Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 review and 2010 goals

It's been a big year in our house. We had our third (and last) child. We bought a new house, one which we hope to live in for a VERY LONG TIME. J started a new job. I started my own business. We've watched our children grow and flourish. We've watched them frustrate (both us and themselves). Things have been good. We are blessed. And happy.

It's also been a big year on the running front. It started with me all huge and waddling. Running at the end of a pregnancy is a rather awkward thing (but I would highly recommend sticking with it if you can). Once Dilly arrived, I was forced to take a three week hiatus. I did. Then returned to running (and racing) 23 days after Dilly's birth. I ran the Youngblood 5K, which I finished in 27:35 and somehow placed 3rd in my age group. Yes, there were only nine people in my age group, but I still beat six of them!

I used the rest of the spring to build my speed before marathon training began. I ran two 10K, an 8k and two 5Ks between April 1st and May 31st. By the end of May, I had gained back most of the speed I had lost during my pregnancy. I even set a new 5K PR of 25:19. Definitely the highlight of the year.

June 1st started half-marathon training, which led right into marathon training. Over the next 24 weeks, I logged almost 600 miles. In that same time, I PR'd at the Patrick Henry Half in a time of 2:18:18. That same day I suffered severe dehydration and was inches away from heat stroke. Not my best running moment. But at least it taught me to NEVER run another half marathon in the middle of summer in the South. Seems so obvious now ...

After that half, marathon training went well. Until four weeks out. My ankle started acting up. I had to back off on mileage. And then I fell down the stairs and hurt my other foot. It was rough. I did almost no running in the last three weeks of training. But on race day, I was standing at the start line ready to go. Before the race was half over, my ankle gave out. I didn't know at the time but it was severely sprained. I finished, slower than I had hoped, but amazingly I loved every moment of it.

I would have to take the next three weeks off due to that injury. But after a cast and a dose of cortisone, I came back, perhaps stronger than before. Today, I logged my last run of 2009. And while I missed my goal of 1000 miles, I am rather happy with what I did accomplish. And very hopeful for 2010. So here they are, my 2009 totals and 2010 goals:

921.35 miles run
110,562 calories burned
3 PRs set
at least 50 cupcakes eaten

2010 goals:
run 1000 miles
run a 2 hour half marathon
run a sub-25 5K
run a sub 7:10 mile
eat less than 50 cupcakes

What will you do in 2010?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

sore arms ...

With three kids under age five in the house, things can get pretty messy. I have been trying to get the girls to at least help me clean up their toys. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Yesterday, Doodle refused to help. I asked her why. And she responded with this doozy, "I can't clean up. My arms will hurt."

Seriously? Lifting up your toys will hurt your arms? Well, we wouldn't want that to happen. Perhaps, things would be better if I just got rid of all those toys. What Doodle? You don't like that idea either?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas weekend rewind ...

It's FINALLY over! I can dismantle the tree. I can take down the lights. And I won't have to hear another Christmas song until next Thanksgiving. All joking aside, our holiday was fantastic. Here is the photographic evidence:

The girls got EVERYTHING they could ever dream of (including American Girl dolls - Thanks Uncle Jeff and Kellis) and I got my Crackberry. My new addiction. I bet if there was a way to effectively combine my addiction of running with that of my new phone, I would do it. I'm never unplugged. How did I ever function before?

Not only did I get a sweet gift, I was a pretty awesome wife too. I hooked J up with his own Garmin Forerunner 305 (now he can stop stealing mine) and a RoadID (safety first people). He loved his gifts and now has no reason to not properly train for his FIRST HALF MARATHON on May 16. So, if you see him, make sure you ask him how his training is going!

Speaking of training, I have a "fun run" half marathon coming up on Jan 17th (or at least that's how we said we are going to run it. But let's be honest, "fun run" is code for race!). Anyway, G and I are going to Bermuda. We were both supposed to be running. But both of us ended up injured after the marathon. I recovered. G, well G is getting there. Looks like she won't be back in time. Honestly, I just want to PR (2:18:17 - would do that), but in the back of my head I would really like to go sub 2:10. I've heard the course is REALLY HILLY. So, we'll see. In the weeks I've been back, I have been working on consistently running faster. Mostly on the treadmill. For a few reasons.

1. I can not run with a triple stroller.
2. I hate running in the cold without a running buddy.
3. I think it's easier to "push my pace" on the treadmill.

Last week, I did 8 miles on the treadmill in 1:09, just above my 10K PR pace. Short runs (3-4 miles) have been just above my 5K PR pace. I got outside yesterday for a 10 miler. I ran the first three alone, then met up with some friends for the next 4.5 and then ran 2.5 miles home. My overall pace was 9:33. And I felt great. Today I am a little sore (obviously from the terrain differences). Anyway, I checked this run against the last 9 miler I did in marathon training. The pace for that run was 10:38. Love it!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Virtual Winter Misery One Miler ...

I partook in my first virtual race today - The Winter Misery One Miler hosted by RunningLaur. I had never heard of this "virtual race" thing before but instantly wanted to be a part of it. I was totally psyched about the distance. I have been itching to do a mile time trial, but have been putting it off. Now I had the perfect reason to try.

So this afternoon, I headed outside (for the first time in ... well too long). The temperature was 34 which contributed to some dicey conditions. The roads are still rather icy from last weekend's storm and I found myself dodging black ice and shortening my stride to keep myself from falling. I ran as hard as I possibly could without wiping out and never looked at my watch. There were moments when I thought I might die. But I didn't. I finished. And rather quickly (for me anyway) ...

McMillian says that based on my 5K time, I should be able to do a mile in 7:18. I think that is pretty dead on given ideal conditions (ice is not ideal). Perhaps another goal for 2010 ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas baby ...

In case you were wondering, the Blanchet home is non-denominational. I was raised Catholic (and it's been years since I've been to Church). J's dad was inches away from becoming a Catholic priest, but changed his path and kind of dropped the whole religion thing (for their entire family) all together. When J and I decided to have kids, we decided that we weren't going to raise our children with the beliefs of any specific religion. Since J never had it in his life and I kind of felt like it was forced upon me, we thought that we would give our kids the opportunity to practice any religion they wanted once they were old enough to make an informed decision on their own.

This has both succeeded and failed. We do not currently practice any religion, but to appease our relatives we had (or will soon have) all of our daughters christened (baptized? blessed? whatever you want to call it). The concept of God has never really come up. Dizzle has asked about where you go when you die, but I try to keep the explanation as simple as possible (since she is only four). All in all, we don't really talk about religion to our kids and today this became apparent to me.

Dizzle and Doodle were asked if they would like to be in the Christmas pageant at a friend's church. Knowing that my girls would LOVE to, I jumped at the opportunity. But then I realized that they have NO CONCEPT of who Jesus is. I felt the need to "fill them in" on the back story of the Christmas pageant. I wanted to explain to them that Christmas is really not about Santa, but the birth of Christ. Our conversation went a little something like this.

Me: "So girls, we are going to go to Miss G's house to have dinner and then we are going to go to the Church to have a dress rehearsal."

Dizzle: "What is a Church?"

Me: "It's a place people go to worship."

Dizzle: "Oh. Is it the wedding place?"

Me: "Yes, it's the wedding place. Anyway, this "play" you are going to be in is about how Christmas came to be. You see Christmas is really a celebration of Jesus Christ."

Dizzle: "Who is that?"

Me: "The son of God. Anyway, his birth was so important that Christians everywhere began to celebrate it every year and it became what we know today as Christmas."

Dizzle: "OK. So is he (Jesus) going to be at the Church?"

Me: "No, Dizzle. Jesus was born a very long time ago and he is no longer with us."

Dizzle: "Oh, so is someone going to pretend to be him?"

Me: "Yes, just like you are going to pretend to be an angel and Doodle is going to pretend to be a sheep."

Dizzle: "What did the angels do when the Christmas baby was born?"

Me: "They watched over him."

Dizzle: "And what did the sheep do? Sheep are supposed to be on a farm."

Me (knowing Dizzle thinks Jesus was born in a hospital with sheep walking around): "Well, Jesus was born in a manger. It's kind of like a farm."

Dizzle: "Oh. Well, what kind of shoes do angels wear?"

And that was that ... Do you think they got it?

Tacky Lights Run Pictures

Here are some pictures from last week's Tacky Lights Run. The first one is during the run. Note the lights - people in Richmond are kind of known for going CRAZY with them. I'm in the white shirt with the pink hat. I'm joined by four of my "Run Like A Mother" teammates (we're the hot ones on the left side of the picture.)

This picture (which includes our entire group) was taken post-run while we were enjoying hot chocolate. The perfect ending to an awesome run!

Monday, December 21, 2009

missed goals and giveaway ...

For the last two years, I have tried to hit 1,000 miles. And for the last two years, I have failed. In 2008, I was pregnant with Dilly and that put a damper on my mileage. I ended up about 100 miles short. I thought 2009 would be different.

Dilly was born in January, so I had the remainder of the year to make up the difference. January's mileage was lower than I hoped, but it's hard to run far when you are nine months pregnant. Then, February was even lower since my OB demanded that I take three weeks off. (That was REALLY hard to do). In March, I got back on track and by June, things were in full swing once marathon training began. Things were looking good until the end of October, when my ankle started acting up. I cut my mileage A TON to keep my injury minor so that I would be able to run the marathon. And it worked, but after that race I had to take three weeks off to recover (which included wearing a cast, in case you forgot). Two weeks ago, I started running again. But it was too late. I had fallen too far behind. With 10 days left in the year, I am 105 miles from my goal. And I am pretty sure that by the end of next week, I will only be about 75 miles away. SO CLOSE!! It's super frustrating. If I had not had to take off those six weeks, I would have exceeded 1,000. All I would have needed to do was 12.5 each week. It's kind of depressing.

But that is the last I am going to say about it. Next year, I WILL HIT 1,000. And everyone of my other goals as well ....

OK - So if you made it through my whinefest, you will now be rewarded with the opportunity to enter Mel's awesome giveaway. She's giving away three Gu prize packs. For your chance to win, all you have to do is click HERE

Saturday, December 19, 2009

holy snow ...

It doesn't snow in Richmond. But somehow, it has snowed twice this calendar year. And last night, it snowed huge (10"). And more is expected this afternoon. This is a good and a bad thing. The girls LOVE the snow. I generally like the snow for a day or two, but then I am over it. That's pretty much the end of the good.

Since it NEVER snows here, everyone is ill-equipped. The snow doesn't really get plowed. And if it does, it's poorly. No one has snow clothes. AND NO ONE CAN DRIVE IN IT. It's sad. I used to live where there was lake-effect snow 345 days a year. I can drive in snow. This fact was proven last night when I was driving home during the first two hours of the storm. I was going 45 on a major interstate. The speed limit was 65. I was passing EVERYONE. It only got worse on the local roads. 15 mph was pushing it. I really think the best part of the night was when I stopped for gas. I had about 60 miles to empty so I stopped to fill up. It was a madhouse. Everyone of Wawa's 24 pumps had lines three cars deep. People were filling up gas containers. You would have thought it was the end of the world. All I could do was laugh and think, "Seriously?"

All joking aside, I think my least favorite part of the snow is that it puts a damper on my running plans. I really wanted to get outside and run this weekend. I was even thinking of going on a short run last night while the snow was falling just so I could say I was that hardcore. I didn't. My brain (which was too afraid I might hurt the ankle) won out and I ended up on the treadmill. For eight miles. At an 8:45 average pace. With negative splits. A minute and fifteen seconds faster than I averaged during marathon training. Hmmm ...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tacky Lights ...

Last night, a group of friends and I went on our local Road Runners Tacky Light Run. It was six miles of fun with some Christmas lights thrown in (done Richmond style, of course). The course was nice and it was awesome to see the city lit up at night. After the run, the entire group (probably 60+ runners) was served hot chocolate and desserts at Savor. I had a blast. And since it was free with my RRRC membership, the event earned some major bonus points.

But the real excitement of the night came on the drive there. K, rocking her mother-in-law's Neon, picked me up. Then we headed out to get C and R. We were running late. And we didn't really know how to get to the start. K was messing with her iPhone. We were trying to figure out if our teammate was in labor. We missed a turn. Then we almost took the wrong exit. Before we knew it, it was two minutes before the start and we were sitting in an EZPass lane with the gate stuck in the down position. K put it in reverse. Then slowly rolled forward. Creeping. Creeping. And FINALLY, the gate lifted. We were off. Just minutes away ... then we almost missed the exit again. We arrived just after 6 (luckily they got a late start) to find F standing under a street light on a sketchy street waiting for us. We had made it. And almost crashing six times was totally worth it, because I am pretty sure I have found my new favorite holiday tradition!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in Maryland ...

The Christmas season is officially in full swing here at the Blanchet residence. We traveled on Friday (for the third straight weekend) up to St. Michaels, MD to celebrate Christmas with my mom and sisters. Angie Pants put us up in her fabulous hotel and we filled our weekend with family, festivities and all around holiday joy.

We started Saturday with a Christmas parade, which the girls LOVED. Dizzle yelled out, "Merry Christmas" to EVERY SINGLE PERSON she saw. It was so cute. The parade was followed by a Christmas themed fair for the kids with crafts, activities, games and prizes. It was by far the best value of the weekend. Only $2 and the girls each left with a pair of gloves and magic wands. They were in HEAVEN.

After that, we went to lunch then back to our hotel room to change for dinner. But before we ate, we exchanged gifts. The girls got SO MUCH. More than they really need. So much that I can't really figure out what else anyone could possibly get them. They are in their glory right now, bouncing from one toy to the next. It's great for me. They want nothing to do with me. They are completely occupying themselves. LOVE IT!

We ended the night with dinner and my FAVORITE CUPCAKES. It was an all-around fantastic time.

On Sunday morning, we headed home in so very wet conditions. I had planned to run in MD that morning, but a lack of sleep coupled with cold and rain put a stop to that. Instead, I ended up on the treadmill once we were unpacked. I really wanted to test the ankle with a longer run, so I set out to do six miles. It was a great run. I had no pain and felt like I could have kept going. The best part was that I averaged a 8:39 pace (way fast for me!) It was the perfect ending to a fantastic weekend!

Friday, December 11, 2009

my 100 thing ... updated

A while back I compiled a list of 100 things about me. It was one of my favorite posts. Recently, I updated it for the Stroller Strides blog. If you're interested, you can read it HERE.

overloaded ...

If you haven't figured it out already, I am totally Type-A. I am uber-organized and ALWAYS take on more than I should - mainly because I am often afraid that if I let someone else handle things, it will probably turn out wrong and I will have to do it over again anyway. If I just do it myself, things are just less complicated (but usually more stressful).

This need to be in control has turned into quite the workload. On top of being a full-time stay at home mom to three kids, four and under, I work part-time as a fitness director for Stroller Strides. That job requires me to teach classes, train instructors, handle scheduling, and several other administrative tasks. I love it, but at times it can be a lot. Add to that the fact that I handle the bookkeeping for a friend's business, I started my own small business this year, I serve as the VP of Licensing at Dizzle's preschool and I am the Coordinator of our Luna Moms Club and you can see that I have a pretty full plate. Oh, and did I mention I run? Sometimes for hours on end?

I get asked a lot how I manage everything and honestly I don't know. Sometimes, I can't manage to get a single thing done and some days everything flows together so seamlessly. I live and die by a schedule (and speaking of schedules I need a good half training schedule - hint, hint). I rarely budge on anything. My kids don't know what it is like to be awake after 7 p.m.

Today is one of those days that I can't seem to get anything done. Time is ticking by so slowly, yet I feel like nothing is being accomplished. It's frustrating. And when I am frustrated, you really don't want to talk to me. I get rude and short and start thinking that everyone else in the room is a complete idiot. It's not pretty. Trust me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

i heart cortisone ...

So, after a full three weeks off, one very itchy cast and a good dose of cortisone, I FINALLY tested out the foot (and my new plaid running skirt - too cute!). AND IT WAS FANTASTIC!!

We got back from our trip to New Jersey around 6 p.m. last night and since it was already dark (not to mention WAY COLD). I got dressed and jumped on the treadmill after the girls were in bed. I figured I'd try a mile at an easy pace. But, once I got through the mile and wasn't feeling any pain I decided to go a little longer. So, I kicked up the speed and ran another two. When I was done, I was beyond relieved. I made it. And more importantly, my foot held up. I decided that I would wait until the morning to declare victory, just in case some phantom pain showed up. But, IT DIDN'T!!!

Now, I can focus on the upcoming Bermuda Half Marathon in 41 days (or 10K if G is up for it). And hopefully, by easing back into running and keeping my mileage controlled (under 35 miles a week seems to work for me), I won't have another flare up. Hopefully.

Friday, December 4, 2009

stools ...

In our playroom, we have a table and chair set from IKEA. It's nothing fancy. A blue table with three stools, two pink and one green. (Yes, I realize that it was stupid to get a green one.) Anyway, this morning, I was watching G's youngest and the kids were fighting over who got the pink stools. Doodle lost out. This, of course, turned into a HUGE tantrum. Apparently, having the green stool is the END.OF.THE.WORLD.

Doodle's reaction went a little something like this:


OH.MY.WORD Dizzle! It matches your outfit! I must remedy this situation RIGHT NOW! Here you go Doodle. Here's a new shirt. NOW the GREEN stool matches your outfit. Happy?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

another giveaway ...

Have you checked out Amanda @ 5 miles 2 empty's first giveaway? To enter for a chance to win a sweet Asics visor, all you have to do is click HERE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

and the verdict is ...

So I went back to the doctor for my foot/ankle yesterday and didn't quite get the news I was hoping for. I have some crazy thing. Severe stenosing tenosynovitis (yes, the report actually said SEVERE). It's the progressive restriction of the sheath surrounding a tendon, causing inflammation. And there was indication of something else, not really sure what she called it, but it's not good. Basically, my doc said that my tendon is being choked. She thinks it might be caused by one of several extra bones I have in my foot.

So, she gave me a shot of cortisone and told me to come back in three weeks. If that doesn't work, then surgery is pretty much my only option. Arrr! Hello? Didn't my foot get the memo that we are racing in Bermuda in January?

But now I have a dilemma. I don't want surgery, but if it is inevitable, I would rather have it now and get it over with. I don't want to wait the three weeks, just to have to take off longer. I am waiting for the doc to call me back so that I can see what she thinks. Maybe she'll tell me I am crazy and the cortisone is going to eliminate the inflammation and I'll be fine. Right?

So, what would you do?

Monday, November 30, 2009

as requested ...

So, you really want to see what I used to look like? Well, here it is.

Me, 10 years ago, pre-children at my highest weight and largest size ... 220 lbs and a size 16.

And now (pre-marathon photo), after three children, hovering around 150 and a size 2.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself ...

O Skinny Jeans ...

So, I'm not really a festive person. I can't stand Christmas music. My decorations are minimal at best. If I didn't have children, I'm not sure that I would even put up a tree. I'm not a scrooge, but I just don't get what all the fuss is about. I would rather look at other people's decorating efforts than bother with my own.

But, there is one thing I LOVE about the holiday season (other than the food) and that is watching my children take it all in. They love it. And their smiles make me hate it all a little less. J is trying to get me to "get into it all." I'm trying.

So, here is my first feeble attempt to combine Christmas music and something I am thankful for ... my skinny jeans (which I purchased on Black Friday - would you look at that? I'm covering Christmas and Thanksgiving all in one shot).

O Skinny Jeans (sung to the tune of O Christmas Tree)

O Skinny Jeans
O Skinny Jeans
How lovely are your stitches

O Skinny Jeans
O Skinny Jeans
How lovely are your stitches

Your denim hugs my A Star Star
The one I got by running far

O Skinny Jeans
O Skinny Jeans
How lovely are your stitches

The size 16 that I once knew
Has now been melted to a 2

O Skinny Jeans
O Skinny Jeans
How lovely are your stitches


Thursday, November 26, 2009

awesome giveaway ...

Have you checked out Mel's latest giveaway? It's awesome. Too bad for everyone else that I am going to win it! But you should at least look at it anyway.

All you have to do is click HERE

Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

dinnertime discussions ...

Did you ever have a day when something your child said made you laugh? or cry? or feel loved? Today was that day in my house. During dinner, Dizzle said two things that I want to remember. Mainly, so that I can remind her of them when she is older.

First, is on the subject of death. It's her current obsession. She wants to know why things die. When they are going to die. And CONSTANTLY tells me she doesn't want to die EVER! Anyway, she was going on about about dying and asked me if I was going to die. I responded with the very neutral, "Yes, Dizzle. Everyone dies someday. Hopefully, that day won't come until I am very, very old." She then told me, "I will miss you when you die. How about we die together so that we can play together when we are dead?" I instantly got choked up on the sweetness of that statement. Then I laughed, because really, it was kind of funny in a morbid kind of way.

Dizzle's second hot topic today was bedtime. While we were eating dinner, she asked me what we were going to do after we finished. I said, "Nothing. We are going to go to bed." Dizzle looked at me and said, "OK, but I want to stay up for ten minutes."(Mind you, it was 5:30). I said, "OK" Then she tried to negotiate 11 minutes. Then 20. I said, "Yes, Dizzle you can stay up for 20 minutes, but you have to go to bed right after that." She smiled and screamed,"Really?!?! WE CAN STAY UP FOR 20 MINUTES!" She was so excited and I couldn't stop laughing because she had just given herself a bedtime that was an hour and ten minutes earlier than usual.

Oh to be four ...

Thankful ...

Tomorrow afternoon, the family and I will load up our car and head to Rhode Island (yes, that is a VERY.LONG.DRIVE) for a Blanchet family reunion of sorts. While most of the B Clan live in New England, there are a few of us who have flown the coup. This year, however, all of us out-of-towners, have decided to travel back for Thanksgiving. I'm super excited about this. I love watching my girls play with their cousins and since that only happens about once a year, I eat up every second of it.

Our trip does have a downside though. Over the past few years, it has become a tradition to run our local Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning. Our travel plans had me missing the race (my busted foot doesn't help either). And unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps) this year, no one else registered in time. So instead, all my running buddies are staging their own Turkey Trot - with awards and everything. It sounds like a blast and I am super bummed to miss it.

But even though there are some things getting me down right now (my busted foot, our LONG drive, not running), there are lots of things "filling my pie":

I am thankful for my loving husband and three beautiful daughters. They are my world and I would be lost without them.

I am thankful to have good health, a positive outlook and stability. There is something to be said for not rocking the boat.

I am thankful that my foot injury is minor. It could be so much worse. Only six more days until bye-bye boot!

I am thankful that my children don't really get what time it is and that if it's dark I can put them to bed. Even if it's only 6 p.m.

I am thankful to have such amazing friends. It's great to know that you have people you can count on no matter what.

I am thankful that I can run. Eating is so much more fun when you don't have to feel guilty about pigging out!

I am thankful for EVERYONE who has touched my life. Both good and bad. Every interaction has helped shape the person I am and that is something I will never take for granted.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

funk ...

OK, so it's day four of this whole cast thing and I am already in a funk. It is a total pain. I can't really drive and when I do I have to take the boot on and off every time I get in and out of the car. I haven't found the best way to shower, so although my hair is clean, I'm pretty sure I am starting to stink. And it itches. Totally itches. I'm pretty sure I would never make it through a serious injury. Not with this running addiction anyway.

When I was 12, I broke my pelvis, dislocated my hip and ripped my hamstring all at the same time. I was in an immobilizer for three months. I was home-schooled. My doctors didn't know if I would play sports again. I did (obviously) but it took seven months to get back and even then, my parents thought I was going to hurt myself every time I stepped onto the field (or court). Somehow I got through that. I look back now and I don't know how. Wait, I do. I replaced exercise with eating and gained 70 pounds. Not exactly the best plan. I'm not really sure how I would approach that situation now, but I really hope I wouldn't self-soothe with food. But I never want to be tested. This foot injury (which should be much better when I get this cast off on December 1) is enough of a test for me. Running withdrawal is not fun.

On a much happier note, the foot itself is starting to feel better (much less pain than earlier this week) and I am ready (mentally) to get back out there. I know that this is the exact reason I asked for the cast. So that I would HAVE TO take it easy. So that I wouldn't do more damage. But I'm not 100 percent sure that I will make it the whole two weeks. I might cut the cast off myself and jog around the block. Things might get serious around here and I'm probably going to need some backup.

Monday, November 16, 2009

post break up ...

Apparently, my ex, Mr. Marathon, is mad at me. He didn't take the break up too well. Things got ugly and I left with a busted up foot in a cast (two weeks - no running).

He was just so upset that I wanted to leave his 26 miles of agony for his much more pleasant brother, Mr. Half. He couldn't understand how I could find fulfillment in a mere 13.1 miles. There was yelling and crying (all on my end, by the way). He begged and pleaded and offered discounted race fees. But it wasn't enough. It will never be enough.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My very last marathon .... EVER!

So, yesterday was race day. "The Race." The one that I have been waiting to run for an entire year. I had two goals going into the race: first - finish the race feeling positive about the experience AND second - finish in 4:30.

Well, I didn't quite hit 4:30 (more on that in a minute) BUT I totally had the best experience EVER!

The day started like this:

I had a ton of stuff to prep. The weather was iffy. Not really warm, not really cold, slightly humid, kind of raining. It could have been worse, but it could have been better.

After I got dressed and organized, I headed downstairs for breakfast. Water, a peanut butter and jelly bagel and a chocolate pumpkin muffin - so yummy.

At 6:45, G picked me up and we headed down to the race. It was odd. I was too relaxed. Like I was completely unaware of the fact that I was going to be running 26 miles. We arrived (parking at Club Velvet - Richmond's premier Gentleman's Club), and walked up to the start where we met Jackie P. and Fay (she rocked the half).

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity (really only 30 minutes) and after a potty break where there was no toilet paper, we moved to the starting corral with the 4:30 pacer. G and I got the ultimate complement moments later when Sarah (in the blue shirt below) asked us if we went to school in Richmond. We laughed and informed her that, "No, we lived her with our husbands and three children, each." Her jaw dropped. It was classic and totally made my day!

The first few miles were a blur. We joked (probably out of nervousness) and talked to the other runners in the pace group. We were having fun. Just like I had hoped. Things turned for me around mile six. My ankle was starting to act up, so I tried to slow the pace. G noticed. I told her to run her race, not thinking that I might not be able to keep up.

At mile seven, we saw Rach and S and picked up Em. Totally a spirit booster. The next six miles were the worst for me. I was getting mentally defeated. It was so early in the race, my foot was killing me and I knew I was in trouble. I decided that I needed to take it easy and just finish. It was at that point I started walking the first two tenths of every mile. Sure, it slowed me down, but it gave my foot enough recovery to run the next eight tenths and to make it through the whole race. Em kept me going, as did some friends that I saw around mile 11.

The second party zone was around mile 13. I dropped off Em and saw S who told me that G was about 4 minutes ahead of me (she was really 8). I knew that there was no way I was going to catch her and that the next 13 miles were tough by myself. But do you know what kept me going through the pain and doubt? MY PINK SOCKS! Everyone I passed yelled for them and all those comments kept me moving and pushed me further.

I saw more familiar faces around mile 16.5. Dizzle's BFF and her mom were waiting with water and powerade. Just seeing them was enough to boost me. I ran into another friend just after mile 17, she ran with me shortly and cheered me up!

The next few miles were easier. I had gotten into a groove. I was talking to other competitors (and was asked again if I were a student - I must have looked really young yesterday). I just had fun. I yelled back to everyone who yelled for me and my socks. I was good until about mile 24.5. I finally hit the wall. I just wanted to sit down. I knew I was close, but I swore my legs wouldn't be able to carry me. Somehow, I kept moving. Then at mile 25.7 I saw V come around the corner. She had run the last six with G and came back to run me in. And THANK GOD! She pushed me until the homestretch, cheering for me with every step. She didn't get how huge that was. It was beyond awesome.

As I came down the final hill with about a tenth left, I spotted my hubby and kids off to the side. I instantly became choked up and ran over to them. Time was so unimportant at that point. I just wanted to share this with them. After I visited the girls, I picked it up and finished the race and it was AMAZING! (Not amazing enough to make me do it again though!)

Once I finished, I found G and the emotions overflowed. I was so proud of us (she finished in 4:55 and I crossed in 5:09). We posed for some post-race pictures (looking fabulous, if I do say so myself). And went home to recover.
This morning I woke up and I can barely walk. My ankle/foot is purple. I'm really thinking that the marathon and I don't mix ... I'm going to have to break up with him. I think in the future I'm just going to date his younger brother, the Half.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

26.2 miles of thanks ...

It's official! Training for the marathon is over. The next time I run, it will be on race day. It all went by so fast, but at the same time, it feels like it took forever to get here.

It was on race day last year that I registered for the Richmond Marathon. I was 28 weeks pregnant, had just finished the 8K and knew that if I didn't commit in that very instant, I might not commit at all.

So, there it was. 365 days away. 26.2 miles that would one day help to define me. Part of me wished that I could race right then. And part of me wished that maybe they would just call off the event all together. But they didn't call it off, and here I am three days away feeling really ready for what's ahead. G and I were told this week to "run 20 and race 6.2." I think it's a great plan. And as I sit here writing my race dedication post, I keep that thought in mind. So, here it goes ...

Mile 1: This mile is dedicated to my Dad. In some crazy way, I hold him responsible for my running obsession. I often think back to why I began to run, and every time I do, I am left with the same answer. To be as healthy as I can, so I am there to see my children grow. My dad's early passing pushes me to do everything in my power to ensure that I have decades left on this planet. And for that, Dad, I thank you. I know you will watch over me every step of the way.

Mile 2: This mile is dedicated to my loving husband. Without his support, love and willingness to stay with the kids while I logged endless miles, I would never have been able to do this. And although he thinks I'm crazy for doing a second marathon after swore up and down that I never would, he backed me up 100%. Thank you for that J, but seriously, this really is my last marathon. Make sure I don't change my mind!

Mile 3: This mile is dedicated to my Mom. She has always been my number one supporter. I truly believe that she believes I could win this race if I wanted to (trust me, that could NEVER happen). She is my cheerleader, always screaming for me whether I am on a three mile training run or crossing the finish line of the biggest race in my life.

Mile 4: This mile is dedicated to Dizzle, my future runner. She has the longest attention span of anyone I know. If you give her a task, she will work on it until it's perfect. I hope that I can be just as focused during the race. I know if I am there is no way I'll fail. Plus, she truly understands that looking good when you run is just as important and running well. And trust me, if nothing else, I am going to look good.

Mile 5: This mile is dedicated to Doodle. She is by far the most stubborn (or is that driven) person I know. I want to channel her drive in those moments that I can't go on (hopefully, I can do it minus the temper tantrum), because I know her strength will get me through.

Mile 6: This mile is dedicated to Dilly. She is a large part of why I am racing in the first place. Running through her pregnancy and then those early sleepless months, showed me I can do anything. She made me a mom of three and her addition to our family has pushed me to prove how much I can handle on a daily basis. This marathon is just another test. A test I will pass. And the thought of her cherub face will help me smile when I want to cry.

Mile 7: This mile is dedicated to Angie Pants. She always supports me, even if she can't understand why I would want to run even one mile, let alone 26. I owe her for all the babysitting she provided, so that I could run without my children. I'm not sure she understands how huge that was for me and my sanity.

Mile 8: This mile is dedicated to Beans. Like Angie Pants, she can't understand why I am doing this, but she has never questioned it either. I know that even if I had to crawl across that finish line, she would be cheering for me (and waiting with a cupcake). And I am thankful for that.

Mile 9: This mile is dedicated to my Garmin. Yes, I am dedicating a mile to my watch. It has been my training partner through good runs and bad. And oddly, I am lost without it. It has a way of pushing me and keeping me in line all at the same time. And I wouldn't race without it.

Mile 10: This mile is dedicated to my Running Skirts. Sure, I might have a mild obsession, but there has never been a better piece of running clothing designed. It highlights my a** in all the right places and I NEVER race without one.

Mile 11: This mile is dedicated to my sneakers - Gel Cumulus 10. Talk about an awesome shoe. With them I have logged hundreds of miles and thankfully stayed injury free (OK, don't mention the ankle - that's a mileage thing, not a shoe thing). Here's to them staying strong and getting me through the next 26.2.

Mile 12: This mile is dedicated to all those cupcakes I have eaten. Or maybe it should be dedicated to the women who own the shop where I get all those cupcakes. Either way, those delicious things have been my reward for nearly every long run. In some ways, they have made all of this training worth it, because really, is there anything better than eating something so decadent without guilt?

Mile 13: This mile is dedicated to Tall Mom on the Run. Yes, I know it may seem strange that I am dedicating a mile to someone I've never met in person, but in some ways she has shaped my marathon experience. Her marathon recap gave me the outline for how I wanted to prepare for this race and for what I expected to get out of it. Not to mention, it really helped me convince G that running with the 4:30 pace team is the best place for us. Add to that, the fact that her giveaway is why I am sporting my sweet necklace and you can see that I need to thank her.

Mile 14: This mile is dedicated to Fay. Not only has she joined us on nearly every long run of this training, but has become one of my best friends. She always manages to make me smile and I LOVE running with her. I just wish G and I had been able to convince her to join us.

Mile 15: This mile is dedicated to Rachel. She has supported me through this training and will be screaming for me at every Party Zone on race day. I owe her huge. And one day, when she rocks out an Ironman, I hope I can do the same for her.

Mile 16: This mile is dedicated to McNelis. If she hadn't run her marathon last fall (and let me tag along for so much of that training) I might not be running this weekend. Seeing her accomplish such an amazing feat, made me SUPER jealous that I didn't get to do it too. So thank you for inadvertently pushing me to do this (that goes for you too, Rachel).

Mile 17: This mile is dedicated to Emily, the only Kenyan I know. She helped me get through some seriously hot summer runs. And she always pushes me to run faster (even if it is only to keep up with her). She was a huge part of my last marathon and I can't wait for her to join me for a few miles on this one.

Mile 18: This mile is dedicated to Jack (or is that Jackie P.) An honorary skirt in my book, he brought a new energy to those super long training runs. He never failed to provide humor and that was HUGE. I hope we get the chance to run with him on race day, (even if only for a mile).

Mile 19: This mile is dedicated to the rest of the Run Like A Mother team. I have missed running with you all these past few months and can't wait for you to come back. Thanks for supporting me from the sidelines.

Mile 20: This mile is dedicated to G. She was 100% with me this entire training. We've run over 600 miles in the past 24 weeks (most of them together). We've seen each other at our worst and our best and if this training didn't make us best friends then nothing ever will. I am honored to be such a big part of her marathon experience and am forever thankful that she is such a big part of mine.

The last 6.2 miles are dedicated to me. They are my miles to prove to myself that I am stronger than anything the marathon can throw at me. The first 2o miles I run with others in mind. The last 6.2 are for me to race for me and me alone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

where are my capris?

On Sunday, I got a day off from child rearing while I attended a workshop. That meant that for the very first time, J had the girls all day. From 7:30-4:30. That's like a good 5 hours longer than he had ever had them before.

I tried to prepare him. Gave him a quick rundown before I left and as I walked out the door, I threw the girls' outfits for the day on the playroom floor. I knew the girls would be OK. I was a little afraid that J might panic (he didn't).

Feeling good about leaving them all day, I went to my training and didn't even think about them again until it was time to nurse Dilly. So, around 1:30 I called J and told him to come over with the girls sometime soon. When he arrived 40 minutes later, I took one look at them and I knew something was off, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I checked them all one by one. J was normal. Dilly was as cute as ever. Doodle had some CRAZY hair working, but she was fine. Dizzle also had that messed up hair, but there was something else. I just looked at her and thought, "Capris? I'm almost positive I didn't leave her capris to wear. Wait, Dizzle doesn't even own capris. (Dizzle lifts her shirt) Huh, those pants aren't even zipped or buttoned. OMG, she is wearing DILLY'S PANTS!!"

So there she was. My 45 pound, 43 inch tall, four year old wearing a nine month old's pants. It was hysterical. And what was even better was that J had no clue. And now I understand why he usually leaves them in their pajamas ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

quick update ...

So after a torturous week off, I finally ran. G and I went out for our last marathon training long run, eight miles in the pitch black. We looked like total fools, her with a headlight and blinkers, me with Halloween glow sticks. But at least we could be seen. And we made it back unharmed.

Overall, the run was great. It felt so easy after taking the week off. And my toes were JUST FINE! And to think, I was so close to cutting them off. My ankle flared up a little, but at this point, I just expect that.

And with that, I am 100% ready for Saturday. We chose our race outfits (navy/orange skirts, safety cone orange tanks - we will be impossible to miss). And I'm itching to race. Oddly, I am not even a little bit spooked. Which is actually creeping me out. I just feel like I should be more nervous. And I probably will be ... at 7:59 on Saturday morning.

Friday, November 6, 2009

progress ...

Do you want to hear the most exciting news? Well ...


I know not that exciting, but really, it's a huge improvement. I even worked out this morning (no running, but I did do some jumping jacks and shuffles). And I had NO PAIN!

On Sunday, in the pitch black of night, I am going to attempt 8 miles. Our last long run before the marathon. Hopefully, all goes well (not only with the run, but the taping of my toes) and I am able to rock it out on Saturday!!

So everyone, keep those fingers crossed ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

could I just cut the toe off?

So, here I am. Three days out from my ever-so-graceful slide down the stairs and I am recovering quite well. My arm is fine and I have regained pretty much full range of motion of my toes. Yippee! But I still haven't been able to wear shoes. Boo! I attempted to put on my sneakers this morning, but once I tried to walk I was far more uncomfortable than I had been barefoot or with "the boot" that G gave to me. So needless to say, I'm not running.

I have decided that I am doing the marathon NO MATTER WHAT! I know for a fact that my foot is NOT broken and even if I am uncomfortable, I'll survive. I mean, come on, a marathon is uncomfortable anyway. What's a little more pain? Or maybe (since I still can't wear shoes) I'll run barefoot. I know it can be done. I saw that guy in Runner's World. Or maybe I could just cut the toe off? That could work too ...

Monday, November 2, 2009

fairytale ...

Once upon a time, I was 174 miles from reaching my 1,000 mile goal.

Once upon a time, I was 13 days away from running a marathon.

Once upon a time, my dear sweet innocent child left a toy on the stairs.

Once upon a time, I found said toy by slipping on it, tumbling down the stairs and busting up my foot (not broken, but not exactly usable either).

Once upon a time was yesterday.

How will this fairytale end?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

191 to go ...

Have I ever mentioned how hard it is to get all of your mileage in with three kids (two that don't nap), three jobs, one preschool board position, dance classes, soccer practice and a husband who travels a lot (including weekends)?

Well, it's hard.

Yet, somehow (and I'm not really sure how) I have only missed two runs in the past nine months. Actually, if you ignore the three weeks my OB demanded that I had to take off after delivering Dilly, I have only missed two runs since September 2007. Once when I had a sinus infection and once when I thought my ankle was going to break. I have been running four days a week for the past two years. I've run through illness and bad weather and an entire pregnancy. And with 64 days left in the year, I am 191 miles away from reaching my goal of 1,000 miles in 2009.

And as long as my ankle (which is hating me right now) holds up, I am so there ...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a new look ...

So, as you've probably noticed, this blog has a new look. I was kind of bored of the old one and saw this background and knew I had to make a switch. It reminds me of all of those pre-dawn runs I've been on this year (well, minus the deer ... then again, we did see those deer sprint across the street during an 18 miler ...)

Anyway, here's to a new look!

Maybe this is what the "psychic" was talking about when she said she felt that I was looking to make a change to my appearance. It was obviously my blog's appearance she was talking about ... Wow! She's good ...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I kicked a** for 20 miles ...

Remember that 20 miler I might have mentioned once, twice or 800 times? Well, we rocked it. It was pretty much the ideal 20 miler that I had in my head before the last attempt two weeks ago. The weather cooperated. The route was awesome. We averaged just above race pace (a VERY good sign about race day) And I never felt like quitting. Not even once. Not even for one second. It was pretty much perfect. (And the ankle was 100% fine!)

(OK, maybe there was one second of suckage. But it was in the first mile. And involved unruly undergarments. And I took care of that real quick.)

But seriously, this was exactly the run I needed to get me excited about the race and to realize that WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!

they catch on to more than you think ...

I'd like to believe that my little ones will stay little forever. Obviously, I know that's not possible. But I do my best to keep them blissfully unaware of some of the more mature aspects of life (you can see where this is going, right?) But apparently, I'm not really winning that battle. This was the conversation I had with Dizzle yesterday.

Dizzle: What happens when you kiss?

Me (puzzled look on face): Um, nothing?

Dizzle: No, what happens when you kiss? Did Daddy and you kiss and I was born a couple weeks later?

Me (completely shocked): Um, not really. It took a little more than that. Dizzle, we kiss people to show them we love them.

Dizzle: Oh, OK. Can I kiss you to show you I love you?

Me (relieved): Yes, you can kiss me and show me you love me.

And with that, I dodged a bullet. Hopefully, for a LONG TIME ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

tired ...

I just want to start by saying thanks to Mel over at Tall Mom on the Run for getting my necklace out to me so quickly. I got it yesterday, LOVE IT and am ready to rock it on tomorrow's 20 miler.

Speaking of tomorrow's 20 miler, I'm not really sure where I am at with that. I just keep telling myself that it can't be worse than the last time we ran it, but I'm not really feeling all that prepared. Honestly, I am dying for this training to be over and for me to NEVER RUN ANOTHER MARATHON AGAIN. Plus, I'm tired. And not really sleepy tired. Just tired.

My little sis spent the week with us and while she let me get in a couple of short runs (keeping it short this week to protect the ankle), I just feel like something was off. Maybe I am thinking too much about the foot when I am running. Maybe I just had to much other stuff going on to make the runs relaxing. I'm not really sure. Everything has felt like a chore this week. I've worked a lot. I've worked out a lot. And I've yelled a lot. (Let's just say the girls weren't exactly on their best behavior this week.) Oh, and J is traveling (again). Add all of that to the fact that Doodle has had a complete potty training regression (any suggestions? I'm desperate!), and I'M JUST TIRED!

I seriously need a vacation. Far away. With no kids. And no responsibilities. Just for one day.

But, that's not likely. At least not now (Yes, G. I do realize that Bermuda is only 82 days away. Not that I am counting or anything). So, for now, I think this vent is going to have to do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

good day ...

You know those days when you just want to crawl back into bed and hide from the world? The ones that are so bad that you wish you could just fast forward to tomorrow or next week or next month? Well, today WAS.SO.NOT.THAT.DAY.

I woke up this morning to an email from G with the title "OMG!" and just the words, "YOU WON!" After about half a second, I knew exactly what she was talking about. I had won the i declare! giveaway on one my favorite blogs - Tall Mom on the Run. The prize was this totally sweet necklace. I can't wait to sport it during the marathon.

And speaking of the marathon, after some pretty wretched ankle pain this weekend, I have gotten two short runs in without any discomfort. A fact that definitely brightened my day. Add to that the fact that I received a bunch of bow orders today and sold some baby gear, I am definitely on cloud nine.

But I'm not gloating ...

That would just be mean.

Friday, October 16, 2009

talk about a swing ...

Remember last week when I mentioned that I when I woke up to run my 20 miler, it was 75 degrees with 100% humidity? Well, let's just say this week is going to be a little different.

Tomorrow's start time forecast ... 39 degrees and rain.

Sounds fantastic!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

no hablo ingles ...

Earlier this afternoon, Dizzle and Doodle were playing a game where one person was "inside" a house and the other one was trying to get her out. Doodle tried her best to coax Dizzle to "open the door." But, nothing worked. Getting frustrated, she finally just screamed, "Open the door. Get out here." To which Dizzle replied, "I don't speak English, I only speak Spanish."

Only in my house ....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

20 miles too long ...

Yesterday's run was painful. It was hot. And humid. And long. I had a positive outlook leading up to the run (especially since last week's 18 went so smoothly). But once I walked out the front door and got smacked in the face by a wall of humidity, I wasn't so sure anymore.

The first eight weren't bad. G and I were joined by R. The conversation was good. The pace was good. But it was hot. We were all sweating a lot. I had even started to drink from my hydration belt, something that usually doesn't happen until after mile 12.

After that first eight, we dropped off R and headed out on the last 12. About three miles into that 12, I knew things were going downhill. I was parched. 100% cottonmouth. And the Gatorade that I carry with me was only making it worse. Fortunately (and this was HUGE), Dizzle's BFF lives in one of the neighborhoods we ran through. So, at mile 13.3 we stopped for water. Which, I later realized, was an actual lifesaver. The last six miles was so bad that without it, I am pretty sure we would have actually need to use those RoadIDs we were wearing.

But, I won't bore you with the details. We finished. It was painful and took 17 minutes longer than I was planning on. But it's done. And we are onto the next. This week is a recovery week with what seems like an incredibly short long run: 12 miles.

We do have one more 20 miler before the marathon, two weeks from today. And surprisingly, I am not scared of it. I'm not really looking forward to it and I want this whole marathon thing done with, but it's not scaring me. I just hope that I don't wake up to run that 20 and find out that it's 75 and humid again ...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

doing my work ...

So, the girls have these chalkboard circles on the wall that they can write on. They are a super great invention. The girls love them. They were really cheap. And they are totally removable. Overall, an excellent investment.

This afternoon, Doodle was drawing on them. After a few minutes of not paying attention to her, I turned around to find her standing on her IKEA stool (another great investment, by the way). I told her get down. But rather than listening, she turned to me and said,"Mom! I'm just doing my work. I too small to reach. I have to stand on my stool."

OK, Doodle. You don't want to listen to me? Then go ahead and "do your work." But, don't come crying to me when you break your arm. I promise, all you'll get from me is a big fat "I told you so."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

long, long runs

I mentioned last week that our 16 mile training run was painful. And wet. And horrible. And I might not have mentioned this, but it was one of those runs that nearly convinced me that this whole marathon thing was a bad idea. So heading into today's 18 miler, I was scared. I felt like I was getting ready for one of those races where you get all hyped-up and think you are going to PR. But instead, you cramp up and fall flat on your face. Add all of that emotion to the fact that I was trying new long run socks for the first time since May of 2008 and well, let's just say, I wasn't feeling too confident.

Yet, somehow, by some act of God, the run was AWESOME! (All three hours of it.) There was never a moment that a negative thought crossed my mind. I finished and thought, "Wow, I could totally run eight more miles." I LOVE runs like that! Talk about a confidence boost going into the two long runs (20 miles, in case you were wondering). Only five weeks to go!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

let's just pile it on ...

Like usual, things have been hectic around here. On top of all of our usual activities (which keep the girls and I constantly on the go), marathon training is in full swing. This week's short (I use that term loosely) runs include an eight miler. Not really sure how that classifies as short, but I guess compared to next Sunday's 18 or today's 16, it is.

Speaking of today's 16 miler ... that pretty much bit the big one. But at least I finished, especially considering that we ran in the pouring rain AND I have a sinus infection. Not exactly ideal conditions for a long run or any run. G and I probably mentioned how crazy we were (she was sick too) a good 20 times this morning and I am sure every person who drove past us thought the same thing.

Really, who does that? No one in their right mind would run in the cold rain while sick. Except apparently us. It's like I totally forgot how horrible I felt 48 hours earlier and how much harder it is to take care of three kids when you want someone to take care of you. But, you know me, I'm an overachiever. Nothing is going to stop me. Not even some crazy illness.

And do you know what else that crazy illness couldn't keep me from? Starting my own business. That's right, on top of everything else, I decided to take my craftiness and put it to good use. So, now that you're interested, click here to check out my website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ouch ...

Both J and I are visually impaired. J's eyes are far worse than mine, but still without our contacts we live in a world of blur. One day, we will get lasik. Once those student loans are paid off. And we remodel our kitchen. And build that garage we want. And get that HUGE car we want. And install a pool in our backyard. So, it might be a while.

Until then, we will get by with our contacts. Unfortunately, something Dizzle said is making it a little difficult for me to actually put them in. Three days ago, she picked up J's contact case and handed it to him. At which point she said, "Here, Daddy. Don't you need to put your eyetacks in?"

Ouch! Just the thought of the word "eyetacks" makes me cringe. Now every morning since, I have gotten a visual of pushpin thumbtacks being pushed into my pupil. Let's just say, that would be no fun ...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

trapped ...

You've probably heard that I lock (child-lock, same thing) my children in their rooms at night. This is for no other reason than I don't feel comfortable with them being able to get out of bed and roam around unsupervised, especially when I am sleeping. To accomplish this, Dizzle has a doorknob cover and Doodle, a gate (she figured out that doorknob cover WAY TOO YOUNG). I didn't think that the girls realized why Doodle has a gate, but apparently I was wrong.

This morning, the girls and I were in Dizzle's room. Dizzle wanted to get out. Knowing she was trapped, she turned to Doodle and this is the conversation they had ...

Dizzle: "Doodle, can you come over here and open my door? You always know how to take these things off."

Doodle (looks at me, pauses and responds): "No, my hands are too little."

Don't even try it Doodle. I am so onto you. I know about your "craftiness". There's no point in hiding it.

sisterly love ...

Last night, we attempted Dizzle's first sleepover. She didn't quite make it through the night, but she had fun and even regretted coming home just minutes after getting back. I really think that had she been willing to talk to me before coming home, she probably would have stayed. But, you know those four year olds, always thinking they know best.

But this failed attempt at a sleepover did teach us some things. First, four years old may be too young to sleep in an unfamiliar place without your mom and dad. Second, you should always tell the host parent any important information about your child that you may regret not mentioning later. For us, it was that Dizzle CANNOT take a bath with bubbles or bar soap. It's an instant ticket to a UTI, which we found out this morning. And third, I finally learned how much my girls love each other.

Usually, Dizzle and Doodle are at each other's throats, in an endearing, you're my best friend kind of way (if that's even possible). But, yesterday, when we dropped off Dizzle, I got to witness how Doodle really feels about her. After a mini tantrum of cupcake throwing (don't ask), I got Doodle in the car and she instantly broke into tears. I asked her what was wrong and she just kept repeating, "I need Dizzle. I need her." It broke my heart. So, in an attempt to get her to calm down, I let Doodle call Dizzle, at which point she repeatedly told Dizzle that she "needed her." (In my wildest dreams, Dizzle was responding with, "I need you too!", but let's be honest, that's highly unlikely.) Anyway, Doodle told Dizzle she loved her, that she would see her in the morning and hung up the phone. Doodle was still crying. And I was too, because for the first time I really understood how lucky they are to have each other.

Friday, September 4, 2009

digested ...

It's taken an entire week, but I have finally digested last Saturday's half marathon. Let's start with the good news. I PR'd. By a lot. 19 minutes and 47 seconds to be exact. And I had a lot of fun (well, mostly. except for those moments when I thought I was going to die). Now onto the bad news ...

I only PR'd by 19 minutes and 47 seconds. I had been expecting to run significantly faster (like 13 minutes faster). And I was even on pace to. Through nine miles my Garmin was reading 9:33 overall pace. At the end of the race, it read 10:33 overall pace. So basically I lost A LOT of time in those last few miles. What happened you ask? Well, simply put, a poorly placed water stop coupled with severe dehydration (we're talking borderline heat stroke) lead to me tweaking an old injury, cramping up and nearly passing out. It was rough. The race pictures don't really show how rough, but trust me, it was bad. (Not to mention my post-race condition, crazy nausea, no appetite, the chills, pounding headache ...)

At first I felt like a failure, I had kept such a strong pace for the first nine miles and I quickly saw my goal time slipping away. All I could think was, "I run this distance ALL THE TIME. Why can't I put it together now?" But a day or two later, I realized I had a huge PR. Sure it wasn't as good as I would have liked, but that will just make it easier to PR next time. And I left everything out on the course. It wasn't pretty, but I know I couldn't have finished that race a second faster on that day. And I can be proud of that. Plus, this disastrous race has really help me mentally and strategically prepare for the marathon. It's cemented in my mind that no matter what, I need to stay with that pace group. It will keep me from going out too fast and dying in the last few miles. And seeing that this will be my last marathon (more on my future race plans another day), I want to enjoy it and if that means running slightly slower than "my potential", I am OK with that. FOR REAL. Plus, that "slightly slower" running (4:20-4:30) will still give me about a 40 minute PR. Which totally works for me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

with splenda and apple juice?

Last week, I was reading an article that claimed there was no such thing as "pregnancy" or "mommy" brain. Apparently, there is no evidence to suggest that during pregnancy (or the 18 years after) women become more prone to forgetting things.

As a mother of three, I would have to disagree. I forget things nearly everyday. Fortunately up to this point, I've never forgotten a child. That would be bad. Sure, I've forgotten to buckle their seat belts, but I've never actually forgotten one of them.

This morning, I proved that this so called "scientific study" was completely inaccurate. You see, I was making myself a well-deserved cup of coffee when I showed the classic symptoms of a brain fart. I had just been thinking to myself, "Oh, I should get the girls some apple juice." Then I opened the fridge, grabbed the milk and poured it into my coffee. About 10 seconds later, when I realized that my coffee was not getting any lighter, I actually looked at my hand. And what was I holding? That's right. The apple juice. Irish cream coffee with a scoop of splenda and a splash of apple juice ... DELICIOUS!

Friday, August 28, 2009

accidental obsession ...

So, we all know about my little obsession with cupcakes. A certain cupcake store in particular. In fact, I usually pass up other cupcakes. It's really just this place I am obsessed with. They are so good. Knock your socks off good. "Yes, I'll run that extra five miles just to eat them" good.

Up until now, I thought my kids could take them or leave them. Sometimes, 99% of their cupcakes got thrown away. Other days, every crumb was inhaled. But today was different. Today, my kids asked for them.

We were leaving the pool this morning when Doodle turned to me and said, "I want to go to the cupcake store!" How could I refuse? Not only did she ask me to take her to my favorite place, but she knew we were in the vicinity (we were less than half a mile away). I couldn't even lie and tell her that it was too far out of the way. She had me trapped. I had no choice.

(Wait, now that I think about it. I don't think she even knows where our house is located, but she gets within a mile of the cupcake store and it's like a flippin' siren is going off ... huh?)

Anyway, we got our cupcakes. But before we left, Dizzle grabbed a postcard off the counter with a cupcake on it (not some drawing, a photo of one of their cupcakes). Once we got in the car she proved her love for this tasty confection as well. She asked, "Mom, can I hang this picture in my room so that I can dream about these cupcakes?" LOVE IT!

So, basically I have three cupcakeaholics (counting myself, of course) living in my home. I think we need to move. Soon. To somewhere with no baked goods.

Monday, August 24, 2009

big sister ...

You know those BrainQuest books? Those books that are designed to build grade level appropriate skills? Well, we have one. It's the Pre-K level geared towards four and five-year olds.

This afternoon, Dizzle and I were going through the book and she was completing the tasks before I could even read the instructions. Realizing that we probably need to move to the next grade level, I said to her, "Wow, Dizzle. When did you get so smart?" And do you know what she said?

"Big sisters just know these things."

Really, Dizzle? Big sisters just know.

Well, they do say that wisdom comes with age. And apparently that age is four.

fluke ...

Remember that deathly oatmeal vomit I spoke of? Well, I am beginning to believe it was a total fluke. I pressed my luck and fed Dilly oatmeal on Saturday and today and what happened?


No puke. No rash. Nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm psyched that my kid can eat oats. But really, what the heck was going on with all that projectile vomiting?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

wild oats ...

Let me just start by saying that up until this point none of my kids have had any food allergies. Well, unless you count that Dizzle swears up and down that she can't eat anything green, thus eliminating 90% of the world's vegetables. But, seriously, we have been fortunate enough to not have to worry about what the girls have been eating.

Until now. You see, back on vacation, Dilly had what I thought was a bout of food poisoning. A case of tainted formula. She threw up pretty much non-stop for 20 minutes. In an aquarium. A "Eco-friendly" aquarium, without paper towels on site. Let's just say it was rough. I assumed that she was sick from the formula which had been stored in our fridge when the power had gone out. It made total sense and seeing that she didn't get sick again, it was obvious I was right.

But then came yesterday. A seemingly normal day. Until nap time, when I found Dilly laying in a puddle of vomit. Laughing. It was an odd picture. She clearly wasn't ill, but at some point in the two hours she was in her crib, she had thrown up. At first I didn't think much of it. But then I connected the dots. I asked myself, "What was the same about today and the last time she spewed bodily fluids everywhere?" The answer: OATMEAL.

The morning she got sick on vacation she ate it and guess what was on the menu for breakfast yesterday (for the first time since vacation, might I add) ... It got me thinking that maybe something else is going on here. Could Dilly be allergic to oat?

So, I called the doctor and the nurse thought I might be right and suggested that I not feed it to her again (for at least a year) and that I mention it to the doctor at Dilly's next checkup. Easy peasy, right? Wrong! Because the more I thought about it (and the possibility of life without oats) the more uneasy I got. I needed to know. NOW! So, I decided to feed her oatmeal again, and risk getting vomit all over the place. And I did. At lunch today. A full three hours ago. And we're still good. Hopefully, it will stay that way. Because vomit is SO.NOT.FUN.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

baby names ...

So, a bunch of our friends have recently had or are about to have new babies. This recent population boom has peaked Dizzle's interest and she has been asking what seems like a million questions about babies. Yesterday, she asked me, "What happens if you have three babies in your belly." I told her that if you had three babies in your belly, you are about to be really busy. She thought that was a totally suitable answer. So did I.

But of all the questions she has asked and the conversations we've had, my favorite had to be this one:

Dizzle: "When I am a mommy, what will my babies' names be?"

Me: "Well, Dizzle. Their names will be whatever you want them to be."

Dizzle: "I want you to pick."

Me: "I can't. That's not my choice. It's yours. I got to choose the names for my babies. I picked your name and Doodle's name and Dilly's name. Make sense? So, what do you want to name your babies?"

Dizzle: (without hesitation) "Flower Girl and Spiderman"

What great names Dizzle! How did you ever come up with them? I can't hardly wait to be the proud grandmother to Flower Girl and Spiderman.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

creepy ...

I just heard Dizzle talking to Doodle and what she said cracked me up.

"Let's get out of here. This place is really creeping me out!"

Really, Dizzle. Your own house is, "really creeping you out?" Which part? The dust balls? The huge pile of recyclables? The splattering of oatmeal on the front of the dishwasher?

You know what kid? It's kind of creeping me out too. But, unless we get a maid or I get a few hours alone, it's going to be creeping you out for a while.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

seriously, J?

I'll admit it. I've been busy lately. Between all of the packing and unpacking and packing again, I haven't really been on top of the chores around the house. And while I don't feel that all of the chores around the house should be my responsibility, I am usually the person who makes sure it all gets done. Which might make me slightly at fault for what I am about to tell you. Maybe. But not really.

You see, last night I remembered that I had used the last of the girls' 27 (that's right, we have 27) sippy cups when I gave them milk at dinner. And I meant to wash some before I went to bed. But I went out and never got around to it. No biggie, right?

So, when I woke up this morning and saw that Doodle was drinking a cup of milk, in a cup that I remembered putting in the dishwasher, I didn't think much of it. Instead, I simply asked J if he had run the dishwasher last night. Because obviously he did. Right? ... Right?


No, J just figured that since the sink was full of dirty dishes and the dishwasher didn't smell when he opened it, that everything in it must be clean. Except it wasn't. It was so far from it. And now, Doodle had just polished off eight ounces of milk from a very dirty cup.

Seriously, J? How do you miss something like that?

love ...

Do you remember the moment that you felt the most loved in your life? I do, because it happened tonight.

Right before dinner, Dizzle said she wanted to tell me something. When I asked her what, this is what she said.

"I want to say thank you for your love."

And with that one statement, every struggle of the past four years was washed away ... and I was instantly choked up ...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

are we there yet?

I have a new, least favorite phrase ... now, everyone, say it in your whiniest voice possible, "Are we there yet?" I have dreaded that phrase every time we have embarked on a road trip for the past four years. Up until now, I only feared it. But now, I have lived it. OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

I swear that we were twenty minutes into our trip (our 12 hour trip) when Dizzle first asked. And then she asked every 28.7 seconds after that. At one point, I told her if she asked me that again, I was going to turn the car around and go back to Virginia. She told me that would not be fun. Obviously, Dizzle. Obviously.

All joking aside, the first 12 days of our month long adventure have gone pretty smoothly (other than the constant nagging, of course). We have driven A LOT. (J far more than the rest of us - thanks to a quick trip back to VA for two days.) We've caught up with a bunch of people that we haven't seen in years. (Like, so long ago, that we didn't have any kids. And I'm pretty sure longer than that for a few of them.) Plus, J and I were fortunate enough to go on a few dates in RI and I even spent the entire day with just Dilly, while J and his parents took Dizzle and Doodle to a friend's pool. And somehow, I have managed to get every single one of my runs in. Things have been good. Hopefully, they stay that way. Because ...

Today was our last day with J until we return to VA, just in time to leave for NC. We spent the morning at my Alma Mater, trying to convince the girls to bleed red and blue (J would probably prefer if they just bled red, but let's be honest, Penn beats out Cornell any day). Sure, they are a little young to be thinking about college, but you can never plant those Ivy League dreams too soon.

Anyway, once we decked out the girls in some new Penn gear, we dropped J off at the train station and headed back to my mom's. At which point, I realized that I was left to deal with them ALONE for the next 10 days. 10 days, which I am sure will be filled with fun, but will likely be filled with Dizzle's drama-filled yells and Doodle's two new favorite sayings, "One minute, Mom," and with fingers in her ears, "I can't hear you, Mommy."

God, if they are this great now, I really can't wait till they are teenagers. Here's to more happy travels!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

rolling ...

So, in the past few weeks I have gotten more comfortable with leaving Dilly alone with the girls while I run into the other room. Most of the time, they don't even realize that she is there. And every once in a while I come back to find them kissing her. But today was different.

Here's what happened.

I had just changed Dilly's diaper and I placed her on the floor so that I could throw it away. Dizzle and Doodle were watching TV, so I figured that they wouldn't even notice I was gone. But no. I was very wrong. You see, when I came back into the room, Dilly was gone. I scanned the room and found her next to the television (about 10 feet from where I left her) with Dizzle standing over her. Instantly, I asked how she got there and this is the reply I received.

"We rolled her there."

Really, you rolled her there? You used your five month old sister as a bowling ball? Are you kidding me?

I was completely shocked. And laughing so hard that I couldn't even punish them ...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

hold me closer taco dancer ...

Last night, we had tacos and burritos for dinner. And while we were eating, Doodle started to close her eyes and dance in her seat after every bite. It was hilarious. Mainly because she was completely into it. (Hopefully, I will get the video up here soon.)

Anyway, while Doodle was dancing, I looked over at Dizzle and said, "Hey Dizzle. Why don't you close your eyes and try dancing too?" And instead of joining in on the fun, Dizzle turned up her nose and said to me, "No, mommy. I'm only a ballerina dancer. Doodle is a taco dancer."

And I couldn't help but laugh ...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

driving for dummies ...

Back in April, I got a speeding ticket. My first ticket EVER. I was so mad. Even if I totally deserved it. Fortunately, rather than paying the fine, I was able to go to driving school (which only cost about $30 less than paying the fine - not really sure how that makes sense).

Anyway, I decided that Saturday was going to be the day. But rather than sitting in a classroom for eight hours (and having to figure out the whole feeding Dilly thing), I had the brilliant idea of taking the course online. Or at least I thought it was brilliant. I had figured that I would read through the material (in much less than eight hours) then fly through the test. But no. It couldn't be that simple.

Instead, the online course had a timer, meaning it would take me every second of that eight hours to get through the material. FANTASTIC. And seeing that it never took me more than half of the allotted time per section to actually read everything, I wasted A LOT of time. Oh, and did I mention that when I finished the eight hours, I couldn't actually take the test? That I had to go to a testing center to do that? Yippee! (Note: I took the test in about 5 minutes. And scored a 96%. And if it had been allowed, I could have passed that test without sitting through the course.)

Back to my point. Now I am sure you are saying to yourself, "Well, you could have just gotten up once you read everything and let the timer count down." And you would be completely wrong. Because that sneaky course would ask random security questions every few minutes to make sure that you were in fact still sitting in front of the computer. Which meant I couldn't go anywhere that I couldn't still see the computer screen. But I guess there is a bright side. My bedroom is now spotless. And I learned a few interesting facts. Facts that I am dying to share with you now.

1. An exact quote. "The bicycle lane is for bicycles. Pretty obvious." (Are they trying to call me an idiot in some backwards kind of way?)

2. Another quote. "There is no trick to driving. All you need to do is pay attention." (Again, are they trying to insult me?)

3. The best defensive driving technique for dealing with large vehicles is to stay away from them.

4. "If driving in poor conditions that are deteriorating, pull to the side of the road, preferably to the other side of the guard rail." Huh? When is that even possible?

5. The best way to avoid drinking and driving is not to drink and drive. (Thank you Captain Obvious!) The second best way to avoid drinking and driving is to drink at home. That way you don't need to drive home! (Yeah! Let's all sit at home and drink it up!)

6. You can get a ticket for driving through a green light. Seriously, it's true. If you do not take the proper precautions when going through an intersection. You can get a ticket.

7. You do not need a license to drive a moped. But if your license has been revoked, it is illegal to drive a moped. (Really? Does that make sense?)

So, as you can see, I learned a lot of useful information ...

Monday, June 15, 2009

wet messes ...

15 days ago, we embarked on an adventure. Not necessarily a fun adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. We (and by we I mean I) started potty training Doodle. For real this time. Day one was painful. And messy. And almost enough to make me quit. But we stuck it out. And we survived. And 15 days later, Doodle wore real underwear all day and DID NOT HAVE ONE ACCIDENT!

Did you hear me? NOT A SINGLE ACCIDENT! Sure, she felt the need to lean back as she peed and get it all over me, but at least she didn't go in her pants.

But I am sure that tomorrow, I will be cleaning up urine from something. It would be a miracle if we made it two days without a mess.

And speaking of wet messes, Dizzle is one. She finally started swim lessons with Morgan Swim School today. And like I imagined, she screamed pretty much the entire time. Except when she was actually doing what the instructor told her to do. It kind of went down like this:

Instructor: "We are going to play Humpty Dumpty."

Dizzle: "I don't want to. I don't want to. I've had enough."

Instructor (over Dizzle's yells): "Humpty Dizzle sat on a wall. Humpty Dizzle had a great fall."

And she pulled Dizzle into the water. But before she did, Dizzle managed to stop yelling, take a deep breath in and hold her breath. Then, upon emerging from the water, she blew out the air and spit out any water from her mouth.

So, it's clear that Dizzle was learning the skills. It is also clear that she refuses to do anything without upping the drama. Were her screams necessary? Was she truly scared? No and no. But it sure made things more interesting.

And the best part is that we get to do it all again tomorrow ...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

cupcakes ...

About two months ago, I gave up baked goods. Well, let me rephrase that. I gave up baked goods (cakes, donuts, cookies, etc) with one exception ... cupcakes from Two Sweet Cupcakes. And I am beginning to believe that I am slightly obsessed. And by slightly I mean, completely.

You see, first we got some for J's birthday. Then, we got some more for Dizzle's birthday. Then, we got them again because I really wanted a coconut one. And today, I bought a dozen as an early Father's Day celebration (at least that's the excuse I used). I find myself looking for any reason to get some. I pretty much know their baking schedule by heart. Their menu is hanging on my refrigerator right next to my favorite drawing of Dizzle's. They are taking over my life.

These are no ordinary cupcakes. They are cupcakes on steroids. Super huge. Super tasty. Super addictive. Every flavor is delicious. And I CAN'T STOP EATING THEM! Fortunately, I work out. And I am the primary food source for Dilly. I have some leeway. For now. But eventually all that cream cheese frosting is going to catch up to me. I need help. Please someone help me. Does anyone know if there is a cupcake anonymous?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

everybody poops ...

Upon putting Dilly to bed tonight, I overheard Doodle singing in her room. At first I thought I was mistaken. No, she couldn't be saying that. No way. But my ears weren't playing tricks on me. Doodle was singing about feces. Her song went a little something like this ...

"I go big poop. And baby poop. Oh, Baby Dilly poops. And Daddy poops. My friend poop. Dizzle poop. Poop. Poop. Poop."

Apparently, I don't poop. But that is a completely different subject.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

shots ...

This morning was Dizzle's four-year check up. I had been dreading this morning since her three-year check up. Why, you ask? Well, it was then that her doctor informed me that at her next appointment she would need to get four shots. Great! Four shots. Have you met Dizzle before? She overreacts if you look at her wrong. This was not going to be good.

When we left for the appointment, Dizzle asked me if she was getting shots today. And I, being the fabulous parent I am, lied. I said, "I'm not really sure. But if you do, it's to help keep you healthy," hoping it would soften the blow.

Overall, the appointment went well. Dizzle passed her hearing and vision screenings, she gained four pounds and grew three inches in the past year (leading her doctor to suspect that she will not be a super giant, but rather about my size) and she totally didn't freak out when the doctor examined her. But then came the shots. I was expecting tears. And I got them. But not from Dizzle. She was brave and although she winced, not a single tear was shed. Instead, Doodle kicked and screamed and cried. No, she didn't feel bad for Dizzle. She wanted to get shots too ...

Have you ever heard of such a thing?