Thursday, November 16, 2017

Halloween 2017

Going along with my post from Tuesday, I thought I should do a Halloween recap.

You already saw my costumes from the Howl-oween 5K and the Terror Trot, so you know what I did for costumes then.

Aside from that, on the actual day of Halloween I was a ... well, I thought a classic, though I may be wrong based on my feedback from the current generation:

My outfit on that day was thanks to Tipsy Elves.  PRO TIP: look at their pricing on Amazon first, you will likely save 50% or more.


Of course, having three costumes over the span of the "Halloween Season" just isn't enough for somebody like me.  And thanks to my little guy, I get to add a whole 'nother costume category to my repertoire - group costume.  Thus 2017's family theme was Muppets, with me being Miss Piggy, my husband as Kermit, and baby boy as Fozzie Bear.

Speaking of my little guy, I have good fun getting to chose his costumes (for now).  With him just starting to pick up on animal sounds, I particularly get a kick out of his snore/grunt impression of a pig that sounds nothing like said animal.

Maximizing on this pig "impression", for my son's Halloween "school" party I sent him to daycare in a pig outfit ... that is technically a sleep sack, which we can reuse for the next couple of years hopefully.

And it wouldn't be Halloween without treats.  So I sent my son bearing treats for the staff on Halloween day.

Yep, even more extra.  Though this treat was far less complicated - just a glass bottle of Starbucks frap in either chocolate or caramel with a one bag each of Target monster and caramel cashew trail mix, wrapped in candy corn printed black tissue paper and tied up pretty with some curling ribbon.

The copper bin was my favorite part of that gift, and is now sitting on my dining room table as an unintended center piece (I guess I better figure out wear to store that thing before Thanksgiving in a few weeks).

So that was my Halloween - in a nutshell.  What were your costumes like?  Comment below!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Since I haven't blogged very consistently on here in awhile, I'm going to expand my net of "acceptable" topics on this blog to include whatever my current shenanigans are.  That means today I am going to talk about how I've become that mom.

You know.  The mom that is just so ... extra?

Ok, I can't take credit for that hair, but how cute is that?!

Sigh.  How did this happen?  How did I become the "SO extra" mom?

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise, because also me:

True story.  I mean - I can't even pretend that's not me.  Heh.

Anyway, I'm writing this a fair amount after the fact, because as you may know, International Talk Like a Pirate day was almost two months ago - Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

For those of you unaware, Talk Like a Pirate Day is one of those "holidays" that's just meant for fun and silliness.  Officially, there's not a lot of history behind it aside from it started as a private joke between to guy friends - and then it accidentally blew up on social media.

In the past few years, for me, Talk Like a Pirate Day has meant sending a friend of mine in Texas random gifts (when the mood strikes me anyway, it's not like I do it on a yearly / consistent basis).  Historically, those gifts have included: having a bouquet I made out of black artificial silk roses and plastic gold doubloons arranged in a plastic skull trick-or-treat bucket couriered to my friend at work, sending a smiley face balloon bouquet with pirate eye patches drawn on them, and ... this year's piece de resistance - ordering a pirate battle royale pool set via Amazon Prime:


I know.  An impressive find even for a spaz like myself.  LOL!

High on ridiculousness, I decided I needed to share the pirate love at my son's "school" (daycare) in 2017 as well.

Queue: overdrive mom.


Of course, being that this was me, first things first for Talk Like a Pirate Day - costuming.

My outfit included a pirate necklace and holiday appropriate dress.  I added to that a pair of tall, black motorcycle boots with chains and buckles that I already owned.


For my son, I ordered a kid friendly shirt and a pair of pants cut to accommodate a diaper booty.  He already owned a pair of red Crocs shoes, and was soon to own a pirate hat as well so that was covered ... more on this in a bit.


(Interjection - since my husband was traveling on business at the time - no soup for him).  

Alright.  Real talk for a minute.  I know that this may seem like stupid money to throw at a pointless holiday, but hear me out.  First of all, the dress I bought - I can wear that at work pretty much any day.  And the dress with the necklace can be a pirate go-to costume for me for years to come.  As for my son's outfit, it's versatile enough: he wore the entire thing for various Halloween events in the last month, and the shirt itself he can wear to school on whatever day.  Just know that I'm not all about throwing money away, and since I do so many wacky costume things all the time, I have learned how to be smart in my planning to ensure I can use items again in the future.  *end soap box*

Now, you know me.  When it comes to blowing out a theme, sometimes I just can't stop myself.  Which of course means - but wait, there's more!

Being that most of the other kids at "school" wouldn't likely be dressed for the occasion, I found a seller online that offered hard felt pirate hats for $9.99 a dozen and sent them with my son to share with his classroom.  While it is doubtful a room full of toddlers much understood what a pirate was, the end result was still pretty dang cute.

Not wanting the teachers to be left out on the fun, I also sent goody bags for them to be decked out in pirate gear as well.  The "meat" of their costume included a plastic pirate eye patch and a neck gaiter (in assorted pink colors that I thought made the gift more wearable in the future).  The idea on the gaiter was that it could be tied into a "pirate hat", with the possibility of reusing it as a headband or whatever later.

In addition to costume supplies, to show a little love to the staff, I also provided individual bags of Pirate Booty brand snack mix and "gold treasure" (glitter nail polish & chocolate gold coins).

And of course, because there was so much for the teachers to have, I wrapped them up in a nautical looking red polka dot gift bag stuffed with blue and white striped tissue.  I forgot to save a picture of the bag on my phone, but it looked something like this:

To keep things a little more pirate looking, though, I stuck a skeleton straw in the bag so that it poked out of the top, and tied the whole thing shut with white curling ribbon.

So there you have it.  The teachers seemed to enjoy their gifts, and my son came home saying "arrgghhh" almost non stop, so I'm guessing it was a success? 

Which means I guess I better start planning for next year ... LOL!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Terror Trot 5K 2017 (Deflating Wings)

Terror Trot 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 13:30/mile

A couple of weeks prior to the Terror Trot, I received an email from Anderson Races that included a $20 registration discount code good for any of their upcoming fall races.  Being that cost to participate in the Terror Trot 5K was at $45 by then, the discount meant that even with online handling fees, I could sign up for this race (and take home a fleece and a finishers medal) for under $30.

Ok ... you know me.  And Halloween.  And costuming.  And races.

So even though I'm in terrible shape right now, I figured what the heck?!


I know in the past, I've said I'm not a tremendous fan of Anderson Races, so you might be wondering why I knowingly signed up for another one of their events.  Before I get too far in this recap, I should clarify: while they're not on my sh!t list like Team Ortho is, I do feel like Anderson Races' management style just ... leaves somethings to be desired, I guess you could say.

For example, packet pickup on Friday prior to the race was ... interesting.

When I walked into Fleet Feet Marathon Sports, two women were running check in - one who I believe to be the owner of Anderson Races (she was busy doing something with race gear, possibly sorting sizes or something), and then another woman manning the check in table itself.

The woman manning check in was technically fine, though somewhat slow.  Overall, she seemed a little confused about what was going on.  And since I was the only person there, the amount of time it took to get my fleece and so on seemed a little much.  But honestly, I couldn't care less about that part.

What I did care about was: when I was handed my fleece shirt, it looked MIGHTY SMALL.  Especially because online registration specifically said "unisex sizing" and I had paid to receive what I expected to be a men's XL.  (At point of registration, I waffled on what size to get  since I wanted room to layer my fleece and didn't want it to be too small ... but also worried my selection would leave me swimming in fleece depending on the cut.)

Imagine my confusion, then, when I held the fleece up to my chest and determined it would be on the fitted side.

I mean - really?!  Have I gained THAT much weight post baby?!

As I checked my size tag to make sure I was given the correct item, I noted that the tag said "XL WOMENS".  Wut?  That's definitely not unisex.  Well, whatever.  I actually typically prefer women's cut anyway.  And apparently these particular fleece shirts ran small.  I'm just glad I decided to order larger than I expected needing - my friend, who did packet pickup a little after me, barely fit the large fleece ... and she is maybe a women's medium on a good day!

Funny story about that, BTW - when she was trying on the fleece, both of the Anderson Races staff members were telling my friend enthusiastically that her fleece fit well.  We realized why once my friend settled on the large, because they continued on saying "good thing you like how that fits, because women's large is the smallest we have".

Already out of stock on smaller sizes at noon on day one of packet pickup?  What about anyone coming on race day?  I was pretty shocked on that one.

And then they tried to sell us on the Chocoholic Frolic race.  My friend and I both looked at each other and at them like ... um, that's next weekend and we just dropped $30 for this.  I guess kudos for Anderson Races realizing they had a captive audience to promote to but ... they didn't even have the shirt up on display or any kind of registration info out.  If you're that eager to drive participation, maybe a little pre-planning from the marketing side ... ?

So now you see what I mean regarding "leaving something to be desired".


Fast forward, race morning.

Despite lack of solid info regarding the race on Anderson's web page (there was no picture of the fleece, the medal, or even a course map), I knew upon arriving at Lake Harriet that the 5K run was scheduled to start at 9:05 (5 minutes after the 10K runners left).

Since it was fairly cold, and my friend drove the family mini van ... with the family in it ... we decided to stay in the van for as long as possible prior to running.  With an added benefit of having a sweet parking spot about a block away from the start, we figured there was no need to be outside freezing, especially since we already had our bibs.

About 5-10 minutes prior to gun time, we finally left the insulation of the van and headed to the start.  There, I was a bit surprised to see such low participation numbers. Typically a race held around a lake near downtown Minneapolis is packed, but if I were to guess there was maybe 300 runners there TOTAL, and that was adding the 5K and 10K together.

I can't help but wonder ... how much of the poor attendance could be attributed to Anderson Races' lack of marketing, and how much of it is due to market saturation for races available these days?  It would be interesting to know the answer to that question ...

Even though numbers were what I would consider low, I definitely wasn't complaining.  A cheap race that isn't crowded?  Sounds good to me!

Bang!  Time to run.  (And yes, it was pretty much that blunt.  We didn't even hear the race announcer try to get the crowd ramped up or anything.  All the sudden he just says 3... 2... and the gun banged.)

Ok ... let's run, I guess!

The course started at the Lake Harriet band shell and followed the trail that circles the lake there.  Since we were late to line up, my friend, her family and myself all lined up at basically the very back of the pack - but were pleasantly surprised to find that the trails were wide enough to handle the crowd and allowed for easy passing as we went.  In fact, over the entire course there was very little bottle necking.  Score!

I wish I had done this ... alas, I did not.

As we ran, my friend and I (and her daughter, who we lost around the 1/2 mile mark) hung together.  Meanwhile, my friend's husband and their son took off ahead.  Keeping a fairly conservative pace of maybe 11-12 minute miles, my friend and I chugged along, chatted, and enjoyed people watching.

One of my favorite costumes of the race was a mom in a terrific witch costume (complete with puff sleeves and ground sweeping hem line), running with two children (which I think were girls due to their longer, tinsel haired wigs ... but I didn't look that close).  The two kids were dressed as tin men in what has got to be one of the most spectacularly home made costumes I have seen in a long time. 

As I mentioned, the kids costumes started with a shoulder length blend of gray hair and silver tinsel wigs.  Then, they were clothed in gray sweat suits.  To create the "tin" look, they had wrapped silver foil chrome duct tape around their pants in bands, spaced out every 3-4".  Additionally, they had created some "circuitry" on their backs out of those new style, hard plastic 6 pack beer can holders, which were spray painted gray and with various computer motherboard parts and wires glued onto them.  I wish I would have taken a photo of them because the end result was awesome.

Of course, I couldn't resist telling them as I ran by ... "Best costume of the whole race BY FAR!"  The kids beamed.  I hope they keep that creative spirit into adulthood.

Since I was in terrible shape for race day, around the 1 mile mark we took our first walk break.  Not wanting to spend too much time walking, though, we picked back up again maybe around 1.25 or so, running to the 2 mile mark.  It was shortly around starting to run again around 2.25-2.5, however, that my Apple watch decided to be a brat ... and shut itself off.  WTF!

Here's what I have for splits on course.

Over half a mile missing.  Boo.  Well, what do you do?  At least the race was chipped timed.

Besides, it wasn't like we were in it to win it.  Not to mention, the last half mile on course was pretty uneventful anyway.  So, no big loss.

With 41 and change on the clock, we rounded the last corner of the course and scurried across the finish line.  Boom, another race (and medal) on the books!

Yes, those are my Bay to Breakers wings.  I figured I might as well put them to good use again.  Funny thing, there was just enough juice in the batteries after Bay to Breakers to make it exactly to the finish line photo.  As we walked away, I noticed my wings were starting to sag and the fan was running slow.  All the sudden, my wings were flat and the fan just wouldn't turn on.  I couldn't have timed that better if I had planned for it!

Secretly, I think the people at the snack line were just as happy that my fan shut down.  No one ever seems to enjoy working around those giant things.  Heh.

I would have gladly sacrificed my wings anyway for what I picked up at the snack table: a bottle of water, a bag of dill pickle potato chips, and some various other snacks (the usual mini candies and granola type bars).  All of this I promptly inhaled in the name of breakfast while we awaited our long lost running partner to finish the distance - my friend's daughter, who we lost at the 1/2 mile mark, wasn't terribly far behind us.

With a fun, but not record breaking, experience on the books ... that was it.  We decided to wrap it up and head for home.  Once there, I gladly bundled up in my fleece and added my new medal to the collection.


Well!  That's the story of how race bib #83 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... but with Halloween races pretty much in the tank at this point, my guess is I won't run again until the snow melts.

Here's to 2018 and (hopefully) a stronger training season!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Howl O'Ween 5K & Kids Run 2017 (Burger Buddies)

Carver Scott Humane Society Howl O'Ween 5K & Kids Run
No time or distance recorded - Kids Fun Run Completed

This past spring, I was asked to help out with a local 5K race hosted by the Carver Scott Humane Society (CSHS).  Race details were still pending at that time, but generally speaking, the race was anticipated to be held in Chaska late fall of 2017.

Though things didn't quite work out due to my personal schedule and available free time, I thought ... well, at least I could participate in this somehow.  So, with my son now fully mobile and walking, once I heard there was a kids fun run option for this race that was only $10 (early registration) and allowed adults, it was settled.

Fun Run - here we come!

The official race day schedule for the Howl O'Ween 5K was unclear from the get go, as the company that "organized" this event left a lot to be desired (CSHS hired an outside event planner that seemed somewhat inexperienced).

Leading up to race day, I wasn't sure if packet pickup was required in advance or offered day of.  And since the 5K was at 9 am, with the kid's run following at 10:30, I was also unsure if day of pickup would still be open after the 5K started.

Thankfully, despite their lack of accessible information on race websites, etc., the race organizers answered their Facebook page somewhat quickly.  After a few back and forth questions two days before the race, I discovered that packet pickup was open on race day until the kids run started at 10:30.

Score!  Tick the "sleeping in on race day" box for me!


With a quiet morning at home on Saturday, around 9:45ish my sister helped me pack 3 kids into the  car, and my husband drove us down to the race start area.  Since this is the first year the 5K has taken place on this date (and taken place in downtown Chaska), that left participation numbers  a little soft at around 100 or so folks.  Those numbers made parking downtown a non issue.

Within a few minutes of leaving my house, we found a spot about a block or so away from the race start, and headed to Chaska's City Square / Gazebo Park to check in.  For those of you unfamiliar with downtown Chaska, here's a picture of the park when it's not set up for race day.

The park itself is a fairly simple space - it's basically a full city block with a bit of a walking path through the center, a few benches, and a small gazebo.  Despite it's simplicity, the park really is a lovely little spot to sit and relax.

Also, I'd like to point out a visible mound in the right hand corner of the photo above.  Interestingly, there are a few Native American burial mounds that frame the gazebo, with approximately one mound in each corner of the park.

On race day, a handful of various vendor booths surrounded the sidewalks that hugged the gazebo (not on top of the mounds), so the park looked a tad different from the above.  Apparently race day photos haven't been posted yet on Facebook by the CSHS, so I don't have those pictures right now.  Hopefully I'll do a supplemental post of those photos later.

Regardless of photos - once we arrived at the park, lack of good race organization once again surfaced.  When I walked up with 3 kids and 2 additional adults, there was ... nothing.  No sign, no volunteers directing incoming foot traffic, nothing.  It was totally unclear where check in was taking place.

Leaving the kids to run around the park in their hamburger costumes with my husband and my sister, I took off to find check in and discovered it was taking place in the gazebo itself.  And good grief was it a mess!  I know I had six packets to pick up ... but that should NOT have taken as long as it did.

Favorite question of the day (as the race announcer is on speaker saying that kids run registrations are still being accepted):

Woman wanting to register next to me: "Can I sign up my kids for the run here?"
Staff at check in: *confused look on face* "Uh... I'm not sure.  I don't think so.  Let me check if we're still allowing people to register now."


Regardless of the disorganization, the shirts were pretty cool (if I do say so myself):

With check in complete, and bibs in place, the amount of time we had planned for the morning was just about perfect.  At 10:20, just as we finished taking a group photo, the race announcer started calling kids to line up at the start line.  So, we moseyed that way.

The field of participants for the kids run was around 10-15 kids.  It wasn't huge.  Maybe that small size helped, but whatever the reason - despite the other disorganization on race day, the kids run was quite well put on.

I have to say, I think the kids run organization was actually credit due to race sponsors from Orange Theory in Chanhassen and Ladybug Childcare, though, who provided volunteers to help at the event - not the paid race organizers themselves.  (Orange Theory provided the woman who lead the kids on the run, and Ladybug provided volunteers along the "course" to keep kids on the correct route.)  Volunteers aside, the announcer did a good job of telling kids the "rules of the road" and how to follow the adult leading the race.  Then, after a brief count down, he directed the kids to "GO!".

Of course, my niece and nephew are quite a bit older than my son, so they took off like bats outta hell ... leaving my sister, dressed as the Hamburgular, to chase two crazy fast hamburgers running around the perimeter of Chaska City Square Park.

While they took off, I spent a few seconds trying to convince my own little hamburger to take off running.  I don't know if it was just too many strangers, too much excitement, or what ... but he just wouldn't budge and wanted to be held.

Well?  What's a Hamburgular to do?  With a 30 pound hamburger in arms, and a hus-burger besides me, we started trotting around the park ourselves.  Though I put up the good fight and ran the first half of the race babe-in-arms, eventually my back (and my lack of cardio capacity) started to protest.  A little after the halfway point, my husband and I traded jobs and he took a turn toting a 30 pound burger.

Thankfully, the race course was only about 1/3 of a mile long, so not too much later we were at the finish line.  There, the older kids were all victory dancing that they got finishers medals.  My son ... I don't know if he was equally as impressed:

In addition to the medals, Orange Theory was passing out reusable water bottles filled with water, and every kid that finished also got a inexpensive (pp non woven) zippered and insulated lunch tote with a finisher's certificate inside.

While the kids didn't care much about the lunch tote, I thought it would be nice to have since it was perfectly sized for a 6 pack - heh.  They, meanwhile, were pretty darn excited about their race finisher certificates.

It's the little things that count, right?!

Once things settled at the finish line, all 6 of us circled the vendor booths to see if there was anything else for the kids to do.  While I noticed there were some nice things available, like natural dog treats, reduced cost micro chipping for pets, and even a few handmade art vendors ... there wasn't much interesting to the kids.

Hungry for lunch, we decided to call it and headed back to the car.

And that's the story of how race bib #82 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... being that it's Halloween season, perhaps that will be sooner than you think!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Recipe: Delicious Dinner - Seared Peppercorn Tuna Steaks

A few weeks ago, I was cruising the fresh fish case at the grocery store.  On a whim, I picked out a couple of tuna steaks to take home.

Since my husband is a great cook, I left the rest up to him.  After finding this recipe, he added a few fresh veggie sides, and dinner was served.



Seared Peppercorn Tuna Steaks

  • 2 tuna steaks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • vegetable and starch sides of your choice (recipie not included here)

Season the tuna steaks with salt and cayenne pepper.
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the peppercorns in the mixture until they soften and pop, about 5 minutes. 

Gently place the seasoned tuna in the skillet and cook to desired doneness, 1 1/2 minutes per side for rare.  (I was in the mood for a more well done steak on this day, so my husband added an extra 90 seconds to my cooking time overall).

When plating, be sure to top the steaks with any peppercorns that are in the pan.  You will be surprised by their mild flavor and fun, crunchy texture.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Getting Back Into the Swing ...

Well, it only took me 12+ months post baby, but I'm finally settling back into a fitness routine.  Granted, my routine isn't exactly what it was pre pregnancy, but then again ... neither is my body at this point (nor will it ever likely be again).  And quite honestly, I'm ok with that.

I didn't go into motherhood expecting that everything would be the same post baby.  I knew things would change.  Of course I didn't know exactly how they would change, or to what extent, but I knew that my 15+ races a year and 2-3 times weekly 2-a-day workouts would likely be over.

So what is my current routine now that I'm a mom? 

Well, as much as I hate to admit it ... morning workouts.

Twice a week I wake up at 5 am to hit a strength training class at my gym.  And I know it is working because I've more than tripled my lift capacity in the last 2 months. I mean ... not to brag or anything, but I'm using two 11 lb plates on each side of my bar for the extended squat set ... plus I upped to another 2.5 lbs per side at my last class (11 lb plate x 2 per side + 2.5 lb plate = 24.5 lbs per side x 2 sides + 7.5 lb bar = 56.5 lbs.) 

And I only almost dropped the bar on my head once.


Aside from my two 5 am wake up calls per week, I am officially back into teaching one night a week via a local community education program.  My first class teaching again is actually tonight, and I'm pretty excited for it, especially since I got a great headcount on a first time offering.  So, wish me luck on that!

In addition to lifting and teaching, I am WAY behind in my swim challenge, and of course I cannot admit defeat on that.  That means now I'm holding myself SUPER accountable to a minimum of twice weekly swims of 2500+ meters each.  If I'm lucky, I can squeeze a swim like that in over a work lunch ... but I'm willing to bet money I will be dedicating some serious swim sessions later this fall and winter.

Beyond that, you may notice I didn't mention much about running.  While I do hope to get back into a running schedule of some sort, I've admitted to myself that I'm a mom of a not quite 18 month old, and I only have so much time and energy in one day.  So for now, I'm going to try to get in a run when it works ... and not give myself guilt if it doesn't.

So that's it!  Basically 3 times weekly strength, 3 times weekly cardio, and whatever else might fit in as time allows.

Exciting, huh?!  (*sarcasam*)


Tell me, what's your current workout routine that works for you?  Discuss below!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lake Run 5K 2017 (Three Sea-migos)

Lake Run 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:26/mile

As you know, I have run the Shell Lake "Lake Run" 5K for several years now.  My first run was in 2011 ... followed by another go in 2012.  Then, my first recap was in 2013, followed by more recaps in years 2014, 2015, and 2016.

So you may ask ... after two weeks of procrastinating ... what's with the delay in writing the 2017 recap?

I guess you can already sense my "enthusiasm" for this year's race ... no?

Ok, it's true ... every year that I participate in this race, I have become a little more "meh" about it.  For the last few years I've been trying to figure out what's been bugging me about this race, and this year I think I finally figured it out.  The problem is this: it feels like the race organizers are pushing  towards making this an all day event ... and sorry, a foot race just isn't that.

Here's what I mean (current approximate race day schedule):

5K and 9 miler gun together at 8am.
5K finishers are done at 8:30ish (obviously walkers and slower runners are still coming in, but by 8:30-8:45 you know who the winners are of the majority of your age categories).
So of course ... when do you do your 5K awards ceremony?  Why ... 10:30, of course.

Ok.  Reality time.

Do you really think I'm going to stand around in front of a pole barn type office building, with nothing to do, for 2 hours awaiting an awards ceremony? 

Sorry, no.  I have a toddler with me who barely has the patience to get through the 5K run itself, let alone stand around in a graveled parking area for 2 hours longer.

And, it's not even like there's a playground area for the kids who are waiting for the mini-run (which starts after the 5K and 9 milers are done).  So, I don't know what the point is of trying to force people to hang out at the start line from 7:30ish until well after 11am ...

Yeah ... it's just too much.  And realistically, I wouldn't even wait around that long WITHOUT a kid!

Anyway, here's where I'm at with this race: I highly doubt race day will change.  Realistically, I wish they organized the Lake Run like any other multi distance race, but I get the feeling the organizers WANT you to spend the day out at their offices. 

Pipe dreaming ... if they wanted the race to shake out like most races do, what should happen is this:

Check in time 6:30 - 7:15am (or possibly stay open later for 5K runners)
9 mile gun time 7:15 (estimated finish for faster runners 8:15-8:30)
5K gun time 8:00 (estimated finish for most 5K & 9 mile age placement runners 8:30-9:00)
*** by staging the start times like this, most racers will finish together - and FYI, it's much more fun to cheer for a larger group of finishers rather than a small trickle here or there ***
Tabulate winners for 9 mile & 5K runners around 9am ... WHILE KIDS RUN TAKES PLACE
***again, kids get to finish with adult runners that are still on course, which = more fun***
Awards ceremony by 9:30, at the latest
Everyone leaving by 10am.

Sigh.  Would be nice if they did it this way so I didn't have to miss the awards every year ...

Since this race is not likely to change, I've decided to do is ask myself: why is it that I keep coming back to this race? 

Here's the answer to that question, in three parts.

#1 ... this race is a built in workout on a holiday weekend, where I'm likely to overeat anyway, and could use the extra help.

#2 ... my husband is fairly willing to run this with me, and it's fun to have a family 5K event to do at least once a year anyway.

And new in 2017, reason #3 .... drum roll ... family costume contest!!

So, yeah.  Now you know the REAL REASON why I keep coming back.  Heh.

By the way, I call this costume theme the Three Sea-migos.  You know ... a mermaid, a fish, and a sea captain - AKA, the three amigos of the sea.  (Ok, ok ... I know this is very similar to the theme of my Halloween family costume from 2016, but I haven't used my mermaid running dress much since I got it, and I figured this would be a low budget overall family get-up, so there!)


Ok, let's get on to non complaints.  The above was getting whiny.

Regarding the meat of this race, I don't really have much to say.  Overall, the gun time was fairly prompt, the course was the same as it's been for the last few years, and my performance was what you'd expect from someone who hasn't gone for a run in months. 

To pass the time on course, I helped my son search for race doggies (he doesn't have many words in his vocabulary yet, but dog is one of them, so he enjoys pointing out dogs when we're out and about).  And since I apparently packed a wardrobe malfunction for my husband, as his drawstring on his shorts wasn't working and they kept sliding down, I pushed the stroller the whole run.

Net result: we didn't run terribly fast, but my son stayed entertained and I still managed to burn a little over 400 calories in just over half an hour. 

OK!  I'll take it!

This year, the finish line included banana halves (at least they didn't cut them until you stepped up to the table), and bagels cut into quarters, as well as serve yourself jugs of water and Gatorade.  And the finisher's swag looked like this:

Not the most beautiful of T's, I'll admit.  But like I said above, it is what it is at this race. 

At the end of it all ... we had a fun family morning, I burned some calories, and we were no less for the wear.  In my eyes, that makes for a successful outing ... regardless if we stayed for the awards ceremony or not.  (PS - we also did not win best family costume, which was well earned by a group of two women with 4-5 kids, all dressed as various Scooby Doo characters).


Well!  That's the story of how race bib #81 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... but since I'm hardly in running shape right now, I don't know when another race will be. 

Spoiler alert: don't be surprised if I table things until 2018.  But don't let that be an excuse for you to stop running!  HA!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Flying Vacation 2017 - Stop 5 & Heading Home

Over the last two weeks, I've posted an overview of my recent flying vacation and recapped the first four stops of the trip (stops one & two here, stop three here, and stop four here).  Today, I'm continuing on by recapping the fifth stop of our trip and our final return home.

Thursday, August 10th - Depart Dayton International Airport, Dayton OH
                                        Arrive Dane County Airport, Madison WI
                                        Flight time - about 2 hours 15 minutes
                                        Hotel for 2 nights, Hampton Inn off State Street

I mentioned at the beginning of this recap series that for various reasons, we didn't really have a firm plan on this trip.  That is mostly true.  However, there were two sticking points on this vacation that we definitely wanted to hit - (1) Niagara Falls and (2) a stop back at both my husband's and my alma mater, Madison, WI.

With a quiet final night in Dayton, and one last hot breakfast the next morning, it seemed there was nothing left to do on our overall trip check list except for head to Madison.  So off we went.

Our flight from Dayton to Madison was fairly uneventful, thanks to not needing customs and having a nice clear day weather wise.  While my son was a little antsy, I managed to keep him entertained well enough I guess (it helped that I had picked up a few new things at the Air Force Museum gift shop the day prior, by the way).  Without much ado, we arrived in Madison just in time for ... a birthday lunch for my husband at the infamous Nitty Gritty!

In case you're wondering ... as if this flying vacation didn't have enough of an aviation theme, my son "bought" Dad a celebratory memorial brick at the Oshkosh EAA Airventure's iconic Brown Arch. 

We haven't quite settled on the inscription yet, but it will look something like one of these:

I suppose that means we'll need to head back to Oshkosh again next year for the air show, huh?  Flying vacation 2018 here we come!

Anyway, back on topic with Madison.  After lunch at the Nitty Gritty, and one free glass birthday mug heavier, we headed back to our hotel for the usual toddler nap time.  And then we spent what was left of the day walking around State Street and enjoying  a lovely dinner in the somewhat new rooftop restaurant Fresco, located on top of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

The next morning, and the final full day of our trip, we started off with the usual - hot breakfast included at the hotel (thanks for the stays, Hampton Inn, you've been real ... and if you could extend my husband's status into 2018 due to this blog series I'd appreciate it *wink*).  With the skies looking overcast but the weather claiming no rain ... we left our hotel on foot heading towards Madison's free zoo - Henry Vilas.

Obviously, weather men are paid all too well for being wrong.  Drenched after making it maybe 1/3 of a mile (and roughly a quarter of the way of our walk), I asked my husband to think of a smart hide out to go dry off and wait for the rain to pass.  Reminding me that Union South had been remodeled in the last few years, and we had yet to see it, we stopped by there and had a coffee.

Well, had a coffee after chasing around a toddler for about 20 minutes and needing an energy boost.


Oh, BTW, thanks for all the paper towels, UW.  I suppose I kind of earned them after paying off student debts for the last 10 years.

Finally, it seemed like the majority of the rain/mist had passed so we walked the rest of the way to the zoo.  There, we were rewarded with a fairly decent pick up in weather and even a tid bit of sun.  Not to mention a couple of hours of fun animal viewing ... and a little boy VERY excited for his second ride ever on a carousel.

Knowing I'd have another lunch on the horizon after our zoo trip, the night before I had looked into some possible food options and ended up with my eye on Rockhound Brewery.  Since things went well at the zoo and I knew my son would be patient enough for a meal there, that was our next stop.

Oh, don't worry... while there, we had a little tasting, of course.

And then ... after the last nap time of vacation, we headed over to the Union Terrace to enjoy the lake, some ice cream, and a pontoon ride.  (Since we're alumi association members, in the summer we can partake in a free pontoon ride on Friday afternoons ... might not justify the cost of a membership, but it sure is a fun perk!).

Once we left the lake, we ended the night with dinner at Zandru's on State Street.  Eating there was actually a pretty good deal.  For an early dinner, we split a plate of paella and some happy hour deals - 3 tapas plates for $15 and $5 mules.


The next morning, with the end of vacation hanging on the horizon, we spent a little time roaming campus and shopping for some team apparel.  With the goal of a return flight during nap time, we stretched the morning out by going to see Abe on Bascom and having a slice at Ian's Pizza for lunch.

And then ... sadly, we were on our way home.

Saturday, August 12th - Depart Dane County Airport, Madison WI
                                       Arrive Flying Cloud Airport, Eden Prairie MN
                                       Flight time - about 2 hours

The return flight, or rather return nap, was a success.  Not long after take off, my son was asleep, and a smooth flight helped keep him there for quite some time. 

After about 2 hours of flight time on Saturday, and a total accumulation of 11 or 12 hours total in the plane ... we were home.