Tuesday, November 30, 2010

T-Day Race Results Are In

Didn't y’all realize this post was actually a cry for help? I was hoping I’d get an overwhelming response to make things easy and not run either race, just sleep in.

Just Kidding :)

Yes, I ended up running both. I was holding out on posting the race report since I didn’t have all the details. I knew I finished in the top few women for each race, but that was it.

You could say this race was a victim of its own success. Last year was the inaugural year and they had 1,200 runners. Organizers anticipated a turnout of 3,000 this year, and instead had about 4,500 show up. There wasn’t enough of anything…porta-potties, water/food, and volunteers to keep things running smoothly.

There were some timing system issues again, and they just posted the final results for the top finishers on their website today. Me and timing chips have not been getting along well lately.

I was second overall female in the 5K and third overall in the 10K, with times of 21:03 and 47:42 respectively. I didn’t bother taking my camera or phone out of the car this time since no one would be there to hold them once the race started, so the rest of this post is pretty boring.
From the pro photog's website

Here's the nitty-gritty.

I gave M a reprieve and told him to enjoy sleeping in. I left for the race about an hour before it was set to start and checked in with no problem.

I went back to the car to listen to the radio and surf the web to kill some time. After about 15 minutes, the radio suddenly went dead. Yep, I killed the car battery. No so much as a wrrr, wrrr when I turned the key. I sent M a text letting him know he’d be coming to the race after all to jump start my car, and told him I’d call him after I was finished running.

The 5k was 45 minutes late getting started. While waiting, and waiting, and waiting around the starting area the woman standing next to me struck up a conversation. She was like, “Hey, weren’t you the bee at that Halloween race a few weeks ago?” And I was like “Yeah, and you were the pirate weren’t you?” We chatted for awhile and she offered to wait around to help me jump start my car later. Very kind, but I couldn't make her wait until I finished the 10K too. I had two other ladies come up to me later asking where my daughter was, they usually see me with the stroller at races. It’s cool that I’m starting to recognize familiar faces at races. It's like another root planting me here in Atlanta.

We finally got going, and I really enjoyed the course. It was flat for the most part with just one mondo hill in the last half mile. I’ve learned it’s pretty rare to have such flat races here.

I never wear my Garmin for 5 and 10K’s, I just rely on the mile markers to loosely gauge my pace (shouldn’t you be running at a PRE of 8-10 the whole time anyway?). In a stroke of luck, I couldn’t find my Polar sportswatch that morning and ended up wearing my Garmin instead. There were NO mile markers on the course and it would have been very frustrating not knowing how far I was into the race.

5K finish (source)

I enjoyed the 10K course too. I thought it was going to be 2 loops of the 5K course, so I was pleasantly surprised when it veered off onto dirt and gravel roads. It was pretty flat as well, with just that same big hill towards the end. The 10k was added to the line-up this year, and the field was much smaller than the 5K.

My plan was to just cruise through the 10K to earn myself an extra little pie after dinner. Around mile 5 I heard someone say I was in third place for the women. It was game on then. I was too far behind the lead women, heck I couldn’t even see them, but I pushed myself through the last mile since I didn’t want to give up third.

When I finished the 10K I saw both my babies waiting for me. M said he was there in time to see me finish the 5k too, but couldn’t get my attention before I bolted off to line up for the 10K.

It was a real bummer they didn’t have the awards ceremony on-site. They kept us milling around for almost another 45 minutes, then took our names and said they would mail us our awards. Hrrrumph.

M got my car started and we headed back home…around noon. So glad I didn’t have a turkey to roast this year! If you were wondering, we ended up going out to dinner. We invited another crew scheduling widow (her husband got stuck flying Thanksgiving day) so she wouldn't be alone too.

This race has great potential. There’s no running event this large on the south side of town. I really hope the organizers get it together for next year and people give it a second chance. Overall I felt my 5K was pretty solid, and running the 10K afterwards made me feel a little more accomplished for the day.

5k Stats:
Time: 21:03
Pace: 6:46/mi
Overall: ?
Gender: 2/?
A/G: 2/?

10K Stats:
Time: 47:42
Pace: 7:40/mi
Overall: ?
Gender: 3/?
A/G: 1/?

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

And I was out shopping with all the other nutsos.

Ah, I remember back in the day I would have been out at the bars with my hometown friends on Thanksgiving Eve. So long ago in the year 2007. This is what I do for kicks now. Sigh.

Not like the Blondie Family was in desperate need of any of this stuff, it was the thrill of the hunt that brought me out. This couponing thing is like my new little game to play. I hit our local 24-hour CVS at 11:15, so I could fill-up my cart to check out at 12:01 and get their early Black Friday specials. There was another lady who arrived there after me with her boyfriend in tow. He was filming her deal seeking mission on his iPhone for posting on her blog.

I'm still one shade away from that color of crazy. I think.

I used Laurie's deal scenario, then while cruising the aisles I noticed the Renpure shampoos and conditioners had "try me free" mail-in rebate hangtags, along with $4.99 back in Extra Care bucks. I added one of those to my order, and used the additional ECB's to buy the toys which were BOGO. They'll be added to my office's Operation Santa donations.

In total, I spent $14.42 including tax on the 29 items pictured here.

I was most interested in getting the 40 Duracell AA batteries. M's aviation head set chews through them like crazy. M was excited to see that much candy in the house at one time.

Another thing I swore I'd never do, I also woke up at 3 am to shop on Black Friday. However, that's another story for another time.

Black Friday shopping, yay or nay? If you went out did you get any good deals?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Put Away the Turkey, It's Time to Start the Christmas Cards

In that extra 2 minutes I have between putting Emily to bed, straightening up the house, and falling into bed myself, I have to take care of our family's Christmas cards too. Thank goodness Shutterfly makes the job easy.

Shutterfly never deletes the photos you upload to your account. This is fabulous because you know we have 1,247,121 photos of Emily on our digital camera. When the memory stick gets full we transfer them to our Shutterfly account for safe keeping. They are always on hand when we need a gift, or when grandma wants this week's latest photos for her desk.

We've sent many a mug with her mug on it. My parents could serve brunch for 12 with the Emily "Mug of the Month" from her first year.

Even if you have a case of the Mondays, how could this not cheer you up.

Personalized calendars

This year's christmas card design is still under wraps. You'll just have to wait until you get yours in the mail.

Do we go folded or flat? Decisions, decisions

Since Shutterfly loves Bloggers you can get yours here too. Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Quickie

Life is good. Damn good. Not going to hold back :) I have so much to be thankful for, of course the wonderful hubs and daughter top it all.

I have great reports from the raceS this morning to share. Until then I hope you're spending the day surrounded by your dearest loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Need Your Help Y'all

I was planning to run a 10k on Thursday. I'm feeling pretty good about a new PR. I think I've got more room for improvement here than the 5k.

But today I see this. I'm all conflicted. What's a Type A person to do?

(Edit: They are 2 seperate races. The 5k is at 8:00, the 10K starts at 8:30.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coupons & Healthy Living

Speaking of frugal, let's talk coupons. Who doesn't like saving a little money, right?

I used to think coupons were great, if you wanted to save $.55 on a box of Toaster Strudel or .$30 on a can of Hormel Chili. Big whoop.

But coupons and healthy living are not mutually exclusive. You can eat well and still save big at the same time.

Step 1: Know your store's coupon policies.

If you live in the southeast, Publix and Kroger are probably the most prevalent chains in your area. The majority of Targets and Walmarts are of the "super" variety as well, meaning they basically contain a full grocery store with fresh produce, meat, and bakery items.

Points to know:

  • All these stores accept manufacturer coupons

  • Publix and Kroger will automatically double manufacturer coupons ≤ $.50 in face value.

  • Publix, Kroger, and Super Target also issue their own store coupons (on their websites & in-store)

  • They will allow you to combine one store coupon with one manufacturer coupon per item

  • Publix (at least in the ATL metro) will also accept competitors' store coupons (e.g. Super Target & Kroger)

  • Kroger lets you stack e-coupons (that you load on you club card via kroger.com, cellfire.com, and shortcuts.com) with paper coupons

  • Publix and Kroger run Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) sales on a long list of items each week. You don't have to buy 2. This just means each item will ring up as 50% off at the register. Combine a BOGO item (50% off) with a manufacturer's coupon AND a store coupon; now you're talking big savings.

    (Note: If you live in Florida, BOGO is just that. The first item rings up at full price, the second one rings up as free...whether you actually take it or not. So your out of pocket totals will always be a little higher.)

    Use drug stores deals to nab toiletries and diapers for free or close to free. Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens will combine store coupons and manufactuer coupons as well. They also issue register rewards ("Up Rewards" at Rite Aid, "Extra Care Bucks" at CVS, "Register Rewards" at Walgreens) when you purchase certain items each week. These "rewards" print out on your receipt and act like gift cards that you can use towards anything on your next purchase. Make separate transactions at the register to "roll" these rebates towards the next item, and walk away spending very little out of pocket.

    Be sure to sign-up for your store's member loyalty cards, and scan them every time to get all the advertised discounts.

    Step 2: Know where to find coupons

    I always buy two Sunday newspapers, so when I find good deals I can get at least two of them. But there are many more resources for coupons then just the newspaper.

    Knowing where to find coupons for the things you like to buy is key. You’re not likely to find coupons for organic products in your Sunday newspapers. You can almost always get coupons by going directly to the company's website or facebook page. Some of my favorite organic sites include:


    My go-to sites to get manufacturer coupons on everything else are:


    Step 3: Let other people do the work for you.

    Subscribe to couponing and deal spotting blogs. They will constantly update you on new coupons that are available and how to pair them up with weekly sales.

    My favorites:

    Money Saving Mom
    Passionate Penny Pincher
    Southern Savers
    Saving Money Living Life

    There are many more tips and nuances to couponing. The Coupon Mom’s book is a comprehensive place to get started. Also do a google search to find couponing workshops in your area.

    I’ve seen my monthly "stuff" bill (grocery/toiletry/diapers/cleaning products, etc) go from over $600 down to $325 a month since I started couponing seriously in September. No more buying generics and shopping exclusively at Wally World. It’s all name brand stuff from regular stores now.

    And don't forget, tis the season to help others. There are a lot of good sales and coupons out now for the holidays. It's a good time to stock up on toiletries, non perishables and baking items for donating charity.

    Here are some samples of my recent shopping trips:

    Sorry this was taken with my old cell phone. I was so excited with my bargains I had to email a picture to M when I got home. He replied ecstatically with "Ok, cool."

    To decipher the picture for you, included here are things like two huge containers of organic baby spinach, organic milk and eggs, greek yogurt, organic pasta sauce, organic tofu, Kashi bars…not exactly the cheapest items at the grocery store.

    By combining Kroger specials and coupons my total went from 69.64 to 36.68 (including tax). A 47% savings.

    And my biggest deal to date. I purchased everything on this table for $2.42 out of pocket...including the prescription and tax.

    I filled a generic prescription that cost $5, and used a coupon to get the $25 gift card they were offering for transferring it from another pharmacy. I bought the diapers using coupons and the gift card, and paid nothing out of pocket. Then I the used the register rewards they were offering on the diapers that week, along with more coupons, to pay for everything else pictured in a second transaction.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Going Mobile

    Thank you so much for all the positive comments you left. My mom's home from the hospital, and I've spoken with her several times. So far she's keeping an upbeat attitude about the whole thing. Of course she's all worried about getting stuff done for the holidays. I assured her online Christmas shipping was the best way to go anyway. All the kids are doing it these days :) Just let everyone else take care of the rest.

    It wasn't all bad this week. I do have some great news. Remember a couple months ago I talked about working from home? I was just approved and received a new laptop! It's only one day a week to start, but that's still a big deal for me. If I don't have to be in the office first thing Monday morning, I can do a lot more traveling on the weekends, including trips to help my mom.

    I also got this bad boy.

    I prefer the terms frugal and thrify, but cheap would be an acceptable adjective here. I'm not a big gadgets person. My second generation IPod Nano and 4 year old cell phone have been treating me just fine, so I couldn't justify spending money on something fancier. The siren song of the IPhone just became to loud to ignore any longer.

    Internet access anytime, anywhere? Mobile blogging? I must have thee for my own.

    Hello 2010, it's nice to finally meet you.

    Thanksgiving with a Broken Drumstick

    I’m so excited to get the holidays underway. The past 2 years my parents have come to Georgia for Thanksgiving. The last place the hubs and I want to be is in the airport during the busiest travel time of the year. Since we’re usually the ones doing the traveling, they give us a break by dealing with the airport insanity instead. They’re awesome like that.

    But man, have my parents had a rough couple weeks. My dad hit a deer driving home from work last Monday…or more correctly a deer hit him. It ran out of the woods into the side of his car. Miraculously no damage was done; only a smear of deer blood left behind on the passenger side mirror. My dad was so distraught about the deer. It limped off into the woods and probably didn’t survive. The important part was HE was ok though.

    My attempt to add some humor to this post...this scene in Tommy Boy never gets old

    Over the weekend a pipe burst in their house. A large section of their finished basement was destroyed, and all the carpet and hard wood on the first floor is soggy and buckled. Workmen have been there since Monday ripping out drywall and replacing flooring.

    Then yesterday morning I get a call from my brother telling me that my mom fell down the stairs. She broke her leg in two places and needed surgery to put in pins and plates. The surgery went well, so we’re praying for her quick recovery without any complications.

    We all agreed it’s better for everyone if we wait until after Thanksgiving to fly up to see her. I feel horrible about it though. All she kept saying to me was “I absolutely cannot have you get stuck in the airport with the baby,” and of course “Thank goodness your father hadn’t left for work yet. What if something like this happened when M was on a trip?” Moms, always worrying about everyone but themselves.

    So yeah, Thanksgiving plans will be a little different this year.

    I’m still running a race on Thanksgiving morning, but the rest is TBD. What do ya’ll have going on for Thanksgiving?

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Cold Morning / Hot Date Night

    I think it's time to write this weekend's race off as a big "?"

    This was the 8th year of the race so the turnout was decent, but the first time at this venue with a totally new course. Two days later and there are still no results posted. I guess they couldn't make sense of what happened either.

    This "cold" that I've heard so many of you speak about finally reached Atlanta this weekend. Nothing like waking up early on a Saturday morning to freeze your tookus off. I feel better knowing the food pantry that benefited from this race will have the money to help more people this holiday season.

    Saturday turned around for us though. The ladies were treated to an impromptu dinner date later that night.

    Now we don't have to live in Atlanta, but we choose to so we can spend more time together as a family.

    Deciding where to live is a difficult choice for pilot families...stay where your roots are or follow your pilot? This it what works for us.

    Instead of leaving a half day before a trip starts (or in some cases even the entire day before), Mr. Blondie leaves 45 minutes before he's scheduled to duty in. Living in base also allows us to steal these extra moments together.

    M had a 3 hour wait before his last trip of the day, so we met him for dinner at the airport. It's times like these that make the move it worth it.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    In the mean time.....

    Hey ya'll, happy Saturday.

    I ran a race with the kiddo this morning. I'd like to tell you more about it, but they had a problem with the timing chips among other things, so I don't have much to share yet. The results are supposed to be posted later today. They won't mean much though. The course was marked wrong, so everyone missed a turn and ran a half mile short. LAME-O

    In the mean time here's another peek into the life of Blondie Family. If you'll travel back in time with me to last weekend.....

    Mr.Blondie, the self-proclaimed nonrunner, is really into hiking. Go figure.

    October in the North Georgia mountains is really beautiful. The past couple years we've made a trip to Amicalola Falls for some leaf peeping, which also has fantastic scenery and hiking trails. We wanted to try something new this year, and also wanted to avoid the madness that is Burt's Farm at Halloween time. Apparently it's the pumpkin picking mecca of Atlanta, and backs up traffic for miles on the road leading to Amicalola.

    On the advice of a captain he flew with, we went to Tallulah Falls. Same driving distance, just a little further east. As much as I like Amicalola, I think this place was even better. It was much less crowded and the views were even more dramatic and breathtaking.

    After the hike we needed some nourishment, so on the advice of fellow hikers we he headed 40 minutes west and ended up here.

    It's quite the little town. When you first drive in you're not sure if you've entered in a Bavarian village or a Disney theme park. We made ourselves comfy in the biergarten, and had some brats washed down with hefeweizen. We listened to the live bands, then strolled through the chotsky stores. We wrapped things up with a little hand churned ice cream before hitting the road.

    A little strange. A lot of fun.

    Important question for all y'all. I love hefeweizens. What's your favorite type of beer?