FFTFL premiere

FFTFL premiere

Monday, December 31, 2012


Remember when I said I wanted to hit '550 miles ran' this year? Well, I nailed 6 this morning in 58:06 and beat my goal by a mile! AND after tomorrow I will have successfully completed the Runner's World running streak, running at least 1 mile from Thanksgiving to New Year's day!! Since 11/22 I've run 96 miles! That's 96 miles in 40 days. I can't wait to see what my total mileage from all activities was this year on Daily Mile. That will include walking, rowing, and the elliptical and arc trainer. It's enjoyable to see those tallies!

Yesterday was Christmas 3.0 with my family. Just a small get together of 28 people. That was without my younger brother's family of 4, mind you. The family keeps growing since the nieces and nephews are growing up and starting families of their own. Mind boggling. When did I get that old? I ate really well yesterday, but that was pretty easy considering that there wasn't half the food we usually have at a get together. I guess everyone is starting to realize we overdo it just a bit. The dessert tables, however, were overflowing. My weakness...

You can't see it, but on the left-hand side of the picture I made the saltine cracker English toffee. I made it twice this holiday season, and it is amazing! Thank you Pinterest!

So, for Christmas I got several Kohl's gift cards, an Ulta gift card, and my niece, who picked my name, got me an iPod arm pocket and an iTunes gift card. I'll be christening the arm band on Friday in Miami! I'm still in denial that it's only 3 days away. I still have so much to do. Anyway, I finally downloaded some more Bruno Mars, my favorite hottie of the moment. Did you happen to see him perform at the Victoria's Secret fashion show? I watched it because I saw the models on several talk shows and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was actually a very entertaining show, especially with Bruno's performance of 'Locked Out Of Heaven.' He just had a mesmerizing smile and some moves! (This is his performance at the Grammy's. )

I can't wait to be running my 8 mile leg when this song comes on! Maybe I'll James Brown it a bit on the course. NOT!!

With my Kohl's cards I got a few shirts, socks and some new sneakers! I broke them in with my 6 mile run this morning. Charlie had to throw his two cents in and say he thought it was a bad idea to be running in new sneakers for the race. Thanks for jinxing me, hon. They felt absolutely fine, except for the nice bleeding blister that was caused by the friction on the back of my ankle. I just need to wear socks that actually cover my ankle, NOT the no-see'um ones! They're my first pair of black running shoes (which thankfully hid the blood from my ankle nicely!).

I love the neon green on the soles. They'll look nice a lot longer than white shoes! Have I told you I can not believe that we leave for Miami on Thursday, only 2 days from now???

We're keeping it low key for New Year's Eve tonight. My sister invited us over, and she's only a 1 minute drive from my house, but I feel like being a home body tonight. If we weren't going away in a couple of days I would have had no problem being out and celebrating with the rest of the family, but since we are going to be away, I feel like we should spend time with the kids and enjoy the rest of their vacation. Tomorrow we're going to see 'The Hobbit' and I'm so excited!! We are HUGE 'Lord of The Rings' fans in this house. I wonder if Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom weren't in the movies if I would enjoy them as much...? No, the story lines have me hooked, and I can watch the movies every time they are on.

Wednesday I'll probably be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, doing laundry, packing, grocery shopping... getting all my ducks in a row. We'll be at the airport before 5 am for our 6:15 am flight. If all goes according to plan, we'll be touching down in Miami at 12:50 pm and our team dinner will be a few hours later. After that it will be a fitful night of little to no sleep and the Ragnar start line at 7 am!!! I won't be blogging from the road, but I'll definitely have a tremendous amount to share with you come next Tuesday! It's going to be a whirlwind trip, but there will be memories made to last a lifetime. I couldn't think of a better way to start off a new year but with such an adventure!

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and successful new year. It's going to be the best year yet.

Friday, December 28, 2012

For Some Of Us Struggling- "Throw A Wrench In It!"

Holly, a beautiful and inspirational writer/blogger, single mother and friend, from 300 Pounds Down just posted another thought-provoking, compelling entry about the way some of us may just throw in the towel when it comes to sticking to the lifestyle changes that keep us on our healthy tract. A Christmas cookie here, a piece of fudge there, and we spiral out of control, subscribing to the old "It's the holidays. I might as well wait until New Year's to get back in the swing of things" mentality.

Holly's brother, who has lost an astounding 270 pounds, reminded Holly, and now us, that there are SEVEN whole days between Christmas and New Year's. Seven days to do a lot of damage, or seven days to do great things for ourselves. We don't have to let that mentality take over us, yet again. We can throw a wrench in it and stop that runaway train right in its tracks. Here's what Holly suggests:

Thankfully, the Runner's World running streak challenge and my impending Ragnar Relay has kept me active, so I'm running at least a mile a day and getting in some other form of aerobics to fill at least an hour, but the sweets in the house are what's throwing me for a loop. I wish I had the resolve that Holly has when it comes to sugar. She has recognized that, to her system and her mentality, sugar is poison that will take over her and quite possibly derail her health journey completely. After losing over 200 pounds, she's not willing to chance anything. For her, she really views eating candy and crap as a choice between life and death. I wish I had just a smidge of that resolve! Even now, I'm still a work in progress.

So, you may not have committed to running a mile a day from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day, but you can do something. At 417 pounds, Holly could only commit to 30 seconds of walking, just to her mailbox and back. It was a true challenge for her. She had to start somewhere. What activity can you commit to doing the next 4 days? You wouldn't believe where that 30 seconds could take you. Holly walked 5 miles on Christmas Day. She only planned on being out for 10 minutes, but she felt so good she kept going. It's hard to believe she ever found walking to her mailbox difficult. It's hard to believe I struggled with running 1/8th of a mile. But we all start somewhere. Whatever you do, make today the start line. You'll be surprised at what you CAN do and where YOU'LL be in a week, a month, a year...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

So Much To Do And So Little Time!

ONE WEEK!! That's all the time we have left before we leave for Miami on the 3rd! I can NOT believe that we only have 7 days until we meet and then run the relay the next day. This team has been waiting since January to get this done! In fact, looking back at that first e-mail from Katie inviting me to join the team, it's exactly 11 months today! The waiting is killing us!

So I have a week to get the house in order, catch up on laundry, get the kids prepared for our absence and pack for me and Charlie! Well, I was figuring on taking down the tree and putting all of the decorations away, and yesterday the tree stand broke, so I already got a jump on that task! Crap. I should keep my eye out for a tree stand on clearance in the next week, huh?

Technically I don't have 7 days since we're celebrating my family's Christmas on Sunday and I'll be cooking and baking the day before. Now I'm down to 5 days. Charlie starts his vacation on Sunday and we want to go see 'The Hobbit' which will eat up the better part of another day... 4 days. Geez Louise, I really need to get my ass in gear! The sad thing? We've been awaiting this day for 11 months and it will be over in the blink of an eye. Thankfully we're making a movie so we'll have a lasting memory of the adventure we were on.

Since it is 8 days until the race, Rik's been counting down the runners on the From Fat To Finish Line Facebook page and today, as Runner #8, my story is featured. It's still hard to see my starting weight plastered on the page for the world to see, but it's the truth. It actually isn't the highest weight I've been. I was 234 pounds when I got married. I managed to gain weight for my wedding while having intentions of losing! Who does that? I hate my wedding pictures. A day you should look back on as one of the best days of your life, and I can't get over the fact of how huge I look. It makes me sad, but I found a great quote posted by Spark People the other day, and I'll share it with you:

I can NOT change my past. I can think about the mistakes I've made and always try to make better choices, but I need to focus on today and tomorrow, where I have the power to create balance in my life, eating better, moving more and enjoying an active life, full of new opportunities and adventures. I'm looking forward to our trip to Miami and Key West, since it's our first trip without the kids since 2005. The relay is going to be an amazing experience that will help set the tone for a FABULOUS 2013. After the Relay is done and we're all back home, we'll be sitting in eager anticipation of the finished product, From Fat to Finish Line- The Documentary!! What a way to begin the new year!

What are you all looking forward to in 2013? Please, forgive yourself for the past, whatever it is you feel you  may have fallen short on, and start the new year with a positive attitude. Change the way you think about things. Start with two words, never spoken better than by Matt Long:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So it's 12:28 pm, Christmas eve, and I have a list a mile long of things to do for tonight and tomorrow, but I'm taking a break and writing while 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' is playing on ABC Family. I know I always overdo things. We're going to my father-in-law's girlfriend's house tonight, so I'm bringing beer batter bread, hot spinach-artichoke dip, Christmas cookies and monkey bread. That is all done. I still have to wrap a few presents for tonight. Thankfully we aren't leaving the house until 4 pm, so I have a bit of time to play with.

Now tomorrow is a whole other story. My parents, one sister, my f-i-l and b-i-l are coming for dinner. So on top of the many things I am making, like pigs in a blanket, shrimp cocktail, crescent-wrapped garlic-stuffed green olives for appetizers, roast pork and rice and beans for dinner and no bake chocolate eclair cake for dessert, I also have to clean the dang house! I didn't even bother making a list for that. I'm going to make sure the bathroom is spotless, the living room is vacuumed, the kitchen counters are clean, the tablecloth is steam-pressed and the floors are swept. Sounds like I should be getting up off my ass, no? Ah, the holidays...such a joyous time... for the GUESTS!!

As usual, we'll be listening to 'A Christmas Story' playing while opening gifts tomorrow. Oh, yeah, but before that I have to run a mile to continue that running streak!! Only 20 miles left in 6 days to meet my 550 mile goal! It's definitely going to happen. Any traditions for your family?

Ok, so I've fooled around long enough... Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Running For A Cause

Today I ran 2.7 miles to honor the memory of each person who had their life tragically cut short in Connecticut on Friday, December 14th. The virtual run was to be 2.6 miles to honor the 20 children and 6 adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, but I can't ignore Nancy Lanza, the mother of the murderer. I know she didn't die at the same location, but she was Ryan Lanza's mom, she was some one's daughter, sister, friend... Her life was taken away that day, too, and she deserves the same respect. I can only say that if I were in that same position, I would hope for death myself, because I would never want to live with the shame and horror of having raised a child that was capable of such heinous acts.

This year I ran for many causes. I ran for veterans, a community center, our local literacy project, the Lions Club and in support of victims of Hurricane Sandy. I hope my little contribution helped. I love that I can do something good for myself while also helping others.

527 miles. I have run 527 miles, so far, this year. That just boggles my mind. In March of 2010 I could barely eek out an 1/8th of a mile without feeling like I would wretch. Fast forward almost 3 years, and on Tuesday I ran 6 miles in the morning, 4 miles at 8:00 that night and then 3 miles the following morning, all in preparation for the Ragnar Relay, now less than two weeks away. If you had told me that first day on the track that I would be doing this, that I would be this person, I would've said you were off your frickin' rocker! But, like it says on that race bib, one foot in front of the other, and it can be done. All I can say is I'm proud of myself.

So can I manage to get in another 23 miles in the next 9 days to make my grand total of miles run in 2012 a nice even 550? You bet your sweet ass I can, and I WILL.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza

I couldn't tell you just how many years my four sisters and I have gotten together with our kids to make and decorate Christmas cookies. A couple of years we had to cancel due to crappy snow storms, and last year we had a hard time coordinating our schedules, so we just decorated cookies at our parents' house one Sunday afternoon. Not everyone was accounted for yesterday, still, but we made the most of it and had a good time.

Since we weren't going to my parents after church, I had Sunday coffee and rolls at my house before the chaos commenced. It was a nice relaxing time to sit and chat with my sisters. It was one of the only times I had a chance to sit for hours after that. We cleaned up and I started by mixing the spritz cookie dough, this way they would be baking while the kids decorated the sugar cookies I had already baked the day before. We love spritz cookies since they remind us of our grandma and the baking marathon she would do every year, keeping my grandfather up until sometimes 4 in the morning, waiting for her to be finished.

Chelsea and my nephew decorating a tray of Christmas trees

Then it was time to make the royal icing for the sugar cookies. For years we made decorated cookies with canned frosting and icing gels and they were impossible to take home. They never dried and would ruin all of the other cookies, until I found the royal icing recipe that changed everything! All it is is powdered sugar, an egg white and lemon juice! I then add food coloring to it, put it in little decorator's bottles and they're off! Eureka!

Charlie and Chelsea hard at work.

My sister also brought brownie pops to decorate. They had fun decorating and then eating them. I wasn't quick enough to take a picture of that! I was in the kitchen working on the chocolate chip cookies. That was it for the kids. Their attention span had waned and there were no more cookies to decorate, so it was perfect timing! We ended the baking mini-marathon with peppermint sugar cookies. There was so much more to bake, but the women had hit the wall as well. There's still a week until Christmas. We'll be able to bake on our own.

Only half of the aftermath of cookie baking day...

Pinterest is just an awful, evil invention. I have TOO many things I want to accomplish in the next week! Time to drag out the pen and paper and make a list of everything I need for Christmas Eve at my f-i-l's girlfriend's house, Christmas day at my house (which means appetizers, dinner, dessert and drinks for 9), and  my family Christmas on the 30th. The kids LOVE it. Every year they get to celebrate (Read: open presents) Christmas THREE times! For me it's about 12 trips to the grocery, liquor and dollar store!! Happy days!

I will say this, though, even with all of the work and stress this season brings, I don't need to be reminded of how very blessed my entire family is to be happy and healthy and together to celebrate. We'll be thinking of all of the people that have been struck with tragedy these past few months- those who are still displaced due to Hurricane Sandy, either attempting to rebuild or left with nothing and needing to start over completely, and those 27 families in CT who are grieving the loss of their child or family member. We can only hope and pray that they are able to make it through the toughest times they'll ever experience so their loved one's light will shine on, even if snuffed out too soon.

Honoring Sandy Hook

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. 

Money is also being raised that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services.

Here is the official description of the support service:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic
and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their
highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support
groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

No one can imagine how an entire town must be feeling, but especially all of the moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas that are saying goodbye to their babies. Please spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Help make a difference and use blogging in a positive way.

Thank you in advance for participating.

Thank you to Drazil for originally posting this.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Survey

Gigi at Running On Candy shared this fun survey from another blogger. I just copied and pasted it and removed Gigi's answers!

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? I'll drink eggnog, but I prefer a nice rich cup of hot cocoa.

2. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We have multi-colored lights on the tree and white icicle lights hanging in the street-facing windows of the house.

3. Do you hang mistletoe? We used to have some mistletoe, and then it wound up getting all chewed up at the bottom of the box, so I tossed it. I really don't ever want to get caught under it with my b-i-l or something like that!

4. When do you hang your decorations up? We try for the first weekend in December. I'm not one of those people that need the decorations done for when I pull into the driveway Thanksgiving night.

 5. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Hmmm.... it would have to be my dad's Spanish stuffing that was my grandfather's recipe. He was from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the recipe has to be 80 years old, at least. It's not something that most people would find appetizing, (I posted pictures of it last year), and, in fact, my husband refuses to try it, after being in the family for almost 22 years!

6. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Waking up with my sister at 4 am (after my poor parents probably JUST went to sleep) and opening gifts by the snow on the television!

7. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, with my husband's family.
8. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We use multi-colored lights and all of the special ornaments we've collected over the years, like the kids' First Christmas ornaments, several Precious Moments ornaments (I used to collect them), and homemade ornaments that I've cross-stitched and the ones the kids have made in school. 

last year's stash

9. Snow? Love it or dread it? When the snowfall occurs on my husband's day off, and it's not more than 3", I LOVE snow. Other than that, Long Island has seen enough of it to last me a  lifetime!

10. Real tree or fake treeI've NEVER had a real tree! *GASP*

11. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I think you know dessert is a problem for me. I have been making these no-bake peanut butter bars for years, and everyone loves them. We also make great cookies on our family cookie baking day. The BEST ones are made with devil's food cake mix with chocolate chips and M&M's stirred in!

there's the no bake pb bars in front on the white plate

12. What is your favorite tradition? I guess that would be the family cookie baking/decorating extravaganza. Looking forward to this Sunday!

This was 5 years ago! Chelsea was so little!

13. What tops your tree? When we had an Odd Job in our neighborhood, I found a beautiful porcelain angel dressed in white with wispy feather wings.  Before her it was an ugly multi-colored star with gold tinsel on it. Hideous.

14. Do you prefer giving or receiving? I love giving when I know the recipient is going to love what I found. Lately I've been giving photo gifts and they've been a hit. This year Pinterest has helped me go over the top!

15. What is your favorite Christmas song? All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey, maybe?

 16. Candy canes? I'm not into sugary candy, but I'll eat a Hershey chocolate mint one now and then.

17. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story

18. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? We open gifts with the kids and I have to make Big Sunday Breakfast, even though it's not always Sunday. Oh, and A Christmas Story is playing in the background.

19. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall? I haven't been to the mall in years. I think the last time was 7 years ago. It's a 40 minute drive to the nearest mall. I did a lot of shopping on-line this year, mainly to earn points on My Points, but also because several of the things my kids wanted could only be found on-line. I still have a lot of shopping to do for other family members and I plan on going to the outlets, which are conveniently located 20 minutes away!

20. What is on your Christmas wish list? The adults in my family pick names, and I asked my niece for either an iPod arm pocket or Joy Mangano's Huggable Hangers that I have seen and coveted on HSN for years. I actually bought them for my mom this year because my parents are supposedly down-sizing to an apartment eventually. 

Answer some of these questions, or link back to your blog, if you already have!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


The Pick 12 Challenge on 12-12-12. 7.45 miles in 1 hour, 20 minutes. 10:45 pace. In my defense, I went over the bridge to investigate the damage done to Smith point Park by Hurricane Sandy. Most of the paths to the boardwalk, or what was left of the boardwalk, were covered in sand dunes, so I had to walk. Walking on sand brought me to a crawl.

It was fuh-fuh-freezing out. I headed out at 11:45 am. I thought I'd start at 12:12 pm, but I'm glad I didn't wait any longer than I had. It wasn't just cold (44*) but windy, too. The run started out fine. Thankfully I always bring a towel with me. It was doing double duty today, mopping up sweat and snot. I really understand the snot rocket phenomenon now. I was getting so tired of trying to keep up with my runny nose! Anyway, I just HAD to be nosey. I was curious and I wanted to see the devastation first hand. I should have remembered the time I decided to ride down to Mastic Beach after a Nor'easter and got my car stuck in the side of the road in the marsh. I had to be towed out.

From where I started to the base of the bridge is about 3.75 miles. I could have just turned around and hit my 7.45 miles just a block or two from home. Running over the bridge, thinking the hill would be a good thing (when are hills a good thing?), brought me to 4.1 miles. But I figured I went this far, I might as well go see the beach. Running along the road and over to the Beach Hut promenade and back to the bridge added another mile and change. Only the promenade is open. The rest of the boardwalk is destroyed. The sand that supported the cement was washed away. Actually it was washed through the tunnels connecting the parking lot to the beach. There was still sand in the lot. The wooden staircases from the boardwalk to the beach are gone. I don't see how the work will be done by Memorial Day weekend. It seems like such a daunting task, and yet our beach suffered minuscule damage as compared to other seaside communities.

I would've taken my own pictures, but I didn't want a camera weighing me down!

stairs to nowhere

So my inquisitiveness did a number on me. 1). I ran that bridge going and coming, and you've seen pictures before. Not the biggest hill, but sufficient enough. 2). It was freezing (in case you forgot I mentioned that). 3). That stupid ass side trip had me finish my run nearly 2 miles away from home!! I thought, "Well, I'll just run 8." I didn't have anything left. So now I'm covered in sweat (sport tank, long-sleeved Cuddle top, and t-shirt on) and I'm moving at a snail's pace, in the wind. I took out my cell phone. It's Charlie's early day and he gets home at about 1:20 pm. I held that cell phone as I walked. Then I thought I'd have him meet me at the Dunkin' Donuts, which was still about a half mile away, but then I checked the time and I knew my kids would be getting home. They have keys, but it's nice to have someone home for them. I just trudged along, counting down the houses between me and my sanctuary.

That last two miles took me 45 frickin' minutes. I was shivering. I was sending out telepathic vibes to my husband "~~~~Come look for me~~~~," "~~~~Call my cell phone~~~~~." Nothing. I would have jumped in some body's car if anyone I knew passed me. No one.

I'm just counting my lucky stars that these date thingies don't happen all that often. The next one will be two years away, 12-13-14. I'll be resting until then.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Streaks and Challenges

Yesterday was just such a crappy day. It poured from Sunday night through last night. We have a damn leak in the living room roof, again. We've had it re-shingled once or twice already. I think the water is coming in from the doghouse window that's in our bedroom above the extension that is the living room. Just another one of those things to add to the never-ending to-do list that sucks the life out of you and dwindles the savings.

The funk that the weather (and the leak) put me in turned into a horrible day of eating. Then I didn't get to the gym because I spent a couple of hours on some Christmas projects and talking on the phone (my parents are back from their two week vacation in FL!). Then I had to go pick up my niece at after care for my sister since she was stuck at work. It was an all-around shitty day, but my running streak was not going to be broken, no matter what was going on. Chelsea had dance at 7:30 pm, and when she was done, I dropped her off and went straight to the gym. In and out in 20 minutes to get that mile done. I didn't fail and let the streak die. Twenty days strong.

Today was a good day. Still crappy weather, but I got myself to the gym early, spent 30 minutes on the arc trainer, ran for 15 minutes, then did another 30 minutes on the arc trainer. I'm avoiding the rowing machine because I think that's how I tweaked my back. It's not even the usual culprit, the dreaded lower back pain. It's more mid-back and it just feels like no matter how much I twist and turn it won't crack. Oh, yeah. I crack everything- fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, hips, ankles.... I should be REAL attractive as an old lady. Add the curse of an Italian woman's chin hair and receding hairline and I should scare ALL the small children at Halloween.

Anyway, I haven't rowed since Friday or Saturday and I feel better right now. Hope that was it. We'll see how I feel after tomorrow's long run. Gigi at Running on Candy mentioned another blogger's (Jess at Run With Jess) Pick 12 Challenge. It's to celebrate 12-12-12, so you pick between a 12 mile run or bike ride, or a 12k run or bike ride. Since I need to run 8 miles, I chose the 12k, which is 7.45 miles. She suggested starting at 12:12 pm, if possible. I think I can swing that. It'll be fun to think of all the other people who will be doing the same exact thing all over the country.

Anyone else, other than Gigi and Jess, celebrating 12-12-12 with a physical challenge?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Day Late

*This was supposed to post yesterday, but I fell asleep before I could find the picture I wanted!*

16 days running at least a mile a day. Didn't think I would make it this far. Of course I'm wondering when I'm going to get that run in on Christmas day, but if I just commit to one mile, that's not even ten minutes. With a warm up and cool down, that's a whopping 20 minutes. I think I can squeeze that in between the kids opening their gifts, making a big Christmas morning breakfast and prepping for my guests for dinner, right? Planning is the key! I bet I can get out of the house, run and get back home before they even wake up! They're not three and five anymore.

Today I ran 1.7 miles in 15 minutes. That's 6.8 mph! I love the treadmill again. With the tap of a button I HAVE to run faster, and I'm realizing that I have it in me to run more than a minute at 7.5 mph. It may take me breaking down every minute I run at a very uncomfortable speed into 5 second increments, playing math games in my mind, to endure the interval. 5 seconds... 1/12th... 10 seconds...1/6th... 30 seconds...1/2... Before I know it, I've run the minute, and then I'll assess how I feel. I'll say to myself  "I can go another minute," and that usually translates into "I can handle this pace for an entire quarter mile."

I have to admit, it also helps having all of those people around me in the gym! It REALLY helps when there's somebody running on one of the treadmills with me. I do try not to get on a treadmill on top of someone else, but sometimes there's no choice- the tv doesn't work on this one, there's ruts in the bed on that one... I kind of like the competition. It keeps me motivated.

27 days until we run the Ragnar Relay! This running streak is certainly helping me prepare. Yesterday I ran 4 miles in 37:30. I'm finally getting more miles in. I still can't believe it's FOUR weeks away. This entire year has been consumed with planning and thinking about this momentous event in our lives. We've spent countless hours on Facebook getting to know each other and rooting each other on, celebrating all of our running accomplishments these past months, as well as life's major events. Katie ran her first and second marathon. Lealah ran her first marathon and Carly ran her first half. Then Mary had the best news ever when she announced she was unable to remain on the team since she is expecting her first little "nugget!" It's amazing where this little plan of Katie's and Rik's has taken us (although we had nothing to do with Nugget!)!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's The Final Countdown!

I'm still in a state of shock that the Ragnar Relay is exactly one month from today! That's 30 days until I get to meet the 11 incredible people that make up our team. 30 days until the trip and experience of a lifetime. 30 days until I get a much needed mini-vacation alone with my husband! We haven't been away on our own since our trip to the Poconos for our 10th anniversary in July '05! Seven years is a long time. I know some people that go away every year. Not us. One, we couldn't afford it, and two, I'd feel so guilty going away without my kids. I don't even like going out to eat without them. It's a problem of mine.

Since it's ONLY a month away, I broke out the pen and paper and started to make some lists. I have the "pack" list and the "to-do" list. I have to make sure I have at least three running outfits with extra socks and underwear, clothes for the finish line party, our Sunday adventures and to return home in. I also pack for Charlie, but he won't be as difficult since he's not running. Then there's the "getting-all-of-my-ducks-in-a-row-at-home" list; the sweep and mop the kitchen floor, buy bagels, chips and pizza rolls kind of list. I always leave a clean house so I come home to a relatively clean house. My niece is staying with the kids so there's an adult around, just in case. I made the lists, but I really can't execute any of it until about the week before! Oh well, I got the ball rolling.

Not much else going on in this neck of the woods. My running streak is still going strong. Today was Day 13. I don't think I've ever set a challenge for myself like this. It's surprising to me how easy it has been to stick to. Of course, there's no work getting in the way. That could have thrown a wrench in things, but let's not dwell on the fact that I'm still not making any money.

On Sunday I ran 6 miles in 1:01. It was about 54*, so I was OBLIGATED to run outside!  The run was tough, but I think I did okay. I'm going for 8 miles next weekend, and then I have to go for it and take a day to run my 3 legs, 8 in the morning, 6 as late in the day as I can and then 2 as early as I can drag myself out of bed the following morning (as per our captain, Rik). Unfortunately, that's not when I'll actually be running in January, but I think I'll save my 2 am run cherry for Miami! On the days I'm not running a certain distance, I've been doing 1 or 1 1/2 miles. I break up my workouts into 15 minute segments, so I'll just run for 15 minutes, usually after doing 15 minutes on the rower and arc trainer. Today I ran 3.2 miles in 30 minutes, a 9:20 pace. I think my quick miles are helping with my speed.

the birthday girl

Yesterday was Molly's 7th birthday. I made her some peanut butter cookies in the toaster oven to celebrate. I finally called someone to come fix my oven, because after 3 small fires in the toaster oven and the noxious fumes it emitted after the cookies, I had to toss it! There's not much else to report. Thankfully life has been uneventful the last few days. (I shouldn't have said that!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I've Got To Keep On Movin'

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride... I've run every day, at least 1 mile, for 10 DAYS! I think it's helping me enjoy running more since most days I only have to run a mile. I've actually been doing that machine mixer workout with 15 minute intervals on the rower, the arc trainer and the treadmill, so I've been running about 1.5 miles in that 15 minutes. I've also been playing with my speed and pushing myself. Today I ran a minute at an 8:00 mile. I haven't done that in a long time. Between all of my activity, I've logged over 30 miles on Daily Mile so far this week. I plan on doing a 6 mile run tomorrow since it's supposed to be a good day, so my week isn't over yet!

Yesterday I got another surprise in the mail! Love those little packages stuffed inside the mailbox!! It came from Tina from For The Love Of The Run. I think I'll pack it for our van during the relay!

It's called pStyle and it gives women the ability to pee standing! It states on the package that it's "easy to use while clothed, eliminates the need for t.p., reusable and simple to clean and compact and easy to carry." These people have never seen me try to pee in a cup! No need for t.p.? I'll probably need at least a hand towel! Well, it is compact and won't take up much space in my backpack for the race. It'll at least be a good conversation piece!

Yesterday I went to AC Moore for some craft supplies and t-shirts. We settled on wearing bright pink, yellow and orange for the three legs of the Ragnar Relay. My RR t-shirt is neon pink, so I was covered for the first leg. I was so excited to see the store had their t-shirts 5/$10 AND they had bright orange and yellow! I picked up a few extra so I could make some t-shirt scarves I saw on Pinterest. Can't go wrong with a pretty scarf for $2! I bought some iron on numbers to put "- 75" for my weight lost on the back of one of the shirts. I also bought some ModPodge because I'm making photo coasters with ceramic tiles for some of my family members for Christmas. Have I told you all how much I love Pinterest??? Now I just have to stop pinning and get off the damn computer and start working on all of these projects!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Instead Softcup Review

Remember in the 4th grade, when all the girls were brought to the cafeteria to see "the film" and then sent home with the book "Growing Up and Liking It?" All the boys were in the dark and wanted to know the big secret? Well, this is going to be one of those girlie discussions, so I'm just warning you, there might be some over-sharing here, but it's for good reason...

My four sisters and I have sat around my parents' kitchen table for years wondering why there hasn't been a plug or something invented to stop that annoying menstrual flow, especially since I've had my tubes tied and see no need for my period anymore (I know there's a biological reason, it just annoys me).


And there it was. The opportunity to try something that seems too simple to not have been around FOREVER fell into my lap. Tina over at For The Love Of The Run shared with her readers the chance to try the Instead Softcup. Instead sends you a one month supply (a 14 count box) of Softcups to try, and the company wants you to share your thoughts and feelings about how they worked for you. For writing your review on your blog, Instead will in return pay for one of your race registrations (up to $125!!)! The company wants to know how their product performs during your cycle, no matter what activity you my be involved in, like running!

Today is the second day of the second cycle I've used the Softcup. This month I think I really got the hang of it. There's definitely a learning curve to this thing, but not unlike when you were figuring out a tampon or the proper placement of a pad to ensure perfect coverage. I'll just tell you right now, the Softcup is A LOT nicer to figure out than experiencing the insane "sensation" of pinching your unbelievably sensitive skin of your nether region between those two plastic cylinders.

The website suggests you try out the Softcup on one of your lighter flow days. Since it can be a bit messy when removing it, you're best not to have a full cup to contend with while you become comfortable with it. I'm fortunate in that my downstairs bathroom is about 4'x4', so the toilet is right next to the sink and clean up is a breeze. Today I did my usual household chores, going up and down flights of stairs, doing laundry, putting it away... and then in the afternoon, I went to the gym. I put in my 15 minutes (3,200 meters!) on the rowing machine and didn't feel a thing. After that, I hit the treadmill to run my mile and continue my running streak. Got 'er done in 9:10! I ran fast, still didn't feel the cup, and when I went to the bathroom after my workout there was no leakage. I still wear a pad, just in case. I'm a creature of habit and also studied at the school of "better safe than sorry."

The only negative thing I could think about the Softcup is that it is messy. Maybe I haven't perfected my "technique" yet and it'll get better, but I don't want to find out what I'd have to do if I wasn't in my own cubby of a bathroom and I had to dump and toss it. It might involve an entire roll of toilet paper.

All of the product information is on the Softcup website at www.softcup.com. You can see instructions how to insert the cup with illustrations, as well as a list of comparisons between the Softcup, tampons and pads. The differences that stood out for me was that the Softcup is not linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome because it is non-absorbent, so it does not change the bacteria in the vagina like a tampon. Because of this and the fact that it is made of hypoallergenic, non-toxic, latex-free plastic, the Softcup can be worn for up to 12 hours and overnight. Instead claims that the cup can be worn during sex. I'll have to take their word for it because I just can't imagine having sex with ANYTHING up there, not to mention I'm just usually not that into it at that time of the month. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

After reviewing Tina's post about the Softcup, I was shocked to read that she has been using it for six years and it has been around for 10! How is it that myself, nor my four sisters have heard of it? Hopefully this Softcup Challenge will help spread the word about a great alternative to tampons and pads.

This review of the Softcup was my own opinion. I received the Softcup free to try. If you would like to put your two cents in and you're a blogger, then fill out the contact sheet on www.fortheloveoftherun.com and see if there's still a chance for you to accept the Softcup Challenge.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Horror Stories

After yesterday's post, I got to the gym and ran 5 miles in 51:45. I was going to take it really easy and just lock the treadmill in at 5.8 mph, but I got bored and played with my speed. Thankfully I had Kathy Lee and Hoda to keep me somewhat distracted. When I was at the gym, one of the guys was working out with this funky mask on, think Fava beans and Chianti. I know he's looking to join the service in January, so I thought he was training with a sort of gas mask on, getting acclimated to wearing one. Turns out it's an elevation training mask.

This thing restricts air flow to your mouth and nose, mimicking high altitude training, which helps increase lung capacity and stamina. Interesting, but I'm pretty sure I won't be running the streets of my neighborhood in that contraption, although I wonder if it would at least warm the air you breathe, making winter running a little easier? It's $80, in case you were wondering, so a scarf will do.

After the gym, I made myself lunch- grilled mozzarella cheese on whole wheat bread with some garlic powder added into the melting butter and tomato sauce for dipping. It was delicious. Then I went to the oral surgeon's. Got there at 3:30 pm, promptly had x-rays taken, brought into an exam room, read consent forms, and waited. And waited. The dr. finally came in at 4:30 pm and numbed me, then left. Finally, ten minutes later she started. Holy crap. I was sure after reading the list of things that cold possibly go wrong that I would suffer at least one or two. I swear one of the instruments she was using, possibly pliers, (I couldn't tell you what since I had my eyes squeezed shut, with maybe a tear or two rolling out, the entire time), was going to slip off and impale the roof of my mouth, after taking out one or two healthy teeth along the way. I just kept asking God for it to be over soon. Horrific.

I got out of there and had to fill the three prescriptions she gave me- an extra-strength ibuprofen, the "do not operate heavy machinery" kind, and ANOTHER antibiotic, taken four times a day. I don't know if any of you read Drazil's Blog, but she just posted about the agony she endured after being on several strong antibiotics for some ear pain. Let me just say it included the desperate notion of a vaginectomy (PLEASE, do NOT Google that word. Save yourself from the images that are now burned in my brain forever more.) and a bag of frozen peas. We can now all agree where the term "Fire Crotch" originated.

After getting home I just laid around and caught up with 'Flipping Out' and 'Little People, Big World.' When the bleeding finally stopped, after the disgusting tea bag compress, I could take my antibiotic and a pain pill. I slept like a log. Now I just have to wait until the clock hits 24 hours since the extraction so I can run my mile.   That'll bring me to around 5 pm. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to handle anything else at the gym, but I have to make sure I'm home to watch the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Rowing" Along

It's Tuesday (in case you didn't know?). I HAVE to get a long run in today since I'm having a visit with the oral surgeon to get a bad tooth removed this afternoon. Wonder how I'll feel after that. Unfortunately, I had the same tooth on the other side of my mouth removed a few years ago, so I know it wasn't that bad, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't running then! I just need to continue my running streak and get at least a mile in the rest of the work week. I should be back to business as usual for another long run on Saturday or Sunday when the temperature will be a balmy 55*.

So I have managed to run every day since Thanksgiving. I hope my body can keep it up! At the gym, I've been hitting the rowing machine for 15 minutes, then the arc trainer for 30 or 45, and then finishing up with the treadmill for 1.5 miles. That rowing machine is just amazing. I like to do sprints, change up my grip from overhand to underhand to work the biceps and keep it interesting. (There's even a game where you're a little fish trying to avoid getting eaten by a big fish!) I think of all that rowing I watched during the Olympics while I'm doing it. And the Winkelvoss "twins" from 'The Social Network.' I envision looking that smooth doing it, too. Thankfully there are no mirrors around to prove otherwise.

I didn't get much done this weekend. On Sunday our Ragnar Relay team had a nice conference call, trying to wrap up all the details of travelling, running and celebrating our accomplishments. I can not believe that in 5 weeks and 2 days we'll all be coming from our own little corners of the country to meet and embark on this crazy adventure. After 11 months of waiting and anticipating, it's almost here! I still have to figure out how to get Charlie from Miami to Key West and then both of us from Key West to Miami for our flight home. I looked into changing our arrangements and having him stay in Key West an extra night and it wasn't possible. The hotel was booked solid.  *biting nails*

Yesterday I was up uber early to get my parents to the airport for their flight to FL by 5 am. Who am I kidding? I hardly slept worrying about OVER sleeping. Thankfully they were coming to get me, so even if I had overslept they would've woken me up and it would've been fine. We got to the airport, unloaded their luggage and said goodbye by 4:40 am. Unfortunately, you can't wait with them at the gate at this airport, so our goodbye felt very rushed, but I'm glad we were there with plenty of time to spare. I took my dad's car home with me, returning it to their house later in the morning. I waited so it would warm up a bit for my 2.25 mile walk home. Then, in the afternoon, I did my workout and run at the gym. Even though I'm not liking the little detail of not having any money, I do enjoy having more time to work out, and write, and Pin...

Friday, November 23, 2012


So that Runner's World streak began yesterday. I had also signed up to join Facebook friends in a virtual Turkey Trot, so I had to run 3.1 on Thanksgiving. I'm keeping the "running on Thanksgiving" tradition alive, three years strong. Charlie's knee was bothering him, so I went solo this year. I ran 1.5 miles down the highway and then turned into a development when it happened. I rolled my frickin' left ankle. I couldn't believe it. It hurt slightly and I thought "I just royally effed up my Ragnar Relay." I stopped and checked to see if it started to swell and I walked a little bit to see how it felt. I was glad I had my phone with me, just in case. By some miracle, it felt okay, so I started to run again, but slowly and cautiously. Thankfully, the rest of the run was uneventful and I made it home without having to call in the cavalry. 3.1 in 31:49. Done.

My family celebrates Thanksgiving at my sister's house, and there's a grand total of 28 of us. That's just my parents, siblings, spouses and children (sans 1 brother, his wife and two kids). We sit at three tables and need two turkeys. We all bring appetizers, side dishes and dessert. I decided to make my usual spinach dip (which can be found on the Lipton Vegetable Soup Mix box, minus the water chestnuts) and Cheesy Italian Monkey Bread with marinara sauce for dipping as appetizers. For dinner, I made Alton Brown's Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans because I've discovered I love Brussel sprouts and I found out several of my family members like them, too. Finally, for dessert I made No Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert. I think everything came out delicious, of course there's no accounting for taste.

The buffet consists of two platters of turkey, butternut squash soup, a 1/2 tray of sausage stuffing, a 1/2 tray of my dad's stuffing, 2- 1/2 trays of sweet potatoes (with the melted marshmallows- YUM!), a 1/2 tray of mac and cheese, a tray of garlic string beans, 2- 1/2 trays of my sister's corn bread and my brussel sprouts in the pretty Temptations dish.

I ate like I was being sent to the electric chair. WTF? I had shrimp cocktail, my bread and dip, a stuffed clam, a couple of pigs in a blanket, three medium size glasses of Moscato... Then for dinner I had turkey (white meat), two servings of my dad's stuffing, sweet potatoes, my brussel sprouts, and garlic string beans. For dessert I had some of my eclair and a tiny taste of my sister's pumpkin bars, which was a Paula Deen recipe, so I HAD to try it. I was so stuffed. Forget about a food baby, I went home with food triplets, at least.

It was no surprise that I went home at 8:30 pm and promptly fell into a food coma. Not a great feeling. So, this morning I was back on track. I had my protein bar and vat o'coffee and headed to the gym. I hit the rowing machine for 15 minutes and the arc trainer for 45. I knew I had to run a mile to keep the streak alive, and I thought I could break up my workouts and do it later in the day, outside, when it got warmer. However, I wanted to try out how my left foot was feeling, and I was afraid I might put off the run until it was no longer do-able, and then I'd eff up my streak, so I just jumped on the treadmill. I thought it would be wise to do it at the gym instead of possibly hurting myself again and have to hobble home since Charlie's at work! It actually felt okay. I warmed up just 1 minute, ran for 10 and then finished up with a four minute walk at 3.5 mph. It seems like I didn't do any damage yesterday (to my foot, the scale is a WHOLE other story, I'm sure), thank God.

Back to logging and measuring every morsel at My Fitness Pal, as well. I'm hungry, but I'll live. Either tomorrow or Sunday I HAVE to commit to a long run. I think six miles to start, just slow and steady. SIX WEEKS UNTIL RAGNAR!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blessings Flow

Lately I think we've all been reminded of what really matters in life. Hurricane Sandy really drummed that into us in the northeast last month. The things we own can be lost in a matter of minutes. Our entire life's memories can be washed away with one wave. My friend from A new beginning... My journey to avoid the knife knows this all too well when she lost her home earlier this year due to a tornado. Here in the northeast, entire towns were lost. Thankfully, many lives were spared. Businesses and homes can be rebuilt, washing machines and carpeting can be replaced. I'm not trying to trivialize what the people in Mastic Beach or Lindenhurst or Long Beach or Breezy Point or Seaside Heights or Point Pleasant or Broad Channel have lost. I'm focusing on what they STILL HAVE.

That is what I choose to emphasize to my kids. We HAVE a lot, most things that can not be held and tossed to the curb with the rest of the debris. You may not have the real expensive boots all the other high school girls are wearing, or the popular smartphone (or any cellphone, for that matter), but you have the things that matter the MOST in a happy, comfortable, fulfilling life. First, they have parents that are not only still married, but really love and appreciate each other. I hope that we have been a good example of how a married couple treat each other and they emulate that in their own relationships in the future, and not settle for anything less. Second, we may not be wealthy, but we have enough. Things have been a bit tighter than normal since I haven't been working regularly, but I know that will improve, and so we ride it out. We have a home that is ours, cars that manage to get us to the places we need to be and food in the cabinets. Everything else is merely a want and not a need. Thirdly, we have an amazing family. Unfortunately, my kids lost their Grandma Gloria (A.K.A. Bird Grandma, since when my kids were little they differentiated grandmas by "bird Grandma," with the cockatoo, and "bagel Grandma," since we always go to my parents' house for rolls and bagels after church every Sunday.) back in 2004, but they still have my husband's dad, Grandpa Charlie, and my mom and dad, Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Hank, to learn from and enjoy. We are also very fortunate in that we live so close to our family. We see almost everyone regularly. Sundays are an open invitation to all of my siblings to stop in and grab a cup of coffee and attempt to join in the multiple conversations going on around the table. My husband's sister and her kids are pretty scattered across the country, and we don't get to see them as often as we like, but when we're together, we have the BEST time.

Finally, I hope my kids think they have pretty good parents. We care about them, the people they hang out with, their education and making them work up to their potential, preparing them for an independent future and most importantly, treating people the way they want to be treated. Even if I could give into my kids' every whim and desire, I wouldn't. It doesn't teach them anything and only sets them up for some major disappointment as an adult. They'll either be miserable because they can't afford the thing they think they can't live without or they'll be up to their necks in a mountain of debt. It's not a bad thing to want things, but it shouldn't take over your life. There's always going to be a new and improved model of something on the market, and if you always are wanting something, you'll never be happy.

However, if you put the emphasis on the fact that you are lucky enough to have loving parents, a big, fun family, a house to run home to from the bus stop, and friends to hang out with, then you are blessed with enough. Everything else is a bonus. These are all things I KNOW I am fortunate for. I have a loving husband, smart, funny, thoughtful kids, my parents and my father-in-law, a huge supportive extended family and a home to call my own, as well as the fact that we are all healthy and well.

Last Thanksgiving

So I count my blessings every day and I hope you all are blessed with a meaningful, happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Celebrations and Small Victories

Running in 39* temperature this morning, I think my uvula turned into an icicle and a lung may have collapsed. It didn't help that I'm still getting over bronchitis. I could only push myself for two miles and then I was really sweaty and it was still 39*. That probably can't be good for my health, right? All I could think about was how hard it was and how my Ragnar Relay teammates Lealah and Rik are running the Route 66 marathon in Tulsa, OK this morning. It'll be about 43* at their start. God Bless them!

I'm glad I got that run in, though. I woke up, put my running clothes on, ate half a Fiber One bar, watched the end of 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and then took off. I forgot my mittens and had to go back and I was SO tempted to just stay home, but I kicked my ass outside again. Even the neighborhood dogs knew it was too cold to hang outdoors. My husband's work schedule has changed and he's now going in early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that will make it easier for me to stay on task. I saw something on Pinterest from Runner's World magazine about starting a running streak, so I've pledged to run at least one mile every day starting Thanksgiving through New Year's. I think this will also help keep me to my running program, since the relay is less than seven weeks away!!

It was a busy day full of celebrations. We had our great nephew's dedication at my niece's church in the morning, followed by a little celebration afterwards. I am proud of myself for only having a cup of coffee and passing up on the ginormous cake, bagels and trays and trays of Italian cookies.  I knew we were going straight from her church to my parents to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. I picked up a huge buttercream frosted cake and we ordered Chinese. I had a nice piece of cake that was fabulous. The frosting was buttercream, but it tasted like really light and fluffy Marshmallow Fluff! It was amazing, to say the least. We had dessert first, so later on, I only had some fried rice, a piece of egg foo young and some sesame chicken. It was probably the best sesame chicken ever. And that was it. I'm home now, and even though I splurged a little on the cake, and know that the small amount of Chinese food I had was still a lot of calories, I'm still in control. I've been good for having a piece of cake and throwing all caution to the wind after that. That's a win in my book.

Look at that crazy fridge plastered with pictures of their 15 grandchildren!

Anyway, the most amazing thing is that my parents celebrated their 55th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!! I'm so happy to see them reach such an amazing milestone. After the last three years of health crises both my parents have endured, I'm just so grateful to be able to enjoy their presence every single day. To celebrate, they're going to Disney World! (And Universal and visiting family, but that doesn't have the same punch as the previous statement.) There's no two people who deserve a vacation more. I love my mom and dad!

Friday, November 16, 2012

On The Mend

So I went to the doctor yesterday. I had an appointment, and even though I wasn't a new patient, there was still paperwork to fill out. No more clipboards for this doctor's office. They have these new-fangled iPad looking thingies with a stylus and even a credit card swiper to pay your copay!! It's called the Phreesia Pad. It still took me about a half hour to fill everything out. Annoying. An hour later and the nurse finally called me in to an exam room. After a strep test, lung capacity test and a tympanogram, I saw a doctor. She checked my ears, nose and glands and said I had an ear infection, sinusitis, and the beginnings of bronchitis. I was just glad to hear it wasn't just a virus and with some antibiotics I would finally get some relief. 5 pills, 5 days. I've only taken one dose and I already feel 100% better than I did. Thanks for all of your get well wishes! Pray I don't get the dreaded side effects of antibiotics!!

Pretty cool, huh?

Since I felt so much better this morning, I figured I'd get to the gym and at least walk. I was a real slug yesterday and the inactivity made me feel even worse. I got on the treadmill and could only manage 1/2 a mile before I was bored out of my skull. I jumped on the arc trainer, figuring I would just take it easy. As I was walking to the machine I was thrilled to discover that our gym now has a ROWING MACHINE!! I used to love rowing (on a machine) in college! <ASIDE: Did you hear about Jon Bon Jovi's daughter overdosing on heroin? She was found in her dorm room at Hamilton College, my alma mater. I never thought I went to a party school. I hope she's doing alright now.> Anyway, the rowing machine was taken, so I did a half hour on the arc trainer and then hopped onto the rower. Gosh, I absolutely LOVED it. It was a fantastic full body workout. 15 minutes and I rowed about 2600 meters, which I just learned is about 1.6 miles. I did another 15 minutes on the arc trainer after that and another 1/2 mile cool down walk on the treadmill. I really hadn't planned on working out that hard after feeling like death warmed over yesterday, but I'm so glad I did. I hope to be able to run tomorrow!

In other news, it's my parents' 55th wedding anniversary! Can you imagine? They've been through a whole lot, and even though they bicker to beat the band, they love each other so much and are the best role models for their kids and grandkids. I hope to celebrate 55 years of wedded bliss with my Charlie. Only 38 years to go!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sick As A Dog

I actually just looked that up. I mean, Molly isn't up all night, pounding back Nyquil, hacking up a lung and sneezing into a pile of tissues, all while rubbing Vicks VapoRub on the bottoms of her feet, chest and nose. Well, it turns out that the saying dates back to the 17th century, but in reference to a dog eating nearly everything and anything THEN hurling it back up when it disagrees with him. "Being sick" in Britain means vomiting and "feeling ill" is what I'm enduring right now. I haven't been this sick in forever.

Thankfully I have the luxury of laying around feeling sorry for myself today. It doesn't help that I broke a tooth a few weeks ago and now that's hurting, too. I'm just a hot mess. It's so bad I actually broke down and made a doctor's appointment for today. Let's just hope that I don't go only to find out that it's a virus. I wonder if my tough workout yesterday compounded the problem. I did an interval run on the treadmill and pushed myself through 4 miles, alternating between 6 and 6.5 mph laps for the first 2 miles, then running 1 minute at 6, 6.5 and 7 mph for the last two miles. After that, I got on the elliptical and could only manage 15 minutes. I was tapped. I coughed a little bit (into my sweat mop and NOT all over everything and everyone), but nothing like I am now. I feel like Cameron in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'- "I'm dying."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Status Quo

Still no work for me. It's getting me a bit anxious about money, since this is the most expensive time of year, then pile on the trip to Miami for the Ragnar Relay. Adding it all up could make me throw up. I had to start my Christmas shopping since I have a 30% off coupon for Kohl's and I doubt I'll be getting another before Christmas. I earned $30 Kohl's cash, which just happens to overlap with the 30% off sale today! I had started a shopping bag online and then examined everything in the store to figure out what my final choices would be. I bought most of the list, but left 6 items in my online bag. I just checked out, and with the 30% of and $30 K.C., I only spent $60! I saved as much as I spent.

I'm trying to fill my time with cleaning and organizing the house. Making a list definitely makes me more productive. Two things are already crossed off today's list, and I'm working on #7 right now, since I had to put "blog" on the list. Posting once a week isn't "regularly" enough for me, but I also don't want to bore you with the monotony of most of my days. You know how it is- wake up, yada, yada, yada, go to sleep to wake up and do it all over again.

Since there's no work, I have no excuse to not work out. I've been walking to the gym to save gas and add a mile to my tally. I'm still feeling a little clogged in the lungs, but yesterday's arc trainer session was amazing. I sweat buckets and burned just under 1,000 calories in an hour. The walk is a nice warm up and cool down for me. The weather has been perfect for spending time outside, with a high of 60* the last couple of days. On Sunday, I ran my virtual 5k for Run4NYC and the Red Cross. I ran down the highway for the first half, then turned into my neighborhood and ran  a couple of hills for a time of 31:01. I ran the first mile in under 10 minutes, but slowed down quite a bit on the second half. I can't believe it was only a little over a month ago since I ran the half. It felt really hard, but I ran thinking about all of the people that have suffered because of the hurricane, and that kept me going.

Yesterday I got a nice surprise from the FedEx man. My Lizi's Granola winnings came from Mary at A Walk in The Woods! Three boxes of three different flavors of individually bagged granola, which is OPTIMAL for portion control! I tried the Belgian Chocolate on my toasted coconut yogurt for lunch and it was delicious! This morning I mixed a bag of the Treacle & Pecan with my Fiber Once cereal and some skim milk. Loved it! Can't wait to try the Pink Apples & Cinnamon. I really like this granola because the clusters aren't immense, nor are they hard as rocks. You could hurt yourself on some frickin' granola, and you won't with this brand. Chelsea had some and loved it, too. My husband even snacked on some late last night and said it was good. He doesn't eat granola! That's a sterling testimony in and of itself!

This came all the way from merry old England!
Here's my lunch- toasted coconut yogurt with Lizi's Belgian Chocolate granola!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? 9 days. My parents 55th wedding anniversary is this Friday, so we're getting together to celebrate this weekend. Other than that, I just plan on cleaning and running. I definitely want to plan for a long run on Saturday. I need to check out the havoc that Hurricane Sandy left in her wake down at the beach. The pictures that friends have posted have just been unimaginable.

This is the beach PARKING LOT. This is where the Smith Point Bridge 5k starts and finishes. The bridge I run over is back on the right side of the photo. There are other photos on Facebook from Tri Hamlet News of the cement boardwalk that has collapsed since the sand supporting it was washed away. The many staircases connecting the boardwalk to the shore have been demolished. More than 15,000 customers are STILL without power on Long Island. Nearly 500 houses are expected to be condemned in our area alone. But the community has been coming together and helping anyway they can. There have been numerous food and clothing drives. Every day different fire houses and churches have hosted lunches and dinners for those without anything. Every one is taking care of each other. It will take time, but things will get back to regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Making A List...

I worked five days and now we're at a standstill. Last week there was going to be a few retake shoots, so I was not needed, since I take the group shots. Then there was the hurricane and EVERYONE didn't work. Now they're dealing with schools that need to reschedule shoots and those that are still closed because of flooding or no electricity. That means I'm not working this week, either. Money is getting tight. Really tight. And guess what's coming? Just the most wonderful time of the frickin' year, right? And right on top of our trip to Miami.

The good thing about being home with a car with no gas is that I'm either home or very close to home, which means I'm not really shopping, and I'm getting stuff done. I realized that lists aren't just for parties and big occasions. Every morning I need to make a list of the things I want to get done. So far, it's working. It's nice to see what needs to get done and that it GOT DONE! I can waste so much time on the computer (ahem) and barely get a load of laundry in. Being home, I feel like I should be productive. Clothes should be clean AND away, dinner should be made, floors should be swept and mopped. Even with all of that, there's still time to watch 'The Chew' and catch up on Facebook, although this week I spent an inordinate amount of time on www.hessexpress.com/fuelinformation looking to find out if my station got another delivery to fill the minivan. Today I wrote "sweep and mop dining room" as one of the ten things on my list. That got me to vacuum the rug under the table, sweep and mop the floor, dust the buffet and side table and wash down the radiators. I also have problem where I have to write down the things I didn't originally list and cross them off, too. It's got to be the Virgo in me.

The last few days I've walked to the gym. That's a half mile walk each way, so it's a nice 10 minute or so warm up and cool down. On Sunday, I walked to the gym and did a short run. I could not believe how long 2 miles felt on the treadmill. I hadn't run in a week. Between the cold I had sitting in my throat and chest, and the hurricane, I just couldn't get it together for a run. It was beyond rough, like just-started-to-run rough. Not good. Yesterday I started Insanity again. Plyometric Cardio, also known as "Imminent Death in 45 minutes or less." Shaun T. appropriately starts us out, after the warm-up, with suicides. How apropos. Since not doing it regularly in the past few months, I really lost a lot of strength. Combine the lack of participation with that cold I've had and it was definitely the perfect storm for a barf-o-rama (remember 'Stand By Me' and LardAss? Apropos again!). Thankfully I held it in. I really need to kick my workouts up if I'm going to be prepared for Miami. Like running 8.4 miles at around 11:30, 6.2 miles at 2:30 am and 2.1 miles around 1:30 pm PREPARED. 16.7 miles in 26 hours in South Florida heat. *gulp*

We're supposed to get another storm tomorrow into Thursday. The dreaded nor'easter. I can't believe people who haven't even begun to get themselves back on their feet from Hurricane Sandy are going to get hit while they are down. Our power company is attempting to get 90% of the customers who lost power back on the grid. Then there's the threat of losing it all over again. A couple of friends posted that they were participating in a virtual run to help the people of NYC that were devastated by the hurricane. The money pledged goes to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can run a marathon, half marathon or a 5k, so I decided to run a 5k some time by the 11th to do my part in helping the relief effort. It was the least I could do. You can participate as well. Just got to www.run4nyc.com to learn more.