Friday, September 30, 2011

Hug a Vegetarian Day

So apparently today is Hug a Vegetarian Day. It's a good thing The Pilot comes home tonight so I can make it happen.

Our Wedding Day: The First Look

The Pilot and I felt strongly about spending as much time as possible with our friends and family, some of whom traveled from out of state. We also know from experience there can be a lot of downtime for guests in between the ceremony and the reception while the bride and groom are taking pictures. The only way to avoid that was to see each other before the ceremony. I wasn’t dead set on The Pilot not seeing me before the ceremony but I still wanted the moment we first saw each other to be special. We spoke about it and after hearing from another bride who did a “first look” with her husband, we decided this was the best for us.

We talked it over with the photographers and videographer and agreed that they would be the only people in the room other than The Pilot and me. We had everyone hide out in the bridal room or in the sanctuary. The photographer had me walk to the opposite end of the hall that runs along the sanctuary. Once I reached the end of the hall, I stopped and waited, facing the wall. I stood and waited. It felt like an eternity! I won’t lie, I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. I don’t think I have ever been more excited and anxious in my entire life!

Finally, she told me to turn around. I saw The Pilot at the opposite end of the hall with his back to me. I walked slowly towards him even though all I wanted to do was sprint down that hall and jump in his arms. When I finally reached him, I gently placed my hands on his hips and he turned around. The next few minutes were kind of a blur. I know that we kissed. I know that I cried, which was completely unexpected. I had been so calm and collected all day. Also, I’ve never really been one to cry at weddings. I’ve been a bridesmaid four times and didn’t cry at any of those weddings and those we some of my closest friends! I was completely overwhelmed but got it together pretty quickly. I do know that I didn’t want the moment to end. I don’t even remember the photographers or videographer circling around us, capturing the moment...but I'm so glad they were there because I absolutely love the pictures!

After awhile, we decided we should probably let everyone else join us and it was time to get started on the group photos. It’s not often everyone is in the same place at the same time and it’s very rare for everyone to be dressed up so we took advantage and took family pictures with each of our families and also some shots with the bridal party. Even though the ceremony wasn’t until 5 pm, we wanted to be out of the sanctuary by 4 pm to make sure our guests didn’t see us before the ceremony started. We headed back to the bridal room to hang out. It felt a little strange to be sitting next to my future husband before the ceremony but it was also nice because once again, I felt completely calm.

My 7-year-old niece and 3-year-old nephew were in the wedding and so there was some chaos in the room. Chaos seems to follow little ones but they really were very well behaved. My brother had told them during the rehearsal that Aunt Amber and Uncle Pilot (ha!) were in charge and if we weren’t around, all of the other grownups were in charge. It was cute because my nephew got a little rambunctious at one point and my brother told him to ask me if I thought he should calm down. He came over and asked and even though I told him it was time to settle down and that it was almost time to walk down the aisle, he gave me a high five…and then may or may not have wiped graham cracker crumbs on the back of my dress. Even during that exchange, I was calm. I think we may have all gasped when he touched my dress but all was well!

My niece spent all morning with the big girls.
She was so patient and even got her hair done at the salon!

My nephew is such a charmer and it was a challenge to get him dressed and then keep him dressed and clean before the ceremony started!

Before we knew it, the pastor came and told us it was time! Two of The Pilot’s groomsmen had been handing out the programs and headed to a room just behind the altar. The Pilot’s “matron of awesome" headed back with the other groomsmen while The Pilot and my brother remained at the back of the church to walk the moms down the aisle.

To be continued...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Wedding Day: Getting Ready

I woke up around 6:15 am on wedding day….15 minutes before the alarm. I tried to doze off again but my stomach was full of butterflies. It also felt strange to wake up in my childhood bedroom at my parents; house. I'm glad I didn't fall out of the twin bed during the night! My matron of honor, Julie, was staying at my parents’ house also and she came in at 6:30 to make sure I was awake. We went downstairs and had a quiet breakfast together. She lives just outside of DC now so it was great to spend some time together…a little quiet before the chaos began!

We met the rest of the girls at the hair salon around 8 am to start getting our hair done. It was just us in the salon for quite awhile and it was nice to spend some quiet time with my girls. I felt completely calm and at ease, even as my stylist put my hair comb into place. I was starting to really look like a bride!
There was some time to kill before our make-up appointments so we carpooled back to my parents’ house to relax. My mom brought out the scrapbooks (my mom has documented just about every day of my life!) and we had fun looking back at all of the milestones my girls have shared with me.

We headed out to another salon to have our makeup done. The photographer and videographer met us there and started to document the day. It was a little strange having my own personal paparazzi and I think it would have been awkward had I not actually known them both. My videographer was a college friend and the photographer was a high school friend. I am so thankful that I was able to surround myself with wonderful friends and family on wedding morning because I think that just added to the calmness that I was feeling.

After the makeup, we all headed back to my parents’ house and had lunch. Being the event planner that I am, I had taken lunch orders in advance and my dad and Julie’s husband picked everything up for us. More time spent relaxing with my besties!

The photographer arrived at the house to take pictures of my gown before I put it on. I had some advice from a few friends to make sure I had a pretty hanger to hang the dress up with because the photographer would want to take a picture while the dress was still hanging up. I developed a slight addiction to during the wedding planning process and found this great “bride” hanger. Normally I can talk myself out of frivolous purchases like that but when else other than your wedding day can you be a little over the top?

Before I knew it, it was time to put on my dress! I climbed into my dress and the funny thing is, I don’t remember ever looking at myself in the mirror. There was so much commotion in the room with all of the other girls and the photographer moving around, capturing it all. I do know that I had one of my bridesmaids tie the sash on the back of my dress and I had the photographer take a picture so I could see up close what the knot on the sash looked like. I was adamant that I didn’t want a bow on my a$$ so my friend tied a knot like you’d see on a men’s tie.

All of the girls and the photographer went downstairs so I could make a “grand entrance” on the staircase to show my dad for the first time. Again, there was a lot of commotion while I came down the stairs and it was a little bit of a blur but I do remember my dad looking a little stunned but he did say I looked beautiful.

We were in the middle of a crazy heat wave and heat, sun and I just do not mix so I opted to cut back on some of the outdoor photos. It had stormed the night before and the humidity really kicked in. My photographer scoped out a place in my parents’ backyard that was shaded and we wouldn’t have to walk far through the wet grass. We took some group shots with me and my bridesmaids and some with my parents.

A few miles away, back at our house, The Pilot was also getting ready. The Pilot’s “best man” was actually his good friend Sarah. In the programs we officially called her the honor attendant but we we lovingly referred to her as the “matron of awesome.” After getting hair and make up done with me and my girls, she picked up some sushi to take to The Pilot. I think they enjoyed lunch in the peace and quiet with the kitties before it was time to get dressed and head to the church.

Sarah helping The Pilot with his tie.

Feeding the kitties before heading to the church.

Next we were off to the church. Julie helped stuff me and my dress into my mom’s car and off we went. Once we arrived, Julie ran inside to make sure The Pilot wasn’t standing around as I made my way to the bridal room at the church.

To be continued....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Relay for Life 2011

So a million years ago, my family did Relay for Life. And I'm just now doing a blog post about it... oops. This was my 3rd year participating and again, it was a blast! My sister-in-law has been a volunteer and each year we seem to recruit more people for our team. The Pilot was even in town this year! We had so much fun spending time together and raising money for the American Cancer Society. My aunt, Julie, a cancer survivor, relayed with us this year. This is our family's way of paying it forward. It was also a chance for us to remember those that have lost their battles with cancer, include my grandma and Seth (my triathlon team's hero). We also celebrated those that are still with us, including Parker!

The Pilot made a video highlighting our 18 hours spent at the track. It was a "Lights, Camera, Cure" theme and many of the laps had movie or TV themes. Don't worry, I was NOT having a seizure during the Rocky themed lap. That's just how I run.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Summer of Oberon

So The Pilot introduced me to Oberon. I'm not much of a drinker and neither is The Pilot but sometimes a cold beer just hits the spot. I don't like most beers so when The Pilot let me try his Oberon, I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed it. I then learned that my brother was also an Oberon fan. It's a seasonal beer only available during the summer...which my brother mentioned was probably a good thing because he'd turn into an alcoholic if it was available all year.

And so began the Summer of Oberon. The Pilot, my brother and I all began sending texts to each other each time we enjoyed an Oberon....

The Pilot's favorite things: Oberon and Cheese

The Pilot gives thumbs up to Oberon on tap at a movie theater.

Cats like Oberon too!

Oberon goes to the lake.

So sad...the end of summer is here. And yes, this last case of Oberon went home with us.

My First Blog Award

Thank you to Joanna over at Daddy...Daddy, come back! for giving me my first blog award! This made my morning! It kinda made me feel like I'm now really in the pilot wives "club!"

The rules of the award are to say 3 random facts about yourself and pass the award along to 5 other bloggers.

My 3 random facts:

1. My grandma thought I was going to be a midget (her term, not mine) when I was born. I was just shy of 6 pounds and it seemed that each woman in the family was shorter than the generation before. Lucky for me though, I ended up being about a 1/2 inch taller than my mom. I tower at....5'3 1/2." I have to add the 1/2 inch to be official, though I'm probably starting to shrink. By the way, my grandma is pretty rad. She's old and crazy but she used to be young and crazy so I don't think much has changed in my opinion. Love her!

2. I used to be a "recreational" gymnast (never competed, it was just for fun). I took some classes in elementary school and then again in high school. I was pretty bad. The only thing going for me was that I was flexible and had good balance. I then hyper-extended my elbow doing a back handspring on a trampoline and landed on my head. That explains a lot.

3. While most people can't stand the sound of nails on a chalk board, I can't stand the feeling of cotton balls. For some reason, holding them, thinking about them, looking at them makes me cringe (maybe it's because what happened in random thing #2??). How's that for random?

Joanna selected other pilot wife bloggers and there aren't too many of us out there right now so I will spread the love around a little. Here are the 5 bloggers that I pass this award along to:

The Lemon Merchant
Eat, Drink and Be Meiri
Sweat Once A Day
The (Mis)Adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom
Slowly Tri-ing

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Twenty Years

I know I've mentioned it before on my blog but my favorite band is Pearl Jam. Favorite as in...if I was stranded on a deserted island, I'd want to listen to nothing but Pearl Jam. Favorite as in...I have been in their fan club for about 16 years. Favorite as in...I will drop everything when I hear they are touring and will scout out the closest concert to my house. Favorite as in...I don't care that most people about my age "outgrew" the band towards the end of the 90s. I have held firm in my belief that they are the GREATEST BAND EVER.

To celebrate 20 years since the band formed, they released a documentary, PJ 20. It was released last night in select cities, for one night only. Thankfully C-bus made the list! The first show sold out so I was stuck with the 9:30 pm showing...waaaay past my bedtime, especially on a "school night." I had a horrible day and considered not going at all, especially since I would be going alone (so goes the life of a pilot wife ) but I didn't want to waste the money for the ticket by not going. I'm so glad that I went. For two hours, I sat in an old, local theater and got to travel back in time... Bear with me as I take a trip down memory lane. If you don't care about PJ or the last 20 years of my life, tune in another day when I go back to whining about marathon training. :)

I honestly can't say how I was introduced to Pearl Jam. My guess is that I somehow heard them from my older brother either riding in the car with him and heard it on the radio or he may have owned their first album, Ten. It really doesn't matter,I just know that sometime around 1993 (I was only 12), I started to realize that there was so much out in the world other than just what I could see around me. For whatever reason, I latched onto the sound of this band. I remember saving my allowance to buy Ten and their second album, Vs. at the same time. I remember having to convince my mom to let me buy to Vs. because it had a parental advisory on the cover. Thankfully, she did. It's not like I hadn't heard curse words before!

Sure, I suppose I fell under the spell of "grunge" in the 90s and I liked just about all of the music in the genre but something about Pearl Jam always brought me back to them. Even today, as my musical tastes vary wildly, Pearl Jam is always the band I come back to. It's almost like catching up with an old friend when I hear one of their songs.

I was in the 6th grade when I first heard Pearl Jam and it was perfect timing. I was starting to get picked on in school, which continued until about 9th grade when I finally started to find my place in the world (and I slowly learned to stand up for myself). Despite being picked on, I still had a great group of friends so I wasn't ever isolated, but Pearl Jam's music was something that I could relate to. I felt connected to the message in their lyrics and I felt like I wasn't the only kid out there having a tough time.

I joined the Pearl Jam fan club around 8th or 9th grade and was always looking out for the band to come to my town or at least nearby. I finally got my chance to see them in 1996. Unfortunately the show was over 2.5 hours away (Toledo) and I didn't even have a drivers license yet. Luckily I have the greatest parents in the world. My dad drove me and my best friend, Lauren, to the show and then he waited in the parking lot during the entire show and then drove us home. To this day, this act of generosity is brought up in my family and I am forever thankful! That show might as well have been a religious experience! I had been to concerts before (my first was David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails in an outdoor amphitheater) but this was in an arena, which brought a much different atmosphere and it was the most incredible thing I had experienced up until that point. The last song of the night was my all time favorite (and still is to this day), Indifference. That's just one of those moments that I'll never forget.

When PJ toured again in 1998, I was old enough to drive and my parents trusted us but it was a concert over 2 hours away (Cleveland) from home and we were only 17. Once again, my dad stepped up and offered to drive me and Lauren to the show. This time we got a hotel room and he hung out there while we went to the show. Iggy Pop opened, which was quite an experience, but again, Pearl Jam was unbelievable. I remember that they covered The Who's, Baba O'Riley that night. I had heard Pearl Jam cover the song during a live concert that I had recorded off the radio (hello, tape deck!) and I knew it was a cover, but I didn't know who did the original. I remember Lauren and I calling into the local rock radio station and trying to "sing" the lyrics to the DJ, who immediately identified it as The Who. (Hey, I wasn't around when The Who was in their hey day and keep in mind that this was before you could Google anything!)

I don't remember which album it was (either No Code or Yield) but a local record store did a midnight release party. I was still in high school and it was a school night so my parents wouldn't let me go. But my older brother came to my rescue. He was in college and went to the store, bought the CD and brought it home to me. I stayed up late listening and remember my dad practically dragging me out of bed for school the next morning. Again, could I have asked for a more wonderful family??

I saw the band twice in 2000. I used my fan club tickets to see them in Pittsburgh with a college friend (who was recently my matron of honor) and then again in Columbus (the first home town show!). I didn't request fan club tickets for the Columbus show because I had recently been selected for an internship at Disney (a whole other life-changer!) but I didn't know when I would be starting and didn't want to buy tickets and then not be able to go. The Columbus show was at an outdoor amphitheater and without the fan club tickets, I had to buy lawn tickets. It didn't matter, it was my Pearl Jam!

In 2003, I was living in Orlando and I got a phone call from my brother. He was at a baseball game in Chicago. "Amber, you're never going to guess who just threw out the first pitch. Eddie Vedder." I'm not sure why I was as excited as I was but I wished I could have been there. The excitement went through the roof when my brother called me back a little while later. "Amber, how much do you love me?" My heart about stopped. "I just got Eddie Vedder's autograph. He was heading to the bathroom or something so I just walked up and asked him to sign my ticket." As the little sister, I've been jealous of my big brother many times in our lives but never more than in that moment. I wanted to jump through the phone and be there. Obviously my brother gave me that baseball ticket or I probably would have disowned him.

In 2006, the closest they were coming to Columbus (and on a day I was available) was just outside of Detroit...on a "school night." I was obviously a "grown up" by then and had a full time job. I couldn't talk anyone else into taking a day off work to go with me but I bought the two fan club tickets anyways and took a day off work. One of my brother's friends, Seth, was living in the area and was also a fan but he already had tickets to the show. We agreed to meet up for dinner and then go to the show together. Being in the fan club, I had 3rd row seats (seats are awarded to the fan club based on seniority) so we opted to sit in the seats I had. :) For some reason I don't really remember any specific songs about that night other than what happened before the show started. We were sitting in the 3rd row, just waiting for the opening act to go on (My Morning Jacket). Seth wanted to get up to walk around and get a drink. Always expecting the unexpected, I told him I wanted to stay at the seats but he should go ahead. I'm not kidding, just then, Eddie Vedder walked onto the stage and played an acoustic song. I don't remember the song but I'll never forget standing there, just a couple feet from him and surrounded by just a handful of other people. Every once in awhile when I see Seth, he brings up that moment and he is so glad that he didn't get up to get a drink!

The most recent show was May 2010, here in Columbus. The Pilot and I had only been dating a couple months at that point but he was in town that night and agreed to go with me. We went down to the arena to pick up the fan club tickets. The closest I had been so far was the 3rd row and I was really hoping for 1st row some day. I got the tickets from the box office and immediately found the seating diagram. Fifth row! Boo. The Pilot told me he didn't want to go to the show anymore because I had his hopes up for "better" seats. Ahhhh, sarcasm. I later found out that the first two rows are almost always reserved for contest winners. Hmmmm....I might have to start calling into radio stations or something!

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I watched the trailer for the documentary and even more so when I realized there was going to be a local showing. That movie felt like a time capsule of my life so far. It brought back so many memories (good, bad, painful, happy, sad, all of the above).

Pearl Jam continues to provide the soundtrack to my life and most recently, at my wedding to The Pilot. Their song, Just Breathe, was played during our wedding reception. The song has one of my favorite lyrics of all time, "Oh I'm a lucky man to count on both hands the ones I love. Some folks just have one and others they got none." Well said! I completely feel that way.

Thank you for the last 20 years, Pearl Jam. I look forward to what the future brings!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

7 miles in pictures

I only had a couple of free hours last Saturday to get in one last long run before the Air Force 1/2 Marathon. I was going to be working on Sunday and The Pilot was home but I really needed to get in one last long run. I was hoping for at least 8 miles but it just got too warm and I was going to be on my feet for the following 3 days at a work event so I called it quits at just over 7 miles.

The Pilot tagged along on his bike to document the run....

(Courtesy of my cell phone camera and my short looks like The Pilot is growling.)

It's no wonder I can't run/walk in a straight line. I blame the wonky lines on the path! ;)
This one makes me think of Sweaty Emily over at Sweat Once a Day.
My shirt says "As long as you're sweating, you're still alive."

I love the Midwest!

While I was trudging along, The Pilot would stop, get off his bike and take some time to
smell the flowers.....and the corn.

Still going....

OK, can I be done now? I feel like my feet are trying to run in opposite directions....

Emerald City Quarter Marathon

Please forgive the delays in my blog life has been on fast forward and I've desperately been seeking a pause button. I've been crazy busy but I'm still plugging away at my athletic endeavors....including the Emerald City Quarter Marathon back on September 4.

I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I signed up for this race. It was one week before a big event at work. I signed up for it as a training run for the Air Force 1/2 Marathon which is this weekend (the weekend after the aforementioned work event). I think this race schedule is even crazier than doing the triathlon just 2 weeks before the wedding.

Despite the hectic schedule, I'm glad I did this race. All it took was one email to the always-up-for-anything, Lisa. She agreed to run the race with me to help me run the entire distance. While she's a faster runner, she agreed because she was doing an 18-miler with Team in Training on Saturday morning and knew she wouldn't mind slowing down to do a "recovery run" with me. That, and she's crazy. A 6.55 mile race the day after an 18 mile training run?

Anyways, I met Lisa and her husband at their house on race morning. Her hubby did the race also. We headed to the start with concerns that the race would be cancelled. There was lightening everywhere and there had been strong storms over night. We got to the start about 30 minutes early and waited for announcements.

Always prepared, Lisa brought ponchos for us to wear before the start. There was a light drizzle as we waited around. With about 5 minutes to go, they gave the all clear to start the race. The lightening had moved through and the rain seemed to stop at the same time the gun went off.

Looking darn good in a blurry cell phone picture, rocking out my poncho.

We ditched the ponchos just after we crossed the start line. And as the rain stopped, so did the air. I swear it felt like I was running in a sauna for the first 3/4 of a mile! Luckily we turned north and there was a slight cross breeze which helped cool me off. I didn't think I was going to be able to keep running with the humidity like that. My obnoxious shin splints came out in full force for the first two miles. I tried really hard to focus on my conversation with Lisa but I had to take a short walk break.

Once we started to run again, slowly but surely all of my parts seemed to start working together. It wasn't until we got to about mile 4 though that I really started to feel pretty comfortable. And this is why I suck at 5k races! I really was built for loooooong and sloooooow. Who'd of thunk it that this Gym Class Dropout was made for 1/2 and full marathons!

Lisa and I ran along and caught up with each others' lives when I made a huge mistake. We were in the last 1/2 mile and we could hear the finish line off in the distance. I had looked at my Garmin and casually mentioned that it would be great to finish in under 1:30. WHY would I say that out loud?? That's all Lisa needed to push the pace from 13:00 to 12:30 to 12:00....and then inching closer to that 11:00 pace that makes my stomach flip over. She told me that because I said it out loud, it was going to happen. I both love her and hate her for that attitude.

As we approached the finish chute, I thought I was going to die. But at the same time, it felt great to push myself as hard as I could....and we even chicked some guy right before the finish line. A little unnecessary but still a little fun because it doesn't happen often for me.

We crossed the finish line in 1:25:42! An automatic PR because I've never raced that particular distance but I was excited to be so far under 1:30. I was excited that despite shoddy training, I was able to run almost the entire race....and didn't throw up on Lisa's shoes. I know she was excited about that last part as well.

I felt pretty sick for a couple minutes after crossing the finish line but recovered quickly enough to enjoy some chocolate milk from me and The Pilot's favorite local dairy.....Snowville Creamery. I'm not even a milk drinker and I love their milk! That was the first time I had their chocolate milk and it was SOOOOO yummy. Normally when I drink chocolate milk as a recovery drink, I mix it about 1/2 and 1/2 with skim milk because it can be too rich and sweet. Snowville Creamery's chocolate milk though is pretty much just cane sugar and cocoa added to low fat milk. It's just the right amount of rich and sweet!

So anyways, it was a successful morning. The race was great. Well organized, lots of volunteers and a HUGE medal. I was so glad that I signed up and while I enjoyed the distance, I think I'm really coming to love the 1/2 marathon distance. It's a good thing because in less than 48 hours, I'll be doing a 1/2 marathon!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monkey Ball 10

I'm reeeealy behind in my blog posts.....but I do have a refreshed blog header! I'm REALLY a pilot wife now...the blog says so.

So in between all of the craziness, I am still trying to train for a 1/2 marathon. Oh yeah, that little thing! I coached a couple weekends ago and walked 6 miles with our current walk team. They were faster than I expected them to be and I ended up with shin splints in the first mile. Boo! (The shins would go on to hurt at the next training also.) I trudged along. I love coaching. I really do and as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not going to lie. There are just some days that I'm not feeling it. I'm not having a good workout or I'm just tired and not really jazzed about being social. It happens. It's rare but it does happen. Especially when I've been burning the candle at both ends as they say. I'm spread a little thin these days.

So anyways, I walked 6 miles with some of our 1/2 marathoners. I had 2 people still out training for a full marathon. I ran back out to catch up so I could at least do the last mile or so with them. The problem is that the people out there, Speedy McSpeeders Kim and Marcia, walk faster than I do. A lot faster. So I tried to run next to them. My run is just a smidge faster than their walk though. They were cruising along so I just turned around and ran back to the starting point....always keeping Kim and Marcia within ear shot.

When we got back, my Garmin was reading just over 9 miles. Crap. I really wanted to get in a solid 10 miles. In my head (and per my coaching advice), 10 miles is really what it takes in training to pull off a 1/2 marathon. I knew that given my exhaustion and earlier shin splints, that calling it a day at approximately 9 miles would not be a big deal. But I got out of bed to coach and to do 10 miles and that is what I was going to do.

I turned around to make a lap around the building where we meet and some of our other runners were finishing up. It was my lucky day. Ann, (Parker's mama) shorted her run by a mile and still needed to get in another mile so she offered to run with me! While I was still feeling a little anti-social, I was so glad to have some company to pull me through that last mile. Plus, if you ever need a dose of sunshine mixed in with some humor and a little reality, hang out with Ann. She's AHHHMAZING!

We are about 1/2 a mile into the lap and I really wanted to walk. I told her I wasn't feeling it and I'm not kidding, she jumped in front of me, hopped off the path and grabbed a hedge apple off the ground. She jumped back onto the path next to me and told me that by the time we were done she will have done a 1/2 marathon that morning and she deserved a medal. The hedge apple, or as she called it, a monkey ball, would be her medal. She said that since my goal was 10 miles and I was going to finish it even though I wasn't feeling it, then I deserved a medal too.

Ann started telling me the story of her first full marathon. I was actually there the day she was supposed to finish her first marathon. I was coaching the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon with TNT. Ann knew going into the race that she was injured and had to make the decision to drop to the 1/2 marathon. I remember how upset she was, even though she tried to hide it. What I didn't know was that NOT being able to do the full marathon that day really lit a fire in her. After recovering from her injury, she went out one day with some family members and she ran a full marathon. All 26.2 miles. It wasn't an actual race, it was just a day on the path. But a marathon is a marathon and that deserves a medal! When they crossed that imaginary finish line, the only thing around was a monkey ball/hedge apple so that was what they used as a medal! She kept it until it rotted and then actually replaced it with a fake one to commemorate her first full marathon. Isn't that a great story??

While Ann was telling the story, it took another few hundred feet before we found another monkey ball. I picked it up and we carried our monkey balls back to our starting point. I don't know why or how but carrying that darn hedge apple distracted me enough to actually let me enjoy the last little bit of that run.


A blurry cell phone picture of Ann with her "1/2 Marathon Monkey Ball" and my "Monkey Ball 10." Yes, Ann gets the pocket size monkey ball because she is actually pocket sized. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011


1,690 calories in ONE sandwich?? That is disgusting. That is an entire day's worth of calories in one sandwich. This is not counting any side dishes or a drink....or the extra cheese that you can add for $ .69.

Don't get me wrong, I love food. I love cheese (and have blogged about my love of cheese in the past) but this is just disgusting. Now I don't usually comment on anything government/political on here but if the government makes cigarette companies put warnings on their packaging (which they should), then I think restaurants need to do the same. The Denny's web site doesn't have the nutritional information posted on their web site yet so who knows what other obscene nutritional facts this sandwich boasts. I can't even begin to imagine the fat content. Ick.

I don't care if this seems judgemental but I bet people that eat this sandwich are the same people that would ride the world's shortest elevator. I don't intend to be mean but that's just my opinion.


Tuesday's 4-miler was just one of those trainings that wasn't horrible but it didn't go the great either. I wanted to run 4. I walked just over a 1/4 mile to warm up but as soon as I started to run, I felt Sunday's 10 miler. My ankles were sore and then out of no where, shin splints. Damn! I'm convinced shin splits are one of the most annoying ailments. At least for me...because they randomly show up and while I know they usually go away after the 2nd or 3rd mile, it feels like it won't end and I want to quit!

I didn't run very far before I needed a walk break. One of our rock star walkers, Kim, caught up to me. We walked and talked for awhile and my shins finally started to calm down. I decided to run again and see if I could make it the entire way back. And I did! My legs finally warmed up and cooperated. I finished in about 55 minutes which surprised me give that I had walked as much as I did. Normally it takes me right around 60 minutes to walk 4 miles. Even though it wasn't the best workout, there was still progress!

The best part of the workout was right as I was in the last 1/4 mile. I hear a squeaky "on your left." I waved my hand to let the cylcist know that I heard them and I was then passed by a 7-year old on a road bike! I'm just guessing on the age but that's what he looked like as he went by. And a few minutes later, another squeaky but somewhat deeper "on your left." I said thank you and waved my hand and was passed by a 10-year-old on a road bike! The old boy turned and asked for directions to someone behind me. I was about to make my turn so I glanced over my shoulder to make sure it was safe to make a left turn off the path and I saw IronParents. They were unmistakably triathletes. There was a super fit and tiny IronMom and a tall, thin IronDad, both wearing tri gear. The family that trains together, stays together!

What I enjoyed most about seeing this family was the fact that those two small boys already know multi-use trail etiquette! They signaled that they were approaching and passed at a safe speed and distance.

It sure beats the a-hole cyclists that Kim and I encountered a couple weeks ago on the same path. It was a busy night with a lot of traffic out on the trail (runners/walkers/cyclists/roller bladers). Kim and I were walking side by side at about a 14 minute mile (certainly not strolling along casually) when a cyclist approached. There was no friendly "on your left" or bell like every other cyclist had used that night. Instead we were greeted with the man screaming and just as he got around us, he yelled back, "f*ing walkers." I've spend HOURS and HOURS on that trail over the past 7 years and I have never encountered something like that out there. I was actually stunned.

Here's my beef. It's a multi-use trail. Get over it! If you are that serious of a cyclist, get on the road. There is a 15 mph speed limit on the trail anyways. Another thing, pedestrians have the right of way and cyclists must yield. I'm a cyclist and I know full well that that trail is very challenging to navigate on an evening with perfect weather. It just gets busy! Knowing this, I either don't go there or I just accept it for what it is and have a casual ride. I do understand the frustration when there are casual walkers/strollers that are out there 3-5 across or on the wrong side of the path or stopped in the middle. While frustrating, all you need to do is yell out an "excuse me" or "approaching" and if necessary, prepare for some evasive maneuvers. No need for obscenities....especially when the other party IS following the rules.

OK, I'm done. I'll focus on PROGRESS and that there are at least 2 cyclists that have some etiquette....those 2 little boys that are growing up with manners and an active lifestyle. I hope they don't turn into old, bitter cyclists some day!!

At a monument near where our team meets on Sundays....
I think I might have to start taking pictures of the different sayings each week
because there are so many applicable quotes for training!