Long-time friends and Christmas shopping with the ADHD

This weekend was AWESOME!!  Since I work at an elementary school, we were out at noon on Friday for Christmas break.  Christmas break could not have come at a better time.  Marathon training and the race are finally behind me and I did NOTHING last week…I was SO EXHAUSTED (mentally and physically)!

I placed myself on 4-weeks of no running post-marathon to rehab this ITB.  I hope it is enough.  If it isn’t, I’m prepared to go longer.  As I said before, I did NOTHING last week…not even foam rolling!  This week, I am adding in walking and hip exercises, then some indoor cycling (after Bobby opens his Christmas present!). 😉  Next week, I hope to add in some additional strength exercises and will continue that until the 4 weeks is up.  I am COMMITTED to beating this injury and staying injury-free in 2015.

Friday night, we hosted the youth from our church as the appetizer stop on their progressive dinner tour.  In case you are wondering what teenagers like to snack on, homemade ranch dip was a big hit!  I had intended to take pics, but my brain is mush, and I completely forgot until they were gone. One of these days….

This is it.  The ONLY pic I managed to take, and I snapped this before they arrived! #fail
This is it. The ONLY pic I managed to take, and I snapped this before they arrived! #fail

Saturday was a rare, unscheduled day.  Not having any commitments made me realize (AGAIN) how important it is that I free up some time in my schedule in 2015.  I have some ideas, but am still debating how best to work it out…stay tuned.  I drank coffee and messed around the house Saturday morning until Bobby and I ended up going into the Dallas area to finish up Christmas shopping.  I had NO idea what we had left to buy – and yes, I had lists.  Shopping for clothes is overwhelming to me, but Christmas shopping puts me over the edge!  We made a couple of stops and were able to get the bulk out-of-the-way (as far as I could tell).  I literally feel my head start spinning when I try to process what I need to buy….even with lists!

Sunday morning I took time to inventory the Christmas gifts.  While I haven’t a clue what Taylor has wrapped and placed under the tree, I did find a few gifts that I forgot I had purchased!  Now the only things that remain are a couple of small, last-minute gifts that I can get in town.

The great thing about having girls is that they LOVE to wrap gifts (especially Taylor, because she LOVES Christmas!)  They finished wrapping this morning.

Alli has evolved into a great present wrapper!
Alli has evolved into a great present wrapper!

I needed to run to the grocery yesterday, but Taylor had borrowed my debit card to grab the ingredients for dinner on Saturday.  When I realized I would need to get my debit card back, I sent her a text.

This would strike fear in the hearts of the bravest of men, but not me.  I've lived with Taylor for 21 years, after all.
This would strike fear in the hearts of the bravest of men, but not me. I’ve lived with Taylor for 21 years, after all.

No, the debit card was NOT in the orange Under Armour jacket.  No, I didn’t panic.  Taylor “mis-places” something EVERY DAY OF HER LIFE.  I found the debit card in the front seat of my car.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to look in that obvious place first. (Side note: The “It’s over” comment was in reference to the complete and total breakdown of BYU in the 3rd set of the NCAA volleyball finals versus Penn State – now 7-time champions!)

We spent last evening with Logan’s group of friends and their parents.  We have gotten together for years and, honestly, I love the fact that these boys are still together!  Logan doesn’t have the same interests (football and baseball) as the others, but that hasn’t come between their friendships.  Just an awesome group of young men!

These boys have turned into great young men!
These boys have turned into great young men!
This is a pic from one of our first Christmas gatherings.  Santa came!!
This is a pic from one of our first Christmas gatherings. Santa came!! 
New Year's celebrations several years ago.  Hard to believe they are all driving now!
New Year’s celebrations several years ago. Hard to believe they are all driving now!

By the way, Logan has moved out again.  His friend is in town for Christmas and this group of boys have set up their PC’s at a friend’s house.  It’s one big online gaming party!

Happy Monday everyone!

Fantastic Friday (It’s Christmas Break!)

It’s Friday. 5 days post-marathon. Less than a week before Christmas. But most importantly, last day before 2 weeks off for Christmas Break!!!

I feel like I’m recovering well from the race. Still haven’t experienced much muscle soreness and my ITB was only painful one day, but it is soooooo tight. I can tell EVERYTHING is restricted in that area…on both legs! I know that this rehab is going to require a level of patience that I’ve rarely, if ever, been able to muster. So, I’m throwing this out there (for my own accountability): I’m not planning on any running for a month. Yes. I said it. AN. ENTIRE. MONTH.  (And….I’m mentally preparing myself for a longer period of recovery, if it is warranted.)

I must allow my muscles time to heal. I know that running 26.2 miles with an injury (here’s your sign) put extra stress on all my muscle groups so all those little tears need to heal. After I allow some time for that, I will add in some strength training, then ease back into running. I REALLY wanted to run Hot Chocolate Dallas and The Cowtown Half Marathon in February and March, but I realize that would be paving the way to another injury and I am DONE with injury!!

So I added this to my running necklace yesterday. I posted the photo and Taylor immediately commented that they bought me one for Christmas. I’m sure they are frustrated but how was I supposed to know? LOL. I will return mine and exchange for another. :)))

I've been waiting a LONG time to put this little gem on my necklace!
I’ve been waiting a LONG time to put this little gem on my necklace!

For the 95% of the country who has NO clue that the Final Four of Division I Volleyball is in progress: the Final Four of Division I Volleyball is in progress and semi-finals were played last night. I fill out a bracket every year and, this year, was so excited to share in the bracket madness with some of my Twitter friends. As usual, I incorrectly guessed the outcome of many matches. My #1 pick, Washington, didn’t even make it out of Regionals. I only ended up with 2 picks in the Final Four, but I DID correctly predict Texas’ implosion in the semis (YES that was a painful pick, BUT I’m nothing, if not a realist) and that Penn State would advance over Stanford. Another exercise in focusing on the positives…

2 for 4.  *smh At least the Price missed his pick as well, so I don't have to pay off my bet ;)
2 for 4. *smh
At least my friend Price missed his pick as well, so I don’t have to pay off my bet 😉

Working in the office of an elementary school at Christmas time means it is ALWAYS a good idea to burn an extra 3,000 calories in a marathon the Sunday before you get out for break. I wish I would have had the mental presence to take photos of all the homemade goodies that I’ve been given over the past week. (I’ll blame this on post-marathon brain fog, but we know I’m always in a brain fog.) As luck would have it, I received many gifts this morning, so you’ll get the idea.

What you can't see and that I later discovered, is the white chocolate drizzled over the clumps of popcorn.  OH. MY. GOODNESS.
Gift from the cafeteria ladies.  What you can’t see and that I later discovered, is the white chocolate drizzled over the clumps of popcorn. OH. MY. GOODNESS.
THIS!!!  Toffee is my weakness.  After I eat all this, I'm going to punish Shannon for tempting me with it.  She is the devil!
THIS!!! Toffee is my weakness. After I eat all this, I’m going to punish Shannon for tempting me with it. She is the devil!

One gift that especially touched my heart was one from my friend, Christie.  We ‘knew of’ each other in high school as we had mutual friends, but never really ran in the same circles.  She is working at my school this year and, in getting to know her, I feel like I have found a long-lost soul mate!  Imagine my excitement when I also learned that she is a runner and had trained for a marathon.  She was unable to run it due to all sorts of knee injuries just before the race that ended up requiring surgery.  When she saw me after the marathon, she gave me a big hug and I nearly cried!!  The well wishes mean so much, but even more coming from a fellow runner – one who KNOWS what it means to cross the finish line.  AND as we were talking about my recovery plan yesterday, we decided to run a half marathon together…..in the Fall (calm down, Jane!!). This morning I found this hanging on my door.

OK, this brought about some sadness, becuase it wasn't wine, but I laughed at the note.  Do I have THAT big of a reputation as a wine lover??
OK, this brought about some sadness, because it wasn’t wine, but I laughed at the note. Do I have THAT big of a reputation as a wine lover??

When I looked inside, I was blown away.

Christie has me figured out.  She knows that I need *encouragement* to rest and recover :) Plus, she shared her CD with me.  I can't wait to listen to it!
Christie has me figured out. She knows that I need *encouragement* to rest and recover 🙂
Plus, she shared her CD with me. I can’t wait to listen to it!

I’m definitely counting my blessings morning for unexpected friendships!!

Happy Friday everyone!

Christmas came early (twice) and the not-so-great long run.

Friday evening, my little town held its Christmas Parade.  A wee bit early?  Probably, but waiting means that people start leaving town to Christmas shop.  And, believe it or not, the smaller (yes, there are smaller towns) towns in our county hold their parades in the weeks after Thanksgiving, so we wouldn’t want to schedule our parade to compete with theirs.  Apparently there are a lot of people who hit the parade circuit in Fannin County.  Who knew?  A little side note: my town’s population is around 10,000 (which includes 2,000 who are housed in the prison here) and is the county seat.  Last I heard, the county pop was around 30,000.  Small town Texas, America.  Right here.

I must confess I haven’t been to our Christmas parade in years.  Alli had a friend over to spend the night who suggested that we go.  We went into town early to get a parking spot, ate at THE Los Amigos, then headed across the street to secure a viewing spot.  Before the parade started, there was a little band and a choir singing Christmas carols and we even sang along by candlelight.

Alli and her friend, Roxy, protecting their flames from the breeze.
Alli and her friend, Roxy, protecting their flames from the breeze.

Finally the parade began! We were standing near a corner where the parade route made its final turn around the square.  Since I’m new to this blogging thing, I haven’t yet gotten into the mindset that I must have my camera at the ready at all times.  Sadly, I missed a good photo to go with this story.  As the floats crept by one by one, I noticed a person covered in white out of the corner of my eye.  My first thought was (and, I’m NOT making this up), “Why the hell did they let the KKK in this parade??”  This must have been on my mind because recently the KKK held a public rally in an East Texas town.  Seriously, SO sick of people who spread hate, but that is for another post.  As the man in the white robe came closer, I realized it was Jesus – although I’m assuming resurrected Jesus (he was even wearing Reef flip-flops).  Generally speaking, you would expect baby Jesus in the Christmas parade, but hey, this IS Bonham and we do live in the Bible Belt, after all.

Those of you who live in suburbia are really missing out.  In Tiny Town, Texas, you get to see some of the strangest parade entries: GIANT wreckers (WHY??), wooden electric cars named “MaryLou”, miniature horse-drawn carriages and more!  It was a fun evening out, though, and we were so glad that we went!

These miniature horses were sooooo cute!
These miniature horses were sooooo cute!
No Texas parade is complete without a cowboy on a horse.
No Texas parade is complete without a cowboy on a horse. (This one is for Paula, Marci and Jane!)

My church had the most original entry, in my opinion.  Of course, the fact that my sister and cousin were part of it had NOTHING to do with that!  Our church was to hold a “Spirit of Giving” this weekend and our entry was advertising this event.  It was staged like a marching band, except instead of instruments, the members were wheeling shopping carts!  Each shopping cart was decked out with lights.  Our “Drum Major” would whistle and shout instructions and they would wheel around in like they were marching on a field.  It was hilarious and very clever!

My sister and her parade shopping cart.
My sister and her parade shopping cart.

Alli and I volunteered at the Spirit of Giving event that our church held on Saturday.  Anyone was welcome to come and shop and there were no income requirements to be met.  Each man, woman and child who came were given tickets with which they could “purchase” items of their choosing.  All items were one ticket, and some smaller items were combined so that patrons didn’t have to use all their tickets on something small.  We had a “free” clothing room that was shopped first before they moved to the other areas.  There were bikes, coats, household items, food baskets and more.  I worked with my good friend, Andrea, in the picture section.  My reply when she commented about the fact that no one was shopping our booth was, “It’s hard to worry about decorating your walls when you need a coat.” So we made the executive decision to make our section a clearance section, and we started giving away all our items without requiring a ticket. 🙂

Working the event was such a blessing.  I had tears in my eyes more than once.  There were so many walking around with smiles on their faces.  I saw SO many kids from school.  It was great fun to see their reactions because I was obviously out-of-place! In the two hours that I worked, we were able to serve over 300 people.  They were all so appreciative.

Alli with her best friend, Sarah at the check-in point.
Alli with her best friend, Sarah at the check-in point.
Some people waited almost 2 hours to get to come in and shop.
Some people waited almost 2 hours to get to come in and shop.

On Sunday, our church elected our slate of elders for the upcoming term.  (I’m Presbyterian, by the way.)  My son, Logan was elected to serve as youth elder.  The funny thing is, I had NO idea until they called his name in the meeting!  Before names are brought before the congregation, the nominating committee talks to those who have been chosen, to see if they are willing to serve.  This means Logan was asked and said nothing to me about it!.  Typical.

Today, I had scheduled my last long run before taper.  I tried to send out good vibes to the running gods so that this would be the best long run ever, but apparently I failed.  Maybe I should have tried an offering of Clif’s Double Espresso gel? The good news is that there was no calf pain during the run, so fingers crossed in hopes that is healed.  Now for the bad news: my ITB was a little cranky.  And by “little”, I mean it wasn’t as painful as last time, but bothered me enough that Smart Jen overruled Queen of Stupid Sh*t Jen and cut the run short.  (Or maybe it was the promise I made to a friend to cut short if I experienced any problems….who knows?)  The run wasn’t a total loss, however.  I tried some tricks, like stopping and stretching my ITB as well as short walk breaks.  This seemed to keep it manageable during the 5 miles that I was running back to my car.  This gives me hope that I can finish on race day, if it decides to act up.  I may not meet my time goal, but I will just have to deal with that!

And, instead of “Suck It Up, Buttercup”, my new mantra (until the race) is “No Stress”.  I can’t worry about it.  It is what it is and will be what it will be.  I’m just going to try hard not to get in my own way between now and December 14.  And for that, I may need an intervention.

 

Happy Monday!!