Monthly Archives: October 2010

Not Really a Waitress

Thursday evening ended up being a crazy cooking day.  It’s finally getting chilly outside (mid-60’s during the day, 40’s at night), and I got this urge to cook fall food.
I made an incredible sweet potato and butternut squash soup in my crock pot that just smelled like Thanksgiving all day.  I sauteed some onions and celery in olive oil and tossed them into the crockpot with 3 peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, a peeled and cubed butternut squash (I admit, I cheat…I buy the pre-cubed stuff in the produce section), 4 cups of veggie broth, and some sage, thyme, and salt.  Cook on low 6 hours, and blend into happiness. 
I also had an urge to cook with cranberries, so my sister-in-law sent me a recipe for a pumpkin-cranberry bread, and since I had all the ingredients on hand, I made it!  It was a hit, and made the house smell amazing. 
Then I started looking for something to do with some leftover rice from the night before, and found a recipe for a broccoli/cheesy rice thingy with mushroom soup and made that.  And of course some green bean casserole from one of my favorite vegan websites.  And since I was on a Thanksgiving kick, I made stuffing (which is a food group unto itself for my husband.  See below) and (since they’re omnivores), a turkey tenderloin.  It was a fabulous meal, if not pretty much a month early.
Friday was a day of early meetings and chauffeuring my eldest all afternoon.  I got home late (hadn’t had lunch), so I whipped up a totally wonderful meal.  I still had the acorn squash Alfredo sauce leftover from the other day, so I made some quinoa noodles, peas, and added the sauce.  The result was an almost macaroni and cheese-like dish of amazing food, but was very healthy at the same time.  I love it when a meal is completely whole-grain and veggies, and just feels like decadent comfort food. 
  my alfredo pasta awesomeness.  see prior post for recipe.
  D’s second plate of food that meal.  Only thing he went back for was a mound of stuffing.
Friday night A had a school Halloween dance, so she dressed up as a zombie doll, watched Psycho (yes…the school actually played this movie at the dance), and then danced for awhile with some friends.  While D took her to that, I took M to the mall for some much needed clothes shopping.  We ate at the food court, and I got one of my favorite all time meals…Vietnamese Vegetable Pho Noodle Soup.  Awesome. 
Today was just as hectic.  D slept in since his pager went off half the night last night, so I woke up, made coffee, and ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal and toast.  I went to the gym, but before I could go, I needed an audio book.  I finished my final book (book 10) of the Sookie Stackhouse books (True Blood) yesterday, so I was at once happy and sad about it.  I decided that morning that I want to re-read (and catch up on) all the Anne Rice vampire books.  I asked D to get them for me and put them into iTunes.  He hadn’t yet done that, so I decided to buy an audio book on before going to the gym.  My friend S has been really wanting me to read a detective novel series by Michael Connelly called the Harry Bosch series.  She gave me an audio book called The Overlook a few months ago.  It was ok…not great, but not awful either.  I decided to give it another shot, and went to the first book in the series, called Black Echo.  I’m a couple hours into it now and not loving this one either.  I generally like detective books, but I think I’m going to give up after this one.  May just have to stick to vampires for a bit.
Anyway, after the gym, I ran a few errands.  I’ve been really wanting a Tofurky for a few weeks, and typically the Farm Fresh grocery stores carry them.  I’ve checked 2 in the area, and no luck.  So I went to another one, and no dice there either.  I think I’m going to have to go to an actual hippie store to get it.  Ugh.
I got home, took a shower, and took my time getting ready today.  It was actually nice to not be rushed!  I even painted my nails (well, I did half of them anyway….).  Since I’m feeling so festive, I went red…something I don’t do often.  The nail color is called Not Really a Waitress.  I think it’s funny, since I often FEEL like one at home!
I decided to take R to Busch Gardens for a final night of Howl-O-Scream.  M and A both have activities going on, and really thought it would be fun to take R to do something too, so we left around 230 pm.  For the first time ever, I’m pulling into the park and there is a big sign that says “Park May Reach Capacity”.  Holy cow.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so busy!  But…we had a great time anyway.  We went on a ton of rides.  For awhile, we ran around the Land of Dragons, and I felt like I was doing a Survivor Challenge.  A pic is below of her climbing up a rope bridge.  Just so you realize….in order to GET this picture, I had to do it to.  Twice.  I’m glad I’m in shape.  She chanted “FUNNEL CAKE” for about 2 hours, so I finally broke down and got her one. 
  adventure girl!
After funnel cake fun was promptly followed by belly ache fun, we decided to wrap it up around 830 and head home.  It was a really nice time, and I’m glad we went.
So now I’m off to bed.  I’m hoping to guilt D into getting me my new book before I go to the gym tomorrow.  Here’s hoping…

It’s Not My Fault Your Tastebuds are Dead

I generally really like Thursday’s.  They’re busy (lots of standing meetings on Thursdays), and it’s a signal that the week is almost over!  I have some hope that today will be a good day, but we shall see.


First of all, I’m working from home today.  My littlest monkey isn’t feeling well.  She’s been snuffly the past few days, and has those big purple bags under her eyes that indicate allergy hell.  I whipped out her neti pot last night and we had some success getting the nasties out, so I’m hoping that’ll help.  For now, she’s sleeping peacefully, and I certainly don’t want to disturb that. 


Working from home days are double edged really.  It’s nice to be in my jammies still at 830 am, but I find that I actually work more hours in the day than if I were in the office.  Other than two meetings this afternoon (which I’ll do via webex), I have several hours of uninterrupted time to get a LOT done.  What I find I end up doing though, is to keep working through until pretty late in the day (like 8-9 pm), and even though working at home is nice, I end up putting in 12 hour days!  Oh well.  I think the whole jammie thing balances that out.


Breakfast today was a sandwich made from Ezekiel bread, mustard, soy cheese, soy bacon, and lettuce.  And coffee.  It was very fabulous.


Yesterday was a busy work day again, and while I ate great, I didn’t workout.  Breakfast was some oatmeal and a piece of Ezekiel bread with low sugar jelly and coffee.  I think that’s the most “breakfast-like” breakfast I’ve eaten in a long time!


Lunch was a totally awesome sandwich from Jason’s Deli called a Veggie Muffaletta.  They are HUGE, only 177 calories (without the cheese), and are just yummy.  It’s made with marinated and grilled portabello mushrooms, spinach, yellow and red bell peppers, tomatoes, red onion, and an olive mix.  I ate half of the sandwich for lunch, and the other half for an early dinner.  I didn’t have much of an appetite the rest of the day, so I had a few tortilla chips, but that’s about it.  I fell in way below my expected caloric intake, and only ate 857 calories.  That’s not good…eating too little is as bad as eating too much.


Tuesday was a pretty good day.  I didn’t have a ton of meetings, so I got a lot done.  I was really worried about getting the data for a budget I’m working on (new IT system purchase….it’s been a bit of a cluster before I got involved in August, but it’s finally coming together).  Breakfast was a Tofu Alfredo sauce with whole grain pasta.  Very tasty!   For lunch, I made a concoction in my rice cooker that is similar to a Mgedarrah Lentils and Rice recipe that I found on VegWeb.  So here it is….


1 cup brown rice (soaked for about an hour)
1 cup lentils (any will work, I used red)
2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Allspice
2 tablespoons cumin
4 cups water


I put the oil and onion in the rice cooker, turned it on, and sauteed them for about 5 minutes.  I added everything else on, restarted the rice cooker (I have a fuzzy logic one, so I used the Brown rice setting), and that was it!  I dump tons of hot sauce on it, and it’s amazing.  A ate it for dinner on some whole grain and seed crackers.  High fiber, high protein, low fat, all fabulous.


I’m a big fan of full meals that can be cooked in a single pot.  It’s just neat.


I hit the gym on Tuesday afternoon for my Fitnlinxx routine.  As planned, I bumped up the weight by 5 lbs for every machine except the shoulder press.  Not quite ready for that one.


Monday was another pretty good day.  I had lots of meetings, but they were highly productive.  I made a Cream of Broccoli Dream soup from my V Cuisine cookbook that my parents got me for Xmas a few years ago.  Talk about uber simple…


2 chopped onions
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
2 cups broccoli
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 peeled and diced potato


Saute the onions and garlic in the oil.  Add the flour to mix into a roux.  Add everything else, cover and cook until the stuff is tender.  Blend (I use a hand held immersion blender).  Yum!  I served it with french bread an an olive oil dip with mixed herbs.


So here’s my family dilemma.  Well, it’s not really a dilemma I guess.  I have noticed (and have done some reading to confirm), that the more you eat whole foods and a clean diet, the more you taste the flavor of the food.  Diets high in processed foods, are high in salt, and high salt diets kill your ability to actually TASTE food.  Since I try to keep processed foods in my life to an absolute minimum, I find that I rarely use any salt in my cooking.  This, of course, is the polar opposite of how my husband eats (though he was a very good sport about the soup for dinner on Monday).  He ends up having to dump mounds of salt onto his food, just to taste it.  It makes me sad really, that his diet is more on the unhealthy and processed side.  I’m working on him slowly :)


I learned about an event next fall that I really want to go to.  It’s a Vegan Blogger Conference!  It’s next August in Portland, Oregon.  I think it would be incredibly cool to actually meet people who have the same passion for a meat-free life as I do.  That, and I haven’t been to the west coast in SO long…I’d get to visit one of my very best friends in the world, who lives outside of Seattle.  D is all for me going, so I really hope we can swing it.


So that’s it for today.  I’m hoping to go to the gym after D gets home from work.  I need to strength train, and since it’s such a rainy day, I think I’d like to use the rowing machine or take a cycling class too.  Since the marathon is over, I do want to keep running of course, but also do some other forms of exercise as well. 

Good Friends = Good Times!

What a fun couple of days!  I’ve worked out, cooked, and went out of town with some good friends for some good times!
Wednesday night was Wine Night with the girls for a couple of hours.  The 6 of us drank some red wine and ate yummy Italian food while catching up.  D dropped me off (and stopped in for a beer), and S brought me home. 
Thursday started out with early meetings and ended with late ones.  According to my calendar, I had an 8am meeting at one of our hospitals.  I show up, but the person I’m supposed to meet with doesn’t.  Around 820 I page her to let her know I’m there, and to grab me when she gets in.  As it turns out…she’s off for the day and her secretary forgot to reschedule the meeting.  Ugh…I rushed to get out the door by 715am for nothing.  I hate that!
I had back to back meetings from 930 until nearly 530.  I was SO hungry by the time the day was over.  I was supposed to have a little time between a couple of them – which I thought would mean I’d have time to grab a salad or something – but all my meetings ran over, so it was a lot of scrambling and tummy rumbling.  I was supposed to go to a vendor-sponsored dinner and beer thing that evening, but I just didn’t have time.  By the time I got out of the hospital and fought traffic on the way home, D had to leave with R for gymnastics and I had to pick A up from school.  On the positive side…it was really nice to just get to spend time with the kids and do some packing.  While D was at gymnastics, the kids and I had sammiches and soup and finished an episode of Survivor from a couple of weeks ago.  The one where the crazy fisherman guy was voted off.  Yeah!
Friday was early morning meetings again, but it wasn’t so bad this time since my earliest was a conference call.  Gotta love going to a meeting in your jammies with a cup of coffee!  I worked at home most of the day, which is always a nice treat.
My new glasses came in, so I stopped at my eye Dr on my way home, and then hit the gym for my Fitnlinxx workout.  I’m starting to get excited because I can see the muscles in my arms that I really never noticed before.  It gets me very motivated to go back to the gym.  Next week, I’m planning on upping my weight on each machine.  I think it’s time.
R had her Fall Festival at her grade school.  They go all out – have raffles, inflatables, games, crafts, dancing, and food.  D took her, and I met up with them when I left the gym.  Then it was off to pick A up from school and head home.  We ate dinner and all watched the other 2 episodes of Survivor that we were behind on.  Now we’re all caught up and are still annoyed that Marty and Naonka haven’t been voted off yet.  They’re both so snaky.
Saturday was a very early morning.  I didn’t sleep well and woke up at 4am anyway, but M and I had an early morning workout.  We were out of the house just before 7am.  We brought Sammie (our yellow lab), and headed to the Great Dismal Swamp for a 55 minute speed-walk workout.  We both underestimated how cold it was, and froze a bit in the beginning.  This time of year is very pretty, and some of the dense greenery was changing to pretty fall colors.  We went 3.5 miles total, and other than when Sammie spotted something she felt like chasing or playing with, we moved at a pretty good clip the whole time.  In the last 1/4 mile, we saw a pretty sailboat going through the canal.  M took some pictures, and they’re below.
After our workout, we decided to be nice to the rest of our family (who were still sleeping, by the way), and stopped at Dunkin Donuts for them.  M and I had both eaten before the workout (a piece of Ezekiel toast with sunflower butter and half a sliced banana for me.  Two pieces of toast for him).  Of course, he’s 13 and seems constantly hungry, so he got a breakfast sandwich at Dunkin Donuts too.
After I got home, I jumped in the shower and finished packing my bag for the weekend.  A couple of us went to Williamsburg for the weekend.  S rented a beautiful condo up there, and after fighting some awful traffic, finally made it up around 130. S promptly pulled out the fixing for Mojito’s and her iPod, and we all had a drink!  We then caught the shuttle bus to Busch Garden’s and enjoyed a few hours of walking around, drinking beer, people watching, talking, and haunted fun.  We took the shuttle back to the resort, and then hit their pub for some bad pool playing and drinks.  At some point, most of the bar found out it was my birthday weekend celebration, so we didn’t really pay for much.  And as much as I appreciated the gifts of Jaeger bombs, lemon drops, and bottles of beer…I really didn’t want to drink much.  I despise being hung over much more than I like to drink, so despite several protests, I drank a lot of water.  We got back to our condo around 1230, hung out and talked for another hour and a half, and went to bed at 2am. 
At 9 this morning, we finally started moving again, and began packing up.  After a necessary stop at Starbucks around 1030, S and I went shopping at the Williamsburg outlet mall.  She got some shoes, and I bought new workout pants for M (his poor legs froze yesterday morning in shorts) and some socks for D (he has big feet, and the only place I can find socks that fit him are at the Nike outlet store).  We hit a few more stores, but the most amazing was the Yankee Candle Flagship store in Williamsburg.  It’s a mini mall unto itself.  Sure, they had candles…but they ALSO had a Holiday Park where it snows every 4 minutes, a food court, a guy playing guitar and singing, face painting and crafts for children, the Yankee Home Store, and all told, I think S and I spent at least an hour and a half there.  I ended up with a candle that smells like grape Skittles.  It’s pretty cool.
We then stopped for lunch at an Asian buffet I love (they have Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Thai, Vietnamese food….as well as this awesome “sushi train”).  Lunch was awesome.  Then we left and drove the 45 ish minutes back home.  Good times!
Oh, and while I was off having fun, D entertained not only our children, but some of their friends too.  They had a sleep over fest and watched movies, played video games, and ate pizza.  So I think that everyone in my family had a good weekend.
The rest of the evening is really just cleaning and getting ready for the week.  I’m going to go run a few errands, hit the grocery, and come home and try to relax before going to bed early!

A Week Later, and I Still Have All My Toenails!!!

I’m not sure what the typical window is for losing toenails post marathon, but thus far, mine are still all there.  I’ll keep monitoring though to be sure.

Yesterday was my birthday and all in all, it was a pretty good day.  I had a meeting in the morning and then a leadership conference.  Then I ate way too much Thai food and rented Iron Man 2!  It was fun, but Scarlett Johannson didn’t get enough screen time.  After lying on the couch and recovering from my steamed spring roll and tofu green curry indulgence (and doing a ton of laundry and watching my movie), I started cooking.  I made an awesome acorn squash alfredo and served it over veggie shell noodles.  It was so smooth and creamy, I was just shocked it’s made from pureed squash!  D made the pork tenderloin, and I stir fried up some mushrooms. 

While dinner was cooking (and D was busy baking me a homemade vegan birthday cake), M and I went for a run!  He and I are going to do a 5K training plan together.  I’m sure I’ll do some additional runs during the week to keep my base mileage up, but it was really fun.  It was an 18 minute run total, and while we both felt we could do much more, I don’t want to see him burn out by doing too much too soon, so we’re going to stick to the plan.

After the run and then dinner, I got to open presents and eat my cake!  D and the kids bought me a beautiful dress, belt, and necklace.  I was surprised since he already got me the iPod a couple weeks ago.  I also heard from a bunch of people on facebook, calls, texts, and emails.  It was really nice. 

We watched a little TV, and then went to bed.  Low key, but nice.

I’m not going to run in the OBX marathon weekend this year, but I’m thinking of going down to volunteer.  It’s beautiful down there this time of year (really, it’s beautiful down there any time of year), and after the Chicago marathon, I’d hate to not give back to the running community.  It’s Veteran’s day weekend, and the kids are off anyway.  M would probably love to do it too; we did one year at the Shamrock marathon and worked one of the water stations.  I would like to do the Flying Pirate Half-Marathon in the Outer Banks next spring though.  It’s a new race that just started last year, and I think it would be a lot of fun.  I still haven’t picked my next full marathon, but I sort of have my eye on the Philadelphia Marathon next year in November.  D was talking about wanting to take a vacation, so if not Philly, maybe Disney, which is in January every year.   

Today started with an early morning meeting and turned into a festival of hives!  After my morning meeting, I took A and two other kids in the neighborhood to the high school this morning after their bus was running 20+ minutes late.  Then it was time for a parent/teacher conference for my youngest.  She’s sweet, very smart (especially loves math), gets along with everyone, is helpful…and has a hard time shutting up!  She’s chatty and wants to fidget and play rather than pay attention and finish her work.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  A was the same way as a kid, and I think I was too.  She’s also the youngest, so used to being the center of attention. 

I was pretty much minding my own business when most of my body started breaking out in hives!  I have no clue what happened, but after panicking just a little bit, all ended fine after some benedryl.  I’m not sure what I was worried about more…the head to toe hives, not making it to the gym for a Fitlinxx session, or potentially missing Wine Night with the girls tonight!  I guess I shouldn’t worry now…the hives are gone, so the wine is on!  

Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies, OH MY!!!!

This weekend has been good, if not just as busy as most.  I really can’t wait to have a weekend where I don’t have to do anything…or get up early for any reason.  I guess I just really want a day to sleep in! 

Friday was work and boss’ day.  Fortunately for my boss, she was on her way to Hawaii, so I didn’t feel bad about not getting her a card :)  I did get a card and some balloons myself though, so that was sweet.

Friday night D and I went to a wine party for a couple hours.  It was nice to get out for a little while, and we had a nice time.  We both were tired though, and I slept great Friday night.

Saturday morning D had an appointment at the Apple store at the mall to have his iPhone looked at.  They fixed it, and while he and M were at the mall, R and I went to the gym to workout.  A stayed home and cleaned her room (though to be fair, I gave her the option…gym or clean.  I can’t believe she chose to clean instead!).  I did my Fitlinxx workout and it felt good; nothing sore anymore.  I was hoping to go for a run on Saturday, but I ran out of time.

After getting home, I took a shower, and the 5 of us took off for Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream Halloween fun again.  We made a pit stop at Starbucks and Trader Joe’s before making our way up to Williamsburg.  We all hung out, and the older kids met up with a few friends for a couple of hours.  We went through several haunted houses, and had a really good time getting the poo scared out of us.  At one point a werewolf flew out of the ceiling, I screamed, and D doubled over laughing hysterically at me.  A and M spent most of the evening screaming, and R (the 7 year old) declared repeatedly how unafraid she was of everything.  All in all, it was a very nice time.  My new iPod has a pedometer, and according to it, we walked 24,000 steps in our 4ish hours at the theme park. 

Sunday was spent cleaning, cooking, and I even went for a run!  The 5 of us cleaned the entire house from top to bottom all morning, and then went to do yard work, which also took an hour or two.  After that, D went to the grocery, and I went for a run.  A nice and simple run of just under 2 miles.  D was asking me what my plans were for it…distance or time, etc.  I told him that for the first time in a long time, I didn’t have a goal…nor did I want one.  I just wanted to enjoy myself and feel no pressure.  It was lovely.

After my shower, I turned into a cooking machine!  I made homemade samosas (think Indian egg rolls…only roundish.  And filled with potatoes, peas, and yummy Indian spices), Chicken Korma for the meat eaters, Tofu Korma for me, Garlic Naan (a completely fabulous flat bread), and a bit pot of saffron basmati rice.  After dinner, we all watched How To Train Your Dragon before heading off to bed (D took the kids out back and they looked at stars and some planets I think too).

I received an email from Brooks (the company that make my incredible running shoes) to join what they call Run Happy University.  It’s basically an informational website on training, nutrition, and of course a vehicle to hock their products.  I found a training plan for beginning 5K’s.  While I know I’m maybe just a bit beyond that, I was thinking it would be fun to do with my son.  We had tried about a year ago to have us all train (except R) for a half marathon.  I think that was too ambitious, so I’m the only one who kept running.  I was thinking that maybe a 5K would be a better starting point.  Heck, even R might like doing it!  So I asked M, and even though I could hear the major hesitation in his voice, he said yes.  I figured we could do the Hair of the Dog 5K in Virginia Beach on January 1st.  We start tomorrow with a run/walk of 3 minutes each x 3.  Simple, but the 12 weeks gets him to running 3 miles without stopping.  That’ll be pretty cool to watch.

Today is a gym day.  I got up early, but not to workout – just to get to the office early.  I got a lot done, had a couple morning meetings, and then met D for lunch at Olive Garden.  I ate too much, but it was really tasty and I was starving.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do for dinner tonight, since it’ll be just me.  I’m picking up R in a few minutes from school, going to do homework, and then take her to swim lessons.  D is going to meet me at the Y to collect R around 645, and then he’s taking all the kids to the mall to do some bday shopping.  I’m going to stay at the Y and do my Fitlinxx workout, and then come home.  I have plenty of the Tofu Korma and rice leftover, so I’ll likely do that.

The rest of the week will probably be a blur.  Tomorrow is my birthday, and after going to a conference at the oceanfront all day, I want to do that run and then something fun with D and the kids.  Wednesday is a Fitlinxx day…but it’s also Wine Wednesday at Carrabba’s, and a few of us are going out to celebrate.  Then Saturday is a girls weekend in Williamsburg to celebrate my birthday and take one last trip to Howl-O-Scream before the season ends!  I wish my camera hadn’t died during the trip to NYC in August.  Then again, most pictures from “girls weekends” shouldn’t be made public anyway ;)

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

…which also happens to be an incredibly cool song by Cage the Elephant…but that’s really nothing to do with my blog…
I have to start this post on a serious note. I neglected to mention the most important person in my last post. My husband was by far my biggest supporter and cheerleader throughout the past 6 months of me even training for this crazy adventure. He’s the one that took the kids to all their activities so I could either run or go to the gym.  He’s the one who made sure homework was done and showers were had.  He’s the one who left me little encouraging notes on the kitchen counter when I got up at ridiculous hours on Saturday mornings to go for insanely long runs.  He had to listen to me whine, and rub my shoulders when I ached.  He tried to have flowers delivered to my hotel room, but ran into issues with the hotel staff (the thought really is what mattered here…though if you’re reading…still feel free to send me flowers whenever a random urge strikes.  Or even if it doesn’t.  I love flowers.).  And on race day…he sent me as many texts of encouragement as everyone else, told everyone he knew (in life and on Facebook) what I was doing, and even recorded a 23 mile video to try and spur me for the last 3 miles.  He told me over and over again how proud he was of me, and whenever I started to criticize myself about how slow I am, he’d shoot me right down.  I love him so very much, and am a very lucky woman indeed.  Okay honey, no getting a big ego now :)

The past few days have been pretty good, if not exhausting. I know, I know…you’d think that just running the marathon would be tiring. Turns out, it’s the crash afterwards that has me dragging.


I’m glad I decided last week to take this Tuesday off. While I was home in plenty of time to go to work on Tuesday…I certainly wasn’t feeling up to it.


I slept great Monday night. I hadn’t on Sunday night, probably because my body was so sore, every time I moved in my sleep, I just woke right up. So after a day of travel and then being in my own bed, I slept pretty well. I woke up with D and the kids, made breakfasts and lunches, and then started doing wash.  8 loads actually.  Of just mine, R’s, and D’s clothes.  A and M do their own.  That’s a LOT of wash!  I did manage to catch up on 3 shows though while doing it.

Around 1130, I decided I should venture out, grab something to eat, and then go to the grocery.  I really didn’t feel like it, but I was hungry and didn’t have any on-hand easy vegan meals.  So my first stop was Moe’s!!!  Of course I had to have the Personal Trainer veggie salad.  With tofu (crazy cravings for tofu lately – probably since I really need protein).  I ordered it sans shell – see picture below.  Now that I’m not running 40 miles per week, I have to clean up my diet again.  I’ll admit…the last 6 weeks before the race I ate EVERYTHING I wanted because I knew I’d just burn it right off.  The time is again at hand to watch what I put in my mouth, and keep it to the fruits, veggies, vegan protein, and complex carbs that I usually do.  At this point I also have to mention that I haven’t had any alcohol since Friday.  Probably because I’m still hungover….6 days later.  It’s feasible.

  My shell-less salad.  They call it a “streaker”.  I call it sad…I miss the shell.
After Moe’s (where the guy behind the counter greeted me like a long lost friend, knew my order…though looked at me funny when I said no shell), I went to the grocery to pick up some things for the house.  They have a slightly expanded hippie section that my hubby told me about, so I checked that out and picked up a few things to play with.
By the time I got home, I felt awful.  I plopped in front of the TV, watched last week’s CSI:NY, and folded laundry.  I started getting hungry, and made a pot of Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable soup.  I put some oyster crackers in it, and instantly felt better.  I realized that after eating “clean” all day (smoothie for bfast and shell-less sadness salad for lunch), my body really just wanted bread, or crackers, or some other simple carb.  Of course after that, I had to make popcorn!  For most of the rest of the day, I felt pretty darned good.
Tuesday evening I made another recipe from my Candle Cafe cookbook; a Tofu Alfredo.  It uses just silken tofu, soy sauce, and an entire head of garlic.  It cooks for an hour, and voila…awesome animal-free Alfredo awesomeness.  At 40 calories per serving (which is 2/3 of a cup), I was totally excited.  I was also too tired to actually eat, so I went to bed and slept the best I’ve slept in longer than I can remember.
Wednesday was back to work day.  I had the Tofu Alfredo sauce over pasta with corn with lots of black pepper for breakfast.  After coffee.  It was fabulous, though I could taste garlic all day long.  Maybe an entire head was a little too much.  Lunch was a banana, an apple, and an orange.  More than enough considering how filling my breakfast was, but I was feeling that mid-day slump that only too little food gives.  Work was great though, and it was nice to catch up with everyone after a few days off. 
I took R to her swim lessons, and M came with.  We swam after..though I was mostly interested in the hot tub.  There were 9 kids in R’s class, and the head swim lesson lady said that was too many.  She started evaluating each kid, and some of them got busted down to lower level classes.  R was in the “top 3″ of the strong swimmers, so she stayed in the class.  My little fishy.
While D did homework with her, I cleaned up the kitchen (dinner was grilled cheese and soup), made lunches for the next day, and whipped up a batch of Asian tofu from my Candle Cafe cookbook.  And some chocolate chip cookies.  I definitely got my groove back!
I slept awesome again last night, which was totally cool.  I was wiped by the time we finally went to bed, and barely remember finishing the Covert Affairs episode we were watching.  Despite being tired, I had a very good morning.  After making lunches and getting everyone off, I packed a gym bag, and then it was time to head to my office at the hospital.  M wasn’t feeling well, and he stayed home from school today.  My morning meeting was canceled, so I had some office time.  Unfortunately, it was spent with D trying to get my laptop working the way it should.  Anyway….it was a good day and I got to meet with my other team and get lots done.
Breakfast was a sandwich on Ezekiel sprouted bread with a slice of the Asian tofu, lettuce, and Dijon mustard.  After coffee.  I had an apple and a banana throughout the day as a snack.  Then I stopped at Azar’s for a falafel wrap and some vegetable orzo soup.  YUM.
I decided about a week ago that I want new glasses.  I’ve had the same pair for almost 5 years, and while they work, they aren’t “wear to work” glasses most of the time.  The lenses are a bit scratched, and I pretty much wear them as I’m falling asleep, so they’re perhaps a bit mangled too.  I had a eye Dr appt last April, so I knew I didn’t need to make an actual appt, and the deal was sealed when the mail came and I found out I had almost $400 in my flex spending account that I would lose at the end of the year if I didn’t spend it!  Since I use my yearly insurance benefit for my daily disposable glasses, I figured it was karma that I could get a new pair of glasses now.
So I called my eye Dr and asked if I needed to make an appt to pick out glasses.  As I thought, I didn’t since I have an active prescription.  After work, I stopped at the eye Dr’s office and the “specialist” started pulling frames.  After trying out 25 pairs, we found THE pair of glasses.  They were very nice looking….like a piece of jewelry for the face.  And when she told me the frames were FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS, I about choked.  Holy.  Crap.  She then tells me that they’re made out of some bone from an African animal.  I tell her that I’m a vegan and don’t eat or wear anything that comes from an animal, and that we’ll have to keep looking.  Thank God, because that was a better “out loud” excuse than “no way in hell are any glasses worth $1500″ would have been.   
I left with a new pair of (MUCH cheaper) glasses on order and headed to the gym.  First workout since the big day.  I was nervous, but excited.  I also ordered a new pair of running shoes today, so it’s time to get back in the game!  I did my Fitlinxx workout, and while some of the leg exercises were harder than normal, it felt good to workout.  I think I’m ready to run again, and plan to do a short run (3-4 miles) on Saturday before heading to Busch Gardens for more forced family fun.  Tomorrow is work and then a wine party, which I am very much looking forward to.  I’m starting to seriously think about my next race, and am getting quite excited.  Not sure what it’ll be, but I’m thinking next fall.  I want to do the Dismal Swamp half in April, and maybe the Shamrock too in March.  I’d hate to miss a year, and I’m sure I’ll be ready for a half or 8K.  There’s a race being held at Busch Gardens this Christmas for the first time that sounds fun too.  As I had hoped a few weeks ago, I am hooked.  And I’m very happy indeed.

I Finished, and I Didn’t Die!!!

What a weekend!  Buckle up, because I have a feeling this is going to be a long post….

We’ll start with Thursday.  Thursday after work, I picked A up from school at 5.  We then wandered around some antique shops downtown, went to dinner (Thai food…I tried something new.  Tofu RED curry.  Not as good as green, but still tasty).  We then went to her art school’s open house.  It was nice…but LONG.  We finally left around 845, got home just after 9, and I frantically started packing.  I got to bed around 1130, slept like poo, and then was up at 330am.

Friday was a day of travel and exhaustion and drinking.  I left home at 415am for the drive to Richmond (my plane ticket was several hundred dollars cheaper to fly from there…but had to live with the nearly 2 hr drive).  I got there at 6am, checked into my flight, made it through security, and proceeded to my departure gate.

They board by calling what zone you’re in.  I was in zone 4 (the very last), so I kept sitting while they boarded everyone else.  They board families traveling with small children, elderly or handicapped, then zone 1, zone 2, and zone 3.  It’s all proceeding very smoothly…until they stop with zone 3.  Meanwhile, there are about 20 or so of us still waiting to be called forth to get on the big plane.  After 5 minutes or so, 6 people come storming off the plane, approach the counter, and start yelling.  I’m not sure what all the ruckus was about, but my guess it had to do with people wanting to switch seats….which they announced several times that our flight was full and there would be no seat assignment changes.  After 10 minutes or so, those 6 people re-boarded, and then our lonely little zone 4 was called.

I get to my seat (an aisle seat near the front of the plane) and I’m put next to Paul Bunyan.  This man was HUGE.  Both tall and wide, he made for a less than ideal travel companion.  It didn’t help that he was a jerk too….through most of the flight between Richmond and Atlanta, he kept elbowing me in the head as well as encroaching on nearly half of my seat.  I’m miserable, he’s a putz, and I eventually lost my cool.  After the millionth time of being smacked in the head, I glared at him.  He very nastily said “What?!?!  I can’t help it…I’m tall!”.  To which I respond…also quite angrily “Are you kidding me??  You don’t think you can be tall and still manage to NOT hit me constantly…in the HEAD?!?!”.  He said a few more nasty things, to which I finally replied, “Listen, I paid for my seat, NOT you, so kindly get out of it and stay out of it.  I don’t care how uncomfortable you may be.  Next time…buy 2 seats or drive to your destination.”.  It was embarrassingly nice to see him try and squish up on himself to stay in the middle seat.  I imagine he was also encroaching on the person in the window seat.  I frankly don’t care.  All the blows to the head (coupled with the long drive and little sleep) gave me a headache and made me less than civil by the end of the flight.

I got to Atlanta and slowly wandered to my gate.  I was wicked early, but didn’t want to pay the Internet access fee, so I listened to my iPod and texted with my husband a bit.  The plane was on time, and boarding was a breeze.  Only problem…smelly, rude, old guy was my traveling companion this time.  Ewww. 

On a nice note, the woman sitting across the aisle from me was wearing a Chicago Marathon fleece vest, so I asked her about it.   She’s a marathon veteran, and this was going to be her 4th time doing Chicago, though she’s done many all over the world.  It was also her first one many years ago – and her favorite.  She was giving me some advice about not going out too fast, etc.  She was really nice and encouraging, and told me that I wouldn’t even notice the first 10 miles because the atmosphere is so groovy.  At that comment I thought her nuts (she’s obviously in running shape and probably thinks these things are easy anyway!).  I smiled, said thanks and good luck, and we deplaned and went our separate ways.

I landed in Chicago around 1130am as planned, got my luggage with no problems, and took the bus to the car rental place.  After nearly an hour long wait in line (they were busy and grossly understaffed), I got up to the counter.  It’s not the employee’s fault that things were going so slowly, and I noticed how rude some of my fellow travelers were, so I made a point of being extra nice to the woman behind the counter.  It doesn’t cost me anything, and just may make her day a little less awful.  To my intense surprise, she gave me a free upgrade to a nice car with a sunroof and everything.  Good karma!

I drove up to WI to pick up my parents.  We took a side trip to drop their car off at the train station, pick up some Starbucks (I was totally wiped by this time), and made our way SLOWLY back to Chicago.  I took off my shoes since I now know there is no law against it after all!

I need to interject here and introduce Darla.  Darla is my GPS unit, and I never travel without her.  My friend S had gotten mad at me last February when I got lost trying to find the rental house in Nags Head because my printed google directions had the wrong address.  Anyway, she admonished me for not having GPS, and got me one!  The first time I used it, it was telling me to turn right ahead…but what it didn’t know, is that it was a 4 lane road in rush hour, and I couldn’t get over to turn.  It kept yelling at me, and I finally yelled back “Shut up Darla, I’m trying!”.  Every since, it has had a name and a personality.  And EVERYONE (friends and family alike), refer to her as Darla.  She generally gets me where I need to go….sometimes in a circuitous route…but I pretty much always get there.

So anyway, after fighting a ton of traffic, Darla got us to the Hilton in Chicago.  We pile out of the car, grab our bags, go to the counter, to find we’re at the wrong one!  Not Darla’s fault…D programmed the wrong Hilton into her before we left, though he meant well and was only trying to help me by pre-programming Darla with all my known destinations in Chicago.  My Dad is cursing my husband and my parents and I repack up the car, pile back in, and start hunting for the correct Hilton…which was actually attached to the airport.  Darla fritzed out a bit, but we eventually got there.  The girl at the hotel was nice, put us in rooms next to each other and close to the elevator.

By this time, it’s 530pm, and I’m starving and exhausted.  The three of us head to the Italian restaurant in the hotel for dinner.  Tony – the Sous Chef – made me a special vegan off-menu delight of wide rice noodles, tomatoes, and veggies.  He also made a cheese-less bruschetta appetizer.  Yum!  I ordered some red wine, my dad a Grey Goose martini, and my mom a brandy old fashioned.  After dinner, my dad and I decide to stay a bit, and my mom goes back to the room.  So here my dad and I sit in the hotel restaurant just talking and telling stories and drinking and having fun.  After several martini’s, he switches to Jack Daniels, and I’m not sure how much wine I drank….but it was a lot.  The bill was obscene, but alas…we had fun.  We apparently got back to the room around midnight.  I’m astounded I’m still awake, my father has no recollection of leaving the restaurant, and needless to say, we both spent Saturday very hung over.  Probably not the wisest thing to do just before my race, huh?

On Saturday, I HAD to go to the marathon Expo in order to pick up my race bib and gear.  Of course, I fully LOVE expo’s anyway, so was really looking forward to it.  However, it was nearly 1pm before my body was in any way capable of being out of bed.  My dad was still incapable of getting out of bed, so it was just my mom and I who went to the expo!  Here are some pictures of that…..

 

           The McCormick Place that held the Expo                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                           
Part of the shopping and product expo vendors.            

 

VW was one of the sponsors, and this is their Doodle Bug…so everyone took markers and signed it.  Kinda neat.

The Little Rock Marathon race promoters dressed up as Greek Goddesses!

Hot Chocolate 15K race promoters dressed as umpa loompas!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

I picked up several cool things (t-shirts, etc) and then we made our way back to the hotel.  Still not feeling wonderful, we headed down for dinner around 530.  I wanted to go to bed REALLY early since the next day was race day!                                                                                             
We went to the other hotel restaurant – a steak place – and this time I had a different take on pasta with tomato basil sauce.  And a salad.  And some Italian bread.  It was pretty good, and I went up to bed pretty much as soon as I was done eating.  I was feeling mostly human, but knew I needed to get up at 330 am again to get the car down to the Grant Parking garage before traffic hell started, and then walk to Union Station to meet my sister’s 6am train.                            
I slept fairly well, woke up, took a quick shower, and left around 4am.  I had laid out all my running gear and dry bag the night before, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning.  After I parked the car at 436 (according to my parking garage ticket), I walked the mile to Union Station.  I passed a 7-11 on the way and picked up my standard pre-race Clif bar and some Gatorade, which made me intensely happy.  I had brought one with me, but I think I left it in my car in Richmond’s airport, so I was freaking out a bit.  Clif bar’s before a race are my tried and true breakfast, and I get very superstitious about it.  I made it to the station, and just hung out until 6.  Her train was on time, and we walked and talked on the way back to Millennium park where the race start was.  By this time, I was getting really, really nervous!  Fortunately, the energy of the crowd was invigorating, and by the time the race actually started, I was feeling pretty good!  C took a pre-race picture of me (when I was still actually smiling), and I made my way to the open corral where I was allowed to go before the run started.
The National Anthem was sung, and then at 720 am, the wheelchair start began.  At 730, the elite group went, and then the rest of us slowly made our way to the front.  It was 750am when I crossed the start line. 
As usual, the first mile was a bit of a struggle, but then I hit a happy groove and was just enjoying the crowds (both runners and spectators) and the scenery.  I stopped around mile 4 to pee – which was about a 10 minutes pit stop – and then took off again.  And what do you know??  Nice Airplane Lady wasn’t nuts after all.  Before I knew it, I had hit the 10 mile mark, and barely noticed anything at all. 
I had debated about wearing my water bottle fuel belt.  I had thought I would since I was afraid I hadn’t trained well for not needing to hydrate only every 2 miles, it would be nice to have something other than pockets to hold my Gu energy gels, and it was supposed to be uncharacteristically hot (over 85 degrees), so that scared me too.  In the end, I decided I was more worried about the belt causing chafing, and skipped it.  I loaded my running pants pockets with Gu and my iPhone instead. 
The race itself was amazing.  The people both in the race and spectating were so wonderful.  The race organizers did a great job of providing plenty of water and Gatorade stops, that I was glad about my decision to skip the belt.  Every time I stopped, said thank you to whomever was giving me fluids, all I could hear were all the volunteers congratulating and encouraging the runners with “great job”, “keep it up”, “you’re doing wonderfully”, that it was hard to NOT get an extra pep in your step.  One of my favorite moments was this little girl – no more than 14 months old – who was on the edge of the race course with her dad, and giving high-fives to the runners.  Each time she got one, she’d giggle hysterically and it just made me smile.  I gave her a high-five for sure!
There were people there obviously cheering for a friend or loved one, and tons of people just out to support us.  I saw some great signs…like “Beer at the finish”….”Runners have balls…other sports just play with theirs”…and “Beat Oprah”, just to name a few.  There’s an Elvis impersonator around mile 11.  I stopped to take his picture, and he gave me a fist pump!
I don’t think I can articulate all the feelings that went through me.  It was fun.  It sucked.  It was emotional (I started getting weepy around mile 22)…and I cried each time I saw my sister.  Her being there was my favorite part.  I’d text her where I was at…she’d text me where she’d be, and I’d get so excited to hit that mile marker because I knew she’d be there, hug me, and cheer.  I also have to mention all the encouraging text messages S sent me throughout it.  She was my own personal cheerleader from 1800 miles away.  I also had great friends and cousins on Facebook giving me positive messages, which kept my spirits up through the entire event.
I crossed the finish line around 145pm.  According to the Chicago Marathon site, it was 6hrs and 25 minutes.  According to my Garmin GPS unit and stop watch, it was 6hrs and 17 minutes.  I know it’s only the difference of 8 minutes, but I believe my watch.  I spoke to and read posts from several hundred runners who don’t feel the open corral runners were timed right.  Either way, I’m proud.  Sure, it wasn’t a great time by any stretch of the imagination, and so far off my original goal of 4 hrs that it’s pathetic, but I finished.  I crossed the finish line and traversed all 26.2 miles on my own two feet.  I broke down right afterwards (though only for about a minute).  When one of the volunteers put my finishers medal around my neck, I started to cry.  Then he hugged me, which made me cry even more.  I love the volunteers.  They are really the backbone of these things, and I’m going to have to remember to volunteer at the races I don’t do in my area, just to give the support to runners that I’ve gotten. 
Oh, and just to put it out there..I had my new iPod the entire time (the new little clip on Nano) and I listed to FOURTEEN chapters of my True Blood 8 book.  HA.  That’s a LOT of the book in one run!
The race starting line!  Here we go!!! 
Elvis!!  His singing really spurred us on.
One of the parts of the city welcoming us to their neighborhood.
The Hispanic part of town was probably my favorite!  The energy was intense, the crowd was just amazing.  It seemed like the whole neighborhood was out, banging drums, playing music, dressing up (like this 16 foot character) in their cultural best.  They really did a great job of representing their city.

China Town!  Oh boy, did I want to stop for an egg roll.  It smelled wonderful!  There were two men dressed and dancing as Chinese Dragons.  I wish I had a picture, but couldn’t get to that side of the street.  It was just amazing!

Bless the Chicago Fire Department!  All throughout the race, they were posted and spraying us in the icky heat with their huge hoses. 

My finishers medal!

After the race, I made my way to the finishers exit, met up with my awesome sister, and we walked to the Hilton downtown to meet up with my parents for a little post-marathon celebration.  I’m glad I walked and didn’t collapse immediately.  I think it made it easier for me to get up once I DID sit down!  We had some sweet potato fries and a beer.  The whole of downtown was crowded and celebrating, and I am very glad I chose Chicago as the venue for my first marathon.  Sure, not everyone was kind and thoughtful…but most people were.  The city welcomed us with open arms, and I will never, ever forget this experience.  It was intoxicating and inspiring.  My dad told us how he saw a blind runner, I saw men and women with prosthetic legs, runners of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and what is amazing, is we all look in awe at each other.  There is no judgement – only encouragement.  While for some it is truly a competition and how they make a living, for the vast majority of us it’s simply an accomplishment.  My heart broke for all the people I saw dropping out of the race in the medical tent.  I hope they don’t feel disappointed in themselves.  It takes a lot of courage to start something like this. 

My sister and I walked back to the parking garage where we said our good-byes.  She went back to Union Station to begin her train ride back home for her, and I drove my rental car and picked up my parents.  We headed back to the hotel, and I don’t think the fries sat well with me!  After relaxing for a bit, talking to D and the kids, taking probably the most awesome shower of my life (except for the part where I hit the hot water and learned which parts of my body I missed with the Body Glide!), we headed to Chili’s for dinner.  I had half of a black bean burger, some onion strings (because onion rings are a food group), and some broccoli.  We got back to the hotel, and I went to bed.  Sure, I was hurting quite a bit, walking funny, but very, very happy.

Monday morning I woke up early to pack, and we left the hotel at 815am.  I took my parents to Union Station so they could catch their train home, and I headed to the airport.  I grabbed a bite to eat while there, and hopped my plane to Cincinnati.  It was a nice flight (no icky companions), and I met 4 other girls who had been there for the race – 3 who ran, and 1 sister who came to support (just like mine did!).  We were all on the same flight to VA and were seated together, so we all had a great time talking about the run.  The sisters were both marathon veterans, and the others of us were first timers.  We talked about why we picked Chicago, and what our experiences were like.  It was nice to sit and talk to a bunch of strangers about a shared experience.  As we left the baggage claim, we all hugged, said congrats to each other and left.  I realized after, that we never even exchanged names, but talked animatedly for hours about our weekend.  Kinda cool.

My drive home was relaxing and traffic was good.  I stopped to grab a wrap and smoothie on my way, and when I pulled into the driveway, D and the kids were standing there waving and ready to hug me and welcome me home.  It was totally awesome.

So now I’m home and thinking about what comes next.  First, I can’t workout until my body stops being sore.  That can take 2 days to 2 weeks.  I feel pretty good all things considered, but my muscles are sore.  Nothing wrong with the knees or anything like that, so I escaped the marathon injury free!  I also have NO blisters.  I think I need to send a letter to Brooks Running (who makes my shoes – the Ravenna) about how amazing their shoes are.  I saw some poor people after the race with torn up feet.  Thankfully (to brooks and to Final Kick sports who fit them on me), I had great shoes!

Yesterday on the trip home I kept thinking about what I want to do next.  I do know that I want to run another marathon for sure.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that (especially at mile 23 where I was walking and thinking about how much this sucked!), but after a day, I realized that I’m hooked.  I don’t know if it’ll be Disney (which sounds totally awesome), Richmond, or Philly (always wanted to go, and my youngest is obsessed with the Liberty Bell).  But I know it’ll be one of them.  Or all of them!  I can tell you right now though…for the next couple of weeks, I’m sticking to swimming :)

My Bags Are (Almost) Packed and I’m Ready To Go!!

(…sung to the Peter, Paul, & Mary song, Leaving on a Jet Plane)….

Wow.  I decided yesterday that I need to revisit my decision making paradigm.  10 months ago when I first made the decision to run a marathon, it seemed brilliant.  Honestly, I only did it because my husband (very snarkily) asked me when I was going to run a full marathon now that I’ve done several half-marathons (I was in the middle of training with the J&A Racing team for the March Shamrock).  Of course I took that as a personal challenge, and I shot back “this year”.  I immediately went onto Active.com to see which marathons were in the fall/winter to give myself plenty of time to train.  After debating between Richmond, DC, and Chicago, I decided Chicago would be perfect – October weather is typically cooler and more conducive to running, and I have family close by who could come see me.  And I probably had a few glasses of wine, so when registration opened up on February 1st, I was signing up just after I woke up that morning. 

I decided to do my last workout before the big day yesterday morning before work.  So off to the Y I went to do my strength training.  From there, I went to work for the day where I really focused on things I had to get done…probably because I was too afraid to actually think about the weekend coming up.

I ran into a couple people who know of my training, and got some very encouraging comments.  As one friend put it….it’s not like I’ve done this before, so it’s going to be a PR (personal record) even if I finish last!  Woo hoo :) 

Last night was swim lessons for R, so I went BACK to the Y (how’s THAT for dedication!?!).  M came with, and after lessons were over, the three of us went swimming for a while, hung out in the hot tub, and then headed home around 730pm.

Breakfast was coffee before the gym, and some veggie soup after.  Lunch was the Thai food I’ve been craving (Tofu Green Curry of course!).  I didn’t eat dinner (I know…but my lunch was just so filling!). 

I tried thinking about packing yesterday, but that was too challenging.  I decided that I usually pack at the last possible moment anyway, so why break the streak.

I knew today was an early day, so I made lunches for school last night, and planned a crock pot meal for today just to ease the stress levels a bit.  I’m glad I did, because work today has raised those levels to epic proportions anyway. 

I actually opened my suitcase this morning and put in a sweater.  Then the cat jumped in and decided she wanted to sleep on my sweater.  I couldn’t disturb her because it was really cute, so that’s pretty much the extent of my packing.  I can at least say I’ve STARTED.  I did print out all my itineraries and check into my flight (and pay the stupid bag fee – even though I only have ONE, they still charge).

Tonight is A’s open house for her art school, so I’m picking her up at school at 5, doing some shopping, and then going to her open house from 7-830pm.  I anticipate getting home around 9 tonight, where I’ll have to actually finish packing.  Then it’s up at 330 am so I can get up to Richmond in plenty of time to catch my 7am flight.  I land in Chicago at noon, and then the weekend fun begins. 

My sister and I have been doing more planning of logistics this week.  Okay really, she has been doing all of that.  I just know that I’m totally excited about the Expo.  There’s also a Vegan festival on Saturday, but not sure about that.  I want my parents to have fun too, as they are forgoing their typical yearly trip to Door County in order to go to Chicago instead.  I want them to have fun too.

So here it is.  3.  More.  Days.  Holy cow, where did the time go??  Am I ready?  Will I get enough sleep the night before?  What should I eat??  Will I finish??  Will my family who’s coming get to see me, or will it be so crowded, that it’ll be impossible?  Will the adrenaline of the moment carry me through a ridiculous distance of 26 miles???

So, not sure if I’ll have another post until after the race.  I leave bright and early tomorrow morning, so depending on how the next 2 days go, I may not have a chance to get online.  Provided I survive the experience, you all know I’ll be taking many pictures and will post them along with a summary of the event.

WISH ME LUCK (I need it)!!!!

I Have Symmetry Issues

Definition of SYMMETRY (per the Merriam-Webster website)…




1: balanced proportions; also : beauty of form arising from balanced proportions


2: the property of being symmetrical; especially : correspondence in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane or about a center or axis — compare bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry


3: a rigid motion of a geometric figure that determines a one-to-one mapping onto itself


4: the property of remaining invariant under certain changes (as of orientation in space, of the sign of the electric charge, of parity, or of the direction of time flow) —used of physical phenomena and of equations describing them
 
For example….if D rubs my shoulders, they have to be rubbed equally in pressure and duration.  If I have one sleeve pushed up on my sweater, they both have to be.  I think I am the only one afflicted with this in my family as I just witnessed my 7 year old running through the house wearing one sock.  I asked her why, and she said she spilled something on one of them so took it off.  It’s actually driving me nuts right now because my sense of symmetry is being upset and I think SHE shouldn’t be comfortable wearing just one sock.
 
Today was another day for not wanting to get out of bed.  It got down in the 50’s overnight, and we had all the windows open.  Before bed last night, we threw another big comforter on the bed, and it was so snuggly and warm this morning, that neither D nor I wanted to get up.  We played more rounds of snooze tag than normal, just to stay warm a bit longer.
 
As usual, we woke up, D made coffee, I made breakfasts and lunches (fancier today…ravioli’s for lunches for M and A, and cracker sandwiches for R; which are ritz crackers, squares of cheese, and some pepperoni).  Then it was off to work.
 
I must say, I felt a bit of a rebel today.  After my 10am meeting was finished (right at 11…on time for once!), I did my 4 mile run in the middle of the day!!!  For some reason it felt like I was skipping school, although I put way more than my allotted 40 hrs per week in…
 
Anyway, it was nice to get outside in decent running weather (about 70).  I took a quick shower, and back to work.
 
Breakfast was a mango/orange/banana juice blend and then some lentil soup (about an hour or so apart).  I really wanted Thai food for lunch, but ended up with a smoothie and veggie wrap from Tropical Smoothie Cafe
 
After work, I picked A up from school and we went to the mall to hit the Halloween super store.  She’s creating a panda costume from various things, and needed something for that venture.  Then we met up with D, M, and R at Frank’s II Italian restaurant, where I had eggplant parmesan with no cheese.  I guess that’s just eggplant then, since doesn’t the parmesan part imply cheese?  Whatever…too deep of a thought this close to bed.
 
So now, it’s off to bed.  Only 2 more work days before I fly to Chicago!!!  According to the Chicago Marathon’s facebook page, they’re putting up huge signs everywhere – including the airport with their slogan 10.10.10, The Date to Motivate!!!!  Enough said :)
 
 

Monday, Schmunday

Ugh.  It was really a Monday today!  I was sleeping well – no birds chirping at me an an unholy hour – and really didn’t want to get up.  The bedroom windows were open, and it was just chilly enough to want to stay buried under the covers.  Alas, it’s a work and school day, so only a couple rounds of snooze-tag before getting up. 

While D was making coffee, I started making breakfasts and lunches for everyone.  Omelets and toast for everyone else, and leftover pasta primavera for me.  Lunches were very basic…nothing fancy on this dragging Monday. 

I had several meetings, and once the work day got into full swing, I didn’t feel exhausted anymore.  A couple of us finalized an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a new Cardiac IT system, I had a hardware meeting to determine what type of servers I need, how many, etc, then a (very exasperating) conference call with one of my vendors, a quick discussion with one of the technical managers, and then ended the day in a meeting with one of the hospital administrators.  Whew….busy day.  Lunch was a yummy lettuce and chickpea salad, so that was pretty much the highlight.

My sister and I talked a bit about the upcoming weekend in Chicago.  I realized that I have absolutely no plans other than flying in and running.  Guess I better get on that…

I went to pick R up from school and head to the gym.  She has swim lessons on Monday’s and Wednesday’s at 6, so we got to the Y at 5, she played in the PlayZone while I did my Fitlinxx strength training workout.  I got through 12 of the 13 machines before I ran out of time.  I forget how busy the gym is that time of the evening!  Anyhow, we scrambled into the locker room, and she changed into her bathing suit.  She was so paranoid that she was late, that she jumped into the pool – with the last class still in there – and started swimming laps.  She was very confused when I told her to get out of the pool, that we weren’t late!

As R and I were finishing up at the gym, D was heading to martial arts with A and M.  I went home, worked with R on her homework, and made dinner.  I had tofu/veggie egg rolls.  Yum.

M is running for class president this year, so he and D worked on his campaign flyer.  M did a great job, so I hope he does well in the election Friday.

So some cool news….

I have the single most awesome kitchen appliance in creation.  It’s called a VitaMix, and it’s absolutely incredible.  Anyway, I have had it for about 2 1/2 years, and I follow their Twitter feed and Facebook pages.  A couple weeks ago, they started advertising to VitaMix owners to submit an essay about their machine and how it’s benefited their lives to be in a 90th anniversary book.  So I wrote one…and found out on Friday that my essay was selected for the book!  The essence of the essay was about R’s nut allergy – and how with my VitaMix, one of the things I can do is make my own flours and dessert treats that she may otherwise be denied because of her severe allergy.  When I was notified of my winning submission…they asked for a photo.  So D and I took the ones below…of R holding a plate of cookies, next to our VitaMix, and wearing her I Have Food Allergies t-shirt!

So that’s my day.  Long, but productive!