Friday, November 21, 2014

Foto Friday

Sloopy (our dog) had a vet appointment yesterday and for the first time I had to take the baby and the dog all by myself.  It was a bit crazy, but manageable.  And, they took a family picture.  How cute!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

WHAT.A.FIASCO!

Dave and I purchased our new iPhone 6 Pluses at the end of September directly from a local AT&T store.  They were having a deal where you could turn in your old iPhone and receive money off your new iPhone.  By doing this we were saving about half off the new phones.  This was a great deal that we could not pass up.  The iPhone 6 Pluses were not available at the store and so we had to order them, being told we would have to pay for them up front and then we would receive a gift card for the return of our old phones (foreshadowing).  We were told they would be available in November or December.  A long time, but it's not like our current phones didn't work.  We could wait.

At the start of October I received an email stating the phones were on schedule to ship between November 7th and 14th.  Cool.  But the start of November came and I didn't receive an email stating the ETA on the phones.  This past Monday while driving back from Chicago we checked the status of the phones and they still said they were to be shipped between the 7th and 14th.  Patience, Meredith.  My head was all screwed up this week and I thought for sure that the 14th was Thursday.  When I still hadn't received an email from AT&T I went onto their website and saw our order had been cancelled.  WTF!!!!

Dave called AT&T.  (He's like my spokesperson.  I'm never calm enough to handle these situations without making it worse.)  They were unable to tell us why exactly our order had been cancelled but we could reorder the phones, still receiving our half off deal, but they wouldn't be ready for another month.  They also gave us another $25 for the hassle we had been through.  I was pissed.  I had waited long enough.  They told us we could check at local stores to see if any of them had them in stock.  We checked and some stores had the 6 Pluses but they weren't the storage size we had initially ordered.  But, our local Apple store had them in stock.  Dave got on the phone and started working his magic.  He's so good at customer service.  He called a local AT&T store, explained the situation, and they allowed us to buy the phones directly from Apple and then return our old phones to them still giving us our half off deal.  Sweet!

So, on Thursday evening we headed up to the mall to get this all worked out.  First we went to the AT&T store to check in and see if anything else was needed to be done before we went to the Apple store.  Nope.  Then we went to Apple.  Wouldn't you know they cut the line off for purchasing the phones 5 minutes before we got there?  Son of a bitch!  The mall was still two hours from closing!  At this point I was too angry to deal with stupid salespeople, so Anderson and I went down to the play place.  Dave started working his magic again.  First we consulted AT&T to make sure we could still do this dance tomorrow or a later date.  Then he went back to Apple to order the phones so they would be ready on Friday.  This time he spoke with a different salesperson who said that MAYBE if we ordered the phones that evening that they might be ready by the time the store closed.  So we waited.  We took Anderson to the food court and got him some dinner.  It was after his bedtime, he hadn't eaten, and we were still waiting.  Nine o'clock came and went.  The mall closed.  Our phones were not ready.  We were headed home empty handed.

Not even an hour later we received the email notification that our phones were ready.  Didn't matter.  We were waiting another day.  Friday after work, still with a sick baby, still without a babysitter, we headed back to the mall.  Our phones were ready, we set them up, went to the AT&T store and got our gift cards, and we were out of the mall in 20 minutes.  A big ol' mess but in the end we got what we wanted for the price we wanted.

Here's what happened.  The original AT&T salesperson was incorrect.  We were not charged up front for the new phones.  Our credit cards were charged when the order shipped.  Except, our bank had changed our credit cards in October and the credit card the order was under was our old one.  Instead of alerting us and asking for a new credit card number, AT&T just cancelled our order without warning and without notification.  Poor customer service, but in the end, I think we won.

Have you ever had a nightmare customer service/buying experience?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Foto Friday

Mr. Independent

Sadly, right after this picture was taken, he put down the spoon and started eating the mashed potatoes with his hands.  Utensils: It's a work in progress.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pictures from the Naperville Marathon

Somehow there were only finisher pictures captured of me last Sunday.  Or at least, so far, those are the only I could find.  I'll keep looking through the lost and found. 

So here's my best finish line picture.  Gosh, this picture makes me look chunky.  (Yes I was wearing a water belt that squeezes the hell out of you, but no excuse!)  I've got some work to do this winter. 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy Anniversary!!!

It's hard to believe today is the 10th anniversary of this blog.  TEN y'all!!!  My very first post was written about how I got started in running and a basic introduction of myself.  In that time I've written something crazy, like, 1600 more posts, run about a million more races, introduced the husband to running and triathlon, oh and had a baby.  I know there are lots of people who read this blog and a few who comment - thank you for following my journey.  Here's to the next 10 years.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Naperville Marathon 2014

I don't know what to say about this race.  I executed a great race.  I had the kind of race people dream about.  I ran every step - didn't walk once.  I ran tangents.  I tucked in behind people in the wind.  I paced very well.  Unfortunately, though, I came up short of my goal.  It has left me sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed, and motivated.

Race morning started well.  I woke up before my alarm; I got myself ready; I ate a small, nervous breakfast; and we were out the door early.  We found a parking spot close to the start/finish and we were there in plenty of time for me to use the bathroom twice, get off my sweats, and spend very little time cold in the corral.  I lined up around the 3:55 pace group as I like to start slow and then we were off.


I got into my race plan early - start slow, stay relaxed, move into race pace, drink/eat.  I didn't feel really great, but I was doing okay.  The miles were not ticking off quickly but I didn't feel really panicky either.  My low point of the race actually came early, around mile 9, when I thought about dropping out at the half, but I got my head back in the game quickly when I saw Amanda at mile 11 and Dave at mile 13.

Mile 1: 8:59
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:25
Mile 4: 8:12
Mile 5: 8:16
Mile 6: 8:11
Mile 7: 8:17
Mile 8: 8:20
Mile 9: 8:18
Mile 10: 8:24
Mile 11: 8:15
Mile 12: 8:18
Mile 13: 8:23

After the half marathoners turned off I noticed how windy it was.  I found a guy running the pace I wanted and shadowed him like I was his Siamese twin.  I really pissed him off.  At one point he looked at me and said something (I didn't hear it) and all I said was "Sorry.  I'm using you to block the wind."  Really I was unapologetic.  This was my race.  He must have felt like I was pushing him as he dropped off the pace.

Mile 14: 8:18
Mile 15: 8:13

Then I saw Amanda again.  She let me know the 3:40 group was right ahead of me and that I needed to move up to the next group to block the wind.  I caught them and kept behind them for the next two miles.

Mile 16: 8:31
Mile 17: 8:33

But, they weren't running fast enough for my goals, so I let them go.  And for the rest of the race I was in no-man's land.  I was feeling strong and really pumping but the paces just weren't falling.  I would try to use others to block the wind but I just couldn't find any consistent runners.  I kept looking for the 3:40 pace group as I knew if I could just get up to them I could hang on and use them.  Unfortunately though, I never saw them.

Mile 18: 8:20
Mile 19: 8:25
Mile 20: 8:27
Mile 21: 8:24

In the later miles, I was getting tired and I wanted to walk, but I was so close, SO DAMN CLOSE to hitting my goals.  I kept saying, "NO!  ONE MORE MILE!!!"  I saw Dave at mile 22 and told him it was going to be close.

Mile 22: 8:27
Mile 23: 8:44
Mile 24: 8:30

And at some point I knew I wasn't going to get that 3:40.  I was at peace with it.  I had run Boston several times before and really I just wanted to go in 2016 to see Andrea and Danielle.  There are other races; there are other goals.

Mile 25: 8:43
Mile 26: 8:39


Finally, I made the last turn, headed uphill (cruel joke) and dashed to the finish line.

Total time: 3:43:08
Place: 9/101 in my age group.

I'm not going to lie, I cried after the race.  I had a GREAT race and just came up short.  Looking back there isn't a whole lot that could have been done differently during the race.  Sure, there are many things that could have been done differently with my training and nutrition, but what is done is done.  And IF I decided to do another marathon in the spring I will certainly try a little harder with those pre-race items.  For now, I don't know what the next planning stages will bring.  I was not intending to run a marathon in 2015.  I have other goals and races I wanted to run.  I will admit, though, that I'm hungry to get back to my marathoning form.  I'm better than a 3:43 and I want to prove that to myself.  These next few weeks I'm going to rest, enjoy the holidays, and spend time with my favorite little boy. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Things I Love...My Apera Backpack

I admit it.  I'm a bag whore.  I love purses and backpacks and satchels and whatnot.  I used to buy lots, but honestly, I don't carry any of them.  So now I don't waste my money.  I now just carry my cell phone and a credit card.  For the last 5ish years I've been using a Saucony backpack as my running/gym bag.  It was alright.  It didn't have all the compartments I would have liked - like a water bottle holder, but it made do.  For some time, though, it's been falling apart.  One of the should straps came unsewn and the interior lining was ripping out.  It was time for a new backpack.

I don't like to spend a lot of money, on anything, but I had been admiring Apera and their line of backpacks for some time.  I debated and debated and debated and finally I just bought it.  I chose the Active Pack as it had shoe compartments, water bottle compartments, a place for my phone, a separate area for wet clothes, and a smaller bag included for wet swimsuits.  This bag was made for me.


When the delivery finally arrived at my house, however, they had sent me the wrong pack.  I was disappointed.  I tweeted them and sent them an email and they immediately responded.  They sent me a label to use for free shipping and sent me the correct pack before I had even sent the incorrect one back.  Their customer service was amazing!

Now I am in love with this backpack.  It's perfect.  It's compact but holds everything.  I regularly hold my swimming and running clothes at the same time in there.  In addition, I use the iPad compartment to hold diapers and wipes which keeps me from having to carry two bags to the gym.  I love having a separate compartment for my phone and keys at the top of the bag.  I use the shoe compartments and the water bottle holds simultaneously and it does not add volume to the bag.  And I LOVE the separate wet clothes bag.  I use it all the time for my swimsuits and/or sweating running shirts. 

This bag is terrific.  I love it.  I hope it lasts forever!