Monday, January 28, 2013

Some times you just need a little Dash of something

Today was the inaugural Red Dress Dash here in Indianapolis.  The American Heart Association has done these in other cities and I’m glad they gave us a shot at one.

I’m a big fan and supporter of the Heart Association since my family history runs deep with heart disease.  My Dad’s aorta ruptured when he was 47 so I grew up watching him deal with the complications from the disease.  My Mom has had quadruple bypass surgery; the 6th of her 9 siblings to need surgery.  And my oldest brother has had 2 heart attacks and has 3 stent already.  He is 57.  I’ve got a lot of card stacked against me and that is one of the reasons I run.


I only found about this event on Thursday but I soooo wanted to be a part of it.  There was no registration fee and it was merely a “dash” around Monument Circle downtown.  It soundly like a fun way to start the day.  I don’t have a red dress and didn’t feel like shopping at Goodwill but I figured I could use my red skirt from the Santa Hustle and find a little T-shirt to go with it.  Sadly, I didn’t have much luck finding anything.  I was looking for something with hearts but they were all to “Valentine-y” so then I remembered I had an old plain red shirt that surely I could do something with.

Well, I wouldn’t want to rush in to working on that so Sunday evening at 8pm, I began.  I felt like I was back in college needing to pull an all-nighter.  But since I had worked with the glue and gems before it didn’t really take that long.

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Woke up Monday morning at 6:00am (way too early for me) to the sound of rain.  UGH!  I didn’t really want to run in the rain but the extended forecast showed that it was moving out of the area.

Got to the Emmis Communications building at 7:50, signed in, got my goodie bag and then waited.  I thought this thing was to start at 8:00am but I guess it was 8:30 or 8:45.  It was fun to people watch and there were tons of guys there (including some fire fighters) dressed in red dresses.  They had coffee, Subway sandwiches and lots of freebies to pick up.  I grabbed some lip balm and also had my picture taken in the photo booth.

Photo Booth

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We were corralled outside for the dash.  They sounded the horn and we were off.  People could do whatever they wanted; run, walk, skip.  I was near the front and took off with a slow jog keeping an eye on the people in front of me.  About halfway around the circle those faster folks had started walking.  It was the classic tortoise/hare scenario.  I ran past two people, then three more people and by his time we were 3/4 of the way around the circle.  I could see that they had moved the “start line” over and it was now a finish line.  I could also sense that one of the guys that I had passed was trying to catch up so I flipped on the afterburner. 

Needless to say he did NOT catch me and I finished first. 

There was no prize for doing so other than the satisfaction that I did.  But I am hoping to find some video of it from one of the news stations.

And this really wasn’t a competition…YEAH, RIGHT!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What’s next?

So, I guess I’m caught up with my “race blogging” and I just don’t know how some of you do it all the time.  It can really be time consuming.

Sadly, I’m caught up on my race blogging because I don’t have another race until February 17th in Arizona and I’ve been a super slacker on my training.  Its just been so darn cold here and the treadmill and I, well we are at odds.  Sure, its mostly me but WHATEVER. I have a couple of new tidbits that I can post so I’ll probably do that over the next couple of day and will blog if anything exciting happens between now and then.  Maybe I should try to post something every other day to stay in the habit.  We’ll see.

But I’ll leave you with this:  My 2013 race calendar is looking pretty full.  I mentioned in another post that I now have a sub-goal under the “do a half marathon in every state” goal.  And that is to do my 50th half marathon the year I turn 50, which will be 2015.  Now that isn’t many half marathons to some of you but I need to be smart about entry fees and potential hotel costs, etc.   When I finished the Monumental Half Marathon in November it was my 21st life time half.  A friend joking stated that it matched my age and thus the wheels began turning.  Lets get to 50 when I am 50!  So I want to get as many in as possible in 2013 just in case something were to happen in 2014 or whatever.  Its better to have that cushion.  And I think I’ve decided that the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon here in Indianapolis will be my 50th race since it was my first.

My only worry is that it doesn’t take place until May so I have to space all these other races out just right.  I don’t want to leave too much room between my 49th and my 50th but I don’t want to have to rush to get there either.

Anxious to see how it all plays out!

Do The Hustle

I had been eye-balling the Santa Hustle for months.  I think I first saw that it was coming to Indianapolis back in October.  But…you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get here so I was going to wait until the very last possible day (before the price increased) to see what might be in store for us.  Then….they posted a picture of the Finishers Medal on Facebook and that pretty much sealed the deal because it was adorable.  So right before we left for Aruba, I completed the on-line registration.

My brother was going to be able to do it as well so I was really excited about that.  He has recently started running again after MANY years of not being able to because of health issues and life in general.  He was once on the cross country teams in junior high & high school.  I’m so proud of him for taking this time for himself and his health.

The plan was that he would come over and spend the night before and I would go to packet pickup for both of us.  It was a small Expo and I’m glad he didn’t try to rush over for it.  Nothing really to see there.


Although they give you a Santa hat & beard and a tech shirt that looks like the front of Santa’s coat, I wanted to create my “own” outfit.  It turned out pretty good: a skirt from Target that I blinged out and a T-shirt from Walmart that I added some sparkles to as well.  I attached the Santa hat to my running hat with safety pins figuring that way if it bothered me I wouldn’t lose the whole thing.


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The race didn’t start Sunday morning until 9:00am. NICE! So we were able to get up at a reasonable hour, have breakfast and not rush too much.  Since we ended up having great (read -  unseasonably warm) weather, the race was packed.  I would discover later that over 2000 people participated in the half marathon  - that’s pretty good for an inaugural race.  I have a feeling had it been cold and windy and snowy, there wouldn’t be as many people there.  And I don’t even remember how many participated in the 5K. A gazillion?  (j/K)

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It was jam-packed at the start and very congested.  For the first (nearly) half a mile you are running on a sidewalk which in most cases only comfortably  fits 4-5 people wide.  But once you got out on the street it obviously spread out.  Initially I was a little worried that I was over dressed because I was starting to get overheated but later in the race, I was glad to have on the long-sleeve technical shirt under my festive Christmas shirt.  It became overcast and the wind picked up a little.  The first water stop which was to be just after the 1st mile marker was well past it.  Luckily I had my own bottle (which I usually NEVER have) but I was worried about my brother because he always runs with a bottle of water but had forgotten it.

One nice thing about this race: it was a different route through   Indianapolis, one that I am not familiar with as a running courese.  So that was a good break for the ol’ mind.  Not too much to report about the race in general.  There wasn’t much crowd support and a few of the candy and cookie stations were completely unmanned.  Surprisingly, the candy was M&M’s (I assumed it would have been candy canes) and the cookies were plain so I wasn’t tempted to stop at all.  Plus there wasn’t anything to drink there nor were they close to the next water/aid station.  I was surprised to encounter two hills on the course.  I mean this is flat Indiana after all and no elevation chart provided.

I was not prepared for this race; we were in Aruba the two weeks prior and I didn’t train as much as I should have when I got back.  But this was for fun, I’d never run in a “costume” and I got a super cute Santa medal.  I found my brother at the finish line.  We knew he would finish before me but he was discouraged with his finishing time and the fact that our sister-in-law (who we only found out the night before was doing it as well) passed him around the 11 mile marker.  Like I say, there is always another race but some/most people take all of this more seriously than I do.

Super glad Kevin and I did this race together.  He’s a great brother!

028          zProfessional me & Kevin

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jingle All The Way

So…just coming back from a tropical vacation filled with lounging around most of the day while consuming frozen adult beverages and only getting one “quality” run in is NOT the best training plan prior to a 10K.  But hey, the entry was free and I’m all about making runs fun and not putting too much thought or worry in to what my finishing time will be.

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk benefits the Arthritis Foundation and my husband’s work sponsored a team.  The event takes place downtown and didn’t start until 9:00am so it was nice not to be rushed or have to get up super early in the morning.  And parking was free in the garage attached to the Fieldhouse – so there’s another WIN!

I miscalculated what day the early packet pick-up was so we had to wait until we got there to get everything.  This didn’t sit well with me since I wasn’t sure what the shirt would look like and if I would want to wear it.  So I found a retro Santa shirt the night before at Target that was perfect for the race.

After getting our packets and putting our bibs on, John took the bags back to the car.  I saw a couple of friends and former coworkers (Courtney, Jerry & Janae’) so that was fun.  I miss a lot of the people there but certainly not the hours.

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As we were hovered in a doorway to stay out of the drizzle that had started (BLEH!), we saw “Papaw” and he and John would start the race in the same corral – although technically there were no corrals.  The race started late which was annoying since the weather was not being pleasant but once we got on our way, the drizzle stopped.

I don’t remember how far in to the race I was, maybe between miles 2 & 3 and then all of a sudden I felt like I needed to use the bathroom.  I wasn’t an emergency situation but I didn’t want to wait or have to use a Port-A-Potty.  I noticed that a restaurant was open (Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles) do I dashed in there.  Thank you Maxine!  However, I lost quite a bit of time and it sort of took my head out of it.  By the time I came out, the 5K participants were speeding by.  Oh well, get in the flow and do the best you can.

The course was well marked but since I’m blogging about this so late, I don’t remember how the aid stations were.  Again, since I had lost time when I got to the 5ish mile marker, the family Fun Run One Milers were on the course and clogging up everything.  Tons of kids mindlessly running back & forth and people walking 4 & 5 wide, strollers, dogs, you name it.  But I couldn’t get too angry; it was my own fault to be in this predicament. 

My husband found me as I crossed the finish line and we headed straight to the car to go home. 

Jingle Bell Run Finish

I would do this again especially if my entry was free.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Final Day in Aruba

Today was bittersweet; our final day in Aruba. But that wasn't going to stop us from spending a little more time at the beach!

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We staked claim early on our favorite beach chairs and then went to breakfast.  We wanted to try to get our picture taken by this webcam thing they had there but we weren’t really sure how it worked and we wouldn’t know if it was a success until we got home.  (Sadly, it was not a success). We were able to stay at the beach until 10:30 but then we needed to shower and finish packing.

We had plenty of time before needing to get to the airport so we walked around outside and took pictures of the foliage and some more lizard/iguana things and spotted a very colorful bird in the tree.  I wasn’t able to get close enough to get a really good picture but did the best that I could.

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We were a little worried about how things worked getting OUT of the country.  I claimed that I had an apple with me and while they appreciated that I had claimed it, they wouldn’t let me take it.  Then John got “flagged” and had to go through a different scan and they went through his luggage.  This was our first time traveling internationally post-911 and we were thankful that all of this happened while still in Aruba because we had very little time between flights once back in the States.

The flight was crowded from Aruba to Newark but we had all sorts of room on the flight back to Indy.  We both had our own row!

We arrived home around midnight (or slightly after) and even though I was tired, I was still wound up and actually started some laundry and put a few things away.  Monday was to be a vacation day for me and I was very glad that I would have that extra time.

Aruba was a great vacation and we were there just long enough.  I think if we’d been there a couple days longer I would have gotten bored.  There were more things to do there (parasail, catamaran) but we’ve already done those. 

Best part of coming home is being back with our babies!

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Today was adventure day!  We purchased a day trip to De Palm Island. We weren’t really pressed for time so we were able to have breakfast at the buffet and then get ready to catch the bus that would take us to the island.
After a little bit of confusion and an unnecessary cab ride (DOH!), we were on the bus. The ride was maybe 30 minutes or less, then we were getting our wrist bands and next we were on the shuttle boat to the island. 
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We scoped everything out first, purchased a locker for the day and then signed up to do our Sea Trek Underwater Helmet Walk. Our wait for that was a little over an hour so we found some lounge chairs and chilled. The island was still serving breakfast but we were hungry and unfortunately we weren’t allowed  to partake in any adult beverages until after our Sea Trek.  The wrist bands gave us away.
Time for our adventure.  We had a group of 19 so they split us in half, 9 and 10.  We were in the first group to go down.  I listened carefully to the instructions and made my husband go first.  I’ll admit that my heart was racing just a bit, especially as I was slowly going down the ladder into the water.  But once I got down there – AMAZING!  The “tour guides” have food in a bottle that they would squeeze and the fish would come up to you…well, actually the food.  There was a sunken bus and a couple of airplanes down there.  You walk along a boardwalk (for lack of better phrasing) and there is a rail for you to hold on to the entire time as well.  There is an area to sit down and pretend you are having an underwater bottle of wine.  Lots of photos are taken by the guides.  At one point, my husband was holding a “sea creature” in his hands that the guide had placed there.  So I held out my hands to hold it too.  It was very strange looking; super tiny body, long stick-like legs that looked like the ends or toenails were painted purple.  It didn’t feel weird or anything and it wasn’t until we got back on shore that my husband told me it was a Sea Spider.  GROSS!  Glad I didn’t know that at the time or I might have peed myself not wanted to hold it.
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Overall that was probably one of the coolest things I’ve done to date.  It was even better than sky diving, in my opinion.  Part of me wanted to do it again since I would know what to expect.  But the frugal person in me did NOT want to spend the money again.
The rest of the day we just lounged around on the island, had some lunch and consumed our fair share of cocktails.  I don’t even want to guess how many calories I took in that day.
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We made it back to the resort just in time for another beautiful sunset.  Afterward we showered and went to the casino.  We were there maybe 30 minutes playing the penny slots (big spenders, huh?) but we won $46 on a penny slot machine so we cashed out and went to dinner!  Tonight there was an amazing full moon as well.
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Blogger: Skelton Adventures 2 - Create post


DAYS 1, 2 & 3:

My husband is the King of Vacation planning.  Now, I'm not complaining about that because he likes a good vacation and I get to be his date.  We've gone on some great trips: Hawaii, South Beach, Yosemite and on a cruise...just to mention a few.  We like to go to all of these new places and explore the area and do new things.  We feel that we're too young to just go to the same place year after year and just sit.  There's still too much of the world to explore!

But this trip to Aruba was definitely going to be more of a “sit and relax” vacation.

We left super early on a Tuesday morning, had a slight layover in Newark and then landed in Aruba about 4 hours later.  It must have been "no scan" Tuesday because after showing our passports, we just walked out of the airport - our luggage was never scanned or checked. 

A short cab ride to the Bucuti-Tara Resort and we were checking in with some complimentary champagne.   Our room is amazing and is literally less than a football field length to the beach.  We were famished and the restaurant across the street (Pizza Bob) sounded like the best option...although not very Arubian!  My husband did sample the local beer.  As expected, there was a beautiful sunset that night but we weren't up much later than that since it had been a long day.


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DAY 2 - was just a day of relaxing on the beach.  We got up without an alarm (that's the way every day should be!), went to the breakfast buffet, came back to the room to put on our swimwear and then staked our claim on a couple of beach chairs.  After about an hour or so I was restless so I took a 20 minute walk up the beach.  I saw a wedding taking place, a pretty good sandcastle that had been built and saw an older woman "lose her top" when a wave crashed in to her.  She didn't even realize it at first until her husband told her.  They both just laughed about it!  I did get restless again around 3:30 so I changed into my running clothes and went to the fitness center.  Did 4 miles on the treadmill; wow it was humid in there.

We walked to the Alhambra Center and found a Subway...and that was lunch.  We noticed a casino across the way and did a quick walk-thru.  I was small and smoky.  BLEH :(   Then we found a market were it was essential that we purchase more sunblock.  These lily white North American bodies aren't use to being so close to the equator!

After dropping our stuff off at the room it was back to the Sand Bar for evening cocktails.

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DAY 3 – just another lazy day on the beach.  Again is was the usual routine of getting up, having breakfast and then heading to our favorite beach chairs.  This time at the breakfast buffet, I fixed a plate to have later for lunch.

After lounging for awhile I got up and took a walk this time heading west.  It was rockier but I go some great pictures of pelicans and found a piece of coral in the shape of a cross.

By the time I got back, my husband was in our room eating lunch which sounded like a splendid idea.  So glad I fixed that plate of food from the buffet.  He was still eating leftover pizza!

He ventured down to check out the jet ski status and we decided that later in the day we’d go rent one.  The clouds started coming in and things started to get a little dark but my husband was sure that it would just pass over us.  WRONG!  We get about half way there and the rain lets loose.  We started running back to our beach chairs to gather up our stuff and went back into the room.  It rained off and on the rest of the day. So I went to check out the gift shop and get a feel for some of the things I might want to get to take home.

Tonight was our romantic dinner in one of the huts.  It was amazing!  The food was fantastic – although the champagne (which I’m not really a fan of anyway) was very dry – but the service was great as well.  And as though he’d planned it this way, tonight was the most beautiful and perfect sunset of the trip so far.  We were so full from dinner that we had to take the desserts back to the room and save them for tomorrow.

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Yep…just another amazing day in Aruba.