Wednesday, December 31, 2008

To Bill

Thinking of you today.

We love you and miss you.

You're always in our hearts, Dad.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Domestic Diva

This has nothing to do with running but I have to write a quick blog about this. I realized this morning that I was the perfect picture of domestic diva! I taught yoga this morning at the Y, and wore one of my new yoga outfits with matching top and stretchy yoga pants. Afterwards, I had Baby Boot Camp class, and then decided to take Anthony to the park because it was such a nice morning. We stopped by Starbucks to get me a latte and Anthony some vanilla milk, and then headed to the park. There I was, with my matching yoga outfit, sunglasses, perfect handsome little kid on one hip, and Starbucks coffee in the other hand. Jesus! I was such a parody of domesticity that I had to laugh at myself. Oh well, at least I was wearing the yoga clothes because I had taught two classes that morning, not just because they looked good! I had actually sweated on them!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2 weeks from today!

2 weeks from today, I'll have completed the Disney marathon! I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown. It's been a crazy year. Christmas has come and gone already. It was a very good Christmas-- we went up to Georgia to spend it with the family this year. Perhaps that wasn't our smartest idea, since we had just been up there 3 weeks before for Thanksgiving, but it turned out to be a great trip. We spent the first half of the week with my family, and the second half with Adam's. We even got to go out on a real date with our friends Rich and Tracy, and got to have both dinner and a movie without it costing us $30 in babysitting money! Ah, the perks of grandmothers.

I realized I forgot to blog about my 20 mile run. All that buildup and I don't even talk about it. Whoops! Well, it's over, I can say that about it. Actually, it wasn't that bad, though it was pretty darn warm that morning and it really made me worry about how hard the marathon will be if it's that warm on the 11th. We've been lucky in that it's been pretty cool most of our long runs; in fact, the previous week, I wore a warm up jacket and long pants for the entire run. It was in the 70's for most of the 20 mile run, which isn't bad if you're outside just hanging out but sucks when you're working out that much, plus there was NO shade along our route. We finished in 3:23, which was remarkable time, just over 10 minute miles. If we were to continue on that pace for the marathon we would finish in about 4 and a half hours, which I'd be thrilled with. That last six miles will be tough though. Pretty much once you get beyond 20 miles, it's all mental. there's not a whole lot you can do to prepare your body for that kind of stress.

I feel really confident going into this last two weeks. We are tapering down now in mileage to prepare for the big day, so I'm going to be focusing on cross training and strength building until then. I'm beginning to be able to imagine myself and Erin crossing the finish line and getting the coveted medal. It's been an incredible journey of training, and in some ways I'm sorry to see it end, but it will be nice not to spend every Saturday morning running for hours at a time.

let's hope for COOL WEATHER two weeks from today!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

22 Days!!

Aaaaahhhhhhhhh!!! 22 days to go!! I can't believe we're in the home stretch. One more big push forward with our 20 miler on Saturday, and then we start to taper down to get ready for the big day. Erin and I were both sick this week with nasty colds, but despite that we got out and did our shorter runs and the 10 miler last night. We've run through heat, cold, wind, rain, sickness, injuries... and it all comes down to one day. I just hope I've gotten all the funk out and will be healthy and ready come January 11th.

Christmas is in one week! This whole holiday season has flown by. The weeks between Thanksgiving and now are a blur. We took Anthony to do some fun holiday things, including
the train ride to the "north pole" and to Christmas Lane this week. He loved the lights and the choo-choo.

I've started writing a new novel. We'll see if I can actually finish this one, unlike all the half written novels I've started before. I won't say what it's about here (I don't want any casual browsers stealing my ideas! Ha ha) but let's just say it's at topic very close to my heart!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Longest Long Run, Part 3

Hey, I just noticed my countdown clock is down to 31 days! Holy sh*t! Time is a-flying. It's a good thing too, to quote one of my life heroes, Jimmy Buffett...

And now I must confess I can use the rest...
I can't run at this pace very long...
Yes it's quite insane...
I think it hurts my brain...
But it cleans me out and then I can go on

It's been quite a ride, and as we move through the heart of this thing and the highest mileage, I feel more prepared to take this on but even more ready for it to be over. It's not the race itself-- it's the training. Our "medium" run in the middle of the week is up to 9 miles this week, 10 next. It's hard to find an hour and a half after dark to go run, especially for poor Erin who is rushing home from work busting her butt to meet me on time. I thank Adam for being so gracious and supportive of my running, and be willing to take extra Anthony care time so I can get 'er done.

We did our 18 mile training run this past Sunday. Only one more big run to go: the 20 miler in two weeks. The 18 wasn't bad, but I'm a moron and ate food court chinese food the night before, so I spent the first half of the run battling a sour stomach and heart burn. Then, my left knee started aching a bit around mile 15, and later that night I had quite a bit of pain on the back of that same knee. I iced it down and stayed off of it yesterday, and am skipping a 4 mile training run today in order to take the extra day of rest. It's feeling better today though so I don't think it's anything to be overly concerned about. I'm not taking any chances though, I've devoted way too much time and effort to this to get sidelined in the homestretch!!

Erin told me she was planning to have a picture of a friend of hers who had died in Iraq this summer screen printed onto the back of the shirt she's going to wear for the marathon. I'm going to do the same thing with a picture of Bill. I've thought a lot about him during my training. Nothing makes you more aware of your breath and of being alive than endurance training. When it's just you and your breath out there on the open road, you have nothing to do but think about it and be grateful for it. I remember 3 years ago when Bill was sick at Christmas, and a week later as we sat by his bedside in the hospice... how he struggled to breathe his last breaths. I don't think we ever take enough time to be grateful for every clean and easy breath we take, and this training has made me so aware of that. I dedicate this run to him.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

spanning the seasons

Atlanta Half Marathon Official Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes! Whoo-hoo! My goal was 2:10, and to know I not only beat that goal, but shaved 20 full minutes off my time from Disney last January, makes me extremely proud. It was quite a run, one of the best I've ever done. I'm already thinking of my post-marathon goal now-- finish the half in under 2 hours. If I had known I was going to be that close, I would've booked it even more to hit the 1:59 mark!

So as Erin and I were out doing our 9 mile training run last night, it started getting dark around 5:45pm. I started thinking as we were running past houses lit by Christmas lights how my running has carried over time. After the half marathon last January, I hit a whole new level of interest and excitement with my running. Even with my goal a year away, I continued to train, even through the dog days of summer when it was a too hot to run at 7:00am.

When we started our official training schedule in September, it was still hot, and even though we still had daylight at 7:00pm, you couldn't get out before then because of the heat and/or summer afternoon thunderstorms. As the long runs increased from the first week, 6 miles, to this week's upcoming 18 miles, we kept going, never missing a training day, never cheating, never stopping. The rainy season slowed, the oppressive humidity dried up, and an occasional comfortable day started slipping in. Night fell earlier and earlier, and it's continued to get cooler and cooler. We've run from summer straight through fall and into winter (granted, not that our seasons are very pronounced in Florida, but you get the idea!). We've run distances I never thought possible. I took 20 full minutes off my half marathon time. I feel stronger mentally and physically than I ever have in my life, and the race still looms ahead of us, a mere 6 weeks away!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Atlanta Half Marathon

Happy Thanksgiving! Me, Adam, his uncle Guy, his cousin Emily, and my friend Becky started the holiday out with a little 13.1 mile run known as the Atlanta half marathon. The AHM is kind of a tradition in the Walenga/DiMuzio Thanksgiving holiday rituals, with always Guy and Emily and a random assortment of other friends/relatives taking the running plunge before the grand feast. This was my first year running the AHM, and it was quite literally, a training run for the marathon.

That didn't stop me from treating it with due respect though, and I set a PR for time. I could tell as soon as I started out it was going to be a fabulous race day for me, so I rolled with it and paced well ahead of my Disney half marathon pace. For that race, I finished in 2:24, and this one was 2:17 clock time, which is not my official time because it doesn't not take into account the time it took me to reach the starting line. The official race time won't be posted for a few more days, but it should be somewhere in the vicinity of 2:10, which was my goal for this race.

This race was mostly flat in the first half, but there were two or three very challenging uphill climbs in the second half. It was a lot of fun though because the course takes you right through the heart of Atlanta and past the landmarks I grew up with, like the Fox Theater and the old Macy's building.

I finished a full five minutes ahead of Adam and Becky, which made me very proud because both of them are lifelong runners that have done this course before. I never thought I'd be a good enough runner to even complete the distance, much less finish before Adam.

Anthony's had a great time earlier in the week with MiMi and Grandude, and is now enjoying his first Thanksgiving with a house full of relatives at Grandma's house! He amazed Auntie Chiara with how smart he is-- check out her blog at :

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Longest Run Ever!

You know what is freaking awesome? Pushing yourself beyond your limits. Doing something you never thought you could do before. Moving towards a goal, one step at a time, checking off one training run at a time, moving ever so closer to the coveted finish line. Today we took another big leap towards that goal, checking off the 16 mile training run, leaving only two more longest runs of my life to go before the big 26.2.

Today wasn't quite as exhilaratingly good as last week's 15 mile run, but I think that's because I logged in 43 miles total this week, and it's not really surprising my legs were tired. I did great the first 14 miles-- I hit the wall there and pushed myself through the last two against a wall of unusually chilly wind for late November in Florida. Aside from running 16 miles in 2 hours and 39 minutes, my big accomplishment today was clocking in at 2 hr, 9 min, 30 sec for the half marathon length of 13.1 miles, a full 15 minutes better than my half marathon time last January. Slowly but surely I've improved my half marathon time in this training, from 2:24, to 2:16, to 2:14, to 2:09.

Someone asked me this week what my goal will be once the marathon is over. Though doing a triathlon is in the back of my mind, I'm not sure I want to tackle that one just yet. Who knows. Maybe I'll work on goals in my life that aren't athletic in nature, something that doesn't require me to dedicate 18 weeks of my life to training!

Onto my amazing son... he did the cutest thing today! We put him down for his nap today at noon, usual time, and he laid in his crib babbling to himself for awhile. Typically he'll do that for 15-20 minutes or so, talking himself to sleep. Today though, it was 1:15 and he was still going, so I went in there to check on him and was greeted by a roomful of stifled poop smell. I took him out of his crib to change his diaper (after all, who can sleep with pants full of poop?) and he looked me in the eye and said ever so sweetly, "I'm sorry, mommy". Sorry, I suppose, for having pants full of poop and not going to sleep! I just melted, gave him a hug and assured him it was ok. As soon as I laid him back down, I didn't hear another peep out of him and he went right to sleep.

He's so cute!!!!!!!! I'm so lucky to have such a sweet, intelligent little boy! He is what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, and every year to come!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Longest run of my life... for the next week

Today we completed our 15 mile training run. Wow.

15 miles! I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated by this run, mainly because it was the furthest I've ever run in my life... to date. When I looked at the training schedule, I wasn't nearly so intimidated by the 20 mile run we have to do the week of Christmas as I was the 15 miler. So much of running these long distances is mind game, and I really do believe your mind runs a marathon as much as your body. It was a really good run today. We finished in 2:33, which is 10:10 minute miles, very good pace considering that also includes our water breaks. We broke the run up into a 5 mile loop which began and ended at Erin's mother's house, so while we completed each leg we focused only on getting back to the driveway for water rather than the full task at hand. I know I'm going to be saying this a lot in the next 6 weeks, but there was a time that I didn't believe I could ever do something like this, and now, not only do I know it's possible, but I can easily visualize myself crossing the finish line.

Running like this is a celebration of life. It's an amazing feeling to be so aware of your body, of the air filling your lungs, of the rhythm of your feet as you press forward stride by stride. It makes me grateful that I am healthy enough to undertake this endeavor, that I long ago stopped the stupid behaviors (aka, smoking) that otherwise would've prevented me from doing this. People do ask me all of the time, why?! when they hear I'm running a marathon. My answer is: because I can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Time-Out

Well, it had to come sooner or later... Anthony's first time-out.

We've had some problems the past few nights with our eager tot waking early in the morning, and yesterday it was before 6:00am. Of course, an early rising spud equals crankiness later. Yesterday he went to Ms. Erica's for the day, and seemingly had a great time... except for skipping his afternoon nap. I guess the change in scenery and routine was much too exciting, and he slept for maybe half an hour, whereas he's been doing two to three hour naps.

So after I picked him up and brought him back home, I had him lay down with me on my bed thinking I could squeeze an hour or so nap out of him. He wasn't very interested in sleeping at first; it was far more intriguing to point out and name the parts of my face. All fine and dandy, until he decided it would be fun to slap my face. No, Anthony, I said, calmly but firmly. He did it again. NO Anthony, I repeated, a little more forcefully this time. SLAP. NO! I grabbed hold of his hand, and he laughed at me!

That's it!
I jumped up, grabbed him off the bed, and put his little butt in the corner. I blocked him into the space by using my arms, and told him he was in time-out for hitting mommy. Good God. You would've thought I had pushed him off a cliff. DADDY, DADDY! he shouted desperately as mean mommy instilled the first-ever punishment, tears streaming down his face. It lasted all of, oh, maybe a minute, before I scooped him back up and explained why he had been in time-out. He continued to snivel and snot for a few minutes until thankfully, he had tired himself out enough to fall asleep.

We've been discussing the need to start time-outs, and now it looks like it's an official Chantel and Adam DiMuzio family policy. I'm not going to have a brat child that runs around without control, hitting and acting rambunctious as he pleases. He's a smart kid; I hope he learns a good lesson from it.

In running news: this week, the longest run of my life to date-- 15 miles. Next week, the longest run of my life to date- 16 miles. YIKES!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2008

One half marathon down...

... one more to go on Thanksgiving morning. In training yesterday we completed 13 miles... the distance I was training to achieve two months later last year at this time. Hard to believe a year ago I doubted my ability to complete the half, and now I feel confident that I'll be able to conquer the full. It's very different running 13 miles with your buddy on the sidewalks around your neighborhood than the excitement of race day in Disney World, but I have to say, I ran better. I know my fitness level has improved by leaps and bounds, thanks to the fact that I'm 19 months postpartum this time around instead of 8. I improved over my Disney half marathon of last year by 7 minutes yesterday in my training run, when I wasn't attempting to break any personal records. It was just a great running day, and I probably could've gone longer. Plenty of time for that though, so I decided not to push it.

So tomorrow is Election Day in the good ol' US of A. Will we have our first African American president, or our first female vice president? Either way, if I have to hear one more dang "Joe the Plumber" ad I'm going to SCREAM like Scrunchie when mean Mommy won't let him carry the stick inside. That is the most ridiculous, annoying political propaganda ever... I absolutely cannot stand it when fat-cat politicians pretend they can relate to the little guy when they haven't the slightest comprehension of how the average American lives. Personally, I can't stand McCain, and at the risk of sounding like Nigel from So You Think You Can Dance, I hope America gets it right this time!

I survived a long weekend as a single mom while Adam was off in Orlando selling stadiums. Overall, a pretty decent weekend, though the little fry definitely knows how to push mommy's buttons when daddy's not around. After whining all the way through the grocery store, having a meltdown over getting a free chocolate-chip-versus-sprinkle-sugar cookie, and then refusing to hand over the "magic Publix stick" (ie, the customer dividers that go on the scan belt), he went into a full on screeching fit much to the shock and awe of the 18 year old cashier and his 16 year old bagger. Kindly the young lad did grab my cart to help me out (probably eager to get the screaming toddler out of the store as soon as possible) and proceeded to get his ear drums blasted the entire way. Jesus.

Katelyn came over to watch Anthony while I ran my training miles. I love my training time, especially when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed like I often am since I started my own business... I will miss it when the marathon is over. I don't know what my next big goal will be, but I'm sure there's one out there waiting to be discovered!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bragging about my Boy

Taking a break from running blogging to brag about my incredible son...

At 19 months old, this is what he's accomplished already:

* Has a very active vocabulary of at least 50-75 words. Can say and understand several phrases
* Knows and can point out several colors, including yellow, red, blue, purple, green, black, and white.
* Knows 2/3 of the alphabet letters; can recite what they are when pointed out to him. Also actively seeks letters his surroundings and points them out, such as on signs and license plates.
* Knows numbers 1-10. Somewhat knows the order, though he can't count from 1-10 he knows that 3 comes after 2, 4 comes after 3, etc.
* Knows most of his shapes-- circle, square, triangle, heart, star
* He remembers and can sing tunes from shows he likes. Knows the tune of the "clean up" song from Barney, for example. Also knows the theme song from Imagination Movers.

Those are the big things. There's much more he knows and can do, but these are the ones that really stuck out at me as advanced for his age. As we always say, he's sooooooo smart!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When long runs are now short runs...

As I went out last night and plowed through 7 miles on a Monday night, I realized there was a time not too long ago when 7 miles was my long run, leaving me worn out and sore afterwards. This weekend, Erin and I are scheduled to do a 13 mile training run, the length of a half marathon. Last year at this time, 13 miles was the ultimate goal I was striving towards. My next official half marathon race is Thanksgiving Day, and I'll have run 13 mile, 14 mile, and 15 mile training runs beforehand.

But given the Hotlanta hills, I can't really call it a walk in the park. It's just amazing to think how far beyond my original goals I've reached.

I'm really glad I have this marathon as a major goal in my life right now. The business is not going as well as I'd hoped, unfortunately. I still have 15 people on my roster, but only about half of them are attending regularly, and I've only brought in a couple of new people in the past month. I'm also having a hard time getting the ladies to come out and attend the social events, which really surprises me the most because I thought they'd be all over the opportunity to get out of the house and get to know each other outside of class. I feel like I'm going nowhere fast, and I can feel my own motivation waning, which I think I'm masking very well in class, providing the same enthusiasm about getting in shape that I feel in my own life. I must admit I did not think it would be so difficult to keep new people coming in and keep the group happy and motivated. I really enjoy teaching the classes, but I'm not enjoying the business aspect of it, having to constantly worry about marketing and bringing in new people. I guess there's a reason why most people who try a venture of their own end up on someone else's payroll with time. It is dang hard to run your own business!

I have learned a lot from this experience though, and I'm proud of myself for trying it and having the guts to quit my dead end job and do something completely different. I've especially enjoyed the extra time with Anthony, which has brought us a lot closer. I don't know how long I'm going to try to keep this going myself. I'm thinking it maybe better off in someone else's hands, so I may end up trying to sell it before the year is out. I just don't know right now, I'm doing a lot of soul searching to find the best answer.

My training is a god-send throughout this up-and-down year as I try to figure out what it is exactly that I'm supposed to be doing. I know I don't want to sacrifice my time with Anthony as he grows, so I hope whatever options I pursue, they will be part-time for awhile. In the meantime, just keep running, just keep running...

Monday, October 20, 2008

What? I'm not even halfway there?!

Last night we conquered a 12 mile training run. Overall, it was a pretty decent run. My legs got tired around mile 9 but I pushed through it and actually felt more alive by time mile 11 rolled around. We paced 10:17 miles, not bad considering we did stop a couple of times for brief water breaks.

Hard to believe that even with a good run like that, I still haven't run half the distance yet. I think I could've squeezed another mile out last night, but that would've been all. Now, I know from experience that the race atmosphere facilitates the excitement needed to push beyond the usual limits, but that 26.2 still seems so far out there right now. I especially wanted to write about this particular run so when I complete my 18 and then 20 mile training runs, I can remember how challenging 12 felt at the time.

I really don't know what it is that propels people to pass the marathon finish line. That's why I'm doing my first at Disney World; I figure a little sprinkle of pixie-dust couldn't hurt! I'm still highly motivated though, even if my physical stamina isn't quite there yet, and I know half the marathon battle is in the mind.

Speaking of motivation, I don't know what's happening to my Baby Boot Camp girls. They seem to be falling off. Some of my most motivated students are skipping classes and don't seem to have the enthusiasm they did at the beginning. Surely this is "gym syndrome" that happens to most normal people, those who don't salivate at the site of a treadmill like me. It's hard for me to understand though, and I don't know how to help them through it. For me, not exercising is not an option. It's so ingrained in me and my daily life that just not doing it anymore is not even a possibility in my world. When I get upset, angry, or otherwise feel myself spinning out of control, a little 3 or 4 mile run puts my perspective back. If you don't experience that, I can see where it's just another thing you do. I live for those endorphins!

Gotta head out today for an easy 3 miler just to stretch the legs. I really don't feel like it, but I'm going to anyway. That's the mindset I wish I could give to the girls-- just do it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Double Digits

It's all uphill from here! We covered our first 10 mile distance last week, my first since the half marathon last January! To the point of no return now... all double digits from here, let's just hope I can stay healthy and keep my body injury free.

I'm so incredibly stoked that I have five of my students training for their first 5K in December. I'm doing our first group training run in a couple of weeks. None of them have ever run in a road race before... are they about to get the jolt of their lives! Hard to believe my first road race was only a few years ago, the Gasparilla 5K. The energy, the excitement, the crowd, the sense of accomplishment-- needless to say, I was hooked. I took a hiatus for pregnancy but when I decided to come roaring back, I did it and then some. If you'd told me after that first 5K that I'd be training for a marathon three years later, I'd have said you were high on something besides runner's endorphins!

Man, did I mention how freaking HUNGRY I am since I started teaching classes 5 days a week and running over 20 miles a week? I'm a never ending bottomless garbage disposal! I can only imagine how much worse it's going to get as the training mileage goes up. All the time I'm like a caveman, ME HUNGRY! NEED FOOD NOW! Two hours will pass and then it'll be rearing up again. If I keep on this pace I may be serving up Anthony and Adam with a side of rice by time January rolls around! The funny thing is though I can tell I'm still toning though I'm trying to maintain my weight by putting back in the calories I'm burning. Most of my clothes are getting loser. I guess it's a good problem to have and I should just shut up about it.

My super-smart kid knows numbers 1-10 and can name off pretty much all of his alphabet. Totally amazing.

Until later... don't get in my way, less I EAT YOU! Time for some chocolate ice cream!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pushing past a plateau

I'm eagerly awaiting the push past 13 miles... right now, as we slow ramp up, I'm getting impatient waiting for the "real" training to start. I guess since I've run the half before, nothing under 13 miles seems like that great of an achievement, well at least not for me at this point. I've only run the 13 once and been past 10 a handful of times, and it's been quite awhile since those actually. This weekend is our first 10 miler and it's all double digits from here on the long runs-- no more pansy 7 milers on the weekend! This is the point of no return, where turn in our 3 wheeler for big girl bikes and see how far we can coast without crashing!

Haven't been able to run with Erin any this week. My schedule's been packed with additional Baby Boot Camp classes, a jewelry party, and YMCA new hire training which I have to head out to in about, oh, 10 minutes. It's felt kind of lonely without my running buddy, and I realize how grateful I am to have someone undertaking this incredibly overwhelming challenge with me!

It's all the exercise I'm doing in addition to the marathon training that's wearing me out. I'm teaching 5 Baby Boot Camp classes a week (actually seven this past week!) plus teaching yoga at Impact Fitness. I'm about to start teaching an additional yoga class at the Y, which I'm actually really excited about. Still, it's a lot of wear and tear on the body. Thank goodness I have to pile in the calories to make up for all the ones I'm burning away!

Better go and get oriented now...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Whipped Man Syndrome

No, it's not a date night dessert, nor is it an infectious disease. It is a truly perplexing phenomenon that seems rampant among married men, particularly those over 40. I call it "Whipped Man Syndrome".

I'm not referring to the 20-something guy who spends every waking moment with his girlfriend to the point he abandons all his friends. That's a different type of whipped, as is the new husband who'll go on a tampon run at 11:00pm at night. No, those aren't the men who have me puzzling, though they are probably worthy of a separate blog.

This contemplation all started with a t-shirt that Adam received. It was a gift from his mom on her trip to Sedona, and the shirt is embossed with this wisdom: "If a man speaks in the desert with no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?" Mom got it as a ha-ha gift for Adam, and no slight to her on her gift choice. Considering the fact that first time Adam wore it out in public FIVE PEOPLE commented on it, the manufacturers can obviously sell a few of 'em. And, I guarantee, it was a dude that came up with it.

What started my reel of thought regarding this shirt was the type of man who would stand around the bar-b-q grill with his fellow whipped men and complain about the fact his wife is always so critical of him, yet he'd don this or a similar shirt as if to say to the world, "yeah, my wife controls me and I'm proud of it!" I've heard these men in their clusters before, using a condescending "yes, dear" when the wife asks if he'll set the table and promptly rolls his eyes when her back is turned. They'll sit around and moan about the fact they never get to watch a football game in peace, yet they hop right into the driver's seat when the wife announces it's time to buy new dish towels on a Sunday afternoon in October.

So, my question to these guys is-- if your wife is so horrible, your life so miserable, your thoughts so constricted-- WHY do you put it on a shirt and laugh about it later? Is it the woman that's whipping him, or is he doing it to himself because it's easier than admitting that he likes shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond?

This blog doesn't have a darn thing to do with running, but it's my blog, and if I feel like contemplating worldly matters, I will. It's what I do with my time while I have my husband out shopping for tampons.

My Amazing Child

let me take a moment to brag on my child, who is quite possibly the most amazing 18 month old on the planet...

Lately, Anthony has been into anything and everything alphabet or number related. Adam bought him a set of foam alphabet letters and numbers for his bathtub, which propelled Anthony to get over his dislike of the bath. Now he eagerly runs to the tub when we ask him if he wants to take a bath, and will sit until the water goes lukewarm just picking up his letters and numbers and identifying them. The number 2, his favorite, is often a bedtime or car companion now as well. The kid can identify the letters and numbers he knows out in the world as well, and will excitedly point and repeat to the letter of choice when he spies it outside of our home.

He also received a set of the old fashioned, wooden alphabet blocks from my dad last Christmas. I can interrupt anything he's doing, whether it be his favorite t.v. show or him just running around like crazy, and bring him to rapt attention by pulling the blocks one-by-one out of the bag and identifying them. He'll sit wide eyed and fascinated, repeating what I say like a little parrot, until we make it through the whole set and begin again. Totally amazing.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You know you're a mom when...

.... you have the schedule of Playhouse Disney memorized
.... you talk about yourself in the 3rd person, ala Elmo
.... you pat your lap to get your car moving
... you think Anthony Wiggle is kind of cute
... you know who Mr. Noodle is
... you find stale goldfish crackers in unexpected places
... you think everyone is interested in your child's pooping habits
... you're more proud of your pimped-out jogging stroller than your car
... you can't finish out a t.v. show that starts at 9:00pm

My running buddy Erin is going to the USF football game tonight with her husband after work. They're both working tomorrow. The game doesn't start until 8:00pm. They can count on at least an hour, if not more, trying to get out of the parking lot after the game ends. I find that absolutely insane. I love a good football game as much as the next person, but dang, not when they interfere with my bedtime!

I know, pathetic. What a mom. I don't have the luxury of being able sleep in after a night out. If that rare occasion does occur, I usually don't take it because I'm too worn out from chasing my toddler around all day to stay up that late anyway! Sad, sad. Life as I knew it is no more. At least I've quit fighting that fact though, and am now looking for more square holes.

99 Days until the marathon! I can't believe it's getting so close. I have to step back my long run this weekend to six miles, according to my Hal Higdon training schedule. I'm ready to push on ahead to 10, but the schedule recommends step backs every 2 weeks to help in injury prevention. After my 3 week hiatus in the spring due to shin splints, I do take that seriously, as annoying as it is.

I'm eager to start doing some road races, now that the great state of Florida has started turning off the humidity faucet and the weather's getting more bearable. I'm really looking forward to the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving morning too, a Walenga/DiMuzio tradition. This will be my first year participating. Last year it was about 55 degrees and pouring rain. Let's hope I can sprinkle some Florida sunshine on it this year!

Gotta wrap this up, I hear babbling over the monitor. Looks like nap time is over. You know you're a mom when...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sanity in an Insane World

My parents, who live in the metro Atlanta area, are paying over $4.25/gallon for gas. What's worse-- they can't find any. Apparently AT-Aliens have been seized with gas panic, causing the city and surrounding areas to come to a virtual standstill. People are driving over 100 miles to find a gas station that actually has gas, and then waiting in lines 80 cars deep to fill up. To this, I say, WTF?? I guess it's a case of an overcrowded city with too many SUVs filled with too many people who commute way too long of distances to work. Craziness.

With the economy being so glum, gas so high, and politicians so crooked, it's hard to find any optimism. I risk being uneducated to what's going on in the world because it's just too dang depressing to turn on the news. I know all of this economic turmoil is having a big affect on my ability to gain and retain new clients too, and I wish I had started this business two years ago rather than now!

But, what can we do but just surge forward. Try to take delight in the good things in our life, like adorable 18-month-olds who just see the world as one big, exciting place where they can soak up lots of new knowledge. To be able to just see the world through his eyes for one day-- where running is novel, the alphabet letters are the coolest thing going, and a rumbly tummy is your biggest problem. Aaaahhhh.

For me, like Forrest Gump, I just keep running. When I feel like my mind is about to explode, I lace up my shoes and run it off. Nothing seems quite so scary, quite so impossible, or quite so bad once you get that adrenaline surge. I logged my first 9 mile run since February this past weekend, and marveled at the fact 9 miles seemed so daunting last year at this time as I trained for the half marathon. Now, I eagerly anticipate my next surge ahead.

Until then...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Runner's Dedication

I decided to challenge my Baby Boot Camp students to commit to running a 5K race this December. I wasn't sure if anyone would respond or not, and surprisingly, I've had three say they want to do it, and another decided to take the plunge after one of the initial three talked her into it. I'm surprised and excited, knowing that one or more of them might get bit by the same running bug that's had such a profound influence on my life. As I went out running with Anthony in my sweet new Kelty Baby Boot Camp stroller tonight (p.s.-- that's one sweet ride. I feel about that stroller like some people feel about their cars!), I thought about what running has meant to me and my life's direction, and I can honestly say I never would've ended up here doing what I'm doing had I never decided to run a step.

I wrote this dedication to running awhile ago, and tonight as I feel such accomplishment of getting others excited about the race and in the midst of training for my marathon, it seems ever the more true. This is dedicated to runners out there who love it as I do, and can't imagine their lives without it.

A Runner's Dedication

I love to sweat.

I love to feel the pavement pound beneath my feet.

I love the early morning sun peeking over the horizon.

I love knowing I'm half way there.

I love thinking, God how I hate this!

It's a strange relationship we have, me and running. I've heard before there's a thin line that separates love and hate. That describes our partnership to a T.

The first mile sucks. Even when I'm in the best condition of my life, I struggle to find my rhythm, get control of my breath, and not curse out every step. Mile 2- everything settles in. The burning thighs quiet down. The stitch in my side knows now is the time to stop. My heart begins to find its groove. The endorphins start to do their job. Aw yeah, I'm liking this now.

Mile 3- We're fully committed now. If it's Monday, I'm happily headed back home. If it's Saturday, we've got a ways to go. That's ok though, because my old pal running and I, we're in it for the long haul now. We're working together, sweating together, and remembering why we found each other in the first place. My ever-present hard rock music pulsates through my headphones; inspiring me to go a bit faster, push myself a little harder. I pass landmarks I never thought I'd see when I first started out. I leave them in the dust like they were never there. See ya on the trip back home, yield sign. I continue to tick off the miles, my mind free and clear, thinking about nothing but the lyrics to the song that's playing. I mouth the words; maybe even sing a word or two aloud. Who cares, there's no one else around.

The sun climbs higher in the sky, and my clothes are officially soaked now. It's all good, it's all good. I'm on the road towards home. I can keep pushing a little more, a little faster, a little harder. Soon I'll be downing a cool powerade. Oh, that sounds SO good. Sweat drips into my eyes, I brush it away and focus on what I'm after. I turn onto my street, crank up the volume on my iPod, find my favorite motivational song, and give it all I've got.

This is why we stay together. We wouldn't know how to make it apart.

Running-- you rock.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gotta Do More, Gotta Be More!

Then I saw the congo creeping through the black...

Anyone who gets that reference get an A in my book.

Well starting week 3 of Baby Boot Camp, I realized I gotta do more, gotta be more. After the initial surge of the Grand Openings, new student interest has leveled off. I've gotta get some more people in the door. I love the students I have now; I just need to find about 10-15 more just like them! I've asked one of my most motivated students to become my "marketing mom"-- she has a sales background, and obviously loves the classes, so in exchange for a discount and some commissions she's going to blanket the town with my flyers and brochures, and talk it up to everyone she meets. I think she'll do well with it and I'm excited to have the extra help. I've also ordered 50 more yard signs from, and those will be hitting the utility poles as soon as I get them!

Gotta be more... I'm working on new exercises for class and keeping things lively and interesting. I don't want anyone getting bored or feeling the class is repetitive. I'm also working on different types of activities, like a group 5K. All of this stemmed from me falling in love with running, and setting goals for myself. Now I have other moms that want to try to run the Brandon 5K in December and do better for themselves. It makes me happy that I am instrumental in that happening.

Tomorrow I have an interview for a part-time job with Inlingua Language Centers. I don't know if it'll pan out or not, but I figure some additional part time income couldn't hurt while I get this up and running. I did enjoy teaching ESL so maybe there's something good there, we shall see.

10 miles on the week already... 7 on Saturday and 3 yesterday. Booyah! Running Tuesday and Thursday this week, should be at 17 miles for the week by time Friday rolls around. This weekend I've got a 9 miler scheduled... my first since Gasparilla in February!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 2 Highlights

Anthony modeling Baby Boot Camp's performance baseball cap

I've successfully bulldozed through Week 2 of both my marathon training and Baby Boot Camp classes! The second Grand Opening went well... we had 10 come out with 4 new mommies deciding to join up. Our Riverview location is actually very nice, I was a little weary of how bad the heat would be and whether or not we'd be able to navigate Rivercrest without issues. So far, very good! I'm still waiting to hear whether we'll be able to move to Panther Trace and if so, will hopefully have a better location and drum up some new interest as well. So after two weeks, I have 14 paying clients, and my goal was to have 20 once I launch the YMCA location. Right on track. The girls I have now are fantastic-- highly motivated and determined, so now I just have to drum up about 10 more just like them!

Marathon wise, I'm having trouble finding time to get the 4th run in. I'm getting my long run without a problem, plus one 3 mile day and one 4 mile day, but with teaching classes five days a week and teaching yoga on Wednesday evenings, getting that last one is proving difficult. Since the long runs are still under 10 miles at this point I think I'll be find on 3 days, but later on this fall I've got to make sure I'm hitting every day that's on the schedule.

Anthony's doing VERY well sitting in his stroller for classes so far. He seems to have readjusted to our new routine and actually likes watching mommy and her students squatting, lunging, and bicep curling our way to fabulousness. I love spending all this time with him, and I hate to think all I would've missed out on if I had stayed in that dead end, loser job. For the first time in my life I'm really enjoying what I'm doing, and I feel like I'm actually making a difference in people's lives. That's far more rewarding that I ever would've imagined!

I'm going to try to drum up some interest with my students to run a 5K race this December. I'm sure many of them have never ran a day in their lives, and I think it'd be awesome to have Team Baby Boot Camp out there showing other moms that it can be done!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Spy Among Us!

Well, well... turns out I had a spy visiting my Grand Opening! I'm really not surprised my competitor would do something like that since she was bold enough to email me directly and ask what my class schedule would be before I even started! When I didn't fall for her "oh I just sympathize with how hard it is to start a new business" line and tell her what she wanted to know, she decided to send in one of her assistant organizers to pose as a potential student instead. I wouldn't have even known except this girl joined my meetup group, so I emailed her to say hello, and then not even half an hour later I got a message that she had left my meetup group. I thought that seemed strange, and for some reason my competitor's name popped in my head. I went to their meetup group and sure enough, there's the spy listed as an Assistant Organizer of the Group! GGGGGGRRRRRRR!!!! I feel pretty ticked off about this naturally, because here I am just trying to do my thing and here's the snake breathing down my neck. It's one thing to look up my website, peek in on my meetup group, whatever.... but to send in a spy is pretty darn low. Of course I was nice to this girl and followed up with her, having no idea she was duping me the whole time.

Business is ugly stuff! I'm taking the high road here but I did want the spy to know I was onto her, so I just sent her a nice, quick little message stating: "Hello, thanks for attending my Grand Opening. Tell Ginger I said hello! All the best to you!" And of course, immediately removed her from my contact list.

When Ginger had emailed me initially I had stated very politely my desire to coexist peacefully. I guess being deceitful is her idea of coexisting peacefully! I suspected she might do this but I guess I'm just surprised she actually did, especially since she knows me personally and I am a former student of her classes. It's low. No way around it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening!

Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening
September 8, 2008

We have hit the ground strolling! After months of anticipation, Baby Boot Camp has started! I'm so relieved and happy to report that the Grand Opening was fantastic. We had 20 people turn out, and many enjoyed the class so much that they bought class packages on the spot. I too enjoyed myself a lot-- after many years of searching, I have found my calling. The ladies that have already joined up are so motivated to succeed, and I am excited to be helping them with their goals. Now that we have a solid foundation to start, I'm looking forward to launching classes in Riverview next week, and at the YMCA at the beginning of next month.

Anthony's been wonderful so far at class! He seems to get a kick out of it. He's my little helper, when I tell the ladies it's time to start moving again with the strollers he'll echo me in saying, "let's go!" Or if I let out a whoop of excitement, he'll follow suit. My little parrot is mommy's little helper!

With the good comes the bad, of course. My little escape artist decided it would be a worthwhile endeavor to crawl out of his crib the other night! I heard a thump and loud screaming around 7:00am, ran in there to find him on the floor beside his crib, his foot still hooked in one of the rails. He wasn't hurt but was obviously very scared. My heart just went out to him, I can only imagine how scary that must've been for him! So Adam and I immediately started looking for transitional toddler beds as the pediatrician said it was time if he was trying to crawl out. We've found one, and MiMi and Granddude have kindly decided to buy it for him. It will take a week to get here, so we decided to use the pack and play as a makeshift bed if Criss Angel decides another escape routine is in order!

On the running front, Adam and I took Anthony on a family run last night. We went 3.5 miles with me pushing the jogging stroller, which is quite a bit of resistance if you consider the 26 pound passenger! I'll do another 3 tomorrow, 4 Saturday, and 6 on Sunday.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Training Run

The marathon training has officially begun! This morning Erin and I met at 7:00am and completed 8.5 miles. We were only scheduled to do 6, but I figured if we were feeling good it couldn't hurt to build an extra shorter week into the training later on if we needed it.

It was a fantastic run! As far as I can remember it was the longest run I've done since the Gasparilla 15K last February. Weather wasn't too bad, and I just fell into an easy rhythm and pace. Yesterday I did 3 miles of hill intervals on the treadmill, and I've definitely found that my regular runs improve drastically after a hill training workout.

Days like today make one feel like 26.2 miles is nuttin'! I'm sure I'll be changing my mind about that...

In other news, Anthony's still not himself. He's been very fussy, and is still not eating much. It's a mommy's job to worry, and I am. I know when my baby isn't right. He doesn't want to do any of the things he normally enjoys, and now he's constipated because he hasn't been eating enough to produce a decent poop! He'll be going to the doctor soon if we don't start seeing some serious improvements in his eating and attitude!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fabulous Run!

I was so involved in talking about the terrible, awful, dreadful thing that I forgot to mention the FABULOUS run I had Thursday night! I headed out around 6:30pm, and it felt more like early October out. The humidity was very low for central Florida standards, and my body responded by plowing through a fun and fast 4 mile run. For the first time in awhile I actually enjoyed the run, and I completed in in just over 37 minutes. The last mile back home, which is usually my most sluggish, was under a 9 min/mi pace. It felt like my legs were on autopilot, moving ahead so quickly that my upper body felt like it was being left behind. What an awesome feeling!! The treadmill hill drills are definitely helping my speed. I'm going to head out to the gym here in a minute to do some more hill training!

Thursday night reminded me of why I love running in the first place. It's so good to have those runs, especially since I tend to get so unmotivated during the hot, sticky Florida summers.

The Terrible, Awful, Dreadful Thing...

When I was growing up, I loved Beverly Cleary's Ramona book series. Ramona was my favorite child heroine, and I would read those books over and over until I had sections committed to memory. In fact, I still do. I can remember one particular book titled "Ramona Quimby, Age 8" in which Ramona suffers the humiliation of throwing up in school. If I recall correctly, it went like this: "The terrible, awful, dreadful thing happened. Ramona threw up. She threw up right there in front of everyone." I could totally relate to this being the end-all-be-all of horrible situations. I was always terrified of throwing up (still am, actually). When I found out I was pregnant, I dreaded the morning sickness (which never turned out to be anything more than nausea, thank goodness!) When it came time for labor, the pain didn't scare me nearly as much as knowing that many women puke during the transition phase (it ended up I did!) My sister has a 13 year no-puking streak going, if that gives any indication of my family's relationship to stomach purging.

I must admit, for the past year and a half I've worried about the first time Anthony gets sick. When he had the flu earlier this year, I was eternally grateful it never involved puking. I always figured we'd know when it was coming based on his behavior and eating patterns. Though he's been eating like a little chickadee the past 3 days, he chowed down at dinner last night and was his usual bouncy, happy self when he went to bed.

Imagine my surprise at 3:30am this morning when Adam got up to check on him after we heard cries over the monitor and delivered this news: the terrible, awful, dreadful thing had happened. Anthony threw up.

I think Adam and I both handled it quite well, and Anthony seemed pretty unbothered by it actually. We stripped the bed, changed his clothes, and after a few minutes put him back to bed. An hour later, we heard him gagging again, but that time very little seemed to be expelled, and he went back to sleep for a couple of hours. He got up at his usual 7:00am and downed a cup of milk, 2 cups of pedalyte, and a bowl of oatmeal with no adverse affects. He's taking a nap now, being obviously exhausted from being up in the middle of the night, but I haven't heard any unpleasant sounds rising from the monitor, so I'll assume he's ok and the dreadful, horrible, terrible thing won't happen again...!

In other news, a truly terrible, awful, dreadful thing that's not just my melodramatics... Hurricane Ike is plowing through the lower Caribbean with hints that it might come to visit us later in the week! I'm not too worried because Tampa does seem to have an uncanny ability to repel these storms... but we'll stay tuned.

Grand Opening Monday!! 25 people RSVPed! Excited and anxious and hoping no sickness or storms affect this event that I've worked all summer to make fabulous!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

... and then moments like those

Easy come, easy go. It took exactly 4 hours for the warm fuzzies I experienced earlier to vanish into thin air, replaced by all the annoyance and frustration that comes along with parenting an obstinate toddler. People (including the pediatrician) have been warning me for months that toddlers hit a point where they don't want to eat anymore because their bodies don't need the same amount of calories to grow as they formally did. This seemed to happen to Anthony overnight-- one day he was chowing down, the next two bites sustained him the whole day. Today, he ate his oatmeal and banana fine, and had a nutrigrain bar at 11:00am. After a very long nap, I couldn't get him to eat a thing at 2:30pm. I figured he'd be starving by dinner, and I wanted him to eat before my yoga class tonight and before he had to go to **Du-duh-DA-DAAAAHHH** the dreaded GYM CHILDCARE CENTER!

So at 6:00pm I fixed up a yummy dinner of fish fillets and veggies from the beef stew Adam was making in the crockpot. Mr. Obstinate turned up his nose promptly at the veggies. Ok, fine, says I, let's try the fish. No go. Now I'm getting annoyed, but trying not to let him see that as to not fuel the fire. Since he's acting like a baby, I grab a jar of pureed sweet potatoes (aka baby food), which is normally a crowd pleaser. Nah-ah, he ain't having it! I must admit, now I am P-Oed! Our battle becomes a power struggle, in which I lose all sense of reason (how do you reason with a toddler, anyway?) and vow to get some food in that gullet if I have to hold him upside down and pour it in the old fashioned way! Ok, I never intended to do that, but believe me, the thought crossed my mind.

He promptly burst into tears, shaking his head vigorously. I give up on the table, let him out of his high chair, and then try to feed him again in the living room, where he usually has breakfast. All toddler hell is broken loose at this point, and he's wailing as I get more and more frustrated. I give up entirely on the food, just trying to get him to calm down enough that we can go to the gym. He's shifted to high gear now, and there's no turning back. He calms down while we're on the short ride to the gym, but once we get there and enter the childcare center, he lets out full-on hysterics as I pass him to the care attendant. I felt so bad for her, passing on this screaming pile of toddler theatrics while I ran off to teach the class, but I had no other options. Needless to say, I was beyond embarrassed.

The hour apart was good for both of us, as we had both calmed down by time I picked him up. He ate some oatmeal and banana before bed, so hopefully he won't be up at 3:00am tonight wanting to eat. That was the main thing for me-- I knew if he went all day without eating, he'd be wanting mealtime in the middle of the night, and that is not happening!

The emotional roller coaster of parenting a toddler makes me dizzy sometimes. We're up, we're down, we're upside down, we're blasting off at 60 mph and coming to a screeching halt. I know I have to learn to not try to out-stubborn him, but it's so hard to let him get the best of a situation, knowing it could lead to more exaggerated problems in the future. I know that toddlers eat less than babies and I shouldn't have gotten so determined in making him eat, but I also know he can, and probably would, wake up hungry in the night as he's done it before. I also know he butts head with me more than anyone else because I his mother, and he's intent on pushing his limits.

Today was a day of rest from running, but I intend to keep this situation fresh in my mind as I head out tomorrow night. Frustration fuels my running, so I should be on par with the Olympians tomorrow!

My Frustrated Marathon Mommy

Moments Like These

Today I realized why I did the right thing in leaving my loser job and taking on this Baby Boot Camp endeavor. The time I have, and am going to have, with Anthony is priceless. This morning I took him to the Family Resource Center for open play time. Basically, it's a giant room with lots of books and toys. They had those foam "carpet" pieces that link together to form a big disco-looking floor. We put some of those together, and Anthony had a blast going to town on them! He ran around, stopping to pump his knees up and down in an awkward dance of sorts, grinning from ear to ear the entire time, and chanting "jump, jump!" It was just such a joy watching him have fun like that, and I realized how many of those moments I might have missed out on if I had stayed in that job and continued to surf the internet all day.

Yesterday I ran 3 fast miles on the treadmill-- just over 27 minutes. My time has improved tremendously, probably from the hill intervals I've done on the treadmill this summer.

I was telling a friend this morning about my marathon hopes and what propelled me to do it. I can imagine myself crossing the finish line after 26.2 long miles and months of training behind me, feeling elated at the accomplishment I'd made, especially when not-so-long ago I did not believe I was capable of it. Pushing my limits, challenging myself, going outside the box and doing things I didn't believe I could do-- that's motivation!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let the training begin!

First, let me say how happy I am hurricane Gustav did not turn out to be the monstrous disaster that the media predicted (and seemed to be hoping for!) It was definitely a significant storm but will not go down into infamy with Katrina. For the most part, New Orleans was spared as the levees held.

Now two days in September, I really have my mind on two things-- the Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening next Monday and beginning MY MARATHON MOMMY training! I'm excited for the Grand Opening... I have 25 people on the RSVP list. I think we'll have a good showing and a great first class! I've been anticipating this for so long, I'm ready to get it going already.

Also something I've been highly anticipating... the start of marathon training. Staring this Sunday, we are a mere 18 weeks until show time! This year went by so fast! This past week I ran 6 on Saturday (though not a good run-- I was very sluggish). I also ran 3 with the stroller last night, and 3 today at the gym (27:28 time on that one!) I tell ya, running with that stroller is getting harder and harder with the 27 lb weight in the front!

Our training schedule has us getting progressively longer on our weekly "long run". We start out at 6 miles (both already at 8, so we're a couple of weeks ahead!), go up 1 mile each week for two weeks, and then step back one week. So the long run looks like this: 6, 7, 5, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11, 8, and so on until the long run is 20 miles. 20 miles!!

I must've lost my head for doing this in the first place, but it's going to be a great feat and I am PUMPED!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Special Prayer- Hurricane Gustav

As Hurricane Gustav heads towards the Louisiana coast line, I feel a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. My heart goes out to the people in the storm's path, and it seems so completely unfair and unjustified that New Orleans should bear the brunt of another huge storm, especially so soon after Hurricane Katrina. It's only been 3 years ago. New Orleans tried to hard to rebuild, to bring tourists back, to bring their city back to the former glory it once was. It seemed they were making progress. It seemed that life, though different, was returning to normal. For the rest of us, it's a sobering reminder of the scope of our own silly problems, and a call to a realization to be grateful for what we have.

And now, another monster storm heads that way. For people in the hurricane belt, we can't help but feel grateful that it's someone else's problem, but I think it affects us more knowing that same fate could be ours someday. It infuriates me to see reporters and ambulance chasers running into the storm while the real people, the ones whose lives are directly impacted, run the other way. All those "cool" video feeds and photographs and reporters blowing sideways in the wind have no respect for the people who don't get to turn the channel when it's all said and done. When it's old news and everyone's salivating over the Presidential election again, they're the ones who'll be picking up the pieces of the battered homes you see on t.v.

On that note, yesterday I emailed Mark Sudduth, founder of I was very upset by his blog and the fact he made no mention of how dangerous it is to go plowing into an oncoming storm. He was very responsive and professional in his return email, which gave me hope for the integrity of people. I get very upset when I see sensationalism and disrespect for these storms, and I'm glad at least one hurricane tracker seems to understand that.

Here's what I wrote to him:

I'm a regular reader of and have even ordered several posters from you in the past. I enjoy your blog-- especially the emphasis you always place on hurricane awareness and how crucial it is that people in the danger areas pay attention to the forecasts and evacuate when they're told. That being said, I have to ask since your latest blog does not clarify-- are you going to New Orleans to set up your instruments and leave before Gustav arrives, or are you planning to stay for the duration of the storm? I realize you have a responsibility to your readers, especially now that you are offering these premium services and have corporate sponsorship, but with that I hope you realize how much of an influence you have on other people and their actions. How can you lecture people over and over again about the importance of heeding the evacuation order when every time a new storm threatens the United States, you go plowing towards it? I respect what you've built and accomplished as a fellow amateur storm tracker, but frankly, in particular with very dangerous Hurricane Gustav, it's irresponsible. Not because I don't think you know what you're doing, but because you're encouraging others to do the same thing even though that's not your intention. I'm sure you'll continue doing what you're doing, and will do it well, but I hope you will take the time to acknowledge in your blog for the thousands of people that listen to you and respect you that going towards a storm when emergency management is telling people to get out is not the best thing to do. Personally, I get pissed off anytime I see some reporter being blown sideways in the middle of hurricane force winds, but they do it for sensationalism and there's no way to get the point across to them. For you though, I hope you will remember why you started doing this in the first place, and that putting yourself or other people in danger isn't worth the photos and video clips that will come out of it. Respect these storms with your actions, not what your write in your blog, and remember this is real life to these poor people that are going to be affected by this storm, not just some really cool video feed.

And his response:

Your email makes very good sense. Believe me, the equipment we have developed with allow us to not be in harm's way during the worst part of the hurricane. Perhaps I should mention this more in my write ups, that we have an un-manned system of gathering data and video. I should also mention how we use the video to match up with the wind data recorded. Getting in to more technical details about our work is a good idea and should help to convey a message that it is dangerous, we do take it seriously but that our mission is to gather info, data and video of the event in a manner that is safe.
Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns- we appreciate that. We really appreciate the time folks like you take to help steer us in the right direction. I made a good statement on the update just put on about people that are refusing to leave. Some are quite stubborn- we won't be, as soon as we set up our gear, we will retreat to a hotel inland and remain much safer.

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Don't you just love old 80's advertising references??

Well another week down with full time Scrunchie duties. MAN, I'm tired! I hit a wall this week and had a mini meltdown, typical Chantel-my-world-is-crashing-down style, and now that I got that out of my system I'm feeling much better. After two straight days of regular fits and lack of events to put on the social calendar, I suddenly wanted nothing more than to run back to my cushy old job and retreat into my own little world. I had no concept of how much is really involved in being with my own child all day, every day. Sure, we had the weekends before, and I was always picking him up by 3:30 each day, but that really is a completely different beast than being Mr. Short Attention Span's soul source of entertainment. I started feeling like I did when I first had him-- like I was a failure as a mother because I wasn't enjoying our long days together... and it seemed neither was he.

After a few better days, help and pep talks from the always-supportive Adam, and a well deserved massage, I don't feel like I'm buried under an Anthony avalanche anymore. I realize that ALL moms feel this way at one time or another, and it's the lack of structure and schedule that's getting to me more than anything. In a week, I'll be starting the long anticipated Baby Boot Camp classes, and I've developed a full social calendar in addition to the regular classes, so hopefully me, Anthony, and my clients will be happy, entertained, and fit for some time to come!

I logged in 20 miles running this week, my first post 15 mile week since the beginning of the summer. Marathon training officially starts next week. Erin and I are psyched. I've been preparing so long, I'm ready to plow into this endeavor full force. It won't be long before they turn off the faucets here in central Florida and the weather starts getting nicer, and it'll make it easier to get out there. Yesterday morning, we went for a 6 miler and I felt like I was running through a sauna (or a bowl of soup, same difference) the entire time. It wasn't a good run yesterday. I felt sluggish and tired, but I think that was a result of the early start time and the fact I had such a long and exhausting week. It didn't bother me though, because I did complete the run despite the fact it wasn't going that well for me, and I know it's just a one day thing and not the start of a new trend. Now why can't I approach the rest of my life with such an easy attitude? Why do I always tend to be so all encompassing with my gloom and doom when it does hit? I need to take my running attitude and apply to to my mommyhood!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

First Week

My first week job-free is complete! It was very strange waking up in the mornings and having no where that I had to be. I certainly didn't miss driving to my former pointless job and sitting around all day. My hats are off to all the stay-at-home moms out there-- taking care of your own kid all day long is hard! The main thing is keeping him entertained. Anthony is not a kid that's content to sit around and build block towers in the house all day. He requires a daily dog-and-pony show. I did my best to accommodate, because goodness knows I'm not a big fan of hanging out in the house all day either, so we went to Playmania, went to story time at Barnes and Noble, went to the park (a rare event in August in Florida-- it was comfortable out because of the close proximity of Tropical Storm Fay!) We even walked the mall and drove to Ruskin to get some free play time at the Family Support Center there. Whew! I don't mind telling ya, Mommy was tired!

We've definitely entered our premature terrible 2's. You could set your watch by our daily meltdowns. This morning Hurricane Anthony terrorized the living room when Mommy took away the banana he was playing with. Yes, how Mommy Dearest of Me... I was putting it in his backpack so we could leave for the park! Last night, Macaroni Grill proved to be the site of yet another dinner fiasco. It wasn't entirely his fault, they did take forever in getting our food out, and he was just tired of sitting there. At least he's polite about it. He kept whining and saying "up please" until I obliged and spent the rest of the meal watching him run around on the sidewalk outside. At least they didn't care that I took my glass of wine with me!

So we're about to enter week two. I have several outings on our event calendar so hopefully it'll be a good week. After that, one week to go until Baby Boot Camp classes start! I have to say, I'm already restless. It just doesn't work for me to not have a definite plan and somewhere I have to be in the morning. I just hope this all works out and I don't have to go back to working for "the man".

Running's going well... Official Marathon training begins the week of 9/7. How ironic! That's when Baby Boot Camp starts too. I welcome some structure into the days and a goal to strive towards! Last week I completed my first 7 mile run since the spring, and have been doing a lot of hill and speed work on the treadmills. I vary the inclines of a 3 mile run between 1% and 6% on the hill intervals, and for speedwork I actually did a 27:30 3 miler this week. Whoo-hoo! Hopefully all of this will help build the strength and endurance I need for the marathon.

In Health,

Friday, August 15, 2008

The End of my Computer Era

My last cybercamp photoshop masterpiece, mommy tiger and cracker-eating cub

Well, the era of slack is ending. I am leaving Giant Campus. No more will friends be envious of my days spent surfing the internet and watching old 80's sitcoms on YouTube. I'm embarking on a new venture as the franchise owner and instructor of Baby Boot Camp. I'll be spending my days helping other moms get back into shape and find their post-baby sanity again, and chasing after Anthony. The slacker life as I knew it is no more.

It was a decision that did not come easy to me. I struggled long and hard with whether or not I'm a complete idiot to leave a job where they paid me to do nothing. After nearly three years though, doing nothing left me restless, tired, and unmotivated. When I found myself walking out feeling like a complete loser, I knew it was time to do something different. I've never had a job where I was in complete control of my own destiny before. It's exciting, but intimidating. There's no one else to blame but yourself when things don't go well. I think my feelings will be hurt if I go to Adam complaining about my lousy boss!

I don't know how this venture's going to turn out. A year from now I maybe applying for another work-for-the-man job. Or, I may have 50 clients on my roster, two other instructors working for me, and be scouting my fourth and fifth location. Who knows. All I do know is I'll work very hard to make this business successful, and let the chips fall where they may

No more Cybercamps, retirees, or Excel classes for me. My sister in law Aimee said recently, "do what you love, and the money will come." I'm making that my mantra and hoping fate guides the rest into place.

Goodbye, MacDill Family Resource Center. Goodbye, Giant Campus. Thanks for a great 2 and a half years.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Anthony the Drama King

Medieval torture device, known now as a bike trailer

Oh son. Son, son, son. Your shiny smile, inquizzitive personality, and sweet little voice just make our hearts go pitter-patter. But sometimes, I just have to tell ya, you are a DRAMA KING! I know it runs through both families but don't let it get the best of you! Fight the power!

Tuesday, we went over to my friend Shannon's house for our weekly playdate. Since it actually wasn't raining, we decided to take the kiddies to the pool. Usually we jog to the pool, but I didn't bring my jogging stroller because I was driving the smaller car and it doesn't fit in the back. So, Shannon suggested we take the bikes instead. What a great idea, says I, since I don't bike very often I was excited. She has the ancient medieval torture device shown above attached to her bike. She loads up her son, Chase, who's obviously quite used to it and sits quietly. Then, it's Anthony's turn to get in.

He was resistant, but I figured if we could just get him in there and get going, he'd like it. No such luck! I tried three separate times to get him in, and he SCREAMED bloody murder each time. We finally got him strapped in, all the while he continued to wail, and then he started contorting his body around trying to get loose, to the point he was turned around completely backwards and tangled in the arm straps. By this point he was really panicked, and I really can't blame him then. I got him loose, picked him up and tried to comfort him, but he continued to cry and cry, tears running down his face and snot running out of his nose. I put him the car and just drove him to the pool, and though he was better once we were there, he never really recovered. Though I doubt I scarred my child for life, I scarred him for a good six hours at least!

It's funny because I had thought about buying one of these bike trailers. Glad I didn't waste the money! I guess we can try a bike seat that attachs onto the adult bike when it cools down. Adam was really surprised he reacted that way too because he doesn't mind his stroller and loves to ride in his little car. Sometimes, my kid is just weird!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Searching for my rhythm

Mileage totals for the past two days:
Sunday- 5 miles, ON THE TREADMILL thank you very much! Oh it was boring agony on a Sunday afternoon when nothing's on the gym tv's to be plodding along for 49 minutes... but it did help to look around and see out of the dozen or so people there, I was the ONLY GIRL!

Monday A.M.- 4.5 miles. Oh yeah, after a week of avoiding morning runs I got out there with Erin this morning at 6:45am and conquered 4.5 miles. My legs were tired from yesterday's run and the humidity was fierce, but we made it.

Now that it's almost August I really gotta start getting into a regular running schedule again so I'm used to it when training starts in September. This summer I've been pretty loosey-goosey, going when I felt like it with the knowledge that I can run 6-7 miles as a long run right now, which is all I need to be able to do to start marathon training.

If I'd known I was going to be quitting my job and starting a new business, I probably wouldn't have signed up for the marathon, but I'm committed now and actually, awful glad I am. Starting the business would've just been one more reason to put off running a marathon and likely, it would've never happened. Adam and I are talking about getting pregnant again next year, and though there's nothing to say I can't run a marathon after another baby and having two little ones to handle, now is the much better time!

In Health,

Friday, July 25, 2008


Well, got my lazy self up this morning and did a 3.25 mile run before work. It was my first morning run in two weeks, and I could certainly feel that in my tempo and pace. I just couldn't get into a good rhythm. I started 20 minutes after waking up, so I think maybe I didn't allow myself enough time to actually come alive before hitting the pavement. Erin and I are talking about doing a longer run Sunday morning. We'll see how that goes.

Why is it we so easily can block out hundreds of positive comments, but hearing one negative one throws us all out of whack? I'm sitting here stewing over one parent from my kids' cybercamps complaining about me to Gayle. Apparently her kid didn't like me too much, so she went home and whined to her mother, who comes back and asks Gayle why I am teaching a kids camp if I don't like kids. SAY WHAT?? First of all, I like kids just fine, otherwise I wouldn't have been offering these Cybercamps the past THREE YEARS. I would've told my boss after the first summer to just forget it, this stinks, give me back my adult classes. Second of all, this is a classroom. Yes, it's a free service to the military families, but no, that doesn't mean I'm going to let the kids run around with no structure whatsoever. They're here to learn and do projects on the computer. I expect them to behave politely and with rules, just like they have in school. If that makes me the mean, bad teacher, well then I guess I am! The problem is that so many parents these days let their kids run around without rules and let them back talk, curse, and just be overall rude to their teachers and other adults, then they're suprised when someone corrects their kid on their behavior.

It just makes me so annoyed because I've worked so hard every single school break to make sure the kids have a fun and enjoyable time while learning something cool too. Do I get irritated with some of them sometimes, sure, show me a teacher that doesn't! I have so much respect to teachers who do this every single day, all day long, without ever a thanks or good job. It truly is a thankless job! What I have to remember is that I've had many of the same kids come back year after year, and they wouldn't do that if they didn't enjoy the classes.

I don't know why I let one negative comment bother me so much. I guess it's because this parent didn't come to me and ask me about the situation, but just went and blabbed to Gayle, and furthermore, I don't even know what situation it was or who the kid was!

Oh well. I can't stress over what I can't change. But it can still annoy me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Riding the Rollercoaster

Anthony fascinated with a balloon

This picture really doesn't have anything to do with a balloon, but I just liked it. Anthony's Auntie Aimee took the picture when he was visiting Grandma last month. Apparently the balloon provided quite a few minutes of entertainment!

Before I go on, I want to give a shout-out to my other sister-in-law Chiara, who is undergoing surgery today to remove a tumor from her kidney. The prognosis is very good, but it's still major surgery and we're all just praying for the best.

So, regarding the rollercoaster comment... it really has been one this past week with Baby Boot Camp. I'm in the final stages of securing locations, and just found out once location is a no-go and another is unhappy with the financial agreement. I think we can renegotiate on that one until everyone is smiley-fine, but it's annoying to still not have this stuff finalized. Looks like the YMCA is on board though, and this is the one I really wanted to secure. Up and down. Up and down.

The hardest part of this ramp up period by far has been visiting doctor's office (OBs and pediatricians) to leave marketing materials. I H-A-T-E this process! I feel like such a dirty salesman, coming in and bothering people when they're busy and grumpy for being stuck at work. I don't know how door-to-door salesmen do it. So far, the response has been decent; most places have allowed it. One that turned me down though was my own OB's office! I am still sooooo mad about that! I went in last Friday and talked to the receptionist, who was very nice and said she'd need to pass on a copy of my materials to the office administrator for approval.

I called the office adminstrator yesterday and left a message to see whether or not I'd be allowed to leave the brochures in the waiting room. She had someone else call me back to say no! This is my own doctor's office! I was so incredibly annoyed that I called back and left another voice message today asking again and reiterating that I am a patient there. She hasn't called me back so I'd assume the answer is still no. Like I said to her, I'm just trying to get the word out. I believe in this program and I believe it's very, very important for new moms to be aware of programs out there that can help them through the hardest times. What is the harm in allowing a few brochures in the waiting room?? Goodness knows patients at that practice need all the reading material they can get as they wait to be seen an hour or more after their scheduled appointments!

Enough of that rant. I just gotta ride out these highs and lows. That's the nature of the business, so to speak. Anthony's pediatrician was very receptive to helping me promote the program and is distributing all of my marketing materials. So, alas, you when some and lose some.

Running tomorrow a.m. with Erin for the first time in a week and a half!! I HATE morning runs!
In Health,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

P.S. Running

Oh yeah, running. yeah, I'm still doing it, but I've hit a wall with motivation because of this stinking heat. I did 4 miles on the treadmill Sunday and 3 yesterday. I've been varying the inclines and speed, trying to make it more interesting, plus the hill intervals are good for my training. Here's what I did yesterday:

Mile 1-
0.5% incline, 6.0 pace

Mile 2 (quarter mile intervals)-
1% incline, 6.5 pace
2% incline, 6.2 pace
3% incline, 6.2 pace
4% incline, 6.0 pace

Mile 3-
1% incline, 6.2 pace (recovery)
2% incline, 6.2 pace
1% incline, 6.5 pace to end

Game on!

I felt the need to blog about our latest family obsession... SCRABBLE! Oh yeah, the good old fashion spell-words-with-tiles game you remember as a kid. Sheramy bought a travel version on a whim one day, hoping I'd play with her. I have many fond memories growing up of my mom and neighbor/babysitter Diana sitting with their perm rods in their hair and playing Scrabble for hours, so natually, I was "game".

Enter the obsession.

Adam, who claims to hate Scrabble because he can't spell, decided to humor us by jumping in on the game. Little did we know he must've minored in Scrabble playing in college. Of the half dozen times we've played, Adam's won 2/3 of the time. Yes, it bothers me and Sheramy to no end. After all, we're the ones with the completed Advanced Degrees (spell boy's degree is in progress) AND he's the one who said he's lousy at it. W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R!

So my mother in law is visiting this week, and we decided to draw her into our circle of game playing madness. First night, she comes out shooting and rakes Adam and I through the coals. Last night though, the Scrabble gods shined down upon me. I started out the game with a 7 letter word and was unstoppable to a high of 258 points. BOOYAH! I was getting a little sick of losing, so my interest is repeaked. GAME ON!

Chris is here taking care of Anthony while his regular sitter Erica is on vacation. As I give him a kiss and head out in the mornings, I'm so happy knowing only a few more weeks left and he'll be with me. It's hard saying goodbye to your child in the mornings, knowing someone else gets to be with him all day. He's growing so fast, and I don't want to miss any of it.

Speaking of Baby Boot Camp, happy to report I solidified the YMCA as a location this morning. They are as excited about the program as I am. It's a load off my mind to know I have a good location set that will be able to bring me in lots of marketing and advertising.

Chugging right along... Grand Opening is set for September 8th!
In Health,