Monday, April 15, 2013

Race rewind and recap

Ok, so I usually totally post in chronological order on here. But, I've been slow to post, and I already posted about my St. Louis Relay Marathon last weekend. Then, I had Rock the Parkway this past weekend. But, before I get that up here, I decided to recap all the other races I've done this winter.

I know, I know. How boring, you say! Well, yes, it probably is boring for a lot of you. But, it helps keep me organized in my own head. Plus, I can look back on them and remember them either fondly or not. Really, this is just being purely selfish, you guys. But, oooh, here's something. Just imagine you're a spy, and you're getting to sneakily read the diary of ... me.

The most boring person on the planet.

Ok, that's not incentive. But, well, here goes anyway:

Way back in January, we ran in the Battle of the Bean 5K on January 19th. I actually did this race last year, as well. Last year was the inaugural race, so I figured I'd go ahead and do the second one, too. The premise is all about the battle between coffee and hot chocolate. I am a huge hot chocolate fan. And, as much as I love Starbucks, I don't so much like coffee. Like, at all. So, I was team Hot Chocolate all the way. Plus, they had a Jelly Bean kids run, too. Get it? Jelly BEAN. A hahahaha! Anyway, Cory ran it with me. Well, he was supposed to run it with me, but started out ahead of me and never looked back. I ran by myself and managed to do pretty decent. I got 2nd place in my age, so I got a medal, which you know I love. Especially after Molly had told me the week before that I never got medals anymore.

With the girls, Kelli and Anne, after the race.

With Molly after her awesome performance in the Jelly Bean Run.

Cory left me in the dust at the start line, and I still got 2nd place. He finished in the dreaded 4th place.

Family picture at the finish line.

My dad, ran, too!

Next up was the Chocolate Rush Half Marathon February 9th. Are we sensing a theme here? Put chocolate as my carrot, and I'll run whenever you tell me. This race promised post-race chocolate fountains. Um, yes, please. Plus, it was a half marathon on the trails that I've run all the time. It was practically like running in my own backyard. I took off at the beginning, and then unfortunately had to deal with an annoying girl who kept passing me, then I kept passing her. Almost the whole race. Plus, she was wearing my non-running tennis shoes, and for some reason that stuck in my brain. I have a very steady pace, so I'm completely blaming the constant pass/be-passed-by on her. She drove me crazy, and toward the end, I finally just busted through and finished ahead of her. I may have missed my PR by 2 min, but I beat that girl, and that's all I cared about. Yup, I am that shallow.

Oooh, look at all that delicious chocolate and yummy goodness.

Traditional after-race picture with medal.

Running with girls: Anne, Amy, Amy, Amy and Kelli.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The skin I'm in

It's starting to look a little like spring around here. Flowers are blooming. Trees are starting to grow leaves. Races are filling up my calendars on the weekends, and the weather is occasionally allowing me to run in fewer layers and slightly less clothing.

(Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm not talking stripping down to do one of those crazy underwear races, I'm just saying shorts instead of running tights, t-shirts instead of UnderArmor turtlenecks.)

Now, for some reason, every spring, I need to re-learn one very important running lesson that I first learned long ago, but seem forget every. single. winter.

In case you don't know or couldn't tell, I have red hair. It's natural, and that naturally means that I burn and freckle with the best of them. All my childhood summer pictures have me with bright red sunburn lines under my eyes, and my wedding pictures even show me sporting a wicked sports-bra freckle line.

Clearly, I've been dealing with this skin for a long time. My whole life in fact. But, when it's cold out, and I'm completely bundled and running in a blizzard, shockingly enough, I don't think about my pale skin. But, it's still there, and it is still as vulnerable as ever.

Now, I know you know there's a reason I'm telling you all this. And, I know you know there's a story involved, right? Well, there is. Stay with me.

So, last weekend, I road-tripped to St. Louis with two girlfriends to run a couple legs of the Go! St. Louis Marathon Relay. We had been planning this trip for almost six months, but it just snuck up on all of us. I had been thinking, oh, that's in the spring. And since it hasn't felt like spring, it felt like the relay should be much further away. Then, one of the girls who was going to go with us got sick, so everything got thrown up in the air. I felt discombobulated and unprepared.

Then, there's the "joy" of Midwestern weather, with the rapid and drastic weather changes from day to day or hour to hour. Last week, I was running in running tights and jackets and gloves. By Sunday, the day of the race, the weather had warmed considerably.

The problem, of course, is that I wasn't prepared. I had tried to pack light for the trip. When I last checked the weather before we left on Saturday morning, it showed Sunday with lows of 59 and chance of thunderstorms at 75 percent.

I packed capris, a skort, a tank, a short-sleeved shirt, and a jacket. I was trying to cover all bases, but figured I'd be wearing the capris, short-sleeved shirt and jacket. Especially if it was raining. Well, by Saturday night, all chances of rain had been taken out of the forecast, and the low had been changed to 63 degrees.

In the morning, I was at a loss. I stared at my pile of clothes. What to wear? I tend to run colder than a lot of people, but 63 was warm. But, I was running legs 3 and 4, so I'd have a lot of standing around time, in which I'd probably be cold. But, that also meant I wouldn't be running until at least two hours after the start time. And, it'd be even warmer. I was seriously confused. I even changed a couple times. It had been so long since I had run in any weather close to this, I didn't know what to do.

Finally, I settled on a skort, short-sleeved shirt and jacket. We headed out to the race.

At the starting line. A missing spot for our fourth friend, Emily, who got sick and couldn't make the trip.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter in a thousand pictures

Ooofh. That is the sound of me collapsing on the couch and not moving. (Ok, well, actually I do have to get up to switch the laundry. Monday is laundry day in our house.) But, today we are spending our day getting back to our normal schedule and recovering from the oh-so-much-fun annual Strand-Lafferty Easter weekend.

So, for the past five years, my cousin Laura and her husband and daughter have been coming down to spend Easter with us. Five years. I can't even believe it's been that long. The tradition can't be broken because my girls now completely associate Easter with Penny coming to town. It's permanently locked in. (Hear that, Laura?)

As always, we had a great time, the girls had a great time, and we are already making plans for next year. The problem is, as is usually the case, fitting everything into three short days.

They got here late on Thursday night. We're talking so late that I was already in bed, and I made Cory wait up for them. Then, on Friday morning, I drag poor Laura with me to Bar Method class. And, to be fair to myself, she did say she wanted to try it. Though, I'm not sure she was thrilled that she made that comment. Especially during the class. She told me that she thought there were going to be more ballet-esque moves. Whoops. Not so much.

So, after I completely tire Laura's legs out, we decided to drag the whole family down to the Nelson-Atkins Museum. A friend of mine had told me about this scavenger hunt for children that you can print off the internet and take with you. It has pictures of different things (ie. cat, wagon, lobster, angel) that the kids can cross off as they find them in different paintings throughout the museum. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but it ended up completely entertaining and engrossing the girls. They were totally invested in finding all the items to cross off. We started getting into it, too. But, alas, we ended the day without ever finding the damn lobster!
We decided to use some of our Bar expertise to emulate the headless statue. Jeans were a bit of a hindrance.

Working on the scavenger hunt. I believe this may have been around the time that Molly asked Laura why angels don't have to wear clothes, after seeing so many naked angels in paintings. Oh, kids. ;)

We had a really yummy lunch in the cafe in the museum.

Then, we headed outside to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous weather. It has not been warm here for spring at all. In fact, it snowed 8 inches a mere 5 days prior to this. So, we were definitely ready to enjoy the outside. The tops of my feet, however, were not. They got absolutely burned to a crisp. Darn paleness.

Family picture in front of the Nelson.


Pensively thinking about life and art.

Three giggly girls.

Laura had seen something about the giant shuttlecock sculptures months and months ago, so we took pictures in front of them.

Just cute.