Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thursday is the new Friday

Hey guys! It is flippin' cold here tonight. We ran a little after work tonight and the temp was a very crisp 37. Blah! I think I could deal with 37 better if there was pretty snow on the ground. We went over to the hospital to do laps around their 1 mile track so we could calibrate Brent's watch. He just got a new battery and with Saturday's race we wanted to make sure it was as accurate as possible. We're going to have to order some warmer running gear, it takes me about 2 miles to get warm, and just when I'm about to be finished I feel comfy. I'd die without my running gloves and headwrap - they rock!! Really, I just need a better pair of running tights, mine are pretty pansy and I naturally have a cold butt to begin with. Tonight I did 4 miles, averaging around 9.12/mile. I felt like I was going around 10, so I was pretty surprised by my times. The cold air made my legs feel like molasses, and I had pretty much no feeling in my legs for the first mile. I'm feeling really ready for the half on Saturday, I think it should be a lot of fun. For a course map, click here. I'm not sure how many did the race last year, but they've sent several emails out today about the expo, start/finish lines, and letting us know they will have pace organized starting corrals (ALWAYS a good idea). I love the excitement right before a big race, when thousands of people are lined up with all their nervous energy! It's so addictive. Brent's never been in such a large race before, so I hope he can really enjoy all those feelings. I think the excitement of the CMM in April, lining up with 17,000 other runners, along with the thousands of spectators all along the way is one thing that got me so hooked on running.

So, one more day of work and then we leave Friday morning. We're staying downtown within walking distance of the start and finish. Today at work Brent got his 5 yr service award. His supervisor made some strange comments that very few of us could hear (something about him leading the 'bad boy' image in the graphic design department) but he did mention he was a runner (which I totally missed because everyone around me was talking). But we got some cool luggage.



P.S. the finale of the biggest loser was awesome! They have lost some SERIOUS weight, I'm so glad Matt won!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Who'd wanna be a Rockette anyway?

Hey! Congrats to everyone who participated in the 1st annual BRPTT and especially to our big winners! Due to the time change differences btwn here and Australia I missed getting CJ and Strewth's race recaps up so I've added them to the bottom of the previous post. Make sure you scroll down and check out their stats and their pic with their race bibs! Several other people have emailed today with results so scroll through my comments to read about their races over the holiday weekend.

We've had such a busy week settling back in from the 'holiday' weekend. We put all the trees up Sunday afternoon, they're not all decorated yet. We're putting up 4 trees this year, and we've managed to decorate 3 of them so far. Hopefully we can do the last one tomorrow night and then decorate the staircases and fireplace before we leave for Memphis Friday.

Just a couple more days until the Memphis Half Marathon. Woo hoo!! I'm really excited about the race. This will be my third half and Brent's second. I KNOW I can do better than my last half. I don't know what my goal is, breaking 2 would be my dream goal. I think 2.05 is my realistic goal for Saturday. It's going to be so much fun to run through all the parts of town I used to hang out in growing up.

OK, we're watching tonight's finale of Biggest Loser (on TiVo, of course!) and it's just too exciting for me to try to blog and watch. I **Love** that show, it's the most inspiring thing on TV! Some of these people lost around 185 pounds over 9 months without copping out and taking pills or doing anything stupid like following ridiculous fads. I don't think there was an episode all season that didn't make me cry. I would love to have a job like Bob and Gillian's where you're actually helping people live a better life. Later!


Thurs - 3.1 mile run
Fri - 7 mile run
Sun - 5.3 mile run, 20 mins yoga
Mon - 3.3 miles on the treadmill
Tues - 40 mins elliptical, 1 mile am walk with Pips

P.S. On the news yesterday they had a thing with the Rockettes in town for their holiday show. They said you have to be 5.6-5.10 to be a Rockette. Isn't that discrimination???

Monday, November 28, 2005

Results for the 1st Annual Brent and Rachel (and Pippin!) Turkey Trot!

Hey guys! The 1st ever BRPTT 5K was a major success. Maybe next year the race budget will be slightly larger and we can afford real trophies or at least a water stop.

The first finisher was Chocolate Runner Jon. Besides sweeping the Michigan Male's category he also wins the award for the worst running conditions: 19 dg F with blowing snow. Yikes!! He finished in 29:04 and just in time to throw the bird in the oven for T-giving dinner. He also had some sort of crazy thing called YakTrax on his shoes to help him through the unplowed snow that those of us in the south can only dream about. Sure, it was a personal worst for him but if it had been a PR in those conditions who would've believed him? And none of his normal nemesis dogs were out there chasing him so what's the motivation in burning too much rubber? He also wins the award for the yummiest looking medal - maybe he'll be in charge of trophies next year!

Elizabeth also ran in the Detroit area. The windchill was -1 degrees F! Yikes!! She ran as part of an organized 10K Turkey Trot. If you ever read her blog you already know she is FAST - Her 5K time for the BRPTT was 22.17. WOW! Can you even imagine if it wasn't cold, snowy & slick? About 6,000 people turned up for the race! Maybe we'll have that many in the BRPTT next year - except it would take me a full year to post the results!!! Congratulations to Elizabeth for winning the overall BRPTT event as well as the women's division in Michigan!!!

Next up was Shore Turtle. He normally competes in New Jersey but for the holidays he decided to sweep the Pennsylvania division. Race temp was in the low 20's with a light dusting of snow. He blazed laps around a local athletic field with his BRPTT bib in plain view, frightening off some other wanna-be's also using this track. Maybe next year they'll pony up and join in on the fun. ST finished in a blazing 23.39. I think my only chance at beating him might be on a sunny 100 degree TN day, and even then I doubt it would happen. Besides sweeping PA, he also wins the award for the most thought provoking race number. He used the highest elevation of the Poconos (where he was racing) as his race number. Excellent!

Next up we have Tammy. She swept the Washington (Seattle, to be exact) competition AND set a new PR of 30.57 for herself! WAY TO GO! Seattle was enjoying a nice 45 degree day on Turkey day and she headed out after a fantastic sounding breakfast. (Note to self: if I'm ever in Seattle stop by Tammy's for some pancakes.) She was hopped up on Dayquil and was still manage to set a new PR! So, she not only wins the WA division but also wins the drug induced division. (The BRPTT does not recommend use of illegal drugs, just the legal ones and ones you can purchase from Canada.)

Kim also ran Thursday afternoon in California. They had a beautiful day with temps in the low 50's and a 9 mph headwind. (Ok, so we could all do without the wind but who can complain about the 50's!) She's been working on her form by running barefoot on the treadmill and it paid off in the form of a new PR and a time of 26.49 making her the fastest trotter in CA! You can see a map of her beautiful course here (warning: if you're jealous of people who live near the ocean you many not want to look).

Liz ran in the Fort Campbell, KY area (which is a good thing because I like sweeping TN myself, and it helps the BRPTT boast an additional state!). She ran outside Friday afternoon once the babysitter arrived to watch her TRIPLETS! She hasn't gotten to run outdoors much lately, so she really got a taste of winter running with our chilly (and windy!) temps this past weekend. (It was 39 with a WC of 34 Fri afternoon.) She finished in 34.15. Way to GO! She wins the Kentucky division and the parents of multiples division. Hopefully Brent and I will get to meet her at local races soon, and if not we'll definitely see her at the Country Music Half/Full Marathon in April!

My fellow Miami Marathon training partner, David, completed the BRPTT as part of his 16-mile training run this past weekend. Outside of the start line, finish line, and pre-race pasta dinner I think I'll just be seeing the back of his head as his marathon training run put his overall 5K at 27.58. He's aiming to stay with the 4.15 Miami pace group, I'm aiming for the 4.30-4.45 pace group. Outside of sweeping the Florida division & Male Masters division of the BRPTT David also wins the award for the warmest BRPTT - 76 degrees! Crazy!! In exactly 2 months Brent and I will be having dinner with David in Miami the night before mine and David's very first marathon. Ok, now I'm freaked out and I'm not sure if I can go on with this post......

Our favorite pink lady, Dawn, wins the award for getting other family members involved in the BRPTT. She added a 2K division for her absolutely adorable little granddaughter (who I'm pretty sure was a lot faster than Pippin!) Isn't she too cute?? Her race conditions were pretty much the complete opposite of David - 28 degrees F in Canada with light snow around. She also wins the award for designing the most difficult course - check out all the hills!! She finished in 49.39, winning the International Division of the BRPTT!

Angie ran the BRPTT as part of her 15.4 mile trail training run. She considers herself a newbie trail runner, but anyone who can run that mileage on a trail is definitely not a newbie! She's in training for the Feb 2006 Pemberton 50K Trail Race. She won the Arizona division of the BRPTT and the Trail Division with a great time of around 30 minutes. Way to go!

Susie swept the Connecticut division on Sunday. I'm not exactly sure what the temps were, but I bet it was chilly and there was probably some snow around. Susie's had some injury issues leading up to and following her 1st half marathon in October and I'm happy to say she didn't have any significant aches or pains! Her finishing time around 30 minutes doesn't give her a PR but it does win her the Connecticut division and the Recovering Runner Award.

And finally, you ask, how did Brent, Rachel & Pippin do??? This race was created to give us something to do Thanksgiving morning to keep us connected to the running world in the pretty unconnected towns we were in, and to spend time with Pippin and our families. Our sister in law Becky, wife of Brent's brother Mr Excitement, was really excited about participating. They just had a baby a few weeks ago and she's started working out with some of her coworkers to get back into pre-baby shape. We got up Thurs morning, had a piece of toast and drew up our race numbers. Brent decided to be "pi" and Pippin was a paw. He wasn't very excited about wearing his reflective vest, but if it meant he got to go somewhere exciting and do something interesting he was OK with it. So off we headed. It was really warm - about 52, with a strong breeze. Pretty much from the start I was dragging Pippin behind me. We headed off for a .5 mile gravel driveway, on the way back (around .75 miles) Pippin decided to take a break. I dropped him off when we passed back by Brent's parent's house around the one mile mark. Officially, the first mile was around 12 minutes. Since he was the only competing dog Pippin won the doggie division (even though he's really a DNF!) We continued over to the track at the high school next to the in-laws. Each lap around the school is a half mile, and then we headed over to the actual running track to do the rest of our distance. We did a lot of walk/run intervals as this was Becky's first virtual/official 5K to run. We also stopped and took a lot of pictures along the way. Our official time was around 41 minutes - a personal worst by about 10 minutes. But you know what, who cares? We had a lot of fun, and that's what the BRPTT is all about! (Of course if there had been real trophies at the end I would've left Pippin in the grass!!)

Mr Excitement (Eric) was excited about participating as well, but I don't think he really understood the rules or what we were racing for. Although very swift he did not complete the entire 3.1 mile distance, so he also ends up with a DNF.

Brent and I re-ran the BRPTT last night as part of a 5.3 mile training run. Our temps have been all over the place - Thursday's run was 52 degrees, Friday was 27 degrees and last night it was 62 with 29 mph winds!! Talk about nasty! It was a tough run but we were able to keep 8.30 paces for the 5K portion, giving us times of 26.24 which is a new PR for Brent! Yeah!!

Sometimes the heart is stronger than the legs. Recent NYC marathoner Danny tried to get out and run on Sunday. His knee has been aggravating ever since the Marathon so he was only able to complete 2 miles before (wisely) stopping before further injuring himself. (You'd think this guy was in the medical field or something!) And sometimes the mind is stronger than everything - check out Simba's Mom's dream . Hmmmm.... I wonder who the race director was that she complained to? Maybe me? And I wonder who broke the world record? I guess Elizabeth since she was our fastest overall runner! Too funny! I seriously laughed out loud when I read about her dream.

Thanks to everyone for participating in the 1st annual BRPTT and making it such a huge success! I can't wait until next year's event! If I missed any of you who participated just let me know and I'll add you in! Here are the final results:

**Update - Severe weather in Australia prevented CJ and Strewth from hosting a stand alone BRPTT on Saturday as planned, but they did incorporate the BRPTT into their Sunday triathlon. (Isn't it crazy to think that their summer season is starting to gear up? Brent and I regularly read their blogs and doing so prompted us to consider living half the year in the US and the other half in Australia!) Hopefully next year the race budget will allow us to make some waterproof bibs for them so they can wear them throughout! They both did amazing in the triathlon and the picture to the left is them wearing their BRPTT bibs and holding their trophies! Their 5K times are 24.15 (their race portion was 4K so I've adjusted it to a 5K time). Awesome times!!! No wonder it seems they're always in the top of the ranks. Congrats to CJ and Strewth for sweeping the Triathlon portion of this event and also the Southern Hemisphere International Division! Way to GO!

Overall Winners:

Male: Shore Turtle 23.39 PA
Female (and overall winner!!!): Elizabeth 22.17 MI

Male Participants:
Shore Turtle 23.39 PA
Brent 26.24 TN
David 27.58 FL
Jon 29.04 MI

Female Participants:
Elizabeth 22.17 MI
CJ 24.15 Australia
Strewth 24.15 Australia
Rachel 26.24 TN
Kim 26.49 CA
Angie 30.00 AZ
Susie 30.00 CT
Tammy 30.57 WA
Liz 34.15 KY
Becky 41.12 TN
Dawn 49.39 Canada

Doggie Participants-
Pippin 1 mile - 12.30

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Things I am Thankful for: My Home

Man, is it EVER good to be home again. I'm thankful for many things, and the one on the top of my thoughts right now is that the Pilgrims and the Indians only hooked up once a year. There's really not much use for a holiday if it requires you to spend most of it in a car going from one place to the next place and basically rendering you more exhausted than before the 'holiday' began. That's how our holidays always end up. Wed after work we loaded the car up completely. With our suitcase, other random belongings, and Pippin's crate the rental car we are STILL driving was packed. First on the agenda was Brent's family in Hohenwald, TN. Ever heard of it? Prob not..... The drive was pretty uneventful, we goofed around in our normal manner and the highlight was being stuck on a small, winding country 2-lane highway stuck behind a slow car with a stupid Hummer behind us, blinding us. The 'glow' even woke Pippin up and he huffed and puffed about it. Finally we passed the slow car and then the Hummer passed us. Brent cracks me up and he turned his bright lights on. I'm not sure why it struck us as the most hilarious thing ever, but it did. I doubt they even knew we were behind them in our tiny little car. The funny thing is this town is so small that we know exactly who the people in the Hummer were. Maybe that's why it was so funny. So, we arrive at Brent's family's house and settle in. Thurs morning we did our Turkey Trot, but I'm not going to blog about that 'til Monday when I add in everyone else's BRPTT results. The rest of the relatives arrived pretty soon after the Trot, and immediately Brent's old Aunt W started in on Pippin's weight. AS IF she couldn't stand to lose about 30 pounds. He's a dog for Pete's sake! We weren't interested so we ignored her. Pippin had already found his perfect place - laying in the kitchen near all the action or anywhere near someone with food. Then it was time for T-G lunch. I'm not into 'country cooking' at all. We just don't eat that style of food. We're baked and grilled chicken, salads, lighter fare than mashed potatoes, dressing, etc etc. I really didn't eat much, but I could tell it wasn't working for me. When you're so accustomed to eating a certain way you just can't go back. I should have stuck with straight turkey and left it at that. I had a case of Montezuma's Revenge like nothing I have ever had before. Between hot sweats, cold sweats, twitches, and wandering if I could yell loud enough for Brent to hear me and come and hold my hand in case I died I finally felt slightly better. Just in time for the family picture. Yee haw. The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in a semi-daze, Pippin asleep in my lap. I guess that's what you do in small towns - sit and talk about who did what, who's kids did what, and who may do something.

From there we headed to my parents house in Clarksburg, TN. Ever heard of it? Didn't think so.... Until April my parents lived in Memphis, where I was born and raised. Once they retired they got this strange notion to move there, I have no idea why. My dad was born and raised there, and my 97 yr old grandma is in a nursing home there. There is NOTHING in this town, and so there's nowhere there to shop. When we got there we found out my brother totally bailed and did not come for Thanksgiving. My parents are bored to death in this town, so they hadn't passed on the tidbit about my brother and his family not coming because they probably figured (rightly so) that we would have rearranged our holiday travels. So, I am pretty mad at my brother and plan to buy my nephew the loudest, most annoying toys I can possibly find for Christmas. So we spent the rest of the weekend watching paint dry with my parents. Brent and I ventured to the local 'park' for a run Fri morning. My original training plan was for 20 miles. With the bad stomach conditions I'd had and the lack of rest I knew that wouldn't work for me, and I really want to be rested and prepared for next Saturday's Memphis Half Marathon. The park "near" my parents ended up having a quarter mile track and a half mile track. We ventured off the track a little and ran 2 miles through the woods/pasture. The grass was so clumpy it was really hurting our ankles, and we were also pretty nervous about being shot by good ole TN hunters. We headed back to the track and ran about a million laps to end up at 7 miles. It was 27 degrees at the start of our run and 32 by the end. COOOLLLLDDD! Actually, after 2 miles I was really warmed up and felt great. I didn't even realize it was cold until we were finished. I'm not happy that my training plan has gotten off recently, but I think a huge part of my difficulty at the Team Nashville half was too much mileage in too little time. On Sunday of that week I had run (a great) 18 miles, and then the half on that Saturday. So, I'm getting refocused this week and will be back on plan and totally ready for Saturday and the marathon in late January.

Fri afternoon we ventured 40 miles to the nearest 'city' with my parents to do some shopping. Although my brother did not come for T-G he did call repeatedly telling us what to buy them for Christmas. We didn't end up finding most of it, though. For this morning my mom had orchestrated one of her typical, painful experiences where she drags my grandmothers out of their cozy homes and into her circus. My mom's mother is in her 90's and lives 1.5 hours to the NW. She had her in home health nurse (B) drive her down for the day. B obviously cares a lot for my g-ma, and is great to her. But she's a really loud lady. She'd be much more pleasant to be around if she turned the volume down a LOT. Mom also had my dad go and get my other 97 yr old g-ma out of the nursing home and bring her to their house for the day. She's always been a little feisty, and nothing's changed there. She recited her ABCs backwards for us, recited a Thanksgiving poem, and called my Aunt Jan during the middle of our T-giving lunch to tell her how good the bread was that Brent's mom had sent with us. Oh, and she also is convinced that the doctors have implanted something in her brain that is now coming back out of her head. Pippin is pretty used to kids now, but he still needs to work on old people etiquette. He really didn't understand the tennis balls on the bottom of one grandma's walker and he kept trying to go after them. Hey, the dog loves to play ball! My mom is not a good cook, so T-giving dinner wasn't so great. One 'new' item on the menu that the Pilgrims probably didn't have with their turkey was pizza rolls. Yup. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and pizza rolls.

We left to come home a little after lunch today. It's about a 2 hour drive home, and man, is it nice to be home! All the way home we laughed about our insane families and how glad we are that Thanksgiving is over and our lives can return to 'normal' in a nice, quiet house with just us and Pips. We unpacked and headed out to dinner at Waffle House. We also stopped by Lowe's to see what kind of grills they have this time of year (which is not many). We spent of our time there laughing about who in the store had on the worst Mom Jeans. We had a MAJOR spotting tonight, probably the 2nd worst pair ever. Tomorrow we'll start getting all the Christmas stuff out and hopefully have a medium length run, maybe 7 or 8 miles? We're supposed to have some rain sometime tomorrow so I'll play it by ear. I think my cold was really allergies, by Wed I was feeling much better and I've been staying on top of taking all my allergy medicine. I'm still a little sniffly but nothing like I was on Tuesday.

Hope you all had fantastic Thanksgivings! A lot of you guys have already started emailing your BRPTT results and I'm going to put them all together in one big post on Monday. So far I know Jon, Shore Turtle, Tammy, & Liz have already run and put their times together. I know I've missed someone so I'll sort it all out before Monday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Excitement is building for the 1st ever BRPTT!

You guys are really cracking me up with all your enthusiasm for our virtual race. I am loving it!! RBF-ers are not only not nerds, losers, or geeks but they are extremely creative people. First, Brent designed a logo and cool bib for the race. (The bib is an Adobe pdf file if you're having trouble accessing it. Let me know if you'd like me to email it in Word or some other format.) Then, Charlie (aka Shore Turtle) has customized his for the locale he'll be racing in. Bonus points for creativity. It's even introduced me to a few new blogs I haven't run across yet including Liz, who's actually on the North side of Nashville where our military base is located (Clarksville). Her hubby is off serving right now so stop by and give her tons of support while she's training for April's Country Music 1/2 Marathon and being a single mom. She's the first TN running blogger I've come across so I'm pretty excited about that.

For those of you who have longer races/training runs scheduled for that day you can submit your 3 mile time and round up for the .1. (Either your first three, last three, favorite three, or your overall average time per mile multiplied by 3) No need to be overly scientific!!

In other news, it's official. I have a cold. Ugh. I've felt a little scratchy the past few days and this morning the scratchy never ended and the running nose is full steam ahead. On our way to Publix tonight I swear I sneezed about a million times. I've got most of our clothes and running gear packed (we'll be heading out after work tomorrow) and I am about to climb onto the sofa and get some rest. I had really, really wanted to run 3 miles tonight but I know Thursday's BRPTT, Friday's planned 20-miler and next Saturday's super important Memphis Half Marathon mean I need to get some rest tonight. To make a not so great day worse, we had to take Pips for his annual shots today. I knew what was going to happen - the talk - about his weight. I had to go through what all he eats, how much, yada yada. I'm so over it. We walk every day, he eats low fat and only half of his recommended serving! He's just a little chubby, and he has a stout body frame, too. She's a pretty thin doc so I couldn't pull out my "we could all stand to lose a few, huh?" line, and feeling as badly as I did I just took the lecture. He watched me getting all the suitcases out (again!) tonight and immediately ran to the garage door, he is ready to go!! Me on the other hand - I'm ready for the sofa, a blanket and some munchies. Feed a cold, right?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Update on the 1st Annual Brent and Rachel (and Pippin!) Turkey Trot

Hey! I'm so glad there are so many of you interested in participating in the 1st annual Brent and Rachel (and Pippin!) 5K Turkey Trot! The rules are pretty simple since there really aren't any rules. You can run/walk/waddle your 5K anytime between Thurs-Sunday, anywhere you want (all countries are welcome!!), any way you want. Just email me or post a comment with your time, age (only if you want to), and the approximate temperature when you ran your 5K before the end of the day Monday. Since so many of you guys are in the North it only seems fair to appreciate the coldness & dedication of your run/walk. And since there are so many of you in warm Southern places we always need a new reason to hate on you, too. J/K. Also, if your dog/pets participate be sure to send their name, age, sex, breed and time for the special doggie division! If you take a picture of your 'event' forward that as well and we'll post everyone's pics along with the results and a link to your blog. The good news is everyone is so spread out you've pretty much got a lock on being first in your race location! THAT's the kind of racing I'm talking about! Maybe Brent will surprise me with a medal for taking the women's division of the Hohenwald, TN branch of this race (that's where we'll be for T-giving)!

Also, just to take it up a notch and make our virtual race semi-professional we have a downloadable bib for you! You can write whatever number you like on it (I've always wanted to be #1!) if you'd like to use it. You will still have to provide your own waterstops and post race fruit (or just hold out for some turkey.)

Winter Running

We had a cold, cold night here. After a horrid first day back at work (ugh!!) we decided to go for a 5.2 miler before dinner & a movie (the new Harry Potter). It was COLD! Definitely the coldest night so far. This was the first time I've run with my Nike gloves and headwrap, and it was NICE! I usually don't put my headphones on until I've made the sidewalk (about .25 mile from our house) and with the gloves on I could never get the earbuds in so I just skipped the tunes. My Forerunner locked up and never would find the satellite so I ran basically gearless tonight. The wind was pretty brutal at times, it would swirl up from my ponytail and send me off at an angle - I'm sure my form looked terrible!! My mileage is going to be WAY down for November - I'm predicting somewhere around 75 miles (last month was 132 and Sept was 92). Vacation really threw my training off course, but I was still definitely getting my miles in walking! December should stay much more on track. The big Memphis half marathon is just under two weeks away! Hopefully we'll have a nice upswing in temps, I guess I need to start thinking about what I should wear and putting together the music mix for the race. I want to have a lot of Memphis artists or songs about Memphis on the mix. Saliva is one of my fave bands, so they'll be on there quite a bit.

The new HP movie was just OK. It gets to be a little long and it's been such a long time since I've read the book that I'm constantly asking myself 'did that happen in the book??'


Mon - 2/3 mile am walk with Pips, 5.2 mile evening run - slower pace, 47 minutes overall

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The 1st Annual Brent & Rachel (and Pippin too!) 5K Turkey Trot

I'm starting to get really, really jeoulous of all of you guys who are going to get to do Turkey Trots on/near Turkey day. The two trots here are both on Thanksgiving day and for our holiday weekend we'll be stuck visiting our families in two tiny TN towns that are lucky if they even see one race a year. (I'd be scared to even imagine what the locals might think a Turkey Trot is!!) So, Brent and I discussed it and we decided to host our own TT. We're going to run out of his parents house, down a road, back to the building next door and around the parking lot. It should end up around a 5K (or we will make it 5K). I'm going to donate our usual race entry fees to a local food bank and buy myself a new shirt/sweater/outfit on Friday! Wanna join us? Email/post your turkey times after Thanksgiving and I'll post the results. Runners, walkers, dogs, cats & all other animals are welcome. (Of course if you're a male or female in the 25-29 division we'd prefer you not participate because we do like to win. Just kidding!!!)

Back home

Well, we made it home yesterday around 6.30 pm CST. (It's so weird to be back on Central time now, I was finally used to Eastern!!) Everything looks so different now! The leaves are mostly on the ground and when we left they were mostly still in the trees. When I went out to get the paper this morning the skyline looked so strange absent the skyscrapers I've been used to seeing up north! I also went to grab Pip's leash before I realized he's still at the kennel! (We pick him up this afternoon!!) It's strange without him when we're on vacation, and it's REALLY strange without him at home. All his stuff is here, and it looks like we have a dog, but where is he?? I hope he had a good time. A new pet store just opened about a mile from our house so we'll take him there this afternoon after we pick him up.

We FINALLY found Ikea yesterday. The internet directions were ALL wrong and we basically ended up in a bad neighborhood in the Newark area. We saw a sign to IKEA, and then no more signs. The weird thing is the only IKEA I've ever seen was back in Feb when I was in Newark on a business trip. We were stuck on the runway for over an hour and from my window I was punished by staring at it the whole time we were waiting for take-off. Little did I know THAT was the IKEA we were looking for! Just as we were about to give up, head back and hop on the Jersey turnpike we saw it!! So, we headed in and were instantly in love. Of course it sucks that we couldn't buy anything big, but we did decide when we move next spring all our furniture will come from IKEA! If we stay in this area we're (seriously) going to rent a U-Haul and head to the ONLY Ikea in the southeast - Atlanta. Why do we only get one??? And they just built that one within the past two months.

We made our way down the SLOW NJ Turnpike, back through Philly and on to the airport. There was no drama related to our flight, but I was stuck across from a 'noisemaker'. You know, the person who CONSTANTLY must be making a sound of some sort. First he had some dinner. I swear his chips were reproducing!! Then he was apparently trying to suck the bottom of his cup up his straw. You're out of liquid buddy!! Give it up!! Then he proceeded to eat all the ice in his cup. Next he was on to a crossword puzzle which meant he constantly clicked his pen the whole time he was trying to come up with answers. FINALLY we could turn our electronic devices on so out came the ipod (for me). I had my music kind of low b/c I just started reading Pride and Prejudice (I've had it over a year now!!). I thought I heard snoring, so I looked over to Brent, nope, and guess who??? Noisemaker. Head back, snoring away. So, I may have some hearing loss due to the volume my ipod was cranked up to. He did wake up when beverage service came through and he downed his coke AND ice by the time the steward had gone from our row (Row 4) to the back of the plane (Row 14 - very small commuter plane!!). When the steward came back through he asked Noisemaker if he wanted more ice and I thought about leaping out my seat, taking a chance that there were no air marshals on such a small plane, and tackling him if he said 'yes' but thankfully he wasn't interested! He promptly went back to sleep with his head down so the snoring was more muffled. And of course, the second we landed he was on his cell phone. Some people are just TOO important.

The airports were crammed yesterday with tons of families starting to travel for the holidays. We came home, headed back out for some groceries and dinner and unpacked everything. The hairbrush I thought I had lost somewhere along the way was actually here at home the whole time. Sweet! Today we have a ton of laundry to do and I think I may do a short run this weekend. I hate that my long run schedule got off, but I still have plenty of time left (or so I tell myself). I want to do this week's long run on Friday, since the Memphis half is the following Sat. I want to have some fresh legs!! I am ready to get back on my healthy eating and back in my regular exercise routine.

I'm also totally in the holiday spirit after seeing all the beautiful window displays in NYC. I may start crating the holiday decs down out of the attic today. I'm a tree-a-holic. I own 12 artificial trees, big ones. (With my allergies a real one is not a good thing.) Our main tree is 9.5 feet, and I LOVE it. My first job ever was at Hallmark when I was 15 and I've been hooked on Christmas ever since. I'm really not sure how many ornaments I have, but it's bad. I have gotten better, primarily due to a comment an older woman made to me at a midnight ornament premiere about 2 years ago. She said I was the youngest addict she'd ever seen and then invited me to join their club that meets once a month to discuss ornaments. I decided I did NOT want to be that obsessed, so I have backed off some. I still get some of the vintage ones - I have a 1977 Hallmark ornament for the year I was born & I like the old Olympics ones and stuff like that. I know one day my relatives will sell all this crap on Ebay so I'm slowing down so they'll have to make money some other way.

Cya later!!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Big Day

Today's the big day - the return trip home. Last night after we got back we dumped out all the suitcases and started packing everything up. I can not believe how much I have bought (well, I sort of can since most of the vacation cash is long gone). I really can not believe how much jam & other food items I bought in Amish Country and Hershey. Most of it is for various Christmas gifts but jeesh, I must have been hungry. By some act of god we were able to repack everything into our suitcases with only adding one new piece of luggage to the mix.

Yesterday was EVEN colder than Thursday. I kept looking for a cute hat from all the street vendors but nothing popped out at me. I bought a new scarf in Chinatown Thurs and passed down my old scarf to Brent (I bought it in Vegas in 12-2001 when it snowed there for the first time in over 7 years and we had NO warm clothes with us!!!). Brent was hoping I'd buy a hat, and then another hat so he could have a hat since he gets all my hand-me-downs. (I did buy a "Prada" purse and a "Gucci" watch this week in Battery Park. Love it!!)

Yesterday we went back to Soho for more shopping, over to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice skaters again and see some of the NBC studios, over to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), up to Central Park, back through Times Square (for the 3rd time!!! We're pretty much over it...) and then we headed over for some shopping and dinner in Hell's Kitchen. (I'm making reindeer ears in front of the Rock Center Tree - I was only willing to surrender one hand to frostbite!!) We had lunch the NY way - hot dogs from a street vendor and they were SO good. (So good we went back and ate two more). MoMA was very cool - we're not into ancient Egyptian pots and stuff like that, so they had more of the Jasper Johns, Van Gogh, Picasso & Andy Warhol that we enjoy. They also have my all time fave painting - Starry Nights by Van Gogh. He was the greatest. Central Park was gorgeous. Their ice skating rink was MUCH nicer than Rock Center, but we were way too cold to fly around the ice so we just watched for a while. Then we headed over to the discount Broadway ticket place to see what shows they had. They didn't have any of the shows we were interested in, so we decided to see a show next time we go to NYC. Next time we're going to fly into NYC and stay somewhere there (you know, plan ahead or something crazy like that) so we'll be able to dress up to the 9's and have a proper night out. We walked over to Hell's Kitchen and found the cutest doggie store with a ton of cute clothes. I got Pips a "I (paw symbol) NY" shirt. It's too cute. We found the best little Mexican restaurant and pigged out before heading back. Today before we head back to Philly we're going to IKEA!!!! The closest one to us is 4 hours away (in Atlanta) so we've never been before. We can't buy anything big but we can look (and then order online!!)

See ya back in Nashville ( insert frowny face here)!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Having a Blast!

BRRRR! It is so cold now! The cold front that swept across the country came through here Wed night and left yesterday's temps in the very low 40's. It really wasn't bad during the day except on the ferry over to Liberty Island and then once the sun set. (When we were up on top of the Rock Center obs. deck I thought I was going to die!!!) Anyway, we're having a blast and there were too many times to count yesterday that we started laughing so hard we started crying. We saw Lady Liberty, Ground Zero, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, Little Italy (beautiful!!), Soho & Tribeca, revisted Times Square (during the middle of a bomb threat - too cool! I had a ton of those at my high school growing up so it's no biggie & was a great photo opp), & Rockefeller Center/Rock Center Obs Deck. We were EXHAUSTED when we got back to our room last night. If we walked 500 miles in Philly we walked 5,000 yesterday but thank goodness for subways or that would be 50,000! Today we're going to go back to Soho for a little more shopping, Museum of Modern Art, Empire State Build, Chrysler Building, back to Rock Center, Central Park & who knows what else! Have a great day!!

Today's dessert pic is brought to you from little Italy. Tiramasu is my FAVE and this is THE best I've ever had.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Gettin' Lucky with Dick

Hey guys! We're hanging in NYC (well, Jersey technically). We've had a great past couple of days and missed blogging immensely yesterday. Trump charges $12.95 a day for internet access and since we don't spend much time in our room it wasn't worth it. I guess that's one way he keeps getting richer.

Yesterday morning we spent time in Amish country. It was so wild to see buggies & horses trucking down the road with cars and big rigs. It also smells like poop there. Seriously, no urban myth. Hershey may periodically smell like chocolate (if Shore Turtle tells me he smelled chocolate there I believe him) but I bet Lancaster ALWAYS smells like poop. I'd put money on it. We checked out some of the local quilt, jams and craft stores and hung with the old people in the fudge shop. Old people love the fudge shops as much as they love ice cream, and this one old lady kept pushing me out of the way so we got out of there. (I'll have to tell you about the really mean old ladies who nearly pushed me down in Vermont in 2001 at Ben & Jerry's sometime!) We decided we'd try a buggy ride. Not like a shopping cart ride, but an actual ride in a horse & buggy through the Amish farms. It was only $10 bucks a person for a 30 min, 3 mile ride. We learned SO much about the Amish I'll have to share sometime. It's such a fascinating life style. He drove us through a couple of farms and at one point a lady came out to sell us some of her "handyworks". It was a little angel (about baby doll size) shaped out of several dish towels. My mom made some of these for all of us last year for Christmas. I never knew my mom was Amish!! J/K, but I'm sure she would have been so excited to see what they had in common.
Brent had the most fun in Intercourse, PA. They have several unusual town names like Blue Ball, Virginville & some others I can't remember anymore. We had lunch at a local restaurant where some Amish girls were serving as waitresses and other Amish people were eating. It was basically home cooking type food - pretty much like every meat & three in the South. We did sample Shoo-fly pie for dessert. YUM!

From there we headed to Atlantic City! Woo hoo! We've been to Vegas a few times (super fun!) and also some of the crappy gambling places like Biloxi and the Indian reservations in NC. Atlantic City was a blast, it's not as elaborate or large as Vegas but the Boardwalk is too cool. Biloxi needs to take some notes about how to properly have casinos on the ocean, it would be huge (or "hoooge" as Trump would say). We checked into the ornate Trump Taj Mahal and were really surprised at how cool (and nice) or room was. A little cheesy, but very nice. We had a great view of the ocean and immediately ran down to watch the sun set and take some pics. (I know you're shocked). We wandered down the boardwalk and had dinner at a Cuban place in the Tropicana. It was EXCELLENT! We wandered back up the boardwalk stopping at a few casinos along the way to play. In one machine I put in 5 cents and ended up with $12.50! NOT BAD!! In the Trump Taj Mahal I started with $5 in my favorite machine - Dick Clark's Rockin New Years Eve - and was down to about $2 when I hit the jackpot and got another $12.50!! Woo hoo! I walked away with $17.50 from that machine. Not a lot of dough but excellent for us. Brent got lucky with Dick at the Tropicana and then again with the poker machines. It was great fun and we were entertained for hours AND came out over $30 ahead.

This morning we got up, ran 5.5 miles on the VERY windy boardwalk and headed for NYC. We got here around 2.30 and ended up getting upgraded to a VERY nice suite because our TV was broken. Sweet!! We took the train in and walked from 34th to 72nd to meet Danny for dinner. We shopped all along the way and I even found a little Pippin (who I miss GREATLY). Times Square was really a sight. Larger than life, really. It started raining right when we were leaving TS, so the rest of the walk was a little difficult to see for the rain, so we just caught glimpses of Central Park & some of the other sights. We met Danny & his friend F at a Chinese place near 72nd & Broadway. It was very good. I'd much rather eat somewhere where the locals eat than something randomly picked out of a book for tourists. We had a great time, proving that runners ARE fun people and bloggers are NOT nerds. Everyone is so much fun to meet in real life, and exactly the same as they are on their blogs (except for the accents part =) ). I'm voting for some massive RBF meet-up party!

Tomorrow we're starting at the bottom near the Financial District/Statue of Liberty and working our way up! See ya!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hanging with the Amish

Hey guys! We're about to head out and check out the Amish, swing through Delaware and then head over to Atlantic City and spend some pennies! (And buy some taffy, of course.)

Brent will have the short summary of yesterday's activities up very shortly. We went to Valley Forge (very scenic area), Hershey, and Gettysburg yesterday before landing in Lancaster, PA last night. Hershey was one of those places on my list of things I have to see before I die. Compared to the Coors tour in Golden, CO & the Ben & Jerry's tour in Vermont it was a little disappointing. For pretty much everything they wanted to charge you a few bucks. Wanna take a trolley and see the town? $10 bucks each. Wanna see a 3-D clip with giant chocolate in it? $6 bucks each. Wanna pack some chocolate? $10 bucks, please. I did eat enough sugar to last me for a while and I'm still feeling a little gross. Gettysburg is a cool town but the actual park is mostly fields with lots of statues in it. We cut the auto tour short and went souvenir shopping for cheesy Confederate stuff instead.

We saw our first Amish buggy booking it last night and I'm looking forward to more of it today!! Later!


Exercise -
Monday - Some walking, a lot of bad eating & 30 minutes swimming

Sunday, November 13, 2005

2 Redheads, Breakfast, Wild Animals & a Lot of Walking

Hey guys!! I'm blogging via free wi-fi from King of Prussia, PA. Gotta love technology! We had a great day today. We started out the morning with breakfast near the Univ of Penn with Shore Turtle & his wife Redheaded Fan Girl. We ate at a really cool cereal place where you can either make your own combo or go with a pre-set themed combo. Since they're the cereal ppl we went with a pre-designed meal which I was VERY pleased with (it was something peanut-buttery with some Cap'n Crunch, bananas, raisins, & chocolate). We had a GREAT time getting to know people we sort-of feel like we already know pretty well through the 'net. It's pretty crazy that you know so much about someone you've never met. Anyway, we had a blast and wish they lived closer.

From there we headed towards the Philadelphia Art Museum to see the famed Rocky Stairs. ST & RFG had given us the heads up on a popular path runners & cyclists take next to the river so we found that and walked to the PAM. I have never seen so many runners (in a non-organized race) EVER! It was so cool. I felt like such a loser being a 'walker'. If there had been a running store along the path I would've ditched my sweater and jeans and joined in. I wanted to shout at all of them going by "I'm a runner, check out my calves people!! Wanna see my nasty looking feet?" When we got to the PAM everyone was doing the Rocky thing & running up the stairs and doing the raised arm pose. I decided to do more of a European/YMCA pose. Brent is more of the "I'm not going to pose at all pose". The view from the PAM of the city was definitely worth the walk. Since we were already in the Zoo neighborhood & the park area was so beautiful we decided to go ahead and check out the Zoo. The Philly zoo was the nation's first zoo, and some of the exhibits and buildings make that statement pretty easy to believe. They are trying to make the habitats a little more "authentic" though so I think in a few years it will have lost some of the "animals stuck behind bars" look. They have penguins, polar bears, monkeys, pretty much all of the standard zoo fare.

After walking so much that morning we were ready to take a train back to downtown and revisit some of the buildings we had seen the night before. We had no clue where a train station might be, and all of the travel books are crap. Subway maps are really only helpful when you know what street they're located on to begin with. There was a trolley stop right outside the zoo so we figured that would at least take us towards downtown. When we got on the trolley the rude ass driver asked us where we were going, we told him we didn't know but we wanted to get downtown. He told us the train didn't go there and we needed to go ??? (basically walk 2 blocks this way then 3 blocks that way blah blah blah - it might as well have been French). He said something about how the train did go to Broad so we said fine, we'll go there. Insert some more drama about exact change, a train full of scary looking people and then us getting off in the middle of the ghetto. Growing up in the ghetto it doesn't REALLY bother me, but being lost in an unfamiliar ghetto is not as comforting. We quickly walked quite a way towards the tall buildings of downtown and headed for Jim's Cheesesteaks, which according to Frommer's maps is located at 15th & Locust. But it's not. It's actually at 4th & South Street. I hate you Mr Frommer. We walked a REALLY long way and were VERY hungry. A million miles later we were at Jim's. Just in time to stand in a long line for a cheesesteak. All the cheesesteaks I've ever had are REALLY greasy and end with me in the bathroom for hours. I'm delighted to say this one was not. (Of course after walking for hours and hours it could have been 3 day old bread with ants on it and I would have eaten it.)

Afterwards we headed back up 4th and enjoyed some of the Revolutionary era buildings and Liberty Bell stuff we had seen the night before. We took some pics, overheard some park rangers talking about a crackhead running over a kid with his bicycle and headed back to the train station. We rode back out to where our car was and headed out for tonight's stop. We were SO tired and the directions provided by this hotel were CRAP. We got lost, ended up back on the turnpike, went in circles for an hour around the nation's 2nd largest mall and ultimately called the hotel to be put on eternal hold while I'm roaming. I hung up and we went in a shop where they pulled out a Yellow Pages map and helped us figure out how to get to this well hidden hotel. The guy was not sympathetic as we're about the 3rd person TONIGHT who has called lost and not the first who hung up on his eternal hold. We got settled in, took a swim in the indoor pool for a few minutes and then headed over to Bennigans for dinner. To be such a large mall there's not a single non-national restaurant chain around it! We asked about good Mexican food and he recommended Baja Fresh which is on just about every street corner across the US.

Tomorrow we're going to Valley Forge, Hershey & Gettysburg. Tomorrow night is the only night we don't have a pre-booked hotel because I wasn't really sure how long all that stuff could take, so we may stay in Gettysburg, Wilmington, DE or possibly even Jersey. See ya!!

Exercise -
Sunday - I walked 500 miles.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I'm in Philly!!

Woohoo!! I'm in Philly! For a short update of today's activites check out Brent's blog. On tap for tomorrow: breakie with Shore Turtle & his wife, more sightseeing in downtown Philly & possibly a trip to the zoo. If we don't have time for the zoo we may do that next Saturday before our return flight. We're having a blast and eating well!! Philly rocks! If only we could figure out where those blasted Rocky stairs are.....