Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sucker for a Deal

Ugh.  I am a sucker.  I saw on Facebook late last week the Austin Marathon page teasing a deal that would get any hold outs to sign up for the marathon or half on 2/17.  Pfft - what could possibly entice me?

Anyone who signed up Monday 1/21 would receive free entry into next year's Austin half or Austin marathon.  ...  For some reason I found this so tantalizing my first thought was "oh, well I guess we're doing that then."  It really isn't THAT great of a deal, we save $20-30 vs. just signing up for early registration next year.  But it was the little push Jennifer and I were looking for. 

I am 100% positive after Livestrong (ahem - maybe why registration needs encouragement) last year I swore I would never do this race again.  I'm an idiot. 

Side note: people on Facebook are enraged about this discount.  Runners who signed up early are crying all over the internet.  Sucks if you signed up last week, but if you signed up months ago you got a better deal.  Its really not that hard to understand, registration is probably down and the cost of running the race is mostly fixed.  The more people sign up, the more $ the race recovers. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

A dog walks up to bar

yes, it's sideways, but 20 minutes later I'm giving up

Today Gwen had no school and a doctor's appointment in the morning.  I let her stay home the rest of the day instead of going to after school care.  She entertained herself building a giant fort, making Valentines and playing outside.  At one point she was in the front yard.  From my seat in the office I could see her doing something in the bushes, picking weeds or seeds, whatever she does.  Then I glance up and there is a HUGE black dog in front of the window, also in the bushes with Gwen.  Just looking at her while she nervously backs away.  He wasn't scary, as you might be able to tell by looking at him sideways above.  He just wandered up, saw a small human and thought he'd say 'ello' I guess.

I came out front and he happily asked for pets.  There were a few neighbors out washing cars or playing with their kids, but no one looking for their dog.  Mr Bo (as we are calling him), had a chain on but no tags.  He was clearly well fed, friendly and an older fellow so he belonged to someone.  We sat with him outside for a bit, well Gwen climbed onto John's truck and watched from 5 feet away, and gave him some water.  I was debating what to do when I got a work call I had to take.  I took Mr Bo into the backyard, which he was more than happy to do, and he barley knows me!  While working I sent an email to the HOA to post a picture on our 'lost pets' message board.  I made a little flyer and hung it near the community mailboxes.  I also posted a message on the city's 'lost pet' Facebook page.  This was all before 1:30pm. When I picked up the other 2 from pre-school I drove slowly through the closest streets to see if anyone's back gate was open, no luck.

I threw the ball around the yard for Mr Bo for 20 minutes, this guy didn't not travel far today, he was out of breath after 3 throws, (but really pushy about throwing the ball).  And when I sat down he was all "pet me, pet me, slobber, slobber". 

So now it's 8:30pm.  This guy has been missing from his family for quite a while.  I was really hoping I would get a call around dinner and he would get rescued.  It's going to be a low of 40 tonight and this poor bastard is sleeping on my porch.  John is allergic to dogs so I really can't let him in the house, and who knows what kind of weird quirks he has (I chew anything wooden!  I like to poo in dark corners where you won't find it for weeks!).  He was probably just out for a short walk around the block and now he's been dog napped by some lady who won't let him come in the house.

~sigh~ so, now I gotta figure out what to do with my new friend. 

Tuesday night Bo's owner called.  He saw my flyer on the mailbox and knew it must be his dog.  Turns out he lives around the corner and HIS NAME IS ACTUALLY BO/BEAU.  Seriously, how crazy is that?  So our new friend is back at home with his family.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Training Plans

For the past 18 months I have been using a great website Run Coach to plan my training.  I was introduced when I signed up for the Houston Marathon and bought the plan during registration.  The website is great.  I entered my current running abilities, miles per week and the days.  I also provided my planned races and my goal race.  Then with a recent race, the website determined my paces for maintenance runs, tempo and speed work, and long runs.  I followed the plan pretty closely and diligently updated my runs.  My results for the Houston Marathon were fabulous, better than I expected.

I continued to use the site over the spring and into fall when I decided to do the Dallas Marathon.  When I planned my training I didn't think there were enough LONG LONG runs (over 16 miles) so I contacted the coaches at Run Coach.  I got a speedy response and they manipulated my plan for the right amount of long runs, and really encouraged me to add another day of speed work to my routine.  I followed the schedule closely again and had pretty good results for Dallas. 

But now I think I'm ready for a change.  I want to do more cross training with weights, yoga and upper body training.  I have Hal Hidgon's book and want to get Train Like a Mother, from the writers of the Another Runner Mother blog and podcast.  From one of these I will put together a running and work out plan.  I am still undecided on my next marathon (spring or fall?). 

Any suggestions for a good training plan? 

And I'm already working on my core, working on PLANKING with Susan.  I have also been doing Jillian Michaels' workout videos once or twice a week.  If only Jillian liked running!  Then I'd know exactly who to listen to.  But no, my leader isn't a runner and touts the benefits of weights + cardio.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's Cookie Time!

Gwen will be selling Girl Scout cookies again this year, her second time as a Daisy Scout.  She seems more interested this year and understands what she will have to do.  When asked her what her goal was for the year, she said 1000 boxes.  Ambitious!  I suggested we aim for 200.  Unfortunately for her, John is on a serious diet and he was probably her biggest buyer last year.  

Support your local Girl Scouts and buy cookies this year.  Or place your order with Gwen!  Money earned by the Council and Troops directly funds their activities.  Selling cookies isn't just to earn money for arts and crafts.  Girls learn lessons about setting goals, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.  And the Girl Scouts run the cookie sales like a mafia - this is serious business folks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Even More Adorable

This is the tamest picture of the series

This is the night I asked Christina to be one of my bridesmaids.  Much love was shared, mostly between me and Christina.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This is Adorable

John and I took these as our engagement pictures back in 2002.  That's adorable.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I'm really sore today! I guess I should be productive and foam roll or stretch. Mmmm. No, I will waste 75 minutes sitting on the couch internetting.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

3M Half Marathon Recap 1.13.13

Today was the 3M half marathon.  I ran this race in 2007 and loved it.  I ran the relay in 2011 with Jennifer and we took first place in the open women's division (seriously kick ass).  I decided to run it last Sunday, a sort of last minute decision.  I was originally supposed to run the Houston marathon or half this weekend, but John is heading off for a business trip today and after running the marathon in Dallas I was kind of 'meh' about traveling for another race again.  So I differed my entry for Houston to next year (it's a lottery) and cancelled the hotel room.  Then I was left twiddling my thumbs.  Jennifer, and about 30 other people I know, were running 3M, so I decided to do it too.  I was not planning to all out race or go for a personal best, but I wanted do it anyway.

Weather: 40 degrees with 15-18mph winds, feels like 30
Start: 6:45am (early!)
Course: point to point course, starting in North Austin, heading South to finish downtown near the Bob Bullock Museum.  This course is mostly downhill, except for a few challenging hills at the end around campus.  Lucky for us, the wind was blowing North to South so we got a nice tail wind most of the day. 

The big debate this morning was WHAT TO WEAR!  Pants or shorts, long sleeve/coat/short sleeve, how many layers?  GAH!  I went with pants, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt and jacket (all very thin), gloves, hat and ear cover.  I could have done without one of the shirts but was warm enough for sure.

I ran the first 6 or so miles with Jennifer at a pleasant 8:15-8:20 min/mile pace.  Then she dropped back a little and I kept up the pace to see if she wanted to stay with me.  I was TORN about whether to stay with Jenn or keep going.  I know sometimes in race I want to be left alone and other times I want to be encouraged and pushed.  I wasn't sure where Jenn was at (wanting to be encouraged or left alone).  Since she was still hanging back I decided to let her do her own thing.  At about mile 7 I took off and ran 7:40/mile the rest of the way.  At mile 11 I was feeling like the king of the world!  Then the hills around campus came and my knee and hamstring started to ache a bit.  I was definitely glad to see the finish line.  Official finish time: 1:47:50. 

Jennifer and Amanda at the finish line

Most importantly there were Tiff's Treats Chocolate Chip Cookies at the finish line and this race has the best race swag.  Overall, great race, I have NO complaints.  It was well organized, not too crowded but always runners around.  There were plenty of water stops and crowd support.  The buses from the finish back to the start were fast and we didn't have to wait at all.

Kickin' race swag from 3M

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it

*Editors note: sorry for the complete self indulgent bragging here

I love medals.  I usually hang my latest few at my desk at work and leave the rest stuffed in my dresser drawer.  I have seen some people turn their medals into Christmas ornaments - which is a super cute idea!  But for some reason the thought of putting my ornaments into storage is abhorrent to me.

I really need to sack up and get one of those cutsie displays on etsy already.  

Age Group Place Medals

Relay Medals and Plaque

Half Marathon Medals

Marathon Medals

Coolest Medals (Austin Half Marathon)

Maddy's Favorite Medal, from Dallas White Rock Half Marathon

And truth be told, after admiring all these medals and telling Maddy how I got them I wanted another one.  So I signed up for the 3M 1/2 this weekend to get myself some more!

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Episode of Hoarders

When Maddy helped me with organizing this weekend, I asked her to lay out all my running medals so that I could take a picture.  As she did that I opened a box where I throw random things I want to save like birthday cards, pictures, and mementos.  I found an envelope with all my old race numbers that I had saved and then found all the numbers stuck in random spots around my desk. 

Here is the stash in all my hoarding glory.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Race Report: Dash Down Greenville March 15, 2003

This weekend I did some organizing. And had a helper.  Maddy declared she was my helper for the day so I had to choose activities she could help with.  After cleaning my closet, the guest room closet, filing the kids art work, sorting socks and my drawer of running stuff it was time for fun with medals.

Look what I found!  My very first race bib from the Dash Down Greenville. 

My first 5k was in Dallas, March 15, 2003.  This was when John and I lived in Dallas and JOHN was running a lot.  I was not such a fan of running.  I would do Tae Bo and go to the gym with John but running was dumb.  The neighborhood of Lower Greenville in Dallas has a big St. Patty's Day celebration every year with a parade and all day drink fest.  The day kicks off with a 5k and John and I decided to do it.  I had no idea what to expect.

From what I remember, it was a good sized race.  It was crowded at the start but thinned out toward the end.  There were a ton of people out cheering the runners on.  I know I finished and told John that is was horrible, and hard and I hated it.  But was proud of myself for doing it and was glad to start drinking.  Finish time: 28:53 - not too shabby!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Boy Stuff

I don't think these pictures do justice to Jack's room.  Sunday Jack spent most of the day in his room doing boy stuff.  All the toys I had stored in his closet were dragged out.  The train was set up, ninjas rode the train then dragons destroyed the train.  Jack set up a Lego city that spanned across his desk, chair and floor.  The Lego guys rode the air craft carrier through the room, rolling over trucks and planes.  At one point he was playing in the hallway because there was no more room on the floor.  I love my girls and their tea parties and princess gowns, but boys are so much fun!

Monday, January 7, 2013


“When they had eventually calmed down a bit, and had gotten home, Mr. Duncan put the magic pebble in an iron safe. Some day they might want to use it, but really, for now, what more could they wish for? They all had all that they wanted.”
-William Steig, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble


Sylvester and the Magic Pebble 


John Lithgow reads the story HERE

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What to do? What to do?

I am currently not signed up for any races and have no definite race plan.  It feels very weird to me.

These are some races I'm considering:

Race Name Date Distance
3M 1/2 Marathon 1/13/2013 13.1
Cupids Chase 5K/Kids K Georgetown 2/2/2013 5K
Austin Marathon 2/17/2013 26.2
Woodlands Marathon 3/2/2013 26.2
Thin Mint Sprint/kids K 3/23/2013 5k
Texas Independence Relay 3/23/2013 13
Austin 10/20 4/14/2013 10
Big D Marathon Dallas 4/14/2013 26.2
OKC Marathon 4/28/2013 26.2
Pittsburgh Marathon 5/5/2013 26.2
Detuschen Pfest 5/19/2013 5k
Flying Pig Marathon Cincinnati 5/5/2013 26.2
Chicago Marathon 10/13/2013 26.2
Detroit Marathon 10/20/2013 26.2
Adoption Half Marathon or Marathon Oct-13
Houston Marathon Jan-14 26.2
Disney World Marathon Jan-14 26.2
Disney Princess Half Marathon Feb-14 13.1

Don't think I'm crazy, I won't do all those marathons.  I will pick 1 as my goal race for the next 6-12 months.  I'm just torn about what to do.  I did a lot of training to get to 26.2 and finish in 3:35.  5 days a week of running, 2 speed work and 1 long.  And I really followed the plan - for realz!  So part of me wants to capitalize on what I have already built and go for a spring marathon.  BUT I also have this annoying, nagging pain in my butt.  My right hamstring has been poking me for over a month and I think the only real solution is rest.  That means a fall or winter marathon.  Pro there is I could qualify in 3:40 (my current qualifying time for age 35 in 2015 is 3:40).  Con is starting my training all over in a few months. 

Plank Challenge

Susan at Mom Swim Bike Run is hosting a plank challenge. This is day 1.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Elphie 2012

A few of Elphie's adventures this year.  Or - Elphinious Sparkle Pants fun at the Mills.

Our elf returned this year after Thanksgiving and there was much screaming and hubbub his first day in the house.  Each morning he was in a different spot and the kids were eager to find him each day.  Sometimes he left treats, like candy canes, Hershey Kisses, glow sticks.  Sometimes he hid in their rooms and played with their toys.  Occasionally Jack would comment that his hiding spots weren't very good, and the next day he would be MUCH harder to find.

Many thanks to Mom Swim Bike Run, for posting pictures of what their family elf was up to.  It gave Elphie good ideas and maybe reminded him to move on more than one occasion!  We also heard the harrowing tale of Buddy, the elf across the street, who was touched one too many times and had to return to the North Pole to keep his magic.  It was a good reminder of the rules for the Mills.  I love that the kids love Elphie so much and it gets them into the holiday spirit.  Elphie was given their letters to Santa and pictures and thank you notes.  Maddy has asked a few times were he went and already wants to know when he's coming back. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge Part 3

Really seems unnecessary to drag this out for 3 posts, but I'm doing it.

Tuesday morning the kids and John slept until 8:30/9.  I was wide awake trying very hard to be quiet and let them all get much needed sleep.  We had to be out of our room by 11, but could stay at the hotel as long as we wanted.

We did the big buffet breakfast and then headed to the pool.  I got to go on a big water slide with Gwen.  While I was screaming (sort of fun scream, sort of terrified we're going to flip the tube scream), she's yelling "This is the best thing ever!".

After that we got dressed and packed up all our stuff.  John loaded up the car (thanks Dad!) and then we made our last trip to the casino, I mean arcade.  The kids spent the last of their tokens.  The girls got their sparkle tattoos (included with the Paw Pass) and Gwen and John became wizards or lord magi or something.  Jack refused the sparkle tattoo, cause he's too manly for that.  Instead he wore his party hat and hit us with his balloon sword. 

And that concludes our Great Wolf adventure and Christmas vacation.  John and I are very glad to return to work on Wednesday.  And I suspect Jack and Maddy are glad to go to pre-school and play with their other friends.  Gwen would prefer to stay home the rest of the week, but too bad for her.  The house is littered with Legos, Barbies and other toys.  We still have way too many holiday goodies left and my pants are barely fitting.  Time to get back to the routine!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge Part 2

Day 2 the kids were up bright and early.  Jack slept with me and even with the dark hotel curtains he saw the edges of light and said "I'll just check if its morning" as the threw open the curtains and then turned on all the lights.  We did breakfast in the room, after picking up fruit and muffins the night before.

Then it was divide and conquer.  Even though the kids were mostly well behaved, we did have the typical grouchy behavior, whining, complaining, pouting, etc, as each kid took a turn being a jerk.  It was Jack's turn Monday morning, so while John took the girls I went with Jack to the arcade.  He was very excited to find the 'candy' game, and spent all this tokens winning and eating candy.

Jack and Blizzard ride the bus
Punching ducks

After that Maddy joined us to visit the Cub Club.  With their Paw Pass they got color a pillow case or t-shirt.  Jack picked the t-shirt and Maddy went with the pillow case (which Gwen also chose later).

Craft time in da Cub Club

Jack and Blizzard at the Cub Club

Attention to detail
Meanwhile, John and Gwen were in the water park, enjoying the big slides and swimming.  They ate lunch together and also visited the Cub Club.  Jack, Maddy and Mom went to lunch.  Mommy had a well deserved beer, which was not photographed.

Maddy with her adorable wolf ears

After that we went back to the room to attempt naps.  Mom, Dad and Jack fell asleep but the girls did not.  After 90 minutes I finally dragged myself up (no small feat after the afternoon beer) and took the girls back to the pool.  By the way, all three kids have declared they are NOT going to sleep New Year's Eve and plan to stay up all night.  I plan to go to bed at 9.

please, Mom, no more photos

Gwen on the kiddie slide


Maddy might be getting tired?

Great Wolf Lodge had a bunch of New Year's Eve activities planned to entertain the kids and the place was getting packed.  We made giant snowflakes, went to the dance party and then walked a half mile through the hotel the the conference center.  They had balloon animals, face painting, party hats and games.  The face painting line was already too long, so we got our party blowers (so f-ing loud) and headed to dinner.  Oh! I almost forgot the MAGICIAN!  There was a magician doing shows and he was pretty good, the kids thought he was hilarious.

Now he's happy!
Dinner was kind of a bust.  We did the NYE buffet but by the time we sat the kids were just too tired to really eat.  We got put at a 4 top because the place was jam packed, but they comped a meal for us (and didn't charge for the twins).  Gwen complained her stomach hurt, tears and wailing.  When I suggested she just eat dessert, her stomach got better quickly. 

The kids still swear they will not sleep.  It must have been 8:30 by now.  I convinced Jack and Maddy to get their pajamas on while John and Gwen continues on their magical quests.  Maddy really wanted to go back to the dance party and actually talked Jack into going, so off we went to dance, dance, dance.

This was pretty funny.  Typical guy, Jack feels awkward dancing, so he sat on the side half the time looking annoyed.  Then the music would change and he would run out and dance like a maniac.  So "Macarena" - no dancing.  "Cotton Eyed Joe" - dancing fool.  There was a DJ playing kid appropriate music, most kids were 3-14.  There were also 2 young guys leading the dances and a 12-13 year old kid (one of the other guys' brother) dancing.  This 13 year old was dancing all the moves to what I think was a One Direction song, lip syncing and everything.  Maddy was hypnotized.  (it was dark in the room, but my flash makes this look less fun). 

The dancing is amazing

After Jack had all the dancing he could put up with we headed back to the room.  I assumed once these kids laid down they would be asleep in 5 minutes.  No, no.  They watched New Year's Rockin' Eve until 10.  Then John put on PBS, showing the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, snooze fest, right?  Nope, they were all in.  Finally Maddy dropped off about 10:30, followed by John and Gwen by 11.  Jack and I were the last ones and Jack may have been the last one up. 

Fun night!  It was a great New Year's Eve with the family!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Great Wolf Fun Part 1

For the kids Christmas gift this year, from John and I, we decided to take them to Great Wolf Lodge for 3 days and 2 nights of kid entertainment.  In the end it was more money than we would have spent on gifts but less "stuff" that we do not need.  Just 2 weeks before Christmas Gwen asked me when we were going back to Great Wolf Lodge, they had so much fun on our first visit in July.  I said "I don't know" but was very glad it was on her mind.

Christmas Day they opened gifts from Santa, Aunts & Uncles, and Grandma B.  It was PLENTY of stuff.  The very last gift was a bag with the stuffed animal wolves and a note that said something to the effect of "we're your new wolf puppies, name us, love us... yada/yada/yada.  Come visit our home at Great Wolf Lodge yada/yada/yada."  It should have just read "GREAT WOLF LODGE" and it would have been more dramatic. 

So, on Sunday the 30th the kids were bursting with excitement, bags packed and ready to go.  We drove up to the lodge and got there at 1:30.  Our room was ready  and we quickly got ready to hit the water park.  After some swim time we enjoyed the other hotel activities. 


brought her favorite toys

For this trip we got the kids the "Paw Pass", this included a bunch of the hotel activities that you could pay individually but with the pass it was cheaper.  We didn't do this the first trip, and I knew the kids wanted to do most of the activities so we went all in.

First mission - ICE CREAM!

Then it was time to begin MagiQuest.  This was pretty cool.  Gwen loved it, but Jack and Maddy were maybe a year too young to really enjoy it, or have the energy.  Each kid got a magic wand and is sent on quests throughout the hotel to find clues and earn ruins that make them, I don't know, senior magi?  The clues are hidden in stairwells, the lobby, hallways, through the 8 floors of the hotel.  It was exhausting, but super fun.

Yes, that is how much Maddy liked it

Little wizard
The kids also got stuffed animals, Build-a-Bear style, and dress them up.  Jack's wolf, Blizzard, was his constant companion the rest of the trip.

Violet and Gwen

Jack and Blizzard

We finished up the night with story time in the lobby that included SNOW!  Or as close as we'll get to snow anyway.


Waiting for the story with their buddies