Monday, December 29, 2014

The latkes broke my food processor and I simply cannot eat anymore Christmas ham

Mix thoroughly until blended
I'm part of a mixed up blended family. My parents were divorced, I'm my husband's second wife (which means his oldest kids have divorced parents and I'm a stepmom) and of course, my husband and I both grew up with different religious holiday traditions.

In a super simplified nutshell our winter holidays are wonderful but complicated a little stressful and of course filled with much to much food.
Do not ever let your kids set up the family photo. Seriously. We squeezed this in at my mother-in-law's house after a holiday party the night before. We were all together for my husband's birthday and of course another day of Chanukah. More latke's!

Add in ex-wives, step-kids, different traditions and you almost need a guide book to make sense of it all.  I personally think we do a pretty good job of making it work. I know everyone's holidays are a mix of crazy and hectic and I thought a look at our last few days might be mildly entertaining.
 
One giant multicultural party!

Before we got married my husband and I talked about our two religions and while our opinions have definitely shifted after we had children together the nexus point of agreement that we would teach them about both sets of traditions has stuck. So we participate in both Chanukah and Christmas.

When people find out we have a blended family sometimes they have questions. After the questions come their opinions. Most folks who have strong enough opinions to choose to share them (which is usually balanced by them having a shortage of self-control to keep their mouths shut) think we should choose one religion as a family and therefore we're doing it wrong. I've mostly learned to keep my mouth shut. Mostly.
8 days of frying
During Chanukah we eat a lot of fried food because it's all about the oil. For almost every night during the eight nights I  fry up some kind of latkes. Our favorite is the straight potato latkes but I also tried zuchini latkes to mixed reviews and apple to unanimous rejection.

standard potato latkes or as others might call them - hashbrowns.
My husband and his family love my latkes and while it's a huge amount of work I do it every year.  This year we shredded so many potatoes the lid to my food processor jiggled apart and I had to hold it down for the last few potatoes.
zucchini latkes. Meh.
I will say Chanukah is fun but I'm tired of frying after 8 nights. There was one year where Chanukah overlapped Christmas ... that nearly stressed me to the breaking point and now we have a no latke on Christmas eve policy ... things you never thought you'd need.
Apple latkes. Gross. Which is weird because all the ingredients are delicious. I may need a different recipe.
Despite the fact that we give give give I do try to tell my kids that neither holiday is about presents. I am definitely losing this battle. But I'm giving it the good fight.

Winter birthday trauma
Adding to the chaos of our season. My husband has a late December birthday. It almost always falls during Chanukah. and He suffers from what I call December Birthday Child Trauma Syndrome (DBCTS). This is when a person feels slighted by having to share their December Birthday with another winter holiday. Symptoms include whining and buying yourself all kinds of stuff so that your family can't figure out what to buy you as a present. Treatments include all of the following: make sure he gets birthday gifts. Never ever ask, "do you want a birthday gift or a Chanukah gift" Never  try to combine birthday or Chanukah gifts when dealing with a sufferer of this syndrome. Also the gifts must be wrapped in birthday paper not holiday paper.

The tree
My Jewish husband loves our Christmas tree. He makes sure that the first free day after Thanksgiving we're all at the tree lot picking out a big Christmas tree. And he does the heavy lifting to get it inside and string up all the lights. He also puts the ornaments up high. His mom, my Jewish mother-in-law has admitted she loves the tree. Probably 1/4  maybe more of our ornaments are from my mother-in-law.
We definitely do not have a designer tree. Every ornament is made or accumulated over the years. Also, random things have just been designated ornaments which I'm pretty sure they weren't to begin with. It's all good.

Having a supportive mother-in-law is important, very important for making a blended family work.

There are many funny stories about me, my husband and our Christmas tree. We've had at least two trees topple over. Once we bought a tree that was much too big and too heavy to carry. Once we bought a tree that was too tall and we had to cut it off at the top. But I am always thankful that my husband supports my Christmas tree tradition.

This year we had a hilarious half hour of reminiscing all the tree mishaps led by my step-daughter who brought her boyfriend/fiance into the mix. They've been dating about 20 minutes so it was natural to get engaged and include him in all of the holiday events. If that relationship works out well in 10 years this could be one of his funny stories to tell.

Santa Claus
I grew up with Santa. I love the tradition of Santa and the magic behind it. But my husband was apprehensive. He had heard about kids being traumatized when they realized Santa wasn't real. So before he agreed to be Santa I had to convince him that our kids wouldn't be traumatized. In fact I have my doubts about the intelligence of any child who doesn't figure this out by the age of 10 or well before. I don't think our kids have been traumatized - at least not about this. Just like the tooth fairy and other parental magic there comes a time when you realize he has to be your parents. It's okay - it's still fun. We have one kid who knows and one who suspects/knows but I tell them you have to believe to receive so we're all still playing along.
I am so thrilled that this house is not on my street. Love the lights but that has got to be super annoying.

My husband is not good at all with the secrecy of Santa Claus. At all! He slips up all the time in front of the kids - if I didn't laugh this would make me batty.  He'll say in front of the kids, "what did you put in the stockings?" And I'll reply, "honey Santa fills the stockings." When they were tiny it went over the kids heads. Now, I know they'll understand it and that's okay.  In the end though the elves are both our undoing. We simply cannot remember to move those little turkeys every night.

The decorations
We have a giant box of holiday books. Some Hannukah books, some Christmas books and believe it or not some blended family books. We read them during the season and then put them away until next year.

We have santa elves, hannukah helpers and this year we got a mensch on a bench. I know, it's hilarious, right? We also have a dancing Santa and a singing rabbi to round out the lunacy.
pre icing. Not gingerbread but chocolate sugar cookies.

We'll make sugar cookies to honor all of our traditions. We have 3 bags of cookie cutters including, dreidles, menorahs, trees, angels, santas and the ironman m-dot too.

My kids really want outdoor decorations but  so far we only have wreaths. I have no idea how to hang outdoor lights and I think the inflatable decorations are annoying. My husband did search for a giant inflatable Mr. Hanky (the Christmas Poo) which I would have thoroughly supported but we didn't find one.
New this year our Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo ornament.

If I can get an electrician to get power to my trees in front I would love to wrap them in holiday lights. However, so far no go. Instead we take a tour of holiday lights around town on Christmas Eve. 

Thank goodness it's over
It's a lot of work. It's plenty of money. It's a huge pain. But we do it. We always say we we'll scale it down next year.  Someday we'll toss the traditions aside for a year to take a trip to visit family or just see some snow. But for now we do it. It's the Amy giftapalooza season. We have more holidays and more food and gifts than we know what to do with. But we love it anyway.

I hope that your holiday traditions whatever they may be were enjoyable. Next up - New Years planning, goal setting etc. 


Monday, December 22, 2014

The reason for my divorce

First - I am not actually getting divorced.

My sister-in-law will be the first one to read this so I don't want to cause undue stress. It's bad for family relations.

But, if I was getting divorced it would be because my husband cannot follow my rule that he is not ever allowed to cook eggs in our stainless steel pans.
If you have metal pans you must have this in your cleaning arsenal. It is not organic, or kind to your manicure, or probably safe but it does clean the pans.

Part two of this rule is that if he breaks part one of this rule he has to clean it himself.

Part three of this rule is never ever ever cook eggs and cheese in a stainless steel pan because seriously it takes longer than forever to clean it. In fact, even my cleaning lady doesn't clean egg and cheese off the pans. She does most of it but then puts it back not fully clean which makes me super-de-duper cranky.

Let me be clear - it is possible to cook eggs in a stainless steel pan. But it's not really easy. You have to use plenty of oil, a very low cooking temp and a metal spatula. Even with that it's a hassle to clean. That's why we have 2 non-stick pans. I only use them for eggs because I am a little freaked out about eating the non-stick surface that does eventually wear off of all non-stick pans. My husband is a less freaked out about eating the non-stick surface but he goes with it. But if the non-stick pan is not on the top of the pan pile he grabs the next one and we have a history of this which is why I created the rules. Also his idea of a low cooking temp is 8 on the 10 point scale so ... well, there's that.
cooked egg hermetically sealed to the stainless steel pan. Such a pain. Such a colossal pain.

So imagine my surprise unloading the dishwasher to find a pan totally caked with egg. Because the only thing harder to clean than egg with cheese cooked in a stainless steel pan is that pan after it's been soaked and rebaked by the dishwasher.

Grrrr.

But whatever we've been married a while. I put the barkeepers friend on the counter next to the pan and then told him he'd have to clean it. I also gave him instructions. Insert powder and a bit of water. Let soak and apply elbow grease. Lots of elbow grease. All of the photos are taken after his attempt to clean the pan.
Soaking said egg.

Then I went for my run and returned to find the results of his "attempt" which were not very successful.

Grrr. I will wait patiently and I will let him clean the pan himself and then  I may hide the stainless steal pans from him because that will be good for our marriage.

Training news
In other news. My run streak is actually on a 6 day run. So I'm pretty happy with that.

I have a tremendous amount of wrapping to do and perhaps only 2-3 more presents to get so that's very good.

Do you ever have cleaning disputes with your spouse? How do you resolve it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The first Friday Freakout

I have decided that Fridays are the day for ridiculous rants. Hopefully for your entertainment and not annoyance.

So here's the first Friday Freakout ( me ranting about first-world problems on a Friday.

Earlier this week my car decided that all of it's tires were suddenly low on air.

Warnings everywhere. Can't listen to the radio until I accept the sternly worded warning. 

All at once - all low. 

Of course, they aren't all low. Perhaps none of them are low. It's just annoying.

I think I would prefer if it didn't exist than having it work incorrectly.

If it was broken or didn't exist I would just have to track my own tire pressure. But no. As a lowly mortal, I need an automated sensor to detect if the pressure is low. Except the sensor doesn't actually do that. 

So annoying.

Rant over :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The annual home owner helper gift shakedown

Giving gifts can be a very rewarding experience. 

In fact now that my daughter is 11 we've had a big talk about giving. This year I talked to her about how she should think about who she'd like to give gifts to rather than just getting. First I got a little pout but then she ran around and made a few gifts that she was really proud of and she asked her dad to help her buy one. She's really enjoying the experience.


The home helper gifts
But there is one part of the holiday gift giving experience can rub me the wrong way. When every person who works around the house appears asking for a holiday "gift."
 
I admit I'm a bit of a scrooge on this one. I get an envelope from my mailman and my newspaper delivery person. This annoys me because I don't think you should ask for a gift for doing your job. I have in the past given these guys gifts of either cash or gift cards or baked goods but I'm not sure I will this year. I know even as I type this I will cave on this because I'm afraid the two folks in question will torture me in the year to come if I don't.

These in particular piss me off because they happen to do a crap job. My mail box is literally on the edge of the street. The guy doesn't even have to get out of his truck since he drives onto my lawn and even still he can't be bothered to actually pick up any mail inside the box, frequently we get mail to the wrong address and often we don't get our mail. Plus he ignores my don't give me any junk mail request. No holiday tip for you ... sorry. The paper delivery guy - oh where do I start? We get a paper Friday - Sunday. At least once a month the Sunday paper will be missing the magazine section. The magazine section is home to the crossword puzzle which is the entire reason we get the paper. Once a month. We'll call the service number. They'll tell us the replacement is on the way and ... it never comes. Sorry craptastic newspaper delivery guy - no holiday tip for you.

How about my handyman who isn't handy or helpful? He's a sad case and it's our own fault that he's still around. His wife is dying and he's old and her only caregiver. He can't do much at this point without breaking stuff so his to do list is very small and should be empty but we pay him every month. It's become a marital issue at this point. My husband insists we keep him I make him deal with him. In the past when he did a lot of stuff for us we happily gave him a nice holiday bonus. This year I think if he shows up looking for a bonus he'll probably be canned. Ah who am I kidding we'll give him a tip and he'll be hanging around forever not actually doing anything except breaking stuff for us.

The shakedown
The garbage guys. I do actually tip our garbage person. She's a lady she waves to my son when she sees him. She honks the horn and she deals with our trash which is something I'm very happy not to do. She's super talented - she has to back down our street to start. But I have been subjected to the garbage shakedown. Here's how it went. A few years ago my husband was home and he said, "I tipped  the garbage guys."

I asked, "what do you mean?"

He said, "The three guys who drive our truck were out there and they asked for their tip so I gave it to them."

I grinned and said, "we have one garbage person and she's a lady. Honey, you got hustled."

Other people I'm happy to tip with either cash, gift cards or baked goods include the pool guy, the water delivery guy (those bottles are heavy and he's always got a smile), the lawn guy, the house keeper, the teachers and the endless list of coaches. These folks interestingly never ask for tips. Hmmmm maybe that's the reason I love to give them gifts. 

What other people think
If you're looking for a more traditional guide to holiday tipping here's Emily Post's advice. She's got more holiday spirit than I do. Even consumer reports who I think of as a frugal bunch apparently thinks I should be more generous.

Monday, December 15, 2014

How does a triathlete streak?

I am envious of streakers.

Go ahead let your dirty mind wander if you want but I mean athletic streakers.

What is a streaker? Somebody who does something every day for a long time.

There is a woman I found on facebook who has just about finished a year of swimming one mile every day. She posts every day 350/350 and it's a symmetry that I truly envy.

In Miami - Miami Beach to be specific we have a local streaker who runs 8 miles every day - he's called the Raven. He's a little odd and I actually don't want to be like him but it's something to be respected that he's done this for so many years.  He's going to hit 40 years of run streaking in 15 days. He has run through hurricanes and major life events.

On Slowtwitch they start today the annual 100/100 run streaking contest. I tried it last year but didn't come close to 100/100. I'm trying it again this year.

So this frustrates me greatly because I do exercise 6/7 days a week but yet I can't get any of these crazy streak things going for more than a few days.

But the reality is with 3 sports it's hard to say okay run every day. Because on the days when you swim 90 minutes ... well you're tired. It's a lame excuse. I know it even as I write it. Sheesh.

Do I just need to toughen up and commit to the streak?

Do you guys streak?

Is streaking stupid?

Does it count as a triathlete streak if we do one of the 3 every day?

I do love rest days. I do. I do. I do. In the end I think this is why my streaks fail. Or perhaps why the idea of streaking isn't really for me.

But I'm trying again for the 100/100. I don't actually intend to run 100 days in a row and this challenge acknowledges that which is why I'm trying again. I think 80 would be great. I hope actually to follow that with a swim streak that will take me into the 5k swim in April.

To start here we go I'm 1/1. I ran 3 miles today. Which also means ... I'm off the injured list. Mostly. My ankle is just a touch swollen still but I ran without pain. A little discomfort at almost 3 miles so I've got it elevated now. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The 2015 race schedule

2015 is already full of ambitious plans. Let the craziness begin. (insert evil laugh here).

  • Miami Half Marathon January 25th
  • Ragnar - February 6-7th
  • Swim Miami 5k open water April
  • Ironman 70.3 Haines City April 19
  • Lake Placid Tri camp June 26-29
  • Ironman Lake Placid July 26th
  • Ironman 70.3 Augusta 9/29
  • Ironman Florida November 7th
As of today I am on the injured list so lets see what happens. I rolled my ankle last night and it's swollen and tender although it does take my weight. I'm hoping I'm good to go in a few days. Optimism is my strongest skill in racing. 
see the goose egg on the left where my tendons should be popping out? Yup. Ouch. But no bruising and I'm walking around so here's hoping it's super duper minor.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Athlete know thy motivation

We are approaching the end of the year which is when many people around the globe will sit down and figure out their goals for the upcoming year.

I love goals. I love setting goals and meeting goals. I've spent a significant amount of my leisure time studying why goals do and do not work.  One of the things I have learned is that it is really helpful to know what motivates you when you are choosing a goal.

I love endurance challenges. The longest race I've ever done is an Ironman. Many people think that's crazy. Perhaps they are right. Sometimes people will mistakenly assume that because I love a race that long that I'm up for anything - the bigger and the badder the better.

Those people are mistaken because there is a whole category of races that hold absolutely no appeal to  me at all.  Zero - Zip - Zilch - Nada.

The races that don't appeal to me are those that go by time.
This is why I am not registering for the 12 hour Sebring bike race no matter how many times Triathlonmami asks me to do it.

My friend TriathlonMami is going to do the 12-hour Sebring Ride. The challenge is to see how far you can go in that time. It's a huge challenge. If 12 hours isn't enough for you there is also a 24 hour challenge. 

This is actually not the first time I've been invited to register for Sebring. My friend Nicole is super hot to trot about doing the 24 hour race but thankfully not this year because it's hard to say no to her and yet I really don't want to do this event.

But why not? I wondered that too. I did some thinking and I realized there were a bunch of other events that I had been invited to that I had no interest in (postal hour swim, 12 and 24 hour running relays, treadmill races,) and they all had the same thing in common. They are by time and not going to a destination.

Years ago before I was married, before I had kids, way back in the day I made a friend through work who's email was 1000mileman@somethingorother. Or maybe it was 100 mileman I forget, 100mileman certainly seems more likely. But either way I asked him about it and he told me that he had  run a race and it was 24 hours you went around a 1-mile loop as many times as you could. He invited me to this race over and over and over. And I said no over and over and over. I just couldn't think of anything less fun than running the same 1-mile loop for an entire day and night. But I do understand that many people are very motivated by this challenge.

Ta-dah! I am motivated to get to the finish line ... not the finish time.

I think actually this may be one of the reasons I must go to a masters practice versus swimming on my own. When I swim on my own I get to the other side and I say to myself ... well that's that I got here, I must be finished.

It may also be why I am more likely to run outside in cold windy drizzle than do 5 miles in my garage on the treadmill. In fact, I don't do well running by time at all. In the beginning of Iron distance training a lot of the workouts are by time only and I cheat. If it says 50 minutes I might only run 3 miles stopping to talk to people along the way. I totally shortchange the workout. I have learned that I need to change that 50 minutes to be in my head 5 miles.

One exception I can think of is that interestingly I can actually workout on the bike trainer without too much complaining. I'm not sure why that is.

So, good luck TriathlonMami! 
I know that she's going to do a great job with this challenge. She will be pushed in ways she's never been before and she'll learn more about herself as she pursues this challenge. She will probably also use her challenge to bring more goodness to the world - that's just how amazing she is. I look forward to watching her train and meet the milestones along the way. But nope I'm not joining this one.

But keep me in mind for RAAM 


Monday, December 8, 2014

Verb: to chick. I chick, you chick, we chick, they chick, you've been chicked.

chicked the verb is a casual sporty saying whereby a guy is passed by a girl in a race.

It was a few years ago in a race where I first became of the chick'ed movement.

A very strong very powerful baddass female blew by me in a black swimsuit with the words "you've been chicked" written on her posterior.

I thought it was fun, entertaining and inspiring. I aspired to be like that girl as soon as possible. Fast and confident. Although years later I must admit completing an entire triathlon even a short one in only a swim suit baffles me. I would think the elastic would dig into my tush from the bike seat.
It takes talent to get an early morning picture of the back of your own shirt. Right? It does take talent doesn't it?
And there is a company out there that makes this gear.  Totally appropriately you can find them at www.chicked.com .

Recently they were looking for bloggers to help them spread the word. I am happy to help.

They sent me a cute shirt which I wore for my run on Saturday morning. I ran 8 miles. The shirt performed very well. It was a humongeously humid morning and I was drenched in sweat instantly. The shirt worked flawlessly and several of my girl and guy running buddies enjoyed the slogan very much.

I have since washed the shirt and it held up well. So it's well made - the fit it is true and it handles well during exercise. It's a good product.  I will wear it again soon. I think it would be a lot of fun to have bike or tri apparel from Chicked.com.

I love the little muscles.
Full disclosure they sent me this shirt for free in the hope I would write about it. They have another product called the Minne-skirt. They are from Minneapolis so I love that they spelled it like the city. It's a good thing they didn't send me that to review because I'm in the tropics and I have no use for a cool weather skirt. But for the rest of the planet that is going through winter you should go check it out. Check out the whole website in fact.

FREE STUFF
And they sent me a phone cover which I don't need (because I keep my phone ensconced in a lifeproof case because I'm around kids and water all day long and I'm spaz). So, I'd love to give it away.

FYI - It seems to me that this will go on an iPhone 5 (not 6) So if you'd like this cute little phone case - dohickey do me a favor and do one or some of the following things.  Head over to their Facebook page and give them a like - they would really appreciate it. If you happen to be a tweep (a person on twitter) go ahead and follow them on twitter @yougotchicked . They would appreciate that also.

If you'd like this phone case go ahead and tweet something like I'd love to get this cute case and include both me @bcamysaysso and then @yougotchicked.

This is my first giveaway so I'm unsure of what the response could be. Hopefully more than none. I'll end this little festivity on Wednesday the 10th of December 2014 in the morning and if there's more than one tweet I'll randomly choose one winner and send out this phone case - dohickey to that selected winner. I'll reach out to the winner on twitter and I'll update the post here in the comments with the fact that a winner was selected.

One catch - I'm only shipping this dohickey in the continental US. That's it. Like I said it's my first giveaway so that's the only catch I can think of.

Friday, December 5, 2014

To health and happiness. Slainte or Salut.

I am 41 glorious years old. I'm healthy and happy about it. I hope to be here for decades to come.
Yes I grabbed this from marathon photo.com. It's me in all of my 41 year old running glory. Yes I am slouching. I'm also totally not sure what's happening with my leg there. Is that a shadow? Geez let's hope so because otherwise it's leg flab which is distressing.
This year I had my first mammogram. And the purpose of this post is to assure my girl friends and readers who come after me that the mammogram is no big deal. It doesn't hurt at all and it takes about 5 minutes. Seriously, I wouldn't even call it uncomfortable. 

So, please don't be afraid of the test.

Now as it turns out my first mammogram was a non-event mostly because it didn't really show anything. I'm dense. No really - apparently my breasts are dense. Apparently it's not uncommon for a traditional mammogram to be ... What is the word I'm looking for ... Worthless. Like I said - turns out my breast tissue is dense and so you can't see much in the images. So, I was called back to the center to get a different test.  The second time it's a sonogram.

The sonogram was also no big deal. Well other than it tickled in my armpit.

So why do I even mention this potential failure of this magical important test? Because in my opinion, it's important to not put too much faith in modern medicine, the people we call doctors who direct us in our medicine and the seemingly endless tests that we are supposed to get every year as we get older. Yes, they can be great and save lives but also they can be imperfect and even I guess flawed. For me acknowledging the failings of modern medicine is as important as acknowledging the great miracles it brings.

Age comes with wisdom but youth is the price
We have all heard the stories. We all know women who have had breast cancer to different ends. I know somebody who know after years of active testing just found that her body was suddenly riddled with cancer. Even I without my medical degree shake my head and say ... What? How? Why? Another person I know just found out they have terminal lung cancer throughout their body - this despite regular checkups was not discovered until it was throughout the body. Again it makes me wonder - what are the tests we take doing if they aren't catching this.

I first wondered this when my dad was diagnosed with heart disease. He wasn't in perfect health but sort of all of a sudden he had almost total heart blockages everywhere. First, I was of the opinion my dad wasn't being truthful that he had actually been going to the doctor but in fact before his surgery he produced reports from the exam from a doctor who had looked and checked. He had gone from clear bill of cardiac health to heart attack in about 8 months. That was stunning because before then I had thought of this decay as a slow and gradual process. Part of it probably is slow and gradual but it can also be super speedy. Sadly, a clear checkup is really only evidence of what can be shown to the doctor today. Tomorrow might be a different result.

This was a beautiful sunrise over the beach. That's the balcony of our hotel room at the Doubletree Cocoa Beach. I love watching the sun rise over the ocean. I'm pretty sure I would like to see this every morning. This is something my husband I and I have been talking about. Or rather I have been speaking at him about it.
Death, dying and the big C (for Cancer) are very hard to face. I try to think I'm very zen about the circle of life/death but in truth there hasn't been much to test me specifically on this. So I really don't know how my zen will pan out.

So it's a balance. Yes, get tested. Yes, know your body. Yes, do self exams-eat correctly, exercise. Yes, don't fear the test and yes, don't expect too much from the test, the test giver and the mighty m.d. behind it all.

Live your life today for today and as if there is perhaps no tomorrow.

FYI - the doctor already looked at my sonogram. For today my boobies are a-okay!

Up on my soapbox  
Here is a link to a story of a woman I know. Our children went to preschool at the same school at the same time but never in the same classroom. I know her but not well enough to call her friend. She was already battling her cancer then. It's a tough story to hear. She's a tough lady. Sadly she may be near the end of her fight. This story is very sad but it's important. Watch this. Take a moment to be thankful that you yourself aren't sick and don't feel guilty about that - it's okay to be thankful for our health. Then think about her story again. If you feel moved share it with people you know because that's how change or progress might happen. This could happen to any one of us. This kind of insurance battle happens every day to people. It's ridiculous. Of course, insurance companies can't dole out $10k in medicine to everybody that's ridiculous. It's ridiculous in part because it's totally flipping insane that any medicine should/could/would ever be $10k. Totally insane. I don't have a solution. Just add me to the people who are saying something here is messed up.

Woman Locked In Fight With Insurance Co. Over Cancer Treatment « CBS Miami

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Things you should buy - Amy's Gift List 2014

There are basically 2 ways to come up with a gift list. One is things you (the blogger) want. The other is things you (the blogger ... in this case me) have bought and loved.

I'm going with option 2. These are things I've bought in the last year that have worked out really well for me so you should probably try them too ... because I say so :-)

Swiftwick Socks.

Seriously these are the best. I have recommended them to all my friends and now we pretty much all have them. The have a little bit of compression which makes them even better than normal socks. I'm not sure why they are so great but they are just fabulous. I did wear through one in the toe area at first but being a good company they replaced them. And it hasn't happened again.

I bought my first pair at my local running store but they only carry the shorter ones. Plus they don't yet carry them at my local bike store. Yet. So I've ordered some online. They are expensive so look for a sale. 

Coeur Tri Shorts
I'm in the red top. That's my kit. And next to me is my friend Nicole who I converted to Couer shorts also.
These shorts are my new favorites and I just love them. There are pics of me in these shorts all over the blog. I now have two pairs. I wear them instead of bike shorts. I wore them all the way through Ironman Chattanooga and had zero issues. zero. Can't say enough good things about them. Their kits are also super cute. I'm a big fan.

Aquasphere goggles Kayenne K180.

These are a lower profile smaller goggle than the original Kayenne but they fit my face better and they work well in both the pool and open water. They are a little too expensive in my opinion but I buy them new before long races and then just wear them out. I get mine from sports authority but you can find these anywhere.

Swim Suit from Splish.com
To motivate myself to swim more I bought a funny swim suit from this place. It says all over "I will swim every day" It was worth it. The swim suit has lasted longer than any of my other speedos or uglies. I tend to be cheap with swim suits and go with things like dolfin uglies on sale but if you're looking for a fun splurge these are fun to have in your swimming drawer or bag or wherever you keep  your swim suits.

Vixen sports bra from Moving Comfort

This is my go to sports bra for triathlons and long run races. I'm not a chesty woman by any means but I cannot get by with a built in sports bra within a tri kit. Nope. not gonna happen.

So the vixen doesn't adjust - not on the shoulders or in back. It is what it is.  It has mesh on the sides and back so it dries super fast which is perfect for the swim. It is impossible to get off by yourself without looking like a crazy person wiggling out of a tight elastic chest strap. But it doesn't chaffe and I don't think about it at all during a race. I wore it in Ironman France and bought a new one before Ironman Chattanooga and I learned that my running store no longer carries them ... gasp! So I ordered it online.

So that's it. These are four things I actually use. No big secrets here. Although I'm pretty sure I've never blogged about my socks before. Socks are not usually too exciting. But there you have it. Happy shopping.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It will take all you've got - Space Coast Marathon race report

My favorite sign from the Soace Coast Marathon yesterday said -- You've got what it takes; but it will take all you've got.

File this under What?
Somehow by the skin of my teeth I set a teenie tiny personal record for the marathon yesterday. I clocked 4:27:46 which beats my Rome time by just over a minute.
 
I was undertrained for this race. My plan of hitting the miles after Ironman Chattanooga -- failed. I was following a Pete Pfitzinger plan of 8 weeks between marathons but I only did about 80% of the runs and seriously none of the speedwork. I mentally wasn't too focused on the goal. I expected about a 5 hour finish.

I did everything wrong. I spent the day before walking around the space center with my kids. I have a cold and a mystery hip pain all day the day before. I was up too late. I am 10 pounds over peak marathon weight. I wasn't nervous at all. Even my husband commented that he'd never seen me so relaxed before a race.

But at the start I went ahead and lined up with the 4:30 pacer. I figured I would lose him around mile 10 and then just see what happened. He started off a little ahead of pace but not too much and when he backed off to be on his assigned pace I pulled ahead a little bit. I kept trying to slow down but I was just in that rhythm. I even stopped 3 times to go to the bathroom - during the whole race not the first few miles :-)
The space theme is fun. All the volunteers wear suits and they do a countdown at the start. It's fun and the medal is huge.

At mile 14 I did the math and realized that I was ahead of pace. I actually was hoping to negative split. Which is something I've never actually done in a marathon before. I felt great until mile 22. At mile 20 I thought ... hmmm I've never felt this good at mile 20 before ... that's wierd. Then at mile 21 my legs were really tired and at mile 22 I was ready to stop. Pain everywhere. So there I pulled out my mantra which for this race turned out to be from that sign ... it will take all you've got and I just kept going. But I did slow down. I couldn't help it  -  that was maximum speed.

To make matters worse this is the first race I've ever taken my ipod with me. I did it because I knew it was small, I was running by myself and I thought it might help. It did. I didn't start with the music until after about 10 miles. But then it was great until I realized that I was looping through just one artist. I could not for the life of me get it to play anything else. It's a little ipod shuffle without a screen just a dial. And of course I wasn't going to stop and fiddle with it. Grrr. 

The race facts
This is a runners race. There are under 7000 people in the whole thing and they split the half and the full so you aren't running together until the end.

Packet pickup was at a local running store so I didn't even go to the expo. I was in and out in a minute (not exagerating).

They run shuttles from the host hotels to get you to and from the race. I literally walked out of my hotel and into the bus. Perfectly executed by the race director. 

This is the fastest course I've ever run
The hardest marathon course I've run is either Chattanooga or New York. This was the opposite.  It is completely flat and there are a total of two turns in the whole thing. The entire course is by the waterfront ... it's the banana river I think. It's very pretty and lots of shade.

There is water / gatorade and gu (after the half mark) every mile. There were plenty of porta potties with no line and shocker all of them had toilet paper.

The only slightly negative thing is that there is never a big crowd to cheer. I could have really used a big crowd at mile 23 but I made it on my own. I don't even want to say that this was a bad thing seriously it's a great race.
video

It's a very simple finish line. But plenty cool. You can't see the line until you're practically on top of it. Apparently my kids almost missed me finish because they were playing on a playground which is fine. The start and finish is in a park and it's very family friendly.

I did this race because I've heard for years that it's a great event. I can't agree more. I do wish I'd trained more but if I ever want to go for a marathon pr again - this might be the course.