Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm Engaged!

I can hardly contain my excitement, and I can hardly wait for my special day.  No, this is not a Throwback Thursday post, as I'm not talking about my engagement to Husband.
That engagement ended in a fabulous wedding and blissful marriage.
I don't have a new diamond to show off, and I don't have any dress shopping to do.  I wasn't even proposed to, actually.  I haven't called all my family members and changed my relationship status on Facebook.  However, this is a big deal for me.  Huge.  Epic, as 6 y.o. would say (although he uses that word waaaaaay too liberally, these days [I've been wondering- can something be more epic than something else?  Is there such thing as 'a little bit epic'?  I find myself agreeing with him, that the dinner I cooked is indeed, epic.  But then, I backtrack and say something like, "Well, I mean, not epic epic, but pretty epic."  Ah, who am I kidding?  I know that

 was at least a little bit more epic than

my fantastic Chili Chicken Crescents {a.k.a., "Imperial Walkers"-named by 6 y.o.}].  So, yeah, this engagement falls somewhere in between Wednesday dinner and world-altering battle on the scale of epicicity.)    If you're not ready for my big news, this is the part where you should stop reading.  Here goes: I've chosen which marathon will be my first.  I've made a mental and psychological and heartfelt commitment, which is pretty much the same thing I did when I was engaged to be married.  There is nothing legally or financially binding me and my marathon-to-be together, yet, but that doesn't mean I'm going to just run, willy nilly, with no training plan and no hard work.  So what if I haven't actually signed up for it?  The registration price doesn't increase until July 31st!  I think this engagement period is very important.  I have a few weeks to change my mind before the invitations are sent and the family members start requesting time off work, see?  Not that I'm going to change my mind, of course.  Think about this:  how often do you hear about people cheating on their fiance?  Not that often, right?  I'm pretty sure that more spouses cheat than engaged folks, because they committed too fast or to the wrong person.  (That is not true for me and Husband, mind you.  We're desperately in love with each other.)  I'm 99% sure that I've chosen the right marathon, and that I'm going to be healthy, injury-free, and ready for it.  I just don't think there's anything wrong with my having an open relationship with my race-to-be, for now.
Our love is epic.
I've chosen to run the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll marathon on November 9, 2013.  18 weeks and 2 days from now.  The timing of the race is just right.  Although I'm one of the world's worst procrastinators, I'm also rather impatient when I'm excited about an upcoming event.  Early November is pretty near the beginning of racing season for us Southerners, so I won't have to endure too many marathon stories from my runner friends before I have one of my own.  Plus, there's a training plan I like that is 18 weeks long.  Also, when I think about it, the rock 'n' roll aspect is pretty fitting for a rocker like me.  This series of races includes live music along the course and a concert at the finish line.  I was/am a little bit nervous about the popularity of the race series (there are R'n'R races all over the country, they're well advertised, not disgustingly expensive, and make 26.2 miles seem like it'll be a long party full of sweaty strangers) making it too big for my liking, but realistically, the size of the field probably won't effect my performance much at all.

Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, the home of racism and butter Paula Deen, and is really quite charming.  The climate isn't much different from home, and the elevation isn't much higher, which is nice for training purposes.
The whole race course will be this serene and beautiful.  Right?
The drive there from my home in central Florida will only take about 3 1/2 hours.  We will have to stay in a hotel, which makes me a little bit anxious because of Baby's aversion to sleeping in beds other than her own.  I came up with a still-secret plan, though, that makes me think the traveling will not be so bad.

There you have it, friends.  I'm engaged to run a marathon in a few months.  In the meanwhile, I'm going to be putting an obscene number of miles under my feet, producing gallons of sweat, learning lots, and getting stronger every day.  I hope you'll follow my training and offer me some encouragement along the way.  I'm going to need it, I think.  Unlike being the bride, beautiful, glowing, pampered and fussed over on her wedding day, this engagement is going to end with me filthy, stinky, disheveled, exhausted and in a lot of pain.  Let's just hope that the arch I smile under that day has the word "FINISH".

Any training advice for me?  

Would you rather train for a marathon or plan a wedding?

UPDATE: Remember how I'm not really a "math girl"?  Yeah.  Totally miscountedcalculated and I have to admit it because otherwise I'll seem even more of a dummy later on.  The marathon was 20 weeks from when I posted this, not just over 18.  Still, training starts soon!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dear Science,

I don't pretend to understand you.  I mean, we're acquainted, but not the best of friends.  You might not realize this, but I've been enamored with you since 2nd grade when we planted beans and made rock candy.  We grew apart for a while, and then my love for you was rekindled when I was 13 and stayed true until, well, you got kinda math-y on me.  If only I could  have discovered all your hidden beauty and mystery without such bothers as "accurate measurement" and "statistical significance" and "physics."  Sigh.

I know that our relationship was not exclusive, and you probably didn't even notice when I abandoned you after college.  I had been distancing myself from you ever since that Biology 101 class during my Freshman year, when we weren't allowed to dissect anything, grow anything, or DO anything except take the end-of-chapter quizzes and watch movies (stupid, lazy, no-lesson-plans professor, tore us apart!).  Bo-ring.

My son learned more while feeding the ducks and turtles at the pond than I learned that entire semester.
The thing is, Science, I've still got a thing for you.  I know, I know.  I've been away too long, it will never work, we're too different now.  I don't expect us to pick up where we left off all those years ago.  We've both moved on.  What I really need now is for you to be more open and communicative with those who love you and who have been so dedicated to you.  I'm sure you've heard this before; folks come crawling back to you when they're looking for answers and realize that you're the key to solving their troubles.  Maybe I am being selfish.  But won't you please at least consider my requests?  Remember, we don't have to get back together for me to be happy.  I don't want to make you feel awkward, trying to get me caught up on all I've missed, and we both know that we'd have to waste lots of time reviewing things you had already shown me back when I was young and smart and had no children of my own to replace my deep, introspective contemplation of important, relevant things with thoughts of chicken nuggets, goldfish crackers, and Dora's explorations vs. Blue's clues.

Request #1- A cure for migraine headaches.  I realize there are awful, deadly diseases, afflictions more painful, and physical problems which are much, much harder to deal with than migraines.  Remember how I mentioned being selfish a minute ago?  Yes, this is a selfish request.  Let me modify it, slightly.  If I could just understand the migraines- the causes, symptoms, effective treatments, how long I can be suffering from one before everyone calls me a sissybaby behind my back, whether there is any real prevention method- that would be fantastic.  To make it easier on you, Science, I will gladly volunteer to have your Ists to study my brain, ask me questions, be fascinated by the auras that show up like clockwork before the pain sets in, and give me experimental drugs.
These poor, sweet children have to whisper when their Mom has a migraine, as their normal speaking voices bring tears of pain to her eyes.
Request #2- A cure for food allergies.  Not Lactaid.  That stuff tastes like drywall painted with toothpaste and doesn't even help relieve pain.  Not an epi-pen to save the life of the kid who accidentally ingested a peanut.  Not slightly-less-disgusting-than-they-used-to-be gluten-free products.  Food allergies are so unfair, and we need a cure.

Oreo cookie dunked in cold, creamy milk?  No.  Ice cream cone?  Nope.  Cranberry chutney stuffed brie cheese with fruit and crackers?  Negative.  Alfredo sauce?  Not unless it's made from cauliflower and soy milk.  Grilled cheese sandwich?  Mac-n-cheese?  Mashed potatoes?  Brown butter tortellini?  Pizza????  Sorry, Baby.  You can't have any of those things.  
Come on, Science.  We all know that you hold the key to unlocking all the mysteries of digestion, indigestion, and allergic reactions in the palm of your mysterious hand.  Won't you please show it to us?

Request #3- A self-cleaning floor.  Yeah, so I'm back to making selfish requests.  But before you shrug me off, think about this:  EVERYONE (and I don't think that's an exaggeration!) would like a floor that cleaned itself.  I'm not talking about a Roomba or whatever that creepy thing is that runs into walls all on its own.  I'm talking Jetsons-style.  Okay, so I think Rosie actually cleaned their floors, but I just mean their style.  I want to press a button on the wall or speak a few words aloud and have my floor obey immediately.  You know how there are little gutter bumpers that come up in the lane when it's a kid's turn to bowl?  I imagine that those kind of things would pop up from under the floor to barricade the area that was being cleaned.  The vacuum suction would come from underneath, as would the water and soap for the mopping.  Finally, the floor would be dried quickly so that it could be walked on almost without interruption.  (I think you've already let us figure out the dryers, actually.  Those automatic hand dryers in park bathrooms are pretty stinkin' powerful.  That had to be your doing, Sci [Can I call you Sci?  No?  You're afraid of being mistaken for a much-too-well-known, can't-believe-anyone-listens to this, so-called rapper?  Gotcha.].  Thanks!)  The best part?  Even if the floor had just been cleaned when someone spilled their soy milk or tracked mud in or dropped cooked couscous, with the simple press of a button and zero complaining, it could be clean again within minutes!

It's true that wethey've discovered a lot about you already, Science, and don't think me ungrateful.  Louis CK says in that viral video that I can't seem to find, "Everything's amazing and nobody's happy."  Everything is amazing, but I am happy, even though you and I have lost touch.  It's just...I think it's about time for a new Science Revolution (wait a sec- a "new revolution"- that's poorly worded, eh?  Oh, well.  Probably nobody will care, unless you let your sister-in-law, English, read this letter).

(Oops.  I think it's against the rules to end a paragraph with a set of parentheses, too?  Please don't show this letter to English!  Or to Grammar, for that matter!)


Friendly in Florida

Here's a bit of advice that I need to remember more than you do, Science:  Be smart.  Think.  Create.  Experiment.  Your ideas might just bring fame and fortune to yourself and some Ists!

p.p.s. (tee hee!  p p!)
Yes, I know how to spell 'scientists'.  I realize there's a 't' before the 'ists'.  Lemme alone, I can call 'em 'ists' if I want to!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

6 Things About Which I'm Embarrassed to be Embarrassed

I hope I'm not the only one who gets embarrassed about embarrassing things.  If I am, I guess this is as good a way to find out as any.  At least the folks telling me what a freak I am will have read and commented on my blog in order to communicate their superiority, so that's cool.  Here we go!

1. I'm embarrassed to accept help from retail employees.
"Can I help you find anything?"  
"Oh, no thank you."  I'll just wander the aisles until I find what I'm looking for, thanks.
It's ridiculous.  Having the guy who works in the garden department at the vast home improvement store point me in the direction of the hose nozzles is not a sign of weakness.  
"I'll take these groceries out to your car for you."
"That's alright, I've got it, thanks!" It's raining, I have both kids, and a week's worth of food.
I repeat: ridiculous.  Like I'm going to be such a burden on the guy who bagged my groceries, having him take 4 minutes to put the bags in my car?  Speaking of groceries, I've yet to work up the courage to ask the ever-so-friendly man who works in the meat department whether or not they'll make chicken wings less disgusting for me (Did you know that you have to cut through bone, and, like, twist and snap body parts in order for them to be ready to cook?  Blech.) so that we can smoke some and serve them at our 4th of July party.  Now, I worked in the service industry for a LOT of years.  My first job was in a fast-food restaurant.  I certainly do not feel like I'm superior to retail employees in any way...but I might be better than some of them at some things.  
You do the math.
Maybe that's why I'm embarrassed to accept their friendly offers to aid me.  I figure they work hard enough already, and deal with enough nasty people, that I should give them a break.

2. I'm embarrassed when people compliment me on my running achievements.
"Wow!  You're getting really fast!"
"Ha!  Me?  Pshaw.  Ha!  Ffff-ast?  Funny!  Huh?  No.  Um.  Thank you?
"Not as fast as YOU!  HA!"
The truth is, I'm much faster than I used to be.  I'm much faster than people who don't run regularly.  I'm faster than I expected I ever would be (Remember how I HATED running?).  I've earned medals.  And when I say "earned", I mean it.  I've trained and sacrificed and could have drowned in my own sweat and tried-really, truly, tried- to get faster and to accomplish goals that I've set for myself.  I feel like I have to explain when people notice my improvement; give details on my schedule and training plan and those asterisks that we runners know so well (*The course was super flat. *My sister was pacing me. *I was just healed from an injury.), when probably a simple, "Thanks, I've been working hard." would suffice.  
Can you see the mixture of bliss and shame on my face?
Another, deeper reason for my embarrassment is that I am so stinking grateful to be able to run, that speed and medals are secondary.  I could go the rest of my life without earning another medal or getting any faster, and be content.  Going the rest of my life without running, though, would be scary.  I think about people who are physically unable to run, or walk, or do whatever exercise they're passionate about, and it makes me want to cry.  My pace improvement is really nothing compared to their ability to overcome physical obstacles.

3. Two words: social networking.
For 5 (yes, five) years, come July, I've regularly (read: multiple times/day) been on a not-very-well-known social networking site, plurk.  My dad invited me to join, saying, "It's like twitter, but not."  Which it is.  And, is not.  Here's the thing about plurk:  It's a real community, not just a bunch of faceless internet weirdos.  I feel like a lot of my plurker friends are actual, real-life friends (I've even met a few of them in person) because we share the mundane as well as the exciting stuff that happens in our lives.  I've learned a lot from them.  We've exchanged both Christmas cards and no-reason gifts.  There are dancing bananas.  We ARE friends.  And yet, when my non-plurker friends asked how I knew the talented author of the books I was raving about, I mumbled, "Oh, you know.  Online.  Blogs.  Websites.  Internet.  I read."  It's really silly.  Nobody is ashamed of being a tweeter, right?  People actually get married to people they meet through other websites with dumb names, right?  So, there you have it.  I'm a plurker.  I <3 my plurk friends.  Also, I get a lot of my news from facebook.  But that's something about which I should be embarrassed.

4.  I'm embarrassed when things are easy for me that are hard for others.
Do you want to know how many times I threw up during both of my pregnancies, combined?  Less than 10.  Do you want to know how many pounds I gained while I was pregnant?  37.  16 with 6 yr. old, 21 with Baby.  Do you want to know how many times I've really tried to lose weight?  No, you certainly don't.  Especially if you knew how many chips I eat, late at night, almost every night.

Pregnancy was easy for me.  Breastfeeding was easy for me (I nursed both kids for just over a year).  Being overweight is not something I've had to bear.  I think anytime we can't relate to the problems of others, it makes us a little embarrassed.  It isn't as though I'm good at everything, and it isn't as though people who have a hard time with things that I find easy are angry with me or try to make me feel ashamed.  I know that lack of experience doesn't equal lack of sympathy or understanding.  I just have to remember to accept my easy along with my challenging.

5. I'm embarrassed to tell people that I'm a stay-at-home Mom.  
It feels like I'm implying that: a.) my family has a lot of money (we don't, we just live in a teeny house and eat out at Tijuana Flats only on Tuesday, when dinner is $5), b.) I feel like I'm a better mom than one who works outside the home (I don't.  I love my kids desperately, and I think that's the main ingredient to good Mommyhood), or c.) that I'm not qualified to get paid to work (I am.  I've got a B.A. degree, half an M.S. degree, management experience, creative ideas, and a great work ethic.)  Husband and I agreed that the sacrifices we would have to make to live on just his income were worthwhile.  He works really hard to support us financially, because we feel that my staying home is the right thing for our family.  I just have to be careful when I'm talking to my working-mom friends, that it doesn't sound like I'm bragging when I talk about my weekday morning yoga class.
I'm a very busy housekeeper, you know.  Every lady needs a break, sometimes, to capture how long her legs look from a certain camera angle, though.  Please pay no attention to the undercouch.  I was much too busy to remove the dozens of toys from under there.
6. I planted an organic garden and didn't want to tell anyone about it.
It's a small plot in our backyard.  I wanted to wait until my big, amazing harvest to start referring to myself as a gardener, but I see now how silly that was.  I was worried that people would start asking me questions, and expecting intelligent answers.  But, I shouldn't have been embarrassed to talk about starting a garden.  I should be embarrassed that I didn't do enough research, or even give it enough thought.  Now, I'll be harvesting my killer canteloupe and nothing else, apparently.  I planted marigolds, sunflowers, red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, green beans, canteloupe and carrots, and some herbs in a pot.  As of this publication, the canteloupe have murdered the marigolds, wrapped their tendrils around the green beans, jalapeno plant, and carrot stems, and the sunflowers have grown so tall that they are shading the other nearby plants.

Baby thought I was doing a great job.

After 1.5 days of weeding.

After 3 days of weeding, and 10 minutes of Husband digging.
The canteloupe's first victim.  RIP, marigolds.

There's no good reason I should be embarrassed about any of these 6 things.  It's embarrassing, my embarrassment.  So, what you should do is comment to reassure me that I'm not too kooky, and tell me the things you feel silly feeling silly about.  (Yes, that's your advice for today.  Self-serving?  Maybe.)

Any marigold resuscitation tips?

What do you hate being embarrassed about?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Second Half, Second Half

When last we met, I was describing how excited I was to be running in my second-ever half marathon race.  My first was the Women's Half Marathon, described in excruciating detail in that link.  My second was the Swamp House Half Marathon, and I was really looking forward to running it.  I was sure that I could beat the time of my first half (2:11) by a lot, and maybe even come in under 2 hours.  I had quieted the scaredy cat whiny baby in my head when I completed the whole 13.1 miles the first time, so all that was left to do was keep putting miles behind me between November and March, and to keep from injuring myself.
D'oh!  D'oh! And a double d'oh!

I didn't feel great after the November race.  I had pulled an abdominal muscle, which hurt for a few days, and when running all weird and breathing all wrong to make my abs not hurt so much during the race, I hurt my knee, too.  The smart thing to do was to take some time off, so I did.  The stupid thing to do was to take the rest of November and most of December off.  I ran a little, of course (If I don't, I start to feel like Old Yeller at the end of the movie.  Before he gets [SPOILER ALERT] killed, when he's all snarly and foaming at the mouth.)  I ran a 5k with Husband early in January, and a 5k leg of a 15k relay a few weeks later.  That day, I had decided to add some extra miles to get back into my planned training, so I ran home from the race site.  About a mile into the 3 1/2 mile trek home, my knee started hurting.  A lot.  I took a couple of walk breaks,  iced it when I got home, and rested, compressed and elevated it for a couple of days.  A really annoying, super frustrating pattern developed:  Run.  Ouch.  RICE.  Run fewer miles.  Run more miles.  Ouch.  RICE.  Run fewer miles.  Run more miles.  Ouch.  RICE.

I figured out that the source of pain, felt mostly in my knee, was actually my IT band.  Quick summary- the IT (iliotibial) band runs from around the hip to the outside of the knee.  When running (like I run), friction is created between the band of fascia and the bones, which can cause pain.  Although I pictured a rubber band when I first heard the description of the problem, to me, it felt like the opposite of a rubber band (whatever that may be).  When it would start to hurt, it was like my whole leg, starting from my hip, was getting shorter; getting pulled too tight.  I found some relief when I learned some stretches and went to some yoga classes.  I practiced improving my running form, I set a personal record in a 5k race, and I figured out a racing plan.  I realized that my form breaks down when I get fatigued, and bad form = pain, so my plan was to feel fresh for as many of the 13 miles as I could.  I decided to run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute.  I had my masseuse friend SpectacularLeigh work out any extra tension at the fabulous salon where I also got my hair done, and I felt like I was ready.  Since I had injured my knee, I had not logged nearly as many miles as I had originally planned, so I adjusted my goal from finishing under 2 hours to just having a good-feeling race.

I subtitled this race "Psychological Prowess", and here's why: I had some pretty significant mental hurdles to plow through in order to have a great race-
My best friend and biggest fan, Husband, was out of town for work.
It was really, really cold on race day.
I hadn't run more than 4 miles without pain in months.
Still nursing Baby had wakened me in the night, giving me <4 hours of sleep.

Sing with me!  Free your mind and the rest will follow.
My dad picked me up on race morning and left my mom with Baby and then-5 yr. old.  We met my sister and the three of us arrived at and parked in the super-easy-to-find field near the start line.  Did I mention that it was really cold?  37F, which felt like 32F with the wind.  We stayed in the car to keep warm until the last possible minute.  We didn't even get out to line up at the port-o-lets.  The race directors had planned well, so the lines weren't too long, but there was no line at all in front of the bushes.  
Just watered, not fertilized.
We lined up at the start (my sis and I had some of our husbands' socks on over our shoes to try to keep our toes warm- it worked!) just before the National Anthem.  The race started promptly, and we set off through the quiet neighborhoods.  My first mile was a 9:12 pace, which was right where I wanted to be.  The first time my watched beeped to indicate that I should take a walk break, I barely slowed down.  Mile 2 was a 9:11 pace, and I did slow to a walk after another 10 minutes of running.  Mile 3 was 9:01, and I felt great.  I wasn't in any pain, and I felt like I was taking the race easy enough to keep the IT band pain away for a while longer.  

We turned onto a main road, and cars were backed up as far as I could see.  My mom was planning to bring my kids to the finish line after giving them breakfast and bundling them up, and I couldn't see how she was going to get there with the traffic and road blocks.  Before I let myself get too worried, though, I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths.  I thought about how beautiful the sunlight looked coming through the trees, and how good the cold air had started to feel, and how grateful I was to be able to run.  I realized that I would really be okay with it if my mom had to turn around and go back to my house with the kids; that I was going to have a great race no matter what.  Mile 4 beeped in at a 9:09 pace.  I walked when my watch indicated it was time, and then I walked through a water stop so I could wash down my gooey, sticky fuel chews.
I cut them into quarters and still had trouble chewing them.  The energy boost without feeling barfy was great, though!
The extra walking made mile 5 a little longer, 9:54.  I was starting to feel some twinges of pain, especially when going uphill (probably only Florida natives like me would even call this course "hilly" with a straight face, but whatever) so I let myself slow down and tried to concentrate on my form.  Mile 6 was 9:51, and I was still feeling physically okay when I saw my brother-in-law and his parents at mile 7, which was 9:49.  My friend and training buddy and sister's sister-in-law (all the same person) stayed with me, even as I slowed down further.  She didn't make fun of me when I tried to convince her that 7.5 + 4.5 = 13 (we saw a very confusing sign about free beer in 4.5 miles) and she walked with me when the pain really started to set in.  I was still able to run for the majority of miles 8 and 9, which put them at 10:20 and 10:16.  Right around the 15k mark, we turned onto a road with a different sort of pavement.  I'm not sure what it's called, maybe Hellcrete?  Satanment?  GRAVEL?  I've heard that some people love running on it, but it was hard on my hips and other joints.  Most of the next miles were spent walking, because every time I started to run, it felt like my right leg was being pulled up and held in a vice.  It was hard to bend it, and hard to straighten it.  13:26, 10:14, & 12:22 were my next 3 mile times.  

I had tons of energy, was in great spirits, and was still enjoying myself, despite realizing that I was not going to beat my first half marathon time.  (I did try to convince my friend at mile 12 that it was possible for us to finish around 2:05, and she didn't make fun of me for that math error, either!  She's so kind.)  I started running again when we got back on a normal road, and soon saw my dad, then my sister's oldest son ("Umm, do you know you're not running very fast?"  Thanks for the motivation, kid.  "No, I'm just saying, I mean, you're like, a runner, and I'm keeping up with you!  I'm not saying you're slow, but I'm not fast, and I think I could beat you to the finish line.  Oh, and everyone else is already done."  Yes. Thank you.), and soon after, I saw my mom, son, daughter, and other nephews cheering and clapping (Would that have been so hard, dear, oldest nephew?).  Mile 13 was at a 10:27 pace, and I improved to a 9:43 pace for the last bit.  (Maybe I did need the rough talk from my nephew?)
Well practiced at cheering for runners, these boys are.
I crossed the finish line, got a water and my medal/bottle opener, then turned back to look at the clock.  I may well be the only runner to feel this way, but my slower-than-planned, really painful race was G-R-E-A-T.  It reminded me of my third College Algebra class.  Nope, not the third class meeting of the semester, but about 1/4 of the way through the third time I had enrolled in the class (I actually only failed it once, and barely.  The teacher didn't like me [may have had something to do with how often she had to wake me] so I literally failed by 1 point.  The other time, I dropped the class after 2 meetings because I couldn't understand anything the instructor was saying.  I'm pretty sure he thought he was teaching astronomy.).  During that Algebra class, and during that half-marathon, I actually heard heard a click in my brain.  After the click in Algebra, I was awake, interested, and passing all the tests with flying colors (and as you can all now attest, I'm not really a "math girl").  After the race click, I realized that racing isn't about numbers for me.  It's about my own accomplishments, my strengths, and getting as much out of the experience as possible.  The time on the clock is just like icing on the brownies. Yes, I know it's usually 'cake' in the saying, but I contend that icing on cake is not an extra bonus, it's a necessity.  Icing on brownies, though, is an unexpected treat.

Result: 2:14:57

After the race, I changed clothes, fed Baby in the car, and re-joined my family.  The little boys got to wrestle and jump on each other in the bounce house, my sis and dad got age group awards, I snagged a free beer, berry danish, bagel and banana, and enjoyed the festivities for a while before we left.  The traffic had never actually been as bad as it looked from my perspective during the race, and getting out was a breeze.  My family and I stopped to get lunch at:
Where the sauces are the only thing hotter than the order-takers.  Imagine Hooters girls with happily married parents, and you'll have a good picture of the T.F. employees.
The (really pretty) girl who took our order had actually been volunteering at a water stop during the race, so I felt like a bit of a star, wearing my medal and accepting her, "Wow, I don't know how you guys run that far" with a smile.

Today's advice was going to be deep and important, but then I got caught up looking at taco pictures when I was searching for the Tijuana Flats logo image.
Is my mouth the only one watering right now?

So, you get this: take advantage of their Taco Tuesdaze deal.  2 tacos, chips and a soda for the low, low price of $4.99.  If you live somewhere without the addictive, delicious, worth every gram of fat tacos made by T.F., I'm very, very sorry for you.  You should probably move to Florida.  Ooh!  Then, you could run the Swamp House half marathon with me next year, too!

What do you like on your tacos?

Have you ever heard "the click"?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Not Even Half Of My Second Half

I took a poll, and discovered that my blog readers are ready for another race recap.  Okay, so, yeah, the poll was in my imagination, but I did think about it very thoroughly.  You can rest assured that your vote counted.  Yes, yours!  Those of you who did not vote for a race recap, stay tuned.  I'll write about your topic of choice soon enough.  Except for those of you who foolishly voted for "golf."  You could check out my scratch handicap shooting brother-in-law's blog for that (I don't know if I worded that right or not.  He's really, super good at golf, though.)  If you're new here and didn't have the chance to vote in my head, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the options, like rock concertsreally cute kids, things that annoy me, and, well, racing.

A little over a year ago, at the prompting of my dad and sister, I joined the West Volusia Runners group.  I was reluctant, at first, to do so.  It wasn't the dues ($10/year-not a typo, it's really that cheap) or the commitment (none), it was just that I was intimidated by the other runners.  I had seen some of them at races in the past, wearing their cool matching shirts, finishing before me, and talking together about shoes and pace goals and courses.  I feel my face getting hot as I type.  It's embarrassing, how silly my reluctance was.  Especially now, when some of my favorite things to talk about are shoes and pace goals and race courses.  My dad was the first of our family members to join the group.  My sister and I scoffed, at first.  "We don't need to join a group.  We can always run together.  We love to run; what do we need with motivation?"  Then, my sis moved out of reasonable running distance from me.  Then, I stopped running with any regularity because of the Baby growing in my belly.  Then, she took Dad's advice and joined the group.  Once I returned to running, postpartum, I squashed my fears and nervousness and brought my $10 dues to a group run.  Just like that, I was part of the group.

The most recent of many group pictures without me in them.
To say that I'm glad I joined would be putting it mildly.  So many of the people I've met are truly inspiring.  There's M, who ran her first 5k in August, her first half-marathon in December, and her first marathon in February.  I literally didn't recognize her when I saw her for the 2nd and 3rd times after a couple of months, because she had lost so much weight and had increased her speed by so much.  (Sorry, M, that you had to keep introducing yourself to me!)  There's P, who is so kind and sweet and encouraging and persistent.  She constantly motivates others to improve, and seeing her finish her first marathon was nothing short of beautiful.  There's W, who races in the 70+ age group and is the friendliest morning person I could have imagined.  He's usually one of the last people to rejoin the group, but his dedication is unmatched.  Another M whose pace went from normal to jaw-droppingly fast over the past year.

Group founder/president/chief motivator/proof that good things come in small packages.  See why I'm embarrassed now, that I was intimidated?  
There are people who run while battling cancer, and dealing with tragedies.  There are young runners, old runners, married couple runners, single and looking runners, really fast runners, really slow runners, walkers, ultra-marathoners, trail runners, triathletes, runners that push their babies in strollers, runners that joined to exercise as a family, people trying to lose weight, people trying to improve their overall health, people running to cross items off their bucket lists, people running to meet people, people just running for the love of running.  I could go on, but I'm sure that you get the gist.  It's a great group, and getting to know some of the members over the past year has been wonderful.  Erm.  Maybe I should clarify- I just mean that I don't know all of them, only some.  Not that I only like some of them.

Race #11- Swamp House Half Marathon, March 3, 2013
              Psychological Prowess
When I was less than 2 weeks from delivering Baby in 2012, I volunteered at the running group's inaugural race.  Of course, the individuals had raced before, and many of them had run races together, as a group.  But this race was actually organized and put on by the WVRs.

At that point, I had run a half-dozen or so 5k races, and had briefly considered training for a 10k, but growing a tiny person had taken my focus far off of my running goals.  Many of my family members had signed up to volunteer at the half-marathon, and I agreed to get up at 4 a.m. and help with packet pick-up for reasons that I can no longer really remember.  I do recall thinking that my giant belly was a perfect, obvious excuse for the fact that I wasn't running in the race, and when people said things like, "See you out here next year!" I could just smile and nod and feel confident that they wouldn't recognize me the next year.  (I was right, you know.  Nobody recognized me.)  One year later, the race would be directed by our group president's new race management company, and I may have been more surprised than anyone to find myself so excited about running it that I wouldn't risk volunteering again and messing up my race.

Now, this post is already pretty long, and the fact that I've just now gotten to the beginning of the race might be a little discouraging.  Therefore, I will leave you with some teasers, continue this recap soon, and let you get on with your day.

Teaser #1-

Teaser #2-

Teaser #3-

Teaser #4-

Of course, I also listened to your mind messages about how much you love that I give a bit of unsolicited advice in each blog post.
Great saying, right?  Although that relates to today's post, it actually just served to remind me of something I feel very strongly about advising on: DO NOT pay money to see "Fast & Furious 6".  I haven't seen it, and I won't, unless at some point in my life I have some valuable information and someone is trying to torture it out of me. The fact that a movie like that made $120 million last weekend makes me want to take my family and move to a tiny village where there is no time or money or resource wasted and there are no televisions or people whose names start with "The".

Ever been intimidated by something/one embarrassing?

You only pay for quality entertainment, right?