Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Forrest Gimp Walk Fundraiser

If you're a newer reader of my blog or if you have bad memory for the mundane details of other people's lives, you may have forgotten that I was once a runner. I haven't run since the end of January, with the only exception being a few running steps to stop the baby from toddling out into traffic. Since my back injury and subsequent back surgery in March, I've been told that I should never run again. Obviously that is horrible news for someone who loves to run, but I've been trying to maintain optimism about the situation. At least I can walk, right? There are a lot of people who aren't that lucky.

This weekend I'm going to combine that optimistic walking ability with the perspective of remembering those who are more seriously injured by completing the Endless Summer 6 Hour race for the Semper Fi Fund. Before I hurt my back, I was able to raise a great amount of money for this fantastic charity and now I want to see if I can raise a little more by having a fun contest to go along with my race on Saturday.

For more information about the Semper Fi Fund and the reasons why I picked it as my charity, check out this post! You can also read my husband's injury story here, but just ignore all the black magic spam in the comment section. I need to go through and delete it all but there are like 400+ comments about spellcasters for hire.

No one likes a complicated contest, so I'm trying to make it as simple as possible. To enter the contest, you need to do two things:

1. Donate at least $10 to the Semper Fi Fund
2. Guess how far you think I'll walk in six hours 

I made a chart for the guesses (I really made it, like I wrote the HTML code for it. I'm so proud of myself) and I will update it as donations and guesses come in and you can guess to the tenth of a mile. I will be going with the official results, not my Garmin time so it may be 2-3 days post race before I have my official time and can announce winners. Tell me your distance guesses in the comment section of this post or in the comment section of the donation page. 

Can I enter more than once or donate more than $10?

Absolutely! Just make sure you let me know if you want more than one entry in the contest so I can record it! Also, on the chart there is a space for you to tell me if this donation is in honor or memory of someone. I plan on writing down any and all names and wearing it during the race.

What if someone already guessed my lucky number?

Early bird gets the worm here, so you'll need to go up or down by at least a tenth of a mile. Example: You really wanted to bid on 22.2 miles but that's taken, so you can bid on 22.3 or 22.1 miles. If I get duplicate bids at the same time, I'll do my best to mediate that and if that doesn't work and that's the winning bid, then the two winners will just split the prize.

What are the prizes? Is it lame stuff like chia seed Gu and compression socks?

I spent a good chunk of time trying to think of kick-ass prizes for this and my husband suggested that cash is the best prize. Everyone loves money! This is all funded by the sponsored posts on my blog this month, so really you guys helped me earn it so let's put it to good use here.

1st place (closest guess): $100

2nd place (second closest guess): $50

3rd place (randomly selected from all entries): $25

The money will be mailed to you as a Visa gift card if you're a U.S. resident and if you live outside of the U.S, then it will be an Amazon gift card. If you live in the U.S. and you don't want me to know where you live, I can also do an Amazon gift card for you too.

Any hints on how far or fast you intend on walking?

The best part of this whole contest is that I have no freaking clue how far I'll end up going. I'm four months post surgery now but I still have a lot of nerve pain in my legs and I still can't feel sections of my right leg. I'm not walking with a limp and my muscle strength is good so my doctor was entirely supportive of this 6 hour race plan. I haven't "trained" specifically for this event so I'm pretty much just winging it here. I have been working out almost every day and even doing weight training now, so I'm not a total weakling. Also, July in Annapolis (where the race takes place) is hot, hot, and then really humid on top of it. Last year I ran the race nine months after having Cordelia and I covered just under 32 miles in 6 hours. I checked the results from last year and the last place person covered 16.6 miles, but I assume they were both running and walking.

The only caveat for this whole thing is that if I feel like I'm hurting my back during the race, I will pull myself out. Rest assured that I won't let things like bleeding blisters or vomiting stop me, just spine injury stuff.

My goal is to get over $4,500 raised for the Semper Fi Fund, so let's do this! Initially I thought of asking people to donate the amount of money as their guess (like if you guess 18.4 miles, then you donate $18.40) but I thought that would be both confusing and discriminatory to people who think I'm stubborn enough to push myself hard for six hours, so that's why I went for the flat $10 instead. If you want to go ahead and make your guess and donation match, that would be awesome!

Donation Page

Distance Guesses Chart

Endless Summer 6 Hour Race Distance Guesses

Endless Summer 6 Hour Race Distance Guesses

Distance Donor Name Donation request
1 mile Jane Doe In memory of her grandfather
2 miles Joe Plumber In honor of his main man John McCain
2.2 miles Dean Winchester In memory of John Winchester
3 miles Frodo Baggins In honor of Gandalf the Grey
4 miles Willow Rosenberg In memory of Buffy because she saved the world a lot.
13.1 miles Angelica Rohring
14 miles Erika Blaska
14.3 miles Georgina Clarke
15.5 miles Kathleen Hammett
17.9 miles Christina Wood
18.2 miles Erin Salbilla In memory of her grandfather
18.6 miles Kathleen Hammett
19.2 miles Elizabeth Etherton
20 miles Michelle Stulberger In honor of back gimpiness
20.1 miles Richard Zanfardino
20.5 miles Sarah Giddings
21.2 miles Erin Michos Celebration of her first ultra!
22.8 miles Emily Garnett In honor of Chunky

Monday, July 21, 2014

If you say the word enough times, it loses all meaning

Growing up, I was always told that pie was a horrible dessert and it was never served at our house. I don't know why my mother had such beef with fruit filled pastries, but that's another story. As a result, I never even tried pie until I was an adult. I was a gullible kid and I wasn't about to to take my chances with potentially disgusting dessert options. At the ripe old age of 31, I've come to the conclusion that pie is awesome.

Since I've only recently realized that pie is the food of the gods, I am so behind on trying new kinds of pie. So far I've had blueberry, apple, and pumpkin. I've also tried pecan, but I didn't like that so I'm not going to let that bring down the average 10/10 dessert score for pies. Who wants nuts in their pie anyway? Freaks.

On Saturday night, my husband and I went out to celebrate our sixth anniversary. Our dinner was nice, maple glazed salmon for me and crab cakes for him, but I left room for potential dessert. The waiter brought over a tray of dessert options and none of them looked that tempting and then he started rattling off the list of options that their new pastry chef had to offer. He could have just stopped talking after he told me about the "delicate hand pie made with local blackberries and served with fresh whipped cream" because holy shit what can top that?

It could have been the rum laden drink I had with my salmon, but that was the best fucking pie I've ever had. I've been thinking about that pie since then so of course when I went grocery shopping on Sunday it was on my mind.  I didn't want to actually make my own pie because chances are that won't turn out well, so I figured that Marie Calendar must know her shit. The pie didn't even have a real name (Razzleberry? That's not a real berry) but it was some damn good pie. Not even close to the level of that fancy blackberry pie on Saturday night, but I got a bigger piece and I had it with ice cream, so that helped. I don't know what kind of witchcraft Marie Calendar uses to make her frozen pies so good, but it's probably somewhere in that long list of ingredients.

Yes, this is an entire blog post about pie. I don't know who should feel more ashamed of themselves, me for writing it or you for reading this far.



What's your favorite kind of pie? I need to prioritize my list for the next type of pie to try.

Are there any foods that you "discovered" as an adult? I have a long list that includes avocado, regular soda, salad dressings, and mushrooms...and pie of course.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Peanut has a favor to ask you

I'm glad everyone seemed to enjoy reading about my daily trials and tribulations yesterday. If anyone is still carrying resentment about my post-lunch nap, the baby covered that for you by getting up for the day at 4:45am yesterday. She was just...not tired anymore, so we just got up. I'm really hoping she'll start sleeping later again after the days get shorter in the fall.

 I used my extra time wisely and finally settled on an anniversary present for my husband. Saturday is our 6 year anniversary so we're going to go out for a nice dinner by ourselves.

See, he IS real!

I wanted to get him something befitting of an anniversary, but I ended up getting him a power washer. Not the most romantic gift, but maybe for some people....

I know that a lot of people are entered in this contest and you're probably tired of hearing about the Runner's World cover competition, but hear me out for this one. My friend Kathleen is in the running and it's practically impossible to not be inspired by her. Do you love stories of triumphing over obesity? She's got you covered. What about kicking cancer's ass and not letting it slow her down? Yep, that too. How about remaining strong through the loss of babies and years of medical treatment for two out of three of her girls? She's nailing that too In all of that, she's still one of the most happy and peppy people I've ever known and if this cover contest is really about finding an ordinary person who is extraordinary in running and life, then she should have so many votes.

If nothing else, vote for her because she came over and took Peanut for long runs right after I hurt my back. Do it for Peanut.

A vote for her is a vote for coonhound happiness
I didn't ask her about this ahead of time, but for every vote she gets from this post, she'll do that number of cartwheels at the Endless Summer 6 Hour Run later this month. She's already known for doing cartwheels during races (even when she qualified for Boston!) so I think she's up for the challenge. Just let me know in the comments and I'll make sure she gets them all done. Vote for her HERE!

Have you ever run for a vote-based contest? I have never, not even for dumb stuff like Class Secretary in high school. I've never even been tempted, mostly because the prizes always seem like working for free. Even the magazine cover thing...normally people get paid for that shit. Why would I compete to do it for free? I would enjoy seeing them photoshop the shit out of my body though. I want eight pack abs.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Living the Minivan Lifestyle

I'm probably breaking some kind of mommy blogger code if I write a post about our daily activities and don't make it sound like the same level of suffering and work as building the First Transcontinental Railroad, but I like living life on the edge.

6:30am: I wake up to the sound of Faith singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" somewhat off key and very loudly in her room. I have yet to experience the level of happiness at waking up that requires singing, but maybe one day I'll get there.

After they are both dressed and downstairs, I throw some frozen waffles in the toaster and turn on Olivia. What's "Olivia" you ask? Treasure that ignorance and hope that you're forever spared from this incredibly annoying pig.

This pig teaches my kids to talk back to me. Lovely.

After the kids are done eating and fighting over who gets to put the plates in the sink, it's pretty much time to leave to take Faith to her OT and speech therapy sessions. They canceled her speech session at the last minute (fantastic) and then they were 15 minutes late starting the OT session (because why the fuck not) so I didn't have to time to go to the store during therapy as planned. We went to the playground instead to burn off some energy for the baby and for the heat and humidity to burn off my will to live on this Earth.

You're a whiner Mommy

Stop complaining and help me find this fish

After Faith was done with therapy, we drove over to the gym so Faith could go to "Kid Fit" and get a workout done with all the other kids. Kid Fit looks way more fun than any workout class I've ever attended, but they won't let you join in unless you're under 6, which seems discriminatory to the immature adult.

Two of my friends had their kids in Kid Fit too so we decided to just take them all out for lunch after because that's every restaurant's dream: six sweaty kids with their equally sweaty mothers.


After gorging themselves on chips, the kids needed a siesta so we went home to do that instead of continuing on to ice cream like our other dining companions. The nap was the better choice considering Cordelia's dairy rage if she sees someone else eating what she can't have.

If I can't have it, NO ONE WILL

While they were napping, I forgot to martyr myself with being "busy" answering like 25 emails and opening the mail and ended up laying down for just a second after my shower.

Bringing it back, old school!

When we all woke up, I had to do something to about the lack of food situation in the house. It's funny how no matter how much I ignore that problem, it doesn't solve itself.

I hate these carts so much

There really is no greater joy than late afternoon grocery shopping with little kids, especially if you add pouring rain into the mix. It's remarkable how much I suffer, yet continue to march on bravely.

Dinner and bath time can feel like mile 24 of a marathon some days, but no matter how bad it is, at least you know it will be over soon. Until tomorrow morning at least.

There you have it, a full day of my excitement filled life. I know some people like "day in the life" posts and other people hate them so I should probably 50% apologize for this.

On a scale of 1-Die, You Bitch, how much do you hate me for getting to take a nap after lunch?

Could I BE anymore stereotypical "stay at home" mom material with this kind of day? (Yes, read that in a Chandler Bing voice)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I just can't with Sookie anymore, among other things

None of these topics are related, yet I've crammed them into one post so...I'm sorry?

I changed the day that Faith takes gymnastics from Wednesday to Monday and I've seemingly stumbled upon a group of people who actually socialize and enjoy each other's company while the kids are in the class. In my previous experiences, everyone just sits quickly and looks at their smart phone and avoids eye contact with the other parents in the tiny cramped waiting room. At first it was a little weird to come into that situation where they all knew each other already, but luckily for me, Cordelia takes over the socialization aspect.

She toddles around the room smiling and "talking" to everyone and gave everyone at least one random hug during that 45 minute class. I don't know how I could have had such a shy first child and we used the same recipe to make the second and she will literally go up and hug anyone. Probably even Hitler if she had the chance.

The takeaway here is that I have a baby with Golden Retriever-level friendliness and that's quite the icebreaker for meeting new people.

I've watched the show True Blood since it started. Obviously a show about vampires, fairies, and shape shifters is supposed to be a little bit campy and silly, but season six and the current (final) season are just awful. It's like the writers don't know that at least a good chunk of my enjoyment in the show comes from watching this majestic beast run around shirtless:

Take that away and we have nothing True Blood, nothing. Well, except for Eric Northman but it's not enough. I quit. It feels like taking a DNF at mile 24 of a marathon, but like most marathons, no one actually cares if you finish.

I just can't with Sookie anymore

I finally got my MRI results from my back surgeon. I wasn't thrilled to get it in a letter form versus a phone call because you can't really ask questions with a letter, but basically he's not my doctor anymore because my back is fucked, but not fucked enough to operate yet so I need to take my pain issues elsewhere and only come back when I need a scalpel in my skin.

My unreasonable reaction

The TL;DR gist of it all is that now I have two discs that are herniated out (the one a level above the operated one is out now too) but neither are out enough for surgery. The nerve is "adequately" clear of impingement but not clear enough to expect good results from a nerve pain medication regimen.  The surgeon's recommendation to me was to get an "aggressive non-surgical outpatient treatment plan" underway with targeted nerve injections in my spine.

The issues here are that I've already had two spinal injections this year and they max you out at 3, so I can only get one...unless I wait until February when I can get three done in a series which would be the most likely path to noticeable pain relief. The other issue is finding a new doctor to manage my back stuff until I need surgery again. What have I done about all of this since I got the letter last Wednesday? Absolutely nothing.

It was one of those reactions where I was just pissed at how fucked my back is and I didn't want to deal with it. I took a break from being an adult about it and now this week I'm going to buck up and get started on finding a new plan. I'm going to start with my primary care doctor so he can at least keep the non-narcotic pain meds flowing and go from there. I know eventually I'll need a fusion surgery but I really want to put that off as many years as possible. If I can keep putting it off, eventually they'll develop a bionic spine and I can just upgrade. Maybe I can just replace my whole body and just keep my brain. I think I'm writing an outline for a kick ass sci-fi movie here.

Are you a True Blood watcher? Are you still hanging in there?

If you could pick a bionic body party, what would be your first choice? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sometimes I do actually leave home

In one of those "you know you're a parent of two young kids" moments, I had a relaxing weekend driving all the way up the East Coast to visit a friend and her new baby.

Traffic, but no one was crying or whining

On Friday I drove up to Baltimore and then on Saturday, Alyssa and I drove up to Connecticut. It was a long drive, but there were lots of super fancy rest stops that had more restaurant choices than where I currently live. Seriously, one of the choices was just a macaroni and cheese shop. Of course this was the one I couldn't resist:


Eventually we made it and the view at lunch made us quickly forget about all the traffic.

It was like 20 degrees cooler than MD!

We had a ton of fun hanging out with Kari and her baby, but I have to admit that he seemed to prefer Alyssa over me. I thought my baby experience would give me the edge, but she brought certain assets to the table that I just didn't have.

There was also pizza eating and wine drinking by the fire pit and all too soon, it was time for us to head back out to battle the traffic. Before we left, we remembered to take a group shot.

Then we remembered that that is not how bloggers take group photos, so we fixed it.


It took me a long time to get back to southern MD, so it's probably good that at no point in the planning process of this trip did I question the sanity of driving all that way. At least I got my first New Jersey driving experience and it really lived up to the hype. I'm sure there are nice parts of New Jersey, but between the Turnpike and the show Jersey Shore, I'm pretty sure it's the arm pit of America.

What state do you hate driving in the most? Before I lived in Maryland, I would have said Maryland because the drivers are aggressive assholes, but now I've assimilated.

What's your favorite road trip snack? I really like getting soft serve ice cream but since I was driving my husband's beloved truck, I wasn't brave enough to chance getting anything dirty or sticky. Potato chips and Coke had to suffice. #wifemartyr