Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's a Love-Hate Relationship a.k.a My Race Re-cap

Well, I did indeed run my race today. I know I've mentioned a few times that the weather forecast was miserable and let me tell did not disappoint. It pretty much did exactly what the meteorologists said it would. Why does it seem like they only get the forecast correct when the weather is going to be horrible?? To tell you the truth, as the forecast grew worse and worse with each passing day, I finally got so angry that I told myself I was going to run this race NO MATTER WHAT. A little wind, snow and sub-freezing temps were not going to deter me.

So, I woke up this morning, ate my pre-run breakfast of peanut butter toast and bananas and got all my "gear" on. With each race I run, it seems like I have more and more "stuff". All the clothing, my iPod, my Garmin (watch), my Road ID bracelet (in case I pass out or get trampled by other runners), my sunglasses, my GU (electrolyte gels for long races), a recovery bar for the drive home, a bottle of water, oh and my race bib. Kind of ridiculous, really. In fact, I was so pre-occupied with making sure I had everything I needed that I forgot my phone and my wallet (which contains my license). Nice. Runners are a needy bunch, what can I say.

And speaking of my race bib...this year they put our timing chips on the bibs themselves instead of the usual chip you attach to your shoes. I was kind of excited about this because the shoe chips are a hassle. That is, until I read the dissertation on what you must and must NOT do to ensure the bib chip works appropriately. Such as, make sure the bib chip is not over/under/beside any zippers or other metals. Ummm, do you know any winter racing gear that DOESN'T have a zipper?? I sure don't. Whatever. I tried to keep mine as far away from the THREE zippers that were on my pullover as possible and hoped I wouldn't blow up from all the dangerous zipper/bib chip interaction.....drama.

Here is a pic taken right before I left. No, that is not a spaceship that landed on my chest. Those are the reflectors on my pull-over.....

I'll stop rambling now and get to the actual race. It was FREEZING. I actually kept my winter coat on until the start of the race and then put it on some random bench neaby and hoped it would still be there when I got back (thankfully, it was). There was a small area inside the State Farm building (SF sponsored the race) that they opened up to the runners. People were crammed in there like sardines trying to keep warm. Once the race got started and I was moving, it wasn't so bad.

Luckily, the freezing cold temps had made what would have been mud into nice, hard, dry ground. Otherwise, it would have been a mess. And with almost 800 people packed onto the narrow trail we were on, that would have been a nightmare. The race was pretty uneventful to tell you the truth (I'm sure that is becoming obvious from my incessant blabber about nothing).....until we hit the final 3/4 mile. It was almost all uphill, much of it was into the wind, and the light snow that had been falling for most of the race was now coming down pretty hard and in the form of HUGE flakes that kept falling in my eyes. I had to run a good chunk of the final mile with my eyes closed. I was so glad when it was over.

Ok, time to toot my own horn. I showed that race who was boss. I wanted to finish in 1:25:00 or under (an 8:30 min/mile pace or better). I finished in 1:23:06 (an 8:19 per mile pace). I still can't believe it. I think I just wanted to get out of the cold :-) I placed 249 out of 794 overall, 67 out of 429 females and 8 out of 64 in my age division. Yee haw!!! This is why running is so darn addicting.....there is always room to improve. You can always get faster and gain more endurance. And when you have races where you feel like you really are getting faster....the hook goes in that much deeper. Love it.

My boys had some quality daddy-son time while momma was away. And a mini-photo shoot ensued. Here are a couple of pics.

Doesn't he have the best smile? He has gorgeous teeth. Strangers have actually commented about how pretty his teeth are.

Ok, that's all. Sorry to put you through my tedious running stories. I promise I won't talk about it anymore for awhile. Well, at least until my next race in two weeks :-)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crib Jumper

Hey there peeps! Ben and I just returned from a wonderful 4 day trip to MTZ/Peoria to visit my family. My brother is on a 2 week leave from Afghanistan and it was beyond great to see him! Now he just has 6 more months to go and he is back for good!!! Praise God!! And my parents had just returned from a 10 day trip to Israel. I loved hearing about the amazing places they saw. The pictures they took were incredible! My mom re-affirmed her baptism in the Jordan River. Wow!!

Ok, so I'm sure you're wondering about the title of this post. Here goes...My parents have a crib at their house that we use for Ben when we visit. This time around, however, Ben went into an absolute panic when I tried to lay him down in it. He simply would NOT calm down. So, I let him sleep in the "big" bed with me. The first night we did this it worked fine, but the next night, he just wouldn't sleep. After about an hour and a half of him climbing all over me and talking, I'd had enough (it was about 10:30pm at this point) and put him back in the crib and left the room. As expected, he went into a huge fit. But after about 10 minutes of him crying, it got very quiet. I figured he just cried himself to sleep. Then, about 5 minutes later, I heard something banging on the bedroom door and then more crying. I went to open the door and there he was....standing at the door. He had managed to get out of the crib.

When we returned home from our trip, I was nervous that he would now start climbing out of his own crib (which is in our bedroom). However, I held on to the hope that he feels comfortable and safe in his own crib and all would be fine. When I laid him down in his crib for the night, he freaked out just like he did at my parents house. I should mention that once Ben gets a taste of sleeping in a "big" bed with us, it is very difficult to break him of it. We've been through this many, many times. Even if we let him in bed with us for just ONE night, it will take darn near a week to get him to sleep back in his own bed without him waking up multiple times a night and screaming at the top of his lungs for upwards of an hour at a time. Anyway, we let him cry it out for awhile and he finally went to sleep. When I went to bed that night, I went to tuck him in like I always do....but he wasn't in his crib!!! I immediately panicked and thought he may have fallen out of the crib and hurt himself, so I turned on the lights and there he was.....under the covers, sound asleep....IN OUR BED.

When Greg came in to observe my discovery, we started laughing hysterically. So now the time has finally come....we have to move Ben to his own room with a big boy bed. This is very bittersweet. It will be nice to have our room to ourselves again, but it was a joy to wake up to his little, smiling face right next to our bed every morning. The time has come though. We'll be converting his crib to a toddler bed this weekend and we'll move him up to his room. It's going to be rough around the Reynolds homestead for awhile folks....ROUGH!!! Here are some pics of our little crib jumper......

Sometimes the cuteness is just too much for me to handle. Don't you just want kiss that sweet little face?

In other news, my 10 mile race is supposed to be this weekend. And just like every other year, the weather is not looking good. And by "not looking good", I mean it will be below freezing with a rain/snow mix. With each passing day, the forecast is getting worse and worse. It is also supposed to rain tonight AND tomorrow which means the trail we are running on is going to be a muddy mess. Really, mother nature??? REALLY?? It was 81 degrees here two days ago. Seriously. The winter to spring transition in the midwest is just RUDE. I don't even know if I'm really going to run it. I'll feel like a wimp if I drop out but I don't care. I'm going to see if I can just drop down to the 5k. Then I'll only feel like a partial wimp. Lincoln has a very large running community and they are hard core. They don't drop out of races for weather...they just don't. I guess we'll see if I can suck it up and get the job done. Wish me luck :-)


Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Boy and His Vacuum

Good afternoon everyone! Once again, I apologize for being a blog-slacker lately. I really have no excuse other than the fact that the only time I can really blog is when Ben is napping....which happens to be the only time I can do A LOT of things. So, I guess the "other things" have been winning out lately.

Not a whole lot has been going on here lately. The weather has finally taken a turn toward the spring-like, which has been quite refreshing and glorious. And now that daylight savings has come and gone, I'm looking forward to running outside in the evenings instead of on the dreadmill. Woo hoo! Speaking of which, this past Saturday, I decided to do a "trial run" on the trail I'll be racing on in a couple of weeks. The trail is in a rural area with lines of trees on both sides and then open meadows beyond the trees. Every mile or so you cross a country road with a couple of houses, but other than that, it's pretty isolated. Pretty much a serial killer's dream come true. Which is why I don't run on it very often....and when I do, I make sure it's on a Saturday afternoon when I know several other people will be on it. Oh, and I run with my car keys in prime stabbing position. I'm sure I look very menacing.
Anywhoo.....this past Saturday I was enjoying the beauty of the trail when I noticed a large pile of horse poo (the trail is also a horse trail) which I quickly dodged, then a few seconds later I was passed by an oncoming elderly cyclist wearing a short-sleeved, button-down plaid shirt, polyester knee-length shorts, black socks pulled up to his knees and shoes that I'm pretty sure should never be worn while bicycling (I should mention it was 45 degrees out). Then, a few seconds after that, I passed a tractor-crossing sign (how a tractor could get through all those trees is beyond me, but whatever). Does that all scream "I live in Nebraska" or what?? Maybe you had to be there, but those events in close sequence of one another made me if I'm some sort of "city-slicker" myself.

In Ben news, he has discovered the joy of vacuuming in recent weeks. He loves our daily vacuum time and does a good job of helping me out. The problem is, he usually throws a big, ol fit when I put it away. Soooo, I decided to buy him his own toy vacuum so he can have all the vacuuming fun he wants without me having to do the work :-) The only problem is, I looked EVERYWHERE and couldn't find one.....except at Wal-mart. The catch? It's pepto-bismol pink. Do you think that stopped me from buying it?? Ummm, no. Greg was thrilled as you can imagine. In fact, he made me promise I wouldn't post a picture of it on here. Ben doesn't care what color it is though. And that's good enough for me. Below is a picture of him with one of our real vacuums.....

Taking a break from all the hard work....

Ben has also been struggling with his two-year molars recently. I feel like these things have been trying to come in for FOREVER!!! Now, I can finally see the two bottom ones poking through. Once those babies are in, he is done teething until he is 6!! In the meantime, the pain makes him a bit crabby from time to time as I'm sure you can imagine. I was taking his picture a few days ago and he was getting mad at me because I wouldn't let him hold the camera and I captured this beauty.....

Is that a face or what?? The best part is, when I showed him this picture of himself, he started laughing hysterically. It was sooo funny.

And below is a sweet picture of him hugging his cobra.....

And a picture of him looking very grown-up. I just love how he holds his hands in front of his body when he poses for a picture....

That's all I have for today. I'm cooking up another "Tales From the Farm" post. I'm sure you're thrilled. The good news is, there will be no stories of dying animals in the final posts. And I'm only planning on doing two more as I fear I might be giving you all nightmares. Have a happy Monday!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cuteness Personified

Hello everyone! Sorry I've been lagging a bit behind with my posts lately. Greg was gone on a business trip all last week and by the time Friday rolled around, I was literally praying to God that I could stay awake until Ben's nap-time. I basically spent the weekend "recovering". Seriously, I don't know how single mothers do it!!

Ok, enough small talk. I'm going to just jump right into the goods.... First, a few cute "Ben" things. The last time we went to the children's museum, he was very much into their "space" display. There is a "space shuttle" there that the kids can get into and crawl around in. And there is a button they can push for the countdown to "lift-off". Once they push the button, a woman's voice comes on and counts "3-2-1-liftoff" and then there are all these exciting sounds and such. Well, ever since then, Ben constantly counts "3-2-1" and then says "woooo!!" It is so funny. Speaking of counting, he can count to five. He doesn't do it very often, but given the right circumstances, he will do it. He can also identify several letters of the alphabet. Which leads me to the next cute Ben thing.....

He is OBSESSED with Wheel of Fortune. He asks for "Wheel" several times a day. We have actually DVR'd a couple of episodes so I can play one during the day if I need to. We usually just watch it together as a family at night though. When it first comes on and you hear the people saying "wheel-of-fortune" Ben does this pulling-down motion with his arm and says "wheel of" along with them but then stops because he can't say fortune yet. He loves to repeat the letters when they are called by Pat and the contestants. Who knew good old "Wheel of Fortune" would be such a hit with the toddler circuit!?! Greg and I always like to reminisce about the days when WOF had that revolving platform that displayed a bunch of random prizes on it that the contestants could "buy" with their winnings after each round. Remember that?? And some of the prizes were really bad. Like horrible art pieces and stuff that nobody would ever buy. And when the contestants got close to the end of their cash supply, they would have to buy the lamps or the crappy art or the exotic animal statue......Ha! Good times!

The third and final Ben activity that has been cracking me up is his dancing. He has become very adept at jumping. And jumping has become his primary dance move. He usually adds some arms movements and spinning in there too, but jumping is really his favorite. He used to just bob up and down when he "danced", but now he is all over the place. And he doesn't like to dance alone. He always wants us to join in with him. The other day, I was busy with something in the kitchen and he was dancing to a song on T.V. and he kept saying "mommy" and "up" which was his way of getting me in there to dance with him. So, I cut a rug with him for awhile and afterwards, he hugged my leg, patted it and said "awwww, mommy". Such a little sweetheart. He also tries to sing along with songs on T.V. or on the radio. It is adorable.

Time for some pictures.....

This was taken right before we were heading out to go somewhere. I thought his choice of companions was kind of funny, so that's why I included this pic. He has Barney (of course) and..... his cobra snake. He always takes things with him in the car and this particular combo just made me laugh. He tries to share his food and drink with both his cobra and Barney on many occasions. He gives them lots of kisses too. I'm a little nervous about what he might do if he ever runs into a real snake.....

Here he is playing with a toy we recently got.

Playing with toys is serious business....

Other than all the Ben cuteness, I'm looking forward to my annual "girls trip" with some of my college girlfriends. We didn't get to do it last year, so I'm really excited for this year's trip. We're going to NYC this year!!! We'll be there the last weekend in April. Can't wait!! Also, we have a Vegas trip coming up in June for Greg's CLU conferment (CLU is an insurance designation). We'll be staying at the Palazzo. We've never stayed there before, but I know it's very nice. And the fact that it's FOC is even better!!!

And finally.....running. My first race of the season is at the end of the month (the 26th) and I'm starting to get nervous. It seems like every time we get the snow melted just comes right back with a vengeance a few days later. The trail I'll be racing on is mostly in a rural setting, so there are a lot of trees on both sides. This means that it takes FOREVER for the snow to melt because of the lack of sunlight due to the trees. If it keeps snowing, there won't be enough time for it to melt and I'll be racing this 10 miler in 5 inches of snow. Also, the weekend of this particular race has historically BAD weather. I ran this race the last 2 years (although I did the 5k and not the 10 miler) and both times almost skipped it because of how bad the weather was. I can deal with 20-something temperatures and high winds for a 5k, but for 10 miles?? No thank you. So if you could send some good weather vibes our way, I'd appreciate it.

Have a great day!