Saturday, April 25, 2009

Doubling the Happy

As I said last post. That is my new running mantra.

But boy today did I ever set myself up for possible disappointment and definitely not running happy by doing a 5k and a 10k back to back. I needed a speed workout and I needed to get miles over 50. Also, as soon as I finish the Twisted Ankle marathon I am going to shift gears and focus this summer on finding some speed. I would like to run a 3:20 marathon next year (really 3:23 but might as well shoot for 3:20).

At my current level I don't have the raw speed to support a 3:20 marathon. So before I set myself up for too ambitious goals I need to make some speed gains at the shorter distances. The McMillan Calculator is a pretty handy tool for figuring out training paces and setting races goals based on recent race times and various distances. But let me warn you: the calculator is just a tool, not a contract. So don't get your heart set on anything you may see there. Like it has been telling me based on my shorter races that I can run a 3:24 marathon. That hasn't happened yet. But to me this just means that if I can get faster at the shorter distances than I am now that I might see such a marathon eventually. . .

So, yeah, anyway . . .

My goal for the 5k was to PR--which is anything better than 21:10.

My goal for the 10k was to run next year's goal marathon pace which is (hopefully) 7:35-45 range.

And today . . . I met one of my goals and exceeded the other.

I ran VERY happy today.

Okay, that isn't entirely true. I felt like hot dog poop the entire 5k except the first 30 seconds. But for the 10k I felt AWESOME almost the whole time--until the last 1/4 mile where suddenly I felt like I was moving in slow motion.

You know I can drag anything out so here is the long race report but I have pictures too to help you wade through my lengthy discourse.

Here I am driving to the race:

It is early!

Here is the sun coming up as I drive down Willeo. This road sucks. It screws me on the bike. It is a long down hill that we ride to the river--after several miles of uphill. The downhill is fabulous but it is little reward for the uphills you just rode because you always have to stop at the light. And that takes all the fabulousness out of the downhill because you have to remember to down shift so you don't fall over when the light changes because you are in a high gear. Then leaving the river you have to ride up Willeo. It isn't hard just really really long. You just can't win on this road is all I am saying. But it looked pretty this morning. Ignore my dirty windshield please.
This morning was also warm. It is probably going to be the warmest day we've had all year. The sun wasn't even up and my car said it was 58 degrees. The high today is suppose to be in the 80's. For the 5k I would say it was about 60-65 and for the 10k it was probably almost 70 at the finish. Driving back my car said 74. Luckily the race was by the river which is one, mostly shaded and two, you get a bit of cool breeze coming off the river for most of the run. Oh it helped that both course are pretty flat. Hills and heat are never my friend.

I got to the start and found Doug.
Doug was running the 5k/10k double with me (we are also running the Twisted Ankle Trail marathon in a few weeks together too).

His wife Steph was pushing the girls in the jogger for the 5k and then taking the girls to do the fun run.

Doug and I have known each other since middle school. He and his guy friends use to call me in the middle night and tell me what they wrote in sharpie on whoever had the misfortune of passing out first (usually Ross). Steph we met our freshman year of college. The three of us live very close and have been training together for the past 3 years.

Unfortunately Steph has had plantar fasciitis pretty bad and has been sidelined for awhile now. But she is starting to make a come back.

Here is Steph also with her sister Jen. I think this was to be Jen's first 5k. But just before the start she got the call to come catch a baby and had to leave. (she's OB/GYN). Congrats to whoever had a baby today!

Then I had to put my camera away because I didn't want to run with it. Doug and I lined up the front. He had us smack in the middle and I insisted we move to the side. Finally some of the really fast boys showed up and got in front of us and I felt better about everything.

Mayor Woods, in his bow-tie said go. Really. He said "go". I was kinda waiting for a horn or a gun so I a bit caught off guard.

As I mentioned before I felt pretty good the first 30 seconds. I knew I was going to run fine since my calf hadn't bothered me at all in my warm up. I had been worried since I ran 21 miles Tuesday (8:26 pace) and then 12 (8:14 pace) on Thursday. Sometimes I recover fast; sometimes I don't. I usually don't know until I try to run fast. I could run every single day so long as it was slooowwwww. Fast (again fast being a relative term) is always hard for me: it takes more out of me than long runs.

The only split I have for the 5k is the first: 6:12. Totally ridiculous. I have never run a 6:12 mile ever that I know of.

The first mile and a half I was right beside or on the heels of first and second women. They had racing flats on. Me? I had my marathon trainers on. Clearly, not a professional. As is always the case in a 5k I begin to fade hard and the girls pulled away from me. I cheered for the first place guy as he passed me when I was approaching the turn around. I think I surprised him cause he looked at me like I was crazy. But I wanted to let him know that 2nd place wasn't that far behind him. Just trying to be helpful.

At the turn around I saw Doug and we high-fived. Then in mile 2 I passed Steph going out and we high-fived. The guy manning the traffic at Riverside and Dogwood threw me a thumbs up and I gave him one back.

Just as I was approaching the 3 mile marker Doug surged past me. I thought bastard but yelled "Go Doug!" He beat me by 5 seconds (but I beat him in the 10k.)

I ran down the finish and hit my watch for 20:49!!!!! A 21 second PR. Not smashing, I know, but my goal was to Pr and (secretly) to run under 21. So I did it! I was 3rd woman over-all and first in my age group.

My friend Todd--who I must give a shout out for having just run 2:54 at Boston this week--was handing out flyers for the Big Peach 5k and congratulated me.

Some old man told me if nothing else I won for best hair style. I appreciated that since this is the only hair style I can do that doesn't leave my hair a matted mess of dreadlocks. Glad someone thinks it looks good.

Doug and I filled out our cards, grabbed some water and I had a Gu and checked my watch: 7:55 am. The 10k was starting in 5 minutes and we had a bit of walk to get to it so we high tailed it to the start for the 10k.

The 10k didn't start promptly at 8 am as I thought it would. Which was probably good since it gave my heart a little more time to get out of my throat. My plan was to run the first mile recovery and then see how much I could push it. We lined up mid pack and waited.

Finally we were moving. And instantly I was ready to roll. I weaved through the crowd and tried to remind myself to take it slow. When I passed the guy manning the intersection at Dogwood and Riverside he did a double take and gave me a little applause. Guess he remembered me.

I was both surprised and happy at the first mile split being 7:15. I was feeling really good! Today? Today I LOVED 10k's. Much better than the 5k.

Check out my splits:
Mile 2: 7:15
Mile 3: 7:15--3/4 of this mile was on gravel road. I thought I would slow but I didn't.
Mile 4: 7:29--I walked an aid station to drink some water. I also saw on the turn around that I was probably in 4th or 5th place for the girls. This really surprised me.
Mile 5: 7:14 Still feeling really good. Pass guy at the intersection again and he gives me 2 thumbs up. I throw one back to him.
Mile 6: 7:22 I started to slow a bit in hopes that I could really sprint it out.
Mile .2: 1:54 Unfortunately as soon as I passed the 6 mile sign I felt like I was suddenly moving in slow motion or wading through molasses. I was very hot and, well, suddenly, tired.
But the finish was there and I crossed at 45:47 for an average 7:23 pace.

I was 31st over all, either 4th or 5th woman and 2nd in my age group. Not a bad day at the races.

More pictures:
Annika with her award

Dagny with hers (I told her to hold it up)

Doug was first in his AG for the 5k. He did not want me to take his picture.

And me, with my bookends:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bad Race Gone Happy

So behind here, I know . . .

Last weekend I ran a 10k and I totally bombed it.

But I am okay about it. I knew I would bomb it. I had some great workouts last week. Most mentionable I ran 20 miles at Kennesaw Mountain (that's off road!) with Ms. sub 3 hour marathoner Kate Brun (good luck at Country Music Marathon! You will do awesome!)

I LOVE running with her. She is everything I am not--most notably, positive. Running with her pushes me to not only run faster and stay honest but also stay positive. She even gave me a hat that says "Run Happy".

Here I am on our run around 17-18 miles--"running happy."

Last week ended up being a big week considering it was less than 3 weeks from GA ING. I say big week for me because I know there are many runners out there who put in a lot more miles than I. On Friday I was at 53 miles for the week and my legs were dead; swollen even.

I know what you are hearing is excuses--I hate them too. But a smarter runner than I would have said--Wow! I am toast this week. I am in no shape to race.

But I had planned to race something on Saturday.

Never one with the best laid plans, am I?

A few weeks ago I was having beers with my good friend Dee Dee. She told me I should do "this 10k" by her house--"you could totally win," she added, dangling the carrot. Whatever I thought. I never win (that 5k was a total fluke.)

But still, the line? It was baited and I am a dumb fish.

My original plan was to run the Sweetwater 5k that day and drink copious amounts of beer at the festival after wards (that part of the plan I did adhere to).
But I never got around to registering and I when I tried online registration it had been closed. I didn't want to worry about driving downtown and not getting a number. Dee called me Friday afternoon and reminded me about the 10k and offered to go sign me up. So I was on board--all the way though nay saying the sense of me racing in my condition.

While we were on the phone--discussing the next day's plans-- we stalked last year's results together. Winning woman was 44:xx.

I've run several 10k's(though I've only run about 8 10k's in my life) in the 44xx range and even one sub 44. But, as I told Dee, I was not in the shape to run 44 tomorrow. I kinda wondered if sub 48 was even in the cards.

I am not kidding; my legs were in bad shape. Too much mileage not enough recovery. I had run--since the Ga marathon and including the marathon--almost 150 miles in 2 1/2 weeks. That is a lot for me--at least after a marathon.

Then I looked at Dee's time from last year: 1:02 xx. What's that about I asked her? That is about the same pace you run a half marathon at. You should definitely be sub 1 hour 10k, I told her. She responded with "I just run my little pace for everything"

I told her she should try to be faster.

She told me she didn't really care.

I, of course, did not believe her.

First, let me say this about Dee. She is beautiful. All the boys drool for her. Wait, I know this blog is "useless without pictures" so here is an oldie but goodie of me and Dee: Strangely, the only pictures I have of her and I we are wearing costumes. She is, if nothing else, a kindred spirit.

But sadly, she is not as much the runner as I am but is rather lady-who-is-tennis-who-sometimes-runs-a-half-marathon--occasionally-a-10k-just because she can (with very little training).

I woke up race morning and the legs were still not good. Trying to be Positive Nat instead of Negative Nat I stuck with my plan. I got to the start early and had tons of time to warm up. I ran, stopped and stretched and ran and stretched some more. My left calf was not with the program. I kept thinking if I could it warm it up really good I would be okay and could nail some hard paces. But the reality of it was I just wasn't feeling it. I knew it but I go in with the attitude of you don't know until you try. Fact of the matter is though; that sometimes you do know. You just hope you are wrong--even when you know you are right.

I met up with Dee before the race and she instructed me to "get in front." I did but then I got intimidated by a few girls who were much faster looking than I that were also toeing the front line. So I stepped a row back.

Off we went and after a bit I thought, hmm I feel pretty good. This might be my day after all. . . Then I checked my watch and saw that only 45 seconds had passed.

I tried my best to stay behind she-who looked-the-fastest-of-them-all but I did end up passing her pretty early on. I could "feel" her on my heels though and it really really really bugged me. I felt like she had picked me out and I just wanted to be left alone. I wanted no part of competition--which, of course, was because I knew I couldn't win. Who wants to compete if you know you are going to lose. You have to think you are going to win to win-- or at least have some tiny, teeny part of you that thinks that. I had no small--even microscopic-- parts of me thinking that. And as it turned out--my whole being was right on. And this is one of those times where being right was really not what I wanted . . .

About a half mile in my calves were locked and the suckage of a 10k was hard upon me.

I hit the first split in 7:05. I was fine with this time--this is a hilly 10k and I really wasn't expecting much out of me--but my calves were just getting worse and now we were starting on an uphill. I started thinking about it and decided that wow! 10k's suck and I was NOT having fun! The idea of 37+ more minutes of this agony was just not something I was up for after all. This? Was most definitely not "running happy." And me? I am about the happy (or so I keep telling myself). So when I saw the water stop I stopped and decided I would wait for Dee. I decided it would be more to run with a friend.

I waited for what felt like FOREVER but really was only a few minutes.

She saw me and was like; "What the hell?! You were doing good!".I told her I wasn't doing good and wasn't up for the fight. But I would be helping her run a PR and she would be going under the hour. She didn't seem as happy at this news as I thought she should be.

What.EVER!!! And so began my cheer leading and chatter for the next 4 and so miles. I knew I was being annoying and Dee kept saying "Really, if you are feeling it you should go on! Really."

And I would assure her I was right where I wanted to be. Running fast? Over-rated. Painful. 10k's? They suck! But she? She was doing awesome!

Do you feel like you are going to throw up a little? I would ask.

Yeah-- a little, she would admit.

And I would cheerfully tell her THAT is AWESOME! That means you are running EXACTLY how you should be!!

She looked at me like I was crazy. Or like she wanted to trip me.

See Dee? Dee runs pretty. I kept thinking she is looking too good; we should go faster. And I would try to pick up the pace and if she lagged I would slow, otherwise I would hold it and she would run faster to keep up.

At four miles--after the worst of the hills-- I told her that she had 24 minutes to run 2.2 miles to get under the hour. That she had this, I told her. And that seemed to rally her. Her miles were actually getting faster. I guess she realized that the only way to get rid of my annoying presence would be to get this race over with.

As soon as we passed the 6 mile marker I picked out a tree 50 or so feet ahead of us and told her: See that tree? (she nodded blindly) When we get to it I am going to start sprinting and you better chase me. She nodded. You see that young girl in the blue shirt, I asked. She nodded again, looking at me like I was little crazy (I am). She's going down, I told her. You are going to beat her. She nodded but didn't look like she believed me.

And then I took off; calling over my shoulder to her: "Go Dee Go Dee! Kick it!" And I saw she was chasing after me. I sprinted past girl in blue shirt and down the straight a way to the finish. I crossed just under 57 minutes and then stopped in the shoot to wait for Dee. I got yelled at to "keep moving "but I stood my ground, letting people go around me, loosing my place, and yelling for Dee.

And at 57:13 she zoomed in, one second before girl in blue shirt, for a new pr and a 5 minute improvement over last year's time on the same course.

After she caught her breath she thanked me; saying she "never would have run that fast" on her own (which, of course isn't true.) Then said she could not believe I talked the WHOLE time.

So yeah, MY race sucked but my race was great because I got to watch a good friend have great success and that, for me, last Saturday, was what running happy meant.

But by golly, I sure hope that tomorrow--when I attempt a 5k and 10k back to back double-- that running happy means fast! I hope. . .

If not, I will find a way to the happy, some how.

Good luck to all my racing friends this weekend--cyclists, triathletes, and runners alike. May you all have happy races.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Silver Skate Legend Lives!

I am kidding. It definitely does not.

He does look a little bit Dutch with that haircut but Hans Brinker he is not.

This week is spring break. Most of my children's friends are out of town. This isn't a big deal because my kids play really well together and we have plenty of toys, activities and things for them to do at home. However, yesterday Carmella had a play date/sleepover with her friend Reina and it was just me and Beau. This is never good because Beau does not like to be alone and requires constant entertaining. Carmella is usually that entertainment. When she is gone I become his entertainment director and companion.

Normally we go do something like run on the trail or ride bikes or, his favorite, go to the dog park (usually with the dog but sometimes not). But yesterday it was very un-spring like and was snowing and windy and just too cold to go outside and play. At least for us delicate Southern stock. Maybe if we really were Dutch we could hack it but then again we might skate better too.

Oh well.

It was too late in the day to drive into Atlanta to go to the High Museum or the Aquarium or Fernbank Science Center and I just can't do the bounce house places. So I asked him if maybe he wanted to go roller skating.

He said, "you mean like Sparkles?"

I was shocked because I didn't think Sparkles was around any more. Sparkles was where I use to skate when I was a kid.

So I Googled Sparkles and sure enough they not only are still around there was a location less than 20 minutes from our house.

I was again surprised to arrive at Sparkles and find that in 30 years not much had changed. They still have the exact same carpet and-- though this was a different Sparkles than the one I went to as a kid-- the layout is still the same. Different was instead of a disco/dance room there is now a Laser tag room. And while there was still video games galore there was also an indoor play ground. Different also was that in addition to the old school skates they now also offered inline skates.

Beau wanted the old school and I decided to go with the inline skates. I am a fairly proficient skater but it has been awhile since I wore the old school. Last time was in my mid 20's and I went with a group of friends to some nightclub in Atlanta (can not recall the name) that featured roller skating. It was a very short lived club as far as I know. I remember it being an absolute blast but I think the whole serving alcohol and roller skating on concrete was just a lawsuit waiting to happen. Sure, you did have to sign a waiver to get into the club but I am not sure how legally binding a document is that you neither remember signing or when the illegible signature does not at all resembles yours because you are so intoxicated you can barely hold the pen to sign it. But whatever, like I said, it was a fun club while it lasted. . .

I have to say that for not one second did it really occur to me that Beau might not be able to skate. Okay, well it did once the lady in line behind me with her two kids when we were getting our skate rentals asked me if Beau had skated before. I told her this was his first time and she made this knowing face that while I didn't really know what it meant felt that it probably didn't bode well for me.

Still, I thought, Beau is my kid and I have always been able to skate well. Surely he inherited my innate skating ability. Those things are totally genetic, right? No doubt, I saw those other kids out there hugging the wall, falling all over themselves and clinging for dear life to any out stretched adult hand but I figured those kids just weren't blessed with good genes. I mean, from my perspective, half the parents weren't doing that great either.

And you know, if you have read this blog, I have long cautioned you as a parent against ever having a smug moment or passing superior judgement as it ALWAYS comes back to bite you in the ass.

Too bad I didn't remember that yesterday as I watched the uncoordinated lot of parents and kids make their way slowly and painfully around the rink.

Always with the humility Nat. Always.

I'll keep saying it until it sticks. So very tired of all these lessons. . .

Nevertheless my confidence never wavered in that Beau was going to be an excellent skater. I mean, we are talking about a kid that was climbing the furniture at 5 months old --before he could ever crawl. Then he was climbing in and out of his crib at 14 months old. He learned to swim at 2 and could ride his bike without training wheels at 4. At 5 he is doing front flips (which he is not suppose to do at all because mommy said no flips, just jumping) on the trampoline. Agility, strength are his forte.

So needless to say I was shocked that putting roller skates on him turned him instantly into a muscle-less wet noodle.

I first tried holding his hand and skating next to him and he nearly brought me down with him. Next I tried me skating backwards and holding both his hands. My shoulders and arms--already tired from my hour swim that morning--couldn't take it for long. Then I tried being behind him and holding him up under his arms. How is it possible that a 47lb kid can feel like 147 lbs when he has roller skates on?

We made it around the rink twice and I relented to let him take the skates off because I was dying from holding him up. I think I burned 5000 calories the two times we went around--which I should add took about 30 minutes. The lady who made the knowing face to me probably burned 10,000 because when I saw her she was holding up both of her kids. I bet she doesn't even have to workout. She just thinks: I need to get in some cardio and strength training today. Hey kids! You guys wanna go roller skating?

So thank goodness for the indoor playground.

Oddly though,Beau just this second asked me if we could please go to Sparkles today with Carmella.

He loves roller skating, he says.

Even though it was yesterday I just don't think he is remembering the experience correctly. But, you know, maybe it is like the marathon in that you don't really remember how it is until you are running it again and at mile 23 you realize, oh yeah, this kinda sucks a little.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Modesty Gene


–noun, plural -ties.
1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
simplicity; moderation.
4....... Carmella

Origins: 1525–35; italia modestia.

Common antonym:

I use to think that modesty was something one grew into; or rather that it was something life beat into you.

You know, kinda like how a lot of people will be bleeding heart liberals in their youth and then they have to go out into the "real" world and get a job and start paying real taxes and then bam: they are conservative. Or sometimes, they are liberal and then they have kids and of course that changes everything.

Shut up.

I am speaking generally.

Yeah you, I am talking to you who is reading this and saying: THAT totally doesn't apply to me.

Just bear with me please. This is not about you. This is, of course, about ME.

Anyway, I have come to realize that there must be a modest gene and I do NOT. have. IT.
Never have.
Has not beaten it into me.
I admit to being a little dumb. Or as my dad says "hard-headed".

Okay, I will concede that life has beaten a tiny bit of good sense into me-- but not much. Basically it boils down to that I may not be the first to take off their clothes any more but I can also promise you that I am not the last either.
The clothes?
Yeah, they'll still come off.

And by "taking off clothes" you do know I am speaking metaphorically? Right?

Well, kind of. . .

And sure, sometimes I do get embarrassed-- but I am over it in the blink of an eye.
I don't blush.
I am not bashful.
I am, let's face it, a bit of a braggart.
If you see me being quiet there are 3 things going on:
1. I am trying to figure out how to interrupt so I can talk.
2.I am sick or in pain.
3.You have bored the hell out of me and I am no longer even listening to you.

Of course there are good and bad points to having this type of personality.

Wait, I mean persoNATALIE.

But for better or for worse this is who I am.

My poor daughter. She apparently got more modesty gene than any human being should ever be allowed to have. Lucky for her though she has me as a mom to help ease her way into life so those embarrassing, attention drawing situations will be much less painful for her.

Beau, like me, is lacking the modesty gene. In fact, as I write this he is here in the living room in only his underwear dancing on the couch to Spoon's Underdog.
Try as I may I cannot embarrass Beau. And try as he may he can embarrass me-- a little. But, like I said, it is short lived. Like him, my thinking is all attention is good attention. I--and he--can not help it. I swear!

Carmella, by the way, would NEVER dance around in her underwear in the living room in front of open windows.
Totally guilty of dancing around in my underwear.

Let's put it this way; Carmella--at age 8:
Closes the drapes on her window when she dresses.
At age 37?
This still hasn't occurred to me.

Okay I think you get my point.

So today I was mystery reader for Carmella's class. I've known about it for about 2 months. I picked this particular date when the email went out for parent volunteers because I knew I would be recovering from ING and therefore would miss no important workouts and also it was the Friday before spring break and Easter. Automatic themes to work with. I may be a fly by the seat of my skirt kinda girl but I am all about a THEME!

Of course, since my kids go to public school, I can't really do a theme about Easter. And of course I wanted to wear a costume. Because, duh, if I didn't I would not embarrass Carmella. (And if I don't embarrass Carmella then how would that be helping her?)

Thursday I went to Border's Books to look for inspiration. First book I found was Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again. This gave me an idea that I could use plastic eggs with treats inside as their little favor--cause, really, unwritten rule is you can't come empty handed as mystery reader.

Past times I have been mystery reader I have done stuff like make cupcakes with spiders webs with a fly for when I read The Spider and the Fly.

Or, when I read a pirate book I dressed as a pirate and brought the kids chocolate doubloons and pirate outfits.

And earlier this year I read Halloween books and dressed as a witch and brought them candy and mummy eyes and we played Mummy in the Graveyard.

Needless to say I've set a standard by which these kids have become accustom to.

The pressure! This is second grade! Not kindergarten. They have expectations.

The next book I found was Dumb Bunnies. I was a little worried about the word "dumb". But decided to risk it and my plan, my theme began to take form.

Next stop was Target for plastic eggs and a pair of bunny ears--I know I have some but have no idea where they are. It was a dollar well spent not having to hunt down an old pair. I also bought dum dums and smarties.

My plan was to tell the kids to not be "dum dum's" over spring break and instead be a bunch of "smarties" and keep up their reading.

Unfortunately the dum dum's did not fit in the egg. I put tootsie rolls in there too. They totally didn't match my theme and I will admit that kinda did give me a bad feeling on the inside to not have everything "go" but I consoled myself with that "everything goes with chocolate."

I kinda did want to put Carmello bunnies in there too but that was getting too pricey having to make favors for 16 kids. I have to reign myself in one way or another and usually, in my case, it is because of a budget.
Self control? Will power?
Things I do not have.
Wild flying creativity?
In spades.
The way I see it everyone needs a boundary. Unlucky-- and sometimes lucky--for me mine is the pocket book. Having limits forces you to make better use of your creativity because it becomes about finding solutions and work (here comes the cliche; brace for it),"outside of the box."

This morning before my run I took some time to make my favors. Creativity struck again and I decided to make my eggs all Humpty's. Big on creative ideas, small on artistic talent I think they still turned out pretty good considering my lack of talent with sharpies.
The kids LOVED them.! They loved making Humpty climb up stuff, fall down and break apart. Evil little sadists second graders are!
We all played with our Humpty's after the stories.

After I made the favors I went out for a run and hoped inspiration to hit me again for my costume. I got in 6 hilly miles. My first road and hill run since the marathon on Sunday. Really, if I am being honest, I was hoping to run longer. Ideally it would have been 12 but I really didn't have time since I didn't yet have my costume fully realized. Besides, it was really windy and my lower left leg is still not 100% from the marathon. I am sure I could have pushed through it but there is not point. I am in recovery mode and I have run everyday this week except Wednesday because I swam that day (see how I have to say it to make myself think it is okay). So everything is coming along (again, if I keep saying it I will believe it--like my whole "run happy" mentality. Embracing the zen. Exhale).

When I got back Ryan happened to come home while I pulling stuff out of my closet and laying it out on my bed, designing my costume. He asked what I was up to and groaned a "poor Carmella" when I told him I was the mystery reader. He then advised me that the cheetah clogs were too slutty, not to wear any part of my Santa costume and then told me I was an idiot when he saw the final result. I, by the way, was just so excited that I found another outfit to wear with my pink leg warmers that go with the slutty kitten costume .

Ryan may think me a fool but he still took my picture (and he kissed me too and he like, Carmella, is modesty gene endowed.)
I give you Dumb Bunny Momma: (Note the cow bell. I? Am not afraid to have people look at me.)So I will admit to this strange sensation I felt --that I have to assume might be a type of embarrassment therefore akin to modesty-- when I had to walk across the parking lot of the school, sign in at the front office and then walk down to the second grade hall while every single person that passed me giggled, muttered under breath or just stared at me jaw dropped open. But you know what, I own it and just smile at them. I have found that if you don't give forum to self consciousness people tend to have a harder time questioning you outright and making fun of you in person because frankly, and this is just a theory, but I think they might be a little scared. So they say nothing.
At least not to your face.

PS. I think my plan is working on Carmella. When I walked in her classroom she just rolled her eyes and said "not again."
But she did laugh and sat next to me while I read and happily handed out the Humpty's to her classmates.

PPS. I stopped by Beau's class to give them candy and Beau just said, completely unfazed; "I like your ears Mommy" and then went back to talking to his friend. It was like it didn't register to him that it was a costume but rather he was just noticing that I had a fancy new accessory. Which in fact, he asked me about after school: "Mommy, those new ears that you had? Can boys wear them? I would like some but not pink."