad and had to slow way down. He got some water and limped his way back towards the second-half of the race.

We packed up our table and headed back to the park and the finish line.

Once unpacked, Mary and I cheered on the runners coming in.  At one point, Meredith (she of the Melon Run), handed me and Mary a handful of medals to give out to those who were still coming in. 

After 3 hours, there were only two runners out on the course – Thames and the Short Lady.

Short Lady walked her way in at almost exactly 3:30.  But where was Thames?

Some of Thames’ buddies were also waiting at the finish line, and after 4 hours, they were getting worried. They couldn’t reach him on his cell phone. We would get reports that there was a runner sitting on a bench, walking slowly, laying down, walking with a limp, etc from the Course Monitors (the bike boys), or from various strangers out utilizing the Trail.

Finally, Mary decided to go find him. She was the fittest out of all of us, so she just started running down the trail and she eventually brought him in and he slowly and proudly crossed the finish line (that had since been removed). He got his well-deserved medal, and the whole group of us (at least 5 + Thames + Me + Mary +  a few others) all headed back to the park.  Everyone was gone, I don’t think there was any water or anything left for Thames, but his buddies took care of him. Everyone shook everyone’s hands and we all went our separate ways.

Halfway to the car, I realized that I still had a handful of medals!  Oops – I ran back to the park and gave them to Mark, then went back to the car.

On the way home, I shifted in my seat and felt something in my back pocket. What was that? Oh, lord – there was another medal in my back pocket – I’d stuffed Thames’ original medal in my back pocket when we began to worry about him (I gave him another medal from the stack on my arm when he came in). I can’t keep it – I didn’t earn it! But I was worried about looking foolish if I emailed Mark and said “oops, I found a medal in my pocket…” so I left it in my purse. I guess I’ll keep it for motivation and run next year!


Friday, November 8, 2013

The Results are in!

I got the results of both my bone scan and the biopsies of the four moles I had removed last month.

All 4 moles were benign, and nothing to worry about there.

As for my bone scan - I am osteopenia-free and my risk of any osteoporosis-related fracture or break is 0%!  I need to keep up with the extra calcium, magnesium and D, since I'm on the lower end of "normal", but I have fought long and hard for this and I'm so happy!  I honestly think it is the 'healthier' living, weight loss and running that pushed me back into the "normal" category!