December 2013 Recap

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Runs: 9
Miles: 30
Races: 1 (3.1 miles) (Reindeer Run 5K - 43:01)
Outdoors: 1 (3.1 miles)
Indoors: 8 (26.9 miles)
Longest: 4.1 miles
Average Pace: 13:42

2013 - A Year in Review

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hope you all had a great year. Our 2013 was busy. We started the New Year on the beaches of Jamaica. It was great to get away during the winter cold. This year we attended 3 graduations in May. Kim’s niece, Danielle, graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Minnesota State. The same weekend we traveled to Papillion, NE for Eric’s nephew, Adam’s graduation from high school. The following weekend we attended Eric’s brother Byron’s graduation from University of Sioux Falls with his Master’s in Education.
June started with Eric’s nephew, Michael and his girlfriend, Cassidy coming up for the weekend. We took them to all the sites of the Twin Cities including Walker Sculpture Garden, Minnehaha Falls and of course shopping at the Mall of America. We also took them to their first Twins game at Target Field and a day in the sun at Valleyfair amusement park. The next weekend, we flew out to DC and visited Eric’s cousin, Elizabeth. She took us to Mount Vernon and many great restaurants. One day, we rented bikes and biked to all the monuments and memorials around DC. We attended the Twins/Nationals at the very nice National’s Park. The rest of June, Kim volunteered to play in the pit orchestra for the annual Eden Prairie Players summer musical production of Carnival!
The next trip was the beginning of August to Rapid City for Eric’s parent’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Most of the family was able to make it so it was nice to see everybody again. The day started out with the family picture, followed by an Anniversary Mass and lunch. In the afternoon, we had a picnic in the park for friends and extended family. It was a fun weekend.
This year we celebrated our 10th Anniversary (August 23rd)! It was a very special weekend as Bradley proposed to Danielle! Their wedding is planned for March 14, 2015 (also known as π (pi) day.)
Our big road trip of the year was in late August following the Twins to Texas. They played back-to-back series in Dallas and Houston. While in Dallas we saw where JFK was shot, Pioneer Plaza, the new Cowboy’s stadium and other sites. We roasted in 100+ degree heat at the Twins game. In Houston, we visited Kim’s friend, Mary Linda. She took us to the beautiful gardens at Bayou Bend on the Ima Hogg Estate as well as Hermann Park. Again, it was over 100 degrees but thankfully the stadium in Houston has a retractable roof so it was kind of chilly at the game! After Houston we venture across the southern part of the US to Pensacola, FL.  We toured the National Museum of Naval Aviation and climbed up the lighthouse. We stayed a couple nights in Orange Beach, AL and enjoyed the beach before we headed back up north.
In September, Eric’s sister Carrie and her family came up to visit for the weekend for our triathlon relay race. We successfully completed the triathlon in less than two hours! Carrie swam, Kim biked and Eric ran. It was a lot of fun.
Kim went to Branson, MO with her Mom in November. They saw 5 Christmas shows and had a wonderful time. For Thanksgiving, we traveled down to Papillion, NE with DJ and kids. We spent a fun long weekend with Chris’ and Bonnie’s families.  A group of us ran the Omaha Turkey Trot 5K.  
Eric has been at Centerpoint Energy for 8 years and was recently promoted. He refereed a lot of soccer games this summer/fall. Kim still works for Ameriprise Financial and continues to play trombone in the Eden Prairie Community Band. Swirl turned ten this year. He is now a “Senior Citizen.” His year has been uneventful and thankfully no surprise visits to the vet. He got a new tower for his climbing pleasure which he seems to enjoy.

May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Kim, Eric & Swirl Williams

The Parishes of the Arcadia Deanery

Sunday, December 29, 2013

As I mentioned in my Christmas blog, we went on a tour of the parishes of the Arcadia Deanery.  If you where to visit all 11 churches in one loop it would be 123 miles.  We covered half on Christmas day and the other half the next day. A map of Arcadia Deanery (it looks like a heart):

Here are the pictures with my rankings. Yes I’ll agree that my #1 is a bit bias but hopefully you agree with me. So here it goes from worst to best:

#11 St. Ansgar – Blair, WI
This church is very boring, to me it looks like a nursing home or apartment complex. I've been inside it too and there really isn't much to say about it except boring...

#10 St. Bridget  – Ettrick, WI
I'm sorry to give this church such a bad rating but it doesn't look like a Catholic Church.  However, I've never been inside so maybe it would be higher if I have but here it is:

#9 St. Bartholomew – Trempealeau, WI         
Sorry Eric but a church that shares your middle name isn't that great.  I'm not a big fan of modern churches and this one seems very modern.  As my sister said, it doesn't look like a Catholic Church but more like a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall.

#8 St. Mary’s – Galesville, WI
Again, I've never been in this church but the outside looks nice and all but like the one above, it just doesn't look like a Catholic Church, this one seems to be like a Church of Christ or something like that.  So it gets bad marks for that.  I'm a tough critic!

#7 St. Lawrence – Alma, WI
We have played Polka Masses in this church many times.  It seems really modern, but I'm not exactly sure when it was built.  The inside is plain so it gets bad marks for that.  It has a great view of the Mississippi River though so that is cool.  

#6 St. John the Apostle – Whitehall, WI
St. John's was built back when a bunch of people got upset at the Independence people and built their own church.  I am not a big fan of this church because it has two wings and it always feels like the priest is turning his back on half of the congregation at all times. They should have just went for a round church and been done with it but instead they built this: Although I don't really like the building their choir is quite good. 

#5 Immaculate Conception – Fountain City, WI
I have never been in this church so I can't comment on the inside.  Again, this church doesn't look Catholic, Lutheran maybe?  Not really sure.  Also it used to be called St. Mary's but somewhere along the way they changed the name.  Not sure when or why:

#4 Holy Family – Arcadia, WI
The last 4 are hard to judge.  I picked Holy Family as #4 because I'm still upset they kept this church and let the much nicer, OLPH church, go (it is now an art museum). :( Its been a while since I've been inside but nothing seems to stick out in my memory so it couldn't be that fantastic. OLPH was beautiful inside but alas this is the church in Arcadia. I have to say the trees in the front really make it look nice.

#3 St. Boniface – Waumandee, WI
This church looks like a mini Sts. Peter and Paul (my hometown church).  It has that classic look with nice stain glass windows.  I really like the Nativity Scene in front. Funny story, when I was young, my family went to the fall festival at this church and my picture ended up in the paper of me picking a sucker in the sucker pull.  Great memories.  By the way this church is in tiny Waumandee (pop. 515) and they still operate a Catholic school! It is really God's country with the bluffs surrounding it.  Very beautiful area!

#2 Most Sacred Heart – Pine Creek, WI
This church is so important there is a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to it! Click here to read about it.  This church is beautiful.  Again, it is like a mini Sts. Peter and Paul.  Pine Creek, like Waumandee, is tiny.  There are two bars and the church. As the Winona Republican Herald commented in reporting on Sacred Heart-Saint Wenceslaus's fiftieth anniversary celebration, the church was truly a village in itself. The church celebrated 150 years in 2012. 

Last but not least the #1 church of the Arcadia Deanery is:
#1 SS. Peter and Paul – Independence, WI
I know I'm biased but based on the past 10 churches, this one is my favorite and hopefully yours too. It is the largest one in the deanery and it has the most beautiful stain glassed windows.  There is a massive restoration project going on right now.  They are restoring the stain glass windows to their original look and the difference is amazing! It will look amazing once the painting project is completed. I can't wait to see it!

White Christmas

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Here we are, another Christmas and it was a white one!  This was my 35th Christmas.  Unlike years past where we went far, far, away, this year we went to Wisconsin.  Last year I had to prepare for 80 degrees and sun in Jamaica, this year I prepared for -20 degrees and snow in Wisconsin. :(  

Work on Monday was a struggle.  There were very few people there and the few things I had planned to work on I couldn't because the NAIC did update their website.  So I read a book, yep, a whole book.  It was a fast read. The book was called "Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero." Such a good book.  After work, we went to the Mall of America to use up the free bowling certificate we got from my mom’s friend.  It was so much fun but man I suck at bowling.  We did a bit of shopping after that and came home and relaxed.  It was an early night. 

Yesterday I woke up early and went for a 4.15 mile run. It really was hard and slow.  But I did it so that is good.  After a quick stop at Mc Donald’s for some breakfast, I came home and we opened presents.  Eric got me a lot of stuff. I got pot holders, dish towels, a sweatshirt, a DVD (of course), bib belt, and running socks. I think that is it.  I got him a Doctor Who watch, Doctor Who T-Shirt, MN North Stars throwback T-Shirt, and discs for disc golf.  

Following all of that, we drove down to Eau Claire to my cousin’s house for dinner. It was nice seeing my cousins on my mom’s side again.  We stayed for a few hours and then we drove down to my uncle and aunt’s house in Independence where I got to see some of my cousins on my dad’s side.  It was a very family oriented day! We hung around until 10pm and went to 10:30 pm Mass at Independence.  The church was decorated so beautiful.  I’m spoiled with my hometown church it is such an amazing building (especially after going on a tour of the other churches around the area but more on that later). It was a long Mass and Eric was irritated it wasn't at midnight and the priest was upsetting him. At one point I think he was even pouting because the priest was doing the Vigil Mass instead of the Mass at Midnight.  But we did have the midnight readings.  We didn’t get out until almost midnight and we had a slow painful drive home in the snow.  It really snowed a lot.

Sadly, Santa did find me at my brother’s house. :(  I’m so disappointed!  We had great meal with my sister and her boyfriend and my mom’s friend, Jeanne.  It was a nice afternoon.  We played many games of Left, Right and Center. I won a few, Eric won a few.  

Around 2:30 everybody left and Mom, Mike, Eric and I went on a little road trip.  My mom is the president of the Arcadia Deanery of Council of Catholic Women.  She wants me to put a display together of all the parishes in the Arcadia Deanery for the Diocesan Conference in April.  Well we needed pictures of all the churches and that required the road trip.  We started in Arcadia, then drove the curvy, hilly roads to Waumandee, over the hills to Alma on the Mississippi River, then down river to Fountain City and finally ended up in Pine Creek.  We stopped at the local bar for a drink and then made our way back to Arcadia We ended up going almost 70 miles in the beautiful bluff country of Trempealeau and Buffalo Counties! We saw LOTS of deer and bald eagles by the river.  It was a winter wonderland! I really grew up in a beautiful area!

After seeing these 5 churches (we have to go to 6 more tomorrow) I realized how spoiled I was with an awesome hometown church. When I get pictures of all the churches I’ll posted them…but you will see Sts. Peter and Paul is by far the awesomest.   We stopped at Detox (great name for a bar don’t you think?) for dinner and played some cut throat Uno. 

We have had some fun the last few days and I got to spend some time with my family so I guess that is good.
Hope you all had an awesome Christmas!

I Have a New Friend, His Name is Santa Claus

Monday, December 23, 2013

So this morning we left home a little later than we should have and Eric had to drop me off at the first Skyway entrance.  Well this nice old man stopped the elevator door so I could jump in.  He had parked in the garage Eric dropped me off at.  We started talking about weather and Christmas.  He said his name was Elmer and asked what brought me downtown today.  I told him I had to work and he said he did too. He asked where I worked and I told him Ameriprise.  I asked him the same and he said well, what do you think?  And of course I’m like Santa Claus.  He has been doing Santa Claus for over a decade but this was his first year at the downtown Macy’s story.  So we chatted the whole 10 minutes it took to get to Macy’s.  He gave me a nice Jesus pendent for my bag, he makes them in the downtime between kids sitting on his lap:

Anyways, before we said our “good-byes” he said to google “Boy Married Santa’s Daughter”.  He said I might recognize somebody in the video and sure enough here is my new friend:

The End of a Tradition

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Well it was a bad week food wise.  The fact I’m basically stuck at 22lbs lost is amazing. I was down 24 pounds at one point but like I said this was a bad week.  After all the cookie making on Sunday, I’m surrounded by bad food.  On top of that it was a week of eating out.  Monday was Subway, Tuesday was Cosi, Wednesday was 8th Street Grill, Thursday was Potluck at work and Punch Pizza for dinner and Friday was Cosi again. 

I squeezed some workouts in this week but that didn’t help.  Monday I ran the fastest 2 miles in a very long time.  I had these girls that were running at a pace that was about my normal pace but faster and it was great to run with them.  I only did 2 miles because we had to watch Evelyn. Tuesday was volleyball. I wanted to go for a run beforehand but instead I took a nap.  We went swimming Wednesday for the last time of 2013. :(  Thursday was an off night because it was packed pick up night for Polar Dash in Eden Prairie. DJ and her friend are running it too so we went with her to pick up their packets and then we had dinner at Punch Pizza…I love Punch Pizza!  Friday after work we went to the Holidazzle parade…the second to last parade ever…they are getting rid of it.  So sad! We didn’t get home until after 8 and it was too late to work out.  Yesterday I went to the community center. I really should have gone outside.  The weather was nice (20 degrees) and it hadn’t snowed in a while but I went inside.  I did 4 miles and it was great.   The first 2 miles sucked but the girls from Monday showed up and the last 2 miles flew by. I wish every run would fly by like that!

It was a bad week food wise and workout wise and I’m sure this week will be worse…but starting January 1, I’ll be back to my normal workout routine.

Training Recap

Pounds lost: 22
Week 14:  Swim = .5 miles;  Bike = 0 miles;  Run = 6 miles;   Total =  6.5 miles

MOA and A Wedding Dress

Monday, December 16, 2013

Well I’m still under the 230…so that is good considering all the bad food I ate this weekend.  But more on that later.

Tuesday was volleyball, we had 5 players…that is only the second or third time all season we had more than 4.  So that was good.

Wednesday I had a White Elephant Christmas and Happy Hour with work. That was so much fun but I ate too much hummus so I had to go for a run.  My run was slow, well slow for inside.  My average pace was 13:41 it was really only 5 seconds slower than my previous fast run but I felt dog tired!

Thursday I was going to work out again but that didn’t happen.  We got distracted shopping in Burnsville and by the time I got home and made dinner it was too late to go to the community center…and the walking track was closed so I would have to do a machine…I’d much rather run.  I can’t believe I just said that.

Friday after work we went swimming again!  I know it has been a while.  One thing I was on vacation with mom, then Thanksgiving came around and then it got really cold. I find it hard to go swimming when the wind chill is -20 degrees…wet head, even with a hat on, in that cold is not a good idea!  But I did a half mile and called it quits…it felt so good to be back in the pool.  This Wednesday is the last day to go swimming for this year so I definitely need to go. :(

Saturday I went for a long run…inside.  It was snowing and I hadn’t run around the area since the last ice/snow storm so I didn’t know where ice would be lurking under the freshly fallen snow.  Forgive me!  But I did 4 miles. 56 laps around the running track…boring.  And there were so many people there I was constantly running around them.  It wasn’t fun but I did it.

After the run, Danielle and Bradley came up and we went to the Mall of America.  We got 4 all day ride wristbands from my Mom’s friend and mini golf coupons.  It was fun!  

We were there for over 5 hours. We were going to go to the Holidazzle parade but it was too late by the time we left so we went to Olive Garden instead.  Yum!   After that I made peanut butter blossom cookies…Double YUM!

Yesterday after 5 hours of cookie making…I made Monster, Spritz and wreaths…Danielle and I went wedding dress shopping.  I tried on some bridesmaids dresses and have a few favorites.  Danielle tried on about 6 wedding dresses and narrowed it down to two and then finally the last one.  I didn’t expect that to happen but it was really the best dress for her and it requires no alterations!  It truly is amazing!  She got a deal on it too as it was “as is” which means that somebody bought it (possible altered it too) and then returned it.  She was really happy!  I was honored to be there when she bought it but felt a bit guilty too. Normally you do that with your mom, not your aunt, but she wanted it and it was “as is” so she had to buy it!

After dress shopping (which took over 3 hours) we took them out to Pizza Ranch for dinner.  So as you can tell between the MOA food, Olive Garden, 4 different types of cookies and Pizza Ranch, it is a miracle I’m still under 230!

Training Recap

Pounds lost: 22
Week 13:  Swim = .5 miles;  Bike = 0 miles;  Run = 10.5 miles;   Total =  11 miles

The 220s and a weight loss story

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I’m not going to lie it has been a long time since I’ve seen the 220s.  To be exact it was April 2009.  That is almost 5 years ago!   So here is the long story.   My birthday 2006, my dad has a stroke and passed away the next day.  I was probably pushing 300 lbs.  I’m not exactly sure because I didn’t really care.  I still played volleyball a couple times a week and played basketball, etc…but I ate like crap and drank a ton of Coke and Pepsi.  As tragic as it was to lose my father, that really wasn’t the “ah” moment that I need to do something.  That came 6 months later.  It was this picture that made me go OMG what is wrong with me.  (I just rhymed!)

So this was taken June 10, 2007 at my friend Mary Linda’s house in Phoenix.  I’m mortified by this picture…really I am.  So I was looking through the pictures from this trip a couple weeks later and decided something needed to be done.  That was June 25, 2007 and I weighed 285lbs. (I remember the date because it happened to be Eric’s mom’s birthday.)  But anyways!  I made a very serious effort to lose weight. I lost 10 lbs. in two weeks by just cutting out pop and walking steps at work.  I started slowly…I think only 3 flights. It sucked.  I lost 30 lbs. in three months. I was feeling good.  Here is a picture from our trip to see Phil’s family in Oregon. 

By my birthday (12/27/2008), I had lost over 50 lbs and was about to crack the 220s for the first time in who knows how long.  Here is a picture of what 50 lbs. lost looks like.

By this time, I was only drinking water and couldn’t stand the taste of pop.  So it was a win for me.  I continued to do well and lost about 65 lbs before my first gallbladder attack.  Now  it could be my rapid weight loss that caused this, they are not really sure.  So for the next 3 months I was on basically a no-fat diet. It sucked.  And surprisingly over the course of the 3 months on the no fat diet I really didn’t lose that much.   I was stuck eating fat-free pudding, Jell-O, toast and Subway…the only fast food restaurant I could really eat at.  Here is a picture of me at 80lbs. loss. 

When I had my gallbladder surgery in June 2008, I was down to my lowest…that dreaded 202 lbs.  I never got below that magic number…dammit!  The problem with the surgery was I went from eating no fat to gorging on all the fast food I had been missing the last 3 months.  I’m not perfect.  I occasionally would eat at fast food when I was on this weight loss journey but I always compensated with working out more or eating less the rest of the day.  But after my surgery I went all out.  The first meal I had was with Greg Stayer at Culver’s…cheeseburger, cheese curds and fries. I had to try out my new gallbladderless body.   Over the course of a year or so I gained about 40 pounds. I continued to fluctuate between 235 and 250.  I’m embarrassed to admit it but it is true.  So here I am 1,691 days later I’m finally again under 230.  Yay!

Now I hope I don’t blow it and gain again! :)

Share the Warmth Concert 2013

Reindeer Run -5°K

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We did it! We braved the -20 degree wind chill weather and ran a 5k.  It wasn’t the most pleasant conditions.  It was cold (obviously) and of course we got snow this week so the course was snow packed and icy.  I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do this.  I did go running a few weeks ago when it was 8…but that was positive degrees.  And I could complain because last year it was 35 degrees for the Reindeer Run so it was really 40+ degrees colder this year.   But I won’t.  Eric and I prepared for this.  We went out to Sports Authority last night and each bought a balaclava (i.e. robber’s masks) and some warm gloves. 

I put on a lot of layers.  2 pairs of socks one short, one long.  Long underwear and running pants. 1 T-Shirt, 2 long-sleeve shirts, one of which is really thick, and my Gophers hooded sweatshirt.  The balaclava, neck gator and Laplander hat.  2 pair of gloves.  And my running watch.  I think that was it…quite the outfit!  Thank GOD I didn’t have to pee the whole time I was there…normally I do!

The course was along the banks for Lake Harriet.  I love Lake Harriet but I didn’t spend too much time looking around as I planted my face to the ground to watch for the icy patches.  Behind us were the Marine Corps guys.  They ran in formation and did the military cadence.  One of them fell on the ice.  I felt bad for him. I was glad when they ran past me. 

Like normal, after mile 1 I was roasting.  Too many layers again.  First to go was the outer layer of gloves, then the neck gator and finally the Laplander. I would have stripped more but it would have been too difficult.  My pockets on my sweatshirt were full with all the other stuff I took off.  So I trudged on and finished in 43:01…I would have finished under 43 if the stupid women in front of me would have got out of my way!  Santa was at the finished to high-five us but I blew right past him and he slapped me on the back. Here are my splits...

Do you see my icicles?

I was feeling pretty good at the end.  I wasn’t cold at all even though it was -5 degrees.  We snagged some water, bananas and hot chocolate and were on our way back home.  It was fun.  I wish it was warmer…

Speaking of warmer…
Our furnace isn’t being very agreeable.  I woke up this morning and it was 59 degrees in the house.  Our furnace is running and the pilot light is lit but it is blowing cold air.  I’m patiently waiting for someone to come check it out.  On the way home from the run we stopped and bought a nice space heater thing so we don’t freeze until they can fix it. I guess I should be happy that the house was still almost 60 degrees considering it could have been much worse…it was -10 degrees most of the night and it is still only 0 degrees.  Praying I don’t need a new furnace…that would really suck!

Training Recap

Pounds lost: 21.6
Week 12:  Swim = 0 miles;  Bike = 8 miles;  Run = 6.2 miles;   Total =  14.2 miles

Thanksgiving in Nebraska

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wow it has been a busy week and a half.   And this is going to be a really long blog…so bear with me!

So let’s start with last Sunday.   Nothing too exciting happened last Sunday.  I went for a 3 mile run (inside) and had a good time.  I seem to always run faster inside at the track. I think part of the reason is I have to run 14 laps to get a mile.  I know that I want to run each lap under a minute so if I start going over a minute I kick my butt into high gear.

After work on Monday, we went to the Sports Authority in Roseville to pick up our Polar Dash packet.  There are two Kim Williams running the thing and per their records both had received their packet…hum.  One was mailed…nope didn’t get a package and the other one picked it up at the Monster Dash…nope, wasn’t even registered yet.  So I got a new number and finally got my Polar Dash jacket and penguin hat.  The hat is a bit small but cute.  I like the jacket too.  After that we went to the Rosedale Mall for dinner to celebrate Eric’s promotion!  Yay!  He is now the lead of his group.  I’m very happy for him. 

Tuesday was another volleyball day.  We only had 4 again.  Thankfully Jenny found a sub otherwise it would have been forfeit city again.  The game was at a horrible time…they should ban 9:15 games. Especially the night before our trip to Omaha!  To make sure I stayed awake, I dragged Eric to the community center for a run.  I did two miles at a pace that was under 14 minutes…that was the fastest pace in a very long time.  I was happy.

We had a long day Wednesday, as we drove down to Omaha for Thanksgiving.  We left around 8:00am which was a struggle since I got home so late from volleyball and didn’t go to sleep right away.  We drove down to Mankato and met up with DJ.  We took her van.  The drive was uneventful…how eventful can a ride through Iowa be?  We got to Bonnie’s house around 3 and picked up Juliette and went to the Joslyn Castle for packet pick up.  It was a very beautiful castle.  Abbie wanted to live there.  And the Christmas decorations were amazing.  Such a nice place!  We made a run to Starbucks (of course!) and had lasagna for dinner.  It was a fun day!

Thursday morning was the turkey trot 5K you can read about the race here:

After a long shower we were ready for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a fun evening of food and family.  Juliette, Eric, Morgan and I went out at 8pm for some shopping. It was a much calmer atmosphere and I know I’m bad person but I like the earlier hours.   We went to JC Pennys, Ulta and Target and were home by 10pm. 

Black Friday morning a group of us went to Kohl’s and Bath and Body Works.  I didn’t really go crazy with shopping this year.  With the packed minivan, there was no room for anything crazy!

Saturday I went for a nice 4 mile run along the creek.  It was flat, no wind, the sun was shining and it was warm…30 degrees…perfect!  It felt good too. My pace was a little slow but I’ll take it.  After that I went on base with Leilani for some shopping and in the afternoon we went to this World Fair event. It was interesting…we ate ginger snaps and went on a hay ride.  After dinner we went to the Papillion tree lighting event.  We saw the lights and got a carriage ride.  It was a fun evening.  

Hiram made us some nice hot chocolates afterward. 

Sunday we went to church, packed up the van, stopped at Starbucks (our 7th time of the trip) for a drink and were sadly on our way back home.  The ride home again was uneventfully.

Training Recap

Pounds lost: 20
Week 11:  Swim = 0 miles;  Bike = 0 miles;  Run = 12.1 miles;   Total =  12.1 miles

November 2013 Recap

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Runs: 12
Miles: 41.75
Races: 1 (3.1 miles) (Joslyn Castle Turkey Trot 5K - 43:15)
Outdoors: 10 (36.75 miles)
Indoors: 2 (5 miles)
Longest: 5.5 miles
Average Pace: 15:03

Joslyn Castle Turkey Trot 5K

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday morning came very early and we layered on clothing for our Turkey Trot 5K.  It was 25 degrees outside but the wind was around 13 mph so it felt much colder.  We froze!  So the race started and it was running up a hill…seriously!  It was not a nice hill either.  Then we turned the corner to find yet another hill. I think the first half mile or so of the run was up a hill. I was so mad that I couldn’t run and ended up walking. I was really pissed.  I had been doing so well training but hills were not part of my training.  So DJ and hung out together, walk some, running some.  We did a lot more running the rest of the way.  I flew down a hill; DJ said she couldn’t keep up with me.  That was fun!  The whole time I was thinking don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t’ fall. My watch couldn’t connect to the GPS for the first .2 miles so according to my watch we did 2.9 miles in 39 minutes…a 13:30 pace.  But the actually finish time was 43:15 which is actually 13:57 pace.  Not bad considering we did some walking, especially in the beginning!    The rest of the times were Juliette at 23 minutes…she almost got the last trophy.  Some woman ran past her and Juliette just let her pass…if she would have known she would get a golden turkey she would have run faster!  Abbie did hers in like 32 minutes and swore she would never run that far again. LOL!  Eric of course was in at 34 minutes…no training of course! ARGH! After the run we made a well-deserved stop at Starbucks for breakfast sandwiches and hot chocolate.  Yum! Delicious!

Here are some pre-race was too cold to get action shots!

Another Rest Week

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Well it has been a rest week for me.  Not really by choice but with the Branson trip, I really didn't have much time to work out.  I did 3.1 miles on Sunday by Mike's house.  Again very hilly but I did much better than the last time I ran there.  Monday I was on a bus all day.  We didn't get to our hotel until after dark. I did manage to swim 30 minutes of laps in the small pool.  It was a bit difficult as every time I came up for a breathe I got a mouthful of smoke.  It was horrible. I can't believe they can smoke inside in Missouri...they are so backwards!  Tuesday was an early morning wake up call and more driving and then we had shopping, show, dinner, show.  We didn't get back to the hotel until almost 11pm and the pool was closed. Wednesday I went for a short run. It was about 2.5 miles of hills! It was a slow run but I think I got a good workout.  Thursday was another all day bus day and Friday I was just being lazy.  My long run yesterday was only 2.15 miles.  But I went outside in 8 degrees and ran!  I can't believe I did that!  I dressed warm and it felt pretty good.  The only reason I only went 2 miles was because we had to go to Evelyn's birthday party.   

Pounds lost: 19! (still at 19 even though I gained 4 pounds in 3 days...too many buffets!)
Week 10:  Swim = .5 miles;  Bike = 0 miles;  Run = 7.75 miles;   Total =  8.25 miles

That isn’t a violin, it’s a fiddle

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I know I already did a review of Branson but there are some stories I just have to share.  Here is the first one. During intermission at the Down Home Country Show, Mom told the guy behind us something along the lines that they play the violin well.  He corrected her and said that isn’t a violin, it is a fiddle.  When she told me this, I cracked up because technically she was right…but she was in the wrong town.  Here is a little lesson on the fiddle/violin.

If you are in Branson, never, EVER tell a musician that they are a good violin player. You will probably end up with a concussion and have a bump on your head after they smash their beer bottle over your head and tie you up with rope, rodeo style. Just don't do it!  They are fiddle players.

On the other hand, never tell a musician playing for the Boston Pops that they are an awesome fiddle player because you may still have bump on your head from their $1,000 bottle of wine and you will be tied up by their tuxedo tails. They are violinists and have over $100,000 in student loan debt from 8+ years of music school so they can be one of the elite players in the country.

The exact same instrument may be played as a violin or fiddle, it is almost completely an issue of style and intent. As a disclaimer so I don’t have somebody tell me I’m wrong… sometimes there can be differences in the bridge.

Christmas in Branson

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Well I’m sitting at the Petro Pete’s truck stop in Albert Lea waiting for Eric to pick me up.  My tour group has left me.  I was sad to see the bus pull out of the parking lot. :(  Hopefully Eric will be here soon but until then I want to reflect on Branson (surrounded by gruff truck drivers).

I had a lot more fun on the trip than I thought.  We had a good group of people.  The trip started early Monday morning.  We had a long ride to Clinton, MO.  We stopped in Albert Lea for our first coffee break.  Mom and I shared a cinnamon roll. Exciting right?  Anyways the next stop was in Des Moines at some buffet place. It was pretty awful food.  The root beer was good and buns.  That is one thing about buffets it seems like they do dinner rolls right.  That was about it.  After another couple hours we stopped at a rest area and the final stop was in Clinton.  This put us about 2 hours from Branson.  The hotel was nice, the pool was warm but they let people smoke in the pool area.  Really?  What is this the 1970s?  Who smokes inside anymore?  I guess in Missouri they do.  Yuck! I swam about 70 laps in their tiny pool.   Mom and I went to Applebee’s for dinner.  It was either that or Arby’s. 

Tuesday morning we made the last stretch of the drive to Branson.  Our first event was shopping in Old Branson which was basically an indoor flea market. Not really my cup of tea.  We walked down to Branson Landing which is a more modern shopping area.  I really liked that.  I bought a nice scarf for $5 and mom got a really nice sweater.  We were running out of time for lunch so we just popped into Subway.  It took 20 minutes for me to get our subs.  I was first in line but there was only one person working and she helped 6 people before she checked us out.  So my toasted sub was cold when I finally got it.  Mom and I rushed through our subs and hopped on a trolley back to the bus.  It was a bit frantic!

After a stop at the hotel to freshen up we hopped back on the bus to our first show, Pierce Arrow.  It was a good show but I really can’t remember much about it.  I mean come on, I saw 4 more shows since that one.  Mom really liked that show.  We went to the Grand Buffet for dinner.  Again it is a buffet and I’m not a huge fan but it was way better than the first buffet we went to.  The dinner rolls were delicious!  The rest of the food was ok, I was desperate for something sweet so I had ice cream. If you know me, that is crazy because I don’t like ice cream! We convinced the bus driver that we need to drive through the Christmas lights display. It was nice.  They had the 12 days of Christmas illustrated so that was cool.  That night we saw the Andy Williams Christmas Show staring the Lennon Sisters and the Osmonds.  They were good.  It wasn’t Donny and Marie though…it was their siblings.  It was a late night as we didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 11pm.

Wednesday morning I went for a run in the Ozark Mountains.  I did about 2.5 miles.  The first mile was mostly downhill so it was fast. The last 1.5 mile was mostly up hill and it took me 3 minutes longer to run the second mile!  I was thinking it has to be elevation.  Now the bus driver informed me that the elevation was only about 1000 ft.  Way to bust my bubble. I thought I was struggling because of altitude.  But I guess it was just my attitude.  Darn.  Wednesday was a busy day. We had 3 shows and 2 buffets.  The first show was Down Home Country at 10am.  I thought it was pretty good. I like old country music.  After the show we went to the first buffet of the day. I liked this one the best but it was a pizza/salad buffet. It really takes a lot to screw up pizza.  I thought it was good.  Our next show was the one that Mom was looking forward, her heartthrob…Daniel O’Donnell.  It was a long show, almost 3 hours.  It was also packed. There were 27 coach buses there!  Crazy!  I liked this show too.  Our last buffet of the day was at the same place as the night before.  We were fortunate to sit next to the bus driver. He was really interesting.  He was probably around my age and we had a good time taking about sports, running and Australia and New Zealand.  He spends 4 months a year driving bus and giving tours over there and he was leaving in January.   The finale show was the Grand Jubilee.  I really wouldn’t say it was a great finale but it was ok.  The thing is I was really annoyed with the female singer. She reminded me of some toothless chick from West Virginia. She butchered every song she sang. How can you screw up “Go Tell it on the Mountain”?  The best part is when they dragged on of the ladies from our tour on stage and sang a bunch of Elvis songs. That was entertaining.  Overall it was an exhausting day!

Today we drove home, nothing to exciting.  We stopped about every 2-3 hours.  We had McDonald’s for lunch and it was delicious…I was craving a burger and fries after 3 days of buffets.  We stopped at a rest area north of Des Moines and it was freezing rain.  That wasn’t very pleasant. We got to Albert Lea about 5pm and Mom and I shared a Pizza Hut personal pizza and now I sit and wait for Eric.  I thought it was nice the bus driver came back inside to say good bye.  As I said, it was very sad to see the bus take off.  Here are some pics from the week: