To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Friday, November 2, 2018

Monster Mash 5K - An Unexpected Victory!

It was nearly a decade ago the last time I participated in the Monster Mash 5K. My mom got an epic finish line photo that I will probably never be able to top, so I'm not even gonna try! I think I got a PR that day. Well this time, doing my first 5K without a stroller since becoming a mom, had a strange victory of its own!

I don't typically do 5K races, but the half marathon training plan I'm sort of following said to do a 5K race on this day, and this was the one I chose. It was super fun last time, so I knew this would be a good choice. I was right!

My mom, daughter and I made a day of it, and on the way I recall saying to my mom "I'm not racing this, so don't expect to see me finishing really fast. It is just a good way to force me to do a training run and I can't say no to racing in a costume!" We got to Alton Baker Park while the kids were lining up for their race. I rushed over to grab my shirt and bib and hurried back to the car so I could finish up my costume and braid my hair. We had enough spare time to see the kids finishing their race while I did very minor stretching. Crazy enough during all of this I was given a gift card just for having a fun costume! Yay!

All of us racers and spectators walked over to our start area together, which was fun because it gave us time to check out the costumes on the people and dogs! That's right - this race caters to dogs and it is so adorable! I did my quick stretches while holding an adorable toddler I created, and that helped me not have any pre-race nerves. Nice, I must remember this!

We were all lined up and in a matter of a couple minutes the race began and I was off for an absolutely beautiful, run training race. I had to force myself to slow down when I looked and realized I was going faster than what my race pace would have been. No way would I maintain that! I'd crash and burn. So I slowed up a bit and kept on my way. Some people passed, but by probably a half of a mile in I was pretty much in my spot and there was minimal passing and being passed. I did pass a dog once ... thanks to it taking a potty break!

I had a fun moment near the end of the race. A guy was running just for fun and before we diverted in different directions he asked me what race we were doing. I answered and asked if that was a Hood to Coast shirt he had on. Sure was! So we had a mini chat about how awesome HTC is before he wished me well and we parted ways. That was pretty cool!

The course couldn't have been any flatter. The only minor inclines were just to get you up and over the river. Nothing at all to complain about. All of the green grass was glistening with left over rain (of which we had none!) and the path was completely covered with orange, yellow and red leaves. It was perfection! I was very thankful for all of the volunteers. The end had so many little twists and turns, I certainly would have either missed some or veered completely off path and in the wrong direction. But before I knew it those turns were done and in the near distance I spotted a familiar stroller, mother and daughter.  I was near the end! My cheer squad was waiting for me!

As per usual I finished with a strong kick... and never even bothered to look at the clock. I just hit stop on my Garmin and called it good. I never care about finish times and don't discuss them, so why look? I was just happy to get a quick finish line photo and head to the covered area for some water. How fun was it that they not only had water, but full sized donuts!!?? I passed on those, crazy enough, but I did have a couple donut holes. THAT I can't resist! Katura enjoyed those as well, and a Halloween pumpkin cookie. Before we started to leave I made her a little bag of prizes from all of the pumpkins they had out. I felt that was a pretty good reward for a race I was really happy with.

We were walking near the finish line again and I heard them say you could pick up a slip with your results from the van at the finish. Okay, cool! So I grabbed mine. And then I stared at it, feeling very confused. My mom thought something was wrong. I practically whispered to her, still in shock, that it said I was third in my division! WHAT??!!! "Well let's go back and get your award!" my mom excitedly said. I have never been so shocked and happy to get a little orange ribbon. This was my final race in this division, so I was the old lady getting a ribbon! From now on I'll be the young one having my ass handed to me by even older women. But this one time I was the one winning something! I didn't even finish anywhere near my PR, heck I wasn't even trying! I was just running. Funny - I got 1st in my age group once. That time I WAS trying and told the race organizers of my goal... and that still wasn't my PR either. So really who needs to run their fastest?!? Maybe the key is to not care and just have fun!

Seriously such an enjoyable race! I don't know why it took me so long to come back. I'm already planning next year ... this time running with my brother - a handsome blond lab named Buddy! He and I are brainstorming costume ideas. You can't prepare too soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Have A Sweet Tooth? I Have A Cure!

Where I'll be cooking??

We all like desserts. Don't tell me you don't. Come on, you know you like going to a holiday party and grabbing a cookie or nibble of cake. Things are about to be getting really busy for all of us ... making Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, preparing for a big Thanksgiving feast, Blake Friday shopping, office parties, football games .... there is A LOT going on. And maybe you don't have time to make desserts. Maybe you want ME to do it for you!

Since you twisted my arm, fine, I'm ready! And I'm keeping it SIMPLE!!

It's my very own virtual bake sale!

We (I mean you and I, since I feel like you are all a part of this mission with me!) are brand new to bake sales and will just wing it as we go along, sound good to you? Great!

The menu is pretty darn simple and to the point. If you'd like to order just let me know in the comments, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, text, work, email, in person ... you know all the channels. These will be made to order, so you know what you get will be as fresh as possible! (Sorry to my pals not living in the US, I'm gonna have to refer you to the grocery store and give you recipes since sending that far away overwhelms me.)

For $5.00 a dozen you can have: 
  • Peanut Butter Sugary cookies. Trust me, delicious. I will have taste testers on hand just to make sure!
  • Rice Krispy bars with character! º0º 
    • You can order these the standard way OR
    • You can order them with a splash of chocolate!
  • Reese's Pieces Rice Krispy bars ... a special for Fall!

PaymentIf you are local and I deliver, you can hand me cold hard cash $$$ OR, for local and non-local friends simply place your order and you can pay me by donating the correct amount to my fundraising website. Once that payment is made I will start cooking! For example, if you want to buy 1 dozen regular rice krispy bars and 1 dozen with chocolate, once you donate $10 to my fundraising site I will start your order!  And of course, all of this is going straight to Providence Cancer Institute and not myself! **Non-local friends, don't forget I'll need your address, otherwise I might eat your desserts myself!

So, what'll it be?? I'm ready to put on my apron and get busy filling your tummys!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Status Report: Starting to Raise Funds

It has been a week since I announced the goal of Lady Storm Squad to raise money for Providence Cancer Center, so I thought I'd give an update on how things are going!

First off, thank goodness there are 12 of us working together. Some of these ladies know what they are doing and have a lot of fundraising experience. Hallelujah!! My experience is basically doing car washes in high school when the marching band was going to Disneyland. I always hope my daughter doesn't want to be a Girl Scout because the thought of trying to sell cookies terrifies me. Needless to say, voluntarily joining in on a quest to hit my individual goal of $1,000 is way beyond my comfort zone, but I am determined! We loved running Hood to Coast this year, and everyone seemed excited about the thought of doing it again.... but doing it for a great cause versus just running. The motivation is there, I just need to figure out the execution!

Jessica was awesome and got the ball rolling with a donation right away for me. She gets a special award at the end of all of this! Thank you, Jessica!!

I am fully aware that not all of us want to just give money away and have nothing in return for it. If you do want to donate, it will benefit you come tax time at least! But I have been trying to think of ways that we can all have something to show for it.

The rest of the team lives in the same town, so they are busy planning a Bunco tournament in their city. My hope is that as events happen I will be able to make it to some of them so I can be a team player and spend time with everyone. But on my own I need to come up with ideas, so I sought the help of friends on Facebook!

First up, if you live in my area I will be more than happy to come to your house (or wherever you deem appropriate if you won't want me stalking you through your bedroom windows at night) and collect bottles and cans to take to the donation place. I will not be pocketing any of that money. It will go straight to my fundraising website for Lady Storm Squad/Providence/Hood to Coast. So hit me up anyway you want and I will visit you and save you the work of recycling your cans. Nobody likes those stinky return machines, so I will be more than happy to take one for the team and do your recycling!

Next, and this one I am still working out the logistics and menu so I'll roll out more details soon... thanks to a friend's tip I'm going to host a bake sale! A what?? Yep, a virtual bake sale. And I won't just bake virtual desserts and send you images of them, although that would be kind of fun. I've got a couple of ideas of what will be available, so soon I will be offering up my services to cook you and your family fun things to snack on or have at your holiday gatherings, or desserts to hide in your desk at work for when you need a little pick me up!

With all of these, I will never be keeping any money for myself. I'll track everything on my spreadsheets because that's what I do and I freaking love spreadsheets! And I will update the status of these exciting ventures on the blog and share the progress we are all making together. On my individual fundraising site you'll also see that number grow with me. That will be fun!

Overall Lady Storm Squad has a lot of ideas! We have less than a year to hit our goal, but with the 12 of us brainstorming together, and YOUR help, I know we can do it!

If you'd like to make a tax deductible donation just click here! 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Will You Help Me Run Hood to Coast Again?

My uncle Danny and aunt Ginny
Raise your hand if you or someone in your life has been affected by cancer.

You should ALL be raising your hands right now! Sad, but true.

I started making a list of all of the family members that have dealt with cancer and it was rather scary when I started to see just how many people battled it. While some did lose that battle, happily some are still here with us, thanks in part to scientific research and medical advancements that have helped many people over the years. To put some names and faces to the reality of cancer in my family's life, here's a list that I have come up with so far:

  • Danny - my uncle that I never met. My mom never even met her own brother. He passed away before he was 3 years old.
  • Grandpa - you all know him! He dealt with skin cancer for many years, as did
Uncle Kenny and my Grandpa,
Kenny lost his battle with cancer the day I got married.
  • My step-dad. He's got a pretty cool scar to show for it, but he won that battle!
  • Inez, my great grandma
    I also have a scar, but fortunately mine was from a surgery (Shawn teases me that it was just a procedure) to remove some pre-cancerous cells on my shoulder. You might notice you very rarely see me running in a tank top - and this is why. Gotta keep my skin covered!!
  • My lovely aunt Ginny. Now this is one tough lady. Cancer tried to get her, and she did not let it win!!
  • Two great-uncles and a great-aunt have passed away from cancer.
  • My daughter never met her middle-name namesake, her great-great grandma. I never met her either. Thanks, cancer.
  • Our little girl, sadly, also never got to meet her paternal grandma because of a hard fought battle that she lost a few years ago.
  • My paternal grandma had such a short battle with cancer that by the time I learned she had it I never got a chance to talk to or see her again. 
  • My step-dad has had two uncles lose a battle with cancer, while his mom was lucky and won hers.
  • Even my first best friend from kindergarten passed away years ago from melanoma. We aren't old enough for that, dang it!
  • Our family dog, Serena, even died from cancer.
Point is, Cancer IS everywhere.  

So.... Lady Storm Squad decided we really want to run Hood to Coast again in 2019, and we also figured why not do it by being a fundraising team and help raise money for cancer research. It certainly is a good cause when you see how many people deal with it in various forms. What do we runners get out of it? We get to run in the Mother of All Relays again, and we get to raise at least $12,000 (although I'm hoping for $20,000 - go big or go home!) for Providence Cancer Institute and hopefully help in the fight against cancer.

To get to our goal we need YOUR help! What do YOU get in return? Satisfaction of helping cancer research and treatment. You get the joy of helping us all run again so we can flood your social media timelines with photos, videos and stories. A HUGE thanks from me. And a tax deduction! (Plus the faster we reach our goal the faster I will shut up about it.)

If you'd like to help me start on my individual goal of $1,000 you can click the link below and it will take you to my personal fundraising site. I can't express how appreciative I would be of any amount. It all goes to a great cause!

Help Us Fight Cancer While Running!   <-- click here!