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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloweens past

2010--Musicians and Sweeney Todd
105_5623I've already posted this picture, but I wanted to include it in the retrospective "through the years" edition.  :)

A. and D. are dressed as characters from Sweeney Todd.  Jeff is from ZZ Top (his "guitar" is mounted on a thing that lets it spin around), J. is Michael Jackson from Thriller, and N is, of course, Gene Simmons.  As a side note, his boots are made from paper mache on a wooden platform and each weighed 7.5 pounds.  He and Jeff made them.  The chain is part of a dog leash. :)

For these costumes, I made my belt, J's costume, and N's vest.  The Michael Jackson costume and Gene Simmons vest are both made from "pleather"-ish upholstery material.  My pink "skirt" is actually part of a bedskirt.

2009--The Addams Family (da da da dum )
104_8508My niece K. came as Wednesday, Jeff and I are Gomez and Morticia, N. is Uncle Fester, D. is Pugsley, and J. is Cousin Itt. 

This is one of my favorite family costumes because I had very little sewing to do.  The only costume I made was J's Cousin Itt.  A lot of yarn died to make that "hair"...and he only wore the costume for long enough to get the pictures.  It was hot and uncomfortable, and he hated it.  But he fit with the theme, and then he got to pick one of his myriad other costumes.

My dress (which is beautiful...and actually sleeveless...I just tucked some sheer black material around it) came from Goodwill, as did N's coat.  Jeff's suit was a costume he found cheap somewhere, and D's shirt came from our "stock supply". 

2008--A whole new world...
Halloween party 2008 324I loved these costumes!  D was Aladdin, I was Jasmine, Jeff was the Genie, N. was Jafar, and J was Raja. 

I made my costume and D's.  We had to dye a turtleneck for Jeff's costume, but he either had those clothes or found them at a thrift store.  N's costume was easy...just a robe we had in our stock of Halloween goodies and a piece of black fabric wrapped around his head.  Jeff found J's tiger costume at a thrift store.

If you look closely, you can see that the little triangles where you're supposed to match up the collar for the vest are still on D's vest.  This type of thing is Halloween hallmark #1:  I work and make myself crazy to make costumes  just right (when good enough would do fine), and then at the end say screw it had just throw whatever else together.  And I shouldn't say just "I".  I'm the one who sews, but Jeff does a lot to get stuff together for the costumes, too.

You would think it's so much cheaper to make costumes instead of buying them, but it's not.  This was actually one of the cheaper years...until I put the ribbon and beading onto my top.  Halloween hallmark #2...poor priorities.  I mean...we wear these for maybe an evening.  Often, we take them off shortly after pictures.  Is it really worth the sewing time?  Is it really necessary to fancy up the top for 15 minutes worth of wear?  At the time, it certainly seems like it.

2007--Royal Family
The royal family
I made N's knight costume, Jeff's robe, D's jester costume (I think without a pattern even), and J's dragon costume.  The dragon costume had actually been D's quite a few years ago (obviously...look at him now!), and J fell in love with it.  So, we build the family costumes around the dragon.

My dress and the rest of Jeff's costume were store-bought.  Again, noting the details, you can see that Jeff's boots aren't finished.  N has a pair, too, but they're harder to see.  I ran out of time and we had to just pin them on.  I had planned to finish them up later.  I'm still planning to.  :)
2006--We're off to see the Wizard!
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J loved The Wizard of Oz that year.  I think he watched it about a hundred times.  And he so wanted to be a flying monkey. 

My mom came as the Wicked Witch of the West (completed with striped socks), Jeff was the Cowardly Lion, I was Glynda the Good Witch, niece K was Dorothy, D. was the Scarecrow, N. was the Tin Man, and J was the flying monkey.

I made Jeff, J, and D's costumes.  I also made my Dorothy costume.  Yes, I realize I'm wearing the Good Witch costume.  That's because I put on my Dorothy costume and realized I looked like fat milkmaid Dorothy.  So we made a last minute switch: K wore my SIL(aka Skinny Bitch)'s Dorothy costume, and I wore an old bridesmaid dress.

Halloween hallmark #3: It doesn't matter how cute the costume is; I am not going to look like that character.   One day I'll remember this and not be disappointed when I get dressed up, only to look like Kate, in a costume.

2005--Bit of a mishmash.
100_8725D. wanted to be a mime.  Easy, easy costume.  You might note that the shirt he's wearing here is the same shirt he wears in 2009 as Pugsley.  All I did for his costume is sew a red pom pom to a beret.  And paint his face. 

N. was Horus, the Egyptian (?) god of...something.  He had to make the head for a school project.  I'm sure you can imagine how long he left this costume on!

J's little devil costume was borrowed from my sister-in-law (not SB, but that could be her nickname as well).  I made the Cleopatra costume.  Jeff and his dad made his "leather" armor thing, and Jeff also fashioned his helmet out of cardboard, wood, foil, and gold spray paint.  I think his white dress and cape were things we already owned.

The Cleopatra dress was (is) beautiful.  Nice fabric, fairly well made.  It wasn't cheap but has been worn by friends of mine several times since I wore it, so at least someone is getting use out of it.

2004--Giddyup!
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This year, too, was before we had a whole-family theme going.  D's magician costume was super easy.  All things we already owned (who doesn't have a black top hat lying around?). 

Jeff and his dad made the vest/chaps.  N's uniform is an old one of my brother's (I think)...that uniform has made several appearances on different family members over the years!  The only thing I made for this year was my Indian costume.  Another costume made expensive by the trim.  I think it looks pretty good in the front, but the v's of ribbon on the skirt don't match up quite right in back.  This is another costume that has made the rounds of my friends.
2002--Beetlejuice
Jeff-Beetlejuice 2002
Jeff came as Beetlejuice, and I came as Cruella de Vil.  This was before our digital camera, and I'm not sure where the other pictures are. 

His costume is a lovely white polyester suit he found at Goodwill.  He made the stripes with electrical tape.  It looked fantastic!  He had them so evenly spaced.

We were a very well-coordinated couple, as we were both in black and white.  Hopefully I can find a picture with me in it, as well.

Kate-Bride 1998
1998

Before we got married and he moved in with me, Jeff and his sister lived one behind the other.  Every year they put together a haunted house (in both of their houses) and Halloween party bonfire.  You think "homemade haunted house" and it's not so impressive, but theirs was scary.

We had just started dating this year, and I think he had, at this time, barely acknowledged that we were, in fact, dating.  Just a little fear of commitment, folks.  So when he peeked out the window and saw me walking up the driveway in a wedding dress, he was a little freaked out.  Once he saw the slashed neck and bloody mouth, he was much happier.

Bride?  Scary.

Bride of Frankenstein?  Good.  Very good.

P.S.  The dress is my actual wedding dress from when I married my ex-husband.  The only things I chose for that wedding were the dress and the husband, and both were mistakes.


Daniel-Pumpkin Nathan-Cat In Hat

1996--

Both costumes are homemade, but not by me.  My former mother-in-law made these. 

I think that D. is almost 4 here and N is 2.  D. had his heart set on being a pumpkin.  He choose the pattern, the face on it, everything.  He looked so cute.  But N's Cat in the Hat costume was so adorable.  Everywhere we went, people would make a huge deal about N's costume: "Henry!!  Come here! You have to look at this costume!!"  "Oh, my gosh, this is the best costume I've seen all night!"  Etc.

And D. would pipe up: "And I'm a pumpkin!"

Side note: look how fat my face is here.  I showed this picture to a friend at work, and she said, "Wow, you used to be a lot heavier."  I was, too.  The ex-husband wasn't the only ugly weight I dropped in the divorce.  :)

It's been fun getting to see all the different costumes that people have posted on their blogs this Halloween season, and I'm looking forward to seeing what kids wore for trick or treating.  After all, we need to figure out what we're going to be next year!

Book Review: Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

When Zoe Kruller is brutally murdered, suspicion centers on her estranged husband, Delray Kruller, and on Eddie Diehl, a married man with whom she was involved.  While it's titillating gossip for the local area, the murder is devastating for the families, particularly their children.  The book is divided into two main sections, from the perspective of Eddie Diehl's daughter and Zoe Kruller's son, and covers the time before the murder as well as the way the childrens' lives unfold.  Krista Diehl and Aaron Kruller grow up under the shadow of the mystery of Zoe's death, each believing the other's father is to blame and yet drawn to the other.

I've read several of Joyce Carol Oates's books, and I've only really liked one, so I'm not sure why I thought this one would be different.  While I was interested in what happened and in the characters, the story never grabbed me.  I love a book that entices me to stay up all night to finish it; this isn't that book.  At least, not for me.  It is, however, a well-told story with well-drawn characters and, ultimately, an unsatisfying ending.

If you read it/have read it and think differently, let me know.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Online Halloween pageant

Halloween party 2008 324BeckEye over at The Pop Eye is holding her second annual Big Wicked Online Pageant. Go.  Check it out.  Vote. 

Here's our entry.

We try to come up with a family theme each year. In 2008, it was Aladdin. My good sport of a husband shaved his head, submitted to blue body paint to match the shirt I dyed for him, and is wearing a little lock of hair attached to his head by a suction cup. The only costume we didn't make was the tiger one (and I could have). The Jasmine one is beautifully beaded. If only I had somewear it was fitting to wear a harem outfit.

Besides, you know, the bedroom.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I ran!

I didn't run so far away, but I did actually complete my entire scheduled workout, for the first time since the Skippo.  My body, it turns out, isn't a fan of running 2 half marathons a week apart.  I think maybe we're rounding the curve, though.

It's been hard not being able to run.   I've stressed about losing the vague level of fitness I've been working for since February.  The timing (right around Halloween) sucks, for sure.  I can feel my butt getting bigger.  I did manage an abbreviated run on Saturday...made it 3.5 miles without any major knee pain...but every time I'd start to think about running after that my knee would start to hurt.  You know those times when every time you start to speak the other person interrupts you?  That was me and my knee. 

Maybe I should go for a ru--[sharp pain]

Today would be a GREAT day to hit the trai-- [twinge]

Ooh, there's the alarm...I'm going to get up and fit in a couple of mi-- [ache]

Whatever, knee.  So I gave it a little break, hoping that would be enough to shut it up.  And yesterday when I put on my yoga pants (I haven't been to yoga in a year, but I do love the pants) and they were tight...well, I was done placating the knee.  I set the alarm, told myself I was getting up and running 5 miles, and did.

It was chilly this morning.  About 45 when I left the house.  I got to wear my new running tights and made sure to wear a hat; I HATE when my ears get cold.  It hurts!  The plan called for 1 mile w/u, 2x1600 in 8:19 with 800 jogs, 1 mile cool down.  Now, being as I've barely run in almost two weeks, I was eyeing that 8:19 with some doubt.  The fastest mile I've ever managed was in the high 7's, and that was only one.  Oh, well, I figured.  I'll just do my best.  At least I'll be running.

Mile 1: 10:24

Mile 2: 8:27 ** BUT I had to stop partway through and tie my shoe...and I fumbled around quite a bit because I couldn't breathe and all that.  :)

1/2 mile jog:  5:32

Mile 3: 8:19  Happy dance!!

Last 1.5 miles: 17:51.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I could barely go.  I was wiped out.  I ran my cooldown on the hillier neighborhood loop, and the hill about knocked me over.  I'm sure I could've walked uphill faster!

A few notes on the run:

  • First, I should eat something before running.  I was up a little later than I needed to be this morning, so I saved time by just drinking a glass of chocolate milk.  I could really feel my body dragging on that second mile.  I felt like I would've been a little stronger with some food. 

  • Second, double knot your shoes, you moron!  How many times are you going to almost fall and/or have to stop and re-tie your shoes?

  • Third, I'm really excited about the speedwork intervals.  Usually when I run and start to get tired, I let myself slow down until I'm running comfortably (and by "comfortably" I mean at a pace where I can keep going...it never feels comfortable); during the two speedy miles, when I felt tired I pushed it a little more instead of slowing down.  As long as it took me to get my shoe tied during the first fast interval, I think I was darn close to an 8 min mile, and I managed the 8:19 on the second fast mile even though I felt myself slowing down several times.  Now, it's not a pace I can sustain yet for more than a mile, but I'm hoping to work up to (down to?) that.

  • Fourth, my knee still bothered me some, but it kept bothering me in different places, so I didn't let it stop me.  I figured it was just part of my running hypochondria rather than an actual problem.  If I listened to my body every time it didn't want to run, I'd never run...so then it drags my mind over to the dark side, too.  I wasn't limping this afternoon/evening, so I think I was right to ignore it.
I was so happy to have been able to run today! I was excited that the run went well, and I was pleased that I had run 5 miles before work.  Just an all-around good feeling that stayed with me throughout the day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book review: Ape House, by Sara Gruen

I really try to buy my "new" books at yard sales, or online if I simply must have them now.  Unfortunately, "must have them now" generally stikes while I'm holding them in the book aisle and I therefore end up paying retail at Borders or Target.  Seriously, Target's book aisle is short, but sooo enticing...and that's where I happened upon Sara Gruen's latest novel, Ape House.

I absolutely loved her previous book, Water for Elephants, so I couldn't wait to read Ape House.  Bought it right then and there, had it read by the next day.  Ape House is the fictional story of a group of bonobos (a type of great ape) who live at a language lab.  Rather than doing harmful testing on them, the researchers have been working with them on language aquisition.  When the lab is bombed, one of the researchers is severely injured, and the bonobos disappear only to quickly resurface on a Real World-type TV show, the relationships among the humans in the story both change and come into clearer focus.

While this book wasn't as magical for me as Water for Elephants, it was well written and had a great story.  I enjoyed every moment of it.  Gruen is definitely one of my new must-read authors, and in searching for the link for her two books that I've already mentioned, I was excited to find that she has at least two other previously published books:
 Riding Lessons and Flying Changes.  If I can hang on until December, they'll be on my Christmas list!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sniff!

What do all the following photos have in common? One blue blanket somewhere in each of them. J got it as a baby shower gift before he was even born, and it has been a constant presence. Whether the temperature was below freezing or in the high 90's, he has drug that blanket with him everywhere. It has crossed the country with us.

Now, after nearly 7 years of constant love, the blanket is showing its age. It has a few holes, it is worn in spots. Even so, while my little boy's tastes have changed from Bob the Builder to Transformers, he has remained steadfast in his commitment to the blanket. I'll admit, it has made me worry a bit that he'll be trying to smuggle it into his backpack on the way to high school, but it has been such a comfort to him. At one time, he would wake up if his blanket wasn't in bed with him. He could, in the dark, locate the "right" side of it. He has never slept a night without it.

Until last night. He left it in our bathroom after his bath. Neither of us noticed as we read and snuggled together. It wasn't until I had him up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom that I realized the blanket wasn't in his bed. And as soon as I did, I wanted to put it in there with him. But I didn't, and it seems like I kissed my baby goodnight last night and a big kid woke up in his place.




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book review: Chasing Lance, by Martin Dugard

Last week at N's practice I finished reading Chasing Lance, by Martin Dugard.  Jeff had bought it for me, as he typically will when he finds running- or cycling-related things.  Since this book covers the 2005 Tour de France, it was an interesting follow-up to Armstrong's
It's Not About the Bike (about his battle with cancer, subsequent recovery, and if this is a spoiler alert!! you obviously don't follow cycling or current celebrity events eventual Tour De France win.

While Dugard may have chased along after Lance, he didn't really talk to him much at all, so this is really a book about the Tour...the teams, the fans, the behemoth road show required to put on the event, the officials, and of course the journalists...and about France itself.

The most interesting thing for me about this book wasn't Lance, though his athletic abilities are amazing.  I gained a real respect for the supporting riders, whose job is to more or less keep the team leader fresh so that he's able to break away when necessary to get/stay ahead.  And while I'd love to someday go and watch--who wouldn't want to test out four years of high school French in a three-week tailgate party?--the descriptions of the course left me no illusions that I'd ever want to ride anything like it!

**And a sidenote: While small, the book still made an adequate pillow while I slept through the remaining practice!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Totally random

  • My left knee may make me bipolar.  Ran 3.5 hilly miles yesterday.  Some slow going, let me tell you.  My knee made me worry a little here and there but seemed to do ok.  That is, I didn't have to walk.  Yea! It's better!   Yesterday it was sore.  Now it's sore. I'm going to ice it and see how it feels in the morning.  I guess I'll take another day or two off before running on it again.  Grrr.

  • When I told my sister-in-law "We'd love to do that!" about going to see Rocky Horror Picture Show, what I really meant was "I'd love to do that."  Still, my husband stuck it out, and it was fun getting to go out with other couples and do something "grown-up" instead of something that revolves around our kids.  And I'm in the market for fishnet hose and a French maid's outfit now.  :)
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  • I could live with getting 10 hours of sleep every night.  Friday night, after getting home from N's volunteering at club volleyball tryouts, I remember Jeff telling me that he was going to watch a movie and eat some popcorn.  I was alseep by the time he left to go make the popcorn.

  • I dropped nearly a pair of shoes-worth of money on two new Moving Comfort sports bras at Fleet Feet.  I normally buy mine at Target, but for the last month or so, any run of over three miles has left me with either blisters on my shoulders or rub marks from the straps.  Hopefully next month I can come up with the money for a new pair of shoes. (Mama needs a new pair of shoes!)
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  • Does anyone else think it's funny that a piece of clothing meant to keep the girls from moving while I run is branded "Moving Comfort"?

  • We took J to the pumpkin farm yesterday.  It's so different with just one kid.  I mean, I have three kids, but the two older boys are so much older that in some ways J is like an only child.  So it falls to Jeff and I to play with him...and we're not always that much fun.  Case in point: yesterday.  I was not going to play tag with him on the hay bale pyramid.  At first, I thought to myself, This is why we should've had another kid! but then I saw how "well" the siblings there were getting along and realized that we just need to bring along a friend for him next year.
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  • Here's the view walking out of my front door:






    • photo.JPG
      Any guesses how many times I've hit my head on the stupid thing?

    • I'm reading John Krakauer's Into Thin Air, about the disasterous 1996 season on Mt. Everest, for about the 6th time.  Great read, and every time I read it, I think again how little I would ever want to climb Everest.

    • A couple of months, realizing the only way I'm going to get a road bike any time in the near future is to win one (or steal one, but I'm partial to my house and freedom, horizontal stripes don't flatter me, and if I'm going to be anyone's b*tch, it'll be my husband's, so stealing really isn't an option at this time), I entered a contest the Terry company had on their website.  Of course, I didn't win.  You'd know if I had, because I'd be posting pictures of it like it was my new favorite child.  But now they persist in sending me their catalogs and newsletters, and I want one of everything.  Really, is that too much to ask?  I love it all.  And instead of letting me covet in peace, they continue to torment me by sending biweekly emails.  It's all too much for this girl.  On the other hand, the latest newsletter had a link to another bike giveaway, so maybe this one will be mine.  (I'd make a Lord of the Rings "my precious" reference here, but I've never actually seen the movie and would get it wrong.)  And if it's not mine, perhaps you'll win it.  Just don't say I didn't warn you.  And, uh...if you end up forming a chapter of Terry Anonymous...maybe I could stop by a meeting or two. 

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Looking ahead...

    I have a couple of events on the schedule in permanent ink...

    11/6/2010 Wild in the Woods 5 mile trail race -- can't wait!

    11/27/2010  Great River Road 10-mile -- should be great scenery, and I finally get to run with a friend of mine.  :)

    6/19-24/2011  Katy Trail bike ride.  This'll probably be my last Katy Trail tour for a while since I promised my aunt Misty that we could do a different state next year.  Or next next year.  2012. You know what I mean.

    July 1-3  Mud volleyball tournament in Hannibal, MO.

    And lots of ideas and dreams.  Possibilities include:

    12/4/2010  Tecumseh Trail Marathon -- The trail events are really appealing to me right now.  Probably because all my pictures of my events are boring roads or boring corn fields.  Clearly, I wouldn't be doing this this year.  No way am I anywhere near trained for a marathon, let alone a trail marathon, but maybe next year's....

    3/26/2011  Clinton Lake Trail Run  --  10-30 mile trail run

    4/10/2011  Go! St. Louis marathon or half marathon -- part of me is kind of meh about doing another race in St. Louis, but it's close and Go! Stl does a nice job on their events.  Plus, this race is exactly a year to the day from my first 5K, so it would be really cool to do my first marathon on this day.

    5/1/2011  LaCrosse (WI) Fitness Festival marathon or half marathon -- very near my where my brother lives, and I love Wisconsin.  Also a bike criterium the day before.  I doubt I'll have a road bike by then, though, so I'd guess this to be a run weekend, not a bike one.  Yet.

    6/12/2011  Indian/Celina Challenge -- half or full trail marathon

    7/2/2011  Hannibal Cannibal 5K -- depending on our volleyball schedule

    7/9/2011  Tour de Donut -- I'd like to win outright donut adjusted instead of just 2nd in my AG.

    7/16/2011 Door County Triathlon -- Did I mention I love Wisconsin?  Plus, a good friend of mine will be doing the Half-Ironman version of Door County the next day and I could cheer for him.  The big minus here is that we'll have just come back from volleyball nationals in Minneapolis (hopefully...depends on how the schedule conflicts with our mud volleyball tournament) right after July 4th weekend. 

    August 2011  Wood River Triathlon -- not so sure here.  It's local, but it's in mid-August.  I'd like to do an earlier triathlon, plus, we've been out of town that weekend the last few years.  Hmmm. 

    September 2011  Berryman Adventure Race -- My brother and I are planning to do this one, which means I need to start working on my orienteering skills and find a mountain bike.  And, um, improve my singletrack skills. 

    I'd like to find another century to round that out. 

    And looking at that schedule, a) I may need to take on a second job.  And b) if it wasn't for all that, I could probably afford a new bike!

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Repeat after me: I'm too smart to do that. (I'm too smart to do that.)

    Soooo...Tuesday night I posted about my capitulation to battle against inertia.  And that little self pep talk worked.  Wednesday morning I got up when my alarm went off* and ran.  Well, sort of. 

    I ran about a mile, none of which felt great, but I'm used to that.  The first mile was supposed to be a warmup, so any time I felt like I was going "fast", I slowed down.  Still, by the time I got to the end of the mile, my left knee hurt.  Not hurt like a little achy, but hurt.  Normally, it's sore after a run.  At the 10K it started aching during first couple of miles and was sore the rest of the time, but this was different.  So, I stopped running and walked most of the back (with the dog periodically looking at me as if to say, What's the holdup?  Let's go, lady!).

    I'm off this morning for a doctor's appt, so my plan had been to go run some local trails.  I can walk up and down stairs without wincing, but my knee is still sore.  I realllly want to go run.  I'm not going to, though.  I'm going to give it another day or two off and see how it feels then.  Because I'm too smart to run on it when it's hurt (I'm trying to convince myself of this fact by continuing to say it.)

    Soooo...no running today.  Kind of ironic.  I finally get my motivation back, and now I can't run.  Grrr.  But if I can't run, at least I can take my bike out, right?  Uhhh, no.  Our garage, which hasn't housed a car in about two years since the door broke, is currently crammed full of what my husband (the hoarder "lite") would call neccessities and I would term junk stuff, inclueing the ridiculous amount of Halloween decorations we have and aren't even using right now.  To illustrate (and probably lose a few friends in the process):

    garage

    The only way that bike is getting out of the garage is with a lot of cursing, a probably shoulder injury and a spike in my blood pressure.

    So no bike ride, either.  I guess I'm going to go remind the people who work at the gym at our local Y that I still exist.  Because, like it or not (NOT), today I am too smart to run on this knee.  Darn it.

    *My alarm actually didn't go off.  I had intended to set it for 4:50, but accidentally set it for 5:50.  Even so, I woke up at 4, wide awake, decided it was too early for a short run, went back to sleep, and woke back up at 5 to run.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Inertia has me pinned

    Its sumo-sized butt is planted right on my chest, which makes moving difficult and getting up early to run downright impossible. I'd like to get running again, and I'm tired to the point of tears. The thought of getting up at five to run...ugh, but we're back to three nights a week in St. Louis, so night runs aren't an option unless a) I want to explore an unfamiliar area alone after dark; or b) I want to run at 11:30 when we get back.

    Ummm...c) none of the above.

    I feel like I could use a week-long nap. And then I wonder how much of my tiredness is from not doing much? That's the trick right there...I'm tired bc I'm not running...I'm not running bc I'm tired...and so on.

    I was on a roll during HM training. I was committed, I got in the runs. Getting up early sucked, but it was a habit..,and, truthfully, not as bad as I thought once I was actually up. Now, I'm in a laziness relapse.

    I know the cure, though. Commit to getting up. Say I'm getting up. Sleep in my running clothes. Set the alarm. And avoid that snooze button like the plague. ONE morning...that's all it'll take. I registered yesterday for a 10-mile run on November 27. I've got a 5-mile trail run planned for Nov. 6. I've got a training plan. Now all I have to do is follow through--once--and let inertia do the rest.

    Unless acted upon by an outside force (c'mon, willpower!!) a resting body tends to remain at rest; a moving body tends to remain in motion. Time to get moving!!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Go! St. Louis 10K

    I debated most of the week whether to run this one or not.  My knees really took a beating at the Skippo race, and it took me until about Thursday to be able to go up and down stairs without limping (much).  By Thursday, though, I was feeling much better.  Plus, it was a Halloween race...costumes...how perfect for me, right?  Uhhh...sure.

    I had a couple of costume ideas, but since I spent until yesterday afternoon working on actual Halloween party costumes, I didn't have much time to pull something together that I'd want to wear while running.  So, there I was last night at 11:30, going through old costumes in the garage.  I ended up settling on a witch costume. (Typecasting?).  I love the tights. They make me smile.  And I'm most definitely wearing them to school for the Halloween parties!

    photo.JPGAs you might imagine, that hat didn't stay on long. I ended up carrying it from the start.  I had actually planned to toss it at the water stop at the halfway point, but I accidentally dropped it earlier and figured, Oh, well.  Unfortunately, some good Samaritan picked it up and ran it up to me, so then I felt like I had to carry it the rest of the time.

    There were  a lot of cute costumes: Mario Brothers, Things 1 & 2, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner (complete with a BEEP! sign), PacMan characters, pirates, and superheroes.  The best costumes were the two girls who came as Captain Underpants.  They were wearing tights with a pair of underpants over them and capes.  Very funny.

    It's a pretty warm day for October (about 64 currently), and once I was running I was regretting the cape and short sleeves.  I really felt for the people dressed up in warmer costumes: a full-body gorilla suit, a banana, and beer bottles, to name a few.  I'm sure they were soaking wet when they finished.

    The race sold out, and the announcers said there were 5,000 people running today between the 10K and family fun run.  We got there early enough to get  a nearby parking space and to use the bathrooms before there were any lines--score!  There were no pace signs, so I took a guess and found a spot a ways back from the start line.  Here's the road behind me:

    photo.JPGI was excited to run, but it sure didn't feel good as I started.  I maybe could have used a short warm-up jog or something.  The first mile felt like a lot of work.  I checked my time at the 1-mile sign, thinking maybe I was running too fast and that was why I was so tired.  9:14...nope! 

    I had hoped to PR today because the only other 10K I've run in was way back in June on an 80 degree morning (1:00:33).  That 9:14 and the way I was feeling really put a PR in question.  I thought maybe "it" would kick in after I got warmed up, but it continued to be a struggle for me today.  This was definitely a tougher course than the HM, with several hills, and I felt every bit of them.

    They had a time sign at the halfway mark, and I was not at ALL happy to see it at 30:47 when I passed it.  Really?  I was on a pace to be slower than June.  I tried to pick it up a little, but I really didn't have much to give. 


    photo.JPG
    One cool thing on the course was running through the Anheuser-Busch property.  I tried to get a picture of it, but my phone was pretty sweaty, so the picture is foggy. 

    I started feeling a little better around mile 5 and started pushing my pace a bit.  As we closed in on the finish line, a girl behind me told her friend, "I've got 51 right now and we have about 1/2 mile to go."  I wasn't sure if they'd started behind me or not, but I was pretty excited at the thought of being that low at that point.  Really excited, in fact.  Right up until the route turned away from the finish line and looped past Citygarden.  I went from Yayyyyyy!!! to Nooooooo!!!!! in the distance it took to register that turn. 

    Once I turned back towards the finish line, though, I really pushed it.  I was definitely wearing down towards the end, and I could hear the announcer saying, "Come on...make it in under an hour...come on..."  I definitely wanted to be sub-1:00, and from what I could make out, the clock said 59:47.  No way I could make it in from where I was.  I was so disheartened.  When I got closer, however, I saw a 58 there.  Whew.  That's better.  My clock time was 59 something.  Not sure what chip time was yet, but my phone, after fumbling around to get it out and stopped, said 58:50, so I'm thinking my time is 10ish seconds less than that.  Update: chip time was 58:37.

    So...since my other 10K time was 1:00:33, it's a PR, but it's a disappointing one for me.  Based on what my half marathon time was, I had anticipated coming in closer to 54 minutes.  Of course, I was well-prepared for the half marathon, and I haven't run much since then.  It's a good sign to me that, even though I can run longer distances, that doesn't mean I can go out and do well in a shorter race without some preparation.  Maybe other people can; I can't.  I'm sure those hills took a little out of me, but I wasn't doing well even before the hills.  Just one of those days, I guess.  But I finished.  I finished a little faster than last time.  I had a negative split (30:47/27:50) where my second 5K would be a new PR in a stand-alone race.

    And I got a cool medal. 

    Medal

    Halloween Quickie

    Get your minds out of the gutter.  I have a few pics to share from the party that I took on my phone.  The others are uploading to Flickr.  I have to leave for tomorrow's race at 6:15, I still don't have a costume for tomorrow, and I'm too tired to wait and sort through them all.  So here are a few...

    Mood lighting:

    photo.JPG

    photo.JPG

    On the menu:

    Finger food  Finger foods

    Brain food  Brain food

    Costumes:

    Sister-in-law and her family.
    105_5610
    Funny thing: we wonder every year if this is going to be the year that we come as the same thing as these guys.  (And while there's no formal contest, we'd "lose".)  This was almost the year.  We really toyed with doing Alice in Wonderland characters but opted for a different theme.

    Sister-in-law 2 and her family:

    105_5636
    Ummm...pretty similar in theme to us this year.  And yeah, I'd say we lose.  Well, Jeff and I.  Our boys' costumes turned out pretty well.

    My family:

    105_5623
    Got the dreaded question again this year from some of the kids in the family: "Who are you?"  Two years in a row, in fact, because last year they didn't know who the Addams family was!  When I told my niece I was Cyndi Lauper, then she asked, "Who's that?"  Sigh.  I'm old. 

    Obviously, A. and D. went with a different theme.  In case you haven't seen it (I haven't), they're characters from Sweeney Todd.

    Tomorrow I'll bore you with more pictures from the party and talk about the costumes.  And a race report and hopefully a new 10K PR.  Yep...it's your lucky day!

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Hell-oween

    photo.JPG
    It's my least favorite time of the year...time for our annual family Halloween party. The buildup to said party is always a hellish time. For one, because though the date is set a couple of months in advance (after repeatedly consulting everyones' custody schedules), somehow we never really get working on it until the week before. And since that "work" includes costumes for the whole family, it's pretty much a recipe for disaster.


    Jeff's family is really into Halloween.  Everybody but his dad dresses up, and in the past several years, each family has ended up dressing in a theme: Scooby Doo, Aladdin, vampires/vampire killers, holidays, Cleopatra/Mark Anthony, athletes, Star Wars, Addams Family, Ninja Turtles, etc.  It's amazing to see all of the different ideas, and it's daunting to try to come up with something cool that no one has done before.

    We do our best to find what we can at Goodwill and other thrift stores, but this year we've really come up short.  That means I have to get out my sewing machine, which only escapes its garage exile during October.  I can sew, but only costume-grade clothing.  I wouldn't actually wear any of it otherwise.

    This week, I've been chained to the sewing machine.  I haven't done a thing after work other than make supper and sew.  Just like my running, I'm slow at sewing, too, and this is compounded by the fact that I've had to find patterns that are "similar" to what I want and make them work...with mixed results.
    photo.JPG

    I should say mixed success.  The results are pretty consistent: one big, ugly mood.  My Facebook posts have been along the lines of "I hate Halloween" "I hate costumes" "I hate sewing".  A combination of already putting too much pressure on myself and the pressure of a looming deadline has made me a really unpleasant person to be around.  The kind of person who wants to fire off a nasty response when my nephew posted something about all these whiny people complaining about Halloween.  (I resisted.  Barely.  Don't think I didn't mentally compose lots of them).

    I'm sure you're thinking, You just need to start on your costumes earlier.  That'll help.  I think that's a great idea.  I've thought that was a great idea every year.  I'll see you next year about mid-September?

    You're probably also thinking, You're seriously overreacting.  And again, you're right.  You're brilliant!
    It's a little ridiculous, really, to be so upset over a stupid costume.  This isn't important in the scheme of things, I know.  And yet, there I was, my second trip to Wal-Mart in just a couple of hours (and Michaels, how could you let me down with such a measley sewing department?), near tears because I was afraid that none of the three zippers I bought for J's costume was going to work.  Or snapping at my husband because he had the nerve to expect me to cook dinner AND sew. 

    photo.JPGI guess that's where I really get frustrated with the whole party drama.  The whole point of it is to have fun with the family.  To make memories for our kids and enjoy ourselves, too.  I really don't want my kids' memories of Halloween to be me freaking out and being hateful for a week.  Of me telling them, "No, I can't tuck you in.  I'm sewing."

    And while my older boys like Halloween and the party ok, J loves it.  He's completely his daddy's boy.  As soon as October hit, they were pulling out Halloween decorations (and my goodness, we have a lot of them!).  Today J and Jeff spent a great deal of time putting out decorations.  N. did some work for his costume, and D. did some help around the house in between naps and Gamecube (his girlfriend did his costume). 

    As of now, I have J's costume finished (and it's pretty marvelous, I have to say), N's costume finished (not just my work there at all; in fact, I did the smallest amount on his), and mine barely started.  :-/  The party is in 16 hours.  I'd like to make some fun Halloween party foods.  Gotta say, it's not looking good.

    Along with all the other things you're thinking, you might wonder, If you're so busy with this party and the costumes, why are you spending this time blogging?  And if you are, you're probably not alone, but no body in this house is going to verbalize that.  Because they want to live until the party.  And at this point, there are just no guarantees.

    photo.JPG
    I made this!

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Because there's more to my life than running...

    Granted, you wouldn't necessarily know it from what I post, but there's plenty going on here that has nothing to do with running.  So here's a little glimpse of some other things going on lately...

    Fire dept open house
    Last Saturday, J's soccer game was "rained out".  It barely rained, but I guess they were expecting more.  Instead of cheering him on at soccer, we hit a few yard sales.  I found some books, including Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike, which I'm reading now.  Jeff got the mother lode of sports cards, sold by some people who just wanted to get rid of them. 

    Despite the fact that the cards were crazy cheap, my husband spent probably a half hour digging through the boxes.  I told him, "For that price, just buy them all and look through them later.  Just don't complain about my bike taking up room in the garage!" (A continuing annoyance for him and one of the reasons he isn't thrilled about the idea of me adding a road bike and a mountain bike to the stable.  The other reasons being money and my lack of actual mountain biking skills.)  J and I retired to the car while Jeff looked, J watching a video and me reading one of my new books. 

    We always intend to go to the open house at the Fire Dept, but somehow we always miss it.  This year, J got to spray the fire hose, ride in the cab of a fire truck, and touch a jello brain (we need that mold for our Halloween party!).

    My big boys had Homecoming this weekend.  This year, both of them have girlfriends who can drive (D. has his license, N doesn't, neither has a car), so it was much less driving for me than last year.  And we're plenty happy with the girls our boys have chosen to spend their time with.

    Dan and Alex

    D. and A. have been dating for nearly a year.  She's pretty much one of the family.  Dinners with her are always fun, as she and N. have a love/hate brother/sister type of relationship. 

    Nathan and Ashley

    N. and A2 are a newer couple, if "couple" is the word.  I'm not sure what their status is, but she seems very sweet and is, as you can see, adorable.  In her dress and heels, she couldn't hop up onto the railing, so N. had to lift her up there. 












    The other big news around here is the upcoming Halloween party.  My husband LOVES Halloween.  The party is a huge hassle.  Get the house clean (we already know I have issues with that), plus costumes for the WHOLE family.  It's a blast once the party is actually in progress, but the preparation is enough to give me a nervous breakdown.  It's this Saturday, though, so once it's over I can relax and enjoy the rest of the fall.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Skippo 20K Trail Race

    After last week's half marathon, I was looking forward to the Go! St. Louis 10K on October 17, but my brother sent me a text earlier this week to suggest the Skippo 20K.  Since I've been wanting to do a trail run, I was excited.  It's weird how differently I felt going into the two races.  I was really nervous about the half marathon.  For this race,  there was really no pressure.  I was looking forward to just going out and running and seeing how it was.

    Skippo 20K

    The race was held at Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, MO.  Since I've hiked there with my family before, I kind of knew what to expect from the terrain (hills!).  I wasn't sure how I would do running on said hills, but I knew I wouldn't be setting any land speed records.

    In addition to my brother, his friend Scott also ran today.  While I went to bed by 10 last night, the boys were out drinking.  I think between them they had about 20 beers.

    Skippo 20K
    Team Hangover, looking forward to the day's race and wishing they'd brought adult diapers.

    Unlike the cool temperatures at last week's race, today's were considerably warmer.  And by "considerably", I mean about 40 degrees.  By our 9:00 start time, it was already warmer than it was at the end of the half marathon. 

    Skippo 20K
    I'd like to tell you that this is an intentional "cool photo effect", but in reality my camera (my son's camera) hasn't totally recovered from being dropped in the sand in Wisconsin.

    We took off down the road.

    Skippo 20K

    Being the good little blogger that I am, and knowing that the scenery on the run would be really pretty (and not corn), I decided to bring a real camera instead of relying on my cell phone pictures.  I figured that I do a pretty good job taking pictures from my bike and would like to have some better pictures from my runs.

    Skippo 20KSkippo 20K 
    Ahem.  So much for that plan.

    The first part of the trail follows along the river.  It was wooded, fairly smooth, and very pretty.

    Skippo 20K

    There were a couple of points where people were running two or three abreast, making it hard to get past them, but on the whole it wasn't bad.  Also, it was a very friendly run.  I got the chance to talk with several people along the way, which makes the time pass more quickly.

    Skippo 20K

    Because of my commitment to "better" pictures, I wore my new Amphipod pack so that I could carry my camera.  Getting the camera out was no problem.  Getting it back in was no problem.  Running while getting it back in was a problem.  Bam! Hit a root and did a Superman through the air.  I landed mostly on my knees and elbows.  It hurt, but not all that badly, and yet I still wanted to cry as I got up, collected my bottle, and kept running.  More from the surprise than anything, I think.  Anyway, after that, I decided that maybe my race report would be OK without any more pictures.

    Well, without many more.

    Skippo 20K

    My least favorite part of the route was the stairs.  There were a lot of stairs.  I don't know how many, and I was too tired to count them.  Either time.

    Skippo 20K

    That's right...we had to go up the stairs twice.  Scott: "I liked the stairs.  That's where I rested."  Screw you, buddy...go have another beer.  :)

    My favorite part of the route (scenery-wise) came at the top of the stairs, though.  Gorgeous river views.

    Skippo 20K

    Hello, Fall.  :)
    Skippo 20K

    Once you reached the top of the stairs, you weren't quite finished climbing.  Now it was time to head up a rocky hill.

    Skippo 20K

    Go right ahead...I just stopped to take a picture.  Certainly not because I couldn't breathe any longer.

    Skippo 20K

    I'm sure she would appreciate this shot.  I'm sorry lady, whoever you are.  I should also note that she was ahead of me the whole time.  You go girl.

    This trail transitioned into a downhill that was both steeper and more treacherous.  Lots of roots and larger, pointy rocks.  I just kept telling myself, Don't fall here.  Don't fall here. I was newly grateful that I fell onto packed dirt and not rock.  Once I made it to the top of the hill after the stairs (walking most of the way), I ran the rest of the way down. 

    I got a chance to talk to Nicole and Nanette, who were also there with their brothers...and whose brothers were also way ahead of them.  We ran together for a while, and then Melissa ran by me.  I don't know her, but she's friends of some of my friends and we've been mountain biking together.  Melissa and her husband run, mountain bike, adventure race.  Fun people. 

    If you didn't click the mountain biking link, it refers back to my first (only so far) experience riding singletrack, where I made it approximately 5 minutes before falling on the smoothest part of the trail and dislocating my thumb.  So, naturally, I repeated the falling experience while running with Melissa.  On a relatively smooth part of the route.  With no camera mishaps on which to blame it. 

    Again, I'm grateful for where I fell.  Not too far from where I fell the first time.  I didn't really hurt anything, but my knee was really aching from being landed on twice.  I let her pull ahead and focused on just. keep. running.  Stairs, part II, sucked just as much as the first time, but this time running downhill was really hurting, too.  Anywhere the footing was very treacherous (and my criteria for "treacherous" was lower and lower as the hill went on), I walked it.  Any time anyone came near my, I cleared as far to the right as possible so they could get by.  One guy told me, "You're fine...I'm not in any hurry."

    "You're in the right place, then!" I replied. Still, as soon as there was a chance, he passed me.  :)

    I was really thankful to get back to the flatter trail, but it was definitely still a struggle to keep going.  I told myself I could walk at the water stops.  My knee was really bothering me (did I mention that, lol), and I kept telling myself, You can do this.  Keep going.  You're doing great.  It's just a bruise.  You can do this... At one point, I noticed that the bottoms of my feet were aching, from the rocks I guess, and actually thought, Awesome! Something to think about besides how bad my knee hurts! :)  It wasn't sarcasm.  I was actually happy about it...for a second, anyway.

    I wasn't entirely sure how much distance was left, so I was delighted when I reached the next waterstop and heard, "Only two more miles!"  (Jim, on the other hand, thought he was closer to the end and so was not at all happy to hear this.)  I walked with my water until it was empty and then pushed on.  I actually passed the not in a hurry guy, who was looking pretty rough (clearly, since I passed him!). 

    Nicole caught up with me between the 2 miles left water stop and the next one.  We agreed that we were both hurting and that our brothers darn well better be cheering for us when we reached the finish line.  We walked again at the 1-mile left water stop and then agreed to push to the end.  I really didn't think I had anything left, but when they told me "450 meters", I was able to push and actually run (instead of the death shuffle I'd been doing) to the end.  Melissa cheered me on as I closed in, and Jim and Scott did at the end.  "Go Team Hangover!!" (I guess I get to be an honorary member since we rode together).

    Skippo 20K
    Team Hangover.  Only in this crowd could I, at 5'10", look short.

    Our final stats: Scott: ~15 beers, 0 falls, ~2:02; Jim: ~3 beers, 0 falls, ~2:08; Kate: 0 beers, 2 falls, ~2:20. 

    Clearly, I need to start drinking more.