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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Castlewood Cup 15K trail race

Facebook peer pressure, nerves, don't cry for QT (Argentina), and introductions

It's hard to believe that it's nearly the end of February and today was my first race of 2011, but that appears to be the case.  My entry in this one is proof of the power of social networking; Big River Running sent emails to all participants in last October's Skippo 20K and I never got around to registering.  But then I kept seeing its Facebook posts about "only" ___ more spots in the race, and when it got down to 40 left, I caved.  I'm so glad I did!

I was excited all yesterday about getting to race today, but this morning I woke up nervous.  I don't know why I get nervous before a race; it's not like there's any pressure.  I am in no contention for a win!  Nerves aside, I was looking forward to the race as well as getting to meet/see a combination of "real life" and internet friends (fondly referred to by my husband as "your friends you don't know").  Before I could meet anyone, though, I had to actually get there.

I left for Castlewood a little later than I'd planned but made at least one smart decision this morning.  There's a QT gas station at the top of the road that leads down to Castlewood, and I decided to stop there and use their bathroom rather than wait in line at the park (don't feel sorry for them...I spend enough money there that they should give me my own bathroom!).  When I got into the park, I was stuck in traffic for about 10 minutes while a truck blocked the only road back to the parking that was still available, and the lines for the porta-potties were, as usual, loooong.

So...parking.  The closest spot was literally 1/2 mile away, and by the time I was parked I think it was 9:30 or so with the race starting at 10.  So I jogged the 1/2 mile to the race check-in, jogged 1/2 mile back to my car to dump off my sweatshirt, and another 1/2 mile back to the race start.  Other than being a little stressed about being at the start on time, it was a nice enforced warm-up.

Ever since volunteering at the Castlewood 8-hour adventure race, I've been stalking following the blog of an adventure racing team called Team Virtus.  If you're interested in adventure racing or just enjoy a good story, check out their blog! Just make sure you have time, because they're at least as wordy as I am.  Anyway, I knew Luke and Drew from the team were running in today's race, so I kept an eye out for them...and ended up running into them (not literally) on my return trip to my car. 

I also met my Facebook friend Emily, who was introduced to me by my doctor/runner friend Rachel. Thanks, Rachel! I got to see my Daily Mile (and now real life) Doug, who'd been "kind" enough to transfer his Pere Marquette number to me and then heckle me mercilessly as I struggled up and slid down the muddy hill at that race.  Unfortunately, I missed a Daily Mile meetup due to all of my running back and forth between my car and the starting line.  I was also supposed to meet up with some of my new teammates in our local tri club Metro Tri Club/Team Godzilla.  I recently joined, and they had a shirt to give me.  Once I saw the 'Zilla shirts, I knew right where to go.

Keith, Jim, Vanessa, and Jim
One of the reasons I have a hard time joining groups is being worried about not fitting in, especially when I've seen the times some of the tri club people have posted.  Since some of the people I've been running with lately are members, though, I got up the courage and took the plunge.  And, again, I'm so glad I did!  What a nice welcome I had to the club (more on that later)...and I found them just in time to get into the group picture (which I don't have a copy of or I'd post it...just imagine me in Vanessa's place, and you get the idea).

The part where I tell you about the race:

I ran a 20K last October at Castlewood, so I kind of knew what to expect.  If you're interested, you can check out this link to information and video/pictures of the course.  The park has lots of great trails and hills and lots of nice technical singletrack, and these challenges were made more interesting by a combination of melting snow and yesterday's rain.  We started running across a soggy field and then, I think, along the treeline.  Luke pulled up next to me near the start, so we got a chance to talk adventure racing, running, etc.  It's funny...when you read someone's blog, you already know a lot of their stories even though you haven't met them.  He told me not to worry about holding back for him, and I thought, Holding back? This is my pace!

Next up was the big hill.  I ran a little ways up before I had to walk.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Luke run by in his red shirt.  Oh, great...here he thought I was holding back, and he's passing meNow, I'm not that competitive, but I try to give a very realistic picture of what I can (or can't) do on my blog, so it's a little embarassing to not live up to what someone who's read it expects of me.

Castlewood Cup-1st big hill
But, oh, well...what do you do.  I started running again at the top of the hill.  I kept seeing Luke's red shirt in the distance, taunting me.  I'm used to being the slow one, but I was definitely hoping to catch back up.  And the nice thing about going uphill is that you get to go back down.  So I just kept on running at my pace and enjoying the trail until I came to the first aid station.  I grabbed a gatorade and a gel and walked for a few steps so I wasn't wearing my drink in the 35 degree weather.  All of a sudden, there's Luke.  I'd been watching the wrong red shirt.  Turns out our paces were pretty evenly matched, so we ended up running almost the whole race together.

Castlewood Cup
I loved this course.  It only had a couple of truly nasty hills; most of the hills were rolling.  So fun.  There were a few places I actually laughed out loud, I was having so much fun.  And though I definitely had to do some walking on the uphills, I had a blast on the downhills.  I'm thinking back to the Skippo, where I fell twice last year, and to the first time I started running on the SIUE trails and how I walked all but the gentlest downhills.  I'm still a plodder uphill, but I felt like a mountain goat running down.

Castlewood Cup--look how fast I was going
OK, it may not be a big hill, but just look how fast I was running! :)

Castlewood Cup
Luke was cruising. 
(sorry...sweaty phones take lousy pictures)
The trail definitely had some muddy spots, but overall it was pretty good.  I'm sure the hills and the rocky terrain helped.  Even the mud wasn't too bad to run in.  My very favorite part of the course was the rolling section.  Lots of up and downs to keep you going.  I felt strong through about mile 6 or 7 and then began to  fade.  Still, there was this guy in front of me who was going just too slow, and there was no room to get around him.  I just hung behind him for a little bit.  I'm not that strong of a runner, so I really don't want to pass someone and then not be able to maintain that pace.  After a while, though, I got sick of hanging back, said "on your left", and got around.  I was a lot happier, and I'm sure he was thrilled to get the sound of my gasping breath out of his ear.

We had to run through another field, and then we came down to the creek crossing.

Castlewood Cup--water crossing
Of course, getting this picture for you means that the photographer's picture of me will have me holding my phone.
It was a little over ankle deep and cold, but it was fun to run through.  Plus, running through the water left my running shoes much cleaner than they would have been otherwise!  I'm glad it was near the end of the race so that I wasn't running too long in wet shoes.   One note about shoes: I'm sooo glad I got trail shoes.  When I last ran at Castlewood, I wore my regular running shoes, and my feet were killing me by the last couple of miles.  Granted, this race was 5K shorter, but I don't think that would've been an issue.  I was really thankful for the more substantial tread on the rocky trail surfaces.  It made a big difference.

Mile 7 (don't remember whether that was before or after the creek crossing) is where I started feeling a mental drag.  I was tired.  I so wanted to walk.  And yet, how do you walk with just 2 miles to go?  No way.  Well, OK, I would have if there'd been a big enough hill to justify it, but no such "luck".  :) What was lucky, though, was the company.  First of all, Luke was great company during the race.  Plenty to talk about (when I could breathe), and knowing he was right there definitely kept me pushing myself.  Then, around the last mile, some of the Zillas came back and found me.

Castlewood Cup
Photo credit: Keith Timmons
That looks like it's going to be a good front or mid-foot strike, wouldn't you say?
 I never have "fans" at a race because it's just not my family's thing.  Which I get.  Something is always going on, and it's not all that fun to stand around and wait for someone to run past so you can yell their name once and then wait for another hour.  I remember that from when my older boys and niece did XC and track, and I wish I could go back now with a love of running and watch them again...because now I get it.  But that made it that much cooler when Vanessa, who'd met me maybe an hour earlier, called "Go Kate!" when I ran past her picture-taking spot, and that much nicer to have these guys I just met come back and run me in.

They kept me talking and pushing my way along, and I actually have pictures of myself running thanks to them! Very cool.  And I definitely needed the encouragement through the last half mile or so, which was across another open field.  I'd rather run on the trails any time, and the end of the route seemed to go on forever. 

Castlewood Cup
Photo credit: Keith Timmons
Attempting to a) smile for the camera and b) not die
I have to say, I was so thrilled to cross the finish line.  The guys were telling me to give it all I had, and I was thinking, This is a I have!! ...but the club motto is "no wimps or whiners", so I did my best to live up to it.  I didn't throw up at the end, so I must've had something left.  Maybe next time...

Not such a dirty girl:

The trails definitely had some muddy spots, and while the creek crossing washed a lot of it off, the way to the finish line was through a bit of a swamp.  Overall, though, I stayed relatively clean:

 Not too muddy  Castlewood Cup

Cute new socks--with a hole! :( yeah, they're getting returned

One sad note.  My new Smartwool socks, which I bought solely because I was hoping they'd stay comfortable when wet, performed as I'd hoped...until I took off my shoe and saw the hold in the toe.  :(

R.I.P., cute socks.
Yeah...they'll be going back to the store.  I'd expect even my cheapo cotton socks (that I don't wear anymore but can't quite make myself throw away) to withstand a 9.3 mile run...I certainly expect that of $14 socks.  Hopefully the store is willing to exchange them. 

The details:

Time: 1:43:19 (11:06 avg.)
Overall: 230/322
Women: 61/112
Age group: 8/18

Quite possibly my favorite race yet.  Well done, Big River Running.

The "bling":

Yea!  I finally have an entry in the Run for the Bling of It challenge. 

Castlewood Cup bling
Who can't use a hoodie? :)
Our only bling for this race was a hooded sweatshirt.  Very comfy, and it came in handy for the ride home!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A little pre-race encouragement

Why it's a bad idea to leave my son alone with my husband for two days. I ask you, where's the love?? Lol

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun on a run

The title alone begs a blog entry told in Dr. Suess-style verse, but I'm tired and will thus spare you.  I'm again in awe of how parents of babies keep it together in the midst of months of sleep deprivation, because I'm dragging after just one week.  J. started running a fever last Wednesday night and has kept one since then, and he's been in our room multiple times in the middle of the night, every night.  Somehow Jeff, a very hands-on dad in every other way, is physically unable to hear his child come into our room, so I've been up every night doing the cuddling and medicine dosing and back-to-bedding.  (And yeah, I probably wouldn't have it any other way). 

We were at the doctor's office on Tuesday, and it is officially the flu, though the kindest, gentlest flu one could hope to catch.  He's run a fever, had a runny nose and cough, and absolutely no appetite, but he's overall felt pretty good.  He's very lucky.  So far today he hasn't had any kind of fever, so keep your fingers crossed he can go back to school tomorrow.

Somehow, even though I've been home with him every day except for Tuesday, I haven't managed to find the time to run.  Luckily, this is a cut-back week.  I took Monday off after my 16.8 mile Sunday.  Tuesday I had to get N. and J. to the doctor before going into work for the second half of my day plus a full evening of parent-teacher conferences (in the good news portion of the appointments, N's knee isn't injured...yea!).  On Wednesday, I couldn't put it off any more, so after eating dinner and getting J showered, I headed out.

My training plan calls for 6 easy miles Monday, 6 easy miles on Wednesday, and 5 easy miles on Saturday.  Well, Monday didn't happen, and Saturday will be 9.3 not so easy miles of trail race at the Castlewood Cup.  I decided that I'd go out for 4ish easy miles last night and then maybe another 4 tonight. 

It was in the low 40's when I headed out, which would've felt like a heat wave if it wasn't for the 70 degree weather on Sunday.  As it was, it was bearable in a short sleeve tech tee over a long-sleeved one.  I did two loops of the hillier route, then two miles of a flatter route, and finished with 1.1 mile of the hilly one.

Mile 1: 11:24
Mile 2: 11:14
Mile 3: 10:43
Mile 4: 10:59
Mile 5.1: 12:31

Nothing too exciting, except...it felt good!  I've gotten to where I like running with people, on trails...still not so much otherwise.  This run was different, though.  For one, my "easy" pace actually felt easy.  Also, for the first 3.75 miles or so I didn't really think about how much further, how much longer...I just zoned out and ran.  Pretty cool.  And very, very rare.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Way Back Wednesday

Back in June of 2005 we took our longest family vacation ever: a two-week camping trip out west.  It was also our biggest family vacation ever.  My niece and mom, as well as almost everyone in Jeff's sizable family went, too.  We had a group of about 20 people travelling in 4 vehicles and pulling 3 pop-up campers (a few of the group stayed in cabins at each campground).  Because my mom and niece rode with us, that meant our minivan was carrying 7 people.  Check out the view of the back.

From l-r: J, N, niece K, D, and my mom's arm
Those kids are now 7, 16, 17, and 18, and the boys can barely get their legs in the back row. 
No way would this trip work now.

Our first stop was Bent's Old Fort in Colorado.  The costumed interpreters gave us a hard time about our modern clothing, and we had a wonderful tour guide.  I could have listened to him the entire day.  The kids...not so much.  It was a great chance to get some history and stretch our legs.
Bent's Old Fort

My sister-in-law planned the trip, booking us at KOAs across Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.  They certainly aren't national park campgrounds, but at least you kind of know what you're getting from them.  Our first camping site was in Alamosa, CO, where we parked our little caravan.

Our camper is the nearest one

We spent a day exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The "tallest dunes in North America" were amazing.  They just went on and on.  We had brought sleds because my SIL had heard of people using them to slide down the dunes.  Ours didn't work so well, which was disappointing, but the kids made do with rolling, diving, and jumping down the dunes. 
Part of the group relazing on the dunes
After spending the better part of the day hiking and climbing on the dunes, we went for a hike to nearby Zapata Falls.  If I remember correctly, the falls were high up and hard to see, but there was a boulder-sized ice cube at the bottom.  We had to hike through some water to get there, and it was cold!
Me and my mom after the hike
We never stayed more than three nights in one place, and often it was just two nights.  That's a lot of moving, and when you're dragging four kids and three adults and managing all that stuff, it can be pretty stressful to get everything packed up.  I felt like people were always waiting on us, and I had a mini-breakdown at Alamosa on the morning we left.  It got better after that.  We were always thinking ahead to what we could do ahead of time so we weren't the last.  Of course, when we were ready ahead of time, we ended up helping other people.  Hmmm.

Our next stop was Cortez, CO and Mesa Verde.  Amazing.  My absolute favorite part of our entire trip.  I could have spent two weeks just there.

In a kiva with the kids

We got to climb up this ladder on one of the cliff dwelling tours!
On our way to Moab, UT and its nearby national parks, we stopped at Four Corners.  You can imagine (and you would be correct!) that there were many times on this trip that we wished we could put each kid in a different state!


We spent three nights in Moab.  I could have spent a lot longer there, especially now that I spend more time on a bike.  Our first day was spent in Arches National Park.  So beautiful.
Our carload.  I love the way that D's head is resting on my shoulder. 
You can imagine that doesn't happen much any more.
Day two was spent exploring Canyonlands National Park. Without looking back at our trip journal, I don't remember which parts we went to, but we had a great time hiking there.  Of course, hiking in a desert area is so different from the hiking we're accustomed to because there's no nice path through the woods.  The kids had a great time spotting the cairns marking the trail.

We made good use of the baby backpack.

There was a huge dropoff behind the rocks behind us.
Next up was Cannondale UT and Bryce Canyon.  Bryce was very cool.  We had a mini-rebellion from N, who did not want to go hiking with us.  There are some very pouty pictures of him from that day.  This was also the day that I fell on the nice, smooth walking path at the rim and managed to scrape myself all up.  I'm the first person to tell my kids, "Get up, you're fine!" when they fall, and I was teary for the rest of the day about falling.  Big baby.

J (right) and his cousin A at Bryce Canyon.  They're almost exactly 2 years apart.

Pouty N hiking among the hoodoos

D was a happier camper
Jeff and some of his family got up early the next morning to go take sunrise pictures at Bryce.  I told them I'd be glad to look at their pictures and slept in.  Somehow, N and K got roped into going and FROZE.

How did we get into this again?
We had considered travelling to Zion National Park while we were at Cannondale, but I was exhausted and voted for a rest day.  I got my way, so we relaxed around the campground and the kids swam the day away.  I do regret that we never made it to Zion, but that just gives us another reason to go back that direction.

Our last stop was the Grand Canyon.  Both Jeff and I had been there in the past and loved it; he's even gotten to hike down and camp at the bottom, while I only went halfway down with friends.  For me, though, it was almost disappointing.  We had seen so many fantastic things and places on the trip that I think it lost a little of its luster.  I'm sure it didn't help that we were just plain travel weary by then as well.  Jeff would be driving through the parks and stopping at each scenic overlook to take pictures.  After a while, the kids and I would just tell him, "It's OK...we can see it from the car."

N. got to celebrate his 11th birthday at the Grand Canyon

We hiked a short way down on the Bright Angel trail

J at the campground in Williams, AZ.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip.  I'd love to go back out there again and spend more time in each place.  Our kids weren't all that into hiking at the time, which made some parts of the vacation a battle of wills, but we all have great memories of it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chubb Trail training run

I'm lucky to have some crazy friends who are training for the Double Chubb 50K and thus needing to log some substantial trail miles.  I'm even luckier that they let this new, slow running tag along with them.  Having stronger runners all around me makes me push harder than I typically would on my own.  And can I tell you how much I love having someone else plan it and tell me where to show up? It's pretty great. 

Chuck's email said to be at the trailhead at 7 a.m. (ugh...that's an hour from my house), and I wasn't too much after that.  It was just three of us: Chuck, Scotty, and me.  I was the weakest runner there, but I'm pretty used to that.  Scotty had some pretty funny stories, including one which had me almost crying laughing and kind of bit me in the ass later. 

The Trimble Outdoors site describes the Chubb Trail as a "7-miler is popular with mountain bikers and dayhikers, crossing limestone hills and following the Meramec River to a parkland with bison and elk".  We actually started and ended at the Lone Elk trailhead.  Here's what the elevation profile for our run looked like.

Looks like fun, huh?
We've had some amazing weather for the past few days, and Sunday was no exception.  I think it started out around 50 and the day topped out in the low 70's.  Amazing running weather!  As we started down that first hill, though, I was already thinking, It's going to suck coming back up! 

After going downhill from Lone Elk park, you run along a flat area near railroad tracks.  This was probably the worst area of the trail as far as being sloppy.  Most of the trail was suprisingly dry, but I guess because this was a lower area it didn't drain as well.  We did a little splashing as we wove across the trail looking for the driest part. 

CT 1
Nice, flat area
Once you cross over the railroad tracks, the trail turns to singletrack and passes for a while along the Meramec River.  This was a really pretty section of the trail.  It had a few little up and downs, but nothing too strenuous.

That's actually the river to the right of the boys.
 I really need to either stop running to take my pictures or get a camera that will take better pictures while I run.
After the trail turns away from the river, you pass into a wider section of the trail.  The area on one side is wooded, and the other side is prairie.  It was beautiful in the morning sun with the hills beyond the prairie grass.  At this point, I was feeling really lucky to be outside. :)

It was even prettier than it looks.  I swear.
I was also feeling regretful that, in my rush to get to the trailhead on time, I hadn't stopped to use a bathroom.  Sigh.  The one bad thing about trail running is the lack of bathroom facilities, though I guess you could say there are bathrooms all around you.  It all depends on how you look at it.

Q&A with Kate

Q. Does a bear $#*@ in the woods?

A. Yes, and so did I. It was not one of the better outdoor experiences of my life, but it certainly beats the kind of pantylines that adult diapers would leave under running tights. 

Coming out of the prairie section, we crossed a road and ran into this guy:

This is what happens to runners who can't keep up.  Gulp.
I started to envy the headless boy on the next stretch of the trail.  Up, up, up.  Rocks, and roots, and hills, oh my!  And in addition to all the typical trail hazards, you had to watch your step for one additional reason.  The Chubb trail is a multi-use trail, and one of those uses is horseback riding.  I don't know what they're feeding those horses, but we passed some prolific mounds on our way (sorry, no pictures of that).


You may notice that you can only see the guys in the first hill picture.  That's because they are mountain goats.  You may also notice that I have more pictures from this section of the trail.  That's because I had plenty of time to snap pictures as I gasped for breath and attempted to not die.  As I got near the top, a woman coming down said something to me.  I have no idea what.  I think I couldn't hear her over my heartbeat and breath.  (It was probably something like "Do you need medical attention?" lol)

Once we got up the big hill, there were still smaller hills to climb before we got to the next trailhead.  We made it to West Tyson in 84 minutes.  12 minute miles, not bad for all the hills.  And while I said "we", that's because I think I was the only one who remembered to start a stopwatch.  You can be sure that, without me, the guys would have been there much quicker.  Once again, I fulfilled my role in keeping it a long slow run for them. 

We stopped briefly at the West Tyson trailhead to refuel.  There was an outhouse there...too bad I couldn't have waited.  There was also a sign reminding you to wash your hands before eating...but no pump or any kind of water there with which to wash your hands.  ??  Uh...thanks.  Anyway, we got back on the trail, and before we'd gone more than a few hundred feet, this shirtless guy absolutely flew past us from the other direction.  He was cruising.  Before long, he blew by me again going in our direction now. 


Q. When are your angel wings of questionable veracity?
A.  When they're tattooed on your back.

In the flash that the guy was in front of me before he was out of sight, I could see a big pair of angel wings tattooed on his back.  We had some discussion about what we should have tattooed on us.  Chuck suggested lead balls on his feet.  I thought I'd like some helium balloons tattooed on mine.  Any little bit of help would be welcome. :) 

Shirtless guy also didn't appear to be carrying water, but I guess when it only takes you 15 minutes to run 7 miles, you can just stash a drink at each end.

Running down the big hill was much nicer than running up it.  For me, anyway.  I think Chuck enjoyed the trip up a little more, but his was a bit shorter than mine was. :)  As other runners were heading up, it was my turn to talk to people who gave no response or just looked at me in exhaustion.  The guys cruised down and waited for me at the bottom by headless sled boy.  I stopped to take a couple of pictures...this time, because it was so pretty rather than just to catch my breath.

The angle of this picture makes it look steeper than it actually is.

Looking to the side of the trail

Watch your step!

After coming down the big hill, it was back to the prairie section and past some remains.  We had seen them on the way out, leading to mention of the mountain lion sightings.  One the way back, we had to stop and take pictures of them. 


Q.  How is running with boys different from running with girls?
A.  I'm not sure what it's like to run with girls, because it so rarely happens, but I'm a girl so I guess I'm somewhat qualified to answer this one.  As a girl, I take my pictures like this:  Ooh, that's pretty!   Running with boys, I take my pictures like this:  Hey, get a picture of this freaky headless statue!  Cool...take a picture of what's left of this deer! (At least, they said it was a deer.)

Very scenic
Back along the river, back along the soggy trail by the railroad tracks.  It was funny, because at one point I looked ahead and each of us was on a different side of the trail in our attempts to stay dry-ish.  I wasn't all that worried about it since I was almost done.  If I'd had another 8 or so miles to go like Chuck (thank goodness I didn't have another 8 or so miles like Chuck!!), it might have been a different story.

I kept thinking about that hill ahead of me, and then there it was.



Up (whimper)

And finally it levelled out.  Ahhh.
I met back up with the guys at the parking lot, where they were nice enough to tell me that I did well for a newer runner.  If I had a big ego about my running, it would be hard to keep running with all these better runners.  As it is, I'm glad I can go out and train and have a good time and hopefully keep getting better.  That said...

Q: What the heck makes me think I can run a marathon?
A: I have no idea.

I had a great time.  I've never run or hiked on the Chubb Trail, and I'd definitely go back there again.  If it was a little warmer, I'd probably have needed to figure something else out about water.  I just carried one handheld bottle with me.  If there was a pump or something at West Tyson, that would've been perfect.  All in all, though, I couldn't have asked for a nicer day of running ...and the company was pretty nice, too!

I was actually scheduled for 16 miles yesterday, and since we only did 14 at Chubb, I tacked on an extra 2.8 at Creve Coeur Lake park while N. was at volleyball practice.  This part was on a paved trail.  A paved trail that was packed with people.  One pretty funny thing...I saw a sign that said the trail was 2.8 miles, and I thought it was a loop but wasn't sure, so about a mile into it, I asked a guy who was running.

"Does this trail loop?"

"Well, where are you wanting to go?"  Ummm...if it's a loop it shouldn't matter where I want to go.  But OK, I pointed.  "Well, yeah, it loops, but it's a long way away."

That kind of threw me.  I only wanted to run my 2 miles, but I was willing to run a little extra.  Then I realized...that extra 1.8 miles left on the trail was his "long way".  Last year, a mile was a long, long way for me, and now I've run 14 miles on two straight weekends.  That's pretty cool.  I've come a long way, baby.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

ABCs of me

Well, it's been an exciting weekend so far.  Friday night included a puzzle, and on Saturday, we went to the Pinewood Derby.

 One of the interesting things about having such a gap between kids (oldest are 18 and 16, youngest is 7) is the experience of doing things again that I thought I was done with...Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, Pokemon, Animorphs (and if anyone has any of the Animorphs books they'd like to get rid of, email me and we'll talk! I sold most of a set of those, only to have my youngest child fall in love with the now out of print series), Pinewood Derbies... 
That's J in the middle


Being an "experienced mom", one thing I learned about the Pinewood Derby is that winning only prolongs the experience.  If you don't win, you get to take your car home and play with it. The top four cars, however, go on to "district", where your parents (because it is all about me) sit around a gym all day with a bunch of wild kids who end up in tears because they didn't win that time.  Since learning this, my goal for my children has always been 5th place.  What can I say...I am not a Tiger Mother.
Winners...J, far right.
Despite my quest for wooden-car mediocrity, what you see above you is the smile of a top four finisher.  I will admit to you that, when his name was announced, I was caught by another parent making a face.  OK, OK, I'm happy for him...but I won't be broken hearted if I end up having plans the day of the district competition.  In fact, I may start looking for plans once I find out what day the district competition is.  :)

In the midst of all these diversions, I still had time to fill out the ABC's of me that I read from Kim at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls.  Try to control your excitement.

A) Age: 37

(B) Bed Size: Queen.

(C) Chore You Hate: All of them except laundry.

D) Dogs? 1 labradoodle

(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: Facebook (followed by Diet Pepsi)

(F) Favorite Color: Cerulean

(G) Gold or Silver? Whichever.  I'd rather have new bike gear than either. :)

(H) Height: 5 ft 10 in, finally happy with that after a lifetime of wishing I was shorter bc all the boys were.

First day of school
D(18), J(7), N(16)
(I) Instruments You Play: Piano and flute in the past. 

(J) Job Title: 1st grade special education teacher

(K) Kids: D is my 18 year old son, N is my 16 year old son, J is my 7 year old son.

(L) Live: Illinois

(M) Mom's Name: Theresa Ann

(N) Nicknames: Kate Bate, Sara Heartburn (my dad used to call me that after Sara Bernhardt...I was Sara Heartburn, the famous bad actress)

(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? Three. Stays for each of my kids' births.

(P) Pet Peeve: Negative people

(Q) Quote from a Movie: Lots of great ones from A Christmas Story:
1) "He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master."
2) "In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan. "
3) "I have since heard of people under extreme duress speaking in strange tongues. I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed. "

(R) Right or Left Handed? Right

(S) Siblings: 3 brothers- 36, 34, 32.

(T) Time You Wake Up? 6

(U) Underwear: VS thong bikini

(V) Vegetable You Dislike: lima beans.

(W) What Makes You Run Late: Grossly (and regularly) underestimating how long it will take me to get ready/get somewhere.

(X) X-Rays You've Had Done: Hand

(Y) Yummy Food You Make: Finger cookies.


(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: chimpanzees