Friday, October 31, 2014

Foto Friday - Halloween Edition

Last night was trick-or-treating in our community.  Being that our neighborhood is only 12 or 14 houses, the neighborhood coordinates to get all kids together at once, exchange candy, take a group picture (didn't happen), and go together to the rest of the houses without kids.  This is all done before the "official" start time of beggar's night so the kids can go to other neighborhoods with their friends and family.  We also learned a lesson in our first Halloween at the new house: a regular bag of candy just will not do.  Because there are so few kids the neighbors go way out with prepared bags and giant candy.  We had just bought a bag and split it among the kids.  Next year we will be better prepared. 

After the neighborhood festivities, we went and surprised our old neighbors and also spied checked out our old house (they ripped out all of our carpet!!!).  Finally we ended the evening in my parents' neighborhood hitting up 6 or 8 houses.  Anderson got a ton of candy (that Dave and I will be eating) and looked super adorable in his costume.

Yes, I already owned the crab hat.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Long October

It's been a long and sad October for my family. 

At the beginning of the month my parents' neighbor, Sue, passed away after a short battle with Leukemia.  Sue has been our neighbor since we moved there 30+ years ago.  Sue was like a second mother to my sister and me.  She was our regular babysitter.  I remember good times of eating spaghetti-os, playing with all her cats, and having the bajeebers scared out of me watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Walking past her house tonight while trick-or-treating with Anderson made me sad.  Her funeral is this weekend.  She will be missed greatly by my family.

Just two weeks ago we lost my paternal grandmother.  My grandparents live in Kentucky, about 5-6 hours from home, so we don't get to see them very often.  Therefore, I am not as close with my paternal grandparents as I was with my maternal grandparents who just lived a few miles from us and we saw all the time.  Saying goodbye, however, was not easy.  The funeral was filled with tears and great stories.  Mostly, I'll miss my grandmother's laugh.  She had a great laugh.

Yesterday, two years to the day that my beloved grandmother left us, my uncle passed away.  It wasn't unexpected; he has been sick for quite a while.  My mom and her sister are very close and I spent a lot of my childhood with my aunt and uncle.  They are big sports fans.  They used to take me to many Cincinnati Reds games when I was really young.  Then in high school they would take me to the summer league basketball games where I got to see many college and professional basketball players play on small high school courts.  The last several years my aunt and uncle had a seat license at the Schottenstein Center and would invite us to many Ohio State events including all of the women's basketball games.  We will say our final goodbyes this weekend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Unexpected Monday

I texted my mom early yesterday hoping they were or had gotten home from vacation early so that I might get an hour to grocery shop on my own.  Instead we had a fantastic day at the pumpkin patch.  We went to Pigeon Roost Farm in Hebron, which is about a 30 minute drive from our house.  This place was much more than just a pumpkin patch (in fact, we didn't even come home with a pumpkin), it was a giant farming playground!  There were slides and farm animals and farm equipment and mazes and all kinds of things.  Anderson's favorite thing was a covered wagon that was filled with corn kernels (instead of sand).  He played in there for at least a half hour until I had to physically remove him from it.  After our time on the farm we enjoyed a great lunch at Clay's Cafe also in Hebron complete with ice cream.

Here's a few of the pictures from the day.

This was like a giant hamster wheel.  I was terrible at it and Anderson hated it.

Yes, my child has Hand, Foot, and Mouth.  We've been to the doctor already.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Good Job, Columbus Marathon Peeps!

I had my half marathon medal within a week of the race.  It arrived in the mail last Friday.  Good job, Columbus Marathon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Foto Friday

As I mentioned yesterday, we attended the Creepside Festival last night.  Our little guy dressed in his Halloween costume - a crab or a lobster.  Whatever.  He was cute.  Expect more Halloween costume pictures next week.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

Last night we went to the Creepside Festival at Creekside in Gahanna.  (Pictures tomorrow for Foto Friday.)  Basically, it was a community-wide trick-or-treat and Halloween festival.  It was nuts.  There were people everywhere!  We waited in line for trick-or-treating for a good hour for just a few pieces of candy.  And my boy doesn't even eat candy!  I noticed that most vendors were giving out Tootsie Rolls.  Not bad, but not a great candy either.  My favorite Halloween candy is probably Reece's Cups.

So, what's your favorite Halloween candy to steal from your kids?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pictures from the Half Marathon

Dave was unable to get any pictures of me as he had the baby and didn't know where the new course went to be able to get in any position to get any action shots.  So, I "borrowed" a few from the official photographer.

Does this face say, "I'm squeezing my buns so I don't poop on myself"?  You can read about that here.

I'm going to be completely honest here.  It's my blog and I can.  I hate this picture.  This picture makes me mad.  This picture screams, "I'm 10 pounds overweight; I'm not even trying to lose the baby weight; I am never going to be the runner I once was or should be."  It's just gross.  It makes me sick.  I want to try harder.  I've got to try harder.

I wish I had more pictures from this race.  I wish I had more flattering pictures.  I wish I felt better during this race and then maybe I would have looked a little better.  :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Columbus Half Marathon 2014


Well, that was a real shit show.


I'm starting to think the Columbus Half Marathon hates my guts (pun intended).  Last year we had problems sitting in traffic and this year was a whole other mess.

We left the house with about an hour and a half before the race start and made it downtown in plenty of time.  With forty minutes left until the start of the race I got into a port-a-john line.  The line was long but having done this and other major races, I knew these lines moved fast.  Except it didn't.  I noticed that our line was merging with another line.  Crap.  Literally.  So, with 15 minutes left until race start I jumped out of line, gave Dave all of my warm clothes, and got into another line.  Hey, I was wearing a chip.  I'd be okay.  I HAD to go.  And with three people in front of me in line, the gun went off for my wave.  I was in corral A, hoping to run a fast half marathon, and I had missed the start.  I got my business done and took a "warm up" run to the corrals.  Luckily, they had a gap open for the front waves, and I was escorted into the correct corral. 

Except now I was in the back of where I wanted to be and no one was running my pace.  Sure, I like to start slow and work into my pace, but this was ridiculous.  Columbus Marathon and Half have gotten huge and there was nowhere for me to get around anybody.  Short of me pushing people (and I did some), I wasn't moving up. 

Mile 1 - 8:26
Mile 2 - 8:07
Mile 3 - 7:57

Now I was starting to get things going and I was feeling great.  I was passing people all over the place.  The average pace was dropping and I had a good feeling about this race.

Mile 4 - 8:01
Mile 5 - 7:46
Mile 6 - 7:38

Then something happened.  My stomach wasn't bothering me.  I mean, I wasn't crampy, I wasn't feeling sick, my stomach wasn't doing flip flops, but I needed to find a port-a-john and quickly.  The buns were locked and loaded.  Luckily I found one and was able to do my business quickly.

Mile 7 - 8:38

And then I was back and moving again.

Mile 8 - 7:53

It was short lived, though.  My fire buns were not cooperating and I was running squeezing it in.  I had to stop again.

Mile 9 - 8:38

I pride myself on being the fastest pooper in the midwest (self professed) and it was at least doing me good in this race.

Mile 10 - 7:38

One pit stop during a race is okay if necessary, two is ridiculous and yet, I needed a third one.  Good grief.  Unfortunately, as I swung by my third port-a-john of this race, some dude jumped in right in front of me.  He took a long time too (or what seemed like a long time).  I literally yelled from outside the bathroom "HURRY UP!"

Mile 11 - 9:20

At this point I didn't care what was going on back there.  There were only two miles left and I was going to book it to the end with no more stops.  I ran some of my fastest miles of the race in those last two miles.

Mile 12 - 7:43
Mile 13 - 7:24
Last 0.1 - 7:17 pace

Overall time: 1:46:49

Then to finish this whole mess off, there were no medals at the finish line.  I was disappointed until I read the reason behind it.  I have now requested my medal be sent to me.

If you look at my time, for most runners, this is a great time.  And honestly, it's a little humorous that I ran that time with all that happened.  But I am a little disappointed.  Between the bathroom stops and starting in the back, I probably wasted 4-5 minutes during this race.  I have been running for years.  I love the half marathon.  I'm so tired of running in the 1:40s.  I'm better than that.  This race was supposed to be a great race. 

So, what the heck was going on with my stomach?  Well, it could have been the chili I had for dinner the night before.  Sure, not an ideal pre-race meal, but we were hanging out with friends at their house and they already had it in the Crock Pot when we got there.  I couldn't say no.  It could have been the fact that I had been sick all week.  I had been fighting a pretty bad cold (Ebola?) since Tuesday and my body was full of snot and cold medicine.  Lastly, maybe it was stress.  My paternal grandmother passed away last Wednesday and we were leaving immediately after the race for a 5 hour trip down to Kentucky for her showing later that evening and funeral Monday morning.  It could have been any of these reasons.  It could have been all of these.  It could have been none.  All I know is I had a "crappy" race and I'm hoping in three weeks to have a much better marathon.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Foto Friday

Y'all, I have been waiting so impatiently to show some of these pictures!!!

When we were in Montana I hired Bethanne from Marianne Wiest Photography to take our family pictures.  It wasn't the easy session with a baby.  He wanted to play in the rocks and splash in the water and because we were in a public place, there were dogs and people who were distracting.  But Bethanne did an amazing job and the pictures were beautiful.  Here's a few of my favorites.

Please do not steal these images.  They don't belong to you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I love fast chicks!  Last weekend was such a great weekend of stalking fast women runners and triathletes.  (Nope, I personally do not know any of these ladies, but I do follow/stalk them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blogs.)  Let's review:

Rachel ran a 3:00 marathon in Chicago!  I got to see her run at the 2009 Nike Women's Marathon.  She is so tall!  And so fast!!!

Angela came oh so close to her Olympic Trial qualifying time in Chicago.  These chicks are FAST!!!

Sonja finished second (freakin' SECOND!!!) in her age group at the Ironman World Championships.

Katie ran an Olympic Qualifying 2:41 and finished second at the Hartford Marathon.

Danielle got her Boston Qualifying time at the Chicago Marathon.

And finally, a special shout-out to my girl Amanda who FREAKIN' WON the Ironman 70.3 World Championship (SHE'S A WORLD CHAMPION!!!) a few weeks ago.

Congratulations all!  You inspire me!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Worth The Money

In addition to car shopping this past weekend, we were also mattress shopping.  Our mattress is older than our marriage.  I bought it when I moved into my first solo apartment, about 14 years ago.  It has gone through its eight years of life and then some.  It is soooo uncomfortable.  I think I would sleep better on the floor.  I have been asking for a new mattress for ages but they're so darn expensive, so we never really shopped.  Recently though, I've been complaining, begging.  I sleep horribly.  Maybe it's because I nap during the day; maybe I nap during the day because I can't sleep at night.  I don't know, but I knew it was time to start shopping. 

Dave, of course, started his shopping online.  Shopping with Dave is a very tedious process, for which I have zero patience.  He had found a place called Bed in a Box which had great reviews and inexpensive mattresses.  So, we headed to two local stores to try out different types of beds to determine which type we should order.  At the first store we tried out 5 or 6 different mattresses, from coils to posturpedic.  There was one we both laid down on and were like "woah!"  "This is the most comfortable mattress I've ever laid on."  Then we went across the street to another mattress shop and tried out three more mattresses.  It was a little like Goldilocks: one was too hard, one was too soft, and the other was just okay.  We went back across the street and tried out a few more mattresses and then made a quick decision.  We got a good deal on a king, yes a GIANT KING, bed and bought it straight away.  Then we had to buy a new mattress pad, new, very soft sheets, and a new bed frame as ours did not expand to a king. 

You spend a third of your day in bed.  For me, it may be a little more than a third; I love to sleep.  It's worth it to spend the money to get exactly what you want when it comes to bedding.  Our mattress gets delivered on Friday and I CANNOT WAIT to sleep on it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week in Review

It was sorta a crap week.  Truth be told, I've been battling some bad shin splints/tendonitis.  It's been so bad that there are nights where it hurts to sleep.  So, I took a step back this week and rested.  I iced, I stretched, I strengthened, and hopefully I will be going into the last big week of the training cycle feeling a little better.

I only did four workouts this week:

Swim - 1800 yards
Bike - 5.62 miles
Run - 11.25 miles

I did one 6.25 mile run on the treadmill which included the middle 27-1/2 minutes at a steady state of 8:30 pace.  The other run was a 5 miler outside that hurt so badly. 

It's been frustrating that the last two years have been plagued with shin splits/tendonitis.  I know my body shape and weight are not the same as pre-baby.  It's been frustrating for me, but it is what it is.  But, it affects my running.  I'm not as stable as I was and I don't have muscles where I once did.  I have always struggled with higher mileage (40+ miles) and this training cycle has been no different.  There's so many miles (and they're even tougher to do with a little one to work around) that often the strength routines go by the wayside.  Life balance is difficult, and I'm trying, and each day gets a little easier.  This has felt like a really long training cycle.  As with all marathon training, I'm ready for it to be over.  I'm ready for a break and I'm ready to work on new goals.  Hold on Meredith!  Only a few weeks to go.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Test Drive From Hell

I was able to do it.  I was able to talk the husband into at least looking at and test driving new cars.  Earlier this week we checked out the Honda CR-V (loved) and the Subaru Forester and Outback (loved).  Then earlier today we did a test drive of a Audi Q3 (beautiful, can't really afford).  All of these experiences were great.  We did not receive a sales pitch, the sales person let us test drive the cars by ourselves, we received great information, and overall had a great first impression.

Then this afternoon we went to a local Hyundai dealership.  We should have walked away right from the start.

As we took a collective deep breath and mustered the courage to get out of our car, we were met by a sales person barely outside of our car.  We were hoping to look around, get our bearings, and then ask for help, but instead we were ushered directly into his cubicle where he wanted to know why we were shopping, what we were looking for, what we wanted for our trade in (we didn't even bring the car with us), and what price we were looking to spend.  Woah, woah, woah!  We are just getting started.  We just wanted to look at and test drive the car.  Then we were escorted out to the two cars we were interested in: the Tuscon and the Santa Fe.  He showed us every minute detail of each car and then went on our test drive with us.  We only got to drive maybe two miles of city traffic (I would have liked to take it on the freeway and felt the pick-up of it) and he demonstrated their "On-Star" feature, which was dumb.  Something we would (a) never pay for and (b) never use.  Then once we returned from our short test drive he asked us no less than three times what he could do to drive away in one of the cars today.  Well, right from the start we told you we were just starting to look.  And, MAKE US AN OFFER!  We're in a position of power.  We have a perfectly working, low mileage vehicle that we do not have to get rid of.  Make us an offer we can't refuse.

The sad part is, we really liked the car.  We hated the dealership and the sales person, though, which makes us have to walk away for now.  There is another Hyundai dealership in town but I had such a HORRIBLE experience with them with one of my previous cars that I absolutely REFUSE to work with them again.  There's another location for this same dealership further away from us that I guess we can check out.  I don't know.  I just rubbed me the wrong way.

Do sales people actually believe this high pressure sales stuff actually works?
What's the worst sales experience you've ever had?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foto Friday

Today I received our beautiful pictures we had professional taken while we were vacationing in Montana, but I'm going to keep you all in suspense for another week for those.  Today, I'm showing you pictures from Anderson's gymnastics class.  Yes Anderson takes gymnastics.  I think I swore to myself that no child of mine would take gymnastics, but well, whatever.  He loves it too!  And what does a 1 year do at gymnastics?  It's really all about motor skills.  He "jumps" on the trampoline, learns to grip things like a bar or a rope, walks across the balance beam, climbs under and over obstacles, and learns moves like forward rolls and cartwheels. 

"Jumping" on the trampoline.  He's too small yet to jump but he does know how to go up and down on his toes and jump-like.

Climbing in and out of the foam block pit.  Each weeks he gets a little braver with this one.  And it develops great core muscles.

Anderson always uses the wedge mats like slides.  At the end of this mat was also a rope he was playing with.

Climbing through the tunnel.  The kids loves tunnels.  He does this at storytime at the library too.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

October Stitch Fix

Unfortunately, this is going to be my last Stitch Fix for a while.  It's a little on the pricey side, especially for a stay-at-home mom.  I've got enough clothes to last me a lifetime (thank you sample sales).  And I certainly have enough good pieces to mix and match a good wardrobe.

Here's what I received this month:

Black purse: This sucker was HUGE!  My gym bag and my diaper bag are smaller than this.  Don't get me wrong, I love purses, but really I only carry my cell phone with me.  If I'm carrying a purse it is tiny and is cross body so I don't even know I'm carrying it.  Obviously, I sent this back.

Blue polka-dot dress:  Yes, they already sent me a blue polka-dot dress, but this one was too gorgeous to send back.  It's a thick wool and fits beautifully.  I have no idea if I'll wear it on a regular basis, but I love it!

Blue sweater: Um no.  To me, this is just ugly.  It fit ugly.  Looks like something my mom or grandmother would wear.  I sent this back.

Black skinny jeans: These were a tad-bit short (or maybe that's where skinny jeans are supposed to hit), but they fit otherwise like a glove.  They're going to look awesome with my black boots this winter.

Burgundy blouse: Cute.  Fits well.  It's a keeper.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I want a new car

I know you all are reading this blog.  I've seen the stats.  Now I need your help and comments.

I want a new car.

The problem is, the husband is not exactly on board.  At all. 

We currently own a 2004 Honda Element in only 80,000 miles on it.  And it is paid off.  This car has been a great utility vehicle for us.  We used it to haul the photo booth around for five years.  We have used it for all our triathlon gear including throwing the bikes in the back of it.  And we have used it as a way to carry all kinds of stuff from home improvement stores for projects at our previous and new house.  Now that we have a baby, however, it is proving to be a difficult family car.  First of all, it has those stupid suicide doors (the back door hinges at the back) which are impossible to open in any parking lot.  We still have the baby sitting backwards in his car seat so to get him in his car seat we have to literally climb into the car with him.  Even if we turned the car seat around, I still think we'd have to climb in with him as the seats are so high that there is no way either of us could just reach into the car to buckle him in.  Because the height of the seats, it could be a very long time before Anderson could climb into his own car seat.  The Element is quite large which makes it great for using it as a truck, however, it only sits four people.  This means even simple trips to the ice cream shoppe with my parents cannot be done in this car and our little car (Toyota Prius) is a tight squeeze for five people.  Taking two cars to any short trip to the ice cream shoppe or wherever is just ridiculous.  Finally, the Element has ZERO luxury to it.  It's like driving a tank.  And frankly, I'm over it.

I've started floating the idea of a small SUV like a Honda CR-V or a Hyundai Tuscon to the husband.  It would be a much better family car with a little bit of luxury that would feel like driving a car and would get better gas mileage.  The husband is not really excited at this idea.  Why would he?  We have a perfectly good working car that has very little mileage on it and no car payment.  Our other car is also ten years old with 120,000 miles on it and no car payment.  We haven't had a car payment for years.  Why would we start now?  I get it.  I really do.  But, how long do we plan on keeping these cars, especially for a car that doesn't really work for us anymore?  We drive probably 5 miles a day (literally).  At this rate our cars will never wear out.  We may have these cars forever.  He may be okay with that.  I am not.  I want a new car.

I feel like the only option I have is to find a way to come up with all the funds and pay for this car with cash.  I would say, right now, I have about half the expense.  Coming up with the rest of it is going to be quite difficult considering I don't work.  Plus, we have very little expenses as it is.  We don't have a water bill, we don't have a gas bill, we don't have a sewer bill, we don't have car payments.  Basically we pay for our mortgage, contribute to our IRAs, have cable, cell phones, and trash collection.  And occasionally we have someone fertilize the lawn.  My latest ideas to save a few bucks are to cancel our Netflix subscription which we NEVER use.  And I mean never!  I also am going to cancel my Stitch Fix delivery as $200 a month on clothes is ridiculous for a stay-at-home mom.  I am also an avid coupon clipper (although not one of those freaks filling up carts of junk they'll never use even though they're getting it for free - yes I'm talking to you weirdo behind me in line last night at the grocery store).

So here's where you come in.

What's a good way to save and/or make money?
What small SUVs should I be looking into?
Help me!  Help me!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

September Totals

Yeah, yeah.  I'm a little behind in posting my September totals.  Some weeks just get away from me.

I raced every weekend in September - I walked a 10K with my mom and sister, I ran a 5K for fun-ish, I ran a marathon I wasn't supposed to, and I won a 10K.  I also did some training in between those races.  Here's what was going on in September:

Swim - 2300 yards
Bike - 13.95 miles
Run - 120.62 miles
Strength - 0.5 hours
Trips to the YMCA - 15
Cost per Visit - $5.69

I really thought my miles would be more, but I basically took the week off after the marathon and the first week of the month was quite a dud too.  I do just fine on a low mileage plan, but sometimes I wonder how much better a high mileage plan might be.  It's too late to find out for this training cycle.  For now, it's on to October!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Second 20 Miler

My first 20 miler in this training cycle was the Air Force Marathon.  You can read the race recap here.

This past Saturday night my parents graciously watched the baby overnight so Dave and I could have a date night and then Dave could join me on my second 20 miler (riding his bike/providing support).  The plan was a 10 mile warm up (yes you read that right - TEN MILES!!), a couple miles of building, some miles at race pace, a few miles faster than marathon race pace, and then a cool down. 

I started off pretty well with the first 10 miles at an 8:45 average pace.  It was windy and cold, which is perfect weather for me, but I was struggling to get my pace down to what I thought it should be.  My build miles were at 8:31.  My race pace miles were an 8:24 pace.  I believe I need an 8:23 pace to get that elusive 3:40 Boston qualifying time.  Note, I wore a Garmin but did all of this pacing by feel.  Being able to "feel" an 8:24 is pretty darn close to race pace.  The faster miles were at an 8:02 pace.  I felt great during those miles, although, I'm not sure I could have managed that pace for a long, extended period of time - i.e. 20 freakin' miles!  Finally, my cool down miles were at an 8:45 pace. 

Overall, this 20 miler went great, albeit, not as fast as I would have liked.  One more and then it's time to fly!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Week in Review

Planned: 30-60 minute spin and a short 15 minute jog
Actual: 2.16 mile run before the sun even came up and a 30 minute trainer spin right before Anderson went to bed.  Plus I did 3 rounds of 21 reps cleans at 20 pounds and 7 dips off the weight bench.  I love Mondays!!!

Planned: 50 minute easy run; 30 minute strength
Actual: Easy treadmill run - 5.3 miles

Planned: 45 minutes of cross training
Actual: 2500 yard continuous swim.  The gentleman in the lane beside me even said I had a great rhythm and pace.  Nice!

Planned: 1 hour hill run with long 8 minute incline intervals done at race pace; 20 minute run later in the day
Actual: One of the hardest workouts I have ever done.  I was even sweating from my legs!  I was only able to muster about 8:30 paces at 3-4% incline for the uphills.  7 miles total.  Second 20 minute run later in the day of 2.15 miles.

Rest day!!!

Planned: 45-60 minute easy run; 30 minutes of core
Actual: I had breakfast with my friends.

Planned: 20 mile run with last 6 miles at race pace and faster
Actual: Nailed it!!!  I will blog about it tomorrow.

Swim - 2500 yards
Bike - 5.56 miles
Run - 36.61 miles
Strength - 0.25 hours