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Thursday, November 29, 2012


As of right now, that's how many miles I've run this year.

Originally, I'd been hoping to hit the big 1,000 mile marker in early October -- then the SICK happened and my fall mileage really took a nose dive.  Oh well, that happens, right?

Thus, my revised goal: Run the year's 1,000th mile by tomorrow to close out November by hitting a 4 year high in yearly mileage (I haven't even come close to 1,000 miles in a year since I got preggo with Norah).

If everyone goes ahead and does a leeetle math, you'll see that I need 9.51 miles between today and tomorrow to round out this goal; this means running 4.75 miles both today and tomorrow. 

Challenge extended?  Challenge accepted!

Mile #1,000, here I come!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Gear: Boobies Edition

So, I'm just gonna go ahead and admit the unadmittable: I have been wearing some running bras for about 7 years now.

Dudes probably don't know that's a "bad" thing, but ladies probably know that supposedly, you're supposed to switch out regular bras once every 6 months or so (does anyone truly do this?  I don't know about you, but last I checked, bras aren't cheap, so I know I don't replace bras that frequently), and because running bras are meant for the nitty-gritty of ta-ta support, you're not supposed to wear one for even that long.

Ha!  Really? 

Sports bras are just as expensive, if not more so, than regular bras, so who truly can afford to replace them that often?  And, what do you do with the old ones?  You can not donate bras, no charity accepts them, because, um, who wears someone else's old bras?  Especially running ones that have months or years' worth of sweat saturation?  Yummers.

Anyhoo, as I said above, I have a few running bras, which I'll be honest, are very comfortable, and I've been wearing them for far too long. 

And, unfortunately, boobs change after you have kids.  Sorry, if you don't have kids and you want them and think that your boobs now will be the same afterwards; I'm here to burst that bubble: Kids will ruin your boobs.  During pregnancy, you get totally rad boobs, and then if you breastfeed, the radness continues, but then when you stop nursing?  Nature is like, "No boobs for you!"  And then what you're left with is something that resembles an orange in a tube sock.

In short, my boobs now are not what they were years ago when I first started wearing a few of these old bras, so the truth is, even though those ancient bras are comfortable, they're not really giving me the support I'm supposed to have while running.

Knowing this, and being concerned for the support of my sweater bunnies, Jerry bought me some new sports bras as an anniversary gift (forget Victoria's Secret, I want Nike!).  The past few days I've been able to wear my new gear, and I have to say, they are delightfully comfortable and, wow, HELLO support!

Guess I need to demote a few of the really old bras.

Ladies, what's the longest you've worn a sports bra?  Dudes, aren't you glad you don't have to even think about this?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday Round-Up

The Thanksgiving 4 Day weekend is always one of my favorite times of year: So many of my favorite things rolled into a 4 day holiday!  Here's the rundown of the 2012 Turkey Day Weekend:

Thursday morning, I got up early for my annual running of the Turkey Trot 5K.  We had lots of friends join us to either run or spectate, so it was a festive way to kick off the day.  We had perfect running weather, and I ran my guts out and scored myself a new 5K PR: 26:35!  Shaved 74 seconds off the old PR!  I was pretty proud of myself. 

Here's me and my cheering section afterward:

After the race, everyone came back to our place for some donuts and coffee to celebrate strong running all around -- I think everyone who ran met or exceeded their race goals -- and then once everyone packed up and left post-race, we put the parade on while we tended to the Turkey Day dishes that we needed to prep.  Then, in the early afternoon, we headed over to our host's house for the afternoon/evening festivities.

We had a wonderful day over there.  The kids played, the adults drank and snacked, and then we all stuffed our faces with an overwhelmingly awesome dinner.

Here's Caleb and his buddy Mason "driving" the Jeep:

Here's Norah taking a little break from running around (she and the older kids spent several hours literally running in circles):

And, here are the kids (minus Caleb) at the kids' table during dinner.  There wasn't much eating going on there, but they had fun dining together:

When we got home Thursday night, we had two very tired munchkins (and we were pretty spent ourselves), and let's just say it was an easy bedtime! 

On Friday, we drove to Miami to meet up with Jerry's sister and her family, who had flown in to depart for a cruise, so we spent the afternoon and evening at their hotel in Miami, and again, the kids wore themselves out, this time playing with their cousins.

Sunday was our 7th wedding anniversary, so Saturday night, we had a sitter and Jerry and I went out to celebrate -- by going Christmas shopping!  Kinda lame for an anniversary, but it was awesome to shop without the kids, for the kids, and simply taking our time walking around Target is pretty much heaven to us.  We still took the time to have a nice dinner together, but it felt good to get 90% of our shopping done too.

Today, then, we all had the groggy-eyed adjustment of returning to work and school and the shock of being back on a schedule this morning was a rude awakening, but at least I only have 3 weeks left of the term, and then it's Christmas Vacation!  I think I can survive until then.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's What She Said

Last night, I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and I overheard the following conversation between Norah and Jerry in the living room:

Norah: "Caleb is getting bigger and bigger.  Soon, he'll be big like me and he'll wear underwear!"

Jerry:  "Yeah, soon he'll get big and wear underwear, but that's still pretty far away.  He's still a bit of a baby and he'll probably wear diapers for awhile longer."

Norah: "Yeah, but soon he'll get big and wear underwear!"

Jerry:  "Yes, it'll happen soon.  But, you know what?  That's actually gonna make me kinda sad."

Norah: "Why?"

Jerry:  "Because when he's big and wears underwear, it'll mean there's no more babies in this house and I'll miss having you guys as babies."

Norah thought on this for a moment and then responded: "Maybe someone can let us borrow their baby."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Trot: Race Preview

On Thursday, I'll run my 8th consecutive Turkey Trot 5K (viva la streak!), typically the only 5K I run each year, and always my favorite race of the year -- mostly because it starts and ends across the street from my house, and who doesn't love that kind of racing convenience? 

For my initial few years with the race, I used this race as my "A" shot at annual 5K PRs; interestingly, it has never provided me with a 5K PR.  Then, for a few other years (the past 4 years), I ran it just to run it: I was either pregnant or just getting back to running post-baby and I had no expectations for time.

This year, however, may be a different story.

Since recovering from my string of autumn illnesses, I have been logging some of the fastest runs that I've logged all year.  Last night, I ran a 3 miler in 27:06 (which was actually a slight disappointment since I'd been on target to run a sub-27 min/3 miler but had to stop and wait to cross an intersection, and I lost a few seconds off the run).

Thus, I think I may be poised to try and chase down my 5K PR (currently at 27:49) on Thursday.

Although just saying that feels like a jinx.  Still, jinx or no, the conditions are ripe for a potential PR:
  • The weather is forecast to be PERFECT: 58-60 degrees at the race start.  To me, that is THE best running temp.
  • Always in my favor with this race is my knowledge and familiarity of the course.
  • My recent speed has boosted my confidence that I still have the ability to run fast.
  • Knowing I have a cheering section at the finish line is a good incentive; I love having Jerry and the kids there to cheer me on.
Still, despite the conditions in my favor, a Trot PR has always eluded me in the past (maybe I psych myself out because I feel I ought to be able to ace this race), and a conservative part of me doesn't want to over-extend my hopes.

I'm trying to quiet that doubter in me, though, and I think after 4 years of running this race "just to run," I'm ready to run a race where I try to leave it all on the course.

And, afterward, I'm gonna eat my weight in turkey.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Running: A Necessary Friend

For the past week, I've been wrestling with a personal conflict that has had me emotionally and mentally wraught. 

I don't mean to "vague blog," but I cannot openly discuss the particulars of this because the public blogosphere is not the place, but don't worry, everything is fine in my immediate family: Jerry's cool, kids are cool, Scooter's a fat turd, but he's cool too.

Anyhoo, I have been churning a lot of things over in my mind, many of which I thought that I had already "gotten over" -- either through time, maturity, or by running it all out -- but, it turns out that the intensity of my reaction to this recent conflict has revealed some distasteful aspects of myself and my feelings about issues that I thought I had long ago leg wrestled and won.  I've thus realized this past week that I have some work to do for myself and that, perhaps, some mental and emotional hurdles require lifelong attention.

Running, then, has been a valuable companion this past week.  Despite my emotional baggage, my runs have been a way to "lighten" my load.  It has been an outlet for anger that I didn't know was broiling just beneath my surface, and the result has produced has some very satisfying runs: Mentally, but also physically, and I've run some of the fastest runs that I've logged all year.  And, man, have they felt good. 

Thanks, running.

Certainly, running can't replace the valuable talks and insights I've gained through my supportive spouse, my brother, and a few close friends, but it has been a great means to converse with myself.  Running alone doesn't solve everything, but it sure does help.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grateful for the Great Ham and Cheese

Norah doesn't quite grasp emotions yet.  Or, really, she doesn't quite grasp the complex expression of emotions or emotional language.  For instance, in response to a question like, "Why are you crying?"  She often says, "Because I am."

Recently, at school, their focus for a week was on emotions, so they were learning about happy, sad, angry, frustrated, scared, etc.  Still, even after the week's study, Norah pretty much limits her emotional range to "That makes me happy!"  and "That doesn't make me happy!"

Yesterday, then, I was trying to talk to her some about Thanksgiving and what it means to be thankful.  Granted, "thankful" is a toughie in terms of emotional range, and I used a lot of big words (grateful, appreciate), but I also did my best to frame it in her "what makes you happy" way of understanding the world.  So, I was explaining the kinds of people and comforts that she has in her life that she should be thankful for; then I posed the question to her: "So, sweetie, what are you thankful for?"

"Sandwiches," she told me.

"Sandwiches?" I asked.  The choice confused me.  "Candy" I could've seen coming, but sandwiches?

"Yeah, sandwiches make me happy."

Okey-dokey.  Sandwiches, people, Norah is thankful for sandwiches.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Times the Charm

Today, I had the day off work, but my brain was "occupado" with an issue that was gnawing at me.  So, I figured I'd start the day with a run both in an attempt to get the run done and to allow my mind the opportunity to contemplate.

Unfortunately, the run was no fun from the start: I hadn't eaten any breakfast and my tumbly was a rumbly, and then despite the fact that running usually allows me the opportunity to let my mind wander, I just couldn't focus.  A half mile into it, I knew that this run wasn't happening.  I threw in the towel and walked home; my brain no better for the lack of a completed run.

I spent the day organizing dressers, closets, and shelves -- cleaning out old clothes and toys and sorting what should be kept, re-organized, donated, and thrown.  After organizing, I got to cleaning -- the deep kind of cleaning I only get to do about once every few months.

The combination of organizing and cleaning felt good: cleansing, refreshing.  This helped ease my mind of the issue that was nagging me, but as my chores drew to a close, I still knew that I could benefit from finishing the run I'd started earlier in the day.  Originally, I'd planned to reward my housework with a mani/pedi, but I decided that my feet would be put to better use by pounding the pavement.

So, I laced up and headed out for the day's second attempt at getting a run done.  This time, I also chose to take along my Shuffle for some tunes, and I had a great run: 3 "fast" miles (a 9:30 pace, for me, that's smokin').  When I finished the run, I felt much better: My problem wasn't gone in those 30 minutes, but the run allowed me to see that the issue wasn't as dramatic as I'd made it out to be; plus, I just felt more mentally sound.  I was still unsettled, but I could put the issue into better perspective.

This is why I run. 

It provides me with the necessary mental and emotional release I need, and when I have something tugging at me, bothering me, my first instinct is to "run on it."  My friend Wendy said once that we're "all running away from something," and that has always been a sentence that has lingered with me for contemplation.  Do I run away from issues instead of face them?  Maybe.  But, after literally thinking on her statement for years, I have come to the conclusion that running is my way of facing what troubles me; it helps me determine how to solve problems or how to allow to "lay down" some problems.  And, I figure, there are worse ways of dealing with such issues.

What do you think?  Are we all running away from something?  Or, running toward something? 

Is it just two sides of the same coin?

Friday, November 09, 2012


I mentioned one running item I'd like to add to my Christmas wishlist yesterday, but that's honestly the first time this season that I've given any thought to what I'd like.  Up until yesterday, I've been focused on the kids' lists, mainly because every day, Norah talks about her list for Santa: "...and, I want an Ariel cup, and an Ariel plate, Tinker Bell wings, pixie dust, a Belle dress, glass slippers, Cinderella gloves, and Barbie..."

See any themes there?

The past two evenings, she has been absorbed in paging through a Target toy flyer we got in the mail.  We told her to circle the items she'd like to add to her wishlist.

She has basically circled every toy in that booklet.

She's also been kind enough to consider not just herself, but Caleb, and what he'd like from Santa.  So, in the Target flyer she thoughtfully circled toys she thinks he'll enjoy: Thomas the Train sets, Hot Wheel cars, Tonka trucks, etc.

This morning, then, on our way to school, she had the following conversation, basically with herself:

Norah:  "Caleb wants some Jake and the Neverland Pirates toys from Santa."

Me:  "Okay, well, he'll have to put that on his wishlist."

Thoughtful pause.  Norah: "Caleb doesn't have the words to say 'I want Jake and the Neverland Pirates.'"

Another pause, then: "I can tell Santa for him.  I can tell Santa: 'Caleb wants Jake and the Neverland Pirates.'  Yeah, I'll do that."

Problem solved.  It was a very cute moment.

This holiday season (which has technically not even begun yet) brings me back to my own childhood when I spent hours pouring over the Sears and JCPenney toy catalogs circling items for my wishlist.  Did you do that too?  Did Santa deliver on all those goods for you? 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Winter Running

This morning, I had two running outfits in hand: In one hand I had a short sleeved shirt and shorts; in the other, I had a long sleeved shirt and capris.  It was 50 degrees out and a tough call.

In the end, I went with the short sleeves and shorts, and I was grateful I hadn't chosen the warmer ensemble.  I know that despite the fact that at 50 degrees I feel cold at the start of the run, a little ways in, I'm always nice and toasty.

When we have temps this cool (I know, that clause just made many of you hate me), I do wish I had arm warmers.  I think they'd be a nice way to compromise the two above choices.  Maybe I should put them on my Santa wishlist.

Anyhoo, I'm truly loving the weeks we have now had of lovely temperate running weather.  The other night when I was running, I was honestly thinking to myself: "This is SO great!  I love this!"

I just wish I had winter's temps with summer's long days because the one compromise with winter is the lack of daylight.

By 5:30 pm, it's dark here, and for me this makes it hard to get out and run, for several reasons:
  • I'm not inclined to leave the house once it gets dark.  This self-imposed isolation seems to be increasing with age.  I know that 10 years ago, I went places after dark.  Now, I'm like, "What?!  We can't leave the house!  Look, it's dark outside!"  Thus, it's hard to get up the mojo for an evening run.
  • The darkness at 6 pm is not darker than at 6 am, but it feels more insidious.  Like, I'm definitely toying with being murdered if I'm out running at 6 pm. 
  • Even though I run well-lit, residential streets, there are pockets of shadowy darkness, and it seems very possible that I will trip over a lip in the sidewalk and break an ankle.
  • I've seen two raccoons the past few evenings when I've run after dinner.  I fear rabies.
  • Vampires.  'Nuff said.
In the past, I ran the darkened streets with less hesitation, I think (or maybe I always have this initial adjustment and then totally get over myself), but this year, I think I'm gonna fill my Amazon cart with enough reflective gear and headlamps so as to be seen from the moon.  I might also buy a little canister of mace.

Careful, raccoons, careful.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Season of Sick and Voting

They say that things happen in 3s.  In my case, this fall has been marked by 3 distinct illnesses for me: Mystery fever, flu, and now ear infection.

The current ear infection is the byproduct of a cold I picked up from the kids over the weekend.  At first, the cold seemed pretty harmless -- runny nose, that was about it -- but then Sunday night my right ear began to ache, and by the end of work yesterday, it felt like the entire right side of my head was throbbing.  I've never had an ear infection before, that I can recall, but I knew it was either that or aliens had laid eggs in my ear canal and the pain was millions of tiny alien hatchlings making my jaw their new home.

A quick visit to an urgent care confirmed that it was the former -- phew!  That just meant anitbiotics, not full out alien-attack.  I started the anitbiotics last night, and the prescription strength Motrin was a life saver.  Hopefully in a day or two, the infection subsides, and I can hear again.  It's shame not to be able to listen to all of Norah and Caleb's whining.

In other timely news, I voted this morning.  The wait wasn't bad, even though Jerry and I had the kids with us, the line moved steadily and the kids were actually super good for having to stand in a line that didn't end with a Disney character or a ride.

I may be the last person in America who enjoys politics and isn't cynical about it.  I genuinely believe that our government has the power and ability to improve the everyday life of its citizens.  Elections typically get swept up in the "big" controversial issues of government, but for me, it's about the daily contributions and effects that government has made and does make on my life, and I appreciate everything in my life that has been a product of government support:
  • the public schools I attended growing up,
  • the state university I attended for both undergraduate and graduate school,
  • the federal loans that allowed me to pay for graduate school,
  • the public college that employs me,
  • the National Parks I've enjoyed vacationing in,
  • the public parks I played in as a child,
  • the public parks I take my kids to on a regular basis,
  • the roads I drive on,
  • the bridges I drive over,
  • the ports and airports that have been departure points and destinations for me,
  • the federal regulations that have allowed us to re-finance our home,
  • the laws that allow me to drink my tap water without fear or hesitation,
  • the protection and safety provided by police, fire department, and military,
  • the mail delivered to my home 6 days a week, and
  • the equal opportunities and rights afforded to me by being an American citizen
I may be an idealist when it comes to government and politics, but when I look at what a lucky life I live here in America, I know that much of that is owed to the grandeur of idealism.  Cynicism didn't prompt this country to forge a new nation; idealism did.

So, when I vote, I always feel good.  Even if my candidates don't win, I know that I am a fortunate person, born, and living, in a fortunate country.