the come-back kid (I hope)

I’ve been without pain for the past few weeks. Without any chiropractor appointments.

So I signed up for this year’s Ridgewood Turkey Trot. It’s a 5-miler on Thanksgiving day. This will be my fourth year in a row. I’m sure it will be my slowest. And I am settled, and okay with that. It just means I will keep getting stronger and faster in the future.

I’m going to test out a 5-mile run on Saturday (or Sunday). Otherwise, I haven’t ran 5 miles in 6 months. I’m pretty excited.

For our (1-year) anniversary, I gave Dan a scavenger hunt. We had a lot of fun. Me, feeling like a CIA agent, stalking through Raleigh, leaving gifts and cryptic messages, then staying close by to watch it until Dan showed up. Then, scurrying to the next destination without being “caught” or seen. Dan enjoyed the doting (each clue had a little love note attached), attention, and said he felt like he was a CIA agent, tracking down my clues. He never saw me, and had no idea I was there. He said he was really hesitant to drink the coffee I left for him.

pimento cheese + Clue, left on the doorstep of Location #1

pimento cheese + Clue, left on the doorstep of Location #1

Anyway, the last gift was registration for the Turkey Trot. We met running, so it felt like appropriate timing. Last year, we ran it together, and both PR’d (significantly so for a 5-mile race). For our anniversary, he got me the ULTIMATE headlamp. It sounds weird to others- but we met on a team for a distance relay, so it was very fitting. We also went to a really nice dinner at the Stanbury (delicious little hip restaurant in Mordecai district of Raleigh; I didn’t know I liked brussel sprouts until that dinner… Also the pumpkin-chocolate creme brulee was to die for! Too bad Dan didn’t want to try the beef tongue… I was all ready for that!)

Dan's "Mr Grumpy Pants" in the morning

Dan’s “Mr Grumpy Pants” in the morning

Mug and coffee left at Location #2. I feel the need to elaborate on the mug: Dan is very grumpy before he gets his coffee in the morning, so the mug was fitting. We have a collection of about 20 mugs, and 18 of which are mine from various trips, from family members, etc. The point is almost all our mugs are “mine” (or his boring mugs… he lost his Seinfeld mug), so I wanted to get him a character mug. He has one from a tri he finished recently.

So I have three weeks to “get ready” for the Turkey Trot. I am not trying to set any records, but it would feel good to be able to run the entire course, and feel slightly speedy/competitive. I’ve been holding back during training, so maybe a race will help me find some external motivation, and spark some enthusiasm for speeding up 🙂

Here’s some autumn inspiration:

our neighborhood street. So pretty this time of year!

our neighborhood street. So pretty this time of year!

The sunrise on Tuesday morning. Kind of glad I had to work so early, so I could see it :)

The sunrise on Tuesday morning. Kind of glad I had to work so early, so I could see it 🙂

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getting it back! (plus a tribute to dad)

This weekend was awesome! Friday ended up being a spontaneous date night. Saturday was fun with friends, and we managed to fit in a lot of stuff in the day. And Sunday was a great, family-fun-filled-with-the-Quigleys Fathers Day.

I was coordinating everything. My sister-in-law and I planned to do a grilling party for my dad.I started it off with an early trip to the Farmer’s Market (9:30 is apparently the time to go– it’s not hot yet, and no one is really there). They were just setting up, but I managed to get a squash and zucchini from a lady who apparently had a long Saturday night out; and saw eggplant that caught my eye. I talked to the farmer a bit, and decided on a Ghostbuster eggplant (it’s white, and apparently sweeter. We decided it tasted like a cross between a portabello mushroom and squash). The same farmer also had nice looking tomatoes and onions (fixins’ for the burgers). I walked out the door, spending $6. Then, I headed to target for last minute items, and decided I needed another onion, lettuce, and peppers. $6 at Target.

no filter used

I felt so great, I decided to go for a real run. First one since my injury in April. As in, outside! I was scared, to say the least, but didn’t tell anyone; as I might have to turn back after 0.5mi, and I didn’t want to injure my pride as well.

I went as slow as I humanly could, to allow my stomach to ease into it. I figured a mile out-and-back would be perfect. And ran 1.0mi in 10:30something; turned around, ran another minute or so, then had to drop to a walk, as I could feel my abdomen tightening up (precursor to injury/pain). I walked a couple minutes, then ran a few minutes. My legs were fine, my lungs were fine. I just never realized how hard it is to breathe when your abdomen is injured. I got my breathing back to easy again in my abdomen, and ran for about 5 minutes, before dropping to a walk, with a final a sprint, then walked a bit more. My second mile was 12:00 or so. Which I will take. Hey, it’s the most I’ve ran in two months, If I increase a mile or so each run, I’ll be back to normal by August/September.

So, shower, and back to putting together all the plans for Dad (btw, he’s the best dad if you haven’t gotten that. He is so much a part of me I think I know what he is thinking or feeling). So, we put together a beer/ice bucket of items for Father’s Day. I figured this was the best way for everyone to contribute as much or as little as they wanted. Here’s my first day of finds… (I didn’t get a final picture, but my brother and I had to wrap the apron and tie it up to keep everything from falling out)

The first day of finds... (I didn't get a final picture, but my brother and I had to wrap the apron and tie it up to keep everything from falling out)

We added and added– marinades, rubs, even a pepper and onion, a skewer holder (see picture below), LED thermometer (a “pager” goes off when your meat is at the desired temperature), cedar planks, pork chops, chicken and beef for kebobs, PLUS we brought the food and prepared all the food for the day. And, Dan wanted to contribute, so we grabbed a 6-pack of Mother’s Weeping Willow Wit (which was a crowd pleaser) and his Bocce ball set.

Dan and I got there about 4pm, and my dad proudly showed off their new patio area, including a fire pit (they recently landscaped/renovated their back yard. It was a three-month project of chaos and mayhem. It prompted my Let’s plan something outside, as it was completed about 2 weeks ago). My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew showed up a little later, around 5pm. Mason had a little crying fit when he first got there, but once we took off his onesie, he was much more happy and comfortable. Aren’t we all happy when we’re naked? Everyone joked, telling Dan he needed to keep his shirt on… Not sure where that joke started, but it hasn’t ended yet 🙂

We presented our gift, and quickly lit up the grill, and Dan and I got things kicked off. My dad didn’t want to do a thing for the day (despite the awesome BBQ apron which declared he was “Just Chillin & BBQ Grillin”).

zucchini and squash (marinated in a basil vinegarette), onion, and peppers.

zucchini and squash (marinated in a basil vinegarette), onion, and peppers.

Dan and I put the veggies on skewers inside with my brother. We didn’t realize how sharp the skewers were, and decided this was not kid friendly. Notice the black “box” the skewers are on? It holds the skewers so they don’t get stuck to the grill, and burnt on one side/ raw on the other. You just slowly turn them, above the flame (we set the grill on low and it took about 20 minutes). Best under $10 gift I’ve gotten!

we're so cute ;)

we’re so cute 😉 Grilled ghostbusters for appetizer!

Dan has been deemed “Grill King”, and will have to grill every time he is over now 🙂 Burgers were Perfect! And this is coming from a girl who doesn’t eat burgers.

fathersdayspread

The Quigley spread, complete with a half naked Quigley because that’s just how we roll…

I guess we were all starving. We started eating the burgers before even getting to our chairs… Again, it’s just the way my family is. After dinner, we played with Mason. He’s only 4 months old, but is basically the size of a 9-month-old (no exaggeration; he’s 29″ in length, and almost 19 lbs). He wants so badly to run. Every time you hold him, he kicks his legs, like hey! let me loose! We finally managed to get a (grainy) picture of me and the little guy.

love this little guy

love this little guy

meet baby Mason…

As of 11:29pm, 2/12/2013, I have a nephew… Auntie Chandi.

Meet my nephew- baby mason:

so precious!

so precious!

Unfortunately, he had a little jaundice and was under the UV lights, so we weren’t able to hold him, but he had been passed around from family member to family member throughout the day, so was probably ready for a break. Honestly, I think he just wanted to kick back and tan.

When we got there, he was chillin’ with his shades on, sprawled out under the lights. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he was Snooki’s baby 🙂 My sister-in-law was exhausted. Apparently her entire family and all her friends had been coming and going all day, and she barely had time alone with the little guy (almost 24 hours late).

I got to hold hands with him and rub his chest, but that was pretty much it. He is a sweet little man though. He’s way cuter than all the other ugly babies out there! (I love babies, but they are always red, with gross hair, and weird alien-like heads…. Mason looked like he was already a month old!)

Brown hair, blue eyes. 8 lbs, 7 oz. 21 inches. Or, as my Dad said “He’s got a big wing span” …hehe Yes, he does!

Dan and I are going to go watch him, or help my brother and sister-in-law next weekend. I have a little gift for him… So glad I didn’t get newborn, since he’s already in 3MO clothing 🙂 He sure is cute though!

#cutestnewbornever

#proudaunt

Been a long time

So it’s been a while. I apologize for that. If I have anyone who even follows me. So updates first:
I ran 1015 miles in 2012 (go me!). I’m looking to just ran 800 this year, though I might get more, I’m not pushing for more than that.
The holidays were good but became busy and I had some various family functions to attend. I will soon be an aunt (due date is feb 14 2013), but I’m hoping it comes early. My moms birthday is feb 14, and it would be a nightmare to have my mothers first born grandchild with her birthday. I’ve begged my sister in law to squeeze those legs together until feb 15, but I don’t think she understands the seriousness of the date 🙂
I’m still running. Not experiencing any pain at the moment. A few weeks ago, I went out with a group of old running buddies, and they are all training for a full. (I’m not). They went 16 miles and I had been thinking 10-12 miles when I started; but ended up going the full 16. Dave and I finished strong, with the last three miles at 9:57, 9:49, 9:27. Woo! Go us! But my body was exhausted the next 24 hours.
Dan and I are still going strong. I am adjusting to referring to him as my boyfriend, which seems so foreign to me. We’re planning a weekend away- maybe to snow board if we get snow. And we’re doing dinner with my dad and his wife tomorrow night. At an empanada/tequila restaurant, which sounds delicious. Dan wants to get my dad ‘drunk off margs’ haha
Our Palmetto relay team is finally starting to come together. We ran from natty greenes Tuesday. And I think we’ll have a good group, and a bigger van, and it ends in charleston which will be nice. All in all, I’m looking forward to April 🙂
I actually don’t have a lot of running plans this year. I feel like last year it took up so much of my time and effort. And I love it. And plan to keep it up, but am trying to be more moderate about it, and enjoy the other aspects if my life 🙂
Life is good. I don’t have to run to get that…

Holiday health tips

So here it is, 70 degrees in December. It makes going to all these holiday parties seem silly. But we are discussing this a lot at work this time of year (I work in the weight loss setting), so here are my nuggets of wisdom. Take it or leave it. Maybe one tip will really help you feel successful and not guilty this season.

But, people still make all sorts of goodies that you shouldn’t eat, and don’t even realize it. So here’s my tips of advice:

1. Watch your alcohol intake.Not only is alcohol empty calories (about 150 cals for a regular beer, more for a darker/fuller beer, and usually about 90 for a light beer), but it lowers your inhibition, and makes your brain crave fatty goodness to restore its GABA levels.

2. Plan your indulgences. We all have our weaknesses- maybe it’s grandma’s derby pie, maybe it’s your mother-in-law’s squash casserole. If you plan out what you omigod-have-to-have, then you can develop a game plan. When you look down at your plate, at least 50% of it should be filled with healthy (and filling foods- vegetables, lean protein, etc).

3. The three-bite rule.This one is new to me, but I’ve been practicing it for years, without realizing. This only applies to “bad” foods (high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb), not healthy foods. If after three bites you don’t love it, don’t finish it. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy something fatty? For instance, I hate the “traditional” green beans (canned green beans, covered with cream of mushroom soup, then a layer of fried onions… And they’re not good for you). If you are going to a house where this seems to be improper etiquette, take only a few spoonfuls of each for your plate, then go back for seconds (ie, a real serving) after you have decided which foods you like best.

4. Bring your own dish.This may or may not be possible, depending on your holiday situation. But ask the host/hostess if there’s anything you can bring (a few days in advance). They usually say “Oh nothing”, so then ask if they know what they are serving yet. If you notice they don’t have green beans, reply by saying something like “Oh! I love green beans. Do you mind if I bring my own recipe? …It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without them…” This will also make you more likely to eat them, since you are claiming you love them. And vegetables covered in a creamy sauce, or deep-fried no longer count as vegetables… Just adding some italian dressing, and mixing up the veggies, and throwing in the oven for 5-10 minutes can make a delicious dish!

5. Be as active as possible. Even if this means you and your hubby go for a 10 minute walk after dinner. It can be a great family tradition, and aids in metabolizing your food. Include others in your activity, so it can be a family tradition (maybe even playing football, or walking through the neighborhood looking at everyone’s lights, or a bike ride through the old part of town… If you have an athletic family, maybe every does a timed stair climb to see who can go up and down the most stairs in five minutes, while the ham is cooking). There are so many ideas, and so many things you can do, aside from watch TV with your family.

6. Drink lots of water. This can also be a great practice in etiquette, as it requires you to go in and out of the kitchen frequently to re-fill the water, and you can always socialize with the host, and ask if they need help if they look busy when you pop in 🙂

7. Just maintain.Although a lot of people want to lose weight, or adopt new behaviors this time of year, research shows it’s actually best to maintain your weight loss (or running mileage), as you are changing your environment. People who are successful in the long run, actually plan to maintain their weight from Halloween to the New Year, as opposed to those who have lofty ideas of starting the new year 20 lbs. lighter.

8. Be assertive. If your weight is important to you (or your diet, or your running), tell others around you. When they mock you for waking up at 6am (and going to bed at 10pm), so you can get in a run before the festivities begin, stand up for yourself and your routine. If you explain why running is important, they are more likely to appreciate why you are making time for it. And once you assert why it is important, you will be more likely to follow-through the following morning.

9. No “yolo”. (yolo= you only live once) Although this is true, you will likely have several events to go to, and if you fall into the “it’s just one slice of cake” at the first party, then you are much more likely to fall into those thoughts at the next 10 parties you have to go to. And that’s easily 3500 extra calories (3500 calories= 1 lb). So one cake, not bad; 10 cakes = an extra pound. Fortunately, you probably will live to see that extra pound if you eat the 10 slices of cake… 🙂

10. Forgive yourself.If you do slip, and have 4 slices of pie one night (Can you tell my vice is dessert?)… It will be okay. You don’t have to scrap the whole holiday season, or even that weekend of events. Just keep moving as you had before your slip.

Good luck everyone! Whether you are trying to lose weight, or training for a marathon (or your first 5K), think about those goals. You’ll still have to face them in January! 🙂

Date #2 and challenge update

So, this whole “do something active every day” is hard to find time for.

Yesterday was busy. I had to leave work early (3pm) to go to the iPhone doctor Apple Store and get a replacement iPhone. No worries, I have new phone- woo! …But lost all my pictures and music (which is backed up to my computer).I had to activate my phone, which should be easy, but took 3 calls to Verizon, because my mom was dodging their calls (WTF?!), and her voicemail box was full, and I had texted her 4 times earlier to tell her what was up, and I had even emailed her. The problem was I didn’t know our account’s password.

I told the third (and final) verizon representative I would send up a smoke signal, and hope my mom saw it… He thought it was amusing.

So, at 6pm, I emailed Dan the old-school way, from my computer, to say I was almost on my way, and should be there by 645. As soon as I got to his place, I was like “WHERES YOUR PHONE?!” And immediately texted my mom, and instructed her to text/call his cell phone with the password. My mom’s response? She emailed me at 11pm the password. Which I got this morning when I got into work. And am happy to report, my life iPhone is up and running again.

So I got to Dan’s, and we hopped in the car for dinner, then to the fun. concert. It was a fun people-watching concert. As in this kind of people watching-

I hate to admit this- but I totally felt hipster. Because I followed the lead singer of fun. from when he was in The Format. Because I’m totally underground like that. haha!

But yeah. Most of the people there were wearing scarves (boys included), and were complaining about the beer selection, and how everyone around them was a sell-out. Oh my gosh! It all made me laugh so hard. Just listening to some of them.

So, we got back at like 10, and Dan wanted to wash all the sweaty hipsters off him, so took a shower. And I had to find time for a little fitness action, so I took the time to work my glutes and hip abductors. He got out of the shower, and jsut started laughing, as I’m exercising on the floor, at 11pm. Date #2 completed. 🙂

Maybe I’ll just go back to running, and not worry about other fitness stuff. It seems slack to work out for 10 minutes and call it the “same” as running for an hour… Today’s plan is to go for a short run while I’m getting an oil change. Yep, I do that. They always ask “are you going to wait here?” And my reply is always “Well, how long will it take?” And I plan my running distance accordingly. And then the mechanics look at me weirdly, as I just take off running.

Tomorrow, I am moving my gay best friend, so that will be athletic. He is on the third floor, and has a LOT of stuff, so lots of stair climbs with weights. Yeah!

So, Day 7: 2×20 hip abductor leg-bends (I never know the real names of these exercises), and 2×20 fire-hydrants, and 2×20 “pizzas” (on knees, kick leg up toward sky. I never understood why my coach called them pizzas, but it stuck with me)

Happy Weekend! I hope you all get to sleep in some tomorrow, and you enjoy tonight- crisp, freezing cold air and all!

Running family and real family…

Today is Thanksgiving.

For me, that means beginning the day early with ~3,000 other runners for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K (5 miles). In 2010, I was training for a half marathon, and someone suggested I do the turkey trot. I was planning to do a 5-6 mile training that day, so I signed up.

And something about running through the old neighborhoods off Ridge Road. It feels like home. Running through all the piles and piles of orange and brown leaves. The crisp, cold air. The calm, that doesn’t generally accompany races. It’s like we are all there for one reason- to cancel out the food we plan to eat later to give thanks for our ability to run.

So, my first time at this Turkey Trot, I had no idea what to expect, but thought I ran 8’s, so would finish in ~40 minutes. I went out really strong. At Mile 1, I had done a sub-8. Woo! Then, I started hitting the hills of Raleigh. And then, I hit the last hill. Basically Ridge Road is a slow, steady up-hill for the last 2 miles. And I just had gassed it way too early, so I (sadly) walked for about a mile. And managed to finish in 44:30-something. And was devastated.

After doing a few more 8K’s, I realized 45:00 is about my average, and not to expect any faster.

Today was different.

Last night, I met Dan and Dave at packet pick-up and we enjoyed some beer out on the patio. And some great conversation, and good laughs. Then, I spent the night at Dan’s. I just relaxed. It was such a nice night.

And he woke up at 6am, I woke up closer to 630. And got coffee, and slowly made out way to the cold winter air outside. I wore a tank top (with my Brooks arm sleeves), and simple capri tights (not fleece lined). Everyone we met was decked out in major winter gear. I was thinking Guys, c’mon! It’s ~40 degrees, the sun is shining, and it’s only 5-miles. And hugging Dan for body warmth.

We headed over to the start to find our pace groups. And Dan and Dave convinced me to start in the 7:00-9:00 pace group. Dan had been thinking 7-something, Dave was thinking sub-40. I was thinking my blisters hurt this morning in bed… And I just ran a marathon 12-days ago. Where is Steve (first timer), and Oh! Sondra said she was running an 11:00… But I hung with the boys until the start, and fell back quickly.

My hands were freezing (as in hard to move them, and they didn’t hurt), so I pulled my arm sleeves down over them. And wished I’d brought gloves. Once I warmed up, I started taking charge on the hills. Tearing off toward the sidewalk, and running on the outside during turns, in order to pass people, and find some “space”. At halfway, I wondered what idiot was blaring their music, and realized it was coming from my butt. So, I reached back to turn it off, and saw the dreaded time. Why did I start this app? I thought to myself, and saw the time- 23:00 (2.58 miles in)… Okay, not bad, I want 45-minutes. That works fine. You ran a marathon 12 freaking days ago. Just finish.

Except, I also used to run this way back for every tempo run for a good 10-12 weeks. It’s like my body just knew that, and kept pushing more and more up the hill. Until I saw the Steeples (a church that’s about a mile away from finish), and tried to give it as much as I could. And then I saw the parking lot. Which always tricks us into thinking the finish line is there (it’s not! You have to run a small zig-zag of about 200 meters in), but I always kick it too early. And as I approached the final turn, I heard Dan yelling my name, saw the time was in the 42’s, and noticed everyone was blazing past me.

I stopped my watch- 42:50. I’ll take it (chip time was actually 42:34, but I always start it early/ end it late). So, I PR’ed by 2 minutes. I looked for Dan and Dave. Found Dave, who finished in 39:50-something, and then we wandered for Dan… who finished in ~36 minutes (woo! woo! That’s fast to me. The winners are usually like 30 minutes).

So, I started off the day with some people who always inspire me, and make me feel like I can accomplish anything. My running family. And starting the day with Dan. Well, that was nice. It’s been a long time since I wanted to see someone I dated on a holiday.

So, then family time. And oh my gosh. I am so. freaking. stuffed. Like, laying in my bed. Thinking, I will have to run a good bit tomorrow to try and get rid of it all. …And looking forward to our first official date on Saturday.

HAPPY GOBBLE! GOBBLE! I hope you all have something in your life to be thankful for.

Me- my health and happiness. They both take work to get to, but are always worth fighting for 🙂

rant about a lot of stuff

Apparently, I am socially inept. I knew I was awkward, but apparently, it’s worse than I thought.

Here’s a little news flash- I am not a mind-reader.  And I do not know how to become one.

So, recently, I’ve had a few social interactions, where in the days or weeks that follow, I get the feeling that I must have put my foot in my mouth. Here is what I do-

1. Apologize if there was anything that I did or said. I didn’t mean to hurt you in that way. I was just being stupid/thought I was being funny/ stressed/ drunk/ etc.

2. Ask ‘Are we okay?’

a. If the response is yes, I continue business as usual

b. If the response is a negative one (it’s usually not a “no”, but more like a “Youre such a bitch Chandi!”), then I fight it out with them, and try to make sure whatever I did to hurt them doesn’t happen again.

However, more times than not, people are afraid of confrontation, and believe in my ability as a mind-reader keeping their mouth shut is the best way for us to remain friends. It’s not.

Here’s a scenario. You go into the doctor’s office.

Doctor: “So, what seems to be the problem?”

Patient: “Guess”

Doctor: “Well, I’m a dermatologist so I’m guessing it’s something to do with your skin…”

Patient:  “Yes….”

Doctor (losing his patience, because they usually only spend about 2 minutes on a patient, and he’s spent 30 seconds with this whackjob, who hasn’t even told him the problem yet): “Let me refer you to a good psychiatrist I know…”

In running news- my blisters hurt. A lot. I went for a 5-mile run (very slow, recovery run) on Thursday of last week, and woke up Friday morning to reddish-purple blisters. So I tried to stay off them as much as I could. My aunt, who is a nurse, suggested A+D ointment (diaper rash ointment), overnight with a thick pair of cotton socks, and I think it’s helped out a good bit. So I have to cross-train until the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Yoga tonight (if Sheryl is at the studio), then over to Dan’s tomorrow night.

Dan signed up for the Turkey Trot. Which I thought was kinda cute. And he lives nearby, so I’m just gonna stay there. And then, Dave signed up for it. And Allison and her friend are signed up. Something tells me there will be awkward moments in the coming weeks, resulting from these unconfrontations (they are boiling on the back burner, with that “I’m about to boil over and f*ck with your whole stovetop” sound, but you can’t hear it over the bitches yelling about their phone bill on Judge Mathis… What? It comes on around dinner time for me… 🙂 )

Gobble! Gobble! Turkey time is around the corner, and Christmas is photo-bombing the hell out of it 🙂 Let’s make sure to focus the camera on the Thanksgiving until Friday… 🙂

I’ll post a marathon pictures re-cap (My aunt thought the pictures were really good, so called me at 1am to tell me she bought them. Thanks Aunt Terry!) But for now- best photo-bombed picture of the bunch:

Just to be clear, ‘Lisa’ ruined OUR photo 😉

Tuna 200 recap (long one)

I just got back from one of the best weekends ever. Definitely the best running weekend ever. Walking away, I know I will be doing another relay. And will be so much more prepared for it too 🙂 So Oct 19-20 was the Tuna200 which is a 200-mile relay from Raleigh, NC to Atlantic Beach. Our team was 12 people, and two vans. Seriously, I won’t go into all the details, but if it’s something you’re curious about, click the link. It gives every detail. I had legs #5 (“Hard”), #16 (“Hard”), and #25 (Easy route, but terrible timing haha).

So our adventure started Friday morning at 6am. Dan, Dave, and I met at Sarah’s to pack the Tahoe, and got out of the driveway by 6:10am (go us! We were planning for a ‘no later than 6:15’). Dan, who’s usually a little late, was the first one there. I took co-pilot seat; the GPS was mine so I input the address of the start line. A great sign to a trip- we missed the turn for the park where everyone was meeting… Whoops! And Sarah got to test her five-point three-point turn skills on our first country road. It was raining when we started, so Allison was nervous, and had texted 2-3 times and called Sarah’s phone, asking where we were. As soon as we got there, Olga and Allison loaded the Tahoe with the stuff, and we all began to wonder silently ‘where is the fifth person going to sit?’ … Well, not me. That early in the morning, I’m hardly silent. I made snide comments about how much Allison packed (uncalled for- but I was anxious too, and anxious about everyone fitting in the Tahoe comfortably). We lined up at the start to go over the rules, and with a little spanking, sent Allison on her way to kick off this 200-mile race. We made jokes that she was on her own, and we’d see her at the beach. 🙂 #CornyDadJokes

We headed off to the next spot, and saw all the 730am runners, Allison barely trailing the others. Allison handed off to Olga flawlessly, and the relay had officially started. We attempted to paint the van, since it had stopped raining. It ended up looking very pretty 🙂

Olga handed off to Sarah. Who, handed off to Dan, and I realized I needed to change shirts and get ready… Here goes nothing- I had the first long/hard leg.

LEG #5 (my first leg): 9.08 Miles “Hard”

I couldn’t feel the “downhill” in the beginning… You can see my elevation edits 🙂

Dan handed off to me at 1034am, and I took off. I kept telling myself to go slow and just hit my stride. Unfortunately, when running on the road, here’s a few things to think of. On a curvy country road, the road slants in the direction of the curve. And my left hip started to feel that by mile 3-4. You also have to jump on and off the road depending on how fast the car is coming toward you/ if they see you. Also, you get no shelter from the sun. It was beautiful and 75 degrees, but I went through about 12 oz. of water in the first 4 miles. Okay, Chandi, time to reserve the water. I went for about 5 miles without seeing another runner. One guy “blazed” past me. Then stopped to walk a couple minutes later. He seemed just out of reach the whole time. I kept trying to pick up the pace to catch him, but couldn’t do it. I came upon my last curve and saw the church. And heard the church bells. I remember I was supposed to finish at 12pm according to schedule (after 12pm, you were required to have water on you). So I made my final sprint. And Ca caw’ed to make Dave smile, as I handed off to him. (Finished in 1:26:15. Yay! 9:29 pace… look at me, picking up the seconds hehe)

My vanmates basically rocked. I had told them a few things before the run- I wanted a cold Nuun and 2-3 Dunkin donuts when I finished (We wrote Running on Dunkin on the Tahoe… and I ate five throughout the race). And Dave asked that I ca-caw to him (Allison and I stole a brilliant idea to ca-caw as you are coming in at night, so the next runner can tell it’s you from a distance… Then that runner yells “Hootie Hoo!” so the runner who is coming in knows you’re ready. It also gives a little extra encouragement. We saw so many teams who their runner would go fast/strong, and then end up standing around for 10 minutes, trying to find their person. This doesn’t just cost you time, it would be aggravating and a little stressful in my opinion).  Dave could clearly see me- it was noon, but it was fun to ca-caw.

After my run, we ran into Kerry, our old coach. His team actually won the whole thing. They started at 9:00am (giving us a 1.5 hour head start), and had already caught up with us by that exchange- #5. So I was on an endorphin high. I walked back to the car, and declared proudly, “I’m taking off my shoes!” And threw my phone to the ground…
“I hope my 10-miler is shorter than my 9-miler” I said to Dan. He responded Maybe. Just Maybe. And we burst into laughter. Then, I walked around the Tahoe to get some water, got distracted by donuts and jumped in. … Leaving my phone and shoes behind. I also tried to get in a 15-passenger van at Exchange #1… So, hey! I got the right vehicle this time, right?!

We realized I left my shoes when we were getting ready to leave the next Major Exchange, after sending Beth off into the country… Thankfully, we told Jesus (a runner in Van #2), who had been talking about it and someone overheard him and walked over with my shoes and my phone. And he showed up Jesus. Saves. The Day. (That guy has such a great sense of humor!) So, then, we took off for Smithfield for lunch, and eventually to the next Major Exchange. [Major Exchanges= all the vans meet up because you are switching from the last runner in one van to the first runner in another van] We had about 3 hours, even after eating lunch. So we all set up towels and worked on our tans. Did I mention I did the middle of the day 9-mile run… Well, I didn’t need much “work” on my tan after that… haha! Dan and I practiced gymnastics (I was a coach for about 6 years). Olga and Allison continually updated their facebook, and gave us the updates (including one of our running buddies, who had joked about running with us, but thankfully decided not to, as his wife had her baby Friday morning). We also took bets on who would come out of the port-a-potties first, as we had a front row view. And listened to a random woman playing violin in the field.

FINALLY! We got the text from Van #2, saying they were headed our way, and we met up with them. They were making great timing and we were about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Allison geared up with her “night” gear at 5:30 (had to have it after 6pm). So she was walking around with a reflective vest, headlamp, and blinkies until Jason came across the exchange zone. And she was off- for the hardest leg of all- 11.06 miles. And there was about 2 miles where cars weren’t allowed access on the road, so no van support. We headed off to get gas and water, and looped back to catch Allie at mile 5, just in time. One of her blinking lights wasn’t working, and it was just getting dark. We switched it out for her. Cheered her on, and went on our way, barely avoiding hitting a HUGE dog. Allison later told us that dog scared the piss out of her at mile 6…

Reflective gear is fun. [Dave, Dan, Sarah]

The next point was a field on the corner of two highways. And no port-a-potties. So we stood in the field. Laughing and talking. Dave’s next leg was 1.81 miles, and he joked that he was going to try to beat the Tahoe. He predicted he’d finish in 6:30’s, which was a little ambitious (he usually runs a 8:30-9:00 pace). After Dave took off, we waited at the light. And he ran by. Then, we got to another light, and passed by him. We got to the exchange zone, thinking we’d have a few minutes. Dan got out of the Tahoe, and stretched, with just enough time to hear “ca caw! ca caw!”… “Dan? DAAAAANNN! Where the hell are you!?” (Dave pounded that leg in 12:30, sub-7s). And Dan took off for the road. Sarah and I changed.

LEG #16 (my second leg): 9.96 miles “Hard”

Felt downhill until the last 0.5 miles 🙂 Great run! Thanks Charles!

I was up next- 9.96 miles in the dark. When Dan came blazing in, there were two other runners with him. I thanked god there were others, then freaked out that I would run too fast and burn out and be stuck walking in the dark (which seems sad). I took off fast! So fast my blinking light jumped off. I had to turn to grab it from the road, and struggled to find a place for it on my back, while I made introductions with the other two runners.

One was a girl, who said she was going for a 8:30-8:45 pace. I laughed and dropped away from her. The other man- older with a gray mustache and a headlamp that spanned the entire width of the two-lane road, said he was just looking to finish. He was on an ultra team, and had already done ~20 miles. His name was Charles. And we had a lot in common (his first full marathon was Vegas, which was my first half marathon… the same year). We hit the first few miles too fast- 8:07, 8:20, 8:30, then finally 8:57. My GPS jumped from that to sub-one-minute pacing, and I mean even when I’m fast, I’m not that fast. So I turned it off. And just ran my heart out. But it felt like we were hovering around 9-minute splits, and Charles glanced at his watch every so often and reported we were at 9-minute miles. I felt like my legs were running as fast as they could. One foot in front of the other, just staring at the white line, making conversation with Charles. At mile 5, we decided we were in it together; if he sped up, I sped up. If he wanted to slow down, I would too. But we both refused to slow down. He later told my Van#2 teammates that it was the best 10 miles he’d done to date, and most enjoyable too.

We saw the sign for “exchange zone ahead” (which varies but can be anywhere from 0.2 miles to a mile away from the zone). Charles assured me it was just around the corner. And I realized I had been tearing up the asphalt, going way faster than I had told my vanmates. I had said “I’m just looking to finish. Don’t expect before a 9:30 pace…” And had been going 9’s and below. I said to Charles, I’m going to do something crazy… And he looked at me like “Oh no. she wants to go faster!” And I ca caw’ed as loud as I could. It was like a battle cry. I had no idea where I was, or what time it was, but I knew I was coming in strong, and probably 5+ minutes ahead of time. When we came upon my van-mates. I heard our two teams cheering us in, and pushed it with every fiber in me. I saw Olga scrambling to get to the road to meet me [I later found out they had all been talking outside, when Olga suddenly looked around, going I might be crazy, but I think I hear her… Someone ran to the road, saw me coming in hot, and grabbed Olga. Thankfully, she was ready to go a little early]. We fumbled a little with the hand-off, but then she was off into the night. I quickly scrambled to get my things together and excitedly jumped into the Tahoe, telling my vanmates every little detail. How there were three drunk guys who pulled over to cheer us on. I shared my water with Charles, and we got fresh water at mile 6. And how Charles had yelled Chandi! Quick on my right! when a dog approached. Haha! And how I wanted to get to a port-a-potty… I had just ran 10 fast miles, and my metabolism was kicking into gear.

After Olga was Sarah. I suggested we stop to cheer Sarah on. Dan reluctantly agreed. I was still in co-pilot chair… hehe. I think there were only 2 or 3 times I wasn’t in co-pilot seat. Sarah came on us so fast, we actually almost missed her and felt like we could have done so much better cheering her on. haha. oh well… there’s always next year!

Then we were done for the night. Dan drove us to our next major exchange, where Sarah and I asked the boys to exit the Tahoe, so we could change (no inside bathrooms).  After getting settled back in the van, with the temperature outside dropping into the lower 40s, Dan and Dave thought it would be brilliant to crack their windows because it was going to get steamy. Time to sleep…  move around awkwardly on leather seats, crammed into little human contorted bodies in the Tahoe. Every time I glanced over at Dan, he was in a different *unique* position (he said the same about me). Dan was behind the driver’s seat. And I tried so hard not to laugh when he would lock us in or unlock the doors, turn on the emergency flashers, all while trying to find a comfortable position. I guess he saw me shaking at one point (I was wearing my running skirt- ready to go for my next leg), and thought it would be nice to roll up his window. Except, he rolled down Dave’s first, then turned on the child safety. And didn’t notice. So Dave was shivering, and all of us were wondering, why is it getting colder in here?

Leg #25 (my third/final leg): 3.33 “Easy”

My 4:45am run. Felt like a death march…

At 4:20, I decided to was time for me to start waking up. Clara was supposed to get the exchange zone at 4:41am, but they were running about 5 minutes behind, so I figured 4:45 would be fine to get out there. I went to the port-a-potty a few times. It was sooo disgusting. At that point in the relay, people had made poor decisions about what to eat, or not hydrated enough, etc etc. And the overnight port-a-potties… Well, they aren’t pretty. I took my headlamp so I could make sure not to trip on something, and gagged at the illuminated sight of it all. And got back in the Tahoe. Jarod (our big brother type, and super competitive Van #2 “co-captain”) texted me “Where are you?! Get out here!” to which I replied “I am out back, in the Tahoe. It’s only 4:40…” He soon appeared tapping Dan’s window, then his watch, and throwing his hands in the air, as if to say “when are you going to run?!”
me: “Okay, okay”
Sarah: “Dan, can you drive us around to the front? By the road?”
Dan: “no”
Dan: “If you want to drive, I’d be happy to switch places with you Sarah.”
the rest of us… exchanging awkward looks…
A few minutes later Dan agreed to drive me to the road, and I got out of the van at 4:45, thinking Clara’s not fast… I hope she’s here soon. I don’t want to wait an extra minute in this 42 degree weather in my running skirt longer than I have to…
I slowly and reluctantly walked toward the road, and heard Ca Caw! F*ck! I thought. Hootie Hoo! Hootie Hoo! And walked a little faster toward the road (4:48am). “Where the hell is she? Who am I giving this to?” Clara screamed. I snapped Hootie Hoo! I’m right here bitch!” grabbed the snap bracelet and took off running. I kept thinking, just run as fast as you can. You’ll warm up. And I did, around 2.5 miles in… I tried to chat with other runners, but it was clear all the other runners felt the same way as me. No one wanted to chat, so I just listened to their feet pounding the pavement and tried to keep up. I came across the Exchange Zone Ahead sign, and CA CAW’ed at the top of my lungs. And then, I heard Sarah Hootie Hoo Bitch! I gotcha! And I sprinted in as fast as possible. ~28 minutes. Go me. 5:16am. I had never been so happy. I proudly exclaimed “I’m done bitches!” And Grumpy Pants (aka Dan) reminded me I ran the most and the high would soon fade. I felt bad- he had his longest leg last (almost 9 miles) up next. And would not be able to get coffee. We rushed to the next exchange and waited anxiously for Sarah. She finished in ~30 minutes (a 3.5 mile run). Go Sarah! We were starting to hit a high as a team, and the energy just kept building. Sarah handed off to Dan, who ran into the night. Probably grumbling to himself.  Since his leg was longer, we had a chance to grab coffee.

Allison to Dave

Yay! Hardee’s is open! We grabbed a large coffee for Dan. Dave opened his Splenda packet and sprinkled it over the trash. We all laughed. I was still wearing my reflective vests. And the guys in the hunting attire were looking at me weird. Sarah wanted chicken and eggs and didn’t understand why more people didn’t put those two together, on a biscuit. We got to the exchange point, and waited for Dan. Allison took off, after sunrise. Dave was next, and KILLED his 8 miles, with 8-minute splits. Dan, Sarah, and I slept a little. And snored a good bit. I’m sure I drooled too. While Allison and Olga prepared for Olga’s last leg. Except it wasn’t her last. One of the runners in Van #2 was injured and couldn’t finish his last 3 mile leg, so Olga (our 5K specialist) stepped up. After she finished her final leg for our van, we drove to the hotel at the beach, showered, changed, most of us drank a beer or two. Picked up Allison’s friend (who had grabbed the beer), and headed for Olga’s final leg. It was leg #35, of 36 legs. She would hand off to Jarod, who would bring it on in to the beach.

Our total time was 31:09 as a team. For 205 miles total. So we maintained a 9:02 pace (our predicted time was a 9:07 pace, so very close to it). We finished 25th out of 53 teams. We celebrated on the beach with Mother Earth Brews, and a few slices of Tuna. And just enjoyed the perfect weather (Seriously, sunny, and 75 degrees, with a slight breeze. Totally perfect!)

Side note- we had been kinda racing against another team. I may have mentioned there were about 20 people who wanted to do the Tuna. Sarah and I grabbed the first 12 that responded, then more and more kept responding they were interested, so Casey started his own team- the Big Katunas. We were the Deadliest Catch. The Big Katunas’ Van #2 talked a lot of smack to our Van #2. So Jarod was determined to beat them. And we did. Very easily, by about 30 minutes. But we all talked and hung out and made nice at the post-race party.

We eventually did our own team’s partying at the local Tackle Box Tavern. But that wasn’t as interesting.

I love my team, and especially my van-mates. Even when there was tension, I still love them dearly. I cannot picture doing a relay without those 5 people in my van. Yes, my legs were a little sore (tight really, but fine). But my cheeks and abs hurt more from laughing so hard. There was a point where I thought I was going to choke on crackers because I couldn’t stop laughing. Also, we are going to probably do a relay from Columbia, SC to Charleston in the spring. Yep, we’re cool like that… 🙂 Not sure if other van-mates could ever replace my Tuna200 van-mates, but I will accept one switched out.

It’s hard to get 12 people to stop talking, smile, and face the same direction. Especially after spending 30 hours together 🙂

Marathon is 17 days.

Birthday in 2 days.

My brother’s wedding weekend

This weekend was filled with wedding events. My aunt/ god-mother came into town Thursday night, and stayed with my Dad, near me. Also, on Thursday night, my aunt and cousin on my mom’s side(and some random friend of theirs) and stayed at my mom’s house- about an hour east of me. My brother lives about an hour west of me, and the wedding was there.

Since I knew Saturday’s long run was not going to work out (I had to be at the church at 12pm for the wedding). So, no long run Saturday morning. And with Tuna coming up, I thought I could do a couple mid-distance runs Friday and then Saturday morning (if I felt like it). So, go me- planning for runs.

I got my Friday morning run in just fine (6 miles, 61 minutes, with good negative splitting and 2 miles to warmup). Then Friday afternoon’s went a little slower than planned (6 miles, 67 minutes), and I hit traffic. I had planned to leave my house at 4:30pm. Instead I left Sarah’s at 4:10, and got home at 4:27. I hopped in the shower, turned on my straightening iron, and quickly washed the sweat off my body (making sure not to get my hair wet). I then straightened the top pieces of my hair and pulled it back into a neat little bun. I made it out the door at 4:35. Not bad at all. And I could tell my dad was annoyed that I would be late for the rehearsal. I hit a little bit of traffic- to be expected- and managed to get to the church at 6:05pm. Go me! And no crazy speed demon driving either!

All that for a wedding I wasn’t even involved in. Once the bridesmaids starting lining up, I started to feel the insult. She had NINE bridesmaids. Three of which were actually junior bridesmaids. I wasn’t even asked if I wanted to be a part of the bridal party. And I had just presumed she had 5-6 of her closest friends. But I mean, most of her family had no idea the groom had a sister. Thanks, Brian.

I was completely forgotten about when they discussed “immediate family” sitting in the front row. Mind you- I wouldn’t care about this, except for the fact that every single cousin and aunt and uncle on the bride’s side were involved in the wedding. Just not me. The bride’s aunt who was organizing the wedding said to my family (as we sat and watched, and watched, and watched) “only immediate family in the first row”… And I said “I’m his SISTER” She looked shocked. And I’m not sure if it was because he had a sister or that she was insulted by the tone in my voice. Either way, I started noticing how little I was a part of all of this.

And it hit me how little I am going to be a part of my nephew’s life. My brother couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make a stand for me; so how was he going to make a stand for a child?

So then Saturday. I was the greeter at the door, which was nice, because I got to meet everyone as I was coming in. We got a quick picture of me with my brother in his tux. The colors were purple, black and white. So I wore a black dress with a white lace trim and my purple velvet 5 inch heels. I’m sure in every picture, you can’t see the heels, but whatever! Not the point.

The actual wedding was a typical church wedding. I had to keep it together when the minister started talking about how God made man and woman to become one flesh in marriage (and I was thinking they’ve already done that. And will soon have a baby to show for it). And then had to bite my tongue when he quoted the scripture stating marriage is made for everyone- all those made in His eyes (with a tone of except the gays). But it made me laugh because that’s the scripture people use to condemn gay marriage? It actually says every human being is capable of love and deserving of love and the commitment of marriage. Gay people are people. Therefore, gay marriage is not an abomination. But that’s my stint. And I silently decided no church wedding for me. And I will certainly be doing the red sash, as if to say “Yes, I have had sex. I am still one of God’s children!”

Then, after the wedding, were all the pictures. Two hours worth.

A couple things- to say my mom and I’s relationship is strained is understatement. My mom and dad got divorced 15 years ago. My dad has been in three significant relationships since. My dad brought his wife to the wedding, and her two children. And even though they just got married, I truly think he’s found his soul mate and she deserves to be in the pictures. My mom, does not share my opinion on that subject. My brother has we’ll just say a shady past. It seems like as soon as his past cleared up, he proposed to his now-wife. Her mom passed away when she was 16, and her mom’s birthday was Oct 13. So, they decided to rush the wedding and get married Oct 13, 2012, since it was a Saturday. Then, in May, she got pregnant. However, they haven’t told most of her side of the family; they’re conservative. As soon as my brother was engaged, and with a child, my accomplishments were forgotten. My brother was going to yield my mom a grand-baby, and apparently, that’s more important. (I love babies, and I think raising a family is hard, but I just don’t think it’s the only thing in life)

My mom jumped at the chance to take a picture with her successful child son. She then invited her sister and my cousin up there. Completely forgetting about me. Classic. Later, my mom and dad were on each side of the bridge and groom, and my brother suggested getting me in the shot. And then the photographer said “pick a side”… and I went, “That’s a loaded statement” with a hearty laugh, as my mom pulled me to her side. Story of my life.

I played the happy sister. I was pulled aside by my aunt and mom for spending time with my dad’s side of the family. In front of all the guests. I explained that they fight too much and it gives me a headache. My aunt explained this morning was out of the ordinary (it wasn’t), and my mom rationalized it was my aunt’s fault (it takes two to tango, dear). I told them both to “Shut it down” which soon became a choice phrase of mine for the day. Being pulled in multiple directions makes me want to run for the door. It didn’t help that I hadn’t eaten since 12pm, and it was now 430pm.

I eventually just needed some air, and went outside. And decided I would talk to who I wanted to. My night got better from that moment on. I bonded with my stepsisters (one is 11 and one is 16). We played pool, and I taught them how to decorate a car properly for the bride and groom. The youngest one kept giggling, because she never does anything bad or sneaky, and the 16-year old tried desperately to pretend like it was an everyday occurrence in front of the bride’s cousins who were helping me with the dirty work (getting under the car to tie on the stringed cans). I eventually said my bit to the bride and groom, and left around 10, as they were getting in their car.

All in all, pretty successful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera most of the night, and every time I sat down, someone else wanted my attention. Oh, another great moment- Cole (the bride) roasting marshmallows over the fire pit in her wedding dress. I truly loved that. And will have to include s’mores at my wedding reception 🙂