Monday, November 30, 2009

Routine Visit, or Not.

I took my son to the ENT today for a routine check up following his disastrous October ear drum rupture. This was a routine follow up visit. Routine suggests that everything would be fine, we were just checking to see that it was all healed up nice and pretty. It went a little like this:

Friendly banter with really cool Dr. Really Cool Dr looks into G's right ear, give G the thumbs up and more banter. RCDr looks in G's left ear. RCDr purses his lips.

RCDr sits back on his rolling stool, repositions his otoscope, repositions G's ear and looks again. And sits back again.

And then he calmly turns to me, and says, "After 60 days, a child this age has less than a 5% chance of recovery without surgery. So, here's my surgical scheduler's phone number."

Me, a little blown back, "What? You mean, after you look at him again in 30 days, right?"

RCDr, "Well, we could wait. Since it's been only about 45 days since the known on set, but, just so you know, he can't hear right now. So...." awkward pause while he watches me get up to speed. "I don't think we should wait. Unless he's doing 'just great' in school. Is he???... doing great???... in... school?" This is all sort of drawn out, in a very amusing and comic way, and I then realized, wait, he's being serious and wants to know.

"Um. Not 'great', but... well. No, not the best, but it could be that he's just being a boy."

RCDr., "Or, we could just fix his hearing."

Me, "or that. SO."

RCDr. "Yup. Call my scheduler. And you need to call her tomorrow. Morning. Because, did I mention, he can't hear?"

Here we were, one minute having an amusing kid centered conversation about 3 year olds, bubbles, bad jokes, and 2nd grade, and then the next, we were calmly discussing the anesthesia risks for 7 year olds, surgery, and recovery time.

So, on this blog page we have established that my Husband freaks out over a piece of microscopic pencil lead in the skin. I'll give you two guesses as to how He took the news. What? You don't need "two" guesses?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Hype- er...

Today I woke up and said, "This is it. This is the year that I am going to have a good pre-Christmas spirit. I am not going to get sucked into debt. I am going to pay in cash. I am going to decorate early, in little bursts, instead of waiting until Dec 18th and making myself crazy and exhausted. Tis the season and damn-it, this year I am going to stop stressing about what I didn't get done in 2009 (2008, 2007, 2006...)."

And so I decided that today I would put up the tree. This involves rearranging the furniture. no, wait, that's skipping the step of deciding where to put the tree this year. So C & I decided where everything would go, and that we could do the furniture arranging while B was watching TV. Before we could move the furniture we had to take all the photo albums off the shelves of the book case.

There are a lot of them. And don't you know that only 2 or 3 of them are actually finished. I started "scrapbooking" in 2000. I even went back and scrapped 1998. Essentially I have 10 years of unfinished business. And ZERO motivation to get it done. I am not going to lie. I have a hope chest filled with photos, and no interest in dragging it all out and and putting it away. I'm off track. Which is what happens to me often.

So now H is at his 2nd job, and C,G,B & I have dragged down the Christmas decorations and started to try to put them up, only I'm not into it. Every time I take something out of the box and un-wrap it, I cringe as the kids go wild and crazy screaming with joy. Joy. You know what? I think I need to take my children, who are DRUNK on Christmas Spirits someplace where this joy will be appreciated. The mall? The play area at McD's? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Memory & an Adoption Announcement

Rory Roomba
Oct 24, 2008 - Nov 18, 2009

Beloved Rory, you came into my life and brought me such joy. It is with sadness that we've lost you too young. As I watched you struggle with a terminal birth defect, many surgeries, and countless beeping errors I appreciated the way that you tried to muscle through. I know those last weeks were painful (for me, watching you spin in a 2 foot circle) and I hope that you find rest in a better place. RIP Rory. RIP.

November 24th 2009

A beautiful bouncing baby iRobot was delivered to our doorstep by the "stork" yesterday. The children & I gathered around her, examining her shiny black shell, and cooing over her nifty buttons. She slept soundly on her charger last night and she is settling in nicely. We pray for a healthy life for her in our home. The children decided that we would name her Rita Rosalie Roomba, and we're going to call her Rita Roomba.

Monday, November 23, 2009

red ink and mad skills

My holiday neuroses are deep and do not run silent. But that said, I can always find things to be thankful for in November. Take for example the THREE paid holidays I got this November! Or the fact that on at least 2 days of this month my whole family of 5 was healthy and not on antibiotics. I can be grateful that my son, G, feels that vacuuming is a priviledge and double bonus - he earned the right to run the Eurkeka at least 3 times last week.

Of the many things I have to be thankful for, one of those things is NOT a book deal. In my lifetime I've recieved enough rejection letters to wallpaper my downstairs half bath. Most of those came in the past 7 years. By early '08, when I started working on my last book idea, I never got past a very rough stage out of sheer defeat. By now the rejection letters had tapered off, and I was past getting a rejection a week, but I just couldn't muscle through the rough draft. I would sketch out each chapter on paper, and revise, add, cut and create as I typed it into my mac. The plot was outlined, and probably 30 - 40K words were loosely written into several chapters.... all that work is now lost on my hard drive that cannot be recovered (due to a "head crash", yea, I can relate on so many levels). I never backed it up, it was worthless to anyone except me.

I was cleaning my dining room today and found the first chapter, written in free hand, on notebook paper in pencil and red ink. I suppose that maybe I will one day get it going again. But, realistically, it's probably never going to be the same. Sometimes things are just funnier the first time you think of them. I thought it would be fun to pop it into my blog, to back it, in case the head crashes on something else. Again, this was just for fun, rough draft, blah blah and all that rot. So to be clear, no one in this book is supposed to exist, the plot drivers are not intended to resemble anyone or any event in particular... well, I suspect Martha and JC will recognize themselves, but in case I publish (to blogger) the rest of the first chapter, no one else should look for themselves, unless you find a particularly flattering portrayal of a character that you'd like to imagine is you, and your intention is not to sue me. But seriously, if it's not your thing, it's not like you can't just SKIP to the NEXT BLOG.

I ultimately blame J.C.Penney & Martha for the current state of my culinary ineptitude.
As a newly married woman, I was distressed to find that I did not posses any kind of cooking skills. What was really disturbing was that my husband possessed less skill than me, and so I turned to the cute little Pillsbury dough boy and my good friend Betty for help. Before we knew it we were eating Hamburger Helper at least twice a week, and I was starting to look like I belonged on the Pillsbury family tree. The weeks passed into months, and I began to fantasize that I could become more like those chefs on the food network, tossing ingredients into a pan and producing a pork loin encrusted in herbs served on a bed of rice, if only I had the right tools.
Well, rice I had mastered. You could buy the stuff in bags that boil for 8-10 minutes.
Oh if I'd never worked for JC, then I never would have worked a shift in housewares. With nothing to do but stand around listening to the muzak and twiddling my thumbs, I passed those hours among the dishes counting the minutes until that coveted herald from above, "attention JCPenney shoppers, the store is now closed." The instantaneous roar of registers printing out their final receipts would rumble through the store like a distant thunderstorm. It was only a matter of time before the boredom and I got into real trouble.
One lonely night, when I probably should have been dusting the pfaltzgraf or folding hand towels, I stumbled across Martha's book.

The unmarred teal cover boasted a black and white photo of a slim, pre-incarcerated, smug looking Martha, happily smiling as she stood court over a kitchen island. The foreword was hopeful, promising if you will, and summed up the message was clear, "You can be as great as she, if you learn her secrets." This was it, the answer, so simple, lay before me encoded in neat Times New Roman. It may as well have been written in Sanskrit.
I randomly turned to a page in the middle of the book. Soup, great, Husband will eat that. He loves soup. I think. Does he? I don't think I know.
OK, so here we go, 1st ingredient on the list, a "fresh herb" I've never heard of, with instructions that read something along the lines of, "typically this herb is found growing in the northern hemisphere, between Longitude XX and Latitude XY, and should be picked 27 days after the plant undergoes a second bloom. Picking the herb early results in an immature bouquet, and can cause a whiny and underdeveloped flavor."
My mind was reeling. What? OK. I'll just use Thyme. From a jar. Preferably one that says "Thyme".
The next ingredient was just as bad, and by the end of my shift I was filled with despair. I couldn't make this soup. I would never be Marthaesque. Instead I went home in near tears.
The very next night I made chili, from a packet. The instructions were right there in bold clear English. "Brown one pound of ground beef, add one can of diced tomatoes, one can of kidney beans, and one packet of generic store brand Chili packet. Simmer. Serve hot. Over rice".
He didn't like it. It was "too spicy". And he "doesn't really like soup".

Where's the Training Plan?

I need a new training plan. Yup. A training plan for living life with a 3 year old, her best friend 7 hours a day, 2 school aged kids and a messy house.

In short, todays realization is this: Running a Marathon for 4:55:40something seconds is a lot easier than cleaning a house that requires 4:55:40something seconds of attention when there are 2 Pre-schoolers going behind you un-cleaning.

I'm just sayin'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bad Mommy, bad

I am a bad mother. I yelled at my kids today, for yelling. I yelled, so... where did they learn to yell? Me? Maybe. I think that makes me a bad role model. My oldest one yelled back. Yea, that went over well. Can you say, grounded? I can.

I am a bad mother, for sure, because shortly after yelling at them I decided that I was off my rocker and through careful manipulation of the conversation I got them to spontaneously apologize for the bad behavior and put a movie on for them to watch while I took a shower. (I'm having some freaky reaction to SOMETHING that is causing my eyes to swell shut. The Benedryl is kicking in, so only the right eye is completely closed at this point and I can see out of the left. On the off chance that it was caused by a physical reactant I thought I needed to rinse off the "offending something" ASAP, and thus, the movie).

Am I a bad mother? Because after my shower I came down, finished cleaning the kitchen while half blind, and threatened the now wild children that if they didn't settle down I would turn off the movie, and within 3 minutes I had 3 crying children on their way upstairs, movie turned off because they were rough housing instead of sitting.

I might be a bad mother, because I was SO inconsistent today that now I don't think they have any idea why they were sent upstairs to read for 30 minutes. The little one had to just go straight to bed. She was in trouble, but I read a book anyway, which isn't very punishment like now that you mention it. Uhg. Parenting is not as easy as the sit-com moms make it look.

photo finish

The photos from the race are in. OH yea baby. I definitely was "having wicked fun" in my photos. A blast. Mad fun. Craziness. And hell yea, look at my LEG here! It's never been so skinny in it's life!

Oh for sure, my huge cheesey grin was all over almost every photo, weeeeell, except for the ones where I didn't see the photographer. Those photos tell the real story about the marathon. A grimace of pain, dried sweat, gritted teeth, and a look of determination in the eyes.

And, the finish-line photo was a bit sketchy. For example, I did throw one arm up as I crossed the line with a huge grin on my face, but, um, the thing is that I look zapped at that point and I dont think smiling and throwing an arm up made me look less like a crack addict in a hot running skirt. I can't bring myself to post it. I just can't, sorry, I have some pride left and I think that would just be the end of it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And... back to normal

Now that the Marathon of Marathon training is over, and I no longer have to be neurotic about what to expect on M-day.... it's time for me to resume my neurotic ramblings of a mom.

Monday my youngest child turned 3. That would mean that my BABY is 3 years old. Um. What? WHAT? Oh, that's cool. I'm cool with that. I mean, after all, 3 is still pretty young. At 3 they still have training wheels on their bike, they have a booster seat at the dinner table and they (well, most of them) have bed rails to keep them tucked safely in at night.

Anyway, you'd probably like to know how we celebrated her birthday? WEEEEeeeeell, about that. We didn't really. On Monday I had a "thing" at JSR regarding the school I'm applying to... it's some kind of manditory orientation that is, um, manditory. So, I had to arrange to get the day off of work (the little one I babysit) and get a sitter of my own (which was pretty easy to find - thanks), and drive 30+ minutes downtown, etc and so forth. We celebrated her birthday by going to the grocery store and buying 6 cupcakes with fall foliage leaf candies sprinkled on their tops.

Today, 2 days later, she had a rockin' house party though with her 5 best peeps and Baby Natalie, and I suspect will now sleep for days. I did make cup cakes in the shape of Elmo and Grover, and they turned out mad cute. I will attach a photo. They were as cute as the Star Wars Tie Fighter Cupcakes and since they were 2000X easier to make, I now prefer Sesame Themed Birthday Parties to Star Wars Themed Birthday Parties.

Happy Birthday B!

Bake 24 cupcakes according to box directions. I used foil liners, fyi. Then frost in plain white frosting (for testing purposes I used Dunkin Hines Cream Cheese flavor). Immediately dip, rolling slightly, in a bowl of desired sprinkles. The mouths, noses and whites of eyes are all canned "Dunkin Hines Cup Cake Frosting". I used the round tip, and strongly suggest practicing on a paper plate before you attempt a cup cake. The "google eye" effect was achieved with an upside down chocolate chip. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Richmond Marathon Report

Tropical Storm meet North East wind & giant Low Pressure system to create a "super storm" over the eastern seaboard - Nov. 12-13, 2009. The storm paused over VA and dumped buckets of rain on Richmond. BUCKETS. The James River runs through the city, and the course runs alongside the James River. Rivers flood during tropical systems, so, on Marathon day, the Richmond River was at Stage 12.1(?) Flood. No, I don't have a clue what that means. I just know that on the official Marathon website on Friday the 13th there was talk about a course change. I'm so glad they didn't have to change it. The part they would have changed was the best part of the course!

Richmond Marathon, Nov. 14, 2009

My day started at 3am, when I woke up the first time, and never really got back to sleep. This was OK, as I had planned for a "non-sleep" night all along. It's sometimes good to know this about yourself. So, that didn't mess me up at all. I waited until 5 minutes before my alarm and got up. The first thing I did was check the website to see if they'd changed the course. They hadn't. SO I signed onto facebook to have breakfast with all my running friends... so to speak. I had breakfast, a half a bagel with pb, and about 8 ounces of Orange Gatorade, and a cup of coffee. I have to drink coffee, or I get a headache. I'd rather NOT consider the implications of that... I know I'm addicted. The articles on nutrition say to stay with what you know, and have a low fat 800 calorie meal. Um. Hello. So, I stuck with what I know.

After breakfast I got dressed and put on my sexy Navy/Orange runningskirt and matching top. I know, it's matchy-matchy, but I LOVED my ROAD CONE ORANGE running shirt and knew it would make me easy to spot. I took my watch off the charger, noting that it said, "Battery Charging Complete", laced my shoes on and was ready to go. It was warm out. Too warm to need my "Throw away" sweat shirt, so, I tossed it in the car just in case and pulled up my "sock sleeves".

H and I left our house on time, picked up T in her super sexy pink/white socks, and in good spirits, chatting all the way, we headed into the city. I had eventually decided on pig tails, so T gave me a set of navy bows to match my outfit - super cute. Parking was a non-issue, since my H is an uber-planner. Our steps were energetic and we practically skipped through the rainy, grey, city. I know, not ideal weather, but I wasn't going to let the weather get me down. I was practically crowing that it wasn't hot and humid. I guess it would be fair to say that I was thrilled that it was rainy and cool because T and I had trained in some extreme weather, and "rainy and cool" sounded SUPER. We arrived at the steps of the Library, our agreed meeting place and connected with Jack and Fay.

Fay, T, g. and Jackie P. (yea, I know I'm glowing!)
We sent Fay off to run the Half, which she rocked of course, and posed for a few more photos before we headed to the potty lines (in the back ground of this photo). The lines moved fairly quickly and we got to the front to discover that... there was NO TOILET PAPER. We're marathoners, we made due.

H & reviewed his spectator plan, and Rach gave me some quiet words of strength while we waited out the 30 minutes until Race Start... eventually we saw the 4:30 pacer and knew it was time to step into our corral. I went to turn on my fully charged Garmin... and nothing. Dead. It's marathon morning and I have no Garmin. No watch. Oh. My. God. (a few seconds of panic and complaint... and then)... "OKAY. No biggie, I'm running with the pacer from start to finish."

(me and my DH)

T & G and the 4:30 Pace Team - note my super sexy sock sleeves!
T & I make friends where ever we go, and the girl beside us in blue with the brown hair (SARA) was chatting with us when she asked, "So, are you guys students here?" "Uh... WE LOVE YOU!" No, I explained, we're moms, we have 6 kids between us and are running my 1st (and T pipes in "my 2nd") Marathon. But, that was just another great omen on what was shaping up to be an awesome morning.
We milled about for a while, and then a roar went up from the crowd and we started moving toward the start line. Jackie P, T & I had decided to run together, so we were off with the 4:30 pacer, "John" I think his name was? John seemed so sane... but... then again, clearly NOT the case as we would find out later.
The first miles were full of chatter and laughter. Jackie P is a hoot. T was kind enough to point out some funny signs - a personal best on her part was offering to take me shopping for a new pair of pants at PANTS PLUS (a ghetto looking pants store right on the main drag through Richmond). Our first mile was a touch slow, because of the start "traffic". Then the second mile we made up the first mile's lost time. The third mile's split was a touch fast, but the pacer was "banking a few seconds to make up for lost time at the 4th mile water stop" His words. And then, at the mile four H2O... John stepped into the restroom. Uh... without telling anyone, so the group, as a whole, sped up to look for him. I swear, we were like a bunch of lost kids. This mile was WAY too fast. It didn't ruin my race, but it certainly didn't help bolster the confidence of John's abilities. John steps back in but by now I was over John. I think T&Jackie P might have agreed with me. I had no watch, I was just running whatever T was running, trusting in her pace. The first few miles evaporated, they vanished, gone from my memory. Truly, I only retained the non-sense and high points.
I admit, after this point all mile points are estimates. With no Garmin to tell me where I was, I was only noting certain miles - 6,12,18,24. Those splits were where I would take my nutrition. Jackie P had a heart attack 13 months ago this week. So he mentioned to me that he had taken a lot of asprin before today's run and that if he fell he would need a tourniquet. "No worries Jackie, I have my sleeves here, I can save you."... Jackie says, "I was hoping you'd take off your shirt." We all laugh. I pointed out that in his fantasy of a bunch of half naked women working over him, he was most likely picturing Victoria's Secret models, not squishy momsof3. The woman running in front of us almost wiped out trying to figure out if Jackie was hitting on me. (He was not.) The three of us were planning for the upcoming bridge (at mile 16ish? I honestly don't know), and how it would be windy and to not get caught up in the wind we were going to fly in V formation. Like Geese, and yes, we were laughing.
So, sometime after mile 4 but before mile 7 T started to fade a little. I didn't say anything though, because I didn't want to think it was what I thought it was. I thought she was powering down. We were running downhill along side the country club when I first worried about her race.
At mile 7 we arrived at the first PARTY ZONE where my DH was waiting for us with refuel of H2O, and cheering. We picked up E, our resident Kenyan, and ran with her. John was still in our sights, but by now I had realized that the 4:30 marathon wasn't for me. It would be more fun to run a 4:45 marathon, and so I sat back to enjoy the rest of my 2o mile warm-up.
The 4 of us paired off, me with E, Jackie with T. Then suddenly I realized Jackie was with us... and I dropped back, only a few paces, to check with T. Not good. I asked what I could do for her? "Go run your race, your race doesn't suck because my foot hurts". I'm not even sure if that is what she said, but that is the message that I heard. Those words would haunt me at every mile post after. I kept questioning whether she had really said them, or if I had imagined them. Trust me, when you're running a marathon, the mind plays tricks on you, and it's hard to know what's actually happening and what's in your head. I ran up to E and asked her to run with T. E was kind enough to give me her watch, since we knew I couldn't rely on T's watch anymore. Jackie and I were now on our own.
The course took us down a hill to the banks of the James. Seriously, the grey swollen river was rushing only a few feet beside us, swirling and foaming, with logs and sticks and... Canadian Geese? The Geese were riding the water at the same pace that we were running. Nice. The river was 'running a 10 minute mile'. If you wanted to know. Jackie and I ran comfortably chatting, slowing when we got breathy, speeding up when we felt good. I never felt stressed except on a few hills. And every time we passed a spectator with a cow bell I yelled, I NEED MORE COW BELL! and the spectators & fellow runners would all laugh and go crazy. I secretly expected T to arrive beside me any second. Just before the second party zone my own training injury came up to bite me. For a few minutes I thought about being brave. Yea, and then reason stepped in and I took an Alieve. Right after I swallowed the alieve I had a familiar feeling. A familiar feeling that woman gets right before she starts her... OMG, are you SERIOUS? Have I just started??? I have NOTHING on me, and my H won't have anything either!
We got to the Party Zone, kissed our Spouses, as we were leaving the zone I snagged Rach and asked, "can you get me a personal item by mile 20???" Rach's jaw dropped... "YES!" Here I am, seconds before talking to Rach...
Thank you E for the sexy watch!
At mile 13.change (I know because Jackie P and I crossed the halfway mark at exactly the same point) I got a nasty cramp. Not the kind you run through. So I told Jackie that I was going to stop by a potty, take care of my personal business (i.e. CHECK TO SEE IF I HAD STARTED, whew NOT YET), and that he would have to go on without me. My cramp was bad, lower abdomen, and I feared that I was going to need a few minutes of regroup. He was obviously distressed that I couldn't hang, but the rules of the road are established by now. You run your race alone together. So he ran on, and I saw a construction porta potty. YAY! I stopped, checked to see how bad the damage was, and couldn't get my skirt back on... I shimmied in so the girl parts were covered and then I basically came out of the potty and got redressed in the street. I got out my i-pod, crossed back into the race course, walked for a minute while I set up my play list, took a breath, and realized... my cramp was gone. my foot pain was gone. Nothing hurt. It's a beautiful day for a run. I felt awesome. I've been stopped about 5-6 minutes I'd guess. I wonder if T passed me while I was in the potty? I wonder if I can catch Jackie before the bridge? I wonder...if I NEED MORE COW BELL!
So that's what I set out to do. Find T, or catch Jackie. I switched into 4:30 race pace for mile 14-17? Big fat question mark on the numbers. I was in race pace from before 14 until just after the bridge. I caught up to & passed SARA and wished her a happy race. And... I arrived at the Bridge. I was prepared for the wind. HOLY SMOKES! I was blown physically around! My body was buffeted by it. All I could think of was Jackie... our V-FORMATION plan... and as I set out to start across, I saw Jackie P., just finishing the bridge. I decided, that in honor of Jackie's plan, I would draft someone. I found a tall woman and hunkered down behind her. Curiosity got me a little and I turned my head to look at the River. Wow. I wished for a camera to capture that awe inspiring view. It was breath taking. The city was ahead of me and the white water falls were to my left churning with unrelenting energy. I breathed in the Richmond Marathon in that moment, and was glad to be here, wind and all.
Tall woman was running a little slow, so I quietly passed her and settled in behind Tallish Guy. Yea, tacky, but effective. I got across the bridge. I took gummie bears at the junk food station. SARA caught up to me and we ran together for a minute. I probably was only 20-30 feet behind her for much of the race.
Once you cross the bridge you get back into the spectators. NEED MORE COW BELL! I saw some familiar faces. AngieB. is one of T's Peeps, and so when I saw her all I could think of was T. Had she seen her? No? OK, she must be behind me. I got all choked up into tears after I left Angie and turned onto Main St, and that slowed me down. I couldn't breath through the tears. I think they were a combined effort - tears of amazement, tears of relief that I had made it this far, and tears of sadness that T was behind me. Emotionally I had prepared myself, from the start of training, to the day when T would leave me behind on the course. I was prepared to be left. I wasn't prepared to do the leaving. I had terrible guilt seeping in and then I thought, "T would be a little disappointed if she knew you were wallowing".
In historic Richmond you run past a row of pastel houses on Cary Street, it was around here that I saw SpeeDee. She is... awesome. Simply amazing. She settled in beside me for a few steps, seeing that I was obviously struggling with something. I told her I was crying for no good reason. She said she does it every race. Whew. I'm normal. And then she wished me well, told me it is all mental after 20, and said loudly to the thick crowd of spectators around us, "Hey ya'll this is my friend Ginny!" "GO GINNY!" And my head spun for a second with the power of their cheer. That cheer, that visit with Dee, carried me for another 2+ miles. At the corner of Boulevard and Main St I had another opportunity to shout, NEED MORE COW BELL!!!
My friend V came into town from PA to run part of this race with me. At some point during the day she heard from DH that I was apart from T, so instead of standing at the mile 20 marker, she was a lot closer to the mile 19 marker. She ran onto the course screaming and cheering, "YEAH!!!! BABY!!!!" She quietly whispered that she had my "personal effects on her". H was on the other side of me, handing me fresh water bottles, gave me a kiss, told me I looked awesome (*note- he's a bad liar, but nice that he tried). I made him promise to wait for T. And then from that point until mile 26 I had a personal cheer leader with me. Every 2-5 minutes she would alternate the phrase, very quiet and up beat, "you can do this" with a very loud "YAY G!" If we saw spectators she would yell, GO G! And they would respond, GO G! Running with V was awesome, we posed for the photographers, cheered for ourselves, and in my darkest moment I never felt even the slightest bit, dark. Oh sure, I hurt, but, I was FINE! I knew I was FINE!
Around 22/23(?) we saw Rach & Jackie! I had caught them! But, I was too wasted to hold their pace, and all I could do was shout from 100 feet back.... "RACH!!!"... no response... so, I went with "WOW THAT IS A HOT MAMA IN AN AWESOME RUNNING SKIRT!" That they heard. And then I wished them a very loud and awesome finish.
At mile 24 I had to potty again. Uhg. No TP AGAIN. Twice in ONE DAY? Not cool. Mile 23-25(?) of the Richmond Marathon is, um, uninspiring. It's along side of a bland looking college campus, which I'm sure is lovely in the spring, but with the washed out grass, grey skies, greyish tan building and grey street I was running on... let's just say, it was grey. No worries though because I had V shouting, cheering, running backwards ahead of me, dancing to her i-pod. OH, I almost forgot! For about a half a mile we ran next to a woman who was singing LOUDLY to her i-pod. Hysterical. I said to V, "Yea, anything to get past the pain." My body was screaming in pain, but I never questioned if I could make it. Once I had to stop to ease a calf cramp and my hip flexor into a little stretch. I never thought about taking a dirt nap. I never hit the wall I had prepared to scale. I... just ran very slowly, until mile 26 was suddenly upon me and I was looking down the hill. I could hear the finishline cheering. Richmond has the most awesome finish - straight downhill on Cary Street. You just put your feet infront of you and let them catch you as you fall straight down. It was awesome.
V slipped off the course so I finished alone. I could see the count down clock ticking toward 5 hours and I kicked it into high gear because damnit, I didn't make it THIS far to not make it in under 5 hours! I made it as it rolled to 4:59 with Mel in my mind of all things. One of her 26.2 things learned was to suck it up and try to look good for the finish. So I threw my arms up and went crazy as I crossed the line.
I saw Dad, & DH, my kids, over the railing, handed them my water & banana and stuff, got a photo with my medal that is ROAD CONE ORANGE AND NAVY!!!, and connected with them. When I stopped moving I felt my blood pressure plummet. So, I insisted that we walk, and we walked up to J (T's H) so we could watch her finish, and scream for her. And as soon as she crossed the line I had to go to her. And, of course, I started bawling. I felt so sad, I knew we should have been together, but I had left her. She, well, put me in my place quite nicely and I was instantly better.
Over all, it was an awesome experience. I will do another one. My actual time was 4:55:42. I will crack 4:30, eventually. It might take 2 more marathons before I can do that though. I think... yes, I think I will run Richmond again next year. Crazy, since I'm sitting here typing this alternating icing my knee and my foot. But they'll heal.
Post Race, T & G, and hellz-yea, we still look awesome.

V, my awesome cheer leader!, and me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sub 5!

I did the marathon sub 5. I'm sure there are people in this world who would rather DIE than admit it took them almost 5 hours, but I am not one of them. It was an awesome race. I never hit a wall. It did NOT go as planned by a long shot, but I did it, and if my knees stop hurting so much before 5pm tomorrow, I will sign up to run the Richmond Marathon again next year. Yea. I said it. More coming after I have time to digest what I've done. Somehow it still doesn't feel real to me.


Ok, admittedly I'm not a play it cool kinda girl when it comes to anything except men. Usually when I race I obsess and plan, and get crazy and plan some more, carry way too much stuff with me, check a bag, etc. So to think that yesterday I was "cool" about the marathon blew me away. I was CHILL. I was COOL. I was cooler than cool.

Today, I woke up... not so much chill. I am RAMPED UP! Richmond Marathon HERE I COME! A few quick notes on my general mood.

I feel AMAZING, and amped up, and the few little jitters I had when I stepped out of bed are GONE. I am ready to RUN. I can't force down a large bagel, so I'm going to take a banana with me in the car... maybe I'll eat it, maybe not.

An AWESOME note - V., my dear friend, drove in from PA to surprise me and run the last 6 with me & T. She's not a runner, per say, but she's been training for a few weeks so she could build her milage to 6. I'm just tickled. It's a SIGN that TODAY IS GOING TO ROCK!!!!

I thought of SDD today, when I decided on my slogan of the morning: "There is NOT CHARGE for awesomeness, OR Attractiveness". (Kung Fu Panda - if you have not seen that movie, get up RIGHT NOW and go see rent it).

TO all my running brethren out there today, may your feet be swift, your portapotties be plentiful, and may the God of Garmin smile upon you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

High FIVE & Marathon Dedication

Before my ROCKIN Shamrock Half marathon I dedicated each mile to the women and son who helped me train for the race. It was awesome, because I couldn't imagine a better way to honor someone than to run a mile for them... So here it is: For 10 minutes and 22 seconds THIS is your mile...

Mile 1 Is for Dad - Because he's driving up on a day when he has 100 other things to do, so he can be here to support me.

Mile 2 is for MJ (Mom)- Because Mom always acted like this was just another "run", and at the same time she encouraged me to do it. She never questioned whether I would succeed, I mean in her mind, I'm G, Of course I will succeed

Mile 3 is for B - my 3rd Child, my HOLY TERROR, My reason for Stress. I love my kid, don't get me wrong, but once you meet her, you know why I would need to run to burn off stress. (as I type this, she is tip toeing with her finger over her mouth toward the counter to steal another Ginger Snap, as if having her finger over her lips makes her invisible.)

Mile 4 is for Dee & Pam! Thanks for sending me good vibes and encouragement (and encouragement to try new things - boy, that sounds interesting in writing). You ladies have made my day more than once, and because of you SpeeDee, I am running a 20 mile "warm up" and a 10K on Saturday, so, thanks for that.

Mile 5 is for MEL. You rock! You inspire! You have the CUTEST blog (and cutest kids, since I've been snooping at your other blog too). But seriously, thanks for your words of encouragement and the courage to post your TMI marathon story. This "HIGH FIVE" is for you!

Mile 6 is for my Ann Taylor Jeans, size 6, that I thought had left me forever. I love you. ~sniff~ It's good to have you back.

Mile 7 is for my son, G, an awesome 7 year old who has NO idea how long a marathon is but Knows I can DO IT! Thanks G. You rock.

Mile 8 is for BODY GLIDE. I can't write why. You ALL know why.

Mile 9 is for Cindy & Christy at Ladies, without your skirts, my a** wouldn't look nearly as cute on a race course. So thanks for truly providing something sporty, feminine and seriously practical all at the same time. Your skirts ROCK.

Mile 10 is for C, my darling daughter, who has been so inspired by my running skirts that she has decided to take up running. I'd like to say it was something else that inspired her, I would, but... she's a girl. She's 10. She's a fashionista.

Mile 11 is for the Run Like a Mother Team: Because it's the little things, the little laughs, the small words of encouragement that we all say to each other in passing that add up to an impressive amount of support. Thanks Ladies, for making me laugh, keeping me on time, and for "embarrassing cheetahs everywhere".

Mile 12 is for Jackie P... our honorary skirt. Thanks for joining us for the last 12 of the best 20 miles I've ever run. You're a great inspiration, but also an entertaining running partner and I'm pleased that you were able to share some of that with us. I know you're going to have a stellar race.

Mile 13 is for Emily! because she's coming out to run miles 6.something to about 13 with us on Saturday!

Mile 14 is for ANGIE BERMAN who is AWESOME and invited two hot, sweaty, over heated?, dehydrated, sad runners into her home for a few minutes of sanctuary on an EARLY Saturday morning. Thank You Angie - I will never look at the road that leads to your neighborhood without thinking to myself, "Angie Berman may have saved my life..."

Mile 15 is for Victoria, Ann, Marc, Chele, Denise and Melissa, thanks for all your encouraging words, boxes of pasta, cute texts, DRIVING DIRECTIONS, etc and so forth. Denise & Melis, I know you're going to ROCK the 8K and Half Marathon!

Mile 16 is for Fay! I love running with Fay. She's the best, she's quiet, pretends to listen to my rambling and rambling and rambling for miles on end, and when she does say something it's either very smart and on point, or hysterical. You're the best & I know you're going to KICK IT on Saturday in the HALF and CANNOT WAIT to hear about your awesome race!

Mile 17 is for my H, Sean, because he was against this all along, but he's going to suck it up and make it work. Thanks babe.

Mile 18 is for Rachel P., because you know what you need to say to help someone succeed. Your business makes you an inspiration to many, and I'm happy to be included in that group of lucky women, but most of all, you are a gift, a treasure, (with a good sense of humor to boot) and I consider myself so SO lucky to count you as a friend. Thank you.

Mile 19 is for Tonia because you're my best friend. When my kid says something funny, I can't wait to tell you *saving a tidbit for the race BTW, remind me, it was G, when I see that I have a free morning I want to find out what you're doing, when I have a good run I want to share the glory, and when I have a bad run, I know you'll either tell me it's OK or to suck it up, which ever is appropriate. I love that you know which is appropriate. ...You know I could type all day and not scratch the surface... to sum it into one sentence, "I would rather spend a Sunday evening at the ER with you, than anywhere else by myself."

Miles 20 - finish: is for me. Months of training, believing, and preparing for this day to climb my Everest have paid off. This is MY time. My 20 mile warm up will be under my belt, now it's time for a 6.2 mile race and a Marathon PR.

My goal on Saturday is: To have fun. To Finish. To PR. If I have fun, surely I'll finish, and in finishing, I'll have a nifty Marathon PR.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"People" & Chemistry

And I don't mean the kind you might find at a bar...

When we last followed our chemistry student she was griping about the stupidity of her fellow chem students, particularly SRGSBC (Stupid Red Headed Girl Who Sits in the Back of the Class).

SRG annoys me to no end. She talks in class, is late every class period b/c she's outside smoking until class time - she's basically a smelly loud student who whines a lot. I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out she and I are not in the same major (me Nursing, SRG Radiology), and will probably NEVER have classes together again.

This week, SRG and her friend sat in on a study jam session I had with 2 other students before our most recent test. Nice Guy had called me earlier in the day to ask me to come a half hour early to review the test material. Since I have a high GPA, and I have a grip on the material, I can afford to be a little smug. AND I was nice and showed up, reviewed all the test questions, and probably helped myself to a better grade as well... (annoyingly I know I did NOT get a 100, b/c I blew one of the easiest ones on the test! UHG - I hate that).

SRG, after we've reviewed the math portion of the upcoming test, says, "OMG- I totally didn't even read the chapter, what's on the test?"
Me, "Really, you didn't even take the time to read the chapter, after he told us that the first 10 pages of the chapter contained half of the test material? I always try to read each chapter before class. I promise it makes his lectures much easier to follow."
SRG, right before she nearly lost her life, replied, "Uh - Hello, I don't have time to read the chapter before class, I have a LIFE and a JOB."
Me, Eyes narrow, brows raise. Ecks and NG both looked at me, to see my reaction I'm sure. I turned to her and said, very clearly, so she would be sure to understand, "Yea, I get that. I have a job, 3 kids, a husband, a house to run, a 4.0 GPA, an A in Chemistry, and I've just trained for a marathon."

After that I excused myself and went upstairs to sit in class and re-READ my notes before the test, because I had given up some of the time in my LIFE to come and help these peole study. I would like to know is WHY spend time and money on college classes if you're not going to put the effort into them to do WELL??? Heckfireandshoot- she could at least have been gracious or appreciative that I was willing to tutor her where she had questions. Stupid people annoy me. Ungrateful people annoy me. Stupid ungrateful RUDE people piss me off.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


In preparing for my marathon, I've been obsessing about what I'm going to wear, how i'm going to fix my hair, how I'm going to stay cool... stay warm... stay dry... stay warm... oh, I said that twice.

TODAY I found my "pre-start" sweatshirt! Yeah baby! It's actually a Victoria's Secret PJ topI got as a christmas present when I still lived at home. For those who don't know me that well, I haven't lived at home since 1994. It's not unattractive, it's my favorite color green, but it never worked for me, it was itchy, and yet, I packed it up and hauled it around for 15 years. Why? I don't know... I have made hundreds of goodwill trips in those 15 years, but this item was lost on a shelf, flying under the radar in plain view. Now, it will a be a Pre Marathon shirt for me, and a treasure for a homeless person after the race. (I think I understand correctly that the cast offs go to the Union Mission or some similar location in Richmond). The pants shouldn't be a huge problem, I have some old XL clothes hanging around in my closet. In fact, I believe I have a pair of sweat pants that fell off during Stroller Strides last week.

Now that THAT is taken care of, I do have one thing that is plauging me. The issue is this: I had a problem the whole time I trained that I was never able to solve. My hair. I tried hats, pony tails, piggy tails, braids... when I wear a pony tail or pig tails my hair (which is fine and thick) knots up into a dread-lock that can sometimes take 30 minutes to untangle. But, the time I wore a braid it bothered me until I eventually pulled it out mid-stride and rewound the annoying hair into a pony tail... and had a big knot to untangle.

I have this vision of me (in my dreams, I am an elite athlete & I go fast) running with my hair flying behind me in all it's glorious flowing brown, er, ness. Brownness. So - pony tail or two tails are a must if I'm going with that fashionable fantasy... but, by around mile 13 I know my hair will actually be a chorded knot of ratty brownness. (I assume 13, because that's when I've been photographed finishing a 1/2 marathon). A hat neither helps nor hurts. It's just a good place to store sunglasses in case of clouds, or it shields the rain if we run into any - which we did a lot this fall.

I hate to try something new. Which is worse? Having a giant knotted mess of hair in my finish line photo? OR Being annoyed by a single braid for 26.2 miles? Or looking like PIPPY LONGSTOCKING for 26.2 miles? AND, is there another choice?

((Why am I fretting over my finish line photo? I'll likely just look like a well dressed coked out crack addict who's wandered onto the course at this point... seriously, did you SEE my mile 7 photos from Patrick Henry in August?))

Sunday, November 8, 2009

uh. that is so not cool.

My computer blew up. Well, technically the "hard drive crashed" which is actually a hardware issue where something that spins or something that holds breaks and the machine goes from working fine one minute to not ever working again the next.

Being a very great fool, I had not backed up my computer in a long time. Can you say "i-tunes" and "i-photo" all lost? Yea, how about "i-calendar" - which is a program that keeps me sane and remembering things like "what day of the week is the parent teacher conference?" It's all gone. 1900 photos gone.

So I call around to see how much to get my information off this computer *a mac, and do you know what they told me??? $980. SO I called another place. "Between $200 and $1000, probably closer to $1000 though". OK. Um. I could buy another computer, or two, for that much money. $980.... so NOT cool.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a neurotic mom realization

I don't even recongize myself anymore.

It's absolutely true. I was talking to my 4th grader about what life was like for me in the 4th grade. I remember watching the NASA space shuttle launches in class (my teacher standing up with a horrified expression before blurting out - "Oh My God - The Challenger Blew UP!"), my best friends were really pretty girls named Kathleen and Casey, I wore my hair short - always, I wore a lot of dresses and I owned no Blue Jeans. I hated PE and running in general, I watched a lot of TV.

I LOATHED running with a deep seated passion that burned as brightly as 1000 suns. I hated being the slowest, so I would just quit. Nice little mental picture there, huh? I don't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, probably a horse race jockey or an actress, or both, but certainly not a 30 X year old chemistry student.

What struck me funny though, was that my daughter, C, wanted to know what I looked like, and my answer was that I always wore my hair short.

Looking back, I realize I've always had short hair, except for once in 10th grade when I let it grow all summer before shaving part of it and getting a very cropped blunt cut by 11th grade. Yup, "shaved my head" is not on my bucket list because I've already done it. I was under the impression that long hair made me look fat. I actually consider that it might have been my fat that made me look fat, but, when you're in HighSchool you never want to imagine that might be the issue - thus, the short hair.

I had short hair when I met my H, I had short hair when I had my kids, in fact, I wore my hair in pretty much the same style as Meg Ryan for years. Imagine my shock and horror on the day I woke up to a news interview with Meg and her blond extensions that reached her waist. I had short hair because I was fat. Meg didn't have to do that... rough pill to swallow.

So, I was getting dressed yesterday to take C to dance and I put on my skinny jeans, a brown camisol, some low heels, and a looooooong sweater jacket, and when I brushed my hair, I realized how really REALLY long it's gotten. Looking in the mirror, I had a moment where I wanted to ask that woman what she was doing in my house. With long hair, skinny jeans and a cami on I look like someone completely different than the mental projection of myself. What an odd feeling to be having at my "advanced" age. Sure, in 4th grade, it is OK to think these things, but by 3X years, surely I should know what I look like.

Monday, November 2, 2009

and dinner to boot.

OH wait, that's supposed to read "dinner with a boot", but that's getting ahead of myself.

I don't know where to start, but I guess I should preface this with:  I had no idea that training for a marathon involved so many tears.

No, I haven't cried from the pain of any runs (yet).  OH, well there was some chafing that caused me to squeal in agony.  Does that count?  But, that said, I can see how a person could cry at the end of a miserable 20 miler in the heat and humidity.

Last week when I finished my "awesome" 20, I got a bit welled up because I finished a TWENTY mile RUN!  And I ran at a good pace, with good friends.  No, I take that back - I ran it with the BEST of friends.  (even Jack, who I've decided to make an honorary skirt by naming Jackie P.)  It's like J.K.Rowling says in Harry Potter... something about "once they'd defeated a troll and nearly gotten expelled, they became best friends".  That 20 miler was our troll, and Jackie P. officially joined the ranks as a "skirt buddy".

I even got a bit welled up last night when I was placing my online AWESOME skirt purchase (have I mentioned how much I love my skirts? Yes?  Oh, OK).  I kept thinking about how I was planning another awesome year of running with my team, and how I had "actually stuck to this" all the way through the training, "and I am going to be a marathoner!"  Then T called, we chatted about the order, went back and forth for a few minutes about non-sense, just joking around.  It was a little odd to talk on a Sunday night - it's generally a time that we reserve for our mates, so we got off the phone to be with our families.  I did a little holiday shopping and typed in my blog as I was making lunches and wrapping up leftovers.

But last night I cried real tears of sadness when T called back an hour later and asked me "what was I doing tonight".  For just a second I thought, is she kidding?  But suddenly, just as quickly as the thought popped into my head, I knew something was REALLY wrong, because she sounded so off.  I'm welling up right now.... damn.  I leapt into the JEEP and plunged into the dark with tears rimming my overly bright eyes.  My laughs were a little forced, because I knew I was supposed to try to make light of the situation, though inside I was weeping just a little.  

I had a totally different post to write, about how we were a comic duo worthy of an HBO special at the physicians office, lesbian lovers out for a date (or at least "girlfriends") to the eyes of the women at the office, cracking jokes about "reading articles about managing long run pain", etc. all while determining which comments about girlfriends, pain management, duct tape and body glide were blog worthy.  We were really funny.  I was "on".  T was "on".  I was trying, hard.  I nearly lost it for a minute there - I didn't realize how much of my emotion was riding on the surface when I told T the "G lost his tooth, and I mean LOST it for real in the zip lock baggy that I may or may not have used to store those lunches" story.  Took me a minute to get the laughter and tears back together on the right side of the story.  Thinking back now to her pale face and over bright smile, I suspect I wasn't the only one suffering with a little panic.

But.  NO matter how funny the hospital adventure story is, no matter how prepared we were for a "night at the ER" (cue the cheesy disco music) with magazines and such, I just can't make this a funny post.  Because it's not.  T's hurt.  She's wearing my boot right now because her foot is hurt.  I took her dinner tonight, with the boot, because I could and it's all I could think to do.  Too bad it ultimately doesn't help anything.  

I wish I could be the Fairy Tale Godmother who comes into the story and waves a magic boot over a pumpkin and turns it into something else....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

skirt-a-holism is going to need to start their own version of AA.  Skirtaholics Anonymous.  Seriously, it's scary.  They have 50% off some of THE CUTEST running gear in the world~!  OK, that's an opinion of mine, but I cannot be alone in this opinion!  

Today I went online to place an order... and it went a little like this...

"I'll get myself 1 team skirt, the Navy/Pumpkin, since I have the Navy/Pink and Navy/Gold already and I know I have plenty of stuff to match those colors....  and one "other" item.  I mean, what if I run Shamrock?  Won't I need a green skirt?  Yea, OK, so I'll just put that in my cart, it's half off after all.  Wow, this haute pink/black skirt is cute.  I'll put it in my cart too.  Ooooh, purple cheetah, I'll just put that in my cart, it's half off.  Oh, look at THAT skirt, too cute, matching tops, also on sale...  So, let's go check out... $300!  Holy cow.  Huh.  Visa and I aren't having THAT good of a year, better pare that down a bit...."

Do you have ANY idea how painful it was to delete things out of my cart?  DO YOU???  What if next years skirts aren't as cute (HA HA HA - like THAT's going to happen)....  I will have missed my opportunity.  So, an alcoholic is someone who's afraid of running out of drink...  I am afraid of running out of skirt...  which is what happens when I wear my old size 3's ~snicker snicker~.  No seriously, if I buy another skirt, I'll have enough that I won't have to stress about which one is on the drying rack and which one is in the washer. 

Hello?  Skirt-annon anyone?  Do I need to start hosting weekly meetings?  Oh wait, I already do this every Sat or Sun for 7 - 15 miles....  never mind.