Monday, December 29, 2008

A Mini Milestone-A Cold Winter's Run

Another challenge has been given to me. Endurance Nation (EN) has challenged all members and non-members alike to a running challenge.

  • Thursday to Thursday, from 12/25 to 1/1.
  • 1 point per mile run.
  • 1 additional point for each hour run (whole numbers only 1, 2, etc.)
  • 1 additional point for a run in sub-32 degrees weather.
  • 1 additional point for each mile run at (or above) Threshold Pace (10k pace).
  • 5 bonus points for running all 8 days of challenge.
  • Note: This runs on the honor system, please only post your actual run results.
This IS A BIG challenge for me. I really dislike cold weather...Yuch! I'm a big wimp; I just don't like training outside when the temperature is not to my liking. And that usually is something below 60 degrees. By the way, I have never ran outside during the winter.

On Christmas Day, I was in Rockford,IL at my parents house. Temp was 2 degrees with a wind chill of negative uber degrees. You got to be kidding! If you could have opened up my head, you would have seen a firestorm of activity---my brain was simoutaneously talking myself in and out of the run for the day. Yup, I ended up chickening out. There's always tomorrow.

December 26, I woke up to an ice storm...streets were like an ice rink. The weather announcers were warning every one to stay put...don't travel. I ground myself again. By afternoon, conditions were better but I was out and about and had another Christmas get together to attend. No running this day.

December 27, Ed got me a Garmin 305 Forerunner for Christmas. By now, I'm itching to give it a try and to finally run outside during winter. Well, it wasn't going to happen on this day. The temperature was in the 50's BUT it was pouring rain outside and fog so heavy that you could not even see 25 feet in front of you. Doh! Still no points to log.

December 28, I was back in Rockford for yet another Christmas family gathering. I had only 20 minutes to get in a run for the day. It was 20 degrees. I layered up with all the clothes I had brought and headed out the door with my new Garmin. I got in 2.1 miles, at an average of 10:20/mile pace. No, I didn't shatter any records! But I did get my butt outside and ran in the cold. There is a first for everything.

Because I ran 2.1 miles and the temp was sub 32 degrees, I was able to record a measly 3.1 points with EN. I guess that's better than 0 points. So far, I'm on the bottom of the results. Hopefully, I can improve upon that.

Anyway, on the upside....I LOVE my new Garmin. How cool...and how did I not live with this invention before? Thanks Ed!


Gingerbread Competition: No results yet...I think my Mom is stalling. She doesn't want to declare a winner for fear of hurting someone's feelings. I believe she thinks if she waits long enough, every one will forget. I'm sure Keith wants to forget the whole thing.

Reg and RA: She's feeling better with the drugs. Her aches and pains are slight and she is able to do normal activities with very minimal pain. She's unable to drink alcohol while being on this drug--which is hard for her. She's not dependent on alcohol in any way but she does like an occasional drink when the mood strikes. Who doesn't like a beer or glass of wine once an while especially when out with friends? I know it would be hard for me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Gingerbread House Competition

Right before Thanksgiving, my brother (who lives in Mystic CT) emails my sister and I a challenge to a gingerbread house making competition. Hmmm...this could be interesting. I accepted on behalf of Ed and myself. My Mom accepted to be a judge as well as my Dad (who will judge with his glasses off). Final Entrants:

Keith (my brother)
Reg (my sister)
Morgan (7 years old--Reg's boyfriend's oldest)
Peyton (5 years old--Reg's boyfriend's youngest)
Nolan (5 years old) and Anita (Keith's son and wife)
Ed and myself

Once all have accepted the challenge, we were given our rules/instructions. Everything on the "house" must be edible. Graham crackers can be used instead of gingerbread. The deadline was set for Dec 21 @ 5 pm--no extensions allowed.

Well, since it was Thanksgiving...I put off even thinking about the competition. Meanwhile, Keith emails Reg and I with plenty of smack talking. He states how we "might as well start preparing ourselves for a loss since he's taking home the victory". Blah, blah,blah. I brush off the comments and reserve the right not to smack talk back. We'll just see who wins this thing.

Three weeks ago....I'm in a store with Ed and we are talking about the gingerbread house competition. I look over at Ed and say "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if we made an airplane hanger as our gingerbread house?" We both chuckle at the thought. Then I add..."yeah, and we could make a control tower and a plane to go with it." Chuckles, again. Ed shrugs and is thinking ...."Yeah, right! Whatever."

Two and half weeks ago... Ed comes over to my house one night to discover sketches on my kitchen counter of a control tower. He laughs..."is that a control tower?" I reply, yes. "Are you really going to build a control tower out of gingerbread?" I simply reply, yes. "Well, ok then, good luck with that."

Two weeks ago...I tell Ed I have a surprise for him. He again comes over to my house and discovers the "airport" in 3-D poster board design. I explain to him, that I had read if you can build something out of poster board, it is likely that you can build it out of gingerbread. He's amazed.. "my gosh, you really DID build a hanger and a control tower!" (Note: he hadn't seen the plane yet).

1 week ago...I gather all sorts of candy for the project

5 days ago....(Thursday) I made the gingerbread dough for all the pieces. In case, you're wondering, I used all the poster board pieces as templates. And I had to make the plane 3 times (out of poster board) since I had my proportions all wrong. I originally made it so big, that was the size of the hanger. Doh!

4 days ago...(Friday) Big snowstorm hits the Chicago area. I stayed home to work. Actually, I worked on my gingerbread pieces. Cut and bake, cut and bake, cut and bake. Ed calls me and invites me to dinner with some friends..."ok, but we need to work on the airport tonight, so we have to make it a short one". He agrees. After dinner, we're back at my house and I explain that we need to put the pieces together with a sugar/water combination. (It dries faster than frosting and is rock solid). He sees the poster board plane for the first time and exclaims "Oh, my gosh AND you made a Skymaster!" I should explain that Ed is an air traffic controller and a pilot by hobby. A skymaster is the type of plane that he flies; it is a push/pull plane since it has dual in-line engines. See pic of real plane:

We had some hairy times trying to put together some of the pieces and there was definitely a learning curve using the sugar/water "glue". In order to get the control tower windows together, Ed suggested that we mitered the corners. So the Bob Villa came out in me and I mitered the corners. That actually worked really well. I wish we had thought of that an hour earlier.

3 days ago...(Saturday) Ed and I decorated our airport. He was so excited. If you know anything about planes or airports, you would see that our airport has the correct color gumdrops for lighting the runways. We even included a VOR, a beacon light, runway numbers, elevation, and even a wind sock on the hanger. You'll also notice Ed's N number on the side of the plane. I was proud of my green-coconut covered tree that was decorated with small gum drop pieces (decorations on the tree). I got to say we did a very good job. We kicked some arse!

Drum roll pleeeeeeassseeeeee.....

After all said and done, Ed and I high-fived our success with the Gingerbread Airport. He still looks at it in amazement ...."how in the world did we accomplish this?" Being the perfectionist I am...I criticized my frosting application. It didn't help that I couldn't make a true red from my frosting dyes of pink, light blue, light green and yellow and it also didn't help that all the gingerbread pieces bowed while baking. But I am so proud of how we were able to pull it off. I mean, look at it... you can clearly tell what it is! And we have angled windows on the control tower!

Everyone else has submitted their entries...and I think all did a great job (well, maybe not Keith). I have to ask...Keith, what is it?. By the way, my Mom hasn't submitted the results yet.

Peyton's Graham Cracker House

Morgan's Graham Cracker House

Reg's Graham Cracker House

Nolan and Anita's Graham Cracker House

Keith's house??????? (sorry, pic is small. But believe me, it wouldn't help to enlarge it.)

Apparently, it is suppose to be a light house. Hmmmmm. Ok. Let's say it's Picasso style. I guess we can go with that.

NOW Let the smack talking begin!

Here is a message I received from Keith today...

"I’ll accept my last place trophy now. I was blown away with not only Reg’s entry but Ronda's. Wow!!!"

My response: I take it that you're not up to doing any more smack talking?

His response: No you both put me in my place. If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the bottom of the creativity chain. Doh!

Ha Ha....what a good laugh. Results of the competition should come soon. Stay posted....

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Twilight Bathroom Zone

I've got to share this story cause I just can't believe it happened. The office building in which I work has many offices and thus one "community" bathroom. The bathrooms are just weird at this place. How can bathrooms be weird? Well first off, the main bathroom door is locked. I hate it, because if I forget my key, I have to trudge back to my office which is a mere 10 yards away. Ok, so just a minor inconvenience. (Side note: the lock broke recently, so just push open the door and your in; I like the main lock being broken).

The lighting is not just a switch but a timer, so you have to turn the knob for how many minutes you think you will be in the bathroom which controls 2 of the 3 stalls in the bathroom but not the third. That one has its own timer/light switch. I can't tell you how many times, I didn't check the timer, and have been in a stall when the lights went out. Another minor inconvenience....luckily there is one skylight. On top of that, there seems to be flushing issues with all the toilets and it usually occurs all at the same time. The women in this office complex are messy. Ugh. There is typically toilet paper everywhere and paper towels littering the floor and toilets clogged. I have actually walked out of the bathroom several times and decided to "wait" until I get home...another inconvenience (nothing major yet). In these extreme cases, Management "converts" the men's bathroom into a unisex bathroom by posting a handwritten sign over the men's sign. Nice! Thank God, I haven't had to resort to using the men's room yet.

Now for my bathroom story. There are 3 stalls in the women's restroom, all are which are fully drywalled with full doors; in other words, you can't tell if someone is in a particular stall unless the door is open. Earlier this week, I went in a stall #2, closed the door and locked it. The next thing you know, a lady opens it up on me. She doesn't say she is sorry, just yells out in surprise and mortification. Yes, I DID lock the door but for some reason the door wasn't all the way engaged (but it looked like it). Mind you, there are two other stalls with at least one of the doors wide open...why didn't she go into that stall? For some reason, stall number 1 door is never open. I don't think management wants us to use that one. There is a sign on the inside that you must flush twice....once while in use and another after your done. What, "while in use"???????

Anyway, today, the exact same thing happened!!!! I was in the stall peeing, door closed and locked. This time I visually made sure the button for the lock was in. Again, a lady opens up the door on me. I kind of think it was the same lady. She gets mad at ME for not locking the door and says "Why don't you lock the door". I'm PO and say "IT IS LOCKED!". She then replies, "Apparently NOT" with a very scarcastic tone. I'm boiling by now because she is blaming me. I loudly say through the door "Why don't you try a stall that is open". Stall #1 was closed, like it always is, I was in stall # 2 and stall #3 was wide open. I come out of the bathroom to discover a lady washing her hands listening to our verbal bathroom barrage of words; I say "I'm sorry, you had to hear that". She comes to my defense and says quite loudly so that the rude lady can hear "She should have knocked at the very least or used another stall." I reiterate to the lady washing her hands that I tried to lock the door and she says loudly again, "Yeah that lock doesn't work so well."

I went back to my office with steam coming out of my ears. I think I actually could have had a showdown with the the "no-knocking lady" had I seen her face and if my pants were down by my ankles at the time. I immediately emailed my sister the story, 'cause I was PO and had to blow some steam. She told me that I should have busted the door open on her so she could see how it feels. I might just have to do that. I'll challenge her to an arm wrestling match (after she washes her hands) and then when I win, I will wash her hair in the toilet bowl. Ok, that's a little extreme.

I hate using the office bathroom, but what to do? I know I have a very short commute, but I can't justify a 20 minute bathroom break (8 min home, 4 min break, 8 min back to the office) everytime I need to "go". My "drink more water" goal doesn't help.


Monday, December 8, 2008

When Life Takes a Turn

Well, I haven't posted much lately. That's because a lot of things have been going on including preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, my 20 year High School Reunion, Christmas shopping, Holiday parties, blah, blah. I don't mean to sound flippant but in the grand scheme of doesn't seem all that important right now.

It all began, about 3-4 months ago when my identical twin sister, Regina (Reg) was experiencing all kinds of weird pains in her body. It first started out as a pain in the shoulder. Doctor thought it was strained muscle and prescribed physical therapy. Then her foot hurt. Doctor took x-rays and thought there was a fracture; nothing was found wrong. Then it was her neck, elbow, jaw, hands, feet and so on. Her family doctor couldn't figure it out and finally sent her to see a Rheumatologist...after all, all her pain was stemming from her joints.

2 Weeks ago, Reg called me at work. She had just seen the doctor and was upset. The Rheumatologist had rattled off a number of things it could be including Lupus to Lime disease to Rheumatoid Arthritis. The doctor took numerous tests and told her to come back after Thanksgiving for the diagnosis. As we discussed the different possibilities, none of the options sounded very good at all. I told her to "hang in there, and let's see what the doctor has to say". I'm sure it wasn't easy to wait, not when a dark cloud seemed to be hovering over her head.

Again, Reg called me after her doctor's appointment, this time with more definitive news. She was upset and rightfully so...the doctor diagnosed her with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is a chronic disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy joint tissue. As the disease progresses it can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, deformity, and disability. It also can be harmful to internal organs such as your heart and lungs. It is hereditary.

At 38 years old, she learned that she was going to have to fight and deal/cope with a potentially debilitating disease for the rest of her life. Like me, she doesn't like to take any drugs--meaning the prescribed kind, if she can help it. We both avoid medications at all costs. It would have to take a lot for me to pop a Tylenol and I know she's the same way. So when the news came that she would have to deal with pain on a daily basis and be on medication possibly for the rest of her life, she cried. "I'm sorry, Reg" was all I could muster.

Reg is in great shape and works out all the time. She told me that the 10 or 15 lbs weights she normally uses during her workouts have been replaced with 5 lbers. And even with that weight, it wasn't easy for her. Over the weekend, she must have rattled off 5 areas of her body that was in pain including her jaw. She was having a hard time eating, sleeping and generally just doing day-to-day chores. After this weekend, she had made the decision to start an aggressive drug treatment of steroids combined with another powerful drug to combat the RA.

And so today, she began the treatment. This blog is for my wonderful twin sister and my lifelong best friend. I vow to be there for her every step of the way.

Reg--you are the greatest and I love you...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beach2Battleship Bound

Whoo Hooo! Waddler and I are in for the FULL IRON DISTANCE. November 7, 2009, Wilmington NC. Let the games begin!