Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I'm trying to accept the fact that I didn't lose one pound in my 186 miles of recent training + 13.1 miles of racing. My body performed well and I set a new personal record. Isn't that enough? It will have to be.

I refuse to diet. I don't believe in diets in the long run. I know many people who have had great success on diets, temporary or enduring. But I would rather eat my own arm than count calories or fat grams or food points. So, with the guidance of a book called Intuitive Eating, I am trying to eat healthy foods when I'm hungry, stop when I'm not. Simple. (But still not easy.)

I took a week off after running the Hollywood Half, and that week turned into two. So I decided that, since I'm not particularly interested in registering for another race anytime soon, and I can't see a way to make regular gym visits work with my schedule, I am going to start and complete the P90X program. Two days down, eighty-eight to go, and I can't move my arms. Laughing hurts. The basher sat on my face today and it took me much, much longer than it should have to escape. I am trying to be happy and enthusiastic about getting up early every morning to complete my workout before my man goes to work.

My great-grandmother's 98th birthday is on Sunday. I'm trying to prepare my house for her party.

Little Sis is about to complete her first year of college at Southern Virginia University. I am trying to contain my excitement. She will spend the summer at home. I see a Downton Abbey marathon, frequent giggle fests, and a few family vacations in our immediate future, along with our favorite holiday: Sister Day.

I am trying to be more patient, more productive, and more positive.

And how about you? What are you trying to do?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

12of12: April (Thursday)

1. Making garlic parmesan breadsticks at 8 am. 2. Hot chocolate in my new mug. The boys had bagels and bananas in addition to sips of my beverage. 3. The punk tried to steal a breadstick while I was wrapping them up to take to our play date. 4. Friends! 5. I love rainy days. 6. I took a break from folding laundry to read a few books with my little buddy after his quiet time. 7. Smiley after nap. 8. The rain turned to snow this afternoon. 9. Four piano students. 10. Leftovers. 11. We danced while I sang I've Been Workin' On The Railroad... over and over again. 12. Bedtime routine with Dad, who flew home today.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hollywood Half: The Vacation

The destination race is the new weekend vacation. It was perfect. I flew into LAX Friday morning and took a shuttle to my hotel in Universal City. My room wasn't yet ready when I arrived, so I had an hour and a half to enjoy a leisurely lunch with my book. When I walked into my room, I whispered to myself, "Yesssss!" My friend Tara, who was the instigator of this whole thing, is married to the general manager of the hotel, and was able to get us a screaming deal on our room, which turned out to be an executive suite! Brit and I shared a room, but she was unable to fly in until later Friday night, so I had it all to myself for a few hours while Tara and Mariani drove in. They both live in SoCal, but stayed at the hotel the night before the race. The three of us gathered along with Tara's 4 other runner friends for dinner at Bubba Gump's on CityWalk. Carb-loading was achieved.

No one slept well the night before the race. Brit didn't even arrive at the hotel until about 11 pm; I awoke almost every hour and had a terrifying dream that my alarm didn't go off and we missed the gunshot. The race began at 6:00 am, so Brit and I got up at 5:00. Mariani and Tara (& co.) arose at 4:30! We all donned our apparel and gear, ate some breakfast, and walked together to the starting line.

Everyone ran extremely well. The Hill nearly killed all of us, but we all arrived at the finish line with hearts still beating. In the months preceding the race, we decided that the winner would buy lunch at In N Out for the other three. Yes, the winner. As I knew I wasn't in the running for 1st place, I fully supported our arrangement. Mr. Ernest Nicholas Mariani, winner by about 2 minutes, graciously treated us girls to burgers and fries (and a Diet Coke and chocolate shake for me).

After lunch, Tara drove home to her awaiting family and Mariani dropped Brit and me at our hotel for some R&R before dinner. We both laid down on our beds to read and woke up 2 1/2 hours later. We then headed down to the pool to soak up some California rays (it was snowing when I left my house in Utah) and relax in the hot tub.

Mariani and his lovely girlfriend Mel took us out to dinner at the Smoke House, where we enjoyed way too much food, an Old Hollywood atmosphere, and uninterrupted conversation. I could not have asked for a more perfect end to the trip.

[He speaks animatedly and tells great stories.]

Thank you Tara for inviting us to join you in this race. Food, R&R, more food, friends, and food. Oh yeah. And a half marathon. It was wonderful.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hollywood Half: The Race

We rose before the sun to line up among the masses at CityWalk Universal Studios. When the megaphone voice yelled, "Go!," I started my iPod and my Garmin and my legs. I dedicated each mile of the race to someone I love:

Mile 1: My dad. Quirky. An expert in many things. Fun. Passionate. A comforting presence in my life.

Mile 2: My mom. Gentle. Positive. A kind and loving grandma to my boys. Makes the best chocolate chip cookies.

Mile 3: My father-in-law. Smart. Happy. Twinkling eyes. Has a unique and personal relationship with each of his three grandsons.

Mile 4: My mother-in-law. Supportive. Thoughtful. Generous. No pretense. Taught her 4 sons to work hard and be respectful. Can always be counted on for fruit snacks.

Mile 5: Michael (Brother #1). Seeker of peace. (+ Michael's super sweet girlfriend Paula)

Mile 6: David (Brother #2). Seeker of adventure. (+ David's fun and lovely girlfriend Natalie)

Mile 7: Jacob (Brother #3). Seeker of truth.

Mile 8: Rachel (Little Sis). My best friend. Makes me laugh harder than anyone else in the world.

Mile 9: Madame Falsone. My junior high school French teacher, and one of my all-time favorite teachers. We learned the day before the race that she passed away. In her obituary (which it seems she wrote herself), we learned that she was also a runner.

Mile 10: The basher. Giant smile. Full of wiggles and love. Endless energy. Loves soft things like blankets, stuffed animals, and sticking his hand down my shirt.

Mile 11: The punk: Sweetheart. Smart. Creative. Friendly. Always asks me after a training run, "How was your run, Mom?"

Mile 12: Tim. My #1 support. The reason I was able to take an entire weekend to run a race and be with friends. The best dad for my boys. Expects me to be my best self.

Mile 13: Me.

The last 0.1 mile: God.

The first 3 miles were tough. It always takes me a while to settle into my groove. Among the 4 friends who were running this race, I was bringing up the rear. I knew that Mariani and Brit were competing for 1st place, but I had my sight set on Tara, who had shot out ahead of me at the beginning. Even among the crowds, it was easy to spot the pink flower in her hair. When I saw her around mile 4, I knew that I could overtake her by increasing my pace just a bit. A few minutes later, I sidled up next to her and said hello before racing ahead. It was only about 2 miles later that I had to visit the facilities, so I knew I'd have to concede my 3rd place spot. Fortunately, the line wasn't too long and I was back on the road in no time. Soon thereafter, I spotted Mariani, and then Brittany, who was mere feet behind the only man on our "team," even though his legs are about a foot longer than hers. "Beat him!" I yelled to her. "BEAT HIM!" They had already passed the turnaround point and were headed back the way we had come.

By the way, I was a little hesitant about running an out-and-back race. On my long runs, I like to map a route that will take me to a destination other than the one from which I came; I like to have new scenery for every mile. But it was at about mile 4 or 5 that the leaders of the race blew my mind. We, the masses, were running on the right side of the road, leaving the entire left half empty. Out of nowhere, two black men (Kenyans perhaps?) blasted by me! I actually shouted "Woah!" They appeared to be doing the splits in between each footfall. Their stride was unbelievable. Their power, their speed, their form. It was all so inspiring.

Miles 4-9 were my sweet spot. At the beginning, I felt like I was being passed left and right. In the middle, I finally felt like I was the one doing the passing. I was smiling, cheering the leaders, weaving through the crowds with small bursts of speed, and staying ahead of my goal time by 3 1/2 minutes. I passed Tara again, and this time I knew I would stay ahead.

Around mile 10, I started feeling the distance behind me. Then mile 11 hit, and the $@&% hit the fan.

The Hill.

The last 2 miles of the half marathon were one giant, ruthless hill. Now, I run hills at home, some of them quite steep. But they end. This one didn't. We climbed 550 feet in 2 miles. After running 11 already. At mile 12, I thought to myself, "I am never doing this again!" There were traffic signs on the right side of the street that warned, "No Stopping. Tow Zone." My legs and my spirit were giving out, but I knew that if I stopped to walk like so many around me, I would never get going again. So I obeyed the signs. My pace slowed to 11 minutes for each of those 2 miles, but I never stopped fighting. After all, I was dedicating those miles to my man and myself, two people I didn't want to disappoint.

Finally, the incline turned flat, then downhill for the last quarter mile. I looked down at my watch and realized that I was mere seconds from my goal time of 2 hours 5 minutes, so I willed my arms and legs to start pumping. I sprinted the last stretch, hoping and praying that I would come in under goal.

I did.


36 Hours Post-Race

Me, to My Man: "I am icing my back now. Then I'm going to take a hot bath, then roll my legs. I've already taken some Ibuprofen."

My Man: "Good. I'm glad to hear that you're doing what I tell you to do."

Me: *smirk & eyeroll*

My Man: "Now get up slowly. Grunt. Walk gingerly. Giggle a little."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The last time I played a board game with my man, it was eight years ago, and it ended badly. We had bought a game of Checkers for $1.50 because we were poor newlyweds and we thought it might be fun to spend our weekends engaging in repeated games of mindless frivolity. He won the first round in about 90 seconds, so I was determined to redeem myself during round two. When it quickly became apparent that he was about to whip me again, I knocked over the board and stormed out of the room.

Yes, really.

So I thought it was mighty brave of the man to present me with a game of Scrabble for Christmas this year. (The punk calls it Scramble. He likes to make "words" and ask us what they say. We're getting pretty good at reading words without vowels.) Tonight, with the boys in bed, we played our inaugural match. Even when I thought I was going to lose, I had a smile on my face. With The Princess Bride playing in the background, a dose of homemade hot cocoa in my belly, and my man smiling at me across the table, I couldn't help but enjoy myself, even if my score was suffering. But then guess who lost when his wife made a comeback with the word "quell?"

This guy.

We need a lot of practice. I don't think either of us ever played a word exceeding 5 letters. But I am happy that we have found an activity both of us can enjoy together (as long as the right person wins).
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