28 May 2014

Race Recap: Nun Run 5K

Who could resist a race with a name like Nun Run/Brother Boogie? I couldn't, that's for sure.

This race was about 20 minutes away in a small city called Huntington, former long-time residence of Dan Quayle. I have only been out there one other time, and it felt like stepping into a different world even though it's so close. The run was at and benefited St. Felix Oratory, a Catholic retreat center and home to nuns and monks or something like that. (More info on the place, if that's your thing.)

Anyway, the building was beautiful, and the day was gorgeous as well. They even got this group picture before we started.
I'm somewhere in this picture. I still haven't figured out where.
The 5K and 10K started simultaneously but on opposite sides of the building. I started off good, toward the front. We ran around this pretty lake and then ran on the side of a road that had NOT been blocked. So yeah, cars going by on a 2-lane road with no shoulder. Whatever. They had warned us, and told us to be safe.

I was feeling pretty good about halfway through mile 2 until we started running up the biggest hill I have seen in the entire state of Indiana. It reminded me of my hometown in Georgia and not in a good way. Of course my pacing song was set to come on during that. Yeesh.

I don't remember any big downhills. After the big hill, we ran around mowed paths through grassy fields. Can't lie, it was kinda boring. I saw a sign for mile 3 and started to push a little harder for the final 0.1. But the course kept going. And going. Winding this way and that way, with the finish line in sight for some of it. That was wayyyy longer than 0.1 at the end. Finally made it to the finish line, and sprinted next to a gal I figured was in my age group and I needed to beat. (I did, by a second.)

After the race, there were not only the requisite bananas, but cookies and chocolate milk! I've only ever heard about chocolate milk for much longer races (half-marathons and such), so I kinda felt like a big deal. Nice touch, even if it was donated (it was).

I finally made a race friend during the after party as well! I had been trying to catch up to this one lady and never was able to, so I told her. (Running pick-up lines, anyone?) She was in her 40's and ended up winning her age group. We chatted for a bit, and I'll probably be seeing her at some other races. Maybe I'll catch up to her then!

My time was 27:46, which is way worse than what I did the previous week.

I came in 29th overall and 3rd place out of 22 in my F 20-29 age group. I stayed around for the awards, but they only gave awards to top 2. I cheered on my new pal, though!

B and Cora did come to the race, but B was in a bad mood the whole time and didn't take any pictures. He apparently hates coming to races to chase after Cora, and his bad attitude was actually affecting me during the race. I won't be inviting him to any more. I'm working on making some friends who actually want to run the race.

But at least I got this awesome shirt.
No actual nuns in habits were seen on race day.

24 May 2014

My SOTG Cocktail Recipe

I have just finished reading Jennifer Fulwiler's amazing book Something Other Than God. If you're not familiar with her, this book details her journey of conversion from hard-core atheist to super-cool Catholic. It brought me closer to my faith and also let me (a cradle Catholic, as we say) see how someone could really have that kind of 180 experience. The book just came out last month, and she had a release party on her blog, which included all kinds of wacky contests. This is what I submitted for her SOTG-inspired drink contest.

Thanks Jen, for a great excuse to have a cocktail during nap time!

I call this the Something Other Than a Sunset Over Austin (I think, per the rules of the contest, I was just supposed to call it the SOTG . . . oops. Call it what you want.)

I used the SOTG acronym to stand for other things for the drink:
S- Sugar (for the rim)
O - Orange Juice (3oz.)
T - Tequila (1½-2oz. or more)
G - Gatorade (2oz.)

Also needed: 1 Lemon (only half, really)

Sugar the rim of the glass you will be using, using some of lemon to moisten the rim. Pour 1½ fl. oz of tequila (or however much you like) and 3 fl. oz. of orange juice in glass. Add 2 fl oz. red Gatorade*. Squeeze some lemon juice into the drink and garnish with a lemon slice. Sip like you're a lady. Or devour like a SAHM whose kids finally went down for a nap after a long morning.

*I really wanted to try this with blue Gatorade, but did not make it to the store. Feel free to try both!

Bottoms up!

21 May 2014

Race Recap: Frontier Run n' Fun 5K

This past Saturday, I did my 2nd race of the year, the Frontier Run n' Fun. There was both a 10K and a 5K option that started at the same time. I chose the 5K.

B was out of town for the weekend, so I got his aunt and uncle to come and wrangle the toddler. After seeing it would be kinda cold in the morning, his aunt called me up the night before and asked if I just wanted to drop Cora off at their house. I declined and convinced them to come. I knew it would be in the 40's and that's not too cold for Cora, and goshdarnit, I didn't want to go do a race by myself again! I didn't tell them that last part, but I knew Cora would wear out her batteries faster running around outside. Plus, I heard there would be a bouncy-house.

Anyway, it was a well-done race with decent course markings since both races were on the same route for the first 3 miles. At the start line, a guy tried to tell us about something that was in our race packet that looked kinda like a shoe chip (it was bib-chipped, and that thing was just a trinket), but NO ONE could hear him (no megaphone or anything).
B's uncle took a pic of the start line.
Definitely a small race, just under 350 racers for both races combined
I started out WAY too fast because I was fiddling with my mp3 player. Next time I need to remember to take my setting off 'random' before the race. Sigh. I have been doing speedwork about once a week since March, and I have been doing longer runs lately. I also timed myself for just a one-mile run (7:40) to see my potential. My goal for this race was under 27 minutes. My ultimate goal is to get under 25 minutes on a 5K. I have also been able to ditch the knee brace! So far, it's been going okay without it.
Volunteer photographer posted race photos on FB!
This was somewhere in the first mile
The course was interesting--it was road, sidewalk, then some gravel trail with giant puddles to dodge, then a mowed path through grass, and a small uphill. We don't have a lot of hills here in Indiana, so that hill was rough! There was no marking for mile 1, but I looked at my watch at mile marker 2 and saw that I was under 17 minutes. That's fast for me! The second mile of this race was probably the first time I've ever consciously told myself to go faster during a race. Apparently it worked.
Coming through the finish chute
I finished proudly with a new PR of 26:14.

Our bibs also got us some lunch and beer. I gave the beer to B's uncle and chowed down the sandwich myself. B's aunt and uncle left shortly after, and I waited around for results since I had a hunch.

Hunch was correct: First place in F 25-29! (9 racers in my division.) I came in 36th place overall, out of 159 5K runners.

I won a plaque and a $20 gift card to the running store. I need new shoes, so that will help a bit!

I found I really liked doing the 5K so I could watch the first place 10K finisher come in. I usually never get to see the 1st-place finishers at races, so that was really neat for me (especially after B's "chased by a dinosaur" comment from the last race). I'm doing another 5K/10K combined next week, so I'll be sure to cheer on the top finishers.
One turn left to go!
This was a great race, and between the lunch and the prize money, I basically made back my entry fee. I'll be doing this one again!

18 May 2014

What I Wore Sunday

I'm lookin' so fine today I haven't even changed yet!
Haven't done this link-up in a while
Seriously, do you have those days where you just think you look exceptionally good? Such a confidence booster. Especially because I have an interview tomorrow with a temp/employment agency. Every boost of confidence helps, since I haven't had a serious interview since 2008.

I'm apparently a walking ad for NY & Company today. Pants, blouse, and blazer all. However, the pants were thrifted, the blazer was bought from a blog-land friend, and the blouse was bought in-store off the clearance rack. I've had the blouse for over a year but never worn it because a) I couldn't figure out exactly how since it's an odd shape and b) the front hem had come out and I hadn't fixed it. I decided to address the latter this morning with my emergency sewing kit and had a hunch a blazer would do the trick for the former.

The shoes are from the Old Navy clearance rack last year, and I can't remember how the necklaces came to be.

As for mass, I'm so glad I could take Cora to the morning mass. We have been going to the 4:30pm Saturday vigil for months, and she has been bouncing around and talking so much. An usher asked us last week if we'd like to take up the gifts, and for the first time in my life I turned it down. Ugh. I was about to throw in the towel and take her to the nursery this week, but I decided to see what a change in schedule would do. Thank God! She wasn't perfect, but I got to hear the homily, which was amazing.

I have been reading Jennifer Fulwiler's book Something Other Than God, and I enjoyed reading about her first mass experience. She had researched it back to the writings of Justin the Martyr and Hippolytus, each describing Christian church services of the time. I think after growing up in it, I sometimes take for granted the fact that I participate in a basically-unchanged ancient ritual on a weekly basis. Except for now I can wear pants and leave my head uncovered.

10 May 2014

7QT: Lazy Marathons, Tortoises, Lamb Chop Selfie

In major life-altering news that I have not disclosed on the ol' blog yet, my husband quit his job. He needed out, for various reasons that are not my business to disclose here, but he is definitely going to get his Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering with his GI Bill. However, his timeline for that is still up in the air, thanks to the Navy Reserves. He has one week left, but now we both are applying for jobs. I have no idea what our life will look like in a month or so, but we'll figure it out. If anyone needs an electrical engineer/marketing specialist/admin assistant/budgeting class instructor, just holler at La Casa W.

A few online friends and I decided to run a "lazy gal's marathon" in May. The goal is to RUN 26.2 miles between May 1st and May 20th. I'm at 12.3, so I guess I'm almost where I need to be right now. I have a 5K next Saturday, too, and I can't wait!
My 5K prep will look like this but with much less clothes and snow.
I also ran with a buddy for the first time since high school last week. It's a girl (woman? when do you switch over? she's 35?) I met through our kids' gymnastic class a month or so ago. It was so great chatting and getting to know her that our 30-minute run turned into a 40-minute one. We'll definitely be doing that again!

It was really cold and windy out during that run with the friend, and I decided at the last minute to wear an ear-warmer over the headband that I already was wearing. Well, somehow I LOST my favorite headband. It's a Sweaty Band that B gave me for Christmas (those things are not cheap!). I was so bummed, so I went back to look for it. I ended up walking over a mile [even though I was 99% sure it came off during our cool-down] and asking the few joggers out there if they had seen it.

I finally gave up, went back into the Y, and asked the front desk if anyone had turned it in. They had! I kinda wonder if it was there before I even went back out to look for it. Next time, I will ask FIRST before walking a mile in the wind and cold. Lesson learned.

One more take about running, I promise. I decided to run JUST ONE MILE this morning before Zumba so I could see my time. I run 9-10 minute miles when I do longer runs, but I have some goals to reduce that, so I definitely needed to see the potential. 7:40. Pretty sure the last time I did that was 8th grade. (I came in 2nd place on Olympic Day. That ribbon hung proudly in my room for many years.)

Hey, I heard you like tortoises, so here's a picture of 2 people on a fake tortoise while 2 tortoises walk around in the back ground.
Can I rave about my cell phone company just one more time? I promise I'll shut up about it after this. I am loving Ting. And I still haven't actually paid a bill! Somehow I amassed $100 worth of referral credits (in addition to my $25 signup bonus), and that has paid for FOUR MONTHS of smartphone service for B and me. I have like $1.81 left to use on May's bill, too. Unless you want to sign up, that is. Hint hint, nudge nudge.

My book club has officially decided to read Something Other Than God for our June meeting! I started it this morning, after patiently waiting because I refuse to read more than one book at a time now (after last year's issue with never actually finishing any books) and hadn't finished our previous book (Strange Gods by Elizabeth Scalia, since I know you're wondering). I have a hunch this one won't take me the whole month to read. As I've learned lately, I'm a sucker for a good conversion story.

Here is my official #SOTG selfie:
That is my Lamb Chop puppet from when I was a kid!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

08 May 2014

Then Vs. Now

So many things that we're doing again this year with what seems like a completely different kid. And with living in a house vs. an apartment, we feel like a different family a bit, too.

Here I present some fun differences.

May 2013: Cora was 15 months old, I was 28, and B turned 30.

May 2014: Cora is 27 months old, I am 29, and today is B's 31st birthday.

Swim lessons then: I did a parent & child swim class at the Y that went from January to late February. Cora couldn't walk, used a swim diaper, and it was COLD! Even with the indoor heated pool, it was freezing the second we stepped out of it. And we had to suit up in all the winter accouterments just to go and come back.  She liked swimming, though.
Impossible to get a pic during swim lessons, so here is a boat pic from last year

Swim lessons now: Learned from my mistake and waited until the April session to do swim. Still a bit cold, but no boots or swim diaper required. She still loves it! And I love it more because it's just easier this time around. Also, the instructor says she's ready for puddle jumpers, so we tried them on her in the water and it went pretty well!

The zoo then:
Going to the zoo last year was more for me than it was for her. She enjoyed it, but she only spoke a handful of words and didn't seem to care about half of it.

The zoo now:
A wagon instead of a stroller. A kid who sees a zebra and hollers, "Zebra!" Still chows down on some cereal while we stroll along. So fun.
That's a bat-eared fox.
Screen-free week then: Oh, gah. Last year's attempt at screen-free week goes down in the books as one of the worst weeks of my life. Not because of the screen thing, but because of the burnt hands thing. Not my finest hour. Haven't baked bread since, by the way.

Screen-free week now: It's this week, and we're truckin' along. Doing the same thing as last year where I'm screen-free when Cora is awake, and then I picked one day to be totally screen-free. (Except for 'work,' and I do make money online so I gave myself 45 minutes for that one night.) One big difference this year is that Cora asks for "Bob" (the tomato) or "Signing Time," and I'm not letting her have it. Lots of redirection, lots of coloring.

Cora's hair then:
Not much of it, but quite chic
Cora's hair now:
Yay for hair! I refuse to have it cut just yet, so we pull it back most of the time.
So cute, even when stuffing her face full of black jelly beans (ew).
B's birthday then:
I spent the morning at the burn center downtown for Cora to get her final check-up and get the wraps off her hands.

We had a family gathering to celebrate over at his grandmother's house. I made one of his favorite meals and triple-layer chocolate cake from scratch.

B's birthday now:
I spent the afternoon at the dentist getting a cavity filled.

B didn't want to do anything special today, so I made whatever dinner was already on the menu plan, and Cora and I made brownies from a box mix earlier in the day. (Oven safety being first priority, of course.) B and I have a date night to a baseball game planned for Monday, so we're counting that as celebration as well.