Friday, February 28, 2014

Racing through the cold

As you can tell, I've been behind on blogging.  I'm trying to play catch up. 

Racing season is typically in the spring and fall. These are generally the best temperatures and conditions for running, so that's when the majority of races take place. But, there are crazy people (ahem, like me) who like to run races in the winter. I tend to get a little bored without races, so I am willing to sign up for ones even in the middle of winter. My problem is that I am entirely too optimistic. I think, surely it won't be too cold, or too snowy, or too icy. Surely not.

Now, sometimes this optimism pans out. Sometimes not.

This winter, I ran five races. The first was the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma in November. I've done this race multiple times, including the full back in 2010. But, now they sucker me in with an awesome Half Fanatic special medal. Me, Anne, Kelli and her husband, John, road-tripped together. It was also John and Kelli's wedding anniversary, so Anne and I were the third and fourth wheels.

Kelli and John toasting to their anniversary at lunch the day before the race.

Anne and I at the same lunch.
Luckily, the hotel we stayed in was super close to the starting line. So, we pretty much had to get out of bed and roll down to the start. This is the same hotel we stayed in last year when we had someone walk in our room at 2am. This time, I put on the bolt.

Posing inside the hotel.
Right after the above picture was taken, two guys wearing Marathon Maniacs shirts came up to us and asked us what our Half Fanatic numbers were. Anne and I were clueless and made some joke about how we should probably know that. Hahahaha. Well, then they said numbers were 1 and 2. They were the founders of the organization. We felt like complete idiots. But, oh my gosh, we laughed at ourselves.

Now, the problem for this race was that it was FREEZING. Like, absolutely, beyond a doubt cold. And, we had to get out early enough to take this picture with all the other Half Fanatics.

There are a ton of us.
We tried huddling in a tent with about 100 other people to keep warm from body heat. That didn't really do too much, though. My feet and hands were numb.

Everyone's hands were shaking so much that we couldn't get a clear picture.
The first 3 miles of the race, I couldn't feel my feet. Really. They felt like lead blocks. And, this was with wool socks on. I don't really remember too much of the race. We did run for a while by an Australian guy in a Superman costume. That was fun because we got some great cheers. We kept up a fairly good pace, I think because we were so cold that we just wanted to finish.

Kelli ran the full distance, but we couldn't wait around for her to finish. Pretty much as soon as we were done, we went back to the hotel. We tried to go to the Half Fanatic tent, but I couldn't move my fingers and the food wasn't as awesome as last year. When we got back to the hotel, I ran my fingers under scalding hot water for probably 5 minutes until I could feel them again.

Finally warm. And, yes, we look like we're in a ski lodge, not Oklahoma.
But, we got cool medals!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chocolate, chocolate everywhere!

My baby girl, Charlotte, turned 4 this February. We were having a tough time deciding on a theme. We kept throwing around idea after idea, but nothing was sticking. Then, pushing our cart through Target, we walked through the Christmas clearance section. There, I stumbled on a roll of wrapping paper covered in hot chocolate mugs.


We would have a hot chocolate party. Charlotte loves hot chocolate, so she was totally on board. As we started planning it, it became clear that having the theme as hot chocolate was a little limiting, so we expanded to just have all chocolate. Charlotte was still very ok with this idea. This girl loves her chocolate.

We started with the invitations. I looked on Pinterest for some ideas, then made this one:

The meteorologists forecasted a huge snow storm the week before the party, so I went to the grocery store to stock up in advance. Man, that cashier must have thought I was the worst mom ever when she checked out my cart. Nothing but chocolate junk. (Actually, I think I had bananas and milk in there, too, so that totally makes up for the massive quantities of chocolate, right?)

Charlotte with all the chocolate before the party.

I didn't really have too many games or plans. I mainly concentrated on food. My friend Sarah had a chocolate fountain that I borrowed, and I actually baked a few things. (This is a huge feat for those who know me!)