Friday, December 30, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

I don't know the exact number of miles I ran. Or biked. Or how many meters I swam.

But I do know, that I had probably the best year of racing.


The first few months of the year, I ran for fun. I was on a first marathon post-race high, and I didn't race until March, in a really fun run, the Tipp Hill Shamrock Run 4 miler.  Where I managed a 1 minute PR.

I braved the cold morning temps of spring, and met my friends for training runs in hilly, downtown Syracuse, prepping for the Mountain Goat 10 miler.  I gave that goat a smack down with an 8 minute PR.

Ah, injury.  While walking Frank, I rolled my foot off a path, and twisted my foot. My podiatrist felt I needed custom inserts, and new running shoes.  I had to take over a month's rest, and was unable to run in one of my favorite races, the Boilermaker #15k. The lovely race director let me defer my registration to 2012, so I was happy.

One I was healed, it was go time for the Irongirl Triathlon.  My biggest fear was the swim, but I ended up really enjoying it, and a few times at the pool, people complimented me on my stroke.  I must have been doing something right, because in the swim, I placed 192 out of over a 1,000 finishers.

Then it was time for marathon training, and fundraising. I'm thankful and appreciative to all who donated, I raised over $2,800 for The Children's Tumor Foundation.

I learned the name for a muscle that I didn't know I had, the pes anerus, which I now call Pez.  I pulled that sucker pretty well, so much so that I had to alter my marathon training. My last training run was capped at 18 miles, so I wasn't sure how I was going to do in the race.

But I traveled down to the area I grew up, and one of my life goals came true.  

Oh yeah, and I pulled off an 18 minute PR.

While I was at the expo, I met up with two fabulous bloggers, Miss Zippy, and Lisa.

I finished 2011 with a Turkey Trot 10k, I felt fabulous the entire race, and finished just under an hour.

Throughout the year I ran with this speedster:

spent time with this guy:

and goofed around with these two knuckleheads:

So what's on tap for 2012?

My race schedule has a few things on it, but I want to try something new.

I'd love to do a Ragnar Relay, or a Tough Mudder.

I'm contemplating the Philadelphia Marathon.

One of my resolutions is to do speed work, I know I can get faster, I just have to suck it up and go for it.

Other than that, the year is wide open, waiting to be filled with new adventures.

Happy New Year!

I wish you much joy, health, and peace. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

That isn't coal, it's chocolate

I'm a happy girl today, after a weekend of Christmas Cheer.

I kicked off the weekend with lunch with two of my favorite running buddies, my sis in law Jeannine, and friend Norine.  We were the last people in the restaurant when we finally left, we usually get all that chatting done while running, but this time we did it over panini's and a glass of vino.

Later that day, I did an annual exchange with our Jewish neighbor, he gave us a plate of his fabulous latkes, and I gave him a plate of Christmas cookies, the best of both worlds.  We then headed to a party down the street.  It's nice to be able to walk to a party.  But it's not so good to be able to walk to a party.  Our street was very quiet the next morning, I think there were a lot of hangovers to be had.  

We went to my sister in law's for Christmas Eve, for the Feast of Fishes.  I had 5 of the 7, a bit of haddock, shrimp, a scallop, crab legs, and a bit of pasta in anchovy sauce.  There was a really good green salad, and stretch bread for dipping in tomato oil. I could have made a meal just of the bread, seriously.  

We really felt the absence of Mike's Dad, we visited him on Christmas Eve, and Mike went again on Christmas Day, but it didn't feel the same without him.  My Mother in Law has been staying with us, so I think it was nice for her to see the kids open their gifts on Christmas morning. 

The kids have been a bit naughty lately, and there was much talk about how Santa might be leaving coal in their stockings instead of presents.  After the kids were asleep, Mike made a trail of chocolate coal up the stairs.  

Luke knew it was candy the second he saw it. 

He was absolutely thrilled with his Lego Alien Conquest set.  

Eliza was happy to see that she got the cupcake robe she requested.

Surprisingly, my two favorite gifts weren't running related, Mike gave me a Keurig coffee maker, and a set of Marty Moose Mugs.  

You know you're jealous.

But at 1:05 on Christmas Day, my sister in law gave us the best present you could ask for, a new baby niece, Mia Maureen!! They live on Long Island, so we haven't seen her, but I can't wait! 

We had dinner at home, Mike made prime rib, and I did something different with the potatoes this year, I roasted them by following this recipe from Ina Garten.  They were gooood. 

And now what am I going to do with my Day After Christmas?  The toys need to be organized, and the house put back together, and I'm going to go for a long run.  I've been hitting the treadmill, but I need to get outside and just GO.  

Let's see what kind of power those potatoes will give me. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

13 for Tuesday

1. Sometimes I feel like I sweat more while I'm Christmas shopping, than when I'm running.

2. Everything I bought yesterday was on sale, or I made it be on sale by using a coupon.

3. I went to the dermatologist recently. Apparently I have acne, wrinkles, rosacea, and eczema.  All at once.

4. Black Ice is back. This morning Luke wiped out right onto his rear end while walking to the bus.  That hurts.

5. We're going to Disney in just a couple of weeks. I've barely had a chance to plan for it, but I'm heading to Barnes & Noble today to get a much needed guidebook.

6. I did a third round of Christmas baking on Saturday.  I have one more round to do on Wednesday, then I should be good.

7. Two of my BFF's want to run their first half marathon in 2012, I'm so excited to do it with them!

8. I've had a great year race wise.  I PR'd in every race I ran, including an 18 minute PR in NYC, and an 8 minute PR in a wicked hilly 10 mile race.  I raced in my first sprint Triathlon, IronGirl Syracuse.

9. Why are race photos so expensive? I've never bought one, but I'm breaking out the credit card for the NYC photos.

10. The chocolate coconut Vega Sport Protein Bar is ridiculously good.

11. I don't have any New Years Resolutions.  I'm turning 40 in January, that's enough to deal with.

12. I finished the Hunger Games Trilogy, Luke is already asking me about it. We're still on the first Harry Potter, I told him he has a long wait for HG.

13. The Countdown to Christmas is officially ON.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I think Puppy should skip school

I was looking at Luke's homework agenda for the week, and read that he has to bring something in on Friday, to share with the class.  I figured he would bring in some kind of Lego creation, but no, he wants to bring in his stuffed Puppy dog, that he sleeps with every night.

I bought Puppy at FAO Schwartz, when I was pregnant with Luke. It was the only thing I bought before having him, and it turned out to be his favorite animal.  Luke loves to hear me tell the story of how I went shopping that day, very excited to be having a baby, and how much we loved the baby already, and wanted to buy a special gift for it.

But I'm not too keen on him bringing Puppy to school though, and here's why.

Last year we were getting ready for school, it was cold and snowy, and we couldn't find his gloves.  I was afraid we were going to miss the bus, so I grabbed a pair of lavender colored mittens, put them on his hands, and off he went.

When he came home that afternoon, he got off the bus, with his head hanging down, and a sad look on his face. I asked him what was wrong, he said "The big kids made fun of my purple mittens."


I felt like the worse Mom ever, I basically fed him straight to the bullies mouths.

There are always going to be those kids who make fun of others, I get it.  I was called a "Carpenters Dream" in seventh grade, since I was "flat as a board and needed a screw."  Fun times.  But you can see why I'm putting my foot down about Puppy not going to school.  I don't want any other seven year old's to make fun of having a stuffed animal, or making him feeling bad about something he loves.  I told Luke that since Puppy is so special, we don't want to risk him losing him on the bus or at school.  So he's going to choose something else.

And I'll make sure to keep Puppy away from Frank, the Stuffed Animal Eating Dog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

21 Random Things

I was tagged by Morning Runner J, to tell 21 things about myself, I've mentioned some of these before, but here goes....

1. I believe in everything in moderation, including moderation.
2. I'm an excellent multi-tasker.
3. One time at a work party, I knocked into Rupert Murdoch so hard he almost fell over.
4. I have 27 first cousins.
5. Both times I gave birth, the epidural only worked on my right side,
6. I could eat pizza every day.
7. I grew up in a haunted house, and I’ve seen the ghost. So has Luke and my sisters.
8. I used to travel the world before I had kids.
9. The majority of my clothing is either black or chocolate brown.
10. I was a fan of vampire books and movies way before the Twilight madness, and I think I saw one in New Orleans.
11. I have a great group of friends, although they’re all scattered across the state/country.
12. My birthday is usually on or around, the Superbowl.
13. I enjoy cooking and baking, I make a mean casserole.
14. I love finding a bargain, I never pay full price.
15. I’m not a big clothes shopper, but could do some serious damage in Barnes and Noble.
16. I love movies, I worked in a video store (what's that???) in high school, talk about dream job!
17. I used to be a beer kind of girl, but now I’m a wine kind of girl.
18. I’m a pretty happy person, and thankful for all I have.
19. I'm clumsy, and I've sprained ankles, broken my ankle twice, broken toes, had an operation on my toe.
20. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to retire down South, I love all the seasons too much.
21. I met Mike in college, while waiting on line at the movies.  We dated for 9 years before getting married, and we celebrated 12 years of marriage last September.  So we know each other pretty well : )

I'm supposed to tag other bloggers to share their randomness, so if you commented on my last post, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Friday Five

1. Is it just me, or is December flying by?  Actually, this whole year has flown by, but I'm starting to feel the crunch.  For those of you who have asked, my father in law is now out of the ICU, he was transferred this week to a rehab facility.  He has a long road ahead of him, and we're still taking things day by day, but we're hopeful for his recovery.

2.That said, we got some good news this week, our trip to Disney is back on!

I'm so excited to take the kids to Disney, we're not going to tell about the trip until we're in the car going to the airport. Eliza is going to lose her mind, I want to take her to one of those "Breakfast with the Princess" type things.

3.  I have so much shopping to do.  I know what I need to get, it's just that the list is loooong, and I have to get a few more things for the kids.  Luke could use a new bedspread, his bed is like a nest, he sleeps with about four extra blankets because he gets cold easily. I was looking at childrens duvet covers, Santa might have to bring him a nice new one.

4. There is a new race on the Syracuse calendar for 2012, the Lake Effect Half Marathon, on February 25th, it's put on by the club I used to run with.  I'm considering it, but February in Syracuse means snow and cold, I'm okay with running four miles in weather like that, not sure about 13 miles though.

5.  Thanks to everyone who entered the Collagen Sport Giveaway, I used to choose the winner, and it is Penny, the Pink Hat Runner.....congrats!

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

If you asked me how I got here, this is what I'd say.

I've always been active, I grew up riding my bike, swimming, playing wiffle ball.  In high school I played field hockey, was a cheerleader, and loved to play tennis.  Like most people I caught the running bug during an effort to lose weight. I was out of college, living on my own, homesick, worried about being in the real world. I was really not taking care of myself, I ate too much of the wrong things, and spent the weekends at happy hours and parties.

Finally one New Years Eve I decided to make a change, bought some diet and exercise books, and joined a gym. I started slowly on the treadmill, I wouldn't look at myself in the mirror or talk to others. But I went back every day, and did a bit more each day. I would bargain with myself and challenge myself, by running farther each day, or faster. All through the winter I did it, and by early summer, I lost 12 pounds. It was time for a new challenge, running outside. I did the loop around the neighborhood that I used to walk.

I still remember the day I ran a whole six miles around my neighborhood. I couldn't believe it! I started running six miles a day. I still couldn't believe it! I decided to test myself some more and signed up for a Turkey Trot 10k.  Then a 15k, half marathon, marathon, and triathlon.  This past fall I ran my dream race, the New York City Marathon.

Once of the great things about being a FitFluential Ambassador is, you get to pay it forward, and share what you know about healthy living with others.  

What tips would I share with someone about to start their healthy journey?  

To start I would say.... 

1. Get some comfy work out gear! If you're wearing something too tight that gives you a wedgie, you're not going to be happy.  Find a good sports bra, and wear something you feel confident, as well as comfortable in.

2. Just do it. There are days where I procrastinate before going for a run, then I finally go.  The thing is, I never regret a workout. But I do regret not doing a workout. 

3. Educate yourself. If you're changing your eating habits, make sure you know how many calories you require in a day, how much protein you should be taking in, and realize how much salt and sugar are in so many foods, and make sure not to go over those limits. 

4. Keep a list of what you need to take in each day, the number of fruits and vegetables, and glasses of water, and check them off as you have them.

5. Make food swaps.  For instance, choose salsa over sugar laden ketchup. I have been known to go through a jar of salsa every few days, it's so low in calories, and it's good.

6. Mix it up. Run one day, bike another, swim another, do yoga another....if you keep challenging yourself in different ways, you'll keep boredom at bay, and get the benefits of cross training at the same time. 

7. Keep it in perspective.  My brother once lost 5 pounds, and he felt like that was a low number. I told him to go and pick up a 5 pound bag of flour.  When you look at weight loss that way, you can actually see what you're no longer lugging around.

If you're interested in learning more about FitFluential, or about becoming an Ambassador, check them out here!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's never just three for Thursday

The day after Thanksgiving I was walking Frank at night, and I came to my neighbor's driveway.  They're an older couple, and don't have any kids.  There were three young guys I've never seen before standing there,  loading things into the back of their car.  One of them said "It's a Pioneer!"  So Miss Neighborhood Watch assumed they were robbing them of stereo equipment, so I ran home and told Mike to call over there.  My neighbor answered the phone laughing, it was her nephew visiting for the Holiday, but she appreciated my watchfulness.

The next day we headed up to Mike's parent's place, to pick up some things for his Mom.  Eliza was excited to go up for the night, so she packed her little suitcase with everything she needs to go to sleep: a teddy pillow, her Teddy Bunny, a little purple blanket, and her Tangled nightgown.  She also put in her clothes.  We packed up, made the two hour drive, and settled in.  Until Eliza asked where her suitcase was.  I thought Mike packed it. He thought I packed it. We didn't pack it.  I've never seen a 5 year old so mad, she balled up her little fists, stamped her foot and said "I am just so MAD at you!"  Poor kid cried until I lent her a shirt that I won in a giveaway at Angie's blog, and a pair of my socks, and her cousin lent her a stuffed bunny.  Luckily it was just for one night, but now she wants to wear the shirt and socks to school.

I took Frank for a three mile run yesterday, I'm not sure how he's going to handle running in the snow once it hits.  You know that feeling you get, when you want to run Every Single Day? I have that right now, but I'm going to force myself not to, and alternate cross training and running.  I need to dust off my kettle bells, fire up a Jillian Michael's workout, and start doing planks again.

It's December First, and I've started on my shopping list for Christmas presents.  I'm not a Black Friday shopper, more of a Cyber Monday shopper.  The other day Mike and I went to Toy's R Us after visiting his Dad in the hospital.  We never get a chance to shop together because of the kids, but they were at school so we took advantage of the time.  I get anxious when shopping for toys, I give other shoppers the once over, and figure out where they're headed, hoping they're not looking for the same thing that I am. The only toy that Eliza has asked for is a Lalaoopsy Silly Hair Doll.  Nothing else, just that doll.  Of course it was sold out of Toy's R Us, as well as Walmart.  I went online once we got home, it was sold out at Sears, Toy's R Us, Walmart, Target, and K Mart.  I found it on Amazon, with about a 80% mark up.   But then at the bottom of that page, I saw a sponsored link for Little Tikes, and lo and behold, they had the doll.  SCORE!  Now I can relax, and E is going to be a happy girl on Christmas morning.

Did you see my Collagen Sport Giveaway???  Enter here! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Collagen Sport Review and Giveaway!

I'm a smoothie girl.

My standard mix is almond milk, a scoop of powdered greens, a frozen banana, and either frozen strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.  The frozen fruit makes a thick shake, and with all that goodness in one shot, it gives me a head start on my day.

I haven't used whey protein powder in a while, and when the folks at Neocell contacted me about trying their Collagen Sport powder, designed for muscle recovery and helping with pain after training,  I was all for it.

Collagen is used to strengthen and repair your body, specifically your bones and muscles, and it helps muscle mass to regenerate after sports-related injuries.  

This is the low down on Collagen Sport:
  • 15 grams Pure Ion-Exchange Whey Protein Isolate
  • 15 grams Super Collagen™ Bioavailable Peptides
  • Rich in BCAAs
  • Good source of L-Glutamine
  • Enhanced with Exogenous Amino Acids

It does NOT contain:

  • Gluten, Wheat, Sugar & Lactose Free
  • Artificial Sweeteners or Flavors
  • Fillers or Synthetic Ingredients

Put this all together, and you get a powder that helps you to refuel and recover after a workout, while replenishing and regenerating your muscles. 

I received my bottle of Collagen Sport (I chose the chocolate flavor, obviously) right before the NYC Marathon, which was perfect timing.  When I opened it, the first thing I noticed was the scent, it smelled good!  Which isn't always the case with whey powder.  I put a few scoops in a plastic baggie, to bring with me to NY.  Collagen Sport is formulated to mix with a spoon if you don't have a shaker, so I figured I would mix it with water when I was ready.

I tried it two days after the marathon, I mixed it with a glass of water, and drank it down.  But once I was home, I added it to my smoothies, it mixes very well in the blender, and it gave the shake an almost silky texture.  The chocolate flavor got a thumbs up from Eliza, who loves to share my smoothies.  

I've said this before, but my marathon recovery has been going really well. I ran 3 miles two weeks after the race, and everything felt great, including Pez.  I ran a 10k on Thanksgiving Day, my legs were a bit sore the next day, but I didn't have a chance to make my smoothie with all the cooking I was doing, and I was on my feet the entire day and night, so it made sense that my legs were tired.   But overall, my body feels pretty good!

There are profiles of the athletes who use Collagen Sport, including Triathlete Russ Jones, on the Neocell website, which you can find here. 

Now for the giveaway, here is how you can enter for a chance to win a full size bottle of Collagen Sport, in your choice of vanilla or chocolate.  (Giveaway is open to residents of the US).  You can leave one comment, just be sure to list all that you did:

1. Check out the Neocell website here, like them on facebook here, or twitter here 
2. Be a friend of my blog, or a twitter follower @MollySBaker
3. share the giveaway info, by blog, facebook or twitter
4. tell me your favorite smoothie combos
5. tell me your fitness goals for 2012(!)

I will use to choose a winner on Friday December 9th.  Good Luck!

I received a sample of Collagen Sport for the purpose of this review. The opinions of the product are my own.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fitfluential...and a winner!

I'm ignoring my To Do List right now, which isn't a good thing, because there's waaaay too much on it.  I'm having too much fun with Cyber Monday, and putting my house back together after the long weekend.  I'm finishing up my seventh load of laundry, have a pot of vegetable turkey soup simmering on the stove, and just realized my library put a block on my account because of my overdue books.  

So I should get to it.  But I'm not, because I'm excited.  Over the weekend I found out I was chosen to be a FitFluential Ambassador!  

I meant to apply a while ago, then I heard more about them through my Twinsie Friend Jess.   FitFluential is a "nationwide network of fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and offline through multiple social media platforms."   I've connected with so many great people through blogging and tweeting, that I'm excited about this opportunity to network with others who share my love of healthy living. 

On to the Giveaway Winner! Thanks to everyone who entered the Tag! You're It! giveaway....I used to choose the winner, and it is Megan, from Fit Crafty English Teacher!  Send me an email and I'll get you set up, Congrats!

Check back tomorrow, I'm posting another giveaway for all you protein powder lovers out there!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mixed Mood

Bullets are required today.

  • This has been the kind of week where I got confused over what day it was.  On Tuesday, I could have sworn it was Monday.
  • The Neurological ICU is not a fun place to be. 
  • My sister and her family came to spend Thanksgiving with us, which was so nice.  Nothing like little girls and a baby that never stops smiling to lift your spirits.  Here we are with our kiddos:

  • I ran a Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving morning, my first race post marathon.  It felt really good to be out in the cold air and running, I managed a 59:57.

  • Once again the race t-shirt had the same logo as previous years, I actually scored a water bottle from Miss Zippy, when she held an ugly race shirt contest, with my shirt from a couple of years ago.

  • Dinner was relaxed, and really good. This was the first Thanksgiving I wore jeans and zero makeup to dinner.  We scaled down in turkey size, last year it was a 29 pounder, this year it was19, Mike used a flavor injector to get some butter deep inside the bird.  

  • Luke was very hungry. 

  • This TV Addict is way behind on my shows, my DVR is at it's limit.  I did get to see the Biggest Loser Where Are They Now (wow, Tara is an IRONMAN!) and this week's RHOBH (weird to see Russel on the show, since we all know what happened to him).  
  • I think I'm going to have to suck it up and see Breaking Dawn in the theater with all the other Twi-hards. I'd rather watch Bella become a vampire in the comfort of my living room, but I can't wait for the DVD. 
  • I'm surprised that with all the pumpkin cheesecake, wine and turkey I'm eating, I've lost weight.  Stress will do that to you I guess. 
  • There is still time to win a two disc silver necklace from Tag! You're It!....check that giveaway out here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Update and Shutterfly Winners

Thank you for all the good wishes for my Father in Law.

I was able to see him yesterday, after spending the weekend with my girlfriends in Northampton, MA.  We talked, laughed, ate, and danced to our favorite tunes in a dive bar.  We did some shopping, where I scored a cute new winter hat, and bought some authentic Whoopie Pie's for Mike and the kids.

My friend Jennifer lives in a woodsy area, her house sits at the top of a hill, with a mountain view.  I ran for the first time since the marathon, I gave myself a two week rest period, to make sure Pez fully recovered.   I went for three miles, and felt great, although the last 1/2 mile was all uphill and a killer.

The weekend flew by.  I've known these girls for so long, it was so wonderful to see them, that I cried when I left.

On my way home, I was finally able to stop at the hospital to see Mike's Dad, which was hard.  He had a bad night last night, so they moved him to the ICU today, and we're waiting to see what the doctors say.

I chose the winners of the Shutterfly giveaway, and don't forget to check out my Tag! You're It! giveaway.  If you haven't entered already, you can find that here.

Congrats to Wells L, Danielle, and Ara.  Send me an email and I'll get you set up!

Friday, November 18, 2011


It's been a difficult couple of days.

On Wednesday, my father in law suffered a stroke.  You can imagine the range of emotions we're all feeling.  At the moment he is stable, and the doctors are hoping to transfer him to a rehabilitation facility sometime soon.

My stomach has been in a knot, yesterday I had to face the grocery store, with a huge list of things to buy, including a turkey, before they're all gone.

Several months ago, my five girlfriends and I planned a girls weekend away to New Hampshire, for this weekend.  We've been friends for over 25 years.  We don't get to see each other very much, but for the first time in years, we found a date that worked for everyone.  

Mike and his brother spent all of yesterday at his Dad's side at the hospital, talking about all sorts of things to fill the time.  I had told Mike I wasn't going to go away this weekend, but he thought I should still go.  When the topic of my girls weekend came up, his Dad looked over at him, and told him I was going.

And that was that.

I feel funny leaving, but my family wants me to.  I figure if I need to come home, I can be back as fast as I can drive (and I can drive fast).

Please send good thoughts his way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tag! You're It! Designs.....a Giveaway..

On Saturday, Mike came in from the mailbox with a small package, and he said for once, it was for him and not me.

But it really was for me, a present!!

For my first marathon Mike gave me flowers, and for my second, I got a necklace!  I wonder what I'd get for the third?

I was so excited, my necklace is from Tag! You're It! Designs.  I have a few silver necklaces that I have on rotation, and one of my favorites has a silver circle charm that reads Luke, and a silver flower charm that reads Eliza.  This is my first piece of running themed jewelry, and it looks great on it's own, or paired with this other necklace.

Sarah, the designer, is a marathon runner herself, and as she stamps the discs, she understands the pride that goes along with having accomplished the distance.  Tag! You're It! Jewelry is .925 sterling silver, and my necklace came with two polishing cloths to keep it looking shiny.

I love it.

Blurry photo courtesy of Luke.

Giveaway Time!  Would you like a chance to win a 2 disc necklace of your own?  Here's your chance!

To Enter:

1.Go to Tag! You're It! Designs on facebook, and like their page here
2. Check out their website here, look around, and let me know what you would choose, and why
3. You receive extra entries for sharing the giveaway info via twitter, facebook or blog.
4. You can also receive extra entries if you are a friend of my blog, or follow me on twitter @MollySBaker

This giveaway ends on Monday November 28th, I will choose a winner using

Good Luck!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time Flies.....a Shutterfly Giveaway!

When I look at our past Christmas cards, I can't help but think of how quickly the kids are growing.

Two years ago, they looked like this:

They look like babies to me.  

Then, last year it was this:

We wanted Frank in it, and this was the best shot we could get, when he wasn't crawling all over the kids. He looks like a baby here too!

You can see I favor black and white prints, and usually pick one photo that focuses on how the kids look at that particular point in time.  I usually stress out over getting the best shot, but in the end, if the kids look happy, that's all that matters.

I lean towards choosing a card that is colorful, or a little different.  Mike insists that it read "Merry Christmas," but I'd be happy with something that says "Noel".  I'm thinking that for this year, I'm might mix things up and use multiple photos on one card.

Luckily, Shutterfly has so many Holiday Card designs to choose from, I know I'll find just the right one.

These are the two that are in the running for 2011:


Not only do they have great Holiday Cards, but Thank You Cards, and Greeting Cards as well.

Want a chance to win 25 free cards from Shutterfly?  

Leave me a comment, and tell me which of the two cards you'd pick.  Or, tell me what kind of card you send out, if you go the traditional route, or do something different.  I'll pick THREE Winners on Sunday, November 20th.

Now I've got to got take a photo of the kids.     

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NYC Post Race Pics

After I reunited with my family, we headed back to the apartment.  I ended up walking a total of 30 blocks post race, which I think really helped with my recovery.

I took an ice bath while I spoke on the phone with my sister Meagen, who wasn't able to make it to the race (she has a good excuse, a baby and two kids all under the age of four).  I was a bit dehydrated, so Mike forced water on me, along with some pretzels.

Post shower, time for a toast with the champagne that Nicole and Jen left for us.

Jeannine, Rob, me and Ali.

Me and Mike.

I was in the mood for Mexican food, so we hit up Ta Cocina, then crossed the street to our favorite bar in NYC, The Gaf.  My younger sister has heard all about The Gaf, so this was her inaugural visit.

It was a blast re-hashing the day, I made it to about ten o'clock before I had to call it a night.

But not before stopping at a deli for a salami and provolone on a roll with lettuce and tomato.  I would have taken a photo, but I inhaled it.   I pulled on my compression socks, popped some advil, and slept like a rock.  I don't think I moved for seven hours.

Marathon Monday was another gorgeous day, I was stiff when I rolled out of bed, but nothing terrible. We went back over to Central Park to have my medal engraved with my name and time.  And I treated myself to an early birthday present, an official Finisher's Jacket.

Several days later, I'm feeling great.

I've recovered really well, and just registered for my first post marathon race, a local 10k held on Thanksgiving Day.

And my brain is buzzing thinking of what might come after that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NYC Marathon, Race Recap

Here is part two.......

I learned some lessons from my first marathon, and I put them to use this time around.  For the most part, I was very confident about this race, I knew what it meant to run 26.2 miles, so I got my head in the right place, and kept it there.

Sure, I had my moments of doubt, because of my knee issue, and the fact that my longest training run was 18 miles.  But I was confident because I had been active all year, running hills, training for a triathlon, and I considered the marathon my last long training run.  I was also careful of pre-race fuel, I ate carbs at every meal for the three days before the race, and the day before I drank water, as well as Gatorade, but was careful not to over-hydrate.

I woke up race morning at 6:30, feeling pretty good, because of the time change it felt like 7:30.  I got dressed pretty quickly, had some coffee, and went outside to meet Mike at the car.  He had a salt bagel for me, and I put some peanut butter on it, although I wasn't really hungry, I ate what I could.  We zipped down the West Side Highway, before I knew it we were at the Ferry.  I got nervous for one second, kissed him goodbye, and joined the rest of the runners.  

I was on the 8:15, but I was early enough to get the 8:00, I even scored a seat.  I made friends with three other runners, we chatted through the ride, on the walk to the shuttle bus, then the ride to the start.  That really helped to keep my nerves in check, I ate more of my bagel, and half a banana.  There were three "villages" at the start, one orange, one green, and one blue, I was orange, so we wished each other luck, and separated. 

The area had a long line of porta john's, as well as trucks to check your bags, coffee, water and bagels. I found a sunny spot, sat down and started stretching, then a cannon went off, and I saw the a wave of runners crossing the bridge.

I got a text from Mike, and I told him I was feeling surprisingly calm.  Maybe too calm.  I wandered around a bit, then decided to use the bathroom.  I thought it was kind of odd that there weren't any lines.  Then when I came out, I noticed instead of 12 baggage trucks, there was one left, and it was about to leave! I was such an airhead, I didn't realize they were closing the village, and that it was time to go to our corrals! I booked over to the truck, and thankfully was able to check my bag.  

I was wearing a winter hat, and sweats over my running clothes, and as I walked to the corrals, I ditched my outer layer, there were volunteers collecting everything to donate. I heard they had a few tons of clothes, I guess 47,000 pairs of sweats weighs a lot. 

The next thing I knew, we were walking up to the bridge, someone sang The National Anthem, then New York, New York, and we were off!

My plan was to stay at a 10:00 minute pace, until at least mile 13.  I knew there were hills ahead, so I wanted to keep myself in check, which I did as we went over the bridge.  It was a gorgeous day, and I was looking around, until a guy next to me fell down, after his foot got tangled in a wire.  He was okay, but after that I kept my eye on the ground.  There was clothing and banana peels right in the middle of the road, which was annoying.  

Next thing I knew we were in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where my Dad lived for years, and where two of my sisters live.  The crowds along Fourth Avenue were great, and the roads were wide enough that it didn't get too crowded, I met up with two other NF Runners, so we ran together for a few miles.  

The one issue I had the entire time, were the water stops.  There was one every mile, on each side of the road, with Gatorade, as well as water.  You really had to slow down here, people would come to a complete stop, so I had to move around them, a few times I broke through people walking two or three across.  There were cups everywhere, my socks would get wet from the water on the ground, and if that didn't happen, my shoes got sticky from Gatorade.  I am so accident prone, that I really had to watch my step, and not wipe out like Bridge Guy.

The streets in Park Slope are small, and that's where it got really crowded, but the crowds cheering were just the best.  I had a gel at mile seven, along with a saltine, Pez was behaving, I found my pace and locked it in.  I felt great.  

We went over the Pulaski Bridge, which leads into Queens, and I was getting excited because I knew my family was waiting for me at the 59th Street Bridge, mile 15.  I had a second gel, along with a saltine. All of a sudden, there they were, Mike, my Mom & Dad, my sister Ali, brother in law Rob & sister in law Jeannine, right at the spot where Mike and I always cheered on the runners during past marathons.  

It was surreal to be on the other side. 

My Mom handed me a package of oyster crackers, and there was music playing, so I did a little dance as I went up the bridge.  I put on my ipod and got into a good place, I was passing everyone who was walking, some who were running, and sailed right up, all those hills I trained on for the Mountain Goat really paid off.  I was looking forward to the crowds that were going to be along First Avenue. 

This stretch of Manhattan is known for it's crowd support, everyone is out, it was a perfect day, so there was a lot of noise.  There were a some great signs, like "All I did today was have a Bloody Mary!"  

I don't know what it is about me and mile 18, but once again, at mile 18, my stomach felt off.  I was craving a can of Coke, so I figured it was time for some Gatorade, I had maybe half a cup.  I was moving again, and then I puked up the Gatorade, but I swallowed it.  I was determined not to have anything ruin my race.  

I looked forward to mile 19, where Children's Tumor set up a cheering zone.  After I passed them, I did the math, and realized I only had seven miles to go! I had some more water, and entered the Bronx. 

That section went by pretty quickly, then we were in Harlem, and then to my surprise, I saw my family pop up again at mile 22!!  I yelled out to my Dad that I was getting tired, and then Jeannine screamed "YOU LOOK SO STRONG!!"  

That was the boost I needed to keep going.

We came down Fifth Avenue, with four miles to go.  I was making due with water and Gatorade, I was afraid to take another gel, and I kept thinking of that Coke.  There was an old man with a table full of cups of Coke, and I almost stopped, but I didn't know if I could trust a sketchy Coke.  I thought my ipod would help distract me, I turned it on again, but it annoyed me, so I turned it off.  The noise of  the crowd was enough.  

We turned into Central Park, and I kept telling myself to keep going, keep going.  

I don't think I really hit "The Wall," I just skirted around it. 

This last part was hilly, and such a tease, just when you think you're in the park for the home stretch, you come back out onto Columbus Circle, along Central Park South, then back into the park for the finish. I saw my friend Angelo up ahead, but then lost him in the crowd.  

At this point I was on auto pilot.  My head was powering my legs not to stop, and my legs were powering my mind to stay positive and finish. 

Which I did. 

With an 18 minute PR. 

Right after I stopped running, my hamstrings cramped up, and were really painful, I tried to go to the side and stretch them out a bit, but the medic wouldn't let me. They gave me my medal, took my picture, wrapped me in a blanket, and gave me a bag of post-race fuel. We had to go through a long chute, we all hobbled along, and every time we stopped, I bent down to stretch my hammies, they were killing me.  I drank some Gatorade, and it stayed down, so I alternated that with water.  

Finally made it to the the trucks to claim my bag, and once I had my sweats and Birkenstocks on, my legs felt better.  I called Mike, they were down on 58th Street, I was on 77th, so I started walking down to meet them.

The first thing my Mom did when I got there, was run and get me a Coke.

Part 3, Post Race, Coming Up Next!