Friday, May 25, 2012

Rarin' to go! and ProFoot Winners

I am so ready for this Holiday Weekend!

The kids have a half day today, then they are off for the next four days, thanks to unused Snow Days (which is unheard of in this part of NY, but after the mild winter we had, I'm not surprised). I hit the mall yesterday for new summer duds for everyone, there were deals and steals to be had. The kids went swimming at our neighbors yesterday after school, so I feel like summer has officially started. 

My training has been slow and steady, oddly enough, I've been biking more than running, feeling the need for cross training. The pool opens this weekend and I can't WAIT to get in that lap lane and get my swim on.  

Frank and I went for a run the other afternoon, and as we trotted along, a raccoon popped out in front of us, which scared the crap out of me.  He stared us down, then ran to a tree, and kept peeping out at us. I backtracked and ran the other way, it's not normal to see one of those critters in daylight hours, the last thing I wanted was a raccoon bite for me, or for Frank.

I'm running a 5k next weekend, which is my first race since my half marathon back in April. I don't run 5k's very often, because I feel like they're over almost as soon as they start.  I have some friends doing it though, so it will be a good time. 

Last night I made fried rice, and Mike said it had more veggies than rice:

What can I say, I like my veggies.

Thanks to everyone who entered the ProFoot giveaway, here are the winners:  Bobbie, Harmony, K the runner girl, and Winston2.  Shoot me an email and I'll get you set up, Congrats!  

Good Luck to anyone racing this weekend and Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Only Way Out is Through

This post was written by my dear friend, and biggest cheerleader, Jennifer.  We ran the More/Fitness Half Marathon together, her first, and although she won't admit it, I have a feeling she's going to take on the full 26.2.......

Hello, Sleeper Baker fans! I would love to use this space to tell stories about Molly that date back to the 80s, and post pictures of her not suitable for mass consumption, but I have been instructed to write a race recap instead. She’s all business, that Molly.

I signed up for the Run For Your Lives zombie obstacle 5K,  now let me explain why. First, my children —five-year-old twin girls — love playing Plants vs. Zombies, some crazy iPad game that pits, well, plants against zombies. It’s a little violent, but in a cartoonish way: Pea pods that shoot fire, vegetables that march in little rows, zombies with bloody, exploding heads. On second thought, maybe I should be monitoring this game… Anyway, I thought the girls might get a kick out of watching me run this, and there would certainly be more fun things to look at than usual.

Second, I kinda wanted to try my hand (err, foot) at running an obstacle 5K. They seem to be all the rage these days. They appeal to the masses, apparently, and like most trendy things in life, I’m a little late to the party on this (Case in point: I “discovered” Mad Men after it was three seasons in. But I am proud to say I jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon at the start of Season Two!) And, really, why get out of bed for just a regular 5K when I can get out of bed for a 5k that features a great tee shirt, a cool medal and the undead?

I had just run a half marathon (with Molly! My running guru!) two weeks before so I will admit I was a bit cocky. And by “cocky” I mean I was strutting around like I was some Olympic marathoner and wearing space blankets just to get attention. OK, so I wasn’t’ really, but you get the idea. This 3.1 miles, I had it in the bag! That’s nothing for a half-marathoner such as myself!  I had trained for the half over 13 weeks and was logging a ton of miles. I could do this with my eyes closed. Ha. Famous last words, which might pair well with a slice of humble pie. I learned a very important lesson here: Respect the race, no matter how short.

My zombie race was in a town north of Boston. We had to park off site and take a shuttle to the race location (first children thrill: We rode on a yellow school bus!). This is the terrifying view that greeted me as our bus round the corner:

Look carefully: That would be not one but two slippery slopes that slide you into two freezing vats of muddy water. But I am getting ahead of myself.

We had some time before my heat, so we walked around the zombie festival. Some people really dressed up:

(I almost wore MY green body suit, too. That would have been embarrassing!)

We people watched for a while and then I checked out the results board and was horrified to read that the quickest time so far was 56 minutes (races started at 8:00; I was in the 12:30 heat). Was I reading this correctly? 56 minutes for a 5K?! I quickly scanned the other posted times and noticed a horrible fact: People were taking up to two hours to finish this race, and average was around an hour and a half. That upped my anxiety level by, oh, 1000. What have I gotten myself into?? (By the way, this would turn out to be a phrase I repeated throughout the race!)

Alas, it was too late to back out now. I kissed my children and wife good-bye (confused with pronouns? Don’t be: I’m a lesbian, fully legally married in the great state of NY and Massachusetts! And now, thanks to my gay status, a topic of controversy in American Politics!) and took my gay self off to my chute.

A metal gate pulled back, fake smoke wafted out and we were off. That first hill was steep, but I was still in cocky mode, even after seeing the finish lines. I sprinted up it, passing people left and right (most people weren’t even bothering to run. What did they know that I didn’t?) and only slipped a couple of times on some muddy patches.

But my confidence faded instantly when I rounded the corner: The course track was mud. Not a little mud; not patches of mud. Mud as in all mud: 100 percent, deep, sole-sucking, ankle-covering mud. And thanks to some cordoned-off boundaries, there was no way around it.

Running? What running? I was walking now, with everyone else, another slow-moving member of the masses just hoping to finish under two hours. It quickly became clear that I would not be setting a PR in this race.

What also became clear is that some zombies took their jobs very seriously. They grunted and lunged and grabbed for my flags: We wore three flags on our waist: The zombies try to grab them off us. If they get all three by the end of the race, then we become the undead. Dodging lumbering zombies might not be that hard on a normal surface. But in mud? It became a nightmare. I slipped in the mud more times than I can count. Luckily the water obstacles we ran through every quarter mile or so would get much of the mud off of us. (Hint for those tricky water pits: Watch the people in front of you because you want to follow the path that is calf-deep and not knee-deep or waist deep!)

There was one of those crawling obstacles, a couple of mazes (including one that included dangling, electrified streamers that I touched not once but twice because I couldn’t believe I was shocked by electricity. Yes, I am the type to touch things with Wet Paint signs) and one pretty steep hill at the end. The obstacles were, honestly, a nice break from the mud. It was difficult to walk, let alone run. That said, there were a couple of stretches where I could run, if I ran on the edge of the sloped hill. And when I did run, people would laugh and ask me why I am bothering. I would try to run through the puddles too: I found it easier to get through them and not get stuck that way. All told, I probably ran about a mile, tops. I must say that while I expected some mud and obstacle and zombies, of course I really thought there would be more running. It was quite the opposite.

I made it to the top of the last hill and to the last obstacles (those slides!) in 59 minutes. The finish line was in my sight, but the scariest part was yet to come: I had to climb a tower and slide down into a vat of water mixed with some sort of substance to make me extra slippery. The I had to slide down the second slide, after being lubed up,  into —you guessed it — another vat of water.

I’ll admit it: The slides scared me. The first slide was ok: On a scare scale of 1 to 10 (1 being stuck in a car with two kids for a long drive and realizing I left the DVDs at home and 10 being, well, living through an apocalypse), it was a solid four. But the second slide was terrifying. I sat down and pushed off before I could talk myself out of it. I was going so fast and could not control my direction. Before I got the end, my body twisted and contorted and I slammed into the water sideways and head first, and was completely submerged. I had a mini panic attack underwater for a second before I surfaced. And hauling myself out of that giant tub was no easy feat either.

All that was left was the run down the hill to the finish line! Of course, it was muddy (but not a bad as the course) and I lost my footing several time.  That’s me, to the left of the girl in red. Check out the woman in front of me: There were some scary holes on this course!

But there was one last surprise: I had to crawl under an electrified fence. There was a sign that warned us that the fence was electrified but I didn’t believe it. As you can see by the look on my face, it really WAS electrified and it hurt! And yes, I had to touch it. With my butt.

I made it to the end and that’s all that matters! My official time was 1:08:06, which means I was averaging a 19.27 minute mile. It was a great family event, at least for us. That is a bright side of destination races. Madeline and Avery, the little troopers, did not seem bothered at all by the zombies. In fact, the didn’t seem bothered at all! In fact, they looked jaded, bored and tired! Hey, at least they weren’t traumatized!

The best part? The shower I took at the hotel after. Most amazing shower ever! Next time I do it, I will sign up with friends (You are on warning, Molly: If it is anywhere near you next year, I’m signing us up!). It was lonely being alone. So many people were in giant packs. It is clear they trained together. They even had special cheers and claps! I want that too!

On the bright side, being alone gave me lots of time to think. And while every race and running is a metaphor in some way, this one was for sure. My interpretation: Periods of time in life might suck sometimes, but you just have to go through it. Don’t slow down, because why spend more time than you have to in a bad place? Keep on keeping on, because the only way out is through. You get muddy, beat up, hurt, scratched and fatigued, but you will cross the finish line.

So, in summary: Respect the race. The only way out is through. And sign up for obstacle 5Ks!

And here is a picture of me NOT muddy. As you can see, I am not always wet and covered with dirt. I’m the hat-less one on the left:

Check out Run For Your Lives website: they have a ton of pictures! They also have a Facebook page.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Mom wore arm bangles

Today and tomorrow is our annual neighborhood garage sale.  I figured Frank would bark non-stop at the cars driving by the house, but when I took him for a walk, he barked at the signs advertising the sale.

It's going to be a long two days.

Last week when Adam Yauch aka MCA from the Beastie Boys passed away, it really put a damper on my spirits.  The Beasties have been the soundtrack of my life with Mike for the past twenty years, we even had the DJ play "Girls" at our wedding. When I started blogging I added one of their lyrics that I live by to my sidebar..... "be true to yourself and you will never fall."

I went for a yearly check up with my doctor, and they said my blood pressure was a bit on the high side, which is what my dentist said a few weeks ago. I'm baffled by this, but my doctor said it's related to stress.  I've also gained some weight since the marathon (no shocker there) but I need get a grip and start taking care of myself a little better.  I'm going to start with sleep. I'm a night owl, love to stay up late, and I'm no stranger to insomnia.  I know that if I'm rested, I'm more likely to make better choices overall the next day.  So no more watching Bravo TV or an old movie on HBO until 11:30....or 12:00.  I'm going to try for 10:30.


Happy Mother's Day to all the Mamma's out there!  Here I am with my Mom and Dad when I was about 6 months old, I've posted it before, but I just love this picture of my Mom:

And here we are on my birthday with my kiddos:


Don't forget to check out my Profoot giveaway here!

Happy Running and Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

PROFOOT Review & Giveaway

My feet are a problem.

I've dealt with plantar fasciitis on and off over the years, I over pronate, I have a heel spur, had to have a bone growth removed from my big toe, and my toes are kind of funny looking.

So I wasn't surprised when Profoot contacted me to try out their products.

I use custom inserts in my running shoes, but I wear regular inserts in my older shoes when I'm out and about.  The first thing I tried were the 2 oz Miracle insoles.  They are made of Vita-Foam, and are very light, the top layer molds to the shape of your foot. I broke them in while we spent the afternoon at the mall, they fit my shoe perfectly, and didn't slide around.  For my feet, they're a good option for walking, but because of my high arch I need to stick to my custom inserts for running. 


I have one toe on my right foot that tends to tuck itself under my middle toe when I run. I have a weird callus there that no pedicure can erase. Sometimes it gets sore, or a blister forms, so I stick on a band-aid until it calms down.  This was a perfect situation for the Moleskin, which is made with Velvetex, a microfiber that allows skin to breathe.

I cut out a piece about the size of my toe, I noticed right away how soft the Moleskin was.  I wrapped my toe sticky side down, and went for a run on the treadmill.  It was much more comfortable than the band-aid, and it stayed in place until I took off my socks.  

Last week we had several dry, sunny days in a row, so instead of running, I went biking!  After the second day, my left heel was a bit sore, which happens when I first start riding again, so I figured I would try the plantar fasciitis heel insert.  

These have a gel insert for shock absorption, and come with little stickers to anchor the insert to your shoe, which is a great idea.  It did give my heel good support, and I think I'm going to wear these in my Frye Cowboy boots, because those make my feet hurt after a while.


Profoot is giving away a set of inserts, the heel inserts and moleskin, to FOUR winners! 

To enter, please visit Profoot on facebook here, and like their page. 

That's it! Although for extra entries, you can tweet the giveaway, blog about it, follow me on twitter @MollySBaker, or are a friend of my blog. Just let me know what you did in a comment. 

I'll choose a winner on Friday May 18th. 

*Note: I was sent products from Profoot for the purpose of this review, the opinions on my product are my own. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Is an orb a spirit? or dust?

Let's switch topics a bit here.

You might think I'm a bit nuts, but I've written a few blog posts about growing up in a "haunted" house, my visit with a medium, and how I, as well as my sisters, and even Luke, have seen spirits.

Well, this weekend we made the trip down to my sister's house, for her daughter's baptism.  It was a lovely weekend, we were all finally in the same place at the same time, which hasn't happened in quite a while.

Here I am with my brother, sister's and our significant others:

And another with my parents, and all the grandchildren, plus one extra party guest:

After looking at all the photos, we noticed a few of them that had "orbs" floating near us. Like this one of me, my sister and our niece:

There is a logical explanation for this, I know that light and dust can affect how a camera takes a picture, and that they can cause orbs to appear in a photo.

But another explanation is that an orb is a photo of a spirit.

This one freaked my sister out, take a look at the orb above my sister in law in the black dress, do you see anything inside it?  Like a face?