The Classification of Runners, Walkers & Cyclists

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013

I’ve been traveling back and forth to Austintown visiting some family that came in to town this past week, so I had to do a couple long runs on a bike path near my parent’s house. Man, do I wish this thing was around when I was growing up!  It’s 20-some miles of paved bike path, through some really great scenery, most of which is shaded by tall trees and forest. It’s quite lovely and peaceful.

I loved the path and to my surprise, there were really a lot of people on it!  I did a 7-miler at 8am on a Saturday and I probably passed about 30-35 people over the course of my run. Three and a half miles out. Three and a half miles back in. Seven miles gives you plenty of time to start stereotyping your fellow bike path enthusiasts, so of course it didn’t take me long to start classifying some of the types of people I encountered:


  • Hard Core Friendlies (HCF) – This was me. This runner waves to everyone that passes by, whether eye contact has been established or not. The HCF wears a Fuel Belt (which to me, means they are running at least 6+ miles) and will eventually look like they ran through a car wash. (Unfortunately that look only takes me until about mile 2.) The HCF will also say “good morning” (or whatever time-appropriate greeting is in order) as they run past. It will be stated loud and proud between miles 1-4’ish… a wee bit more winded and forced over miles 4’ish-7…. but the sincerity is always there.
  • Hard Core Unfriendlies (HCU) – I only saw one HCU on the path, but our turn around points had me passing by her twice, so I got a double dose of her ice. The HCU also wears a Fuel Belt, but she’s got zero time to lift her arm to wave. I like to think she’s in a state of total concentration and so zoned in and focused that she is physically unable to lift her hand to wave or mutter a hello. That is a better thought than the alternative, which is that she’s just a big meanie and has no respect for the runner’s code that encourages us to support one other.
  • Short Distance Friendlies (SDF) – Anyone not in a Fuel Belt. They’ll wave, smile and say hello. They know they’re going somewhere from 1-3 miles, so they’re happy. They’ll be done in, like, 30 minutes, so there is no time to get ugly or zoned in. They have a spring in their step and the sweat on their skin seems to glisten.
  • Newbies (N) – Sometimes they’re happy. Sometimes they look like they’re about to croak. But the Newbie will always return a wave. I think they need the support more than anyone else on the pavement, so I’ve even been known to kick it up a notch from “hello” and throw out an encouraging “looking good” or the like in their direction.


  • Over-Friendly-And-Maybe-A-Bit-Lonely-Old-Guy (OFAMABLOG) – He’s super sweet and gives you a nice big wave and smile and when you smile back, you feel like you’ve actually brightened his day. There is also a bike version of the OFAMABLOG. As you pass walker or biker OFAMABLOG, you think to yourself, “I hope everyone is returning his kindness.” But then you remember there’s an HCU on the course and that won’t be the case.
  • Power Walkers (PW) – The PW is incredibly busy pumping their arms and there is no way in hell they are about to break stride to say hello, let alone wave it. You can see a PW coming from a mile away. They tend to send chills down the spines of everyone on the path. Even the HCU.
  • Teenagers Looking To Score (TLTS) – You can see the looks of disappointment on a TLTS’s face as they realize the bike path through nature isn’t as remote and deserted as they had hoped it was.


  • Spandex Helmeteers (SH) – These guys are no freaking joke. They are in helmets and are wearing neck-to-mid-thigh spandex and they will run your sweaty ass over if you don’t get out of their way. (Sidenote: I always think to myself as an SH passes me by, “He has to go twice as far as me, but in less than half the time as me and we both kill the same number of calories. Why is my ass not on a bike right now?!”) The SH never… I mean NEVER… acknowledges other people on the path. But maybe it’s for the best that they keep both hands on the wheel.
  • Sunday Cyclist (SC) – Much like the “Sunday Driver”, they’re just out on the path because it’s a nice day and it’s a fun thing to do. 99% of the time they are with a friend or their significant other and 99% of the time they will wave or say hello. They’re really quite lovely people, although even the SC should be wearing a helmet, and 99% of the time, they are not.

I also came across my fair share of bunnies on the path.  Bunnies who think it’s fun to stay in your way until you’re only a couple steps from them. By that point, you’re in a mild panic because you are unsure which way they will dart off. I know they will always choose to dart in the direction closest to the woods, but it never fails to scare the pants off of me when they finally do.

Of course all of these classifications are made up in my head. I’ve developed life scenarios, estimated paces and guessed distances for people I don’t know, have never seen and will never see again. I’ll do just about anything to keep my mind off of the task at hand. And it must have worked, since both my 6-miler and 7-miler on that path went pretty darn well!


A Girl, A Guy, and a Group

MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013

It’s cold outside. I’m tired. I just ate. There’s a “Real Housewives of Wherever” marathon on Bravo. And so on…

These are just a sampling of some of the excuses I’ve made for myself to avoid lacing up and hitting the sidewalks to get in a run. (Note: In my earlier posts, I called them “jogs”. I’ve come a long way, in that I don’t saying I’m “jogging” anymore. I go on “runs” now. Sounds like a minor detail, but for runners, it’s a pretty big distinction, and I’m a runner now, damnit!)

My point being, there are about a million different reasons not to run. So for me, a support group isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t do this shit on my own! I get lazy. Unmotivated. Blobish. But when I see or hear about someone I know (or only know through a Facebook group) say that they’ve gone out and done something, well, I’m more likely to go out and do it, too.

Case Study #1: The Girl
I have a friend who I met at work. She started out as a co-worker and quickly became one of my best friends on the planet and she is such an inspiration to me. She’s the gal in my life that says, “So yeah, I’m gonna do the Rite Aid 10K.” and I immediately say back, without hesitation, “When’s the next discount registration day, cuz I’m doing it with you.” (I’m really quite cheap.) So when my friend said, “Yep, I’m gonna do my very first half marathon in October.” without hesitation (Ok, that’s a big ‘ol lie. This is 13.1 miles here! I did have to think about it for a minute.) I said yes. And I quickly found a coupon code and registered for the Rock-N-Roll half marathon.

Everyone needs a girl like this in their lives. The gal that you follow in to the unknown and who will make you push yourself to the next goal. To that I say, thank God for my girl Jen!

Case Study #2: The Guy
Behind every good man stands a girl who is willing to crush every single PR he sets for himself. That guy is Jerry and that girl is me. He’ll email me and say, “I ran a 8:58 pace over 2 miles!” and I’ll reply with “That’s so awesome! Way to go! Congrats!”. And then I’ll head outside, run an 8:56, email him about it and he’ll call me an a-hole. I smile for days when this happens, as does he when he’s the one crushing some random goal I just set for myself. But that’s the dance we do and we both enjoy it immensely. (The a-hole recently beat me in the Run @ the Ridge 5K, so I guess I have some training to do.)

He helps me think outside the box and gives me ideas to keep the training fresh. He’ll do a trail run, then I’ll try a trail run for the first time and fall in love with it. He’ll tell me about some interval training he did up at the track and immediately I go check my schedule to see when I can get up there next. It’s awesome and he keeps me from getting in to training ruts. So much of this running stuff is mental, so keeping things fresh is very important.

Case Study #3: The Group
My latest motivation acquisition is a little sorority called “Finish the Race”. It’s an amazing group of women, most of whom I’ve never actually met, who gather on Facebook (and in real life) to talk about their running, their injuries, races they’ve done, goals they’ve met, pole dancing… ahh yes, pole dancing… and just about anything else happening in their lives.

Admittedly, I joined the group with hesitation. I was invited in and then sat back… stalker style… for a few weeks before I posted anything. I wasn’t sure if they were for real. (Any “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fans out there? Remember when Willow joined the Wicka group, but they weren’t really hard core witches and she got frustrated… but then she met Tara… so it wasn’t really a total loss. Although, did anyone really like Tara? I thought she was weird.) Anywho, that’s what I thought might be the case for the FTR group. Boy did I think wrong! I find myself checking the group’s Facebook page, oh, about every 3 minutes to see if anyone has posted anything. My thumbs ache at the end of the day from the scrolling refresh maneuver I do on the  Facebook app on my phone, because I simply need to know what these ladies have been up to. They get me moving, make me laugh and I can relate, on some level, to just about everything that gets posted by this awesome group of women. It was a pretty cool find and a motivating force for me to turn off the “Housewives” and turn on the training.


To update my progress, I’ve got 2 races under my belt so far this Spring/Summer. I missed my goal on the 10K, but managed to PR a 5K. I’ve got three more races lined up in the next 4 months. A 4-miler, a 2-miler with my nephew, which I’m really stoked about, and then the 13.1 in October. I’d love to add a few more races in here and there, but that will just depend on how many coupon codes I can find.

My First 10K (1 of 2)

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013

(This post and the next are about my experience at my first 10K, The Cleveland Rite Aid, on May 19, 2013. There’s a lot to say, so this post will tackle leading up to the start.  My next post will take you through the race. If you’re anything like me, you’ll lose interest after about 4 paragraphs and I since I need my 3 loyal readers to stick with me, I’m splitting it up. You’re totally welcome. So here goes…)

build up…. Build Up… BUILD UP!!!!!  Aaaaaaand, it’s over.

So the Cleveland Rite Aid 10K has officially come and gone. It felt like I talked about it, trained for it, talked about it some more and so on for months and months and months. And now, just like the feeling you get on Christmas afternoon, it’s over and I’m left wondering, “OK, what now?”. But before what’s next, I need to reflect on what was.

I was pretty darn nervous the week leading up to my very first 10K race. I decided that hydration was key, because heaven forbid I go down with a side stitch 3.42 miles (totally made up number) in to my 6.2 race!  (Turns out I would go down with one at about mile 5.25, but we’ll get to that.) So in the days leading up, I drank water. LOTS of water.  And for me, lots means, like, 2 or 3 tumblers a day. A tumbler load was maybe about 20 ounces, but for me, drinking 2-3 of those suckers a day felt like water boarding. And then, of course, I just peed a lot. But I felt like I was doing the right thing in preparing myself for the big race.

I set my alarms… 2 alarms… to go off at 4:30am. I wanted to get up and shower, in an effort to get my body awake and moving. And, well, clean. That part was important, too. But mostly I just needed to feel like I was alive and the shower was the way to go. I timed my morning beautifully. Up at 4:30. Showered, dressed, hair in a swishy pony by 5:00. Toast with butter and light cinnamon-sugar spread prepped and consumed by 5:15. Out the door at 5:20. I was to meet my friends in a (super shady, but super cheap) parking lot down in The Flats.

It’s 5:20am and I’m on the road. I call my friend, Jen, at 5:30 to check in and to see how her progress is, well, progressing. She is supposed to be meeting another friend, Len, at 5:30, but he’s running 10 minutes behind. *Gulp* I don’t deal with late very well. And especially when I wasn’t sure exactly which super shady parking lot in The Flats I was supposed to meet them at with no one around at 6:00 in the morning. But I continued to breathe. It’s all good and a 10 minute delay is no big deal.

Let’s fast forward a bit. I’ve met my friends. We’re parked, organized and have made our way over to the Browns Stadium (is that still what it’s called these days?!) where the start of the race is. It’s such a cool vibe! People were everywhere in their new, but tested, running outfits. Bibs proudly pinned to their fronts. I quickly learned the color coding. Red striped bibs were the real runners. The half and full marathoners. Solid red bibs were the relay folks, or what I like to refer to as “the cheaters”. Then there were us yellow stripers. Probably yellow because we were too chicken-shit to run anything more than 6.2! But I wore my bib proudly and it matched my outfit, so life was good.

I hit the bathroom twice waiting for the 10K’ers to get called. On the way back from my second trip, the real runners were taking off from their corrals and I could hear “Cleveland Rocks” and then Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” as they left on their 13.1 and 26.2 mile journeys. It was so cool. SO COOL. The experience of it gave me goosebumps and a lump in my throat. I couldn’t even see them, as they were on the other side of the stadium, but the music and the mood of everyone there was really intense and you couldn’t help but feel like you were a part of something pretty special. Yellow-striped bib and all.

The real runners took off at 7:00. The yella-bellied 10K’ers started at 7:30. We made our way over to the queue at about 7:15 and casually walked our way up to where we could see the starting line, but weren’t so far up that people would assume we could take on course records. It was a comfortable position.

Counting down from 10, it’s almost go time! (Do I have time to pee again?! Shoot. No.) “…5-4-3-2-1!  Cleveland Rocks!  Cleveland Rocks!  Cleveland Rocks! Cle-e-veland Rocks!” The music is blaring and I’m jumping up and down. Jumping because even though we got the big “GO!”, we were so far back that we weren’t moving forward yet and up and down was my only option. It ended up taking about 3 minutes from our position to hit the starting line.

Still with me? Yes?! Well then come join me at my next post….

My First 10K (2 of 2)

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013

(Hey! Thanks for hanging in there with me.)

We made our way up to the starting line about 3 minutes after the official “Go!”. It was so cool, to be among a crowd of people who were all pretty much like me. Who had been training and preparing for this day just as I had.  We paid good money to go through what we were about to experience. The good, bad and ugly of a race. Any race. But for me, being that it was my first 10K, I really didn’t know what to expect. Just, please God, don’t strike me with a side stitch.

The first mile was rough. Not because I’m tired or in pain, but because I’m dodging the mother f&#!’ing walkers. Don’t get me wrong, I love the walkers. I’m just as proud of them for being out there as the runners. Any movement is better than no movement at all. BUT! And here comes my big but. (hee hee) Get your asses to the end of the starting line! Maybe that sounds snotty, but it sucked beyond belief to walker-dodge people for the first half to three quarter miles or so. You can’t get in a rhythm. You’re slow. You’re making zig zag movements and it just, well, sucks. I later learned that the pace of my first mile was 10:01, when it should have been somewhere below the 9:30’ish mark. But it’s ok. It’s all part of the experience.

My second mile was nice. I hit my stride, felt strong, confident, the music was coming through my headphones and I found some space. I completed that mile at a 9:26 pace. It was a good mile, with one exception. I could see the “2 mile” flag in front of me and then all of the sudden, I hear clapping and cheering. Where is this coming from?! There were about 20 spectators along the whole 10K course combined, so I knew the yella-bellies weren’t getting cheered from the sidewalks. I look to my right and see the road leading back in to town. Back toward the finish line. The cheering was from my fellow runners, who had noticed that the leaders were at about the 5 mile mark of the race and, basically, in the home stretch. I looked up again to see the green “2” flag mocking me. Ugh. I didn’t cheer for them. I kinda wanted to, but I had never cheered and clapped in my training, so I’ll be damned if I was gonna do it during the race.

I ran mile 3 at a 9:24 pace. I didn’t know these times as I was going along, but I just knew that my 3rd mile was the strongest one so far. It felt good. I felt like my legs weren’t attached to my body any longer and that I could have run at that speed for days-and-days.

Mile 4. Hmm. Where did that hill come from? I passed my second water stop, but didn’t take any again. I didn’t train with water, so I decided I wasn’t taking any on the course. I wasn’t sure how it would react in my stomach. Would it slosh around? Would it make me nauseous? I didn’t want to risk the unknown. This may have not been a wise decision. My pace was 9:43. Uh-oh. I’m slowing down.

It got a little hot at mile 5. And the course got a lot more uphill. My pace stayed at 9:43, but I had apparently left my running legs back at mile 3. That “I could run for days-and-days” feeling was fading and on top of that, now I’m in my head! Shit, that’s the last place I need to be during a race. I started getting goosebumps on my arms. The ones you get when you’re in the middle of an overheating/underhydrating scenario. I tried to ignore my arms and decided to just not look at them. If I didn’t see the goosebumps, they wouldn’t bother me. Very mature.

I climbed the monster hill of mile 5, which was up the shore way bridge. Someone told me before the race to make sure I looked around when I got up there, because it was a spectacular view and one not everyone would get to see from that perspective. I found a “friend” to help me get up that hill. I don’t know if she knew it or not, but I clung on to her and matched her stride-for-stride until we just about got to the top. Had I been able to get her name and contact information, a fruit basket sent to her home after the race would have been appropriate. Whether she knew it or not, she got me up that hill. And I did manage to take in the view a bit, but unfortunately by this point, my breathing was sporadic and I could feel “IT” coming on, so I couldn’t really focus on anything but myself.

I’ll be damned. The one thing I knew could take me out. The one thing I had been praying would not happen to me. It happened. The dreaded side stitch.

I’d say I’m at about mile 5.25’ish and I have just 1 mile to go. ONE FREAKING MILE. That’s nothing. It’s a warm up. Four times around a track. A chip shot. What I’m trying to say is, a mile is NOTHING at this point. But when I got hit with a side stitch, it may have been the starting line all over again. I couldn’t stand up straight. I kept my legs moving and did the classic “pinch your side and bend over” maneuver that you hope and pray will make it go away. But it didn’t. And I couldn’t take it any more. I slowed down to a walk and I wanted to scream. I tried to control my breathing. Tried to fight off the pain and make it go away. I would feel pats on my back from other runners, encouraging me to keep going.  “Only a half more mile!” one nice man said to me as he ran past.

That last half mile was a run-walk mix, but as I turned the corner that led down to the home stretch, I ran. Slowly, but I ran. There was no way all of those people at the finish line were going to witness me walking across it. And for my own sense of accomplishment, I wasn’t going to allow myself to walk across it, either.

Surprisingly, I ran my last mile at a 10:06 pace. I thought for sure it was going to be upwards of 10:45’ish. My goal was to finish my 6.2 miles in 59:59 or less, but I crossed at 01:02:23. My first and last miles were the end of that dream, but all-in-all, I’m super proud of myself. I set a goal and reached it, while encountering lots of hurdles along the way. It made me a stronger person. It made me see just how tough I am and showed me that I’m not out of the game yet. I’m 37. I’m young. I’m going to keep running… all the way to my first HALF MARATHON scheduled for October.

That’s right, folks. I’ll be a red striper soon.

The Hitch in My Giddyup


Countdown to the Rite Aid 10K:  24 days : 21 hours : 13 minutes : 10…9…8…7 seconds. The clock is definitely ticking, but unfortunately my training has taken a slight detour due to a few injuries.

I was going along well. Like, reeeeeally well! I had worked my way up to being able to run 7 miles. IN A ROW. And without stopping. For me, that’s a feat I never in a billion years thought I’d be able to do. I remember my days building up to a 5K and thinking to myself “How do people keep going?”.  And now I’m the person who keeps going. It’s pretty cool and when I think of running 2-3 miles as a “short run”, it still kinda cracks me up. Who is this girl?!

Well, she’s a runner.  And with that label comes injury and being that I’m a new to running longer distances, it was only a matter of time before injury fell on me.

I’ve self diagnosed myself with ITBS. (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) I’ve read the internet from front to back on the subject and everything I see tells me that this is what I’m dealing with. It’s pain on the outside of the knee, and for me, also in the hip, from the IT band rubbing over the bone. It’s due to a lack of good form (check!), bad hip alignment (check!), increasing your mileage too fast and too soon (check!) and so on. So I guess I’m not totally shocked that I ended up with ITBS, but it still honks me off, nonetheless.

All you can do to treat ITBS is rest, ice, take some Aleve and buy yourself a foam roller, which I totally did.  I have a love-hate relationship with that thing. Anyone who has used one will tell you the same. They suck.  But it’s a necessary evil and it feels pretty good once the torture is over.

The purchases haven’t stopped there. Oh no. I also bought up an IT Band strap, some KT Tape and of course, what do ALL runners do when something feels off? They buy new shoes. I also made a trip to my podiatrist to see about getting my (what I think now are bogus) orthotics adjusted. Can you sense the desperation in me to get back to my training? I’ll try anything.

The IT Band strap, I think, was a bust. But in fairness, I only gave it one test run. I had the pain, so it quickly became dead to me and I moved on to the KT Tape. The jury is still out on this one, because I had a great run with it, a not-so-great run and then another good run, but I keep using it because I really do think there’s something to it. The shoes were my latest acquisition and I was able to do 2 speedy fast miles in them with only some mild hip pain. (I was also KT Taped up at the time.) So I think the new Asics were a great purchase. And they’re super cute, so that’s always fun.

It’s been about two and a half weeks since the onset of my pain. In that time, I’ve run five times. Just 2 or so miles here and there to test out my latest purchases. Looking back, perhaps the best thing to do would have been to just hang up the shoes completely for those two and a half weeks and totally rest. But who does that?! I mean, really, WHO CAN DO THAT?!?

Especially when the Rite Aid 10K is now in 24 days : 20 hours : 33 minutes : 10…9…8…7 seconds……..

I’m Bringing Sexy Back


The running program is going really well. I’m up to 3 miles already and feel pretty good about my performance. Well, on most days, anyway. Of course they aren’t all going to be good ones, but for the most part, I’m doing fine. It’s just a good thing running isn’t like gymnastics. In gymnastics, it’s a .2 deduction if your underwear sneaks out of your leo. (Or at least that’s what I heard. The seasoned pros may just be hazing the new mom.) At any rate, I can only imagine what the jogger judge would give me on presentation.

I believe in function over form. That was burned in to my brain as a kid, so I come by that philosophy honestly. And since I’m a freeze baby, it’s important for me to layer before I go out. And, well, since it’s also dark on most days, neon is key. It’s quite possible that getting dressed for the run can take half as long as the run itself. Let’s review:

Layer One: Compression sleeves on my calves. (Heard from a friend that these would help with my legs cramping. So far, he’s right. The next cramp I get, tho, I may go knocking on his door for the 40 bucks these things cost me. But so far, they are pretty right on, so his wallet is safe.) Socks. Gotta count them somewhere, so layer one it is.

Layer Two: Under Armour Cold Gear pants and long sleeve mock turtleneck. Not only does it keep me warm, it makes me look as thin as a rail! If it was socially acceptable, I’d never take it off and would wear it everywhere.

Layer Three: Red mock turtleneck with the Indians logo. Black yoga pants.

Layer Four: Black KeyBank logo zipper pullover jacket with hood.

Layer Five: Bright lime green Barnes Wendling t-shirt. Black gloves. Black hat. And my bright orange running shoes to cap off the wardrobe.

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when a few days ago, Justin Timberlake came on the playlist singing “I’m Bringing Sexy Back” to me. Sexy is just about the furthest thing from what I am when I run, so thank goodness that’s not the point. Cuz if there were, in fact, a jogger judge, I’d never make the podium.



The year is starting off pretty cool. I’ve done some things I’ve been too nervous to try, including my very first spin class and running outside… in winter! Might not sound like much, but it was. And it was awesome.

The spin class was fantastic. I knew 2 weeks ahead of time that I was going in, so I had 2 weeks to prep. (And panic!) I did the best cardio I could without a gym membership. I dusted off some old workout videos, ran the steps of my basement and perused Pinterest to find those “you can have a swimsuit model’s ass if you do these 5 things every morning” workouts. Must have paid off a little, because when class time hit, I did pretty damn good. I required one quick dismount to work out a calf cramp, but as soon as it passed, back in the saddle I went. It was a tough class, but so much fun, and had me angry with myself that I had waited so long to try it.

It was about an hour after class ended when I got the feeling back… down there. I suffered from a mild case of spinner’s bottom. Pretty sure you won’t find that listed on WebMD, but it exists and you’ll quickly discover it after 45 minutes of hard peddling. (Well, 60 minutes when you count in the 15 minutes of warm up prior to class starting.) The “injury” made for some good comedy and two days later, I was back to good. It’s all just part of the experience.

Next up was running outside during the winter. In the past, I’ve been a Spring to Fall jogger. I would shut it down when the Mercury dropped and pick it up again on April 16th, when I’m no longer a single parent. That is, until this year. Inspired by my spin success, I bought a cute little winter runner’s hat with a hole out the back for my pony tail and out I went.

Now, I do have my limitations. I had originally set a 25 degree temp cut off. Below that and my Raynerd’s kicks in and the pain in my fingers and toes is too much to bare. But I’ve broken that rule once already and laced up on a 24 degree day. (I can be quite the rebel.) Next limitation was running on the road. No chance at that, since I’m afraid to get hit by a car. (Ok, you gotta give me that one as a pretty valid limit!) But wait, I already broke that rule, too. When sidewalks don’t get shoveled, you run the road. But suuuurely I would never run when it’s dark outside! Oh, yeah. Until the day I did it. (I’ve quickly learned that my “limitations” were just excuses for not moving.)

It’s a pretty bad ass feeling out on the road, sometimes with a little snow or slush under foot, jamming to your tunes and, since it’s winter, often times in the dark. While I’m running, I think of everything. Including questioning myself as to why the hell I’m out there! I’m not a natural runner. Can’t stress that enough that it does not come naturally to me. It’s a down right pain in the spinner’s ass. I sweat. A lot. It’s hard to breathe. My legs get tired. I’m slooooow. I could go on. But it’s my time to challenge myself and become better. Such a love-hate relationship.

I’m at week 5, day 3 in my couch to 10k program. I’m trying to trust myself that I can get through it and run *gulp* six miles. Some days are harder than others, but so far, I’m enjoying the ride.

Merry Christmas! (Or is it still Happy Holidays?)


I’ll admit it. I was really on the fence about sending the kids to a Catholic school.  I grew up in a public school… and oh yeah, not Catholic… so it was a very strange transition for me to get used to.  But I gotta say, I think it was the right call for us. Peyton loves her school.  The people seem really nice. And the uniforms! My goodness, how great are uniforms!

But the best thing I’m finding at this time of year is to say “Merry Christmas” to parents and friends and not have to worry.  It’s permitted.  Heck, even welcomed to say it.

I shared my excitement for this fact with my husband just yesterday. “Isn’t it great to be able to say Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays at school, honey?!”.

“Uh, sure”, said the born-and-raised-Catholic-guy-with-12-years-of-Catholic-school.

Well I was excited. I don’t have to be the a-hole who accidentally says Merry Christmas to someone who doesn’t celebrate it. Well, until the day I was exactly that a-hole. And that day came yesterday.

Heading to the local pharmacy, I greet the man at the drive-thru and go about my business.  He had a really great tie on.  It was shades of purple and he had on a matching dark purple shirt.  He really looked sharp and I thought to myself, “I need to tell this man that I like his tie.”  As if this will be the best gift he could possibly receive. But whatever. It was a great tie and he needed to know that it wasn’t lost on me.  So I proceed to tell him, “I really like your tie.”  (Said in a tone similar to when Ben tells me I’m pretty, so immediately after I said it, I felt dumb.)  But the guy flashed a huge smile and said, “Thank you!”.

I’m on a roll.  I just made the guy feel kinda good. Yay!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” I said, as I drove out of sight.

“I’m Jewish.” he replied.

And to all, a good night.

Sports Candy, Marc’s and the Difference Between Plastic and Glass


While watching an overly annoying children’s TV show, Lazy Town, with my son the other day, they hit on something brilliant. They called apples and other various fruits “sports candy”.  Ben is no stranger to fruit and is a sports fanatic, so marrying those two words was music to his ears.  I immediately had to go get him an apple so he could eat his sports candy.  This lead to a conversation about all of the other fruit… err… sports candy we could eat.  Strawberries, bananas, grapes, etc.

The apple was the last piece of fruit in the house, so the next stop was Marc’s.  (Retirement has made me frugal.) We made our way to the sports candy section and Ben started flipping over the strawberries.  He was grabbing at the packages and, well duh, spilled a package all over the floor.

So at this point, I find myself on hands and knees on the floor of the Marc’s produce section cleaning them up.  And strawberries roll.  Under things.  Like the display the strawberries sit on.  It was gross, but I’m a human with a strong conviction that if you make a mess, you clean it up.  Plus, I knew I was armed with Purell. Isn’t everyone like that?

Apparently, no.  The Marc’s man who I handed the package to (and apologized to about 5 times for ruining the strawberries) proceeded to thank me about 5 times for actually cleaning them up.  “Most people would have left the mess” is what he tells me.  Really?!

Maybe I take it too far.  Like the time I was in a dollar store, picked up a glass and I couldn’t quite tell if it was plastic or real glass.  What does one do in that situation?  Well, squeeze the GLASS until it shatters in their hand, of course.  (This incident led to 3 stitches in the webbing between my thumb and first finger. Such an idiot.)  At the time, I apolgized about a million times to the dollar store clerk and offered to pay for the glass. This was as she collected paper towels from aisle two to sop up the blood on the floor and all over my hand.

She handled it well… politely said there was no need for me to pay for the destroyed merchandise… and then suggested I hit up the nearest ER.  In hindsight, she was probably thinking, “Get the hell out of my store before the shock wears off and you sue us for faulty merchandise.”.

I would never do that. It was my stupidity. But maybe I’m among the minority of humans in this world.  I can only hope that is not the case.

Back on the Grid


I’ve recently been reminded of just how “on the grid” I am. So in the spirit of my love for Internet people stalking, I decided to stalk, well, myself.

I was quickly taken to my abandoned blog site, since it was the very first search result when you Google my name. How embarrassing that it’s been 2 years since I’ve updated this thing. I don’t need people thinking I’m a quitter, so I’m gonna dive back in and see what happens.

So where to start? Saying there have been some changes in my life in the last two years is a gross understatement. We sold our old house. And while building our new one, moved our family of 4 in to a 900-square foot apartment for 5 months. It was the summer of forced family bonding. The kids thought it was a vacation. I thought it was exactly what 4 people in a small space would be like. At least it had a pool.

I also quit my job. After working at Key for 15 years, I decided to call it quits to spend time with my kids while they still like me. And while they think I’m cool to hang with. Best decision I’ve ever made and I’m a very fortunate soul for being able to do it. That’s not to say that I don’t lose my mind every so often, though. Like right now. They’re upstairs and it sounds like either of them will drop through the ceiling at any moment. Hopefully the construction crew did a good job on our new place.

A new house for us meant a new neighborhood, new school, new activities, new friends. I love it where we live. Love it. I’ve met some really cool people and have already hosted, and have been hosted to, my fair share of play dates with school and neighborhood friends. These are exciting times, for sure.

As follow up to earlier posts, Peyton no longer does soccer ball. She’s a gymnast now and loves it. (She may have been switched at birth.) Ben is an all-sport athlete and has never met a ball he doesn’t love. Thank God.

As for my running, well, it’s come to a halt for now. My “good Achilles” is on the fritz and since I really want to avoid snapping another one, I’ve slowed my speed to walking. But that’s kinda boring as hell, so I’ll probably start running again in the spring, I’ll get back to working my way up to a 5K. The Achilles issue will work itself out. Or it’ll snap. Either way, I can’t just stop moving. That’s good for no one.

It’s nice to be back on the grid. Until next time…