So NOT a Diva

Many moons ago, I signed up to the Shape Diva Dash obstacle run. It was supposed to be a silly little race to run with my muddy bestie, Allison. Then she was offered a fabulous job in the middle of nowhere (also known as anywhere that isn’t New York) and she had to back out of the run. Sadness.
I could totally run it on my own though, and my hubby and son could be waiting for me at the finish line.

Today is race day. It is raining. This means no hubby and son to cheer me on. Bummer.

I popped on the the Diva Dash Facebook page to see if it’s still going to happen. I don’t know if Divas run in the rain. They aren’t Mudders and have no inclination to Spartan the Fuck Up, so it could have been cancelled or postponed. No cancellation notice, but I did see a post from Diva Dash saying that the Tuxedo Diva Dash is going to be the hardest terrain that they have ever set up. Cool. Not to sound like an elitist or something but I was seriously afraid that this run was going to be way too easy. Aaaaaand then I saw a comment on that post. It was Diva Dash saying that because the terrain would be difficult, they’d be cutting the distance. What?! It’s only a 5K! How much distance can they cut? And with only 10-12 obstacles to start with, what can I really expect?

In my head, I picture the morning going like this:
Drive 40+ minutes to get to Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center. Feel really uncomfortable in a sea of Girly Girl Power. Sneak into the first possible wave because it’s cold and raining and there’s no cover anywhere over there. Run for about 25 minutes amidst women dressed in tiaras, boas, and tutus who aren’t necessarily mud or obstacle runners. Get my free glass of wine. Drive 40 minutes home. Still have to get in another mile or so of running, because my training plan calls for a 5K today.

I am in no way excited about this run. I am not looking forward to running by myself, because, well, these things are meant to have fun with friends. I am in no way excited about running in the cold rain one week prior to my marathon relay- I’m already sniffly, do I really need a cold when 2 other runners depend on me?

Nope. No I don’t. My heart isn’t in this run and I try not to go places where my internal organs aren’t going to be in attendance. I’m going to watch Batman with my kid, meet my home-from-college sis and family for breakfast, and then go to a super-cool Wall-E birthday party for a quirky little 2 year old. Sounds like a much better time to me.

Down and Dirty in the Bx

October is jam-friggin-packed this year. FIVE races are going to somehow fit into 31 brisk, fall days. [And while on that topic, Mother Nature- can we please keep October in the realm of fall? That snowstorm you flung at us right at Halloween time a couple years back was a severely uncool move on your part and I'd appreciate it if you can keep that shit to the post-Thanksgiving time period. Thanks a bunch!]

My month of race-insanity began on Sunday with the Merrell Down and Dirty 6 Miler. I hadn’t done this particular event since my very first year as an OCR junkie- 2011. At that time, even for a newb like me, it was a pretty easy-peasy races. The obstacles were barely obstacles at all- walls, slippery wall, tubes thrown on the ground as tunnels, etc. For this year, I kept seeing picture of really fun-looking courses from Merrell. The obstacles looked they were being built well and they were picking up tips from other races for different kinds of obstacles. Maybe I’d try it again. A deep Groupon discount in my emailbox clinched the deal.

8AM Sunday morning, we just barely made it to the 6 Mile starting line.

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Didn’t even have time to stop at the plethora of portapotties before starting. If I remember correctly, I didn’t get to pee before the first one I did and had to swing pass them when we ran near the festival area during the race. Sigh. But the hubs and I did have the time to have someone snap a before shot of us.

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This poor camera has been through so much that the lens is in a permanent state of filth.


The course seemed follow the same route as in 2011, running along the boardwalk an then heading off into the woods.

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About as pretty as Orchard Beach gets


The first  obstacle was either the Ladder Walls or the Balance Beams. I’m not sure which because I relied on the camera to tell me what came first and Jay missed getting a shot of the ladder walls.

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Balance Beam

The balance beams had a step up and a step down, but they didn’t wobble too much, so they weren’t too hard. There were also volunteers there to help you if you needed it. I think the guy helped me for the step up.

After a jaunt through the woods and back out alongside the bike were the Terrible Tires. In relatively quick succession came:

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Military Walls

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Marine Hurdles

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Colossus Climb

On the other side of this inflatable cargo climb was a slide. I chickened out of the slide and climbed back down. Yeah. Seriously. I chickened out of a fucking slide. I don’t know what was going on inside my little brain- maybe it was remembering all the women I’ve seen get hurt on this thing at Dirty Girl- but it just wanted me to skip it. I listened to my instinct, but am seriously beating myself up for it.

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 Hercules Heavy Hoist

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Not my butt in the Tunnels

It was at this point that we passed by the spectator area- and the portapotties. Guess who made a pit stop. Again. Yep.

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Monster Climb – two tiered cargo climb

Another obstacle not included in the count: Eleventy-hundred spectators picnicking in the park. You know what’s really tempting when you are running a 10K in 45º weather on half a PB&J? Knocking over the woman wrapped in a blanket eating a donut to take her blankie and nom noms.

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Low Crawl – in the effing cold-ass water.

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Cargo Climb

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Cold mud pit.

We headed out of the park proper at this point and back into the woods were I found the dinkiest sandbag carry ever.

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Sand Bag Haul

See the end of the little flags behind the sandbag pile? That was how far we had to carry the darned thing. I’m not looking for a half mile climb up a black diamond slope with 60lbs on my back, but Jesus Krispies, I think it took longer to pick up the bag than to actually haul it.

Somewhere in here were also some Original Hurdles (shorter walls) and an obstacle called Give Me 20 that was literally just dropping and giving the Military man 20 push-ups.

Then came a few very new  obstacles to me.

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Jim’s Jungle Gym

You had to climb up the pole side of this obstacle using the little pipe joint bits as footholds, then climb down the cargo net on top. I thought it was pretty cool, although an old hip injury went ahead and seized my leg up in the middle of climbing up the poles. I had to just stand there for a few until it loosened back up enough to allow me to complete the climb.

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Monkey Cross

Ropes across the top, ropes across the bottom, walk/swing your way across. I had to stretch my 5′ body to the brink to reach both the top and bottom at the same time. The volunteer dude in the orange sweater helped me out by shifting the top rope so I could reach it.

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Rock Wall

After this we ended up taking a nice little stroll on the beach and into Pelham Bay.

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Photo from Gameface Media

I thought it would be freezing ass cold, but it was surprising warm- until you had to get out, of course. Then the air was frigid.

The last obstacle before the giant mud-pit of doom that ends these things, was the slippery wall.

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Slippery Mountain

It was lubed up with Paul Mitchell shampoo and smelled oddly wonderful given we had all just bathed in a NYC waterway. At the top were a variety of volunteers and U.S. Military folk, yelling at you to stay on your belly and use your arms to pull yourself up. Ha. I got about halfway and then Jay had to yank me up like the catch of the day.

I took off my Armpocket and held it in my mouth while we belly-crawled through the last very muddy mud pit and received an oversized dog tag medal.

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race_334_photo_11149561 Photos from Gameface Media

It took 1:28:38- 5 minutes slower than 2011-  but we stopped to help a bunch of people conquer obstacles along the way.

In our swag bags, we got a spiffy tech tee (back shown here), sample-sized Lara bar (apple pie! yum!) , Merrell wicking buff, and sample of Paul Mitchell shampoo. They also provided “Athlete Refreshment Packs” that included the trail mix, fruit snacks, a clementine, and a bottle of water. Nesquick gave everyone chocolate milk :)

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Gotta love free stuff

Also included was a coupon to Paragon Sports in Manhattan and a card thing that said that we could get a $110 credit to Merrell if we went and test-drove a Subaru at a participating dealer- I did not take advantage of either of these.  Not in the bag but available 5 days after the race, were FREE race photos from Gameface Media! Free pics make me do happy dances.

This is a well run, super fun event. So many new people to the sport were there right alongside people who have been doing it for years. Good times had by all. (Except maybe my mud-fearing son who wanted nothing to do with being around all these muddy nasty people- including his mommy and daddy.)

The Tale of the Douchecanoe

Once upon a time, 2 runners headed out for a training run. They were preparing themselves for the hilly course of the Hambletonian Marathon & Good Times Trotters Relay they would be running in a few short weeks. The morning was beautiful, warm enough to still wear shorts and a tank, but cool enough that you didn’t drown in your own sweat. The women tackled a Category 5 incline with nary a problem. (Well, maybe a bitch of a knee, stupid side stitch, and some shin splints, but that’s just par for the course so they don’t count.)

After turning around to head the 3 miles back to their starting point, they encountered <insert ominous music here> The Douchecanoe.

We’ve all seen this guy driving around. He’s overweight, but thinks he’s god’s gift to womankind. He can’t actually afford a sports car, so he soups up a Chevy Malibu, Subaru Impreza, or Honda Civic using the cheapest kit he can find using his grandma’s Amazon Prime account.

The guys and gals at Cracked.com have this one pretty well mapped out.

He zips that car up and down the streets in his small town, showing all the tweenagers how cool he is. We probably don’t all know the same one, but we all know one. Sadly, there are many.

The Douchecanoe that the two badass Mama runners came across was driving a red car. Civic? Malibu? Maybe a GT? Hell, it could have been a Grand Prix for all they knew, because all they could see was the fact that it was coming directly at them as they ran as close to edge of the road without being in the super-slanted, rutted, grass and dirt embankment next to the road. It was a long, straight road.  It was in farmland where there weren’t many cars on the road. They ran against the little traffic there was. There was no traffic coming from behind them. But still, the Douchecanoe in the red car stayed dead-set on staying as close to the edge of the road as he possibly could, pointing directly at the two shocked-as-shit runners. WTF?

The runners stood their ground as he came closer and closer. As he just barely moved aside at the very last minute, the runners made very unladylike gestures in his direction. He hung is big fat head out the window yelling at them that they shouldn’t be out there.

The runners were pissed off. “Asshole” was the word of the day. The previous 4 miles had seen many other drivers being very courteous to the 2 runners. The runners would move when they could and cars and trucks gave them space and slowed down appropriately when they could. What was the Douchecanoe’s problem?

The runners continued on their way, but the Douchecanoe returned.

He turned his car around to hassle the women again. He insisted that the runners should have moved aside. The runners insisted that he should have given them the clearance that would have been so easy to provide. The Douchecanoe said the gestures were very unladylike. The pissed off runners reminded him that it is un-gentlemanlike to try to run people off the road. If he had lingered for a second longer, they would have started copying his license number and calling the police, but the Douchecanoe sped off to buy himself more Axe body spray and Monster energy drinks, instead.

The runners were bummed and angry for the whole rest of the run. Maybe even the rest of the day. Maybe even 2 days later when one of the runners was still ticked off enough to blog about it.

So to the non-runners who drive on roads where there are walkers, runners, cyclists or people doing the goddamn tango if they want to: We’ll give you space, you give us space. We know that sometimes you can’t move to accommodate us. We’ll dive into the shitty brambles if we have to, but don’t make us do that if you can simply and safely move slightly to the left.  We share the road and you’ve got a big box of metal and airbags around you. We’ve got squishy bits and breakable bones that we can’t afford to break when we have families to take care of.

Wonder Mom Wednesday: Favorite Family Recipes

One of the blogs that I follow, This Mama Runs for Cupcakes, has teamed up with Mom Who Tris and Mom Swim Bike Run to host a blog link-up called Wonder Mom Wednesday. They invited anyone to link up. I figured, “Why not?”

This Week’s Topic- Favorite Family Recipe

 

I suck pretty bad at gathering family recipes. My grandmother makes delicious preserve-filled cookies at Christmas time- I think they are called kiffles and are a Hungarian thing so why they are tradition in my Italian family is beyond me. I’ve asked for and have been given the recipe eleventy-thousand times. Do I know where any of those eleventy-thousand pieces of paper are? Nope.  I know in the bowels of my mother’s house there is a copy of that recipe, along with Aunt Fran’s Cheesecake recipe, recipes for pizza dough and pasta from my Pee-Pop (great-grandpa- I was a weird child,) and a plethora of other’s that one day, one dayI will smuggle out of her house and make copies of and promptly stick them in here:

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Of all the unlikely places in the world, this is where I keep track of the majority of my non-Pinterest recipes. It is a cookbook that my sister made as a school project way, way back in the day- maybe middle school or possibly even elementary school. It had been a tiny little half-inch binder when she gave it to me, but has since grown into this monstrosity:

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I added dozens, if not hundreds, of recipes I had found online pre-Pinterest- 80% of them still unused. Fail.

It originally contained a collection of a tween-age girl’s favorite recipes that our family used. They were printed out on regular paper with an old ink jet printer hooked up to a p.o.s. IBM that was probably 10 years old already.  It included such recipes as:

Dad’s Best Home Fries

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They are seriously just plain old home fries, but my family goes gaga for them (me not included- I hate peppers.) They even have become a smash hit at my VFW’s Sunday Breakfasts (first Sunday of every month at the Maybrook, NY Post!)

Peppery Steak with Pan Fries and Gravy

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A serious calorie bomb that originally came out of a Pillsbury cookbook. It’s more or less just country fried steak on top of potato wedges and slathered in pan gravy. It became one of the first meals I made for Jay because it was one of the only things I knew I could make. For the record: Steak and potatoes really are the way into a man’s heart.

Grandma Nancy’s Rice and Beans

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Believe it or not, I am part Puerto Rican. Twenty-five percent of my genes came from my born-on-the-island grandma. This is her recipe for rice and beans, though I’m pretty sure if I were to follow this recipe it would not taste remotely like her cooking, or my Aunt Nivia’s, or even my mom’s.

Pizzelle cookies and Jelly

There ain’t no way in Hell that I’m sharing a picture of that recipe. This is what the cookies looks like:

And click on Brown Eyed Baker’s picture here if you want her recipe.

I’m certain that if I were to publicize this family recipe- especially for the special jelly filling- some kind of spectral wooden spoon would come flying out of nowhere and knock me out cold, face down on my keyboard. It is a Christmas-only recipe and they disappear FAST. Like if my mom doesn’t set aside a some of what my grandma brings to Christmas Eve and I don’t get there until after 2pm, I will never see a pizzelle, let alone get to eat one with the jelly.

But I think my favorite recipe out of this book is the Bon Bon Cookies. And I just realized that I don’t have ANY picture of these delicious things. I’ll have to make up a batch soon and get one up here.

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Since the pic is totally out of focus, here’s what it says (editted into slightly better cooking terms)

  • 3/4 Cups Powdered Sugar

  • 1/2 Cup Butter, softened
  • 1 TBSP Almond Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • Maraschino Cherries, cut in half or chocolate chips or Hershey’s Kisses cut in half

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Beat together sugar, butter, and vanilla. (Be gentle at first or you will get a face full of powdered sugar)

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture. If dough appears too dry, add in a tbsp or 2 of milk.

Mold a tablespoon or so of dough around a cherry half (or 3 or 4 chocolate chips, or Kiss half). Place dough balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes until set, but not brown.

Allow to cool, then dip tops of cookies into chocolate glaze (mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 ounce of melted unsweetened chocolate until smooth.

 

The thing I love about this recipe, is that a silly mistake made by my mother when first trying this recipe has made it what it is. She accidentally added a tablespoon of almond extract instead of a teaspoon. That’s a huge difference with almond extract as a wee little bit goes an awfully long way. The cookies came out soooo good with the almondy-cherryey deliciousness. She made them the next time with the previously appropriate teaspoon and they just tasted meh. Now each batch becomes an almond extract arms race- each time they get stronger and stronger until one day they are just going to burn your mouth with almond-scented alcohol.

I’ve made them a few times, but they get a bit tedious to make. The dough has to be made, cherries have to be cut up, and then each cherry bit has to wrapped up in the dough. I’ve also swapped out the cherries for chocolate chips to make things a little easier (and chocolatier.)

And if you want transcriptions of any of the other recipes, let me know :)

And, of course, don’t forget to check out the Link Up hosts’s pages!

FoodDay Friday – The Fridge

This is that post that was supposed to get posted 2 weeks ago!

For some reason, I’ve seen way too many things popping up in various feeds involving the contents of people’s refrigerators- from what runners should have in their fridge for a better run, to cleaning myths, to a contest to win a Voltron shirt by inventorying your icebox. Slow news day? Is it National Clean Out Your Fridge Week*? Whatever the reason, I’ll jump on the bandwagon with a list of things that are almost always in the fridge in my house.

Garlic Paste

I’m Italian. Garlic goes in everything. 

I’m also lazy. Garlic (unless it’s the really fresh garlic I get at the Garlic Festival) is a pain in the ass to peel and mince. Garlic paste allows me to skip those steps (and occasionally steal a squirt like it’s chocolate syrup.) Once upon a time, I would have just used garlic powder, but no more.

Butter

I may be a butter hoarder. Whenever it is on sale, I will totally throw 4 pounds of butter in my cart and then come back the next day for more. I really only use it for baking, but I NEED to have it available at all times. I actually keep so much butter on hand that I have become blind to its existence on my refrigerator shelves. Example: On Monday I went to make an Oreo cake for Jay’s birthday. I had a mini-hissy that I had NO butter in the house and had to resort to using margarine (why I had that I don’t know.) Yesterday afternoon, as I looked for garlic paste, I found 2 whole boxes of Hotel Bar butter in the door. How I missed 2 bright red boxes sitting in the fridge is beyond me.

And before my family interjects with this horrible anecdote from my childhood, let me just say it: when I was a kid (like, 3) I would eat butter like candy bars. My mother would find my teeth marks in the sticks of butter. The only way she could stop me, was by switching to tubs of butter. And by the way Mom- I wasn’t dumb. I just grabbed a spoon. Duh. I’m pretty sure I quit before elementary school.

Rogue Yogurt

There is always a stock pile of yogurt, but then there is always that container that magically wanders away from the rest of of them. They’ll all be nicely stacked on the right side of the middle shelf, but then that one- that stupid single container- winds up on the top shelf in way back left corner. It is way above my eye-line and even if I look from underneath the clear shelf, it just so happens to be blocked by the giant water dispenser in there. I find it at least 3 weeks after its ‘best if used by’ date. There’s a dollar that will never be seen again.

“What was in that?” Tupperware Container

I have all the good intentions of saving leftovers and extra ingredients for later use- half an onion, leftover gravy (pasta sauce), the rest of a can of bean sprouts. I either don’t use them, forget about them, or they follow the Rogue Yogurt into its private black hole in the back of the fridge. I just pulled not one, but TWO Tupperwares of refried black beans. One of them still looked like black beans. The other looked like when the lady who cleaned all of our Petri dishes in my college microbiology lab went on vacation and nobody bothered to clean up after themselves. That container got chucked in the trash. I wasn’t risking breathing in whatever alien mold spores I was harboring in my icebox.

I was not going to be responsible for releasing a mold plague of doom.

*Cleaning out your fridge does not get a whole week. Just a day- November 15.

Wonder Mom Wednesday – Favorite Mom Moments

One of the blogs that I follow, This Mama Runs for Cupcakes, has teamed up with Mom Who Tris and Mom Swim Bike Run to host a blog link-up called Wonder Mom Wednesday. They invited anyone to link up. I figured, “Why not?”

This Week’s Topic- Favorite Mom Moments from last week

First off, I am fully aware that today is Thursday. I am a mom and I work full time 63 miles away from home. Sometimes I just can’t get to blog writing and things get shifted about. Recaps don’t get written until 3 days after a race and Wednesday posts become Thursday posts. I actually have a FoodDay Friday post that was supposed to go out 2 Fridays ago but is still sitting in the draft pile. Also, sometimes I get lost in an X-Files binge on Netflix. So I blame the aliens for my late post.

On to this week’s topic. Favorite mom moments from last week. Here goes:

X repeatedly asking when he can go “run too fast” again.

IMG_1269[1]I don’t know if it is because he truly enjoys running or if he just likes getting medals, or if he just likes that he gets to wear his Iron Man Under Armour, but ever since he ran the Run Like a Mother kid’s 1 miler, he always wants to go running with us. If he’s in the jogging stroller, he insist he gets out and run, too. I think it’s been happening more this week because he ran a little bit of the General Montgomery Day 8K and hasn’t come off his adrenaline rush yet.

X playing happily, nicely, and bravely.

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I don’t usually get to see X playing with kids around his age. Jay drops him off at day care and I only occasionally get to pick him up. I don’t have time nor the interpersonal skills to take him on play dates. The neighborhood kids are all way bigger than him. This weekend, though, we stayed in Rhode Island for the Surftown Half Marathon and X got to play with other kids. He showed Christina’s Baby A and Hannah’s daughter the wonders of Batman and the other Avengers. He sat and watched Frozen with all the kids, which was a miracle because usually unless someone is wearing a cape or yelling “Hulk SMASH!!” he won’t watch it. The most cool thing was watching him play on the beach with Tiffany’s 4 1/2 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter. With zero fear, he wandered out chase the waves and giggle and dig sand and do beach things with the other kids. When at the beach in Rehoboth, he was very afraid of the water and it took either me and Jay or Jay and my dad holding his hands to get him to even dip a toe in the surf. This time, he even jumped on Tiffany’s husband’s skimboard! Who is this kid?

Baby’s First Smiley Face on Baby’s First Homework
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As a nerd, it is only natural to completely ecstatic that my 3 year old is already getting homework. He was excited to get it done, wanted more, and got a “Good job” and a smiley face on his daily sign-in sheet for it.

X geeking out

I have no picture for this, but when I opened up Netflix on the X-Box last week, X started singing “Doo-bie, doo-bie, dooo-bie” to the tune of the X-Files theme. How effing awesome is it that X has learned the theme to my favorite 90s SciFi tv show? I mean, I know it’s just because Jay and I have been binging on it lately and he hears it ALL THE TIME but it’s still pretty cool. He even has started to request it sometimes when we tell him that no, he cannot watch a 7th episode of Justice League. I probably shouldn’t be letting him watch such a grown up show, but I’m a bit of an X-Phile and can usually tell whether or not the next episode is one that has too much violence or would give him nightmares. Though I did mis-remember a recent one and X may have seen someone decapitated. Oddly, he didn’t seem bothered by it and only remarked, “he got a boo-boo on his neck. He has to go the hospital.” Why, yes, X. He does have a rather nasty boo-boo.

Moms uniting

The last favorite mom moment was not involving the kiddo directly. It occurred when unpacking in Rhode Island. I had packed a few DVDs to keep all the kiddos entertained. I pulled out a DVD of the acclaimed children’s book, Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus. Tiffany’s son, well versed in the awesomeness that is Mo Willems, immediately reacted saying “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!” Having read the darned book way more times that I care to admit, I responded with:

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“But his cousin Herb drives a bus almost every day!”

From within the kitchen, I hear Tiffany respond, without missing a beat:

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The very next line in the book.

This is completely on par with whenever someone asks, “What time is it?” at work and Christina and I both reply with:

Don’t forget to head over to the hosts’ blogs and check out the other linked up blogs.

Surftown Half Marathon Recap

I guess I should finally get around to recapping my third ever half marathon- the Surftown Half.

I signed up to do this race with my Running Mamas crew that I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon with. Not only did we all get together for this, but we dragged our husbands and kids along for the weekend, all piling into a beach house a whopping 1.4 miles away from the starting line. (Thanks Tiffany- and Bill- for offering up the house!) Four Mamas, 1 running dada (my husband), 3 non-running dadas, and 5 kiddos under the age of 5 made for an interesting weekend. Since nobody wants to read about the horrors of 2 of the kiddos vomiting in the car on the way in, or how to feed 5 kids with 5 different sets of eating weirdnesses, how many times one kid can beg for Wall-E while the another begs for Frozen, or exactly how much sand one pre-schooler can fit in his Jake and the Neverland Pirates underpants, I’ll just go ahead and skip to the race-related stuff. K?

The morning started way easier than a typical race morning because the race was soooo close. Not to mention, I was able to do packet pick-up for all of us on the day before (except Hannah, who had hers mailed- very cool option that I refused to use because I was sure I’d end up forgetting everything at home.)

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We also got a spiffy little Hartford Marathon Foundation mini-tote.

I made a terrible race-day mistake and skipped breakfast. Instead, I ate a chocolate Honey Stinger Waffle before leaving the house and regular one on the way to the start line. This was probably not the best of ideas. I peed twice in the morning, but failed to hit the portapotties right before lining up in the starting corrals. This, also, was probably not the best of ideas.

The corrals were divvied up by expected/desired finish time and you placed yourself where you wanted to be. Jay split off into the 2 hour, as did Tiffany and Hannah, I think. I really don’t know because Christina and I were hightailing it to somewhere between the 2:30 and 2:45 pacers. I always have 2 goals for any given race: My Pie-in-the-Sky goal that where I’d  be absolutely thrilled to finish at and my Feet-on-the-Ground goal that is my more realistic goal. My realistic goal for today was to finish faster than I did at Sleepy Hollow. That time was 2:42:22. I was pretty damned confident that I could beat that. My Pie-in-the-Sky was a sub-2:30 time. I’d have to keep my pace below 11:11 min/mile to do that, which I had not been able to do recently. Hopefully, this beautifully cool morning, I’d be back on my game running a faster pace.

For the first 6 miles, my 1:30/:30 run/walk interval worked wonderfully to keep me at a nice comfortable pace between 10:40 and 10:55 min/mile, including a few small hills that I didn’t walk up- proud of myself for that.

But then Not the Best of Ideas #2 reared its ugly head. I had to pee. Holding it was only going to slow me down over time. I knew I was maintaining a good enough pace that I should be able to stop and not kill my time, but every portapotty along the route had someone waiting in front of it. I had time to pee, not time for multiple people to pee. Luckily, the house we were staying at was along the race route, so somewhere in the sixth mile I paused my app, told Christina to keep going, and ran up the driveway, into the house, to use a real bathroom. Convenient, huh?

Not having my bladder dictate my pace, I was actually able to speed up for the next little bit. Mile 7 was actually a whole :30 faster than Mile 5. Then the course took us off the very flat beach and up into the village of Watch Hill. Emphasis on the “Hill.” I’m not going to go crazy bitching about the hills, because after Sleepy Hollow, this really wasn’t all that hilly, but it was just hilly enough to beat my pace down. To add insult to injury, Not the Best of Ideas #1 cropped up at precisely the same time as the hills did. All of a sudden I was feeling hungry- and not the kind of hungry that popping some Supercandy or a Gu pack from the many water stations would help. Belly wanted food. To try to quiet the growling, I drank more. Works when dieting- not while running.

I bonked big time. My energy dropped fast. My 1:30/:30 quickly changed to “Just make it to that blue mailbox, then walk”/”You are going to start running again when you get that shrub, got it?” My nice, even pace got all wibbly wobbly and I became really downhearted that my Pie-in-the-Sky goal that had been starting to look more and more realistic was just not going to happen.

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Then, somewhere around mile 11, a pep-talk in a black running skirt found me. Tiffany had already finished the half (1:53) and was running back to make up some distance for her marathon training. She ran with me for the rest of the way. I was trying to get back to my interval but I just didn’t have it in me, but whenever I would be walking too long, Tiffany would say something or I’d be thinking in my head that she was going to think I was the biggest loser for walking so much, so I’d start running. When I could see the finish line, I told Tiffany that I was going to walk until I got the finishing chute and then I’d sprint in, but she kept looking back at me like “why the hell aren’t you running” so I started running. I got a power up high five from a kid along the way and then started sprinting well before I planned.

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I look a LOT better than I felt.

And I just barely MISSED my Pie-in-the-Sky goal. Sigh.

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Official results

But I did more than smash my Feet-on-the-Ground goal by 12 minutes! And according to my phone app, (which paused for the pee break) I unofficially came in under 2:30. So YAY!!IMG_1293[1]

The medal is the same giant chunk of spiffiness no matter what time I dragged my butt across the finish line.

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Photo taken next to my well deserved Bahama Mama later that day.

We all headed back to the house to clean up with the idea of returning the carnival that went along with the race festivities. There would be rides and games for the kiddos and we’d all have a good time. Or maybe we’d all just kind of ice our calves in the cold ocean water and decide to hang out at the house and watch the kids play in the surf and the sand, instead.

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Why spend money at a carnival when THIS is literally in your backyard?