My MCM Review, or in a Word...OoohRah!!

28 days before the beginning of my 40th year, I ran 26.2 miles, for the second time within 10 months, with 30,000 anonymous friends and the support of the United States Marine Corps. That kinda makes a girl feel special.

Scott and Annelise saw me start, then they made their way to the Washington DC Zoo. Annelise had an appointment with a panda. I tell myself they saw me start, but really, who am I kidding? I have never seen such a seething swarm of humanity making its way across the start line.

This was my first time to participate in an event so enormous, twice the size of the Houston Marathon. There were always people in front of me and behind me, which was comforting to my inner slow poke self. I never felt left behind, in the dust of faster runners.

Race morning was cold and clear. In a word, perfect. I wore my pink tank, black skirt and I borrowed Kristi's tip of wearing thigh length socks on my arms for warmth. As the sun rose, there were breathtaking views to appreciate.

See the sea of humanity ahead of me, through the fog, way-yyy down the road? Yeah, this was a HUGE race.

For a large part of the race, I leap frogged with The Juggler. That was fun. I don't know how he managed to juggle for 26.2 miles, but he did.

See, there we are along the Potomac somewhere. I was probably huffing it and he made it look easy by juggling.

The course was absolutely amazing. So many sights to take in and tons of spectator support along the way. I had to shake my head sometimes and realize I wasn't dreaming, I really WAS running beside Arlington National Cemetery, along the Potomac, behind the Lincoln Memorial or through the Mall.

Or by the Jefferson Memorial for instance.

There was a brief moment while in Georgetown I wanted to call it a day and just go shopping.

The presence of the Marines was so inspiring. They were at street closures along the course, the mile markers, the water/Powerade stations and at the finish.

They were clean cut, polite, and seemed terribly young. The Marines cheered for us, some pushed us along with a bit of good ol' Marine Corps verbal intimidation and a bull horn, and they cleaned up our messes. I was (and still am) humbled by their service.

Each water station resembled this. It was slippery and yucky, but I was grateful for the fluids. If you think this was bad, you should have seen the orange carnage at Mile 9, the Clif Shot muck at Mile 13 and the Sport Beans residue at Mile 19.

I tried to get a self-portrait with the Washington Monument, and couldn't get it. Then I realized it was in the reflection. Cool.

I felt really strong though Mile 15 or so, then hit a bit of a slump. I was in such a daze I completely missed running by the White House around Mile 17. Duh! My mojo returned briefly between Miles 18-22.

There were several high school and college bands playing along the course and other music too. This drum group was really cool.

I waited until Mile 5 or so to start listening to my iPod, then I only used one ear bud to stay somewhat tuned in to everything around me. It really came in handy at certain will crushing points along the course, like hills and when I thought my feet were about to fall off. In honor of Annelise, Olivia, Kim and other tweeny-boppers, myself included, I added songs from Hairspray and High School Musical 1 and 2 to my play list. I must admit that those catchy, saccharine dripping tunes became my favorites during several points of the race.

Thankfully, I beat the bridge!! You had to make it to the bridge at Mile 20 by a certain time in order to finish and not be swept up by the loser mobile.

The bridge however seemed to stretch for an eternity. And then a tad longer.

Soon after the bridge we entered Crystal City and the course looped where you ran beside runners that were ahead of you.

I REALLY wanted to be on the opposite side with them. I started to struggle a lot between miles 22-24 because my Garmin was registering about half a mile MORE than what the course markers were saying, so in my mind I was running farther. And I wanted to be finished, because my Garmin said I should be closer to the finish than I was. Does that make sense? I had started my Garmin when I stepped on the timing mat at the start line and it was always approximately .5 MORE than each mile marker. When I finished it said I had run 26.76 miles. Hmm...bitter much?

Anyway, that discrepancy played with my mental mojo a LOT. I also had started walking more than running, so I was kinda mad at myself for that too. My left IT band had gotten pretty tight and my knee had been yelping for a while.

I really want to know whose idea it was to plan the finish line up. a. hill.

Seriously sadistic.

But, look... I finished!!! (Yes, The Juggler and the Teddy Roosevelt bobblehead guy beat me.)

After getting my picture taken in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial (how cool is that?!?!), I collapsed in a heap on my Mylar blanket to stretch. I was in such a daze I didn't take any pictures. I managed to find Scott and Annelise in the sea of humanity and limped my way to the Finish Festivities.

However, it turns out I wasn't feeling too festive. We slowly made our way to the Metro station at Rosslyn (another seething mass of humanity) and a sweaty ride (sorry lady beside me) back to Alexandria. And a shower.

After that, I was somewhat revived and completely, shamelessly starving. I said I wanted to eat a burger as big as my head.

And so I did. With bacon too. Bless you, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and the hotel shuttle that drove us there.

Thank you Marine Corps Marathon and Washington DC for helping me celebrate my 40th birthday a little early. It was spectacular!

Ooooh and a Rah.


In Which Reality Sets In

You know, right into the pit of my stomach.

After signing up to run this, doing my version of training, and finding just the right pink tank, the reality of my whim is finally here. Gulp.

I am currently experiencing alternating moments of sky-high excitement and race to the potty anxiety.

Mostly goosebumps. And butterflies.

In between these moments, I am scurrying around doing laundry, making lists, and piling clothes on the bed to be packed. Oh. And blogging. Whoops!


Marathon Bird Goes to Washington

Soon. Very soon.

This time next week we will be flying the friendly skies north to our nation's capitol. We have a few things on our Absolutely Must Do & See List already. Let's take a peek...

We will arrive Thursday afternoon and will be staying in Old Town Alexandria. I don't know much about this quaint city, but it looks charming. Well, at least on the Internet.

Friday morning we will tour the White House. I know! I am beside myself with glee.

We want to tour as many of the memorials that we can.

We are still waiting to see if we can get passes to tour the U.S. Capitol. Fingers crossed.

Sunday of course I will busy doing this. I am so excited because the course passes by many of the important landmarks and sights. I think it will be a wonderful, however slightly exhausting, way to tour DC.

We also want to visit Union Station, the US Postal Museum, the Washington Monument, the Zoo and tour Old Town Alexandria. Scott and I have each visited DC before, although not together, and not with a child. Right now we don't have a ton of things on our list because I just don't know what DC with a five year old will be like. Some things she will be interested in, and some others we probably just won't bother with until she is older. Yet, we DO want to see and do as much as we can while we are there. We arrive Thursday and will leave Tuesday morning, so we have roughly 4 days in the DC area.

So, without further yada, yada, yada, here is where your part comes in: What should we add to our list of Absolutely Must Do & See in DC?

Help. Please. And I'm begging.


SPT: #14 on the 14th

October's SPT challenge continues this week with a closer look at #14 on my list of tidbits. {Feel free to check out the whole tidbit enchilada conveniently located on my sidebar.}

#14 Thanks to my mom, I acquired a love for reading.

That is true, so very true. She was a serial reader, one book right after the other. Always. She could usually be found attached to one end of our sofa, book in hand and glass bottle of Coca-Cola (oh yes, way back when ) on the table beside her.

This I remember.

This I imitate*.

I'm currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. What about you**?

Be sure to visit Lelly's Blog to read all the other #14s.

*Except without a glass bottle of Coke. Do you remember saving the bottles and turning them back in for $$? I am about to bust out with Those Were the Days like Archie and Edith.
**Are you on Goodreads? If not, you should be! Goodreads has been a great resource for discovering different books I might never have heard about otherwise.


A Bit of Willy and Nilly

Sometimes I really strike out at this motherhood gig. Take Friday when A's class went on a field trip to the fire station. I misjudged how traumatic not riding with her friends for five minutes could be. Let me tell you, it's detrimental to a five year old.

The drama boils down to the fact I didn't arrange to carry a few of her classmates in our car. I know! Driving with me alone apparently borders on cruelty .

Lesson learned. Will sign up to chauffeur a few friends when we go to the pumpkin patch this Friday. Whee.

Nothing a plastic hat, bag of fireman goodies and an up close tour of a fire truck can't solve though.

While the kids watched a little movie about firemen and ate popcorn, the moms were instructed on proper fire extinguisher use. Yeah, I wanted to bang my head against the wall after, oh...2 minutes. There were two camps of moms: those asking questions and participating in the actual use of said fire extinguishers and then there was the other camp. Do you need to guess which one I was in? I kept kicking myself for not bringing my book, but then I wasn't quite sure how I could have slinked away unnoticed.

Saturday morning involved a birthday party at the park for one of her school friends.

I earned a few Cool Mom Points for taking her.

In other news, I bailed on my scheduled long run yesterday. I ended up being disappointed in myself, but strangely stubborn about getting ready at 5:00 am. I tried to appease my inner slacker by running 5 miles last night. At least it was something.

I am not sure if I can run enough though to counter attack the quantities of these being baked:

Ever since the first day of fall I have been overcome with the baking bug. Whether brownies or pumpkin cookies, my motto seems to be bake, eat, repeat.

Thanks to Netflix, I am falling in love with another TV series:

I've only seen the first two episodes so far, but am head over heels about it anyway. It's quirky, sweet, original, funny, clever, and so forth. I pretty much liked it immediately, but episode 2 hooked me further with the use of willy-nilly and Kristin Chenoweth singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You." Yes, they had me at willy-nilly.

Have you had a willy-nilly weekend?


I Run Like a Girl

And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Yes, I am a runner. I am also very much a girl, therefore I make girly decisions. Race or event outfits should be planned not only for comfort, but also for the picture. I don't think there is a rule that says just because you are a runner you have to throw the cute factor out the window.

Are you with me here girls?

I have been known to occasionally wear mascara when I run, making sure that it is waterproof of course. Sometimes I color coordinate my socks. Is that so wrong? This girly factor even influences key purchases. For instance, the other day I popped in our local running store to get a new pair of shoes. I was planning of getting Asics Kayanos again since I've been quite happy with them. I became concerned once I noticed the display shoe, it was gray/silver and purple. Not terrible, but still, I like for the background of my shoe to be white. I'm just quirky that way.

The shoe fairies intervened when the man told me he was out of 10.5 (yes, I have snowshoes for feet). Would I like to try the same type of shoe, but in Brooks? The Brooks Trance is similar to the Kayano. Normally so close to a race I would not change brands of shoes. However, these were bright white and zippy orange. Even a shade of cute. I thought to myself, "Why not?"

So being the shallow girl that I am, they came home with me. I ran 5 miles in them the other morning and all seems well. I will continue to break them in and might even wear them on race day if no issues arise.

I also bought a tank that might just become my race day tank. Because it's cute and pink. See...

I am still a fan of running skirts. LOVE them. I'll probably wear mine for the big day. Rising through the ranks of my rotation though are my Nike tempo track shorts. LOVE them too.

So much of training is monotonous, day after day, run after run. It's the little bits of girly-ness that add a bit of fun. You know, a little spark. Pizzazz. SHWIZZLE.

How about you, do you run like a girl too? What are your girly must haves?


SPT: What Do the Numbers Reveal?

For SPT this month, Lelly asked us to explain specific items on our 100 lists. Just about a year ago I reached my 200th post (I forgot to make a *thing* about my 100th post, oops) and created a list of 200 tidbits about lil' old me. And the crowd went wild.

Anyway. They are posted, in convenient clusters of 50, on my sidebar if you are so inclined to peruse at your leisure. Or for nighttime reading when insomnia strikes.

My #7 is, "We never moved when I was a child either."

Clearly this makes no sense out of context. No, we were not a sedentary family per se. Let's take a peek at #4, "I live on the same street I grew up on."

Ah-ha! That makes more sense now.

My parents bought a house on a certain street when they were newly married. Soon after I joined the family, my grandparents moved their house to an empty lot close to my parents. Got it?

I love that picture of me, an almost bald baby sitting on my grandfather's lap on his little red tractor. That picture was taken the day their house was moved. I grew up believing that he and I moved their house with his tractor.

Needless to say it was wonderful growing up two houses away from my grandparents. My dad still lives here too.

There are 11 houses on our street. It's not a subdivision, just a street. I begged and pleaded to move to a subdivision like my friends, of course we never did. There was a brief discussion of moving once.

To a house further down the street. We never did.

Our street has changed over the years. People have moved in and out, others have passed away. Old houses have been torn down or moved and new houses have been built in their spots.

Yes, our street is technically considered a...

But that's okay. It's pretty quiet that way.

I'm pretty happy living on the street I grew up on.

It's home.

Be sure to visit Lelly's blog to read about other number 7s.

Three Things Of Inconsequential Importance

1. I have been a poor blogger lately. I've been reading most of my usual blogs, but I haven't always been commenting. I've also been amiss in reciprocating visits made to my blog. There, I've confessed. {Head hung in shame.} I'm sorry! I do want y'all to know that I appreciate your comments so much. Thank you! They can make often make my day. I will do better. When I pop in for a visit, I promise I'll leave a note. Also, I added the Follower gadget to my sidebar. See it over there? Good. I'd love to have YOU follow along too. All you have to do is click on the pink "Follow This Blog" link and your cute picture and profile will be added. C'mon...join in the fun.

2. Seriously, I just crawled out from under a rock. Why had I NEVER heard of this series?

As a huge fan of Alias, this is right up my alley. It's all about the agents of Her Majesty's Secret Service, AKA spies {or spooks}. The show is intelligent, action-packed and addicting.

I may even be affecting a British accent as well.

I was immediately smitten with the lead spook, Matthew MacFadyen. Then I realized he was the same actor who played Mr. Darcy in the other version of P & P. Gasp!

Now that I also know him as Tom Quinn I will try to forgive. I might even give the other version another chance. Gasp!

Obviously I am fickle because I am possibly even more smitten with the new spook...

Rupert Penry-Jones, who plays Adam Carter. Dreamy, huh? And with a British accent to boot.

3. Finally, a question: At what point do Fall decorations stop being decorative and become science experiments?

Clearly REAL gourds do not thrive in a sealed glass container. However, mold does. One side of me says EWWWWWW, while the twisted side of me wants to document the progress.


5,10,15,20...er, make that 18

Little conversation yesterday with A. about my run:
Me: "Can you guess how many miles I'm going to run in the morning?"
A.:"No. Um...five?" (Since she is five of course.)
Me: Slight gulp. "20 miles."
A.: Look of surprise. "Aw, Mom, that's a long way! Don't worry, if you can't do it, just come on home. But good luck on your run."

Thanks sweetie.

Here's how it went down:

Up at 4:00 for toast with almond butter, liberal application of Body Glide, stretching and foam roller visit, bleary-eyed drive to high school. Hit the road at 5:30.
Blinky light, small flashlight-check, GUs pinned to fuel belt-check, mental mojo-questionable.

I prayed off and on during the first 5-6 miles under the stars, turned on the ipod (huge crush on Jesse McCartney's song Leavin' ) for the remainder. GU at mile 5 and 11. Wondered where was the promised cool front. Prayed again at mile 17. Cheered by the sight of Scott and Annelise driving by to check on me. Really wanted to get in the car. Jogged in to the high school parking lot to the sounds of the marching band practicing. I considered this highly appropriate. I'm sure they scheduled that just for me.

I was hoping to finish 20 miles, but packed it in at 18. That works for me. And my legs. (Surely I can pull out 8 more on race day. Surely. Right???)

Now I am officially entering my taper. The Marine Corps Marathon is 22 days away!!!

Squeal! And gulp.


Letter Affections

I love letters.

Correspondence. Letters between friends. Letters of love. Letters tucked away in a box, tied with ribbon.

I treasure the letters my mom wrote to my dad when he was in the Air Force. At one time, there was a bulging shoebox full in our old hall closet. Yes, I snooped. Not too long before her death, she went through them, throwing several away. I wonder.

She saved a handful, and I am thankful to have them.

I treasure a note written on an index card, in perfect, albeit faded, penciled handwriting, from my Aunt Bernice to my grandmother. December 3, 1940, the day my mother was born.

I treasure letters from high school and college boyfriends. {I wish Scott and I had corresponded. Maybe we should start?}

I treasure journals and diaries.

I treasure letters from my friends.

Boxes to keep cards, letters, tidbits.

I love letters. Especially handwritten letters.

I imagine the life of a Victorian lady with dedicated portions of the day solely for correspondence. With real ink, heavy paper and a wax seal. I have this dream of writing scores of letters to my family and friends, of leaving a legacy of letters. And they would tie them up with ribbon and treasure them.

I dream, but I don't necessarily do. I should.

I also have a weakness for books written in an epistolary style. That's just a fancy word for a book of letters. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is written in that style, and was a delight to read. It's the story of an author searching for her next subject and discovering the interesting characters of Guernsey Island, which was occupied by the Germans during WWII. It's also a story of the effects of war, friendship, courage, love, quirkiness and the joy of reading. Pick it up if you get a chance, I think you'll like it. Sandra Dallas and Lee Smith have also written novels in the format of letters or journal entries. Another novel in this style I'm looking forward to reading is 84 Charing Cross Road. Maybe this format comes across as more personal, and that's why it appeals to me. Glimpses into their lives. Hmmm...perhaps a little like blogging?

Do you treasure handwritten letters? Do you write them? (I don't as often as I would like) Any must-read epistolary or diary recommendations?


It Looked Like it Would be One of Those Days

You know, like when mid-morning I realized I had put my underwear on backwards.

Don't ask.

But it soon got better.

I finally got my bedraggled self over to the salon for much needed clipping and snipping. And coloring.

The style is about the same, but it's not quite so faux-hawkish. I think. I tried to take a self portrait, but had a hard time getting the look I was going for.

You know a look without a chandelier sprouting from my head. Not to mention too much light. I'm still learning.

I also tried a demure, no-teeth-smiley pose.

Yeah. Not so sure about that.

Because I know you've been on the edge of your seats wondering about the empty space on top of our armoire, I am happy to report I found a solution. And I didn't buy anything.

The grapevine pumpkin we've had for years fills the space nicely, doesn't it?

Another perk of a trip to the salon was some time to read my latest literary delight...

I think I'll post more about this book once I finish because it has been such a treat to read. Really.

There's just no easy way to summarize a post about underwear, faux-hawks, pumpkins and potato peels. Nope. Can't think of one. Sorry.

What's new with you?

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