Monday, December 31, 2007

Good Bye 2007, Hello 2008

In just a few hours, 2008 will officially be here. Today had been designated as my "pajama day" and I was able to pull if off for the most part. I had planned to sleep in, do whatever I wanted around the house today, and not get out of my pajamas (actually flannel lounge pants and a sweatshirt) all day.

I woke up this morning around 7:30, but decided I was not getting out of bed until 8:00. When the clock hit 8:00, I got up. I made some banana nut muffins and switched out my calendar in my planner while they were cooking. After breakfast, I didn't do much of anything until I decided I needed to get in one last workout of 2007. I hopped on the treadmill and ran 5 miles while watching the Cal vs AFA football game. Then I headed outside to take down the Christmas lights that were still up. After that, I showered and got right back in my comfy lounge clothes. I've been on the couch napping/reading ever since. I just ate something for dinner and we've got some friends coming over shortly for a "Wii game night" to celebrate the new year. I've already warned them that I'll be in my comfy clothes and I'm not changing.

Looking back at 2007, overall it was a good year. Here is what I accomplished in the workout arena:
January - Disney's Goofy Challenge (half marathon and full marathon)
February - AT&T Austin Marathon
March - Capitol 10,000 (10K race)
May - Deutschen Fest Bike Ride and Deutschen Fest 5K
June - Danskin Sprint Triathlon and Lake Pflugerville Sprint Triathlon
October - Longhorn Half Ironman Triathlon and Nike Women's Marathon
November - Race for the Cure
December - Trail of Lights 5K

Miles Ran: 904.97
Miles Biked: 606.01
Hours on the stationary bike: 2.5
Hours on the trainer: 15.25
Miles Swam: 44.14 plus open water swims

I was disappointed that I didn't run 1,000 miles and surprised that I swam 44. Looking at 2008, I know that the bike mileage needs to increase a lot. And it will. Each year I fundraise for one event with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training group. In 2008, I will be fundraising for a century ride around Lake Tahoe. So, I know that bike mileage will increase. What I hope is that as the bike miles increase the run miles don't decrease. While I like to do it all, running is still my first priority. I guess I like it so much because I can do it from anywhere as long as I have my running shoes. And while I like to enjoy some of my marathons and not worry about my time (like Disney), one of these days I'd like to try to shave time off my marathon PR (personal record).

For 2008, I already have some races scheduled and am comtemplating others. Work was good this year and I ended up with a new tri bike, so I hope to do more triathlons this year so that I can get some good use out of the bike. I just need to look at the schedule and plan everything. We are also planning a big extended family vacation for the summer of 2008, so I'll have to work around that. And I'm in charge of a youth retreat this summer and my high school reunion will be in 2008. It will be a busy year, but hopefully I can also make time for rest and relaxation along the way. We'll see how well I do with that.

As you and your family ring in 2008, I wish you all health and happiness in the New Year. May you appreciate each day you have here on earth and spend it the way you want. God bless you all and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Surviving the Holidays

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated. I'll try to get better at that. Here's what has been going on........

The Friday before Christmas, I attempted to get in my long 18 mile run. I say "attempted", because I didn't make it to 18. I started running outside and was doing great. I got in 7.5 miles in a great time, but then it got dark and I decided to head in and finish on the treadmill. Boy was that a mistake. After being outside, the treadmill was 10 times worse than normal. After 5.5 miles on it, I called it quits. I've done 6 marathons now, so I know I can cover the 26.2 miles, and Disney is not a race where I care about my time. 13 miles was good enough for me.

Saturday morning we woke up early to pick my daughter up from church where she had been at an all night lock-in. Then we drove to my Aunt's house for Christmas with my mom's side of the family. After all day there, we headed to my mother-in-law's house for Christmas with my husband's family. I managed to get in a 4 mile run on Monday morning before we opened gifts. We were there from Saturday evening until Monday afternoon when we headed home. We unloaded the car and headed to church for Christmas Eve services and then came home and went to bed so Santa could come.

Despite telling the kids to sleep late Christmas morning (yeah, right!), they didn't even make it until day light. At 6:30 am they were knocking on our door and telling us what Santa left. My son got his wii and my daughter got her zune. We unwrapped the few other gifts we had and then got ready to head to my parents for Christmas with them and my brother and his family. My parents called to say their electricity had gone off and to wait for a bit. Finally around 10:00 it was back on. We headed over at 11:00. We opened gifts with them, ate lunch and then hooked up Granna's wii. Yes, that's right. My mom also got a wii from Santa. He was very generous this year.

Wednesday morning I woke up in my usual "pack up the Christmas stuff and get this house cleaned" mode. And that's exactly what I did. I took down the trees, organized gifts, got them to their spots and had the house back to some normal order by early afternoon. Then I got my 5 mile run in and took my shower. Wednesday evening we had some friends over for game night on the wii. I bowled, golfed, boxed, played tennis, and played MANY carnival games. Does wii count as cross training?????

Yesterday had been designated as "run errand" day. There were some things I wanted to buy with my Christmas money and the kids had holes in their pockets as well. They got gift cards that needed to be spent. We went to Target first, which was actually the least crowded and the easiest place for shopping and returns. Then to Family Christian Bookstores, lunch, Academy, Justice, Bath and Body Works (which was a nightmare!!!), Barnes & Noble and then to my parents to get my daughter added to the cell phone network (and I made sure to block the text messaging capability on her new phone). Busy, busy day.

This morning I started washing clothes and did some things on the computer that needed to be done. The kids wanted to see a movie so we waited until my husband got home from work and went to see National Treasure. The theater had some problems and the movie started almost an hour late. Lucky for us they had ushers outside the door when it was over to hand us free certificates to come back and see another movie. Since we see about 2 movies a year in the theater, free passes is great for us. We'll have to decide what else we want to see.

Not sure what I'll do the rest of the evening. I'm planning to run with my TNT group in the morning, but have no idea how far we are suppose to go. Guess I'll just show up and run.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Staples has an Easy Button, I need a Slow Down Button

The madness that surrounds Christmas hit full force and hasn't stopped. On the 11th, my daughter had her choir concert. It was really nice and there are some talented singers in the choir. No yoga for me.

I was able to get in a 4 mile run on Wednesday and a 4 mile run on Thursday. Fridays are my normal "off" days and it worked out well. My husband and son left town to go to a soccer tournament (why they schedule them so close to Christmas, I have no idea). We hired a sitter to spend the night so I could still do my group run Saturday, so I took advantage of that Friday night and went out to dinner with a friend for her birthday. Then I came home and got things ready for my Saturday run.

Sometime in the middle of the night, it stormed and woke me up. Several times. I was afraid the run would be cancelled, but when I got up at 5:30 am, it wasn't raining. The wind, however, was blowing like a tornado. The temperature was high 50s, but with the wind I knew it would feel colder. I dressed appropriately and headed out. The run actually turned out well. It was the perfect temperature for me and I could tell by the speed I was running. I actually came in third, which is surprising for me. The only time it got bad was when we had to cross a lake. Going over the bridge, the wind was so strong it was hard to stay on your feet. When I finished the 10 miles, I felt great. And it was a good thing, because I had a busy day ahead.

When I got home, I paid the sitter and then showered. Then my daughter and I headed to the post office to mail a package to my chemo angel girl. The line was long, but they kept it moving. Next stop: Taco Bell for lunch. After that we headed to the ceramic store in town so I could make a couple more gifts. I never think they are going to take as long as they do, so we were there for a while. I wanted to go to my friend's graduation party, but the man who had done our taxes for the last 15 years recently passed away from lymphoma and his memorial service was Saturday. I decided I should go. After that it was to the grocery store and then to drop my daughter off at her choir "caroling/party". Luckily that was going to last a few hours and I had some "me only" time to shop. I got quite a bit knocked out. At 9:30 I picked her up. She went to bed and I followed not long after.

Sunday we went to church as usual. I teach junior high and my co-teacher was out of town. Usually it's not bad, but I had 21 kids! They were actually pretty good and we survived. When I got home I started making hot sauce. For years, I've made hot sauce for teacher gifts. I give the main teacher that plus something else, but I like to show appreciation to the administrators and other teachers (choir, art, p.e., etc) as well. Since we're not made of money and since they already get so many sweats, I started giving them hot sauce. Many of them had come to expect it. I made four batches and realized I was going to need a lot more now that my daughter is in middle school and has several teachers. So, we headed back to the grocery store. The people must have thought I was insane buying 30 jalapeno peppers. Right back home and as the garage door is opening, it stops. I finally get it to go up, but notice that the spring that pulls the door up is broken on one side. Lovely. Now I'm afraid to put it down, which means we can't go anywhere. At least until my husband and son get home. So I spend the rest of the afternoon, literally, making hot sauce. After the last batch of hot sauce was done, I made the chocolate chip cookies that we will leave out for Santa. And finally, at 7:00 it was time to sit and relax while watching the Survivor season finale!

Monday night I had dinner with a publisher rep, so no run for me. Tuesday was my husband's birthday and we always go out to eat for birthdays, so no run or yoga for me. When we got home I did some more baking and actually wrapped a few gifts. And finally, tonight I was able to get in a 5 mile run. And it felt good. I could have kept going, but I stopped because I am making two batches of Amish Friendship Bread. One batch is in the oven right now and the other will go in the oven in about 15 minutes. Then I'll hopefully wrap the final gifts and be able to relax for a bit. I am so ready for next week. Friday is my last day of work until after the first of the year. I'll have many days to sleep late, get my runs in and be lazy the rest of the day. I'm hoping to get a bunch of scrapbooking in! But first I have to get through the rest of the week and a long run before Christmas! Where is that slow down button?????

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Host an Elf for the Holidays

Time is running out, but it's not too late. Each year, after Santa and the elves are done getting things ready for the holidays, Santa likes to send the elves on a little vacation with children. If you would like to host an elf in your house before Christmas, you can also benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Follow these steps:

1. to to
2. click on the box that says "host an elf"
3. in the drop down box next to "donate to your favorite charity/fundraiser", choose "Leukemia & Lymphoma Society"
4. click "add to cart" next to the drop down box
5. choose your elf and proceed with your request

When the little elf shows up, see what kind of trouble it gets into. Then on Christmas Eve, the elf will return to the North Pole with Santa. As long as you stay on Santa's "nice" list, you can host an elf each year.

Please note: if you are reading this are were planning to host an elf through the "Elf from Catie" drive, please do so. Their drive has been very successful so far and it benefits children with cancer.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trail of Lights 5K

The ornament exchange at church Friday night was fun, but the snack food just didn't cut it for dinner the night before a 16 miler. I was able to run with one of our faster participants for about 7 miles Saturday morning and then I told him to go ahead. I slowed down my pace, ran with some other people for a while and then took it on in. Sixteen miles felt good. And if 16 wasn't enough, I punished myself even more Saturday night.

We live in a small town outside a big city. They are so close, they feel like one big place. Anyway, the big city puts on a "Trail of Lights" each year down near the lake where my run group meets a lot. The Trail of Lights is fun to go through. There are all kinds of lighted displays and TONS of lights. There is also a big tree made of lights that you can get under, twirl around so that you get really dizzy, and then fall down. We try to go every year, but we always get busy with stuff and most years end up not going. I wanted to go this year, but in looking at the calendar, it looked like it would be tough. Well, there was one way to fit it in, and that was to do the Trail of Lights 5K. The Trail of Lights doesn't officially open until the 2nd Sunday of the month. But, if you do the 5k, you get to run through it the Saturday before it is open to the public. So, I did some talking to the family and convinced them it would be ok if we walked. I promised to leave my Garmin at home, and they agreed we could do it.

So Saturday early evening we headed downtown. We weren't sure how many people would be there, but if you wanted to park close you had to be there by 5:30 because they would be closing the roads. We got there around 5:00. The race started at 6:30 pm. And there were way more people that we expected. It was fun, though. Santa was at the start line to see us off. We had about a mile to go before we got to the actual Trail of Lights, about a mile through the lights, and then another mile back to the finish. We got some good pictures along the way.

After we were done, we went under the tree for some spinning around. And then we headed home. Mission accomplished. In fact, I think everyone enjoyed it enough that we may just do it every year.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sad Goodbyes and The Madness Begins

Tuesday was my son's music program at school, so no workout for me. He looked very nice all dressed in khaki's and a red sweater along with a Santa hat. The program was cute.

However, when we got home, my son found our 16 year old cat in the bathroom. He was still alive, but couldn't move and we could tell he was having a hard time breathing. We knew he wouldn't make it through the night, and he didn't. MoMo (named after Morris the cat because he was an orange tabby) was a great cat. We found him as a stray when I was still in college. My husband (who was just a boyfriend at the time) was over for dinner one night. We had the windows of the apartment open because it was nice outside. All of a sudden this orange cat jumped up on the window from the outside and started meowing. I love cats so I put some food out for him. He kept hanging around and was being chased by dogs, so I adopted him. Since I had another cat at the time (who was very territorial) my parents took MoMo home until we graduated. But then he was ours for good. He was wonderful when the kids came along. They could pull on his tail and pick him up in very uncomfortable ways and he wouldn't do a thing. And if you scratched him just right, he would lick you. We miss you MoMo.

Wednesday was our 15th anniversary. However, with MoMo passing away, we needed to bury him. My parents live out on several acres and all the family pets are buried there. After work, we went over there and buried him. I just didn't feel like working out after that.

Thursday I got back to the workouts. I got a 5 mile run in and it felt good. Tonight is my off day and it's a good thing. In just a bit we are headed to our annual ornament exchange at the church. Everyone brings a wrapped ornament. We draw numbers. The first person picks an ornament and opens it. If #2 wants #1's ornament, they can steal it. Otherwise, #2 picks a new gift. This continues until everyone has an ornament. Each ornament can only be stolen three times and then it is frozen. And person #1 gets to look over all the ornaments (except the frozen ones) at the end and take what they want. Being that it's a church function, it can get down right mean at times (in a fun way, but the "thou shalt not steal" commandment gets broken MANY times during the night). And my husband and I have a nifty way of stealing from others (including each other) so that we can freeze an ornament if we really want it. The other fun thing is that several years ago someone brought a pickle ornament. From what we've been told, it's an old German tradition. Whoever finds the pickle ornament on the tree Christmas morning gets a special gift. Well, you can imagine the look on the persons face the first year the "pickle" was in play. Many jokes are made about the "pickle" and whoever gets it always tries to convince someone else to steal it from them, but it never works. Whoever gets the pickle one year brings it back the next year. Last year, we got the pickle. And you guessed it, it's wrapped and ready to go back this year!

Tomorrow I'm finally getting to run long with my TNT group. On schedule: 16 miles. It's going to feel good. My daughter has a babysitting certification class all day, so when I am done running, I'm going to do some Christmas shopping - all by myself! Wahoo. And tomorrow night we've got something fun planned for our family. I'll wait until it's over to share.

Let the madness begin!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas


But not a lot like Christmas like it does for the Jones family (see Now THAT looks like Christmas!

Since it's been a while since I've updated, I'll back track. Last Wednesday was a 3 mile run. Thursday was a 4 mile run and Friday was my off day.

On Saturday, the team was scheduled for a 12 mile run, but my husband had a meeting which meant I had the kids and no running with the group for me. Instead, I woke the kids up early and we went to meet the group anyway. We were the first aid station. We were parked somewhere around mile 4. After Thanksgiving, we got a cold front, but Saturday was nothing like winter. It was muggy and humid. By the time teammates got to me, most of them were drenched with sweat. The route they were running was a good one and I wanted to be running so bad. So, when we got done and got home, I hit the treadmill - for a 12 mile run. Yep, I did 12 miles on the treadmill and only walked a total of about a mile. I just put the tv on football and took off. Yes it was boring, but it needed to get done.

After the run I showered and ate and then waited for my husband to get home so we could run errands. Both of the kids have programs coming up that require "church attire" and while we go to church every Sunday, our church is very laid back; therefore the kids needed "church attire". Mission accomplished. Then we took my daughter out to eat Mexican food as she starts the beginning stages of getting braces this week and we are not sure how much longer she'll be able to eat those chips and hot sauce and hard tacos. Then it was back home for more football watching.

And FINALLY on Sunday we started getting Christmas stuff up. It was 85 degrees here on Sunday which meant we were out putting up the lights in shorts and t-shirts. And it was December 1st! Crazy weather. Then we put up the tree in the office and the stockings. We still need to get up the main tree, but we have more furniture in the living room this year and need to figure out where to put it. But it is looking like Christmas even if it doesn't really feel that way.

And speaking of Christmas, everyone needs to put out a plate of cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, right? Well, I know just where you can get a personalized plate to leave those cookies on and help a good cause all at the same time! Go on over to and check out the plate fundraiser. Marey's daughter is a cancer survivor and she believes in giving back. Over the past few year's she has raised tons of money for various cancer organizations. All the money raised from the sale of these plates will go to three families whose children have gone through transplants. PLEASE check it out and do what you can to help!