Friday, December 31, 2010

Camerica ...

In case you didn't realize, we had a fantastic time on our trip to Disney. While we were there, we established some general rules for navigating the parks. J usually split from us immediately after walking through the gate to grab a FastPass for our favorite rides. Then we'd meet either at a show or an attraction with a historically short wait. It worked well. We rarely waited more than 10 minutes for anything and we were able to piggyback our FastPasses on each other.

In addition to having rules for navigating the parks, we also had rules about what we would and would not do. Country Bear Jamboree and Hall of Presidents? Never going to happen. Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest? We'd probably get in a fist fight for the last FastPass.

There were also rules that applied to our children.
1. 3D shows/attractions are a complete waste of time. The girls FREAK OUT and scream through the whole thing.
2. If you are tall enough to ride, you HAVE to ride. At least once. Because you don't know if you like it unless you try (this is how we know 3D rides don't work for them). And most of the time, they like it. Some of the girls' favorite rides were Big Thunder Mountain, Expedition Everest, The Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror.
3. You can go on anything that you want, even if everyone else thinks you are crazy/strange/boring. Mom is the only one who can veto your selection.

Because of rule #3, Doodle ended up seeing the "O Canada" movie in Epcot. Out of the blue she decided that she HAD to see it. The rest of us weren't feeling it as much. So, J agreed to go with her while the rest of us explored (read: shopped).

After we met up again, she said the film was good and she never mention it again. Until yesterday.

We were eating dinner, then out of the blue, this conversation occurred:

Doodle: Dizzle should have done the Camerica thing at Disney.
Me: (with no clue as to what she was talking about) Oh, yeah. She really should have.
Dizzle: (to me) What did she say?
Me: I'm not sure.
Doodle: Dizzle should have done the Camerica thing at Disney. It was good and it was very small.
Me: Huh? What was it about?
Doodle: You know, the Camerica movie.
Me: Oh, you mean the CANADA movie.
Doodle: Yeah, Dizzle should have seen it.
Dizzle: What's Canada?

Does anyone else think I should buy my kids a map?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three Things Thursday, Goals Edition ...

I've always been the type of person that does well with goals. I attribute that to the fact that I tend to see them as endpoints with a predetermined route. They are not suggestions. Or wishes. Or dreams. Instead, they are my finish line and I just need to do the things along the way to make it there. And although I have many goals for 2011, they all fall into one of three categories.


  • Clean up my diet - I lost 70 pounds in 2004 and other than during pregnancies, have maintained quite well. But, my diet sucks. (Seriously. I ate 48 600-800 calorie cupcakes in 2010). I am a notorious calorie counter. I know how much I need each day to maintain my weight, but I often use up those calories with low-quality foods (i.e. sweets). And I am done with it.
  • Eat no more than 25 cupcakes - This really goes with the first one. I know I can't go cold turkey from cupcakes, so instead, I am cutting my quota in half.


  • Pay off our consumer debt by the end of the year - As I mentioned before, J and I have gone to a cash only budget. It has been working and is helping to show me that all the things I thought I NEEDED were really just things I would LIKE to have.
  • Spend $0 on clothing - A few months ago, I whittled my wardrobe down to 35 items (running gear excluded). And have LOVED it. I have everything I need and I have zero unused items. (And we all know I have more than enough to run in ...) Because of this, I feel like I can make it a year without spending anything on clothing. However, this is not to say, I won't get any new pieces. I probably will, but they will either be given to me or purchased with a gift card.


  • Run 2,000 miles - This one seems kind of daunting, but not impossible. In 2009, I ran 921 miles. As of this morning, I have run 1797.87 in 2010 (and I have 10 more on the schedule). I figure if I managed to add 880 mile this year, I can surely add 200 in 2011.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon - I should have this one in the bag, but it is going to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one for me. All of my current PRs from the 5K to 10 miles put me under this time. I just need to believe I can do it.
  • Take 30+ minutes off my marathon - I have yet to have everything go right on marathon day and my PR reflects it (4:49), leaving me to believe that shaving a half hour or more off my time is not only possible, but realistic. I mean, really. 5K PR puts my goal marathon time at 3:43:24 and my half marathon PR puts it at 4:04:43. It's going to come together in 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 goals: accomplished

2010 was a pretty big year for me and my family.

I became certified as a running coach and started my own training business. I was also fortunate enough to travel quite a bit for races, toeing the line in Bermuda, Florida, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and Washington. We went to Disney. Twice. J ran his first (and second) half marathon. Dizzle and Doodle each ran their first race, a mile and a half mile, respectively. Dizzle also started kindergarten and lost two teeth. Dilly learned to walk and talk. Simply put, 2010 didn't suck.

When the year started, I put in place a few goals to keep me motivated throughout the year. Here's how they turned out -

  • run 1000 miles - accomplished on 8/14, as of this morning I sit at 1787.87 on the year.
  • run a 2 hour half marathon - accomplished on 9/26 at the You Go Girl! Half where I was paced by Tall Mom to a 1:58:02
  • run a sub-25 5K - accomplished first on 5/29 at the Autism 5K (24:09) and again last Sunday (22:55)
  • run a sub 7:10 mile - accomplished, sort of. I never did the mile time trial I wanted to, but my last mile of Sunday's 5K was a 7:08. I'm counting that.
  • eat less than 50 cupcakes - accomplished, as of today I have had 48 cupcakes this year. It scares me to think of how many calories that adds up to or how much cash I spent on them (they run $3.25 each).

Not too shabby, right? Now I just need to think of some goals to help make 2011 even better ...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

untapped speed ...

On Sunday, I was supposed to run my last race of 2010 - a 5K. I was super excited for it. After a fantastic 8K PR in November and a strong base established, I was primed to run fast. Plus, the 5K is a distance that I LOVE, but never seem to build into my race schedule.

So, I was all set. Uber-cute outfit picked out. Mental game on point. And despite running 24 miles in the two days prior, I felt strong. I was going to crush my PR (24:09). But then, it snowed.

And for the first time in a VERY long time, I wasn't a "runner first, logical thinker second." J didn't want me to drive to the race (honestly, the roads were bad) and I actually listened to him - taking my first DNS EVER.

I was totally bummed. I wanted, no, NEEDED to know how fast I could run. So, I put on my uber-cute outfit and hit the treadmill for my own Christmas 5K.

I set the treadmill incline to 1%. I hit the button for the pace I was hoping to run (7:30) and I was off. The first mile was comfortable, so I pushed it a little. But still, mile two seemed to fly by, so I sped up again. And when I finished, the display looked like this ...

Yeah, that's right. 22:55 (7:23 pace). A 1:14 improvement over my 5K PR from May. And then I started thinking that maybe Mel's right. I might have some untapped speed in me after all ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

our Disney Christmas ...

Like I mentioned before my little hiatus, J and I surprised our girls with a trip to Disney for Christmas. When we loaded up the car early on the morning of the 15th, they didn't really know what to expect and we didn't really know how they'd react, so we videotaped it. Personally, I think the reaction we got was pretty funny. Dizzle freaked. Doodle cried (not because she was so happy, but because Dizzle figured it out first). And Dilly barely even noticed. Typical.

So, do you want to see it? Thought so. (Note: When Dizzle's guesses that we were going to see Katye, she meant Katye from Long Legs on the Loose. And watch the video of the end. The last thing Dizzle says makes me laugh every time.)

Good stuff, right?

Once we arrived in Orlando (we were also joined by my mom and sister, Angie Pants), our "relaxing" vacation became anything but. We spent almost every waking minute at the parks getting our fill of rides, shows, attractions and unhealthy foods. It was magical.

Over the course of our nine day trip we ...


ate things like this (I did manage to run 37 miles to counteract these indulgences).

went on safari.

traveled by boat.



kept our kids up WAY past their bedtimes.


goofed around.



and played some more.

took the best family portrait ever.

Every second of our trip was amazing. Well, mostly. Those two days when Dizzle had a stomach bug and was puking here and there, kind of sucked (and yes, I am a horrible mother and filled her up on Pepto and Motrin and made her suck it up. And be honest. You'd probably would have done the same.)

Anyway, this trip reaffirmed a few things for us.
1. There is no question that Dizzle and Doodle are adrenaline junkies. They LOVED Tower of Terror, Big Thunder Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Expedition Everest.
2. Dilly proved that she is an endurance athlete in the making. Her 23 month old legs WALKED the vast majority of the time.
3. J and I are big kids. We had as much, if not more fun than the girls.
4. I am done with giving the girls "things." I would MUCH rather give them these experiences. To show them the world and create memories that they will cherish for so much longer than some gift they unwrap on Christmas morning. And I know that if they really thought about it, they'd feel the same. Trust me. I saw their faces when they saw Cinderella's castle light up ...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

oh, to be five ...

Most little kids are thankful for their mom and dad, their pets and maybe even their favorite toys. But not my kid. Here are the four things Dizzle is most thankful for ...

Yup, that's right.


Apparently, Dizzle is borderline hippie and I just didn't know it. I mean, if she wasn't going to choose her family as her favorite thing, couldn't she at least have chosen her running shoes? I'd get that choice ...

All joking aside, I am very thankful for the things in my life too. And I am especially thankful that this time tomorrow we will be en-route to Disney. We are about to surprise our girls with the ultimate Christmas present and will be making memories to last a lifetime. Memories that I will share here. Eventually. Like after we return ...

So, until then, may you all have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

some days being a parent stinks ...

Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this post all together. Don't say I didn't warn you ...

Note to self:

A: Do not allow your three-year-old to ingest 12 or more ounces of Egg Nog while shopping at BJ's.

B: Do not tell your child to "deal with it" when she says, "Mom, my tummy hurts. And it hurts more when you push on it."

C: ALWAYS have an extra box of baking soda on hand, because y0u never know when ignoring A and B will lead to this ...

Thanks Doodle. At least you kept most of it on the hardwoods ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 miles ...

For the first two years of my running, I think I had a mental block. I averaged 10 minute miles on my training runs whether I was running two miles or 20. I can't be sure why that happened, but looking back on it, I am starting to suspect it was because I "told" myself that that was the pace I could run.

But about eight months ago, I started to "run slower, to run faster." I found the proper pace zones based on my PRs at the time and I stuck to them. I built my mileage base. I stopped running every training run at the same speed. I became more deliberate in my training. And over the course of months, I saw myself (and my training posse) get faster.

The other day, G and I were talking about how "9 minute miles are the new 10 minute miles." And how without us even realizing it, we have managed to up our game. Obviously, we realized that our times were dropping, but we hadn't paid attention to how far we had come since this time last year (kind of like someone who loses a ton of weight, but they don't "see" it because the loss has been gradual for them).

Yesterday, we ran our five mile loop. The same five mile loop our group runs twice a week. When we finished, my Garmin read an average pace of 8:51. And we talked THE WHOLE TIME. All I could think was, "8:51? That's nuts. There was a time in the not so distant past when 8:51 would have been 5K race pace for me."

That's when I decided to go back and see the progression of pace over this five mile course. And here's what I found ...

On 9/8, we averaged 10:12
On 10/5, we averaged 9:49
On 10/26, we averaged 9:40
On 11/30, we averaged 9:19
and on 12/9, we averaged 8:51

And the intensity remained the same ...

So, what does this show me? Well, two things. First, that if you want to improve, you need to be deliberate about your training. And second, if you want to improve, you need to BELIEVE that you can improve.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

hot water ...

On Saturday, J realized that our hot water heater was leaking. Nothing major, but enough to warrant a call to our home warranty provider. We were told that someone would contact us to set up a service call "as soon as possible." Needless to say, "as soon as possible" does not mean quickly. So, we called again (on Monday) and got set up with a technician on Tuesday. In the meantime, we changed out the towel that was absorbing the leak every few hours and continued to go about our daily business.

When our service call actually happened on Tuesday morning, the plumber told us the water heater needed to be replaced and that it would be a one to two day turn around. We were cool with that. Everything was working fine and we didn't really mind swapping out a towel here and there. Plus, our home warranty was going to cover the cost.

But, then on Tuesday night (after my second run of the day), I took a shower. And when I came downstairs to swap out the towel, we had an issue. LIKE A BIG ISSUE. Like Old Faithful had erupted in our utility room. Water was everywhere and the shut-off valve wouldn't budge (we later learned the valve was shot).

I called J in a panic. There was no containing the water and I couldn't find the shut-off for the water line to the house. I tried to catch the water in a bucket, but that was pointless. When J got home 20 minutes later, he was able to cut the water to the house (well, partially), which slowed the flow of water. At that point, there wasn't much else for us to do. We had to sit and wait for a professional to come and remedy the situation.

An hour and a half later, the "on-call" plumber showed up to drain the tank and restore water to the rest of the house. It sounded great to me. Sure, we wouldn't have hot water until the unit was replaced, but that would hopefully be within a day. Easy peasy.

Except it wasn't. Because not only did our hot water heater provide hot water to our home, it also served an integral part in our home heating system. Meaning that if we don't have a functioning hot water heater, WE DON'T HAVE HEAT. And it's freaking 20 degrees outside. Needless to say, we are cold. And I'm not good with cold.

And to top it off, it is over 24 hours later and we still don't have any clue as to when we will be getting our new water heater. Apparently, it is "special" and is more difficult to obtain than your standard water heater. Right.

So, until it arrives and is installed we will be doing (or not doing) the following ...

1. We will be sleeping with WAY more blankets than anyone ever should. I'm pretty sure that Dilly is going to get lost in the three queen sized blankets on her bed.

2. We will be wearing multiple layers and hats indoors. Not ideal, but at least I don't have to brush anyone's hair.

3. We will be snuggling. A lot. Which doesn't really suck at all.

4. We will not be doing laundry. Kind of sucky, considering I only own 35 pieces of clothing and I am wearing most of them right now.

5. We will not be using the dishwasher. And all of our dishes will be cleaned in ICE COLD water. (That will be J's job.)

6. We will not be bathing. I'm not into the whole cold shower in the winter thing. And although I know I could fill the bathtub part of the way with cold water and add boiled water to the tub, that is just too much work.

7. We will count our blessing that this didn't happen a week from now, right before or right after we go to Disney.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

potty mouth ...

For all of you who love a stories about bodily functions, here is a conversation I had yesterday with Doodle ...

Doodle: "Mommy. My side hurts."
Me: "Well, honey, you probably have to go to the bathroom."
Doodle: "NO! I! DON'T!"
Me: "Whatever, Doodle. Then stop complaining." (Obviously, I am really sympathetic.)
Doodle: (Whining) "But, my side hurts ..."
Me: "Then go to the bathroom."

Doodle stomps off and I proceed to pick up around the house.

Doodle: (all of 30 seconds later) "Mom?"
Me: "What?"
Doodle: "I am going to the bathroom."
Me: "I'm super happy for you."
Doodle: (not to me, but loud enough for me to hear): "I just can't stop pooping! I am pooping so much! I'm gonna fill the toilet up. I guess I really had to go poopie."
Doodle: "Mom? What are you doing?"
Me: "I'm putting away the laundry. Why?"
Doodle: "Well, I am going poopie and there is so much. I can not believe how much poopie came out of me. And my side doesn't hurt anymore. That is so silly!"

No, Doodle. What's silly is that you didn't just listen to me in the first place ...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

control ...

I have never claimed to be ladylike. In fact, I will openly admit to being quite the opposite. I have been known to wipe my nose (and my kids') with my sleeve. I unabashedly pick my wedgies. And I only wear a skirt when I am running. But perhaps my most unladylike behavior is that I burp with the best of them. I never try to hide it. And most days I make a joke of it.

Usually, the joke goes one of two ways.

1. I burp and blame someone else. The kids seem to find this funny. As long as they aren't the one who gets blamed.

2. I burp and tell whichever kid is closest that she "made me do it."

Most days, the girls appease me and laugh at my rather pathetic attempt at being funny. But recently, Dizzle just isn't having it. Yesterday, when I told her she made me burp, she turned to me and said ...

"Mom. We control our own bodies."

Right, Dizzle. I had forgotten that. Why don't you keep that in mind then next time you try to tell me that Doodle made you do it ...

Monday, December 6, 2010

feeling festive ...

Yesterday morning, I woke up to this ...
So, I ran 9 miles wearing this ...
Then once I warmed up, we did a little bit of this ...

And this ...
And this ...
And, yes. I was there too ...
And then we ended up with this ...
Yup. Definitely feeling festive around here ...

Friday, December 3, 2010

if I could change one thing ...

When someone asks me if I have any regrets or if there is anything I would change in my past, I have always said no. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, both good and bad. I have faith that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this very moment.

And if we are being honest, I am amazingly content with my life. I have a loving husband, three beautiful daughters and an amazing support system. There really isn't much I can complain about. Sure, some days are stressful and sometimes things don't go my way, but all-in-all, I am blessed. We all are.

But being blessed doesn't prevent you from being stupid. I will admit that I have made some dumb choices in my life. I've focused on the wrong things. I've stressed about things I can not change. I've gotten caught up in commercialism. In having the latest and greatest. The biggest and the best.

And that last one? Well, that's something I am committed to changing.

I remember being 18 years old and getting my first credit card. For the next four years, I was a credit card company's worst nightmare. I made a few small charges each month and paid off the entire balance WEEKS BEFORE the due date. They NEVER made a cent off of me. And in return, I was rewarded with an excellent credit score.

I remember how I used to make purchases. I was a poor college student who only bought what was NECESSARY. I always thought before I swiped. If I didn't have the money in the bank to cover what I was buying, I didn't get it. So, if that meant that I ate cereal or mac and cheese at every meal because that was all I could afford, I was cool with that.

Until yesterday afternoon, I couldn't really pinpoint when that mentality changed. I knew it was sometime after graduation and before Dizzle was born, but the exact moment alluded me. But, in my ongoing purging, I stumbled upon my "wedding portfolio" (the book I used to plan my wedding).

Inside the book was the final bill for our wedding. Not the dress. Or the favors. Or the photography (which was free by the way). Or any of the costs leading up to the event. Just the total price of the wedding and reception.


$6091 that was put entirely on a credit card. $6091 that I am probably still paying for.

As soon as I saw that bill, I remembered that moment. (And it instantly became the moment I would go back and change.) J and I had to pay for the wedding somehow and our credit cards were the only way we could at the time. And I'm pretty sure that when that charge hit, we became "OK" with carrying debt. It almost seemed like a necessary evil. I think I've known all along that it's not, but when you are carrying debt it becomes easier to justify more debt.

I really wish we could go back 6 years and change our spending habits. I wish we could return all of the items we wasted our hard earned money on and get a refund. But, it doesn't work like that. Instead, J and I are actively choosing to break the cycle. We have kicked the credit cards to the curb. We have set a strict budget. And if we can't pay for it in cash, we can't pay for it at all.

I know it's going to be hard to change our habits. And I know the "unexpected" will happen. But, I also know that I am extremely driven and when I set my mind to something, I find a way to make it happen. This will be no different. I refuse to let it be.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday ...

1. Revenge of the Pinkeye - Remember last week when I posted that Doodle had been hit with pinkeye? Well, it seems that the eye of pink has taken permanent residence in our home. Dizzle was diagnosed with it on Monday and Doodle (after finishing both an oral and topical antibiotic) woke up all crusty again today. Seriously? Isn't one round enough? Dude, if this doesn't clear up soon, our Disney photos are going to be scary ...

2. Post Thanksgiving Immune Deficiency - Did you know that such a thing existed? Well, it does. For the past three years, I have gotten sick in the week following Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why, but it hits me pretty much immediately after Thanksgiving dinner and it hits me hard.

And because I am a runner first, logical thinker second, I have been running this week despite not feeling great. Yesterday was rough. I didn't know if I just lacked motivation or if my body was trying to tell me I needed a rest day. I hoped I was running low on motivation and headed out in 40+ mph winds with G, J, K and two strollers. Needless to say, sometimes I question our sanity.

3. San Francisco Stalking - Last January, G and I traveled to Bermuda for the Bermuda Half Marathon. It was a FANTASTIC girls' weekend and we decided that we wanted to make it an annual tradition. After much talk (of where we could stay for free), we decided to run the 2011 San Francisco Half Marathon. (Feel free to join us!)

Registration was supposed to open yesterday. So, like any sane person I stalked the website ALL DAY waiting for it to go live. But, it NEVER did. Apparently, there is some sort of technical glitch holding everything up. And although, I know the race probably isn't going to sell out on day one, I REALLY want to register. It makes it all official. And then, J can't change his mind about me going ...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Rewind ...

Holy Cow! It's December, which means that a BIG holiday is coming up quickly.

My birthday - there are only two months until I turn 29. And you probably should start planning your gifts now. I accept cash, checks, credit cards and running gear of all kinds. And if you are feeling really generous, go ahead and send me a Christmas present too.

Or, if you want to send me a gift to commemorate all I accomplished last month, I'm not going to stop you. And so that you have a reference point, here is my November 2010 in review ...

Miles Planned/Miles Ran: none - for the first time in forever, I ran without a training plan/140.67 (which brings me to 1609.15 on the year)

Rest Days Planned/Rest Days Taken: 8/9

Highest Mileage Week: 11/22-11/28: 34.3 miles

Long Runs Planned/Long Runs Completed: 4/4

Donuts Burned: 97 (my favorite statistic on Dailymile)

Current Book: None, unless children's books count. Which I don't think they do. Especially considering I have most of them committed to memory.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Cream Puffs. Have you ever noticed how I have a thing for desserts? Well, I do. And thanks to a $2.00 off coupon at BJ's, I have almost single-handedly consumed a box of 70 cream puffs. God, I hope J has been sneaking them too ...

Current Colors: Pink and Charcoal Grey

Current Drink: Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee. With the temperatures dropping, I find myself drinking it non-stop just to stay warm.

Current Song: Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida

Current Triumph: My 3:04 PR in the 8K two weeks ago. And a complete purge of my closet. And my pure awesomeness, of course ...

Current Goal: A new 5K PR at my December 26th race. Rebuild my base before heading into marathon training on Jan 1. Not go broke while on vacation at Disney.

Current Blessing: Pretty much everything. Life is pretty sweet right now. And I don't take that for granted.

Current Excitement: Did I mention that we are going to Disney? Like in 14 days? And that my kids have NO IDEA? (Note: We surprised them with a Disney trip in March. It was classic. You can see their reactions HERE.)