Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween past and present

Though I don't appreciate the scary aspects, I do love coming up with costume ideas with my Halloween-obsessed husband.We've had some good ones.

Juno and Paulie Bleeker

Clue Characters


Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

scary enough

The biggest conflict in our marriage is not money, kids, communication styles or differing hobbies. It's Halloween. I hate it, he loves it.

So because I am a fabulous and accommodating wife, tonight has been deemed scary movie night. My idea of a scary movie is something like Kiss the Girls because getting stolen out of your bed in the middle of the night by a serial killer is as about as scary as I can imagine. Or Bone Collector - I've never been able to look at the locks on cabs the same again.

Shea's idea of a scary movie seems to be body parts getting hacked/sawed/bitten/burned off. If it's not torture, it's ghosts or zombies - both of which I don't believe in and find generally annoying.

I can sit through The Shining, Silence of the Lambs, Mothman Prophecies, The Ring and Seven. I even watched the first Saw movie in the theater without puking. I might have had my coat wrapped around my face and plugged my ears the whole time, but I sat there - HATING MY LIFE.

I don't do torture, sharks, stabbing, anything involving a screwdriver as a weapon, chainsaws, the removal of body parts, incidents occurring in deep water and movies about crimes happening in the city I live in (this includes BTK because throughout my senior year in college I was convinced on more than one occasion he was in my closet).

The real world is scary enough for me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

finally picture perfect

When we got our wedding proofs, our photographer friend told us most couples have their pictures for a year before they order. I scoffed.

Now 423 days later, we finally have our photos picked, ordered, paid for, in frames and on a wall. And I love them.
Though Shea refused to use my pica pole (engraved with my name of course) to measure the distance between all these frames, he did spend a good hour and a half making sure they were straight. And took full credit.

"Tell me I'm the man. Tell me!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

all for a tube of toothpaste

Yesterday after work I went to Walgreens to restock our toothpaste supply. Our neighborhood Walgreens makes itself famous by getting robbed at gunpoint pretty much every month. How this happens with a regular cop on duty and security cameras with attached strobe lights (so you know you're being watched) is beyond me.

I get my toothpaste and sigh as I get in line behind six people. The man that steps in behind me apparently had just completed his beer shower. To top it off, he has no sense of personal space and is reading my texts, which was going to be "OMG. The guy behind me SMELLS" but instead turned into "omg, story!"

At this point I am third in line. The guy paying is scruffly looking, possibly high, and has filled his mini-cart with grocery type items. As the cashier is scanning his purchases, he's carefully examining each key on his key ring - in slow motion. Now it's time to pay. The man continues to stare at his keys - one. by. one.

Cashier: "Honey, it's time to pay."
Scruffles: "I know. Can you do it for me?" (hands her key ring)
Cashier: "You don't have a card on here. I need your debit card."
Scruffles: "I know. Can you do it for me?" (hands her key ring again)
Cashier: "You have to pay. I need a debit card."
Scruffles. "Oh. Where is my wallet?"

Scruffles then proceeds to dig through the bags the cashier has just filled with his groceries, freaking out. 

Cashier: "Maybe it's in your shoulder bag?"

Light bulb! Scruffles hands the wallet to the cashier. She removes his debit card and starts scanning it at her computer. At the same time, Scruffles has found his Walgreens Rewards card and is scanning it repeatedly at the customer card reader - simultaneous actions the computer system is not meant to handle. 

Meanwhile, beer shower man screams out, "Look buddy. That card doesn't f***ing pay for things." Chaos. 

Finally, the very patient cashier takes over and grabs both the debit card and rewards card. Poor Scruffles gets his groceries and goes on his way. I wasn't sure whether he needed a hug or a ticket to rehab.

Twenty minutes later, I paid for my toothpaste.

Monday, October 25, 2010

the in betweens

I write a lot of blog posts you never read. 

Sometimes I send them to Shea or a few close girlfriends who faithfully pretend they think I'm hilarious. Sometimes I just write them, read and delete. Sometimes I just compose them in my head while running.

Blogs about what I wish I could say to our renters. The crazy people I encounter. The times when I'm crazy in a less than adorable way. The real plans for our life. Our real financial situation. Anything involving my work or Shea's work. What Shea's sneezes smell like. When we're going to have a baby. When we're testing a Haitian child for cholera so we can adopt him/her.

I love telling our stories. I also love having stories nobody knows except Shea and I.

Plus there are consequences for telling everything. But I just want you to know that if I could write about everything, this blog would be AWESOME.

Friday, October 22, 2010

where to go from here

Not running this week due to the fact I have contracted the plague (or a common cold) has given me time to decide what the fall and winter hold for my running routine.

I've decided that training for a full right away doesn't make sense. I won't be ready for an early December marathon and the January ones, though awesome, involve expensive entry fees, travel and hotels. Plus boosting my winter running wardrobe to accommodate that much running is a pricey endeavor in itself. 

But I am not good at just running for the heck of it so I created some goals.

Race goals
St. Patrick's Day 4-mile Run - 3/2011
Fitness goals
Strength training focusing on core (ugh, abs) and hips
Maintain three-day a week running routine with long runs every other weekend
Get faster (ugh, speed training)
Cross training on bike or elliptical

I slightly have my eye on the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2011. Slightly because a lot of life could happen between now and then. You just never know.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

all my snot

I am super anxious to run again but this plague of a cold I'm fighting has prevented me from doing anything but moan and leave wads for Kleenexes around the house - something the hubby appreciates. "Ugh, I just realized I slept with two of your Kleenexes on my pillow." 

Even though I make him sleep with my snot (yay, marriage!), he never gets sick. Ever. I'm the one taking a regiment of vitamins, running often and avoiding junk food. However, it appears a diet of peanuts and candy corn are what really keeps the doctor away. Screw the apples.

Regular, moderate running does boost your immune system but running more than 90-minutes at a time leaves the immune system flailing about. Not fair!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

finish line emotion

I promise I'll stop posting about the half marathon soon. But my friend Edie captured all these great pictures that show the emotion, and I had to share.

{Such a proud hubby! Probably grateful it's all over, too. For now.}

{Our friend Wendy ran too despite a hurt ankle. What a stud!}

{Kisses from my mama}

{"Wow that was great and awful."}

{Baby Herbie: Take notes. Running is good for you.}

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all their support, sacrifices and love. I'm so lucky!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

race report: kansas city half marathon

I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to turn the coffee pot on and headed back to bed for a few more minutes of sleep. I don't do well eating a lot before running but not eating anything before running for over two hours doesn't work either. So breakfast consisted of half a luna bar, half a cup of coffee, half a banana. I attached my racing chip and waited for my parents to arrive - my dad also ran his first half.

I was way nervous on the way to the race and almost cried when I left Shea and then when my dad started choking up, but when I got to my pace group and began chatting with the other runners I forgot I was terrified. I was planning to line up with the 2:20 pace group but couldn't push through the crowds and stayed with the 2:25 group. I really loved running with the pace team - Mary and Wally - who coached us the whole way on our form when running up the GIANT hill at mile 3 or backed us off when our pace got too fast. Or the cheers that kept the running fun - "big hill, little butt!"

Mile 1-3
I ran this route frequently in my training. I saw my mom and Shea right before conquering the first hill.The plan was to throw my jacket to Shea but they were on the other side of the road so I just kept going. The Kessler Road hill is brutal and I rarely ever make it up without walking but with the coaching from the pacers, I made it! "Lean forward, shorten your stride." And this was the view. How could you not love Kansas City?!

Mile 4-7
Stayed with my pace group. My favorite sign was "Sue Says, Run Fatties Run" at Westport Road. My group walked through the aid stations, which I stuck with water the whole way except one when I went for some nasty-tasting warm Gatorade. Grateful that I had several sticks of gum with me to keep my mouth from going dry. I chatted with a couple as I ran through the Plaza and was amazed I could easily talk as I ran. Turns out, pacing is effective.

Mile 8-10
Started to get knee pain and got increasingly worse. The bottoms of my feet started aching. Saw my mom, preggo friend Edie who came from Dallas to cheer me on, and Shea at mile 8 where I was able to finally shed my now sweaty jacket. Shea ran a little with me, and I refreshed with orange slices from a wonderful volunteer.

Though this section was mostly barren and spectator-less, it ran through rougher neighborhoods resulting in the most interesting cheers. I got ahead of my pace group at this point and found running alone was pretty darn lonely. Favorite spectator chant: "Don't look so miserable. Remember, this was your choice!"

Miles 11-13
I swear the mile markers were farther apart during this stretch. My knee pain got bad. If I kept running it was tolerable but when I walked for an aid station or to catch my breath, it was borderline excruciating when I started running again. Between 11 and 12 my stomach started cramping up. As we rounded the curve to head to the finish line chute, a volunteer shouted out: "Keep going, you're about to finish a half marathon!" And I choked up and got blurry eyed.

The long finishing chute was AWESOME and horrible at the same time. I finally saw Shea but was battling knee pain and fierce stomach cramps. I zeroed in on the finish line clock and finished at 2:24:44. My goal was to not start out too fast, and I succeeded with negative splits (second half faster than first). Did I mention that most importantly, I finished?

I'll post pictures soon of my super supporters who were waiting for me at the finish line.

The finish line food consisted of a banana, yogurt and M&Ms. I totally could have used some chocolate milk. I've iced and heated my knee and took the most remarkable hot shower. We had Ingredient for lunch (turkey  avocado wrap and salad).

Then I proceeded to have stomach cramping all afternoon. Got some girl time with Edie and drank a huge bottle of Powerade and many glasses of water. I did not pee until midnight despite the fact I have probably drank my weight in liquid. I took a nap on the couch with my feet resting on Shea's lap - apparently doing a running motion for the entire hour-long nap.

Despite the burning knee and hips, I think I'm hooked. I've run over 270 miles since July. I never thought I could run more than five miles on a treadmill, let alone finish a half marathon in hilly Kansas City. It ranks as one of my greatest physical and mental challenges.

Next up? Nurse my IT band and pick my next goal. Another half? Maybe a full? A big ol' training break? Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Race report to come tomorrow, but I am now a half-marathoner!

Finish line complete with beer (eh..) and banana. Took a brief nap and Shea says my feet were making running motions as I slept. I think that means more rest. Back with you tomorrow!

a reminder

 "You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don't run and never will... those who run but don't race...those who started training for a race but didn't carry through...those who got to the starting line but didn't in the finish line...those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You're still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you've outlasted."
- Joe Henderson

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I'm just chilling at work drinking water when I suddenly realize that in 32 hours I'm going to be running my first half marathon! By the time I got around to finishing this blog post, it's 26 hours.

And then I got really, really nervous.

I'm really only trying to finish, not expecting some fantastic time to brag about. That's for another race. And the weather is looking perfect.

Now I just need to clear my head from the week's landlord drama, keep drinking water and give the knee some TLC.

Last minute reminders
1. Start slow and ignore the sprinters.
2. Drink water at every aid station.
3. Remember I am stronger than I think I am.
4. There are bananas and beer at the finish line.

Monday, October 11, 2010

sarah the grouch

I'm grumpy.

I hate being a landlord.

I am frustrated that there are selfish and rude people in this world. Specifically my world which seems to have a disproportionate amount of them.

I hate my knee and its cheap effort.

I'm mad that my wedding ring makes my finger itch. Shea promises it's not from a vending machine.

I'm annoyed that I lost in Fantasy Football by three points. Even more annoyed that I actually care.

On the up side, I finally found canned pumpkin!

$1.29/can well worth it.

I'll be back to normal blogging when I get over myself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

coveting prayers

We are landlords. Not by choice but by circumstance. Circumstances of the housing market sucks, we moved away and owe much more on a property than it's currently worth. Thank you banking industry.

Someday I will blog about the interesting situation we are in right now, when it's all in the past. And you will laugh, I guarantee it. But until this one moves into the laughing category, we would love your prayers.

Financially we are prepared for months without renters, but every month we have to cover rent is a month we're set back slightly in our other lofty debt reduction goals. Plus now we're in Kansas City, not Minnesota, so we have to rely on the help of others to handle the details if we do have to find new tenants. So far we've been very lucky, thanks to a super father-in-law. But it's a burden and the whole situation has probably raised our collective blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

When we moved to Kansas City a little less than a year ago, everything fell into place. Every worry we had financially, emotionally and otherwise was alleviated. We both found jobs. We found tenants. We found a cheap apartment. It taught us in a very real way that God provides. And I know He will again.

While you're at it though, do you think you could pray for my bum knee and the impending half marathon, and our ability to just rest? I'd throw in the Twins and K-State in there because they need some divine intervention but I won't press my luck.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

what I've learned from running

My running really started two years ago at a gym - always an hour of treadmill running; the same thing every day. I've gone from that to running 20-30 miles a week on asphalt with a doctor-ordered ban on treadmills. Treadmills taught me to watch a TV show intensely, ignoring the fact that my legs were moving. Training for a half marathon has taught me a lot about myself.

I have to plan ahead to accomplish my goals.
Running for two hours on a weekend requires planning - planning in what I eat the night before, the amount of water I drink and freeing up my schedule. I check the weather forecast more than the meteorologist. I had to become more creative when it got dark - learning how to run on my lunch break, avoiding side stitches that were inevitable with my evening runs. Without planning and adjusting priorities, runs didn't happen.

My body is capable of more than I thought possible.
In high school, I thought it was amazing that I ran a mile after school on an indoor track. A 5k race seemed out of reach. Running more than five miles? Impossible. I'd get side cramps, sore legs, be unable to breathe. But my body caught up fast. The more I ran, the better I got. During my training, my longest run has been 12.5 miles. I actually enjoyed it. My lung capacity has increased. My legs are strong. 

Pain is sometimes the reward.
There were some runs when I did not feel good. I didn't get a runner's high, and I ended my run feeling dehydrated, tired and crabby. But feeling the stretch in my quads, the achy calves and the sensitive feet made me feel alive. And the pain was a reminder of my effort. (note: this does not include my current knee pain. There is absolutely no reward in that.)

I need to work on mental toughness.
There's always an excuse for me to not run. It's too hot, too windy. I'm too busy. I didn't drink enough water or didn't eat the right foods. I deserve another day off. I gave in to these excuses way too often during my training. I still have logged over 250 miles since I started tracking on Daily Mile. 250! But, toward the last third of my training plan I got lazy. As the race approaches, I think of how much better I could do if I had stayed focused and motivated.

Eating with purpose
Before running I counted calories to make sure I didn't go over. I felt guilty when I had more than one cookie. Running long distance has taught me that eating is an act of fueling my body. The kinds of food (and amount) I eat depend on my running schedule. I listen to my body. When I am full, I stop. When it told me dairy and running don't mix, I changed my diet. When I am starving, I eat. I pay attention to protein and carbs. I am not trying to lose weight, I'm trying to get my body strong enough to run for two hours.

Bad things happen.
I followed my plan. I warned my runner father that he should be careful about adding mileage too quickly. I was the one limping and crying in pain and frustration due to an overuse injury. My last long run was two and half weeks ago with a few shorter runs mixed in. I could have stretched more, avoided that one rainy night on the treadmill or done more core workouts. But really, it just happened and with extremely bad timing. If I do run, it won't be fast. It won't be an accurate picture of what I can run. More incentive to keep training for the next one!

Monday, October 4, 2010

not benched yet

I went to the sports medicine clinic today. It started off well when I had to change into the clinic's version of a hospital gown - shorts with a drawstring that did not draw small enough requiring me to roll them over four times and finagle a boy-scout-level knot.

When the doc came in, I had to stand up straight, facing away from him.
Doctor: Um, can you straighten your left leg?
Me: Is this not straight?
Doctor: Oh boy.

He then pushed and prodded my knee and kept telling me I was tense. I explained that since his poking felt similar to a steak knife it was a bit hard to release my muscles. Following the torture, he determined I have IT band strain (called it!) and bursitis, which means the sacs of fluid around my knees are very swollen.

Long story short, I have an overuse injury despite the fact I did everything right. Except that one time I ran on a treadmill because it was raining. Which means I started the misery there and then continued to overcompensate for it while running outside.

My instructions 
1) Ice after running for 20 minutes
2) Moist heat three times per day, for 20 minutes
3) 500mg Naproxen (strong anti-inflammatory) twice a day
4) Run up to my pain tolerance
5) Follow-up appointment in two weeks
6) Never run on a treadmill again.

As for running my half-marathon in 11 days?  Doctor: "You definitely can. But you'll pay for it in pain the next day." The good news is I can't do any severe damage to my knee if I do decide to run. The bad news is I am the one who has to make the call. I did however get our ever-handy supply of codeine refilled.

I'm not deciding anything until the swelling goes down because last night I couldn't even make it through an hour-long church service with my knee bent. But I'm feeling a bit more optimistic that I'm not completely benched.

welcoming fall

I was fighting the arrival of fall, or rather the end of summer, with all my might. But this weekend made me ready. Bring on the pumpkin bread, apple cider, changing leaves, birthdays and sweaters.

One of my favorite ways to welcome the season was Minnesota apple orchards. We don't have many of those in Kansas/Missouri due to the fact fall can include temperatures in the 80s, but we do have a cider mill.

We drove south of Kansas City for the Louisburg Cider Mill Festival where I learned that while cider mills produce AMAZING tasting fresh cider, they also produce horrific smelling waste in the process (think rotting apples, fruit flies, stale water and warm sun. Delicious.). 

Regardless, we got our cider along with homemade donuts on the most perfect fall day ever.

I'm ready for you now, fall.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

mad pain

Today I was supposed to run 12 miles while Shea went to a baseball game. Instead, I'm lying on the couch in pajamas with an ice pack on my knee and choking down four ibuprofen every four hours.

And it makes me mad. Mad, mad, MAD.

Thursday it wasn't awful. Just like a headache in the outside of my knee. It was stiff after sitting too long, and the pain only was bad when walking down stairs. But last night the pain was so bad I cried until the ibuprofen kicked in, and I fell asleep. I figured it was too much walking around the cider mill.

But today it's still hurting, and I've only walked from the car to a coffee shop. So tomorrow the plan is to call sports medicine doctors until someone has a same-day appointment opening.

I am hoping it's something that can get better in two weeks and I can still run my half-marathon even though it's not going to be as fast as I trained for. If not, maybe I can just run with my dad who is also racing but at a more manageable pace for someone with an injured knee. If I can't run because there is risk for permanent damage, then fine. I will be the loudest spectator on the sidelines.

But I'll be really really sad.

"You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance but not through pain." - George Sheehan  

Sunday night update: Leftover hydrocodone is a beautiful thing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

good. bad. weird.

The good: I met the little girl I am mentoring. We spent an hour chatting and doing addition flashcards.
The bad: I actually hesitated at 19 + 7.
The weird: She asked if I was a blood or crip. I can honestly say I have never been asked such a thing in my 27 years on earth, especially by a 10-year-old.

Open book tests
The good: First one over. And if it would have been closed book I would have failed.
The bad: RXO diagrams
The weird: Open book tests are way more stressful for me than closed.

My knee
The good: I have one. Well, two actually. I found a strap that might help the pain.
The bad: It hurts usually two miles into my run, walking downstairs and when sitting too long.
The weird: The thought of not being able to run makes me want to cry. A year ago running made me cry.

The weekend
The good: Cider Mill festival with fun people, movie and dinner with the sista
The bad: 12-mile run. With the bum knee. See above.
The weird: All of our shows we follow are all out at once. So tonight it's Dexter and 30 Rock. Yay!