Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WWU - 10 Miles

You know, I'm beginning to think I kind of enjoy running longer distances - at least, when it's cold.  For the second week in a row, I felt really good during our Saturday run, which is not usually the case for me.  But apparently, drop those temps and I'm a happy runner!

We all started our run early - Jeff and I were on water duty, so we set the alarm for 3:30 am to give us enough time to get ready, layer up, and head out to drop off water and Gatorade at a couple of spots along our route.  Then we met up with the rest of the Renegades for our 5:00 am start.  Jeff finally felt good enough to run, but since he hadn't run in several weeks, he stayed with Diane and I.  Cary also joined us, while Julia and Andi ran together.  Loretta ran by herself but we saw her throughout the run as we crossed paths several times.

It was really fun to run in our little group - lots of conversation kept us distracted, plus I saw a shooting star!  It was right around 31 degrees when we started running and except for wishing that I'd worn an extra layer of gloves, I was dressed appropriately for the weather, although whenever we'd run by areas where there were no buildings or houses, just open fields, the temperature dropped noticeably.  Funny thing - Jeff kept asking "how can we already be at mile X?" because all of the gabbing that we were doing really kept him from noticing the miles.  See - it works!

We finished the 10 miles and then went inside the clubhouse, where Cary had our new Renegade shirts and sweatshirts ready for us, yay!  I love that each year we change up our logo; it's fun to have something different.  This year, we went retro:
I should have stood on a box to make my logo line up with the rest!

We sat around for a bit, warming up with coffee while Brian fed Logan:
The little leg cross killed me - Logan is one relaxed baby!
Logan really likes Andi!

Then we went to Blue Baker, where they had brownies waiting for us:
Such a nice little treat!

We entertained ourselves and also got our baby fixes in:
Diane finally got her turn with Logan - he's so cuddly!
 I was making him laugh by bouncing around this Santa penguin - he thought it was pretty funny.

Mason has his first taste of chocolate - and it was only appropriate that it came from a Blue Baker brownie:
He wasn't sure about it at first, but pretty quickly decided he liked it!
Mason also hung out with his buddy, Jeff, who right now seems to be the only Renegade he'll go to.  Jeff handed Mason to me and he promptly let me know that I was a NOPE in his book.  Fine, fine - I'll win him over yet!

The next day, we got to watch as Mason's mommy ran her first marathon:
Look at that kick to the end - her feet aren't even touching the ground!
Getting a high five from race director and our friend, Dan.
Why hello, Ms. Marathoner!  That's a nice medal you have there.

CC did great - I can't imagine ever training for a marathon, much less doing that with a baby to care for.  But she rocked it, big time - way to go, CC!

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Snowy Surprise!

Living in south Texas, we rarely get snow, and even if it might be a possibility, it usually doesn't happen - the line on the radar always seems to stop just north of our area.  Which is why, when it started snowing on Thursday evening, pretty much everyone was surprised - because this just doesn't happen, and also, it was 80 degrees on Monday - I don't think anyone was thinking we were going to get winter weather so soon!

Diane texted me on Thursday afternoon that she was seeing snowflakes while running errands, so naturally I hustled outside and sure enough, it was snowing:
Not gonna lie, this impressed me.  Have I mentioned that it hardly ever snows here?

Jeff came home and because it was supposed to freeze overnight, started moving plants into the garage; then we rushed off to meet the Renegades for dinner at a restaurant just down the road from our neighborhood.  I happened to be sitting facing the windows when I saw snow, actual snow, accumulating on the vehicles parked outside!  Woohoo!!  Then I got to hold a baby:
 
And got distracted for an hour. 

But then, I passed him over to Karen, and took some pictures, and if you can bear to look beyond the cuteness, look out the window:
 
That car was covered in snow!!!

We left the restaurant and could not resist taking some pictures and throwing a few snowballs at each other:
It was a winter wonderland!!!
This snow was so fluffy!  Totally shave ice territory.  Best snow I've ever experienced...and OK, tasted.  I couldn't resist!
I wasn't expecting it, but Karen threw a snowball at Diane, who was acting like this was no big deal.  She's from Michigan, but still - it was huge for Texas!
Selfie in the snow - the flakes were still falling!
It was surreal driving while the snow was falling - it looked like a special effect from the movies!
 Waiting at a stoplight, I couldn't resist rolling down the window and taking a picture. 
 Our house looked so pretty!
 The snow-covered yew tree.
 
Our volunteer oak tree looked positively majestic! 
 ...and that would be Jeff, in shorts, in the snow.  Never change, Jeff.  I lightened up this shot so you could not only see him better, but also the snow that was still falling!
I always have to take a picture of the Sago palm on our rare snow occasions. 
 Backyard winter wonderland! 
 It was still impressive the next morning!
I stayed in bed, looking out at the snowy trees and pretending that I was in a mountain cabin.

I also got to experience snowfall, round two, when the snow started melting midway through the next morning - it would fall from the trees every minute or so and was really pretty - it was hard to get a picture of that happening, but here's one:
The backyard ground didn't get as much snow thanks to the tree cover - but you can see the snow falling in this shot.

This was such a treat, and we didn't think it was a coincidence that the snow started falling 24 hours after Kip died.  So thanks, Kippers - and thank you to everyone who left such sweet comments and sent emails and messages about him...that meant a great deal to us.

Friday, December 8, 2017

RIP Kip

Our little kitty, Kip, died on Wednesday evening.  For nearly a year he'd been in a bit of a decline, losing weight and acting like he was not quite there, and then he'd rally, gain some of the weight back, and seem like his old self - but over the last couple of weeks, he really went downhill, and on Wednesday morning, Jeff woke me up to say that he didn't think Kip would be here much longer.  He spent some quality time with Kippers before finally leaving for work, and I held Kip for most of the afternoon:
April 2005 - December 6, 2017

Jeff came home from work and Kip made a couple of sounds that indicated to us he was in discomfort, so we called our vet and were able to bring him in shortly after; on the drive there, he started to act like breathing was beginning to be a struggle, and if there was any doubt in our minds that we were doing the right thing, that was erased when we saw him like that; one thing we can do for our pets is to not have them suffer and linger at the end of their lives.  Of course, it was still hard in the moment, but we were with him at the end, and it was quick and peaceful.

I wish I had the kitten pictures of him, but they were taken before I had a digital camera, and are printed and in a box somewhere in this house.  He was a cute little kitty, you'll have to take my word for it.  Here's some other shots that capture a bit of his personality:
Christmas was always fun for Kip...who needs presents when you could have a bag?
He had no fear.  Jeff was taking an ice bath after a long run and Kip jumped right in!
 Hammock time with Jeff was always relaxing...
Pretty much any time he could hang out in the backyard with Jeff was good for Kip.
He helped me knit a lot of projects over the years, and never tried to mess with my yarn - good kitty!
I knitted some mitten ornaments and had to try one out on Kip, who did not really appreciate that, but also didn't protest with more than a disapproving look.

Kip had at least one other family that we knew of - our next door neighbors, who had a cat named Sassy who happened to look just like Kip.  They were best friends and would hang out together, and Kip even was fed by Sassy's parents every morning.  Sassy died about a year ago, and it's good to think that they are back together again now, hanging out on a driveway somewhere, watching the world go by just like they used to do.

Occasionally Kip would disappear for a few days and when he'd return, he wouldn't even be hungry, so we figured that he was just hanging out with another family...of course, it would have been nice to know that for sure all those times, because we worried when he didn't come home every day.  But he always came home, so I'm pretty sure we were number one to him.

Kip was fearless; if we had a ladder out, he'd be at the top in the blink of an eye, and whenever we'd drop the ladder to the attic, we always had to check the attic when we were finished, because we accidentally locked him up there once.  Turned out he could meow pretty loud when he needed to!  And one time when a friend was leaving my house, we spent a few minutes chatting on my driveway with her door ajar; she drove off and was partway out of my neighborhood when suddenly she saw Kip's head pop up in her rear view mirror!  She made a U-turn and brought him home...silly Kip.

I'm glad I got my new phone with the good camera a couple of months ago because along with all of the memories we have of our Kippers, we also have some really good pictures:

Goodbye, sweet Kip.  We will miss you.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017 St. Nick Fun Run 5K Recap!

This year's shirt - long sleeved cotton, which is perfect for our mild December weather!

On Saturday, I ran the St. Nick 5K Fun Run for the third time; our entire band of Renegades showed up to run it, which was just so much fun.  Most of us dressed up in Christmas attire of some sort - I wore my favorite Buddy the Elf shirt along with my crazy socks that I first wore in December 2010 when I ran an informal jingle bell run along with my USAFit group, and a crazy headband that I've had for several years and is so easy to run with, I don't even notice it.  We all gathered for a group picture before the race:
From left:  Karen, Julia (kneeling), Diane, Logan, Brian, Cary, Andi, me, Gammy Cindy, CC, Loretta, and Mason.
Jeff's back is starting to feel a little better but he wasn't up to running yet.  He wore his race shirt and brought his bib so he could indulge in the cookies afterward, though.

Except for Logan and his Gammy, who were walking the 5K, I was the only person in our group running the 5K - everyone else signed up for the 10K, which is just another loop of the 5K route.  I learned my lesson about doing that the first time I ran this race - never sign up for the longer distance when it's a small race.  There were only 57 people finishers for the 10K, as opposed to 186 for the 5K.  This year they also had a Merry Mile, so families with very young children could easily participate.
With Jeff not running, I had a photographer once again!  Here's the starting line; please note the eager group of young boys ready to blast off.  We were somewhere toward the back.

I didn't have any grand plans for this race - it was warming up quickly right before the 8:00 am start time, the sun was out, and I was wearing a double layer of shirts, which seemed like a good idea when I was getting dressed a couple of hours earlier.  The route goes through the historic district of homes and while it's really interesting to see all the cute houses, the roads are a little rough, so Diane and I just did our normal 1:30/45 intervals and tried to stay out of dips and cracks in the road.

I definitely did not feel like I did when I ran 9 miles the previous week - this race was more of a challenge than I would have liked.  Logically, I know it was due to being overdressed for the temperature, along with running with the sun out - normally we are finished, or just about finished, before this race started.  Funny thing was that once I finished and checked my splits, I saw that our first mile was just 10 seconds slower than our first mile at the Turkey Trot - and we ran that entire mile without stopping!  So I guess we were moving pretty fast during our run intervals for this race.

I was happy when we finished the first loop and I got to make that turn toward the finish line:
Hey, there's my personal photographer! 

I crossed the finish line, got a bottle of water, and went out to find Jeff and Jimmy, who were sitting at the last bend before the finish line.
 
The route - run once for 5K, twice for 10K!

This race has a lot of turns, and being that we were in an unfamiliar area, Diane and I had no good bearing as to where we were.  I mean, there were other runners around us, and there were volunteers directing everyone at specific turns, but she was worried about really getting lost on her second lap (for the 10K), so I suggested she add me to her Find Friends app so I could help out if she really did get lost.  Well, shortly after I finished, my phone rang - it was Diane.  Crap!  That was too soon for her to get lost; I hoped nothing had happened.  I answered, but she didn't respond; I realized she'd pocket-dialed me.  Then my phone rang again, and again, and again.  Each time I was afraid to just hit "decline" on the call in case she really was calling, but it was comical.  Finally Jimmy suggested I text her and tell her what was happening, and the calls eventually stopped, but it was pretty funny.  I did end up tracking her, which was nice as we could see when she was close to finishing, so I was able to get an action shot of her crossing the finish line:
Hair flying, coming in for the finish!

Here are some more pictures of most of our crew:
Andi coming round her first loop.
Cary, CC, and Mason on their first loop.
 Loretta, first loop.
Gammy Cindy and Logan, racking up the second 5K of his life!
Karen coming in for the finish!  She missed getting an age group award by 17 seconds, dang it!
Brian - this is why I hate him - look at that stride!  I really don't hate him, but does he have to make running look so easy?
Why yes, that would be Brian in first place for his age group.  He also finished 6th overall for the 10K.  Not too shabby for a new dad!
After the race, we had cookies from Blue Baker - and then we went to Blue Baker for breakfast.  I don't think any of us ended up buying additional pastries, though - we kind of did it backward that morning.  
 Jimmymeow, wearing his perfect shirt - a cool Christmas cat, and it even snowed when he turned at an angle!
Mason wearing his gloves and waving his hands around like he just don't care!  He's an old pro at this running stroller gig - such a good little guy!
Old blue eyes himself, Logan - he's recently figured out how to get his thumb in his mouth, and was so cute the way he was holding it there with his other hand.

We were just getting ready to leave when one of the race organizers came up to me and handed over a tin of Harry & David salted caramel pretzel bark - she said we won the prize for having so many people from our group who dressed up.  We quickly snapped a picture with our Major Award:
Julia (behind Diane, talking to someone), Diane, Cary, me, Karen

...and then we left for breakfast at Blue Baker.  I have more cute baby pictures to show you, but I'll put them in the Friday Mishmash as this post is getting pretty long.  Another St. Nick race is in the books, and as usual, it was a great one!