Wednesday, December 29, 2010

what's behind me, and what's ahead

I've been thinking of this past year, and it's been a good one. 

I had two main goals for 2010, run a marathon and run 1,000 miles. I managed to complete my marathon in September, even though I injured my hamstring two weeks before the race.  Hammy flared up every now and then, and I ended up taking a total of 5 weeks off to let it heal completely. So as of today, my miles for the year are 827.5.  A bit disappointed that I didn't reach 1,000, but the important thing is that I kept at it, even when I realized I wouldn't make it.  I didn't keep track of all the miles I put in on my bike, or walks with the kids and Frank, or even my yoga/DVD workouts, so I'll bet I reached 1,000 when you add all those miles to my running total.  So it's all good.

I also had some fun moments:

Getting my tattoo:

Getting Frank:

Lovin' on Mike and my kids:

Running with my friends:

Being with family:

Now, Goals for 2011:

Goal #1: Stay injury free. I'm going to keep up the cross training to make sure this goal is attained!

Goal #2: Mystery Marathon. I won't find out if I can run this until March.  Fingers crossed.

Goal #3: A Duathlon. There is Du the Lakes on May 7th, at Green Lakes, here in Syracuse.  I think this would be a fun new challenge.

Goal #4: 1,000 running miles. 

Goal #5: run my favorite local races.  Syracuse is hosting the inaugural Empire State Marathon and Half on October 16, I think I'll tackle the half.  On my wish list, are the New Bedford Half Marathon, and the Hershey Half Marathon.

I'm going to keep experimenting in the kitchen, keep up with my reading, and enjoy my kids, family and friends.  Mike and I would really love to take the kids to Disney in 2011, so we'll see what happens. 

I've been lucky to work with some great companies to do giveaways for friends of my blog, there are still a few days left for my CEP compression shorts if you haven't seen it, here.

It's been a really good year for us, and I'm very fortunate.

Happy New Year Peeps.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A New Christmas

"There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called "The Present." ~ Kung Fu Panda

A friend of mine included this quote in her Christmas card this year, and I found it fitting, especially this year.

For the past 14 years, travel has been involved for us for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Last Christmas was the last one we spent at my Mom's house, and all of us were together, she has since sold her house and moved on.  So this year my family came to us for Thanksgiving, which meant a travel free Christmas for us at home. No hiding presents in the car, no battling bad travel weather or traffic, just staying home.  And we were very excited for that.

I had great plans for Christmas Eve, we were going to Mike's sisters house, for her big Italian fish dinner.  I wanted to go out for a run that morning to participate in the Santa Hat run that was organized on Daily Mile. But the one thing you can count on with kids, is that one of them will get sick.  Poor Lukie got the stomach flu the night before Christmas Eve, and he and I were up all night.  So instead of a morning run, I slept. Luke was feeling much better later in the day, but he hung out at home with Mike while Eliza and I went to the dinner, but we brought goodies back for them.

It was so nice to be home Christmas Eve.  Here are the kids and Frank putting out food for the reindeer:

Christmas morning was nice and mellow. Frank was zonked out on the couch in the living room, so the kids could open gifts in the family room in peace. I got a lovely new purse, as well as a stocking full of chocolate:

Santa brought the kids a new toy kitchen, to replace the one that "was for babies." He got a really good deal on it, and now I know why.  There were so many friggin' pieces in that box, it took me HOURS to put it together. 

The day was full of various toy assembly, a visit from Mike's parents, and snacking.  We rotated Christmas movies for background noise, and stayed in our pajamas.  I didn't shower until the afternoon, and got right back into my pj's.  Then it was time to tackle dinner, Mike took control of the prime rib roast, and I handled the side dishes.

Cauliflower gratin from Ina Garten, I used half the milk and butter that the recipe called for, and it still came out perfect:

"Perfect Roasted Potatoes" from Nigella Lawson. Nigella says in her cook book that when they are finished roasting, you put them in a dish to "bring to the table with pride in your heart" and I really did.

After the kids went to bed, Mike and I sat by the tree, having cocktails and being lazy.  Can you hear my sigh of contentment?

It was a different Christmas, a lovely Christmas, just hanging out with my little family. 

Which is what Christmas is all about.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A giveaway for all you compression lovers

Three days until Christmas.  I've finished my shopping, almost finished wrapping gifts, but still need to get some things for Christmas Dinner. I think I enjoy Christmas Eve more than the actual Day....all the anticipation and excitement and feeling celebratory. 

So before I wish you a Merry Merry, I have one final review and giveaway, and it's a good one. And it involves CEP Compression Short Tights.

One again I'm working with David at, who has graciously let me test out the tights.  Although my pulled hamstring is pretty much back to normal, I'm still hesitant about testing it's limits. So these were the perfect addition to my running gear.

I'm going to plagiarize myself a bit, this is what I wrote in about compression in my review of the CEP Socks.....if you aren't familiar, compression is used to help with muscle recovery either during or after exercise. The compression increases circulation, which flushes out lactic acid, thus helping to improve your performance. They also support muscles that have been injured, like shin splints or dreaded plantar fasciitis (which I've dealt with on and off for years now), by reducing the muscle vibration in the tissue.

This is what the shorts looked like when I opened them, at first glance I thought at first that they would fit Luke, and not me!  But no worries.

Here is the front of the shorts:

Here is the back:

Note the spot that you can use to help pull the shorts up. At first I thought it was a place to hold a gel, but as I wiggled into them, Mike pointed out that I could grab that to help hoist them up over my rear (Baby's got a bit 'o Back) There is also a mesh panel right above that, I'm assuming to help let your skin breathe.

It was also pretty helpful to have directions on how to actually get into them:

I love the coverage, the shorts start at my waist and go all the way down to my knees.  They gave great support to my quads, hamstrings and glutes.  They definitely fit snugly, but not in a bad way, I didn't feel like a sausage or anything.  The stitching was flat, overall it was a smooth fit.

I tested them out on an outside run, Eliza was at a friends house for the morning, so I had enough time to get out for six miles.  I wore them under a pair of running pants.  It was 27 degrees, with a few flurries in the air, but the roads were fairly clear so I hit the pavement. 

I felt great as I ran, honestly like I had a spring in my step.  I love the word "jaunty" as in jaunty step, and I totally felt that way.  And not a single protest from Hammy.  I kept them on after I got home, to quickly tidy up the house, take Frank for a walk, and wrap a few Christmas presents.  I felt good the rest of the day, and even better, great the next day.

I was really happy with the shorts.  If you have a last minute gift to get for someone (or yourself), you can use code RS10 to take 10% off a pair of shorts at  CEP recently lowered the price of the shorts to $99, with the code you end up paying $91!

Now onto the giveaway, there are two requirements to enter, and it's open to residents of the U.S.:

1. go to's facebook page here, join the page, then write on their wall. Tell them I sent you : )
2. come back to my blog, and leave me a comment telling you did so.

After you've done that, for bonus entries, you may:

1. be a friend of my blog
2. share the info of the giveaway on twitter, facebook, or blog
3. tell me what your goal is for 2011
4. tell me if you know what the name of my blog means

This giveaway expires at midnight New Years Eve.  I'll choose a winner using on January First.

Good Luck!!  and Merry Christmas!

Note: I was provided with a pair of shorts for the purpose of this review.  My thoughts on the product are entirely my own.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I love it when the Mailbox holds something other than bills

Today the mail carrier brought me my gift from Jill's Blog Gift Exchange!

It came from Tara, which was a pleasant surprise. That girl kills me, her blog was the first running blog I've ever read, hopefully I can make it out to Colorado for a race at some point, then I can meet both Tara AND Jill : )

The headband is a perfect addition to my winter running gear, it even has a spot for my ponytail.  Thanks Tara!!! 

Stay tuned, because I have one final review/giveaway for 2010, and it's a reaaallly good one.  The only hint I'll give is a photo of the box it came in, which Luke turned into a robot helmet.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tell Me Where You Live

Thanks for the great feedback on the mantra stickers, I really liked reading your mantras as well!

Luckily, I have more than 20 stickers to give away : ) So....if you're one of the 34 commenter's on my sticker post, email me your address so I can send you one!  Although I won't be sending them out until after Christmas, there is no way I'm going into the madness at the Post Office this time of year.

Last night we got Frank ready for his first Christmas, poor doggie.

And here he is, dignity intact.  Sitting in front of the heat vent, his favorite spot.

I also made Frank and Mike a Christmas Stocking. Mike's is very generic, so I thought I'd spice it up for him. Martha Stewart I'm not.  He said it looks like I made it for a 14 year old girl.

I love this time of year. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Would you like my Mantra?

I have favorite quotes, favorite song lyrics, favorite sayings.  When I started training for my marathon, I needed something to run to, something to think of during the long weeks of training, and in tough moments.  Something to keep me going.

I came across a phrase last year, I can't remember if I read it in a book or magazine, but once I read it, it was singed into my brain.  It became my running mantra.  And I thought of it during my lowest point of my marathon last September.

Here it is:

Thanks to the lovely folks at, my running mantra has been made into a bumper sticker!  

I have stickers to share, if anyone is interested.  Right now I have 20 available, with more to come.  If you would like one, leave me a comment, let me know if you have a mantra, and what it is.  I'm not sure what kind of response I'll get for this, but I'll keep this post up until Saturday, and if I have more than 20 comments, to be fair, I'll choose 20 using 

Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Running Tag, and Preschool Debacles

I've been tagged by Miss Zippy to answer some running questions.......

Do you prefer winter or summer running? Why?

If I have to choose, I pick summer.  You have less layers to wear, there is no danger in falling on ice, and it feels really good to dunk your hot feet in the baby pool afterwards.  Plus you look hardcore when you're dripping with sweat.

What's been your toughest race to date? 

The marathon.  Not only because it was the longest race I've done, but my stomach gave me issues, and I was dealing with a pulled hamstring. But I finished!

Running goals for 2011?

1. I'd like to do another marathon.
2. I'm also going to try and run 1,000 miles again, because it's not going to happen this year. Darn injuries.
3. I also want to mix things up a bit, and try a Duathlon.

Do you have any other passions in life?

FOOD! I love to cook, by myself or with my husband.  I love to cook for others.  I love to go out for dinner at a high end place, and I'm just as happy to go to a diner.  Or grab a slice of pizza.  Or take the kids for ice cream. I love wine, and I love a dirty martini. With bleu cheese stuffed olives.  Okay, I'll stop now.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

It would be nice to live somewhere coastal, maybe the West Coast.  I honestly do like living in NY, because in just a few hours, I can drive to NYC, the beaches of Long Island, or the mountains of the Adirondacks.

Now, I need to tag three people....let's go with the boys this time: Luke, Mike, and Johann.

Eliza's preschool had a little Christmas show for us on Friday. 

Eliza is all about music, she loves to listen to it, has a variety of instruments (including a ukulele), and she'll walk around the house singing into a straw as a microphone.  So she was very excited to sing her Rudolph song, complete with antlers.  Although she got a bit too excited.  While jumping up and down, dancing, and being the star of the show, she pulled a Me.  Or, I should say, a Mary Catherine Gallagher move, in the form of dancing so much she backed into the bulletin board behind her, and wiped out. Big Time.  There was the expected GASP!! Ohhhhhhh! from the parents, and Miss E burst into tears.  I just think she was pissed because her performance was interrupted.  She was okay after a few minutes, and the show went on. 

Luckily, Mike has it all on tape.  So we can show it at her wedding.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I guess I could pay closer attention

I love my Jeep. Especially in the snow, when I can drive with confidence, and especially in the summertime when I open the sun roof and blast my tunes.  I love it, but I'm kind of bad at taking care of it.  As you can tell by the following exchange from last Saturday:

Mike: your tires are squealing, when was the last time you put air in them?
Me: ummmmmm....

Mike: why is your Service Light going off? 
Me: ummmmmm.....

Mike: do you need an oil change? When was the last time you had an oil change?
Me: ummmmmmm...

Today I came out of the grocery store, and my back tire was so low, I thought I had a flat.  A helpful gentleman looked at it, didn't think it was completely flat, and suggested I go across the street to the tire place and have them check it out. So off I went.

Service Dude: When did you last put air in your tires?
Me: Saturday!

Service Dude: Is it a Jeep Limited or Jeep Laredo?
Me: ummmmmm, Limited??

Service Dude:  How many miles are on it?
Me: blank stare.

Service Dude: Do you have Triple A?
Me: Yes!

Service Dude: Can I see your card?
Me: (searching through purse) hmmmmmm, must be in my other bag.

New Service Dude: So how many tickets have you gotten?
Me: Speeding Tickets?! Only one!

New Service Dude: No, for your expired inspection. It was due in October.
Me: blank stare.

Maybe taking care of my automobile should be a New Years Resolution.

So the snow has finally stopped, after dumping over four feet onto us, my outdoor Christmas decor is completely covered, the snow banks are taller than Frankie.  No outdoor runs, but I did hit the treadmill three times, so it's all good. But I was really looking forward to this weekend, a kid free/dog free weekend in the form of a Christmas party Saturday, and going to the Buffalo Bills/Cleveland Brown's game Sunday.  But the weather has other plans, in the form of an Nor'easter heading our way.  I knew we had to cancel when my friend Dawn (from Buffalo) started talking about bringing toilet paper and extra food in the car, in case we got stuck on the Thruway for a day or two.  I feel bad for Mike, who is a huge Cleveland fan.  Although I was a little nervous when he he said he was going to wear his Cleveland hat, because I heard Bill's fans can be a little nutty.   

I can't help but add more snow pictures:

OH! And I forgot the winner of my CSN Giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered, picked #66, Karen from The Burrows Underground.  Send me an email and I'll get you hooked up!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last Run

The last outdoor run I take before winter truly sets in, always stays in my mind.  Last year it was a late afternoon run, and as it got dark, it started to snow, and that's when I knew one season ended, and another had begun.

It was the same thing last Friday.  I was eager to get out and run, even though it was 27 degrees.  I wore my pink compression socks for warmth, running pants, and a sweet hot pink UnderArmour compression shirt that I won from Kim.  It's really soft, and fit perfectly.  I realized how lucky I was to be getting an hour to run, December is getting busy, and Eliza's school is closing a week earlier than usual, due to construction in the building.  So after I dropped her off, I took off on the trails of my neighborhood.

It was a really good run. I don't know if it was the shirt, the cold air, or just being happy. I did have a moment when I did a little dance that was not intentional, when I hit a patch of mud that had an invisible layer of ice on it.  I even let out a little whoop while I succeeded in not falling!  But as I ran I had that thought in my brain, that this was my last outdoor run of the year before the snow flies.  It started that afternoon, and it has been flying ever since.

After six miles, I ran right to my Jeep, hopped in and headed to Toys R Us to get a few more things for the kids, raced back home, hid them in the guest room, then went back out to pick up Miss E.  I was so happy to get that run in, the rest of the day was a snap.

We are indeed getting a record snowfall, case in point, our deck, which Mike has already cleared off a couple of times with the snow blower.  Note the empty case of Yuengling that has been sitting there since Thanksgiving weekend.  And will probably sit there until New Years.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shop Shop Shop at CSN

It's a perfect time of year for another giveaway from in a $75 gift card!

CSN has been popular in the blogosphere, and with over 200 online stores, you can find everything from exercise equipment, to counter height stools, or great cookware!  I myself have a set of sautee pans from CSN that I love, as well as a set of kettlebells which have been a great addition to my workouts.

So if you're in the mood to skip the mall, and would rather shop online in the comfort of your home, here's how you can enter:

1. Be a Friend of my blog, or become one (required)
2. Check out CSN Stores, and let me know what you would choose (required)
3. Spread the word, via blog, twitter, Facebook etc. and so on
4. Tell me if you have any New Year's Resolutions for 2011

Giveaway ends at midnight EST on Thursday December 9th.

Good Luck!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making a plan. Let's see how it pans out.

I've been thinking more and more about my race schedule for next year, and it's shaping up to be a nice mix of old and new, local, and a bit of travel.

My local races are pretty much a given, the Tipperary Hill Shamrock Run 4 miler (fun, fun, fun), the Mountain Goat 10 miler, the Boilermaker 15k (2011 marks my 5th year running it). But I've really wanted to explore some new races, which would only be a few hours away by car.

So here is some new stuff:

The first is the New Bedford, MA Half Marathon, in March, where the post race food is seafood and clam chowder.  Chow-dah!! yum. My BFF Jennifer is running it as her first half marathon, and it would mean a lot to me to run it with her. 

The second is the Hershey Half Marathon in October, which I heard about from Mike.  I've wanted to take the kids to Hershey, so this would be a great trip for all of us.  Plus they have a chocolate station. Who needs water when you can have chocolate!!

The third is the Flower City Challenge, which takes place in Rochester.  Mark got me thinking about this one.  It's a weekend of races, including a half marathon, as well as a duathlon, that has me intrigued.  One drawback is that it's the same weekend as the Mountain Goat, but I'm still annoyed about my performance in that race, so we'll see what happens.

and..... finally.......Marathon #2.  I'm working on something for next fall, and I don't want to jinx it by talking about it.  Just keep your fingers crossed for me, and when I figure it out, you'll be the first to know......

(insert smiley face here).