Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tinker Bell Half Weekend - Kids' Race Recap

RunDisney offers some great stuff.

Somehow, though... somehow, these Kids' Races seemed extra chaotic to me.

Maybe it was the super long line to get in the "super secret special" entrance in Down Town Disney.

Maybe it was shoving a billion small people AND their siblings AND their parents AND their strollers AND their grandparents AND AND AND into a pretty small space.

Maybe it was the 8am start time that was really a 9:15am start time.

I'm not sure.

But, $10 (for Gabby's 200m) and $25 (For #2's mile) included a medal, a shirt, and refreshments at the end. Can't argue that.


I ran with Gab, and #2 was supposed to run with Becka and A. #1 wasn't registered - she was too old for the kids' races, and the 5K was $99 and at 10:30pm - too much on both counts. Buuuut, she didn't want to be left out, so she bandited the course and ran with #2.

Don't worry, she didn't take water or a medal.

Anyway, I won't waste time complaining about the chaos that was the start to everything EXCEPT the mile. I didn't get to see 1 & 2 run, so imagine my enjoyment seeing these pictures on brightroom today....






#2's official time - 8:55.

Gab and I were supposed to run the 400m, but I got tired of waiting, Gab was tired of waiting, and we took off with the 4-6 yr olds in the 200m.

This actually turned out to be better; I'm not sure if Gab would have run through a 400m - her legs were already tired from the 200 (boooo chemo).





Powered by Sparkle.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, guy.

Today is The H's birthday.

He's pretty fabulous.

He babysits for my friends so we can frolic at expos together in kidless peace.

He never, ever complains about my ridiculous racing schedules. Or ridiculous racing ensembles.

And sends me to Denver to hang out for a weekend with my BFF and BFF?

I was stumped about his birthday gift. I mean, what do you do for that guy?

So, The H, I am giving you free reign to buy WHATEVER THING YOU WANT.


I know you've been eyeballing some bikes, and some tv's. But I also know you like the thrill of the hunt and finding the best steal you can...

So go for it. I pinky promise I won't pick on you, laugh at you, side-eye you, or otherwise obnoxious-thing at you.


Because you're pretty rad.

FYTO5K Recap, and PFTW

First, Team Gab is only $326 away from 1st place fundraising team for Pediatric Cancer Research!!! I've gotten a TON of Virtual Race recaps sent in, so if I haven't replied to you already, I'm sorry, I've been super swamped the last week.

If you haven't joined yet, you can CLICK HERE to run the Team Gab Virtual Race Fundraiser for Pediatric Cancer Research. And, don't forget, BIC Bands will be donating a portion of their January and February proceeds to PCRF as well! I wore mine on Sunday at Tinker Bell, and sweartoheavens it is the first band to not fall off of my janky weird shaped head.


Adam at The Boring Runner hosted the 2nd Annual Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual Race. Last year, I missed the race because Gab was still in the hospital. This year, I dedicated my first 5K of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon to FYTO5K. Ironic, since it was a jillion thousand degrees yesterday.

I am not entirely sure how to do this recap, without spoiling the Tinker Bell recap, so for now, I'll say this.

This was the FUNNEST 5K I've ever run.

I love being matchy matchy.

It was very sparkly. I had no idea I could adore Team Sparkle more than I did before. But I do.

And it was almost as if we didn't even run......

Yep. Official 5K time, 1:08:40. I blacked out everything else, because that will be in the full recap.


Last week recap:
Tuesday: 6 miles outside with the new Garmin(!!!!!), 1:03:30 (yeah, that's less than the time FYTO5K took....)
Sunday: Tink, 13.68 miles (oops)

I skipped my speed work day (lame). I was tired, and getting this cold, and then I had too much going on and I'm a lame-o loser run skipper. Oh wells.

This week:
Monday: maaaaaaybe an easy 3 (or 4?).
Tuesday: 6 easy
Thursday: 6 miles speed work
Friday: 8 mile long run with BECKA! Didn't I JUST see her, you ask? Why yes, yes I did. And I'm going to Colorado this weekend to see her again. And my BFF Evan Dando. Yeah. That's right.

And there may be a 5K on Sunday. Possibly. If I don't die of frostbite or something first.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Team Gab Giveaway - Week 2!!!

So, I'm posting from my phone and can't screen shot the random.org pick, but I promise it was fair.

Winner 2 is Rose from Eat, Drink, and be Meiri. Rose, go pick a prize, and let me know!

This weekend has been exhausting and brilliant and crazy and the most fun. Recaps to come....

Friday, January 27, 2012

"A person needs new experiences to grow, without them something sleeps inside us, and never awakens."

Hey! It's Friday! That means there's another drawing for the super giant Team Gab Virtual Race!

If you haven't joined yet, click here and do it! Any donations submitted by noon pacific time Friday will be included in today's drawing!


When Gabby was diagnosed last January, we spent 3 weeks in the hospital.

If you've never had to spend 3 weeks in a hospital, I really don't recommend it. It's not super fun. Gabby was generally unhappy, understandably. The H straight quit his job, the day we received her diagnosis. I am a vacation time hoarder, so I had the time to spare, but I was the only person able to do a LOT of things at my job. My other kids were put upon, and I'm positive, despite our best efforts, felt pretty abandoned - one of us would spend the night at home, see them off, then head to the hospital, stay there until school was out, and then go home, help with homework, and bring dinner to the hospital. And switch.

It was a chaotic few weeks.

But every night, we had some lovely people visit us, trying to get Gabby to play a game, or bringing my older kids art projects, or walking a dog around to say hello in the cancer wing.

Those volunteers were not greeted kindly by Gabby. She was rude, she was impatient, and she was UNIMPRESSED, with everything they offered. And I get it. I mean, she's in this scary place, with people she doesn't know doing pretty awful things to her all day, all night, being told what she can eat, what she can't eat.

As a parent, it's always embarrassing when your kid is That Kid.

Those volunteers were uninterested in my apologies. They knew.

And those volunteers were really the first glimpse I had of hope.

When we were buried in the beginnings of leukemia, a lot of things seemed awful and with no chance of improving. I mean, what good is there to be found when you're told your child has cancer?

But there is so much good. SO MUCH. Don't get me wrong. Obviously having a kid with cancer is not ideal. But nothing in life is. Those volunteers demonstrated a commitment to hope, with every visit - no matter how many times Gabby rejected them, they kept trying. Every time, with a smile, with a new toy, with a different tactic. They were not going to be thwarted.

So, as Alene at Journey to Badwater guest posted about her impact as an infusion center nurse, Cely from Running off the Reese's has some rad stuff to say about volunteering.

Donating money - I know that it's asking a lot. And I appreciate every penny that has been donated. Every dollar helps. But volunteering is just as special and critical.

And Cely's way funny, so... enjoy. Be back later with some giveaways!

Not long after I first moved to the Texas coast and before I had any friends, a lady I met at work told me that her young daughter was in the local children’s hospital in the cancer wing. I couldn’t believe it. I knew children had cancer, but I had never known someone with a child who had cancer. Like most people I had lost family and friends to it, but I had always been lucky enough to never know a child with it. One day my co-worker was sick and she e-mailed me to ask me if I could go up to the hospital to visit with her daughter since she could not. I happily agreed and went. And I kept going, week after week until she was able to go home (and eventually go into remission!). I quit going for a few weeks after she left, but I quickly realized there was a hole in my heart that spending time with those kids had filled. Due to the nature of graduate school and my job there are times I don’t make it up there, but in the end I always go back. Volunteering is fun, and I hope that the following reasons will encourage you to do the same!
  1. Kids are funny. Seriously. And you know what? They think I’m funny too, which is a very nice change from being around adults. I go there thinking I’m going to cheer these kids up, but I always leave feeling much better than they do I’m sure. They heal my mental health and restore my sanity. This is not just from the realization that I’m fortunate that I am in such great health in comparison, it’s from their smiles, jokes, laughter, and triumphs. The kids are happy to see you, even on those awful days filled with pain and bad news, they are happy to see you. I don’t have children and I rarely get to spend time with any, so being around these kids is pure joy. Well at least for me it is, I assume they love it too.

  1. You can give back. I didn’t have any money when I first started volunteering. Between working full-time for less than $20,000 a year and paying tuition as a graduate student, I was always broke. If you don’t have money, you still have time. Trust me, you do have the time. I volunteered a few hours each week while I worked full time and was taking 12 hours in a doctoral program. You can make time for the things that are important. Your physical presence is a gift to a hospital full of children. There is always someone who would love to spend an hour talking to you, reading with you, or playing video games with you.

  1. You don’t need special skills. That is what nurses and doctors are for. Take what you can do and go with it. There are children who toddlers all the way up to teenagers. Figure out who you interact best with and go do it. Especially if you are male, there are so many boys in the hospital that would love to play video games with you or talk football. Start a fantasy football league with them or go kill some zombies. It doesn’t matter because they will love it. I volunteer with teenagers because most people go to the little kids (I mean who wouldn’t? You can’t tell me that reading to silly squealing four-year olds isn’t the most fun thing you’ve ever done. I dare you.). I usually bring movies (like The Notebook, Mean Girls, anything with Zac Efron...) and magazines. We sit and talk trash about the Kardashians or debate who is the biggest skeeze on Jersey Shore. We play board games, read (I almost got my arm ripped off when I had to leave in the middle of the final Twilight book), talk about stupid people, talk about love, discuss colleges (and you better believe I always push Texas Tech, no shame, no shame), and recently discussed our mutual hate of open-toed booties. You don’t have to deliver medication, work in the library, or clean up after anyone, tell the hospital staff some of the things you like and they will help you find a fit.

  1. You will meet people. I spent the first year in my new city without a single friend. I had one acquaintance and she was not even nice to me. Going to the hospital filled a void for human interaction outside of work. I met nurses, doctors, and parents, several of whom I am still friends with. Weekends could be very lonely, but just spending a few hours on a Sunday afternoon changed that. Going to the hospital also helped me heal and get over break-ups, as well as saving me from sitting at home eating box after box of Fruit Loops with my hands. And you know what teenage girls love to talk about? Your love life (obviously edited for age appropriateness). So if you are bored, sad, or lonely, go volunteer with kids and you will leave a happy and fulfilled person.

  1. You could meet a hot doctor. Or anesthesiologist. Or nurse. It could happen right? Might as well go to the mother-ship if you seeking one.

  1. You will feel like a better person. I know the point of volunteering is to give back, but you can’t leave without feeling better. Everything we do matters, so do something good with that time. Help out some parents who are in one of the worst situations of their lives and might just need a few hours to get some air or take a shower.

  1. It looks good on your resume and impresses people. I think people who volunteer are more ethical, responsible, and kind (this is my own stereotype obviously). These are people I want to hire. I don’t want selfish jerks who are always out for themselves. I want a trustworthy person who works well with others and I think volunteering is one way to demonstrate this to people.

  1. You have to be mentally strong. Sometimes kids don’t make it. It’s always hard and painful, even when they needed to go. There is no worse feeling than going back after a few weeks and finding out someone is gone. But, even though it is constantly heartbreaking, I keep going back because there are still so many kids fighting. It matters that someone takes time to hang out with them and listen to their stories. After a long time it is hard for the parents to stay upbeat and cheerful, how could they? Volunteers can provide a fun break for the kids because they can spend time with someone whose entire life is not about their cancer. And you can spend an hour debating whether Snooki uses a bump-it.

Volunteering has meant more to me than I could ever imagine. It has trivialized so many things that had formerly been all-consuming for me. Despite what many people believe, you don’t leave feeling guilty because you have been lucky so far, you leave feeling happy for the kids you got to spend time with. Most hospitals I’ve worked with require a very small commitment of time (two or three hours a week), so, if you can, think about how you can

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I LOVE being tagged in things

....particularly on days I have no blogs ready to post.

Jolene at Journey of a Canuck Mom on the Run tagged me in the 11 Things post that's been going around.

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Randoms about ME

1. I was a child genius. Okay, not really, but I was in the International Baccalaureate program in high school, but decided I was too lazy to follow through, and dropped it for regular high school. I ended up basically repeating everything I did my freshman year, in my sophomore year in honors classes. It was an easy year.

2. I am the oldest kid of 4, and The H is second youngest of 7. Our wedding was almost only family, and was STILL giant.

3. If I didn't think my husband would divorce me in a heartbeat, I would drop work and go to culinary school. I'd rather be cooking.

4. I failed Personal Fitness in high school, and had to retake it. I barely, barely skimmed by. My downfall was? Skipping the running days. I refused to participate, so while the rest of the class walked laps, I would... walk off campus to Taco Bell. For my second PE credit, I took Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries.

5. I love to travel, but I'm terrified of it. Why? Because without fail, almost everywhere I visit, I end up convinced that is where I must now live. House hunting online, job searches, reading school reviews - these are all actual things that I do after vacationing somewhere.

6. When I do travel, one of the very first things I do is check out delicious places to eat. And if there's a Top Chef restaurant in the vicinity, I will find it. I've been to Perilla in NYC 5? maybe 6? times. Hands down, best meal I've ever had. (Psst, Becka, I might have been stalking some menus of spots in Boulder, before we go see my BFF Evan Dando.)

7. I am stupid shy, and would honestly probably not have ANY friends if not for blogging and the internet.

8. I hold grudges for a ridiculous amount of time, but it takes a lot to really piss me off. So I think it balances out just fine.

9. I cannot buy green olives, because I will eat them until I want to puke.

10. I have a spreadsheet for my Disney planning. For the trip in 5.5 months. I spend a lot of time planning a trip to be not over-planned. It always happens this way.

11. I am really, really judgy. As in, I might very well just look at someone, and decide if I do (or do not) like them. And, 97% of the time, my gut reaction is dead on. I tried for awhile to cut this out, because I really get that it's an unattractive trait, but I can't help it.



Nooooow, the 11 questions Jolene posted...

1. Did you have a childhood nickname? What was it?
I did not. Well, except for one cousin of mine, who insisted on calling me "Heathey". I know. In retaliation, I added a y to his name, too. And for as long as we hung out, no one else could ever call us by those names except each other.

2. What is the weirdest thing you have ever done while driving?
Um. I don't know how to answer this. I plead the 5th.

3. Do you have any strange phobias? What are they?
Hm. I don't think so - I hate spiders, but it's a true hatred, not a phobia. I don't think I'm phobic about anything?

4. If you could travel to anyplace right now without worrying about finances or how long you are gone, where would you go? Why?
Oy. This is tough. For RIGHT NOW, I'm going to say Disney World. It's centrally located in FL, so both my family and my in-laws could come; the kids love it; it's winter, so the weather doesn't TOTALLY suck. But when the kids are older, I'm going to say train tripping/back packing across Europe, hitting up all types of cozy little towns.

5. What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
Breaking Dawn. Don't judge me.

6. What song always makes you happy when you hear it? Why?
Blister in the Sun, Violent Femmes.

7. If you had to move to another state right now, where would you move and why?
Bah. I love SoCal. If I had to, I guess right now I'd go with.... Hawaii. I can't think of any other state with a climate close to what I have now.

8. Salty or sweet? What is your favorite?
OMG. I don't know if I could pick just one. I guess.... salty??

9. Do you have any pets? What are they are?
No pets. My kids had a goldfish for a day - our upstairs neighbor was moving, and I guess didn't want to take the fish? But I killed it within 12 hours or so. Oops.

10. Snow or rain? Pick your poison.
Rain, no question.

11. Name someone you would love to meet right now, who is currently living? Why would you like to meet them?
Desi. She fascinates me - I love that she was always kind of a slacker in high school, but KNEW what she was capable of. I love that she pursued it, knowing that there were doubts about her ability, and that she had the confidence in herself to live up to her potential.


Now, 11 NEW questions...

1. Do you cross train? (Be honest!)
2. What's your FAVORITE thing about running?
3. And your LEAST favorite?
4. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what is it?
5. What came first, chicken or the egg?
6. You're stuck on a deserted island - what three books do you wish you had with you?
7. How much time do you spend getting ready before leaving your house for a normal day of work/school/whatever you do?
8. Do you love the treadmill as much as I do?
9. My birthday is coming up (in 6 months)... want to come have a party?
10. What should I get The H for his birthday (next week)?
11. Have you joined Team Gab yet?

And I'm tagging....
Becka at 50 half marathons in 50 states
Miss Fruit Fly
Alma, the Average Woman Runner
Kim at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls
Elisabeth at Running at the Speed of Me
The Faster Bunny

and my last 5 commenters....
Lauren On The Run
Losing Lindy
Suz and Allan at Cows and Lasers and Everything In Between
Nicole at Becoming a Mother Runner
The MF Dre

Bam. That's that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”

1. As you may have heard, Aspaeris is super awesome, and sponsoring our SoCal Ragnar Teams, So Much Cooler Online. Here's a fancy press release about our ultra ladies.
Aspaeris is ALSO offering a 50% discount on all compression shorts until the end of the month! Use code "cooleronline" at checkout, and you'll snag these fancy pants for only $30 (+ shipping). That is a STEAL. As a sponsored athlete (hahahahhaaaa, I will totally never get to use that again, so I'm going to take full advantage), I'll be wearing some of these during one of my Ragnar legs; but I think I'll order an extra pair as well.

2. I know I've mentioned this, but I'm going to keep mentioning it until I die, or until the end of February, because I think it rocks and I don't want you to forget, and who DOESN'T need headbands?? BIC Bands is donating a portion of their January and February sales to Team Gab and PCRF.

3. The Team Gab IRL Virtual Run will be this Saturday at Mason Regional Park in Irvine. If you're in SoCal, you're invited to join us! If you're planning on coming, please don't forget to email me so I bring the appropriate amount of delicious things for you!

Mmm. Cake.

Running starts at noon. I will send out an email Friday with the exact location in the park.

4. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who has donated, commented, blogged, tweeted, smoke signaled Team Gab. We are right now at $2209 raised for pediatric cancer research! Team Gab is only $686 behind first place...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plan for the Week, and weekend round up

Last week:
I did something new-to-me, and ran 4 days last week.

Shockingly, I didn't die. I KNOW, right?

Tuesday: 6 miles, random hill program, 1:05:12, 10:52 avg pace.
Thursday: 5 miles, 3x1600 at 9:21 (actual 9:17, 9:14, 9:10), 800 RI. Skipped my cool down, since someone was eyeballing my treadmill.
Saturday: 9 miles, last 3 at half goal pace (10:41). 1:37:40, avg pace 10:52. Actual splits: 11:23, 11:23, 11:13, 11:19, 10:54, 10:56, 10:32, 10:21, 9:49. Oops.**
Sunday: Had an extra day of 3 easy that I was supposed to do Friday, but I was (a) lazy, and (b) planning to watch Top Chef Saturday, so I pushed this to Sunday and called it recovery. This was my first excursion with my new Garmin, so I learned that I need to push the lap button at each mile to get my actual splits. Lesson, taken. I also learned that I can't pace myself for isht. I'm all over the place crazy. Anyway, 4 miles 43:20, 10:50 avg pace.


And this week...

Saturday: Eat pizza, drink beer, and bunk up with internet strangers in Anaheim.
Sunday: Tinker Bell Half

Oh, I'll also run this week too.
Saturday, after my 9 miler, I took kid #1 to a local bakery, 85*C. The chain originated in Taipei, and has locations all over Asia, and what looks like 2 store fronts in the US. One of these happens to be down the street from me. So the goods are decidedly Asian, and it's all delicious. I don't think I've ever gotten anything there that I don't like.

The set up is kinda weird, because it's insanely popular, and there are fire codes obviously restricting the number of people who are allowed in at one time. So there's a queue, outside, and a dude standing guard at the door, asking how many in your party, and letting you in when they're ready.

It's like Disney, but with no ride.


So you go in, pick up a tray, and some tongs, and walk through the shelves, trays, baskets of baked goodies, and grab what you want, collecting it all on your tray, before heading to the checkout queue.

The checkout line gives you plenty of time to review their cold-case desserts (tons thereof), and drink menu. All of which I didn't take a picture of, sorry. But I promise, they have delicious salted iced coffee. DELICOUS.

This thing was devoured on the way home - some baked ham and cheese stick. So good.

I can't imagine how I don't just drop those 12 lbs...

Next on our agenda, was a failed attempt at making dinner. We don't eat out tons, but unfortunately, what we planned to make for dinner wasn't happening (frozen chicken is remarkably hard to cook, take note). Buuut, lucky for me, The H opens my mail and this had arrived a few days earlier.


So the Chili's Lighter Choices Menu schtick is that everything is under 750 calories and 25 grams of fat.

The bad thing about this, is the menu is pretty... meh.


I dunno. There are tons of ways to produce healthy choices that aren't boring, but I suppose that's a harder task when you're mass producing food. So, whatever. It is what it is, and at least there are choices to be had.

I tried the 110 calorie skinny margarita...

and holy ishtballs, no WONDER it's 110 calories, I sweartogoodness it's straight Patron.

It's been a lot of years since I drank straight Patron. Lord.

I ordered the chicken wrap, with steamed broccoli.

So, yeah. There's that. I'm not sure what the barbecue sauce is doing there, either.

I asked the dude about my broccoli (I seriously adore french fries, Chili's, why would you make me do this?!), and he says, "Oh. Do you want the broccoli?"


Also missing was the low-fat ranch, which is an abomination anyway, so good riddance. Full fat, or go home!

Anyway. Unimpressed, and bummed that I wasted a night out on meh food, too much tequila, and wasting french fries. I guess the lesson here is, accept Chili's for what it is, and don't ask it to do something outside of that box. Normally I adore Chili's, so now I know.

Sunday, Kid #2 and I headed down to spectate the Carlsbad Marathon. Of which I took zero pictures. I know, blogger of the week award here.

But, I saw Skinny Runner PR, and ChaCha KILL her previous PR by, like, 35 minutes or something INSANE (which, incidentally, is about equivalent to the amount of time it took me to get out of the parking lot, holy traffic).

{photo lifted from SR}

Afterwards, we headed down to Longboarders in Oceanside and I have no idea why #2 is being a creeper. ChaCha is obviously still riding high.

And, that's a wrap. I ran, I ate, I spectated. The end.


**of note on my long run - I always do long runs with a run/walk interval - always have. Just for kicks, I tried running without. And I didn't die. I know, I was surprised too. In FACT, dare I say, I felt good. ALSO of note, this is the first long run I've done with sub-11 average pace. Fascinating. And yes, I totally understand this is probably on fascinating to me, so that's cool. I am not offended by your non-interest.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Team Gab Virtual Race Giveaway Winner - Week 1

So, I intended to post winners this afternoon, but instead I got stuck in performance review formatting hell for 3 hours past my get off of work time. That's fun. Especially on Friday's. Whee.

So, after hours of jacking up excel spreadsheets at work, I came home and did the same thing to match up who donated, how much, and how many entries they got.

And ended up with a bunch more spreadsheets.

Also, I ended up with a winner for the first week of drawings.

Per Random.org..

...and #200 on my final spreadsheet...

is Skinny Runner!

Congrats, friend. Peruse the prize listing here and email me with the prize you select.

There are still a TON of prizes left, and I'll select winners weekly until they're gone. There is still PLENTY of time to enter and donate!

Jess The Blonde Ponytail has already completed her race, running her 10K as part of a 7 miler.


Thank you, to everyone who has donated! This morning I posted about being the 3rd team in fundraising dollars.

But of course it's a race...
....only $950 left to 1st place...


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