Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Christmas Tour 2009

NY Christmas

Can you guess which gifts came from the pilot?

(Old Jeppesens)

NJ Christmas

Atlanta Christmas

(Elmo hands)

It was a very blessed year indeed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caramel Chocolate Popcorn

My office doesn’t do a lot of gift exchanging which I’m happy about. It’s one less pressure to deal with, but I like giving some token of appreciation to my immediate team members. This recipe is pretty simple to make and presents well. I also made some to give to our neighbors.  

These cost less than $5 a piece to make (shhh). I purchased all my materials at Walmart without any coupons. If you're truly thrifty you could do it for even less.

Here’s what they looked like wrapped up.

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn modified from
20 cups popped popcorn
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil

1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and coat with non-stick spray cooking.
2. Place popcorn and peanuts in a paper bag. Set aside.
3. In a double-boiler, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Stir continuously until bubbly. Stir in baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture and shake bag to coat.
4. Spread the coated popcorn onto the cookie sheets in a thin layer
5. In a microwave safe bowl, combine dark chocolate and 1 tsp. canola oil. Microwave 90 seconds, stirring once, until melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. Repeat with white chocolate.
6. Let cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Can We Get a Break Here?

"I'm just one stomach flu away from being at my ideal weight". Emily from The Devil Wears Prada.

So the stomach flu hit our household Monday night. At first we both freaked and thought I was coming down with a kidney infection (my last dose of antibiotics was Sunday), but then M came down with the same symptoms. Miraculously E made it through unscathed. Although we think she may have been the source of it. Daycare mentioned she'd had a couple of vomiting episodes in the morning, but appeared to be ok otherwise.

It's been a rough couple weeks. One positive to come out of it all, I'm wearing my favorite old pair of jeans today. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Catching Up

I drove the full 360° of the Perimeter this weekend, and then some, to finish up our Christmas shopping. Everything I had planned on accomplishing last weekend got tacked onto this weekend’s list, so we methodically made our way around checking off each item as we went. There are couple gift cards for E’s daycare teachers to pick up and that should be it. I’m exiled from shopping because every time I go into a store I walk out with yet another thing that E or M just has to have.

I didn’t get to run this weekend after all. It would have cut into our day. Instead I did a glorious 70 minutes in the elliptical both mornings, followed by a quick core workout. I got up early (on my days off!) to workout before E woke up. There’s enthusiasm for you. I was expecting to feel stale, but didn’t.  However, my heart rate averaged about 8-10 beats higher per minute, which was telling of the rough week I’d experienced.

So I’m going to try something new today, and run for 45 minutes before I pick E up from daycare. I should be able to do that, shower, and make it to daycare before it closes. Might have to cut it shorter…we’ll see how it goes.

What’s that noise? Oh, just the flaming arrows of Mommy Guilt darting towards me. 45 minutes for myself isn’t too much to ask. I don’t know. Is it?

I feel guilty leaving her there longer than necessary, but I can’t push her in the stroller in good conscience. The roads are winding and we don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood. The sun is already setting as we leave the house making it too risky to run on the shoulder. E’s going through the attachment phase, so having her chill next to the elliptical is out of the question. It was great setup while it lasted. As soon as I put her down in the play yard she starts crying and reaching for me. It’s heartbreaking. M tells me I need to let her cry it out bit. Riiiight. You bet he’d rush over to pick her up if he was there to see it.

January is another month of four day trips with “weekends on”, meaning I need to figure out what to do on those two weeknights (Still shooting to run that half-marathon at the end of January.) Mornings aren't an option. I already wake up at 5. It’d be nice if this turns out to be feasible.

Where's Santa???


Love it. From JETWHINE

Friday, December 18, 2009

Getting My Groove Back

I know I’m an addict. I’m craving a run so badly right now. I’m feeling much better, and I’m giddy with anticipation to go tomorrow morning.  This is the worst time of year not to be able to workout. (I’ll let Jaime break down the reasons why for you)

Leading up to the surgery, I had my best week of running in a while ….32 miles in 5 days! I haven’t seen that kind of mileage in quite a while.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to workout this week, so I pushed it hard last week. It still wasn’t enough to stop me from turning into a lump of human mush, and the feeling is unbearable. One step forward, two steps back. Time to get back into the groove.

I’m in the minority, but I like winter so much better than summer. It’s supposed to be sunny and in the 40’s this weekend. Perfect. It would be nice to get in 7-8 miles on Saturday and Sunday, but you know what they say about the best laid plans…..we’ll roll with it and see how it goes.

Ever since we started dating in 2003, we’ve traveled around the country to see Dave Matthews play. This was the first year we didn’t make it to at least one concert. We sorta made up for it by seeing the Dave Matthews 3D movie last night. There were 3 other people in the entire theater with us. We knew we were going to a part of town where there wouldn’t be many DMB fans, but still. The ticket taker asked us who “Dave Mathis” was.

It was great though. We were free to stand up and dance around like bunch of loons. We brought E with us and it was a blast. She was a ham. Clapping and bopping along. Most of the concert was stuff from his new album with a medley of old songs at the end. They also played a cover of “Burning Down the House”. It’s been part of their playlist the past couple shows we’ve attended, and I think it’s a fun tune.

Little Miss E would concur.




Thursday, December 17, 2009


Thank you for your encouragement yesterday. I needed a place to vent. 

I begged the doctor to let me come in this morning to see what was going on. A KUB (kidney-ureter-bladder) x-ray showed the stone was gone (YIPPEE!), and that the stent had slid down and was coiled in my bladder. That's what was causing the unusual level of pain.

So long story short, the doctor removed the stent in the blink of an eye, literally, and I'm a happy camper again. There's still a slight burning sensation but the barbed wire effect is gone. What a relief to have this behind me now.

Bring on the Holidays!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Mend???

The lithotripsy procedure was on Friday morning was a breeze. I felt a little cramping in my back that night, which I assume was stone fragments passing, but that was it. No bruising or any other pain they had warned me about.

The cystoscope on the other hand…YOWZA! I never would have agreed to it had I known how painful it was going to be afterwards. “Mild discomfort” and the “ability to return to normal activities the next day” are the words I recall being associated with cystoscope. It was like the fire of a thousand suns in my bladder afterwards.

The pain from the cystosope gradually increased throughout Friday and Saturday. By Sunday morning I couldn’t get out of bed. I called my mom and she hopped on a flight out of Philly to come and help me with E (M had already left for a 3 day trip). I called the on-call doctor twice and was told a little discomfort was to be expected. Thanks. I didn’t even take pain killers after my c-section and Vicodin wasn’t touching THIS pain. My mom took one look at me when she arrived at the house, and put me in the car to go to the ER.

I spent 4 hours there getting IV antibiotics and pain killer. The ER doc was in disbelief that I that I was prescribed such an old-school, first generation antibiotic. According to him, most strains of UTI bacteria are immune to it. He wrote me prescriptions for some new meds which seem to be working. I’m entering into the “discomfort” phase now. And discomfort is a relative term….I still feel like I’m sitting on hot coals.

After notifying my doctor’s office I’d gone to the ER, I didn’t even get a follow-up call to see how I was doing. I’m so done with them. The staff has been rude and disorganized from the start. After not doing their due-diligence to schedule my procedure correctly the first time, leading to its last minute cancellation, I should have been done with those clowns. Their office is located in mid-town, and they’re affiliated with a hospital a few blocks away whose name begins with an E and ends with a Y.

Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a urologist NOT to use in Atlanta.

For now runblondie26 is waddling like a penguin until the “discomfort” is gone.

Yes, I'm an angry little penguin today.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

My TV Reality


Confession, I’m a reality show junkie. I, myself, appeared on the WB show “Change of Heart” when I was in college…ya’ll remember that one don’t cha? The episode was pretty tame, and it was a fun experience, so I’ll own up to it. It makes for good cocktail party conversation. (I’m not holding out on you. I’d totally link to the episode if I could, but I can’t find it anywhere out there in cyberspace, lol). 

The Bachelor is one of my favorites. M teases me every time he talks to “my boy” Jake in the crew lounge. I always ask if he was able to get some details about the show. M tells me no, he doesn’t talk to Jake about the show because “he’s not gay like that”. Ok, whatever.

ABC has titled the season “On the Wings of Love”. Gag. I’m anxious to see how they portray his lifestyle on the show. What are they going to do to glam it up? In the promos they’ve been showing him in a generic uniform in front of corporate jet. I’m sure there will be plenty of conversations about fidelity on trips, if he dates flight attendants, etc. Are they going to divulge the realities of being a pilot (especially a regional), and that it’s not all Catch me if you Can?  TIVO space has already been allocated.

I caught the premier episode of Jersey Shore on MTV, but couldn’t stomach it to the end. That’s rare. I've got a tough stomach. Those people are not from around Jersey, they’re from another planet.

I like Heidi and Spencer on The Hills. I don’t think they’re bad people, it’s just a role they play. Reality shows are heavily manipulated by the producers and those two know how to work it for the camera. If MTV is willing to pay them six-figures an episode for their shenanigans, then more power to them.

Please don’t hold this information against me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Today's 5K Race - We Jingled All the Way

Normally I wouldn't bother running a 5K with E. It's too short of a distance, and I can't run fast enough with the stroller to really be competitive. Today's "Jingle Jog" was scheduled at decent time in the afternoon in order to precede the tree lighting and Christmas parade downtown. M was working today so it was my job to entertain the kiddo, and I thought she'd really enjoy that part. Since we were already going to be there anyway, it wasn't any trouble to throw in the race as well. I thought I'd give it a shot.

We had snow flurries this morning in Atlanta! It was an unseasonably brisk day, but the sun was shining. There was a wind so strong at the start of the race it took my breath away. I had the kiddo wrapped up really well in 2 layers of fleece, plus a Bundle Me, and a blanket so she was snug and content. I love listening to her giggle when we go roll over bumps. She's my sweetie alright.

I got some fun comments along the way. Most of them were the standard ones like "Got a motor in that thing?" or "Can I hitch a ride?" A couple guys asked if I'd ditch the stroller before I crossed the finish line so their wives wouldn't see us. They'd never live down getting beaten by a stroller.

According to the announcer there were about 450 runners, but it was a family race so I'd say only about half that many were truly out to race. We finished in 37th place overall and 1st for my age group. My time of 24:58 is nothing for the record books, about 5 minutes off my PR, but it wasn't much of a struggle either. It's been about 2 months since my last solo race. I'm curious to know what I'm actually capable of running at this point sans stroller.

Geez, I can't believe she has teeth in this picture. They grow-up so fast.

Time: 24:58
Pace: 8:02
Overall: 37 /?
AG: 1st /?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Walmart Santa

We were there. He was there. The picture was free. It certainly is a one-stop shop.

E didn’t freak out, but we couldn’t get her to crack a smile either. I think her expression tells the whole story.

Are you guys kidding me? My first visit with Santa and you give me WALMART SANTA?!

Ok, sorry honey. The premier mall Santa in the ATL is 45 minutes from our house. We’ll get it right next time. Maybe.

This is the first year I'm free to decorate with total abandonment. It’s my prerogative to put as many nails in the walls as I like without the fear of losing a security deposit.

I’m excited for Christmas, yet I have zero interest in decorating. M asked me what my deal is. I feel like I’m in a never ending battle against clutter. The thought of bringing more stuff into the house gives me anxiety. He’s moving ahead full steam though.

He spent a good portion of the past week planning (complete with scaled diagram), then stringing up the Christmas light extravaganza out front. Watching him climb a ladder gave me heart palpitations. I insisted on doing it, but he wouldn’t let me. I have a desk job, so it’s less likely an injury would be career ending for me. That was my biggest concern. How messed up is it that I think that way?

M’s been scoping out Christmas tree farms online to make sure we go to the best one to get our tree. He even dug out the Christmas hand towels and hung them in the bathrooms. It was a hoot watching him stand back and adjust them so they’d hang just right.

Holy crap, M has 8 days in a row off starting on December 22nd. I’m going to take a full week off too. What are we going to do with all that time? We keep changing our minds. We'll definitely be going up north, but can't decide when. We like the idea of waking up in our own home on our first Christmas with E. That also means being alone in Atlanta for the most important parts of the holiday, and I don’t think I can handle that again.

Last year I was too pregnant to travel, so we spent the holiday here. We were living in the crash pad at the time making it all the more weird special. We tried our best. It was still a bummer. There are too many traditions I’m accustomed to sharing with our family, so it felt like any other ordinary day not being there. We’ll have the ability to travel at off times, so non-revving should be doable for whatever we decide.

So do we stick with old traditions or create some new ones of our own?

(Hope you enjoy the fresh background. It's more festive in here already :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RE: The R.E.

Wow, I've been writing a lot about doctor visits in the past few months. Nothing's life threatening, so please excuse the outpouring of TMI if you're growing tired of it. The procedure for my kidney stones is rescheduled for December 11th, so god willing I'll be completely out of material after that.

I tied up the loose ends with my RE this morning. We had a conference call to discuss the results of the blood-work and tests I had done last month. All the tests indicated hypothalamic amenorrhea. That’s good news I guess. My biggest concern was premature ovarian failure or an ovarian reserve issue, and that was ruled out. My doctor reiterated once again it’s not PCOS either. My FSH, TSH, T4, prolactin, and testosterone levels were within normal limits. My estrogen was very low and my progesterone level barely registered.

So in conclusion, I have a sensitive pituatary.

That's a new one, huh?

Some women can run 100 miles a week, be underweight, and not have any problems. I run a maybe 25 miles a week, have a healthy BMI of 20, and that's too much stress for my body. It seems like measly amount to me, the doctor reminded me it’s still a good amount of activity. She also reminded me I had a BMI of 22.5 when we finally conceived E. My body is more sensitive to variation, and that’s just the way it is.

Her recommendation….stop exercising completely, gain some weight, and see what happens.

Um, no.

She didn’t think that would go over well, especially since we're not actively trying to get pregnant right now.

So plan B is to go back on a low dose BC pill, despite the fact that I have a copper IUD. Silly me thought I'd need it back in April. The artificial hormones from the BC pills will protect my bone health and trick my body out of all the good stuff that comes along with menopause.
We already know that turning into a couch potato is no guarantee the HA will resolve itself. I gained 20 pounds when we were trying to conceive E, and that wasn't enough. I still needed a mega-dose of clomid to get things going. We know that works, and we'll try it again when (if) the time comes.

I can’t deny I'm tempted to start training for a full marathon in the spring instead of a half. Since the effects of running 25 miles seem to be no different than running 50 miles, I no longer have a reason why I shouldn't go for it Ok, the full time job, infant daughter, and husband that's gone 3-4 days a week....those might limit me.

Running makes me feel good, and it’s something I enjoy doing. I’m a competitive person, and like challenging myself to go harder, faster, farther. I’m also about 7 pounds away from my goal weight and fitting into my all pre-TTC clothes….basically the bulk of my wardrobe. I wouldn't mind shedding the weight.

Call me vain, selfish, whatever. I’ve been on that guilt trip already. Everyone’s got their something, and those are my personal hang-ups. I’ve made a lot of progress in recent years.

E has been the greatest blessing. I’m cool with one kid. Some people have walked a much harder road than us. I don’t want to get greedy, but I would like to preserve my chances should baby fever strike again. I feel at peace knowing I took proactive steps by seeing the RE now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ups and Downs: Week in Review

Last week ended with some sad news. M's uncle passed away suddenly from a heart attack. We made the solemn trek up to NY to attend the funeral. M's dad passed when he was very young, so he was especially close to this uncle. He'll be greatly missed.

From NY, we continued on with M. He met up with the crew and started his 3-day trip as planned. This trip couldn't have come at a better time to refresh our spirits.

M never gets overnights like this one. We had a full day on the beach and a nice dinner out. M got to surf fish in the morning, and I got to run on the beach. We had a nice brunch at the hotel before leaving.

The transportation company sent a white stretch limo to pick up the crew at the hotel (all the vans were being used to shuttle cruise ship passengers). We're talking senior prom style. It was funny at first, but they were embarrassed to roll up to the airport in it. Two pilots getting out of a stretch limo...totally against the image they want to be portraying to the public.

Did I mention he never gets overnights like this?

My parents came to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. They came last year too, but this was our first time hosting a true Thanksgiving at home. Not in an apartment, not in a crash pad. In our house. I got to break out the dishes, utensils, etc. that we received as wedding gifts, but never had a reason to unpack.

As grown up as that made me feel, I still let my mom run the show in the kitchen. The turkey intimidates me. However at my suggestion we did try something new, and followed Alton Brown's Roast Turkey recipe to brine and roast the turkey. It was so good, we'll definitely be doing it again next year.

Last but not least, my procedure was a no-go. After spending 2 hours in pre-op hooked to an IV, it was cancelled at the last minute. I'm still very upset, so that's all I've got to say about it for now. I just want to get this over with already. My doctor said the stone's location makes it unlikely that it'll pass on it's own. It sure as hell better not. I'm still waiting to hear from the doctor on a new surgery date.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Training Status - Mid November

There’s nothing I’m specifically training for at the moment, but I want to continue improving my fitness for the 10K and half marathon distances. There’s a half marathon within driving distance at the end of January that looks interesting. We’ll see if that works out with M’s schedule, but I’m not going to any great lengths to make it happen. I also want to give the Georgia ING Half Marathon a try this spring, and will make that more of a priority (did the full Miami ING a few years ago and really liked the organization of it). I’ll continue to check for local races that I can run with the jogging stroller, but those opportunities are few and far between.


I’m going at it a little harder this week, since next week is going to be a wash. My lithotripsy procedure is scheduled for Tuesday. I had the pre-op appointment on Friday, and I’m a little nervous now. I assumed lithotripsy was a no-biggie procedure, but I’ll need to be intubated and given general anesthesia. Kinda freaks me out, but the recovery is supposed to be really easy from what I’m told. Since my parents are going to be in town for Thanksgiving, I’m going to cut myself some slack and not worry about working out for the week.


I already ran 8 miles with the jogging stroller on both Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of the rain forecasted for this week. Shorter days also mean less time I can safely run outside with the jogging stroller on week nights. Do ya'll find the time change a to be a pain too?


I borrowed some P90X DVDs from a co-worker so I'm going to try one of them out Thursday...not sure which one yet. The plyometrics look intense.


Monday: 4 miles w/ stroller, 35 mins elliptical

Tuesday: 5 miles (8:00/mi pace) 25 mins elliptical, push-ups, chair dips

Wednesday: 7 mi run or 70 mins elliptical

Thursday: P90X DVD

Friday: off

Saturday: run? maybe 6-7 miles

Sunday: 8 mi run along the beach J

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Changes In Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

I’ve noticed a marked shift in M’s attitude over the past month. As I discussed in an earlier post, he spent most of the summer stewing over the state of the airline industry and the lack of upward movement. I can tell he’s come around to fully appreciate the fact that he HAS A SEAT, and it’s with a company that treats him well (relatively speaking by industry standards). Not that he didn’t before appreciate it before, but I think it has really sunk in how fortunate he is. More of his buddies at different companies are hitting the streets with each round of furloughs.

We also have a new view on his flight school loan. Each month when that payment clears, we feel vindicated in our decision for him to train where he did. With the way the economy is, if he went the mom and pop route the only letters he’d have after his name right now would be CFI. Especially now that HR 3371 may go into law, it makes all the difference that he started building hours on a full-time basis when he did. You want to be on the right side of that line.

M’s also learning to stay away from the pilot forums. They’re toxic. The rumors and negative attitude rub off on him. I can always tell when he’s spent some time reading them by his mood. Have any other pilot wives else noticed that?

It helps that the routes get much better in the winter too. As long as a training captain doesn’t snake the trip, E and are joining him on his 2 long overnights in Florida this weekend. Hotels on A1A baby. Sure beats 36 hours in Peoria.

Time to say cheers with a glass half full.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Candied Ginger Cookies

If you're looking for a new recipe to try this holiday season, this is it. These cookies are awesome. Very buttery with a touch of spice. They don't taste anything like a ginger bread cookie if that's what you're imagining.

This isn't a recipe I would normally seek out. I'm a chocolate chip cookie gal all the way. However, I still had candied ginger in the pantry from my morning sickness phase (it didn't help), and some fresh ginger root left over from an asian dish I made earlier this week. I didn't know how else to use them up.

This recipe hasn't been "healthified" in any way. I'm sure you could figure out a way to make it lower fat, reduced sugar, high fiber, etc. if you're so inclined. I should really work on that since I'll probably be making these quite a bit.

Candied Ginger Cookies:

3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt; stir into the molasses mixture using a wooden spoon. Mix in the fresh and crystallized gingers.
2) Cover, and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, and place about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.


Friday, November 13, 2009

And the Jogging Stroller Takes the Lead

Jogging stroller - $350
Race Entry Fee - $35
The look on people's faces as a jogging stroller passes them - priceless

I’d been looking forward to this race since we moved into the neighborhood last year, and I was going to make it work somehow. M had the choice of having either this past weekend or Thanksgiving off, so he was away on a trip. The babysitter I had lined up was branded with the scarlet S at the last minute.

Fortunately I was able to contact the race director, and he was very accommodating. He agreed to allow jogging strollers on the course as long as they started at the back of the pack.

During the first mile I passed a group of women, and one of them was like “Whoa, we’re being passed by a stroller.” Then another one said “Yeah, let her go. She can’t keep that up.”

Oh, really now? We didn't get passed once.

Most people were supportive, and I got a lot of “Go Mamas” and high fives along the way. I noticed a bunch of random spectators taking pictures of us too. I guess we were sort of a novelty.

We rolled to a second place finish for my age group. Ok, so it was a small race, but still pretty cool considering I was racing for two. With the stroller and the rolling hills, I averaged at least a minute slower per mile than I normally would have for a 15K.

I look forward to making this race a tradition and running it with E again next year. She’s my best running partner ever.

I love this kid to pieces.

She provided the good looks, I just provided the muscle.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"The Real Distraction for Pilots"

This op ed piece takes on a variety of pilot work rule issues and sums 'em up better than I ever could. Here's the linky if you're interested. "The Real Distraction for Pilots"

Thanks for stopping by. I know I'm a lazy blogger today.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tales from the Silver Comet Half-Marathon

I did it. My longest run in over 2 years is over. Let me tell you about it.

Due to a bullshit timing glitch I only have an official gun time, no net chip time. The shoe I attached the chip to passed over the mat, but since I didn't stomp on the mat, it failed to register when I crossed the starting line. According to my watch I finished in 1:45:18, but my gun time is almost a minute slower. I know it 's splitting hairs, but it peeves me that my final sprint to shave a few more seconds off my time was all for naught. In all my years of racing I've never had this happen.

Not a PR, but close. I'm 10 pounds heavier and run less than half of the weekly mileage I used to. How I came within about 3 minutes of my old half-marathon PR, I don't know. We'll need to examine this later.

In another first, I had a mysterious case of FOAMING PANTS.

It was raining during the entire race, with spurts of torrential down-pours. Somewhere around the third mile I looked down and what did I see? HUGE SOAP SUDS covering my capri pants. I wiped them off, but they kept coming back. The suds were quite obvious as most people made comments as I went by. They were even coming off my butt. Humiliating. I ran the entire race looking like someone had sprayed my legs with light layer of shaving cream. I've read about this phenomenon before on, so I'm not the only one this has happened to, but I was still a sight to behold. Time to start using less detergent and a second rinse cycle.

I held a pace of 8:40 for the first 3 miles. Feeling good, I steadily started to pick up speed. I loosely kept track of my time and checked my watch at each mile marker, but wasn't real precise. I know I ran negative splits, with each mile getting slightly faster than the one before. Miles 7 through 9 were the most difficult. I starting to get tired at that point, and it had been so long since I had run that far I started doubting if I could keep up the pace. The confidence returned once I hit mile 10, and knew I was in the home stretch. I mentally switched gears, and started visualizing myself running a 5k race. I picked a person ahead of me, then focused on closing the gap. One by one, I worked to reel them in. Working in small increments made it easier push myself to the next point.

The course is a paved bike path. You run 7 miles in one direction, make a u-turn, and run back 6.1 miles to finish in a parking lot where there are buses waiting. Then you get driven back to the starting line. It's flat and fast course, but also boring. The race was decently organized, but nothing special. Post race refreshments were the standard fare: oranges, bananas, bagels, and vats of peanut butter to spread on the bagels. I skipped that and right for the good stuff.

M had made a Mickey D's run during the race and had an egg and sausage biscuit, 2 hash browns, orange juice, and a black coffee waiting for me in the car. I devoured every morsel. I may have come up for air once or twice. It tasted awesome. He had already eaten the exact same breakfast while sitting on his duff waiting for me to finish. It's ridiculous how he can stay so skinny.

The finishers medals and long sleeve tech t-shirts were nice. Now I look forward to the 15k on Saturday. Cue Eye if the Tiger....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Only Wear My Finest Baby When I Travel

It seems that when traveling goes well, it goes really well. When it goes bad, it goes really bad. I’m happy to report our trip to NJ this weekend was a success! We packed a lot into a limited amount of time- 29 hours to be exact. It kills me that I can’t spend more time with my family, but I feel very blessed I can spend time with them at all.

My mom is still my best friend and shopping partner. She'll honestly tell me how my butt looks in pair of jeans, but not unless I ask first. The way it should be. We went out for lunch and she helped me pick out bunch of new winter clothes my wardrobe desperately needed. Every mother/daughter relationship has some issues (and we certainly have ours), but I hope to be as close with E one day. Which leads me to this aside….
I’m really starting to think she may be our one and only. The plan was to try for #2 once M upgraded to a new job, allowing me to stop working full-time and move closer to family. At the current rate things are moving, I’m going to be through menopause by the time that happens. I don't know how single moms keep it together. I’m struggling with one kid, a very easy-going one at that. I can’t imagine the hot mess I’d be with two (prime example below). I don’t know, ask me next Tuesday and I might have a different answer for you.

My back is sore from carrying E through the airport in the Bjorn. In addition to her dangling off the front of me, I had on a backpack filled with our stuff and her infant seat hooked over my arm. There’s a nice purple bruise where it kept banging into my hip. There were a few kind souls who offered to help me carry something, but I wasn’t looking for anyone’s help. We have our system (at least until she gets bigger), and I pride myself on being self-sufficient and quick through the airport. I did appreciate their kindness however, as so few people have any respect for their fellow travelers these days.

On the flight up, I was assigned a seat 10 rows away from E’s. The other NONREV assigned to the seat next to her gave me and the flight attendant attitude when we asked to trade. God forbid he should have to sit in a MIDDLE seat, WHICH HE DIDN’T PAY FOR ANYWAY. He was also sporting a lovely velour track suit. Some people could really use a refresher on the nonrev golden rule: Be discreet, gracious, and professional.

What a d-bag.

I found it rather amusing that I was asked to put her “shoes” in the bin with mine at the Atlanta airport. I feel so much safer knowing they screened an infant’s pair of soft-soled Robeez.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Training Updates - Mid October

It’s been a while since my last training update because there’s nothing that interesting to report. We’ve had a LOT of rain in Atlanta the past 2 weeks. With M on 4 day trips this month that means most of my training has been relegated to the elliptical. I’ve done the exact same workouts for the past 2 weeks. I’ve tried to make the most of my runs the few days I was able to make it out.

Monday: off
Tuesday: 8 mile run (8:10/mi pace)
Wednesday: 4 mile run (7:40/mi pace), 30 min elliptical
Thursday: pilates dvd, light weights
Friday: off
Saturday: 70 mins elliptical
Sunday: 70 min elliptical

Baby girl and I are headed to NJ this weekend for a quick trip to see my parents. Grandma can’t wait take her little sweet pea to the pumpkin patch. She’s been talking about it for weeks.

The half-marathon is next weekend. Nope, haven’t done a run over 8 miles in preparation. I’m not worried about finishing, but all bets are off as to how fast (slow) I’m going to run. My overall weekly mileage has been light, so I don’t want to go in with any expectations. I’m just going to have fun with it. It’s all about setting new benchmarks at this point.

If you take a look over at the sidebar, I’ve updated it some pictures from our trip to Amicalola Falls this past week...

Friday, October 16, 2009


Yup, I've got kidney stones. My urologist called last night with the results of my CT scan earlier this week. It appears that my issues (most likely) are not related to my bladder at all, but from stones in my kidneys. I'm relieved to know it's something fairly common and treatable.

I was pretty shocked by this news since I haven't had any pain. The post-exercise hematuria I mentioned in earlier posts has been the only tip-off that something’s amiss. From the stories I’ve heard about kidney stones, I thought I’d be in agonizing pain if I had them.

M’s first question was “Well what caused them, too much running?” I didn’t think to ask the doctor what may have caused them. I’ve heard a lot of women develop kidney stones while they’re pregnant, and assumed that was the reason.

My dad’s been pestering me to get checked out, so I called him next. He was also surprised by the news considering I’ve had no pain and don’t fit the risk criteria. He’s a doctor and said it’s probably dehydration that caused the kidney stones, although he’s not too familiar them (his specialty is far from the kidney). It would make sense that I started having problems at the end of a hot Georgia summer.

The hematuria is being caused by the stones bouncing around in my kidneys. So, while running in the heat and getting dehydrated may have helped the stones develop, if it weren’t for running I wouldn’t have known about the stones until they tried to pass. YIKES!

The urologist said it’s fine to keep running, I just need to drink a LOT of water. The stones are too large to be treated with medication, so I’m scheduled for a lithotripsy treatment next month. While I’m out, they’ll also do a cystoscope to check out my bladder one more time and insert a stent to help the fragments pass. Sounds awesome. Can't be worse than my HSG though. Hopefully one session is all I’ll need.

In the mean time runblondie will be chugging a lot of H20.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Inside Joke

This Saturday Night Live skit featuring Shia Lebeouf aired a couple seasons ago. It's not one of their better pieces, but it's become an inside joke around our house.

We still cling fiercely to our northern roots. I'm not saying it's better there, it's just very different. It's where we grew up, and it's where all our family and longtime friends live. It's the place we know and love.

November 1st will be the second anniversary of my move to Atlanta, and this December will make it 3 years for M. We still feel like visitors here.

Whenever we get the feeling of being out of place, one of us will slyly look at the other and say "Remember we're bringing that funky NY style to the streets of Decatur Georgia."

Always good for a quick laugh not only about our new home, but our old one too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ken and Barbie Got Hitched

My brother and his girlfriend of 2 years got married. Surprise!

They got engaged last month, but I wasn't expecting a phone call today to say they officially tied the knot. She's from Moscow, and came to this country for grad school. Legally it made things easier for them to get married sooner rather than later.

Our parents will host a formal reception for them here in April, but a big white wedding extravaganza will be taking place in Russia this July. I've been told the wedding celebrations there go on for days and are filled with lots of drinking and dancing. I'm down with that.

She's really sweet and I'm excited to have a new sister. My little bro made a good catch. Oh, and she speaks for 4 languages. Looks like I have a new travel partner!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

10K Success

Mission accomplished. We finished our 10K this weekend. M and I both seeded ourselves with a 1 hour finish time, although I was secretly hoping to finish in 54-55 minutes. I finished in 47:41…. and felt great doing it.

If I had known I was going to have gas left in the tank at the finish line, I wouldn’t have been so conservative with my pace earlier in the race. Admittedly, I can’t shake the discouraged attitude and doubt I have coming back from baby. I held on to my reserves as protection, waiting to hit a wall that never came.

M finished in slightly over an hour. Averaging a little under 10 minutes a mile throughout the race, he thought he was golden, but he failed to account for how long it would take to finish the last 1/5 of a mile. Throughout the rest of weekend he’d randomly bring up how pissed he was about not breaking an hour.

The NY weather was a sunny, crisp 60 degrees at the start, and was a welcome change to what we’re used to training in. The course is notoriously difficult which is what brings in the big name athletes from around the country.  Ryan Hall set the course record in 2006.

Almost 4,500 runners participated. Katie McGregor and Heidi Westerling took 1st and 2nd in the women’s race….. 33:12 and 34:00 respectively. Blazing fast. Mohmed Trafeh and Jason Lemkuhle took 1-2 in the men’s race. It was cool to see these elite runners in person. I wanted to feed them a hamburger.

I have plenty of room for improvement, but my confidence has been given a boost. I bit the bullet and officially registered for a half-marathon on October 31st.

After the race we knocked back a couple Michelob Ultras at the beer tent. Every race needs one of those. Empty stomach + dehydration  + beer = one loopy runblondie26.

Time: 47:41
Pace: 7:41
Div Place: 21/260
Overall Place: 677/4,448

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Destination Races

I was psyched after reading Mrs.CJ's recent review of the USAF Half Marathon. She's another runner and aviation enthusiast, so she's always got something cool to report.

I was happy to hear the course was not only a treat for the runners, but fun for the spectators as well. I think the hubs would agree on going.

This is perfect because I’ve been looking for another good “destination” race to set my sights on. I have my rules for selecting races. I won’t drive more than 30 mins for a 5K, no more than an hour for a 10K or half marathon, and no more than 2 hours for a full marathon. A race has to be really special in some way to warrant traveling farther. It's an extra bonus if I can turn it into a weekend get-away for the entire family.

When people ask me which races have been my favorites, there are 2 that immediately spring to mind. The Boston Marathon is in a class by itself. After that, it would be the Camp Pendelton Mud Run. It should be on every runner’s to-do list. After cleaning up, you can round out your stay by exploring San Diego and going wine tasting in Temecula.

Fun Stuff

These races don’t stand out in my memory because I ran my best times, but because they were so unique.

So I’m throwing it out to you. What’s your favorite destination race?

Training Updates 9/7-9/20

A double update since I didn’t post last week. Our 10K is this Saturday, and I'm really proud of M for his training efforts over the past few weeks.

Overall my mileage has been decent, but the frequency has been off. In the past, doing back to back workouts has enabled me to do long races despite not doing long training runs. The typical marathon training plan includes one 14-20 mile "long run" per week. In my experience running 7-10 miles a few days in a row (at a minimum of 75-85% max hr), is just as effective if not more so than doing "long runs".

Using this strategy, I don’t just condition myself to run fatigued, I condition myself to run fast (you know, relatively speaking) while fatigued.

Note: If you’re looking into becoming a marathon runner, I’d highly recommend checking out the Hanson S.O.S program . Similar philosphy to mine, but explained much better :)

Nowadays back to back workouts have become the exception, not the norm, so I plan to stick with half-marathons or less. For the sake of my family and my well-being, that makes for a good balance. Perhaps I should change my name to runblondie13.1?

Week of 9/7:
Monday: 7 mi run
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 8 mi run
Friday: off
Saturday: 7 mi run, 20 mins elliptical
Sunday: off

Week of 9/14:
Monday: off
Tuesday: 4 mi run, 30 mins elliptical
Wednesday: a home pilates dvd
Thursday: 7 mi run
Friday: off
Saturday: 8 mi tempo run    
  • 5 min warm-up
  • miles 1-6 @ 8:30
  • mile 7 @ 9:30
  • mile 8 @ 8:00
  • 5 min cool-down
  • Sunday: 4 mi run, hill repeats (100m x 8)

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Big Peach Running Co.

    Your feet grow when you’re pregnant. It’s fairly common. I knew about the swelling, but wasn’t privy to that piece of information. We traveled to a wedding when I was 25 weeks pregnant and the cute strappy heels I’d been saving for such an occasion weren’t so cute with my heels hanging off the back. I have a good excuse to buy shoes again.

    I’ve gotten two new pairs of running shoes since I started my post-baby running, but neither pair was really doing it for me. Aside from being a ½ size larger, something was different and I couldn’t pinpoint it. Before I threw away money on another pair of shoes, I thought it’d be worth getting an outside opinion.

    The first piece of advice a newbie runner usually gets is “go get fitted for shoes”, which I always though was bogus. The last time I bought shoes from a speciality running store was sometime in the late 90’s. The fit process meant that the store clerk took a look at my arches, pulled a few shoes from the storeroom, and watched my feet as I jogged around the parking lot to look for signs of under/over pronation. Then he’d charge me a premium for the shoe since it’s this season latest color.

    The fit process has gone high-tech since then. First I stood on a special mat that detected the pressure areas on my feet and produced an imagine showing the type of arch I have......standard, medium height.

    Next I ran on a treadmill while being video taped from behind from the knees down. We played it back in slow motion and saw that I land on the outside of my forefoot. However as my foot moves under my body I mildly pronate which is why my knees and IT band have been griping at me lately. This is something new, but it makes sense given my hips have gotten wider. The prescription, a shoe with a highly cushioned forefoot and light stability.

    I tried on a few pairs that fit the description, and settled on the Saucony ProGrid Guide 2. I'm still breaking them in, but they feel good so far. Size 8, white and light blue, in case you’re starting your Christmas shopping early.

    M went through the fit process as well and ended up with the men’s version of the same shoe. Yes, we’re sole mates. heh, heh

    If you want to stop in the Big Peach Running Co. it’s pretty easy to find. There’s one Peachtree Street.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Children's Museum of Atlanta

    Hello everyone! Now that I’m back in A-town, I'll hit you with a double update today. Just so you know, I’ve been keeping up with most of you in blogland, even if I haven't done much commenting. Is there a way to read and leave comments in Google Reader? That's what I've been using lately. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

    M scored a pretty good nap line this month. He’s gone a few nights a week, but is home every day, and has a long stretch of time off at the end of the month. With the way his company structures pay for nap lines, his block time is well over guarantee too. Sweet.

    After having standard 4-day trips with weekends on, we had time for our first family outing in quite a while. I had heard about the Target Free Tuesdays at the Imagine It! Children’s Museum of Atlanta from a friend, and we decided to check it out after I finished work.

    E was too young to do much there, but I think see enjoyed watching the activity around her. We posed her for some pictures and she splashed her hands in the toddler water pond. Taking her out is a lot easier with an assistant baby wrangler. I would have struggled on my own. Anything she could get her hands on went straight towards the mouth, and we had to keep thwarting her attempts at taste tests. M joked about putting her in one of the jungle gyms to see if she could fend for herself and find her way out. Toughen her up a bit. Oh, his sense of humor.

    We’ll keep this place on our to-do list for when she’s older. It was cute. Another 2 years and she’ll have a greater appreciation.

    I was surprised they didn't have an airplane to play pilot, but E did get to drive a tractor and a crane. They're probably more lucrative careers to encourage anyway......

    Training Updates - Week of 9/7/09

    Less than 2 weeks until the 10K. I squeezed in two runs while Little E and I were at the Jersey shore, to bring my total to about 28 miles for the week. My parents were complaining about how hot and humid it was for September. I thought it was refreshingly cool compared to what I’ve been running in. My weekend runs were based on time since I didn’t have an exact course mapped out. By guesstimate, I was probably averaging 9 minute miles. Still quite slow, but for the first time I thought to myself “gee, this feels easy”. Yay for progress!

    Last week:

    Monday: off
    Tuesday: 7 miles
    Wednesday: 8 mile run w/ stroller, M joined in for the last 3
    Thursday: off
    Friday: off
    Saturday: 66 minute run
    Sunday: 61 minute run

    And of course some pics from the shore

    Grandma couldn't get enough E time

    Baby feet are awesome