It’s getting bananas over here!

About a year ago during our seemingly weekly trip to Home Depot we bought a banana tree. We are on a quest for a lush, tropical, overgrown backyard on a budget and we love the large, flowing leaves on the banana trees. I can’t remember what we paid but I think it was about $30 or less for a tiny banana tree.  We planted it last August in the corner with a bird of paradise and a sea grape plant, all very common in Florida.

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The banana is in the middle. Please disregard the dirty fence.

Every week a new leaf would shoot out of the middle, it was pretty exciting watching it grow. And then maybe about a week or two ago Brian thought he noticed a “bud” coming from the top. Every day, sometimes twice a day, we’re outside looking at it, for about 3 minutes before we melt in the sweltering heat of the Florida sun.

The type of banana tree it is is still up for debate at our house. Brian swears it’s the Goldfinger, he picked it because of James Bond but I don’t remember that conversation happening. Either way, we’re about to have a TON of bananas.

So. Many. Bananas. We’re so excited we bought another one. That’s Foster checking it out.

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There’s also little banana trees growing around the base. Apparently a tree only produces once then the little ones grow and they produce, and so on and so on. We can transplant those as well. I might start a banana stand, I heard there’s money there.

If you have any banana recipes you love, please send them my way. If it is a Goldfinger, it can hold/produce 100 pounds of bananas! I don’t think we’ll have that many but there’s probably close to 100 baby bananas on there now and there’s still some red petals ready to open. I see smoothies, banana bread and banana muffins in my future, as long as they don’t die like my avocado.😦

 

Easter Weekend

Easter is my holiday to host and I was pretty excited to have Friday off and start getting the house ready (or just have an extra day off). I started Thursday night by decorating “Bucky,” our new faux deer head.

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I think he looks pretty festive.

I don’t really have any Easter decorations, I usually just put tulips everywhere, so this was a nice addition. The excitement started when I went to give the dog her nightly baby carrots and noticed water by the pantry wall. Come to find out, we had a water leak in the wall between the back of the pantry and our laundry room. Let the demo begin.

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Nothing says Easter baking like drywall dust! Fortunately Brian found the hole in the pipe and Friday afternoon we were able to get a plumber to come by and replace the pipe for a whopping $80. So glad we found it before it got worse. Next project, laundry room remodel! After the house was cleaned and the pipe was fixed I spent Friday evening making pillow cases to match our new curtains I made, eating pizza and bingeing on some Alias.

We’ve been having brunch for Easter the past couple years with quiche, breakfast meats, coffee cake, the usual suspects. I decided to mix it up a little this year with scrambled eggs instead of quiche and biscuits and gravy. I also through in scones at the last minute because I hate myself. I’ve never made homemade scones or biscuits before and was a little worried but they ended up being awesome and easy.

You can find the biscuit recipe here, and blueberry scones here. I meant to take a photo of the whole buffet but we just started eating. Oops. I used gouda in the scrambled eggs and it was fantastic. I need more gouda in my life. There was also coffee cake, bacon and sausage, sausage gravy for the biscuits, fruit and ham, which we’ll be eating for the rest of the week. Oh, and mimosas, with guava juice. So good.

The day finished with a game of Scategories and a nap after everyone left. No holiday is complete without a nap!

Two races and a PR

Not really sure how a whole year has gone by. Life seems impossible to keep up with sometimes. Not much has happened over the last year.

I ran what I though would be my dream race, Disney Wine & Dine Half. In the end it was chaos. I’m glad I did it, but the fact is, running with 13,000 people you don’t know was just messy. The weather took a turn for the worse right before the race was set to start and they ended up delaying it but what seemed like several hours. I was standing for way too long before I was supposed to run and was mentally and physically exhausted by the start. They cut the 13.1 down to 6.7 and I don’t even know how I finished. Even if I could have run faster there was no where to go. People were every where and much of the course was too narrow. By the time I got to Epcot and ready to wine and dine, the lines were too long and we all started to fall asleep. My husband and sister had a good time eating and drinking while I ran though.😉

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That’s my Minnie running outfit I decided I needed after reading blogs about EVERYONE wearing costumes.

Fireworks to start each wave, and Osbourne Family Lights. Apparently it was the last year it will happening.

My sister, Sam, and I in the phone booth in the UK. (Hi Sam!) And the really large medal.

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My stolen photo of the finish line.

Post-race I did my usual take-a-few-months-off-cause-I’m-lazy, which took me to January and starting to train for the Best Damn Race half again. I was right on track with some slow miles and training but decided in the beginning of February that another half just wasn’t a good idea. We were spending weekends working on the house and I just didn’t have the time or energy to train for a half, so I dropped down to the 10k, and boy am I glad I did.

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Look at that beautiful flamingo!

I had been having some really bad calf cramps leading up to the race and was really apprehensive but I wanted so badly to have a better race. I spent the night before and the morning of foam rolling the heck out of my calves. I did something right because I ended up with a 2 minute 10k PR.

I was practically in tears after I finishing. It’s such an amazing feeling to push yourself like that, to challenge yourself beyond what you think you are capable of. I was pumped. And we celebrated…

…with tacos and margaritas and churros, as is post-race tradition.

And then we celebrated a little more.

I can easily say I have done more physical activities in the week since the race then I did during training. I feel determined. We bought a treadmill in February and have been on it almost daily for the past week, either walking or running. Even my husband is using it. I’ve decided to take a break from racing and work on getting myself fit and strong. Get my body used to constant physical activity and when the time is right, I’m going to break my half marathon time.

I am a Runner

I am not fast. I am not lean. I don’t run every day. Some runs are good, more are bad. It’s hard. It’s hard on my body. It’s hard on my mind. But I am a runner and I will keep going.

I was feeling pretty down going into the Best Damn Race 10k. I was only running once a week, partly because of my shin, mostly because my motivation waned. I got as far as 4.5 miles and that was close enough. I slowed down. I lost the little strength I had. But I was going to do it, and I did.

It was a cool, misty morning in Orlando and despite choosing not to wear my compression sleeve (not the best decision) it went OK. I finished 11 seconds faster than my last 10k. But it wasn’t about my time in the end, there is something about that race that made me remember why I’m doing this, and that I want to keep doing it. Maybe it’s just that it was my first half and will always hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the course, or the people, whatever it is, I left motivated.

And so I keep going. I will start running regularly again. I will start slow and I will focus on being better, being stronger, and hopefully getting faster with time. I signed up for a local 5k to give me a goal.

I am a runner and I am human. There will be good days runs and bad days runs, it’s what you do about it that matters.

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Crafts and Things

Well, the shin splint is JUST starting to feel better. It still hurts when I run but not as bad and running is possible, though I haven’t tried more than 2 miles. I contacted Best Damn Race and was able to transfer my registration from the half marathon to the 10k. I feel like less of a failure that I’m still doing a race, even if it’s not the half. Isn’t there a saying out there about making sure your goals are obtainable?

So now I’m 5 weeks away and I’m working on 10k training. My long run on Saturday is 3miles! :)  It is such a weight off of my shoulders that I don’t have to worry about 13 painful miles. I would have ended up just walking and being completely disheartened over it.

And now for some crafts. Sometime over the past few months my husband and I decide we should build a medal holder instead of buying one. Why, I’m not sure because it cost almost as much to make it as to buy it, but it is custom and something we did, etc. etc.  I picked out some beautiful and over-priced wood for the project.

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Look at that wood grain!

Brian cut it and glued it and put biscuits in it. You know, tools and stuff. I stained it with this awesome greyish stain I picked out.

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We bought stencils at the craft store that came out awful so I bought some vinyl letter online to cover it up. We ordered 3 different types of clips on Amazon to hold the bibs before we found the right one. Mini clothes pins are REALLY mini. And we got hooks at Home Depot. Brian did most of the work, I really just picked everything out. The final product is kind of awesome.

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I’m considering selling them online, what do you think? Side note: I have a facebook page. You can follow my blog here.

Happy New Year!

What have I been up to since the St. Augustine Half? Well, there was a great Thanksgiving, then a cruise with the family. There were Christmas parties and my husband’s birthday. Then Christmas and New Year’s. There was eating, and drinking, and being merry. There was shopping. There was NO running.

I thought about it a lot. It was always on my mind, but there just didn’t seem to be any time, and I thought “Hey, I’ve got plenty of time before the Best Damn Race! I just ran a half marathon (albeit, slower than a turtle), I’ll be fine.”

Christmas came and I got some awesome running gifts to get things started again.

Brian got me a gps watch! I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and figured it was probably time. After a lot of research we decided on the Garmin 210. It had the basic time/pace/distance display I was looking for and it does intervals. There are so many options out there, it was really overwhelming trying to decide.

My sister got me this awesome custom wine tumbler with my blog on it. I cried. It was so thoughtful and really inspired me to get back to not only writing regularly but running regularly.

wpid-img_20141225_202635.jpgMy aunt got me a running hat, and my mom some new socks. The Saturday after Christmas I was ready to get back out there!

wpid-img_20141227_081754.jpgI did a whopping 2 miles. I blamed it on the sun, the heat. Really I’m just out of shape. I’ve gained weight and lost all my muscle. I did 2 more right before New Year’s and forced out 4 on Sunday. In that span of 2 weeks and 8 miles I have developed a colossal shin splint. I had shin splints when I first started and recovered, this is worse. I’ve taken this week off of running and have been icing and using my compression sleeve. It’s starting to get better but still a little sore.

I have 7 weeks to get to the Best Damn Race. I’m really cutting it close. I had big dreams of PRing that race. I have 5 miles on the books for this weekend and I’m going to do it slow while this shin splint heals. I’m also eating right and cross-training, lifting weights. If I get lighter and stronger it may still be possible.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Where has the time gone?!

It’s been a busy couple of months. So busy I have completely neglected you, again, and I’m sorry. You are on my list of New Year’s Resolutions, I promise to be more attentive. But let’s not dwell on the past, let’s catch up.

We’ll start with the St. Augustine Half.

Disaster.😦

The Friday before the race I started to get sniffly. And runny. Then stuffy. It was a mess. I desperately wanted to take a decongestant but every thing I read said that would just dehydrate me and make the race horrible. I spent the entire week hydrating, there was no way I was risking that. I sucked it up.

We drove the 3 hours to St. Augustine Saturday morning, checked into our adorable bed and breakfast (www.atjourneysend.com), and wondered around downtown. It was a cold, damp, grey day. The cool air and the walking really cleared my sinuses. We picked up my packet and then had lunch at The Columbia.

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This was our second visit to The Columbia, last time in Clearwater. My husband hated it both times, so we probably won’t be back. We (I) do love their sangria though and they sell boxes of the mix in the gift shop for a few bucks. I bought a case of it to give out at Christmas. It’s delicious.

There was an attempt at a nap after lunch and some lounging before dinner. I was so incredibly stuffy and drippy, it was rather ridiculous. We ate dinner outside at a modern Irish pub called Barley Republic. The fresh air did me good. And the hard cider. We tried to make it an early night but just as I was starting to fall asleep, the other people staying at the B&B came in for the night, drunk, and continued to drink, and laugh and yell, and stomp up and down the stairs until 3:30/4:00 a.m. I had to get up at 5. I was not a happy camper. I considered making a crazy amount of noise while getting ready but as I made coffee in the common area and could hear them snoring, I realized it wouldn’t matter. They were passed out drunk and I don’t think a marching band was going to wake them.

On to the race.

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Downtown St. Augustine at sunrise was breathtaking. The sun coming up over the river was so calming, and heading over the first bridge was a view I couldn’t pass up. I was on a mission to take pictures and enjoy the race more. Unfortunately, every time I took a picture my music stopped. Not the best plan.

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Heading over the Bridge of Lions.

 

I started off really strong. My first 5-6 miles were some of my fastest. But hitting the second bridge killed me. I took too much time getting over it and then you just turned around and went back up again. It was unreal. By the time I hit the bottom I was way too hot and I lost a lot of time and motivation. This helped, a little…

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At the bottom of the bridge they handed out motivational messages.🙂 And so I trudged on, slowly. The 10 mile mark was a beautiful thing. I knew I could finish. At mile 11 there was a little girl out side of her house waving to us. She even gave the runner in front of me a flower. At mile 12 I cheered out loud trying to motivate my fellow runners at the end of the pack. No one seemed to care. We were a sad bunch.

At the very end the photographer was waiting. I read in blog after blog to smile for the camera. I did my best to put on my game face, smile and cheer. The result was not pretty.

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I got a good laugh out of that. In the end, my time sucked, but I finished. And I recovered a lot faster than the first half. 9 weeks till the 3rd, but that’s another blog entry.

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Mimosas and Medals

 

St. Augustine Half, Here We Come!

My second half marathon is less than 5 days away. Crap. I’m excited, nervous, anxious, scared. I dropped the ball a little on my training in October and my first/last/only 10 miler (sort of, really 9.6, but who’s counting?) was rough. My pace was good but legs were dying and because of it I have been unable to run since. I was able to stretch and roll most of the pain away, but my butt and sciatic started acting up and even now I feel something.

I firmly believe that my lack of cross training and strength training play a huge roll in that. And so, Brian and I started last week doing some exercises at home. Lunges, squats, planks, crunches, pushups, etc. You get the idea. We started last Thursday followed by stretches I found on the internet and immediately after my sciatic felt better. I jog in place periodically (I know, I know) and I don’t feel the tingling going down my right leg. Woo hoo!

I am in complete hydration mode. No wine for me this week. L Guzzling water all day at work, at home, vitamin B and ibuprofen for a few more days to make sure the pain in the butt is as healed as it can be. Chocolate milk before bed because someone on some blog said the extra protein is good for runners. Why not? I’ll add some of my Nuun in the few days before to get my electrolytes up and the rest is up to the running gods.

I’m still trying to figure out what to have for breakfast since we will once again be away from home (3 hours) and the Clif bar last time was like swallowing lead. I may start with a Honey Stinger wafer I have in my drawer. They’re light and easy to get down. Maybe with a banana, which I’m also going to try and eat this week.

I’m as ready as I’m gonna be. I need to remember to stay positive, it’s going to be an amazing morning, an awesome race. I’ve done it before, I can do it again, and I’m going to be better!

Any other last minute tips?

You, Me & a Dog Named Boo

We all survived Boo’s first vacation. It was a little stressful, very busy and a lot of fun.

Family Selfie!

Family Selfie!

We hit the road around 8:30 a.m. after a stop at Einstein’s for breakfast (they have puppy bagels!) Boo broke hers into several pieces and then tried to bury them in the blanket we had for her. :-/  The dog that we (I) assumed would sit and even nap in the back after we got on the highway stood there for 3.5 hours. She eventually got so tired that she put her head on Brian’s arm but continued to stand and would not close her eyes. When she slammed herself into the door we decided maybe we should try a potty break. That, apparently, wasn’t the issue. I decided to try sitting in the back the rest of the way to get her to relax.

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She did lay down but only after I took her harness off. We spent the last 2 hours watching from the back seat.

 

When we got to our room she made herself right at home and was already thoroughly exhausted from being up ALL day, something this pup does not do. We put the harness back on and headed to the Island Dog for lunch, unfortunately a few tables down from a standard poodle that Boo had a hard time keeping her eyes off of.

Boo is a great dog. She is sweet and fun and loving but she’s also high energy, and one thing we learned about Boo on vacation is that if she sees a dog that she can’t say “hello” too, she barks and causes a scene, and generally looks like a rabid maniac. This can startle people who are not used to her bizarre ways, which is everyone in Key West.

After a bacon-wrapped hot dog and a few Dark & Stormy’s we headed to the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, another dog friendly bar. We grabbed a cocktail and she laid on the cool stones and watched the band set up. When they started playing she perked up, then started barking. Check please! Next stop Captain Tony’s.

Our intention was to take her to dinner that first night since it was a new place and we worried she would be nervous and bark at strange noises but it became very clear that she had no desire to go out, bed was calling her name. I dragged Brian out for a fancy dinner at Bagatelle while she crashed.

The change in schedule and environment left Boo barely eating or pooping, which was slightly concerning. I knew she’d eat if she was hungry, and of course I was giving her snacks along the way. We had breakfast at Schooner’s Wharf and I ordered her some scrambled eggs and the server accidentally dropped a basket of bacon on Boo’s head so she had a great breakfast! Who wants kibble? My biggest fear was that she would stop and take a dump in the middle of Duval. Every time we hit a patch of grass I would pace there asking her if she had to go. Nope.

We spent most of the weekend at places we knew she could go. Cocktails at Captain Tony’s, lunch at Smokin’ Tuna, more cocktails at Island Dog, happy hour at Schooner’s Wharf (where they gave her more bacon) and a relaxing lunch at the Hog’s Breath.

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Boo post-bacon at Schooner’s Wharf

Relaxing at the Hog's Breath watching the chicken's, which she could care less about.

Relaxing at the Hog’s Breath watching the chickens.

It was definitely a different trip than we usually take but it was really nice to have her there. She was so happy to be with us and she made a lot of friends. A lot of people were happy to see a pup out and about, including a bachelorette party in town on a cruise ship. There were so happy (and drunk) that they sat in the street with her while others were showing us pictures of there dogs on their phones. I wish I was able to get a pic of that.

I would take her again but for a shorter amount of time or place not as busy. We were ALL exhausted when we got home.

Holy Humidity

Well, it didn’t go as planned. I knew the humidity would throw me off but I didn’t know that I would freak myself out to the point that I didn’t know if I could do it all.

We got to Key West Thursday afternoon and enjoyed a day of drinks in the sun with the dog. Despite every effort to hydrate between cocktails I woke up Friday with a killer headache and cramped calves from walking around in flip flops all day. It was bad: blurred vision, nausea, the works. I forced down some breakfast, some ibuprofen and a nap and woke up felling 100% better. But as the day went on I started to panic. I was still dehydrated. My heart was racing, a combo of nerves, which were getting worse, dehydration, and heat. It was supposed to be in the mid to high 80s but the “feels like” temp was 95-100. We were sweating. And the humidity was at least 90%.  I spent the rest of the day guzzling water and hydration drinks. Thank you Nuun for pulling me through! I was ready. We went to dinner, had a glass of sangria and called it an early night.

I went to bed feeling calm, relaxed, and ready to take on this race. I then proceeded to wake up every 2 hours until 5 a.m., heart racing, sweating, stomach cramps and a dream that we were so late to the race and were running so hard to get there that we ended up crawling to the start line. I remember thinking, how am I even going to run the race if I’m crawling to get there?! I woke up out of breath and nearly sick to my stomach.

I forced down some coffee, water, and half a Clif bar and walked to the race. I nearly cried leaving Brian and Boo behind to get in line. For the first mile I wasn’t sure if I would cry, throw up or both. By 1.5 my right calf was in knots going over a “hill” (more like a mound but felt like a hill!) and I thought about walking it or just calling it quits.

Mile 3, I passed the Southernmost Point. People were stopping to take pictures and I wish I did. It was the first time there wasn’t a line. It was the symbol for the race but I just wasn’t having fun and that makes me sad.

Mile 4 and I was more than halfway there. Walking a bit more than my scheduled intervals but it was just so hot, so much sweating. My calf cramps were finally gone but now the sun was coming up. Shit.

I got to mile 6 and sprinted the last .2, of course stuck behind two guys who stopped when they hit the finish line and I thought I was going to barrel into them. I made it. A few minutes slower than I had hoped. I definitely could have pushed myself a little harder at the end I regret that. I was so negative this race and it messed me up. Lessons for the next one. 4 weeks till the St. Augustine Half. Ugh.

10609700_10205279732661391_3756196355593957720_nThings to change for St. Augustine:

  • I need a new breakfast. The Clif bar that worked for the first half isn’t working now. It was like peanut butter lead and I couldn’t get it down. I think I’ll bring a peanut butter sandwich with me.
  • Be positive! This is sooooo important. I am my own worst critic and it nearly killed me.
  • Get hydration bottles. I need to have my own to keep me going. I found some clip on bottles to fit my new belt.
  • Caffeine. I need to find the Clif bloks with caffeine and get the nuun with caffeine. Every little boost helps.

 

Coming Soon….Key West with Boo