Monthly Archives: August 2012

I Am a Runner (says Courtney)

I received a really special surprise in the mail the other day! It was such an unexpected and lovely surprise- the best kind of surprises! When I saw the box waiting for me at my door step, I couldn’t figure out what it could be.  I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but when I see a unexpected box at my doorstep, I stop and stare at the box from approximately two feet away and check to make sure it isn’t some sort of mirage.   After confirming that it is indeed real, I usually lunge for the box and check out who the name of the package! There is always those few minutes of dread that creeps in that maybe the package was meant to be delivered to a neighbor instead (doesn’t THAT suck!). After confirming that yes, it is a real package, that yes it is for ME, I allowed myself to get all giddy.

The Husband asked, “what did you order now?” as I wracked my brain with my recent Amazon purchases. As far as I could recall, I already received all my recent orders. I checked the return address label and saw that package was from a shop called The Run Home. This only made me even more curious and even more excited to rip open the box! Of course, my son wanted to inspect the box for a bit so the anticipation of what could be inside just kept building. It was killing me!

I finally got the box away from my son by enticing him with one of his blocks.  I ripped open the box like a five year old on Christmas morning and found a cute little box with a silver bow. Inside the box was this:

ImageThe card with the package told me that my friend, Courtney sent this incredible awesome necklace in honor of my personal record from my last race!  Let me tell you a little bit about this necklace.  As you can see, the necklace has a couple of charms surrounding the I AM A RUNNER charms.  One charm says the date of my last race in Illinois and a charm says 5K, the distance I ran. There is another charm which you can’t see from this picture, it says the time I finished the 5K: 34:27.  It’s the fastest I have ran 3.1 miles to date.  I was just really blown away by the sentiment and the thoughtfulness.  I have a hard time considering myself a runner so seeing this necklace really melted my heart.  I told Courtney that I considered this my first race medal, haha.

Thank you so much, Courtney! I wish I could tell you exactly how receiving that necklace made me feel! It was such a fun race for me on so many levels and it’s really special to have something tangible to commemorate that race.  You have been such a power house when it comes to supporting me and my running.  Running is something I thought I would never do, and you have helped me get out there and do it so many times with your motivational words and genuine interest.

I really am a lucky girl to have a great set of friends that help me push myself. We should all be so lucky to have that in our lives.

Do you have someone in your life that inspires you, motivates you or is supportive in your endeavors?

101 Things to Do with Your Husband (or anyone, really).

While perusing Pinterest, I saw that a pinner had pinned 101 Things To Do with Your Husband authored by Audrey McClelland of Mom Generations.  It sparked my curiosity and I clicked on the pin.  I’m glad I took a moment to dig in and see the kinds of activities Ms. McClelland came up with. A lot of the activities that were listed The Hubs and I have already done.  It could be because we’ve been together for 14+ years (married almost 8 of those years). It could also be because we just like doing things together. I copied and pasted the list below and added my own little notes after some activities and left the author’s notes in some.  Feel free to check out the original blog post to see the author’s notes (linked above).

Obviously this list is not exclusive to husbands.  These activities could work great with anyone: friends, wives, boy/girl friends, etc.

The activities in bold are things that we have done and I italicized the activities that I would like to do with The Hubs (or friends!) in the future.

101 Things To Do With Your Husband by Audrey McClelland.

Bike ride – around the block or out and about!

Cook together – it’s really the only way dinner is getting on the table in my casa.
Go to the gym together – I love having a gym buddy to help me with weights or to make sure that I actually get to the gym!
Playing croquet – this would make a fun backyard or park activity.
Match socks together – chores are a team effort because if they weren’t mismatched socks would be in a big pile on the floor.
Plant a garden
Go see a play at a local theater – I really wish we did this more!
Paint a room in your house that you’ve been meaning to re-do – Done and so hope I never have to do this again.
Shopping for something new for you and for him
Scrabble
Head to a vineyard
Long walk around the block
Picnic on the beach – I know we have picnicked in other places, but I don’t think we tried the beach yet.  Eating on the beach can be tricky, I feel like sand is on everything I eat.
When the kids are in bed, steal the Wii – one of my most favorite New Years Eve was having a Guitar Hero Marathon with the Hubs.
A game of tennis
Put together a puzzle
Read a book together – and catalogs! I love going through catalogs with the Hubs and pointing out everything I would buy if I had an endless supply of money and space.
Put together photo albums of your family
Sit outside and watch the sunset
Cooking class together
Yoga – I was just reminiscing how fun it was to take a yoga class or two with the Hubs back in the day.
Head to a coffee shop and chill out
Day trip to a special location nearby
Find a band you both like and see if they’re playing anytime soon or nearby. If not, head to a local bar who plays music. – we attempted this but the Chicago based band we wanted to see  wasn’t playing when we were in Chicago.
Dancing lessons – we both need a lesson or two or a thousand.
Baseball game together
Check out a local brewery
Bowling!
House hunting
Head to the zoo 
Fishing

Canoe ride

Roller blading – Meh. I’m better at ice skating, oddly.

Create a vegetable garden
Learn how to play Call of Duty on XBOX – meh.
Couple massages
Run a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, marathon together
Volunteer together somewhere special – While we haven’t volunteered anywhere together yet, we have done things like buying for Operation Backpack; Toys for Tots and sponsoring a child for Christmas. We both got a lot out of shopping for others in need.
Create videos for your blog together – if you’re a blogger! -Eh, not my thang.
Whale watching
Mini golfing
Real golfing
Play basketball together (or teach her how to play)
Head to the beach and collect sea glass or shells
Monopoly
Recreate your very first date
Dance in the kitchen when the kids are in bed – right after we take some dance lessons
Head to a flea market
Sit by the fire
Go camping – this will probably never happen. Not a big fan of going camping.
Learn to play an instrument together 
Play frisbee
Redo your bedroom together – new sheets, new arrangement of furniture, hang photos, etc
When it’s raining, run outside and kiss in the rain!
Free movies in the park
Walk around the mall hand in hand
Have a fondue night – we’ve been to a fondue restaurant but I don’t think we’ve ever did one in our own home.
Kayaking
Make chocolate chip cookies from scratch together
Head to the batting cages
Go-cart racing!
Head out on a boat ride
Head to a car dealer and test drive cars you’ve been dying to check out for you and your family
Strawberry/Apple picking/Blueberry/ – We’ve done and enjoy apple and pumpkin picking. It would be fun to pick other fruits!

Movie night outside on an old school projector
Sit and watch your wedding video together – we’ll this is never going to happen because we didn’t opt for the wedding vid.
Make a family tree
Spend the night at a local B&B
Go hiking
Head to a local museum
Fitness class together – something other than yoga.
Make your own sundaes
Go ice skating
Find a place where you can do a dinner boat or a dinner train!
Make your own sushi – I don’t like sushi.  Let’s make something else.
Lay in your backyard and look up at the stars
Go horseback riding
Find a local art exhibit – we even bought a cool photography print that hangs in our living room!
Swim in the ocean
If you have a hot tub, jump in!
Head to an amusement park
Create something for your kids and surprise them – blanket fort, pillow fortress, LEGO cave, etc!
Make a cake

Dress up all fancy and head out to dinner, it doesn’t matter if it’s just for the fun of it
Create a vision board of goals and dreams you both have for your lives ahead – my vision board is on pinterest. I like to pin alone.
Clean out and organize the garage, your basement or your attic – usually it’s just The Hubs doing this stuff, so maybe I should pitch in.
Go to church together
Make breakfast and eat it in bed
Plant a tree
Create a special space outdoors for the summer
Go to a planetarium
Watch a fireworks display
Take a bubble bath together – must find a tub for two!
Create a scavenger hunt for each other of clues that only the 2 of you would know and understand – I rather go on a scavenger hunt that someone else created.
Visit a local animal shelter if you’re looking to adopt a new pet – and that’s how we got Manny!
Take a karate class 
Whitewater rafting
Head to the casino
Make breakfast together in the morning
Head to a water park

What do you think of the list?  What would you add? What would you skip?

Rally for Autism 5k – Libertyville, IL

Let me just preface this race report with saying that

this was the best. race. ever.

A day after proclaiming that I would never run another damn race again, I let Kim talk me into signing up for the Rally for Autism 5K in Illinois.  She’s very persuasive.  Not to mention the fact that this would be my first out of town race, strollers were permitted, and that this race was for an amazing cause, it was practically a no brainer to say yes.  Or Maybe it was because my brain was still all melty from the race we ran the day before in 80 degree-weather-at-9 AM-with-1000%-humidity, hmmm…). But honestly, running for a worthy cause like Autism research and supporting families affected by Autism was icing on the cake.  So, Kim signed me and The Husband up for the race and we planned to run with my son in a jogging stroller.  Admittedly, I was a bit apprehensive about running another race in the summer, but figured how much worse could it be than my last sweltering race that took place in Hell.

So let’s get started with the race recap!  We picked up our bibs and tech t-shirts (aww yeah, tech t-shirt!!) after our flight to Chicago.  Pick up was super easy and we were greeted by smiles and friendly faces from the race coordinators.  Kim surprised us with a race shirt for LP to commemorate his first 5k with this awesomely customized shirt:

My First 5k : ) photo by Kim Skaff

On race day we were blessed with the most amazing weather I have encountered in August in a really long time.  A sunny 70 degrees with a slight breeze. In August. In Chicago.  The race coordinators must be good friends with the race gods to score that kind of weather in the middle of August.  We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Kim’s friend kindly let us borrow her jogging stroller so we didn’t have to haul ours from NYC.  Kim volunteered to push him in the jogger and she was great at it!  I wish I could bottle some of her energy for myself! Not only was she running while pushing a stroller, she entertained LP the whole time with her silliness.   I think there may have been the occasional wheelies, too. I may or may not have loaded the stroller with essentials like water bottles (mine), useless sun visors (mine) and select baby items (not mine). Hope that stroller wasn’t too heavy for you, Kim!

The race was held at the Independence Grove Forest Preserve and it was gorgeous.  Jaw dropping gorgeous.  We had sweeping views of rolling hills, trees and lakes! At one point the path curved and  you could see all the speedy runners blazing a trail before us.  It was inspiring! The course had a couple of bridges that we got to run across.  What is it about running across a bridge that’s so fun?! The scenery did a lot to take my mind off of the actual running.  Kim and LP were great pacers, we couldn’t really bust out of the pack because it was just too tricky to do that with a jogger and that really helped me not to go out too fast.  I loved being able to run with a pack! I usually get left behind pretty quickly so this was a nice change! The volunteers did a great job of cheering us on along the way and get this, there was not one, but TWO water stops.  Say what!? I’ve given up on actually trying to drink water out of a cup while running, so instead I took the opportunity to splash some in my face.  The best thing about taking water cups from the water station is crushing the cups in your fist and throwing it off to the side like a bad ass.  That will never get old for me. Never.

Steve, Kim, and I wore orange running shirts and we got a few fun compliments about them along the way.  We even ran into another gentleman wearing an orange shirt and Kim asked him if he wanted to join our Orange Shirt Club.  I don’t think he was interested in joining. Sad face.

We kept a pretty manageable pace for me and ran the race in …drum roll…34:27! Which just happens to be a personal best for moi.  Thank you, thank you.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to slip that into everyday conversation with random people since the race.  “So how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good, PRed a race, what did you do?” and “Sure, I’ll have fries with that, after all I broke my previous Personal Record just the other day”.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this race was deciding to stick together with Kim and The Husband.  They are faster runners than I am, so it felt good that they weren’t worried about breaking PR’s or anything like that.  We crossed the finish line holding hands – which had to be a bit tricky for Kim since she was pushing a jogger. And bonus! I didn’t feel like death after the race, I felt freakin great! Plus, I got to meet a lot of Kim’s friends from her running club which was really cool.  She knows a great bunch of people!

I just have to mention the post-race food: hot dogs, chips, fruit, muffins, and bagels! What a spread and I was all too willing to consume any and all calories I expended during the race.

My son enjoyed “running”, too.  After the race he took the opportunity to wander into pictures with Kim and her friends.  He has no shame.

This race had such a good vibe and I really enjoyed it.  I was excited to shave off a few minutes off my last PR and to run the race alongside Kim and The Husband.  And because you are still reading this recap, I just want to mention again, that I PRed.  In case you may have missed that part in the post.

Did I hear someone yell “sppeeeeech!”.  Well ok, if you insist:

Big huge thanks to Kim for doing all the stroller pushing; Kim’s husband for being our official race photographer; and the race coordinators for pulling off such a well organized and fun race! Another big thanks to Kim’s friend for lending us a stroller!  Having LP with us the entire time was such a treat! Thank you treadmill and humid basement!  Humid basement, if it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have been so appreciative of the amazing weather we had!

What’s Your Motivation

It’s time for a workout/run/activity/doing something other than sitting on the couch.  How do you get motivated?  What gets you going? Me? I am a professional at coming up with excuses for not running on any given day.  Too hot. Too humid.  Too tired.  Too late.  It’s Wednesday.  It’s stormy. The baby doesn’t feel well.  I don’t feel well. I can come up with anything and talk myself out of a run very easily.  I feel like a lazy piece of crap,  but meh.  I keep doing it.  I came across the below quote that is really helping me get my butt in gear lately:

Just change “going outside” to “going down to the humid basement of hell” and that would describe my motivation lately.  I can’t tell you how many times I have to tell myself that I will feel way more awesome finishing a run than dealing with the guilt and feelings of laziness when I talk myself out of run.  This usually gets me off my arse  and down to the basement.   The saying is true, you will never regret going out (or in) for a run (or any other type of exercise, really). Even on the days where my runs leave me feeling tired and achy,  the sense of accomplishment feels way better that sitting on the couch. Some days I have to repeat this quote over and over and over to get myself going, but it works.  It gets the job done. Not to mention, it’s always waaaaaaaaaaay better telling Koach Kim I completed a run.  That’s my motivation for getting my sneakers laced.

The Track and Field portion of the Olympics has started. I’ve been looking forward to watching a lot of the different races hoping to show the brain how it’s done. I was eagerly anticipating the Women’s Marathon.  I made sure to be up at 6AM to watch it live.  Man, those ladies can run! Mind blowing. I can’t even comprehend running 26.2 miles in under 2 1/2 hours.  Incredible.  I can’t even imagine running 26.2 miles in under 5 hours.  Who am I kidding, I can’t even imagine running 26.2 miles, period.  My favorite part of the race, seeing Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan supporting each other after a grueling race marred by crap weather.  These are the moments that remind me why I love the Olympics. After annoying commercial breaks, poor commentary, and Olympic sized spoilers lately, I was so grateful  for the reminder. Two women running for the same country with the same goal are still able to look outside of themselves and hold each other up.  Nice.

Let’s hear it folks, what’s your motivation? Got any favorite Olympic moments thus far?

Gold Medal in Complaining.

Goes to me! Anybody want my autograph?

I love when the Olympics roll into town – or rather, show up on my TV, nightly.  I remember always being infatuated with the Winter and Summer games as a child – always wishing I could jet off to the host country to be there in person.  I loved watching all my favorite events and holding my breath in anticipation, hoping the Gold Medal would be achieved by the athlete or team du jour.   

This year?  I’m not feeling it.  I feel so disconnected and grumpy about it and I think it’s due in large part to the coverage.  I’m not digging any of the commentators. I feel like most of their commentary is a bunch of negative drivel. They seem to take pleasure in trying to conjure up unnecessary drama. They harp and harp on disappointment and loss a lot more than achievement and victory.  I feel like the athletes deserve much better than that. Much like this post keeps harping on the suckiness of the Olympic coverage.

I’m not digging the constant back and forth sporting event coverage.  First I’m watching one sporting event that gets interrupted by another sporting event that gets interrupted by another event and back to the original sporting event.  I just don’t ever remember it being that way, although The Husband assures me it has always been like that. I guess I’m getting old and cranky.

Social media is doing a great job in spoiling all the highlights.  Hey, I get that some people want to know the Olympic news the second it happens and I’m cool with that, but maybe websites (I am looking at you, MSN) could invest in a little something called a spoiler alert? Maybe make it a little bit harder to see which country in gymnastics took home the Gold.  Sigh.  

One of my favorite things about the TV Olympic coverage is learning new things about the host city.  This year all I keep seeing is the London Eye and Daniel Craig. As eye pleasing and exciting as those two things are, I am sure there are lots more to London than a ferris wheel. Maybe I’m just missing all the good Inside London segments?  

The saving grace for this year’s Olympics for me is the texting spurts I have during the prime-time coverage with a friend.  A great alternative when you can’t all gather in one living room.  

How do you feel about Olympic coverage this year?