Sunday, December 26, 2010

Run Like a Mother Book Winner

I know I know…Christmas winner, yada yada…Let’s just say Santa’s elves didn’t exactly put the presents together before sticking them under our tree so somebody (read me) had to do it for them. Darn those lazy elves!

Once we got home from all the Christmas Day festivities, I was up late building a So Chic Stylin’ Salon (S to the O to the C H I C…Anybody else know that one? Guess how many times I’ve heard it. Go on. Guess. It really actually is pretty cute though. Little Miss is THRILLED).

Then this morning when Tiger Toddler was not puking on me, she was seriously attached to me. Seriously, as in a if I’m not close enough to be touching you I’m slowly, pitifully, shoulders hunched, feet shuffling over to get close enough to touch you while sobbing. Seems its her turn to deal with the funky funk that she’s pretty much been spared from over the last month. So my apologies for the delay, but this is the first free moment I’ve had to post the winner of our Run Like a Mother Giveaway.

Good news though, the fabulous authors have agreed to giveaway not one but TWO copies of their running mama’s field guide. Surprise surprise!!

And since I know I’m probably not the only one still putting together toys or cleaning up the after effects, let’s not dawddle and get to it shall we.

The randomly selected winner, who once received a used pen without even a lid from an Aunt-In-Law, is


And winner #2?  Anyone who receives on a consistent basis gifts for her “lady parts” (personal lubricant, feminine deodorant, cleansing wipes) from her mother-in-law has either got to have a tremendous sense of humor or is in desperate need of a chuckle. Either way this book is for her. So winner #2 is


Just think, now every time you get some highly inappropriate gift from your mother-in-law you can think back fondly on how it won you the greatest running moms’ book of all time. So smile and give her a big thank-you and of course, we all want to know what she got you for Christmas ;-)

And before we wrap this sucker up, I know you all want to know what my worst gift was right? So here ya go: I once got a yellow ribbon with a little red tiny glass ball on the end of it as a Christmas present. Yep, I don’t know either. It came in a really nice red box though. So weird. I used it as a bookmark. My best guess.

But anyway, congratulations ladies! Send me an email at and I’ll send you both the details.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! More giveaways right around the corner…

'Til next time...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grins & Giggles: Running Superfans

Time for a Christmas present wrapping break! Thanks to Stacie over at Impossible is Nothing, another super fabulous running mom blog that you DEFINITELY want to check out if you have not already, we’ve got a Gettin’ Right Down to the Thick of the Holidays and I Could Seriously Use a Little Laugh Right About Now If I’m Going to Get Everything Done and Not Explode First post for you (that’s the official title, but I didn’t think it would fit so I shortened it up just a tad).

The videos are each less than a minute and I picked a few of my favorites to post here, but there’s more funny stuff at so maybe on your next break give that site a little visit.

Also, be forewarned on the last video there’s a little bleepage right at the beginning. It’s only one word and it’s over quickly, but it starts with an F and ends with a you, so you might want to watch that one without the kiddos around or be prepared with a replacement word: fudge, frog, fairy, family, forgive, frolick, frock, just to offer a few so you’re not caught off guard. Or you know, make a word up. My 4 year old is always thrilled to speak in other “engliages” and if it works for her…




ALERT! ALERT! Bleeped mother of all cuss words coming in mere seconds once you click that little arrow. You have been warned. I assume no responsibility for any little ears who may or may not be paying close enough attention to pick up on the the first and last letters of the profanity to come even while they are seemingly busy at play. In other words, if your 4 year old starts saying Fbleepk. It is not my fault. Continue on at your own risk.


P.S. Wait!! Don’t go anywhere yet! Have you gotten in on my Run Like a Mother Giveaway yet? NO?! I can’t believe it. You don’t want to miss out on your chance to score a free copy of the greatest running moms book of all times do you? Go here for the details. It’s really simple to enter. Seriously. Two seconds. Go look.

P.P.S. Have something that’ll make us all grin? Send it to me at I’ll give your blog and/or website a shoutout if I post it. Family friendly please. And as you can see, mild bleepage with a forewarning will be accepted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Latest Greatest Trick: The 2 Book Mom Runs Tactic for keeping your kiddo IN bed

Ok here it is. The post you’ve all been waiting for. The secret ingredient. The card up my sleeve. The ace in the hole or hole in one (or whatever that sports cliche is anyway) The hot tamale of mama blog posts: how to keep that little sucker tucked in tight without a fight.

It’s genius I tell you! Pure genius. Stumbled upon by accident and perhaps a little desperation, but genius nonetheless. And yet so very very simple, you probably won’t believe this will work. But it has. Swear. And it’s even worked more than once. As a matter of fact, it’s starting to become my go to tactic, though I dare not attempt it on subsequent nights for fear she might catch on.

Arguably, the biggest obstacle for a running mom is…(drum roll please)…running. Or at least finding the time to do so anyway. For me, with Tiger Baby, age 2 (**GASP** I just realized I should probably be calling her Tiger Toddler now. Oh my word. She’s really baby no more. **SIGH** Where oh where does the time go? But I digress… where were we even? Let’s see here…”with Tiger Baby, age 2”…ahh yes) and the Little Miss, age 4 pushing 5, mostly my running is done on the treadmill at night when they’re asleep. (Why not in the morning you ask? HEY! Leave me and my pillow alone alright ;-) Ok ok…long runs are in the morning, usually, but everything else PM. I don’t know why. It just suites me.)

But nearly as challenging obstacle number 2 for a running mom (and pretty much all moms everywhere for that matter) is staying one step ahead of the game. Because just when you think you’ve got everything figured out is about the time everything is going to change. Your kid learns how to remove his or her own diaper without even removing their clothes; the wall becomes canvas of choice and poop the artistic medium; baby gates turn into tests of climbing prowess; child safety locks impressive feats of strength; couches launching pads for flight; and “slaved over a hot stove” dinner manages to hide itself in all sorts of various locations that do not include your child’s stomach.

In this house, I thought I had a firm handle on bedtime. We had a standard routine. Popsicle, bath, pj’s, brush teeth, brush hair, story, prayer, kiss, squeeze tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. Worked like a charm, I was merrily on my way, quite frequently off to go run, by 7 or 7:30 at the latest (and yes, you read that right. The routine does generally start with a popsicle and my kiddos are in bed usually by 7:30 at the latest. Popsicle because I’m worn out by the end of the night and I’m not looking for a fight so we start the bedtime routine with a treat. Don’t worry they’re no sugar added and no artificial sweeteners. Early bedtime because my 4 year old hasn’t taken a nap since she was 2 and she’s either toast or EXTREMELY wound up by then, both of which call for sleep. And my 2 year old, who DOES still nap, she doesn’t fight it so she goes to bed then too. She likes a bit of babble time to herself at the end of a long day I do believe.)

But then, the Little Miss found my weakness. She told me one night she was afraid to be upstairs by herself. I didn’t buy it at first. I told her she was fine and headed off to do my thing. She sobbed and by sobbed I mean: Can. Only. Talk. Like. This. In. Between. Sucking. Air. And. Snorting.

Now Little Miss typically doesn’t cry to get her way. We established that pretty early on. If she even starts to go there, I just look at her and say something flatly to the effect of, “Oh are you going to cry? Because you know, if you cry you don’t get what you want. But go ahead and cry if you want. That’s up to you.” Pretty much works every time. She starts laughing instead. So this sobbing was really unlike her. She really seemed scared. Dislike.

So, I stayed with her for a little bit. She told me she just wanted me to stay upstairs. I didn’t have to be in her room or anything just upstairs. So that’s what I did that night. Annnnnnnnnnnnd she got me.

While I fully believe she WAS scared that night, now I’ve got a kid  (for the last couple months) who wants me upstairs EVERY night until she falls asleep. If she was like my husband who falls asleep before his head even hits the pillow, no problem. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Which basically means, I’m stuck upstairs twiddling my thumbs until she’s finally out.

Now, I know this is all just a stall tactic now. If I’m upstairs she can, peek in on me in my office (and run like h e double hockey sticks back to bed before I see her as if I can’t hear her feet) or she shout out any number of random questions to me from her room. And I’ve tried any number of ways to combat it:

I mean business: “GET TO BED!” generally accompanied by threats

I’m so weak right now: “If you stay in bed tonight, tomorrow we’ll…” insert any number of promises

I beg for divine intervention:  My prayer within her bedtime prayer goes something like this, “…and God please help us stay in bed tonight so we can have a good day at school tomorrow”

I got nothing left: I shut her door. She hates that.

The final straw:  I tie her to her bed with her socks. (NOT REALLY!!! I’m kidding. I’M KIDDING!!! Although after the 97 thousandth time she gets out, I may or may not wish she had longer socks ;-)

I give up: I just go to bed. She has no idea what to do with this so she generally just stays in her room and falls asleep. Yes, this is a pretty good strategy too, but it just blows major chunks as far as me getting a single thing done in the PM, although I do score some extra sleep so maybe I shouldn’t complain.

But THE best tactic I’ve found, with no fights, no whining, no tears, no mama being stuck upstairs is this:  (OK now this one really deserves a drum roll. If you didn’t do it earlier, please do it now….I’m waiting until you do. Really. Seriously, we could be here all night. Just do it, “dun dah dah duuuuuuun” will work if you can’t do that little tongue rolling thing or you refuse to use your fingers or your hands on a table because it’s late and you might wake someone up. Still no? Ok at least just hear it in your head. We good? Excellent. Thank-you.)

Two books and I run.

That’s it. See, I told you it was simple.

Now, here’s how you do it. Tell your little one, that you will read them one book at bedtime. Then when you finish, tell them you will read them another book when you get done running, doing the dishes, cleaning up, eating dinner or whatever it is you need to go do. BUT, you will only do this IF they stay in bed and are quiet. If they’re noisy or they keep coming out of their room, no book. Let them pick it so you know it’s one they “really really really” want to hear (or a new one would probably work really well to), then go do whatever it is you told them you were going to do.

And the best part of this? Sometimes, I come upstairs and she’s completely out and the night is mine (muh wah ha ha ha). I didn’t plan it that way, but I’ll take it. Even if she’s not asleep when I return, I’m a way happier rejuvenated mama after I’ve run and she gets a much more exciting fun story than she would have pre-run when I’m in read to get through it so I can get on with what I have to do mode.

Will this work with you’re kid? I have no idea. And I’m fully aware that like any mom strategy this one has a limited shelf life and I’ll have to find another probably more sooner than later. But for now, it’s another tool in the belt and right now it’s the best one I’ve got. So use it if you can and if you’ve got a strategy of your own that’s working, spill it mama. We’re all ears…

'Til next time...

P.S. I should also mention, the last time I did the 2 Book Tactic with the Little Miss, she seemed extra antsy so I told her what time I would come back to her room. She can’t exactly read time but she knows numbers and likes to watch the clock change. It went like this: I’ll be back a 8 dot dot 1 5. So I guess that’d be 2 Book Tactic with a Clock Option. I also use the Clock Option in the early AM when she gets up waaaaaaaaaay before any normal person (who’s not getting a run in) should and climbs into my bed. “We’ll get up for the day when the clock say 8 dot dot zero zero.” It doesn’t work as well in the morning though. I usually wind up with feet in my face.

P.P.S. DID YOU SEE IT? Best running mom book ever written, (ok maybe the only one, I’m not really sure) is up for grabs. Check out the details here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

RLAM Giveaway bumble AND I got nothing

So I realize this post tonight was supposed to be about my latest greatest trick to keep my 4 year old actually IN her bed after I put her there for the night. And really, that is EXACTLY the post I had every intention of writing.

In fact, I had it almost completely written earlier today during Tiger Baby's nap and my 4 year old's watch a show and have a snack time (some may call this quiet time, but since my little darling is incapable of refraining from talking for more than a few seconds, quiet time simply does not exist until everyone's asleep over here...and then actually there's snoring...from every room. So yeah, I guess you can say it does not exist here period).

And what I was good ladies and gents. It was good. Well, at least I was cracking up while I was writing it anyway.  I even had another antiquated phrase nonchalantly weaved into the story, one I didn't even realize I knew until it was staring back at me on the computer screen. You’d all have loved it. I just know it.

Then, as I went back to do a little editing (which I do actually do, despite what my many made up words, misspellings and punctuation errors may suggest)…my computer randomly decided to upgrade and turn off. And POOF!! That sucker was gone. Gone like the Cheerios I give my 2 year old for breakfast about a minute after I set them on her booster seat tray (except of course for the random one she sticks up her nose. I wonder how many times exactly she's gonna have to do that and not like it before she quits putting them up there hmmm? I’m getting tired of, albeit good at, picking them out. I no longer panic.)

And so I’m crushed. CRUSHED. Forty-five minutes worth of writing just gone. My ideas completely lost. **SIGH** (Did I mention it was funny? Like chuckle, chuckle, snort funny?)  So I’ve been trying guys, really I have, for the last 1/2 hour or so to re-write what I had earlier today. The problem is I got nothing.

Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I can’t even seem to unfunnily (yeah, I’m going with that word. See my problem?) write about my new bedtime strategy. It’s not really writer’s block per say, since apparently I can whip out the previous few paragraphs like ain’t nobody’s business. It’s more like writer’s depression and limited to just that one topic. Words don’t seem to want to fit together in anyway that makes even an oodle of sense on that subject. And I think I've had enough of that for tonight.

But don’t worry, I won’t leave you all hangin'. I promise. I know the desperation that can come from a kiddo who refuses to stay tucked in when you're at some of your weakest moments at the end of a loooooong day. So I almost feel morally obligated to help out and get this posted, because I think I might be on to something here. I just need to sleep and/or run on it so it's worth the read. All my good stuff comes either while I run or while I lay awake trying to convince myself to fall asleep. One more day and it'll all come together I'm sure.

In the meantime though, I did want to mention that I COMPLETELY biffed last night on that Run Like a Mother giveaway. While I love being able to give fun stuff away to my readers, part of the reason why I do is so we can find more running mamas to join the fun over here, because virtually, I'd be nothing without all your hilariously witty comments. And part of the reason why people send me stuff to giveaway is of course, so more people can find out about their goods. So usually when we do a little random drawing like we’re doing right now with RLAM, I’ll let you score extra entries for blogging about, tweeting, linking, or in some way letting people know what we’ve got going on here. The more the merrier.

However, I completely spaced it on that last night (am I allowed to blame that on the holiday hustle and bustle? If not I’m going with my 2 year old. She might be able to count to 10 in Spanish, but her English is limited so I don’t think she’ll be able to sufficiently defend herself). Now, I realize since there’s no bonus entries for spreading the word, it’ll better your odds and all if you do NOT do so, but it'd sure be a tremendous pick me up for me in light of the whole lost post episode today.

So if you can look deep within your heart this holiday season and have a little pity on this poor brain blocked blogging mama, I’d sincerely appreciate it. Besides, just think of it as that many more presents to snicker at. (Have you looked at the ones already posted yet btw? I’ve already laughed out loud twice because of your comments last night and am totally gonna have to Google some of this stuff. Face clothes???)

But if the answer is sadly no, you'd prefer not. No worries. I won’t hold it against you, at least not for too awful long ;-).

Alright it’s off to wrap presents and hope the I get bit by the writing bug tonight…

'Til next time...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review & Giveaway: Run Like a Mother

Merry Christmas to you! Because yes, yes you read that right. Thanks to the fine authors of Run Like a Mother, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, one of you luckies is going to get your very own copy this Christmas! Woohoo!!

Wait…What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of Run Like a Mother? **GASP** GIRL! Let me fill you in...

Run Like a Mother is a book written by and for running mothers. There. Aren’t you so glad I cleared that up? ;-) Seriously though, if you are a running mother or even just thinking about becoming a running a mother (either because you’re thinking about lacing ‘em up or throwing your hat in the motherhood ring), this book MUST be on your nightstand. Or, in my case, my kids’ bathroom. Because really, how many times can you watch your 4 year old who insists on playing until the water gets cold re-enact Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with her little Dora & Diego bath set (which were at one point birthday cake toppers if you’re wondering where I found that). I don’t feel comfortable leaving her unattended just yet despite the fact I’d immediately know something was wrong  if the talking ever ceased for a split second. So I read while supervising, at least sometimes.

But listen now, I feel obligated to be right up front with you. I’ve been a BIG fan of these two authors, Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell for awhile now, sort of by accident. Pretty much every time I finished an article I really dug in Runners’ World, I’d flip back to the beginning to see who wrote it and would find it was one of those two. In fact, now, my standard operating procedure when the magazine arrives goes as follows:

1. Flip to the back page to see who the celebrity runner is (I have no idea why this fascinates me so).

2. Peruse the article titles to see if any catch my fancy (because I apparently double as a duchess, who wears frilly wrist gloves, likes tea at high noon and frequently uses antiquated phrases like “catches my fancy”).

3. Check to see if Dimity or Sarah wrote anything that I didn’t notice at first glance (because it will surely be worth the read).

4. Read the rest (and yes, sometimes in Mommyville that just means I look at all the pictures).

Simply put, in my opinion, both these ladies are fine writers. They have a way of weaving a story that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end and in between, depending on the article, you’ll find yourself giggling like a fool, nodding your head in agreement, or trying to swallow that lump in your throat and wiping that stray tear from your eye that has unexpectedly made its way down your cheek. Sometimes, they'll have you doing all three in the same story. And as someone who (sort of) writes, I have a sincere admiration for what they do. Add to that the fact that they are both running mothers, and yeah, they are tops in my book.

So I guess you can say I expected a good book out of them, and let me tell you folks, they TOTALLY delivered. Everything from the creative way the book is set up, to the ping ponging of essay authorship, the tips that you can take and run with (literally), to the personal stories they share, it’s just that good. Swear.

Looking for a little motivation? Something to get you moving on those days when the couch's call is far too enticing to resist. Well, here you go. I don’t think it’s even possible to read this book not be motivated to go run. In fact, I DARE YOU to read this book, particularly chapter 2, and then NOT run. I DARE YOU. Not. Gonna. Happen. (Unless maybe if you have purposely scheduled yourself an off and/or rest day. That doesn't count. I’m talking an I’ve lost my mojo sort of day).

But what I didn’t expect to like was all the little extras the book has in it. I’ve read books like this before, with little sections, sidebars, lists, etc. within each chapter and quite frankly, it just gets kind of annoying, at least for me. I’m so very easily distractable and can never quite figure out exactly when to read all the little extras and not interrupt the flow of the book. But here’s the thing, these are terrific! This book could have just been ALL extras pieced together and been worth the cover price plus some. One of my very favorite parts of this book are all the comments, which are really nothing less than words of wisdom, from the various running mothers (and there’s a lot of them) that the authors talked to before writing this book. And by “various running mothers” you should know I don’t just mean superstar ridiculously fast running mothers who make a career out of it, although you will find some of those included in the book as well and they are certainly worth listening too, but mostly I’m talking your everyday running mother next door (I almost said average everyday running mother, but I’m sorry. ANY mother who runs is anything BUT average. You can take that to the bank). And somehow hearing from so many other mothers trying to fit running into their already super busy, hectic life makes yours seem a little less so or at the very least a little more normal.

And I know I’m totally going on and on here about this book, but it has easily become number one on my list of running books and come to think of it…I can’t off the top of my head think of any other book I’ve enjoyed this much. Yes, I like it that much. So let’s give one to somebody eh?

We’ll make it a Christmas present. I'll randomly select one winner on Christmas Day to receive their very own copy. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to check back on Christmas Day. I know you’ve got waaaay too much to do to come take a peek at my little old blog so check on the 26th instead).  Here are the rules:

1. You must leave me a comment on this post by 11:59:59PM on December 24th, 2010 letting me know that you’ve done #2 & #3

2. You must be a follower of this blog. (See all the smiling faces in the right sidebar. That’d be where you can do that at.)

3. You must “Like” Run Like a Mother on Facebook, which you can do by clicking here.

Once you’ve left me that comment to let me know you want in and you're a blog follower and FB fan of RLAM, you will be automatically entered in the drawing. For additional entries you can do the following:

Like Secrets of a Running Mom on Facebook (1 additional entry)

Tell me the worst Christmas (or otherwise) present you’ve ever received. Why the worst? Because maybe the worst present you ever received will work out to be one of the best if it scores you this book. Plus we can all get a giggle about the major busts we've smiled and thanked somebody for through the years (2 additional entries).

So there you have it ladies and well...probably mostly just ladies! Good luck!

'Til next time...

P.S. Tomorrow on Secrets of a Running Mom: My latest greatest trick...getting my 4 year old to STAY in bed through running...MY running.

FYI:  Still have 2 more giveaways to come before the end of the year. What ever could they be? Fancy a guess love? (I'm still wearing my gloves).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grins & Giggles: Do you hear what I hear?

Ok if this one doesn’t make you grin, I seriously have no idea what will and so therefore you should probably ignore all future Grins & Giggles posts. I just absolutely love this…

I totally needed that today. Maybe one of you did too? Hope it made you smile! Enjoy your weekend!

'Til next time...

P.S. Don't forget, if you've got something to share that'll make us laugh or smile, send it to me at It doesn't have to be running related, although, if it is that's doubley better (doubley better = even gooder btw). Special shout out/link to your blog or website if you send me something I post. Family friendly please.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yes Virginia, there is a Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ 14

It’s a Christmas miracle! Lookie here…

NIK1347-SLPL There IS a Zoom Structure Triax+ 14!!! I just flipped open my been sitting under a mess of mail Road Runner Sports catalog and voila! The very first page was announcing their arrival. I can’t believe it. I’m in shock. I literally gasped. I’m pretty sure the page was glowing and there was a choir of angels singing. Also possibly trumpets, but I’m not totally sure on that one.

You see, I’d mistakenly believed that my time with Nike’s ZST’s had come to an end. You know, the shoe I’ve been wearing for the last, oh I don’t know, 4 YEARS. The shoe that allows me to bypass that massively humongous and slightly intimidating Great Wall of Shoes whenever I’m in need of a new pair and instead head straight over to the nearest salesperson.

“I’d like a pair of Nike Zoom Structure Triax 13 please.” 

“What color?” they generally reply.

“I do not care.” (because I so totally do not. Seriously.)

They get them. I try them on for good measure (sometimes). I pay for them and leave. Badda boom badda bing. I’m in and out in a flash before my 4 year old re-arranges the entire store and my toddler even gets out one “halp!” (help) in attempt to coax the nearest person to free her from her stroller. Zoom Structure Triax are my shoe. Period.

In all my life of running, and I’m talking waaaaaaay back when, in high school even, this has been the ONLY shoe that doesn’t cause me some sort of grief. And the thought of going back to scratch trying to find a new pair that works, and with kids in tow no less **SHUDDER**. I can’t even go there. The thought is just far too scary.

But now! Now, I don’t have to. And yes, I’m still totally going to head over to DSW to check the clearance rack to see if I can find this last model for $40 (because I’m like that and there’s nothing sweeter than finding your running shoe for more than 1/2 off. Ok well, maybe little baby giggles and cuddling with your 4 year old on the couch watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn, but I think you get my drift).

Eventually though, the +13s will be gone and it’s nice to know that once they are, the +14s are right around the corner. Insert sigh of relief here.

Merry Christmas to me!

'Til next time...


P.S. Anybody else out there have a pair of shoes and/or other running gear they swear by?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grins & Giggles: I Hope This Gets To You

Short & sweet today ladies and gents. We haven't had one of these in awhile and on a super blustery, dreary, cold day like today was, at least over here, I think we could use one. I think this will make you grin a little. It did me anyway! Thanks to hubz for sharing it with me.

'Til next time...

P.S. If you've got something you think will make us all laugh or smile (family friendly please) email it to me at

Monday, November 29, 2010

The greatest lesson you could ever get out of a turkey trot

One that we didn’t even actually participate in.

Sadly, we’ve been battling strep throat around here. And yes, I’m totally that parent that sent their plague infected child to school and passed it around to the rest of the student body just before the holidays. **SIGH**

But before you start booing or throwing things at me, in my defense, I just have to say that the day she told me her throat hurt, it was kind of dry in our house. My throat was kind of sore too (DO NOT whatever you do say I probably had or have it too. I refuse under any and all circumstances to admit that I may have had or may currently have now any sort of virus. I just don’t have the free time to deal with it right now dangit.)

She had no other symptoms. Was not running a fever. And I did even actually whip out the flash light and take a little look-see down her throat. But then again, I’m no doctor and much like I can’t tell you what’s wrong with my car should the check engine light come on (except for maybe in the extremely unusual and rare case of there being, oh I don’t know, let’s say a little leprechaun sitting there on the engine drinking a cup of coffee, tippin’ his hat saying, “top of the morning to ya!” or some other one of these things does not look like the other kind of completely obvious problem), so too am I completely clueless as far as what I’m looking at or for when I shine that flashlight and tell my kid to “say ahhhhhh….”

But, of course, by the time I picked her up from school later that day, I could hear it in her voice, feel it on her forehead, and see it in her eyes. She had something, or in her words, she “got germs.”

A little later that evening, when I took another peek under the hood, there in all his green glory was the leprechaun I’d been looking for . I almost had to bite my tongue to keep my initial shocked reaction of “Oh my God!” to myself. I may not know what strep looks like exactly, but I do know that a throat should have a fairly sizable hole in the back of it and hers was quickly disappearing. It seriously looked like a giant marble or one of those super high bouncy balls you get out of a machine for a quarter (I love those btw) had been implanted in her throat. To the doctor’s asap we were. Strep positive. Say it with me now: “fun, fun, fun.”

But it rarely if ever ends there around these parts. We should have been pretty much all set with the antibiotic. We were at that point still 5 days to go before the annual Turkey Trot Tradition (you know, the convenient tradition that justifies consuming mass quantities of Thanksgiving dinner since almost like magic the EXACT caloric equivalent of what you burn during the race will match what you chow down on later, even if you just do the one mile fun run. SSSSHHH!!! No one tell me otherwise. You’ll ruin my fun for next year!)

But no, for us, things got a little more complicated. The night before the race when she should have been well on the mend, that same little tootsie of mine was up nearly all night with a stomach ache. And so when 5AM rolled around, I wasn’t about to get me…I mean, her out of bed. (Ok maybe both of us. But really, she didn’t need to be out in the cold, wind, and rain in her immune weakened condition. It was completely NOT because of how warm and toasty my covers were. Swear.)

So we missed it. I let her sleep. And wouldn’t you know the very first thing out of that child’s mouth when her pretty little eyes opened just after she got her bearings when she woke up was, “did I miss my race?” Nearly broke my heart to tell her she did. Poor baby. Apparently, it’s become just as much of her tradition as it is mine (muh wah ha ha…my master plan to suck her into my running world is right on schedule ;-)

But it was her reaction/retelling of the missing of her very big race that I wanted to share with you all. (So yeah, you could say that was a WHOLE lot of talking to get to this point eh?)

Later that day the Little Miss very matter of factly said to my mom, “Nana. I didn’t win my race today.” To which my mom slightly perplexed knowing full well the details of the entire situation already replied, “You didn’t?”

“Nope,” she said. “I didn’t win my race because I didn’t go.”

And there you have it folks. Little Miss Obe Wan Runner Kenobi in all her mighty 4 year old wisdom once again. So simple isn’t it?

But you know what? She’s right. You’ll never know exactly what it is you are capable of until you lace them up and try. In running…and in life.

So whatever it is for you, that something you’ve got on your heart to do…go! And know that once you take those first steps to go, you’ve already won.

 'Til next time...

P.S. The Little Miss is feeling much better now btw although she is  currently a terrific color of speckled pink and a tad on the itchy side as we discovered on day 8 (of 10) on her anti-biotic that she’s allergic to it. On a positive note, now we at least know about the allergy and we found out with a fairly mild reaction. Plus, if I ever needed a sign that now’s a good time to slightly back off the training for me, I believe this last week was it. Yeesh!

P.P.S. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, survived Black Friday (that’s my Christmas tree putting up day), and have your clicking finger well rested for Cyber Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

That’s it…I’m out and DO NOT try to talk me back in

I will not be running any races any time soon. And no I’m not just saying that this time or trying to trick you into reading further on into my post only to admit that I WILL actually probably run something at some point in the very near future. We’re talking at least spring here.

And I’m also not looking for some rah rah motivational or inspirational pick me up please comments to get me back on track (which you all are so totally and appreciatively good at when needed btw, thank-you, thank-you).

I’m done racing for this year and a good chunk of the next. Period. 

You see, I had seriously intended on training straight through the holidays this time year. In fact, I made up a training plan to run the Rock ‘n Roll marathon in Arizona in January. But then rolled around that little cold, mental running burnout and an unintended break which left me with really not enough time to gear it back up for the whole 26.2. No worries though, I figured I’d just train for the 1/2 instead.

And here’s the point where I’d like to say “but” and then go on to list the nine thousand various things I have to do for the holidays, (you know, the list of things that absolutely no other mother out there except for me has so that I’m completely justified in everything I say here and no one can argue. That list.) but I’ll spare you.

Now, I’m not into making excuses. In fact, I can only imagine the snickers and eye rolls I’d get if I wrote what I’m actually thinking which is I just don’t have the time right now to squeeze in marathon training. Because let’s be frank here, you always have time to do the things you want to do. IF you want to do whatever “it” is bad enough, you’ll make the time. And I’m already aware that some of you rock star running moms out there are doing just that, whatever it takes to get those big up and coming races done. You ladies are awesome!

But right now, what I want most is not a PR or a new running challenge. All I want is a joyful holiday season with my family. One that does not involve me making a mad dash to the shower after an early morning run, followed by angrily bluffing my children to call off their trip to the Santa Breakfast if they don’t get their coat and hat and gloves and shoes on RIGHT NOW so we won’t be late or cutting short the decorating of my 4 year old’s cookie masterpieces that for crying out loud have enough sprinkles on them already one evening only because my tempo run is still hanging over my head.

With the extra constraints on my time right now to make our holidays happy, something’s got to give and the biggest chunk of time in my day that CAN give is running since at least at this point my kids can’t feed, bathe, or apparently even just occupy themselves (at least not in a way I won’t pay for later) without mommy’s help. They need me for all that.

And here’s the thing that I know about myself, a fatal character flaw if you will. (**Deep breath** …about to be brutally honest here.) When I am pressed for time, I am not nice. I’m grumpy, impatient and bossy which is basically fun for no one around me (and for that matter, it’s not too thrilling for me either). I am not the mom I want to be or the mom my children deserve.

Now, don’t panic. I’m not hanging up my running shoes altogether. I’m just shifting into maintenance mode, 3-5 easy paced miles, 4-5 days per week. And as appealing as all the races my family and friends keep emailing me and doing their best to convince me to run “just for fun,” I’m going to pass, because even though races “just for fun” are exactly that, they also seem to fan a little competitive flame that I find extremely hard to resist.

Now, here’s the weird part. The minute I “officially” made the decision to back off some, the guilt set in. Which seems so totally bizarre because I remember feeling the very same guilt at various points of my marathon training because I felt like I was taking too much time away from my family to run. Now that I’m on the flip side, I’m feeling guilty for not running MORE. I guess, in the words of my 4 year old: “You’re Dawned if you do, Dawned if you don’t.” (Not that she actually knows that saying, we just had this whole conversation recently about how saying “Dawn it!” is not ok. She overheard her Papa, but didn’t exactly get it quite right.  I figure I might as well nip it in the bud while it’s still a bud. Why the capital D? Because when I called her out on it after she repeated the phrase tonight when she knocked down her block tower by accident she said: “What? I’m just saying your friend’s name Mommy. You know, Miss Dawn?” as if she got me on a technicality or something. Too bad for her that didn’t fly either.)

So anyway, that’s the deal with me folks, but never fear. I guarantee 15-20 miles a week of holiday running will still churn out its own unique set of stories I’m sure. Plus there’s those giveaways too. So there will be posts. Besides, you know I’m gonna have to update you all on the potty training :-P I wouldn’t dare dream of leaving you all hanging on that!

So here’s to a stress free and memorable holiday season with a little running on the side! Anybody with me?

'Til next time...


P.S. I should probably clarify before I get in trouble, my Dad was not overheard by my 4 year old saying the actual swear word. What he said was, “Darn it!” But did you ever notice how even fairly tame language just does not sound right coming out of a very little kid? I had no idea how many things I say that I probably shouldn’t until they were repeated by my daughter (even if it was kind of funny the first time I heard her say them). And I’m not even talking profanity here, one trip with me in the car during rush hour and she’s got a mouthful of expressions that are probably better left unsaid. Yeesh!(Yes. Yes I have officially scolded or punished myself for some sort inappropriate language in attempt to hopefully keep the same language from being repeated.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marathon…check, Potty training…ummm…

Is it just me or does potty training always seem way harder than it ought to be?

I mean for crying out loud, I did just run 26.2 miles in the blazing sun amidst calf cramps, dehydration, hyponatremia, and race hitchhikers. You’d think I’d have the mental toughness to outwit my 2 year old right?

But I’m sooooooooooooooo dreading this (and yes, I realize the use of o’s is excessive, but it’s quite possible I may not have used enough).

And really this post has very extremely little to do with running (besides for my sorry attempt to connect the two topics like I did just a minute ago). But I am DESPERATE for someone out there to pass along their potty training words of wisdom before I face this next challenge. ‘Cause when your 2 year old quietly and mysteriously disappears around the corner and you ask them what they’re doing to which they respond (while red faced and grunting) “I’m poopin’.” Yep, it’s time.

Perhaps I should clarify “potty training words of wisdom” however. By this, what I really mean is the exact location of the store where I can buy the pill to crush and slip into one of her meals that will just magically make her start using the potty all on her own. THAT is the kind of advice I’m looking for.

Trust me. I’m WELL aware of many of the various strategies out there for potty training your precious little peanut. I’m a read all I can find on a subject before proceeding kind of mom, probably to a ridiculously annoying fault as many in my family would surely attest.

A couple of those strategies, I used on daughter #1. They worked. Well, almost. By 2 she for sure knew what she was supposed to be doing and by 2 1/2 we were pretty much accident free. Then Tiger Baby made her arrival  a few months later and the back slide was so fast it’d make your head spin.

What my little darling sensed was that like any mom with a newborn in the house, I was at my weakest (and ironically, if you think about it, also my strongest. Because despite the period of sheer and utter lack of self you are forced to go through when you bring a new baby home, a period which includes a MASSIVE amount of sleep deprivation, crying (baby’s not yours, although…), and massive amounts of apparel destruction via baby waste products, somehow you will STILL find a way to care for that little baby, the Bigs, and whatever other responsibilities can seemingly only be handled by you and you alone. It’s astounding really what moms are capable of even at their weakest moments which is exactly what makes moms so very undeniably and almost freakishly strong.)

But anyhow, sensing this weakness and recognizing a new outlet for my attention that had previously solely belonged to her and her alone, my daughter rebelled…with poop. I’ll spare you the details. But let’s just say, the big girl panties got put back in the drawers and I went back to the store for some more pull-ups. I just didn’t have it in me to fight THAT battle at the same time I was weaning Tiger Baby off her day time sleeping habit and nighttime feedings.

I figured instead of half you know whatin’ it, I’d just put all the potty training aside, give my girlie a chance to forget her new found mommy controlling techniques, and come back to it later, when I was sleeping a little more and thus at least somewhat more patient. Problem solved. She in her pull-ups and me with no more sorely destroyed panties to salvage or carpeting to clean.

For a little while, my plan worked. But then she rebelled again with? One guess. Yep, “It’s poop again!” (movie anyone?). Or actually, art supplies might perhaps be a better term for her weapon of choice during The Great 2nd Uprising.  Being that I am not particularly fond of wall murals anyway, at least not of the wretchedly scented variety, and that I had pretty much had it at that point, I did the only thing left I could think of at the time. I issued a massive threat.

Note to reader: To properly re-enact the situation that follows, you’ll need to read my lines in your most serious mom voice. As for my daughter, you’ll need to mimic your child’s “oh I’m so innocent I have no idea what you’re talking about except that I so completely do and am not really sure if this is gonna work out for me in the end” voice. (And I know you know exactly that to which I refer).

“Alright look,” I told my wide eyed almost 3 year old after she had just ripped off her pull up and attempted to pee down the heating vent in her room (told you she was rebelling. It was a massive battle of wills with that one). “I. Have. Had it. With you not going in the potty. You are a big girl now. Aren’t you?”

“Yes, mamma” replied the culprit sheepishly.

“You know where your pee pee and poo poo go. Don’t you?” I continued.

“Yes, mamma. The potty.” she responded.

“Well, I’m sick of changing your diaper. You are too big and it’s disgusting and I don’t like it.”

Silence. Worried eyes.

“So, do you know what I’m going to do from now on?”

She shakes her head no.

“I’m not changing your diaper anymore.”

She looks shocked. Laughs nervously and asks softly, “Who’s gonna change my diaper mamma?”

“Nobody.” I replied emphatically. “You are a big girl. You are going to wear big girl panties. You are going to go in the potty. (Pause for dramatic effect) If you don’t and you have an accident, then I am going to take your panties off and put a diaper on you like a little girl wears because little girls wear diapers not big girls like you. But, I only have night time diapers left, and when do you wear night time diapers?”

“When I go to bed?” she answered, sort of.

“That’s right. So if I put a night time diaper on you, I am also going to put you to bed. Do you understand?” I asked.

“Yes, mamma,” she told me sealing her fate and signaling the official end of diapers in her world. I made her repeat it.

For a couple of days after that,  it was almost as if a small miracle had occurred. No diapers. No accidents. It was a whole new world at my house. But eventually and inevitably I suppose, she tried to call my bluff.

She peed her pants. It was about 10:00 in the morning and she walked right over admitting her crime, though somewhat nervously. Only problem for her was, I wasn’t bluffing. Without saying much other than to remind her of the new rule, I took the wet clothes off, put on a night time diaper and put her to bed. She was sobbing of course, but I shut the door and walked away anyway.

Now, before you call social services on me for shutting my kid up in her room all day, you should know, I don’t even think she was in there for 10 minutes. I let her cry for a little bit and then walked back in, talked to her and gave her “one more chance”.

The good news: It totally worked. I highly doubt you’re going to find THAT strategy in a book anywhere, but she’s not had an accident since.

And that’s my whole potty training experience. In the end, I guess you could say things worked out. I mean, I don’t have a quickly closing in on 5 year old smearing excrement on the walls or anything. So I’m gonna go ahead and call it a success. Though not fun. Not fun at all.

But what I fear is, in a mere 2 years Tiger Baby has already made it glaringly obvious that she does not have a will that will be easily broken. Hence the whole name Tiger Baby, which was assigned sometime between trying to wrangle her like a wild animal to put clothes on and her tossing her toddler mattress around like a WWE wrestler before flipping it over and ripping the stuffing out of it with her little tiger claws. And so IF it becomes a battle of wills with this one, I’m afraid victory may not be within my grasp.

Wish me luck people. This ain’t no marathon…

 'Til next time...

P.S. Poo in case you’re wondering is totally NOT accepted by spell check along with many of the other dandy doosies in this post…including for that matter, doosie.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The very unfair and very unavoidable laws of fitness

There’s only two. But there’s no getting around them despite your best efforts.

Rule Numero Uno: It hurts to get in shape, but to get out of shape…not so much. In fact, one might even call it somewhat comfortable or relaxing even to say maybe lie on the couch and watch tv in the evening munching on a little crunchy salty snack of sorts or to catch yourself just a little bit more sleep in the wee hours of the morning rather than go run (not that I’ve been doing any of those things. I”m just sayin’ ;-) )

But to get in shape, now that’s a whole ‘nother story my friends. As you start down that healthy road to fitness there’s not a muscle in your body that’s going refrain from voicing their dissent. Like it or not, you’re going to feel it. Now, really that’s a good thing. You’re sore. You hurt a little because you did a teensy bit of damage to your muscles and when your body goes to repair that damage it says (in your best Brooklyn accent please) “hey, what’s the deal? You gonna let a little runnin’ mess wit you?” Your body of course, doesn’t appreciate the trash talk and responds by growing stronger.

Nope. There’s no accidentally falling into shape. It doesn’t just happen without your noticing. Whereas on the other hand, falling out of shape…oops. One thing leads to another and suddenly you find yourself looking at photos from the trip to the water park you just took with your family only to stumble across a photo of you from behind in your bathing suit walking with your daughter that should be artistic and heart warming and you’ll audibly say something to the nearest person like “WHOA! Who is that walking with the Little Miss? Wait a minute…is that? NO! That enormous behind can not possibly belong to me…can it? Who put that butt on my body?” At least, I heard that happened to somebody once, somebody who of course was certainly not me (except that it so so was).

Wouldn’t it be nice if the sore muscles would come when your falling out of shape instead? Some sort of painful reminder of the giant a$$ that will immediately follow if you don’t take serious action pronto. Is that really too much to ask? Instead of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), it could be deterrent onset muscle soreness. You know, muscle soreness that starts in order to deter you from NOT exercising. I mean, the letters are all the same so that should count for something right?

And Rule #2: The amount of time it took you to get in shape in no way whatsoever corresponds to the ridiculously fast amount of time you’ll lose it in. This is really so unfair. Much more unfair even than rule #1. So please excuse my wah wah sissy whiney pants for a moment,  but it just seems like the two should be at least somewhat comparable. I mean, seriously. Come on!

You all know I had a break from running about 2 weeks ago right? Well, that kind of sort of wound up into being a break last week too, mostly because of a super jammed packed busy busy week (excuses excuses, I know). So anyway, I get on the treadmill today, after basically 2 weeks off to run 3 miles. Now, it felt pretty good and all, but what shocked me was that I only had the tm on 6mph (10 minute mile pace). Now a month ago, I’d have been warming up faster than that. But no, now, suddenly the tm on 10 min/mile pace feels like there’s an off chance I could go flying off the back of that sucker. REALLY? In just 2 weeks?!

That just does not seem fair. I can basically take 2 years to go from running, oh I don’t know 12-13 minute miles (that being once I could actually  run a mile completely without stopping, of course, following baby #2) to a 5K pace somewhere around 7:30ish min/miles yet in just 2 friggin’ weeks, I’ve lost more than 2 min per mile. Are you kidding me? Now granted, I was not running full out, but still…just…not…fair. And the skinny jeans? Yeah, I’m totally holding my breath to get into them again which is eventually going to wind up being unpleasant for everyone if no corrective action is taken. FIUEHFUAHGEUGF (that’s me being frustrated. I don’t know how to spell the sound I made exactly, but that ought to give you the general idea).

**SIGH** But what are you gonna do? It just is what it is. Sometimes you need a break and you’ve just got to suffer the consequences. (Stupid laws of fitness and their stupid ridiculous consequences. **GRUMBLE GRUMBLE**) I am however, considering starting a petition or maybe a FB fan page against these ridiculously unfair laws of fitness. I’m thinking maybe just maybe, if we get enough people, God will give this all a second thought. I mean, I see he has any number of FB pages and/or profiles so maybe one of us could “friend” Him and then suggest our page to Him. Certainly, that’d get His attention. Right?

In the meantime while I work out the details of my magnificent plan, here’s a few other things I thought y’all might be interested in.

1. Giveaways – There’s two massive holiday giveaways going on right now I wanted to make you all aware of in order to sufficiently reduce my own chances of winning (wait…what?). Road ID’s got like $10,000 worth of goods on the line and 5 Minutes for Mom’s got a ton of kid stuff up for grabs, so don’t miss out. I’ll update my giveaway page with the best of the rest I can find in and around Blogville sometime tomorrow and notify you all via FB when it’s done (not a FB fan? So sorry, you’ll just have to guess then when I do OR go “like” me on FB and you’ll know the minute it happens) and then stay tuned because I’m working on two more of my own giveaways that’ll be up ASAP. (Ok ok…you talked me into it. One of them will be coming from here:

Sporty Girl Jewelry

So if you want a sneak peek, go check out their website. But no way am I telling you what it is I’m giving away just yet or what the other one is. You’ll just have to stick around to find out).

2. Sears Portraits – If you’re looking for a place to get your pictures taken you might want to check out Sears. They’re reasonably priced and I just had some fantastic portraits taken of my girls. And honestly, I have no idea how they managed to do that considering my 4 year   old just kept squinting her eyes every time they said smile and once my 2 year old figured out she could slide down the back drop that’s pretty much all she wanted to do. Somehow though, they managed to get some great shots. I actually bought the disk this time which I never ever do. I can’t promise you the Sears in your  area (if there is one) will do the same terrific job as the one near me, but I can tell you if you sign up online for their email list they are offering tons of discounts right now to get you in the door. Christmas Portrait Tip: Find out when your studio opens and book the first appointment of the day. A lot of photography studios book appts really close together assuming someone won’t show, but if everybody does, they get super behind which translates to you waiting forever, your kids getting antsy, bored and disheveled and that = a super frustrating photo session when your little ones no longer have it in them to cooperate and you are at your wits end having tried to keep the on their best behavior in a waiting room created that is far too small and far too full for an eternity. But if you’re the first ones in the door when they open, problem solved. Trust me I’ve learned this the super miserably sucky way.

3. 31 Gifts – So my cousin, who happens to also be a running mom (and a fairly new runner at that) just started her own home based business direct selling some very chic purses, bags, backpacks, blankets, etc. for 31 Gifts. You know I love a mompreneur, especially one who makes time to run, so I hosted a party for her earlier this week to help her with her business launch and I’ve got to say, she’s got some pretty sweet stuff (particularly I’m diggin’ the thermal totes, but that’s just me). With the holidays right around the corner, I thought maybe one or two of you might be interested in cheating a little on the Christmas shopping like me and knocking some names off your list in the comfort of your own home in your pjs. So here’s a link to her website for you to check out and do a little online shopping should the mood strike.

4. MUST give a major shout out to Deanna, running mom, blogger, and writer, who just tonight found out she’s having her very first running article published. CONGRATULATIONS! She gave me a little hint as to the topic and it’s going to be FABULOUS. Just exactly what us running moms need to hear. So as soon as it’s out, I’ll let you all know. In the meantime, you can learn a little more about her at her blog

And I’ve got one more thing, but since this is way too long already, I’m just going to save it for another day, because on this one, well, let’s just say I believe I’ll have some explaining to do. Besides, I did actually already run today, so I believe I’ve earned a veg night which is quickly and quietly slipping away from me as I type and the pillow begins to call. So…

'Til next time...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

RLAM Shout out AND the winner is…

No, I’m not speaking in code. RLAM, if you happen to be unfamiliar, is the official acronym for the book and website Run Like a Mother created by running mother extraordinaires Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell.

What they’ve put together on their site is THE virtual hangout hub for running mothers everywhere and the users (of which I happen to be one) refer to themselves as RLAM’ers. Really. If you haven’t seen it, you have to check it out here.  And then when you’re done checking it out, you really ought to think about “liking” them here on FB. Not only are they hilarious and inspirational, but they also give away running gear like it’s going out of style and I know how you all like free stuff. So go on and get it.

But why do I bring this all up? Well, we’ve got a whole new crew following along from RLAM. Probably because of this, but who am I to judge. I mean, it is possible that they all coincidentally stumbled over here at exactly the same time that this appeared all on their own. Highly improbable, but possible.

On any account, they’re in need of a proper welcoming. So, what’s up all you RLAM’ers? Glad you’ve found your way over here and feel free to comment away at will. In fact, I know you’ve been told I’M funny, but the truth of the matter is the funniest stuff comes from my readers in the comments. So really I’m feeling no pressure whatsoever to live up to that RLAM profile, but you all on the other hand, if you’ve  perused even just a little of the commenting wit that goes on around here **WHEW** you’ve got your work cut out for you ;-)

And at this point now, I’d love to be able to smoothly transition from the warm welcome to announcing our CSN contest winner, but let’s just say it’s been a really weird weekend, complete with being puked on, picking poop nuggets off the floor, and being buzzed by a bird at the deli counter while I was grocery shopping. Seriously. I’m not making that last one up. After whizzing by my head, the little fella landed on the the deli scale. Can’t say that’s ever happened before. If I’d have been quicker on the draw, I’d have snapped a picture on my phone, but instead I just pointed him out to my 4 year old who was half covered in strawberry ice cream from her “here eat this so I can grocery shop cone.” She gave him about half a look and shrugged it off as if it happens all the time and returned to the much more important task of devouring said cone. She’s can be very focused when she wants to be.

So anyway, I’m just going to skip all the fancy talk and get right to it, mostly so I can get to bed at a decent hour and start this next week off on the right foot. Besides, I know you all can’t stand it any longer and want me to just GET TO IT ALREADY.

So, the winner of the $50 CSN Gift Certificate is:




Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you shortly with all the details, so keep an eye out. And as for the rest of you, worry not! I’ll get to work on another contest asap (or at least I’ll go find a whole bunch of other people’s sweet contests for you to enter. That’s nearly as good right?). So stay tuned…

'Til next time...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cause of injury: NOT running

I’m just supposed to run. That’s it. Period. No more discussion needed (but of course, there will be).

I decided to take a break last week. And by break, I mean absolute complete and utter no running. None. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. And with that statement, I can totally hear you gasping in horror over there, crying out at the top of your lungs, “WHY? WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY KELLY? WHY?” Well, hold your horses for a second and I’ll tell you.

I needed one. I hadn’t exactly recovered from that little cold that cropped up post marathon and pre-PR weekend. And by my count, that sucker was hanging on far too long. We’re talking pushing a month here. Now it wasn’t an I can’t get out of bed I’m sick kind of cold. Besides, when is that ever even possible when your a mom? My husband gets a sniffle and he’ll lay in bed ‘til it’s gone (yes honey, I’m exaggerating for the sake of argument. Your bravery in the face of illness knows no bounds. **Wink. Wink. Nudge Nudge.**) Moms on the other hand can be running a fever that’s 102, walking around like a zombie and still changing diapers, feeding kids and God forbid your 4 year old gives you a break on the bedtime story. Am I right? Moms just don’t get to be sick.

But this was more like one of those mildly inconvenient sort of colds, where you’re just sick enough to be worn out all the time and fairly short on patience.

So with no races required in the immediate future (in other words, I haven’t paid any entry fees yet), I figured now would be a good time to rest and recover (you know, like it would have been wise for me to do post marathon). So I did.

DSCF7924Yesterday, was going to be one complete week of no running whatsoever and then just as I was about to take Strawberry Shortcake and Little Red Riding Hood out to hit our neighbors up for some candy, it hit. A totally random sharp pain on the inDSCF7927side of my right knee. I believe my exact words were, “What the crack?” (because I like to teach my kids the finer cuss words).

I have literally no idea where that came from, but of course I did what any mom would do (who desperately needs to reload on her stash, I mean, her kids’ stash, of chocolate), I went ahead and walked around on it for an hour and a half trick-or-treating. BRILLIANT! I know, but I was not about to miss out on the fun.

So it hurt and it hurt all last night and a good portion of today. The good news is as I sit here and type this, it seems to be gone. So you know me and “signs.” I’m thinking it was the Big Guy’s way of telling me to just chill for one more day.

But the real moral of the story? You can just as easily hurt your knee doing nothing as you can running, so you might as well go on out there and get it. So remember that the next time somebody tells you running is bad for your knees. Ok well, that and this mighty fine article right here.

Tomorrow the break is officially over because I can’t take it any longer!

'Til next time...

P.S. Remember that CSN Stores gift card, I’m giving away. Well, it turns out it’s worth $50 NOT $45. So that’s $5 more that doesn’t need to come out of your pocket this Christmas, if you win the gift card. But you can’t win if you don’t enter silly! Contest details are here.

P.P.S. Another terrific issue of This Mother Can Run went live today with some of my favorite super fabulous running bloggers contributing articles: Barefoot Angie Bee, TeaMarcia, and Miss Zippy. Be sure to check it out and sign up to have each new edition delivered directly to your email inbox. It’s totally free! Be sure to check it out!

P.P.P.S. (What? I can do that many P’s if I want, I might even do another one if I can think of some other pressing random thought I just HAVE to tell you. ) Another running blogger extraordinaire, Christa, has decided to start a virtual kids mileage club and you are cordially invited to join. Well, maybe not you exactly, but your kids. You can find all the details over at her blog Run Mommy Run 4. Tell her I sent you. Not because you’ll get anything special, I just want her to think I have friends ;-)

P.P.P.P.S. I really don’t have anything else to say. I just wanted to prove to you all that I could use the letter P a ridiculous number of times. Ok carry on with your evening now :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review & Giveaway shockingly on time as promised

Can you believe it? When does that ever happened here?

See, maybe I’m feeling a little guilty about that post yesterday after all. I mean, really I don’t know for certain that the Clarion Mackinaw funk was the funk of some poor pitiful mouse moving on to a better place. Who knows? It could just be that they were in dire need of some new upholstered headboards or something. Perhaps something the likes of that available from CSN Stores?

Ok ok. That was a totally lame segway to my CSN review and giveaway, but I gave it a shot now didn’t I? And no, I’m not really feeling guilty, except maybe perhaps because I forgot to mention that Muffin Man (A.K.A. my brother-in-law) completely rocked his 1/2 marathon setting a personal record by a good couple of minutes on a way hillier course than his last PR. In fact, he did so well that he thinks my blog readers would definitely be interested in a new special section to my blog to chronicle his tales, The Adventures of Muffin Man complete with a trumpet sounding “Dun da da duuuuun….” every time you clicked the link. I told my sister to tell him to go get his own blog ;-) Seriously, though he did a great job. Way to go Muffin Man!

But on to the review!!

When Jamie from the CSN promo team contacted me to do a review and giveaway, I was thrilled. THRILLED.  Why you might be wondering? Well, I had already seen a ton of other glowing positive reviews on various blogs I follow and so I’d checked them out already a bit. If you’ve never heard of them before, CSN Stores is kind of like a mall only better because you never have to leave your house and fight traffic to get there. It’s 200+ stores right at your fingertips online. Besides upholstered headboards of course, you can get anything from cookware and furniture to toys and clothing and then pretty much everything in between.

And honestly guys, I don’t know about you all, but personally, I’m not a huge fan of shopping with kiddos in tow. “Mommy, I have to pee!! I want this. Oooo can I get a snack! Let’s just look at the toys. Oh I really really NEED that.” Shuffle shuffle, pouty lip, “pleeeeeaaaase, can we go home now?” All while my two year old is randomly grabbing things off the shelves and trying to wiggle her way out of the shopping cart seat. Nope. Not my idea of a good time.

BUT (and that’s a big but there, see how I wrote it in all capital letters, and made it both bold AND italicized. That’s serious.) shopping online, which includes none of the above (usually) oh yeah baby, I’m all about that. So, Jamie sent me a gift card and I got down to business. The site was super easy to navigate and they have a search engine, which I realize seems like a pretty basic thing for an online business to have, but surprisingly not all online stores have one and most of the time that right there is enough for my hot little mouse clicking trigger finger to head elsewhere.

There’s free shipping on a lot of products (not all, but a lot of them) and returns are “hassle free” (this I don’t actually know first hand and will just have to take them at their word because no way, I’m sending my stuff back). But probably, my favorite part of the site is that the products have reviews. I’m big BIG on reading reviews before I spend money so as not to waste it (hence one of the reasons why I do them for you all here).

Really, the only negative thing I can say about CSN is that they’ve got such a wide variety of products that it seriously took me FOREVER to figure out what I wanted to purchase. I mean, do I get the new cookware I so desperately needed, or do I give that immersion blender a try? It is getting to be soup season and that would maybe come in handy for that tasty sounding potato soup recipe I was thinking about giving a go. Or perhaps one of their ceiling fans would be a good idea, so I could use the air conditioning a little bit less in the summer. Then again, I really have no shoes in between running or the heeled variety, so that might be a wise (and very fun) purchase too. What to do what to do?

animalpuzzleSo what did I finally settle on? Toys. Because I’m totally a sucker for my kids. You see, my now 2 year old’s birthday was coming up and I stumbled across those wooden Melissa & Doug Puzzles. I thought  it’d be perfect for her. She’s very into putting things where shape puzzlethey go, but also happens to be very into eating cardboard (really. Pretty much anything of the board variety: board books, board puzzles, that random cardboard box that my running shoes came in. Yep. She eats it.) so I had pretty much taken her other puzzles away. (Don’t judge me. The half devoured puzzle pieces wouldn’t fit together anymore anyhow.) tryke

Then, I found the wooden Melissa & Doug animal magnets. Sooooo very cool. My daughter loves “amimals.” I knew she’d totally dig them. And since we had been thinking about getting her a little tricycle anyway, I figured I’d give that a little search too and voila! The Fisher Price Grow with Me Tryke popped up, which was the one I had been looking at already for Tiger Baby.

So that’s what I got: 2 wooden puzzles,  animal magnets, and tricycle. (Yes, I totally outspent my gift card if you were wondering). And my daughter LOVES this stuff. She is incapable of eating the puzzles, so she actually plays with it (and so does my 4 year old). The tricycle she hasn’t exactly figured out the pedals yet, but she likes to sit on it and push it around with her feet (and so does my 4 year old). And the animal magnets, now those were probably the very best birthday present. The first time I put up the gate to block off the kitchen while I made dinner after those magnets were on the fridge, she threw a massive fit which I definitely took to mean she likes her toy and not at all that she did not take a long enough nap ;-)

magnetsIt is honestly though, probably the only thing in our house she plays with every single day and it is definitely the first thing she goes to every morning. She moves all the little animals around. Identifies them (and I was totally shocked at how fast she learned what each of them were) and makes all the different animal sounds. Just the other day she discovered they’ll also stick to the dishwasher and holy moly! It’s like a whole new toy. (Btw, there’s way more magnets than what you see in the picture, some are on my dishwasher and some are kind of small so they’re way up high where she can’t reach. I’m a freak about choking remember).

Everything was reasonably priced. In fact, I checked those exact same puzzle prices at my local grocery store and they were cheaper at CSN. And I was surprised to find my order came in even faster than I expected which was probably a good thing because we were right on top of her birthday. So I’m definitely giving CSN Stores a big thumbs up.

Anybody else want to give them a shot?  Jamie from the CSN Promo Team is sending me a $45 gift card for one lucky follower to use on anything from any one of their stores. So let’s run a little giveaway shall we?

Required to Enter:

1. You must be a follower of this blog. Not a follower yet? No big deal. Just click over there where you see my happy little group of followers on the right. It will take you all of about 10 seconds (if you’re a slow counter). 1 entry

2. Check out the CSN Stores website and tell me what you think you’d use the gift card on if you won it. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it since I myself changed my mind about 9 thousand times. 1 entry

Additional Entries:

1. Like Secrets of a Running Mom on Facebook 1 entry

2. Update your FB status about this contest. **NO BORING STATUS UPDATES ALLOWED** Make it funny, interesting, or unique. (You know, the whole goal here is to make people click your link. Plus I am completely against status updates that say things like I’m going to the grocery store now or I’m entering a contest. Snooze. So don’t make me part of the snorefest) If it doesn’t make me at least grin a little it doesn’t count. So yes, you have to tell me what your update said. And let’s reward your creative with say 3 entries

4. Suggest Secrets of a Running Mom to at least one FB friend. 1 entry

3. Follow CSN Stores on Twitter. 1 entry

4. Follow Secrets of a Running Mom on Twitter 1 entry

5. Tweet about this contest. (See the Facebook Status update description. Ditto.) More brain power required so 3 entries

5. Blog about or add a link on your blog about this contest 1 entry

6. Throw Secrets of a Running Mom on your blog roll 1 entry

7. Email somebody (or multiple somebodies) about this contest 1 entry

8. Tell somebody about this contest, CSN Stores or SOARM. 1 entry

9. Tell us your next big race or goal. 1 entry

So that’s the deal. You are not required to do all of the above listed methods of entry. Choose as many or as few as you like, but please leave me a comment to let me know how you’ve entered. No comment no entry. And if you’ve already become a Facebook fan or Twitter follower that counts too! Just be sure to let me know.

You have until Saturday, November 6th 11:59:59 PM to submit all of your entries. I’ll pick the winner on Sunday, November 7th. Actually, I won’t pick the winner. That’s the official job of my 4 year old and she’d be totally crushed if I did it for her. And yes, we are currently still using old school methods for random winner selection. Paper, big bowl, and her teeny tiny little hand. So unless you are totally in love with captcha’s, you only need to leave me one comment.

For this contest, you must be a U.S. or Canadian resident to enter. The winner will have 1 week to respond and if they don’t, a new winner will be chosen. Rinse and repeat. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Good luck!

'Til next time...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mackinac Island 1/2 Marathon: What the funk?

DSCF7690 Sorry all, but if you’re looking for an in depth race review or a detailed account of my performance, you won’t find it here. Because even though every race has a story, the story that begs to be told this time around is the one of the hotel. And I sort of feel obligated to tell it, mom to mom. After all, a good majority of you are moms and MI moms at that, and even if you’re not a MI mom or a mom at all, chances are you’re a runner and while I’d highly recommend you put the Mackinac Island Great Turtle 1/2 Marathon on your list for the sheer and utter beauty of the scenic, but be forewarned, somewhat hilly course, I would even more strongly recommend you do everything in your power to NOT stay at the Clarion hotel in Mackinaw city and I’m about to tell you why.

But before I do, don’t get your knickers in a bunch because of a fairly runningless blog post. For my thoughts on the race itself you can head over to Racevine and read my review here. And as far as how I did, well of course, I won’t keep those race results a big mystery (or force you to waste precious minutes digging it up yourself online like I know y’all would do anyway). I’ll weave that in here for you too because I’m cool like that ;-)

So the original plan with this 1/2 was to just take it easy and enjoy it. Count it as a lower mileage week amid marathon training and give myself a break. But due to a handful of the unexpected and a few more constraints on my time than I’d have liked, my 15 mile long run the weekend before the race wound up being 8. No big deal. But I figured, hey, since I’ve kind of sort of tapered why not try to PR? Why not indeed.

Two days prior to leaving for the race my nose started running. And we’re not talking a sniffle here or there. It was like turning on a faucet. I literally could not grab the tissues fast enough. Not exactly an ideal condition to set a personal record.

On Thursday, we headed out of town for the 4 1/2 hour drive to Mackinaw with my cold not getting worse really, but certainly not getting better. Then to my surprise, it snowed a little on the way Up North (FYI: In case you missed this in previous posts, Up North is the official term we Michiganders use to refer to any vacation spot in the state that is north of where we live, yet south of the Upper Peninsula. Once you’re talking a location in the Upper Peninsula, that we call the U. P. Stick with me kid, I’ll keep you up on all the hot trendy MI lingo. You’ll be getting another in a second). Now, I’d expected it to be cooler. But snow? Really? I hadn’t packed enough warm running clothes for that (because I never ever learn my lesson that weather people are really just kidding around most of the time when they give you the forecast and after 32 years of living in Michigan I still like to pretend that the weather here is somewhat predictable).

We had booked a suite at the Clarion in Mackinaw City rather than staying on the island, because it was far less expensive. We could get a suite for 1/2 the price and my parents could stay with us. Upon arrival, all things seemed just about as you would expect. The hotel was a little bit older, but the room looked clean and the staff seemed friendly and best of all we had booked a room right on the water. It was of course too cold to fully enjoy Lake Huron, but the view was spectacular nonetheless.

The heat was off when we got there and the room was a little chilly, so we switched it on and headed out for dinner at the Dixie Saloon (which has really terrific fish ‘n chips btw). When we got back, it was getting late and we were all tired from the drive so I didn’t waste any time prepping the girlies for dreamland. And here’s where it gets interesting. I kept getting a whiff of something. Something mildly unpleasant.

Repeatedly, I checked Tiger Baby’s diaper, thinking maybe she was the culprit, but there was nothing there. At one point I even asked my husband if it was him, he did after all have a little chili with dinner and well, you know how that goes. But he denied having any part in the mysterious odor and said he too thought he smelled something when we first got there. A little moldy maybe was his guess. I just figured eh, it’s an old hotel and its probably got a little funk to it or something. It wasn’t horrible and my kiddos had quickly fallen asleep in the other room of the suite. No big deal.

The next day the funk lingered and seemed to be growing stronger. I opened a window to try to air it out some and then we took off for a day of exploring in the city. My parents, as well as RunSis, Muffin Man and the fam, and some of our friends with their kiddos arrived later that day and we all went to dinner at the one Italian joint still open in town. Being that it was the last weekend of the year for tourists on Mackinac Island and there were record numbers of runners this year, the restaurant was majorly understaffed although they seemed thrilled to seat everybody. Let’s just say dinner took a looooong time.

When we finally got back to our room, it was way past bedtime for our little tykes and I was fully ready to get to getting them to bed. But the minute we opened the door, there was no denying the stench. Whatever stunk had gotten even worse while we were gone. Much much worse. I still went ahead with getting the kids ready for bed (which in hindsight was probably a mistake, we should have complained right then despite how late it was and how tired my girls were).

After the girls were tucked in, my parents, my husband and I went on a hunt in the other room to try to figure out where the offending odor was coming from, but it was hard to place. My husband for a little while was convinced it was some oranges we had brought, but oranges, even rotting ones (which ours weren’t) smell like, well, oranges. This smell did not any way resemble citrus to me, more like back when I worked at an ice arena and every once in awhile a little mouse would climb up into the pop (there you go. MI lingo for soda) machine because it was nice and cozy warm, then get stuck or lost never to be seen or heard from again, at least not until we smelled its dead rotting carcass. THAT is what it smelled like. Delightful to say the least.

But once again the kiddos were already asleep in the other room and we needed to be up somewhat early to catch a ferry to the island for the race. None of us were really up for a late night move. My parents assured me that they could handle the smell and my husband assured them that the stink was most likely the oranges and he had set them out on the balcony. Problem solved.

Unfortunately for my parents, my husband was SORELY mistaken. By the next morning, I could smell the wretched fumes, the minute I opened the door of my suite room even though the door of my parents’ room was still closed. It reeked. I had planned on eating in their room to let the girlies sleep a little bit longer, but that was just not going to possible, at least not if I wanted the contents of my stomach to remain IN my stomach.

So instead I headed over to the breakfast room where my parents already were. I joined them and of course, apologized profusely for their having to sleep in that disgusting room. I felt horrible about it. I was the one that picked the hotel, booked the suite, and put my daughters in the odor free room, forcing them to spend the night with the funk of God only knows what. They were of course gracious as always, but my Dad seemed more than happy to go down and try to get our room switched while my mom and I went back to Smellville to finish getting ready for the race. The hotel agreed to switch our room and even offered to have someone move our things while we were out.

Now, I wasn’t really too keen on that idea at first, I mean we only had about 1/2 an hour until we had to be out the door to catch the ferry in order to make the race and there was still a lot to be done. Packing up hadn’t been on the agenda, plus who wants somebody you don’t know moving your things around without your being there? But I also figured, none of us would be in the mood after the race to be hauling our luggage up and down stairs (no elevators, at least not in our building), what with my mom and I having just run 13+ miles and my husband and dad having wrangled our two little kiddos while we did so. So we took the hotel up on their offer.

Turns out the weather got on our side for the race, it was just about as perfect as it could possibly be at the start. Partly cloudy, mid 50’s. It was just gorgeous. And how could I NOT run full out in weather like that or at least give it a shot. I mean really, how often does that happen on race day? So I made a little pact with my mom at the start, I was going to go ahead and give it a full out effort for the first few miles and see how it went even though I wasn’t breathing so hot and if it didn’t work, then I’d walk until she caught up and run the rest with her. (BTW quit looking for me in that picture. That’s the start line and I started waaaaaaay in the back. )

And that my friends is just exactly what I did. I gave it about 4.5 miles or so, but I was just sucking wind hard the whole time. Now sometimes, when I start it takes me a little while to get my breathing under control, but definitely by 3 I’ve worked out all the kinks, breathing and otherwise, and I get into something of a groove. It just wasn’t happening and no (because I know you’re all thinking this) I didn’t start off way too hard this time. I just didn’t have it. So rather than spend the next 9 miles trying to convince my head that it was not stupid to keep pushing myself, I decided to enjoy the day, in particular, the scenery. So I walked until my mom caught up to me and then we finished together.

It was the best part of the trip. I think our finishing time was something like 2:45. I don’t really know though. We didn’t care. We were stopping and posing for pictures and chDSCF7700atting about everything under the sun. I quit checking my watch when I started walking and haven’t looked at it or the race results since. I was blessed to run in one of the most beautiful places in the state, if not the country, with one of my very best friends. I could not have asked for more out of that race.

But still, even run/walking or simply walking for that matter 13.1 miles is no easy feat, especially not on a fairly hilly course like that one. It’s exhausting and not just for us, but our families’ as well, who had the tall order of carting our stuff around and occupying all the kiddos (7 of them under the age of 6) while at the same time keeping them out of the way of the runners. Not the easiest task in the world. When the race was over, we were all ready to get the heck out of there.

And that we did, but by the time we waited around for a ferry and got back to Mackinaw, it was after 4:00 (fyi: that race starts at 11:30 AM which is part of the reason we got back so late, in case you’re wondering). So we headed straight for dinner, before going back to the hotel for our new room along with which came a new adventure.

**SIGH** Our new room was located immediately above the old. When my dad expressed some concern that whatever stunk below might woft up into our new room, the Clarion hotel manager assured him that our original room no longer stunk and that whatever had created the stench had been removed. He declined, however to tell us, exactly what that was.

I took the new keys, my mom and my girls, one of whom was about to explode if she didn’t get to a potty asap to the new room, while my husband and dad hung out in the lobby and tried to find a tire place (we were having issues, a valve/sensor was broken and needed to be fixed).

Once up there we were thrilled to discover the keys didn’t work. My mom and I both tried them each repeatedly. Every time the little green light flashed, there was a click, the door handle turned and nothing. It wouldn’t open. My mom took Tiger baby from me and I raced my potty dancing 4 old back through the progressively getting colder and rainier parking lot to the front desk, where with their TREMENDOUS customer service skills, they sent me back across the cold rainy parking lot to the pool to “the nearest bathroom” (place your bets on that one) so my 4 year old could stop squirming while they swiped 4 new key cards for me. After she took care of business, we ran back for the keys, then back again to the new room where the new keys again DID NOT WORK. Same thing. Green light. Click. Handle turns. Door doesn’t open.

Now, I’m starting to get annoyed at this point. It’s cold out. My kids wanted to get to the pool like I’d been promising all day. Tiger Baby was fidgety as all get out. We’d already had a stinky room and the inconvenience of having to pack everything up mid trip to move and the staff of the hotel apparently did not care how many times they sent a mom and her kid running across a cold rainy parking lot. But, I ran back. It’s not like I had a choice. There were no hotel phones to just call the front desk and I figured it’d be faster than looking the hotel up and calling them on my cell.

“These don’t work either.” I told the guy at the desk, who I’d later find out was the manager, and another guy standing nearby overheard and said disgustedly, “I just ran those for you.” I’m not sure exactly what he expected me to say at that point, it really didn’t change the facts any. He gave me keys. I couldn’t get in. So I just relayed the whole situation again. He sighed and ran me some new keys and started to hand them over to me at which point all I could think is “Really? Now why are these going to magically work if THE LAST 8 didn’t?” And the manager, who’d been on the phone but not talking finally interjected and said, “Well, you should probably go with her if it’s flashing green.” (You think?) Which brought another sigh from key runner guy, but reluctantly, he came with.

When we got back to the room, he held up a key and said, “Now, this is the first key I gave you.” He stuck it in. Green light. Click. Then pushed down really hard on the handle shoving the door open and looked at me like I’m an idiot or maybe a liar. I’m not really sure which, but I didn’t care. I was apparently competent enough to work the door below for 2 straight days, but suddenly the exact same kind of door was too complicated? I made him stand there while I tried it again. It worked. I thanked him. He left. Annoyed I’m sure. We’d have the same trouble a few minutes later getting out of the room too. The problem was the door sticks some, and you’ve got to push it really hard something that could have perhaps been mentioned after my first fail at entry.

So we got into the room finally and the first thing I noticed was that the window was open. (Cue the warning sirens) Now you tell me, for what reason in 40 degree cold rainy weather would the window need to be open for hmm…? But the room didn’t seem to smell and the girls were begging for the pool. So we didn’t dwell on it, I shut the window, changed the girls and headed over to the pool to let them wear themselves out.

At some point later that evening, my dad turned on the heat and immediately thought he might be detecting a faint but familiar smell. By morning, there was no ands, ifs or buts about it, some little critter or something had to have been being cooked in that heater. It was just awful. We packed up our things, but my husband decided to stop by the front desk to talk to the manager on the way out. He was told the manager wouldn’t be in until later, but as he headed back to the van, my husband spotted him and went back in.

Now really, we weren’t looking for anything and we were leaving anyway, but after three nights in two horribly stinky rooms and the inconvenience of having to move mid stay, you’d have thought the conversation with the manager would have had at least one apology and perhaps a we’ll look into it. NOPE. In fact, had it, I probably wouldn’t even be writing this post. But instead it went a little like this:

“I was in both of those rooms. I’ll give you $20 off your bill” the manager told my husband, “But for the record, I don’t think your room stunk. The only thing we found in there was a dirty diaper.”

Ok now let’s just pause here for a second and be clear here. Wait, let me take a deep breath first. Inhale. Exhale. Ok let’s go…Is this dude actually suggesting that the stink we couldn’t stand was our own stink? Because I’m not sure why exactly our own stench would bother us. And by “found” did he mean in the trash can in the bathroom, you know, the bathroom that didn’t stink? Or that we’re like randomly leaving diapers around the hotel room? Because yeah, I see how that might make a room stink and probably be something that a two year would mess around with too, which is generally why I THROW THEM AWAY and not leave them lying around. As a matter of fact, ironically, just so our room WOULD NOT stink I threw the poopy diapers away OUTSIDE in a trash can. So unless he was talking about finding someone else’s dirty diaper somewhere in the room, I don’t really know what he’s talking about here. But since we searched that room thoroughly and found nothing, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

No, I think what he was saying was not only were we lying, we were actually so devious as to use our own child’s wet diapers to back up our story. Seriously?!

Listen, in a court of law I’d definitely be what one might consider a valid credible olfactory material expert specializing in pediatrics (if one existed). Why? Because I’m around the various odors my children make ALL THE TIME, and I can tell you with complete certainty that that odor was nothing that came from one of mine. Furthermore, I can tell you with nearly as much certainty that it didn’t come from ANY teeny tiny behind of the human variety. And if I’m wrong, the parents of that child should seriously be investigated as to what exactly they’re feeding him or her because it ain’t right.

And furthermore, Mr Clarion Manager, you’re position is completely illogical. You can not sensibly argue that that the first room did not stink, because you removed what stunk. HUH? Did it stink and something need to be removed or did it not stink? And what about the 2nd room hmm? Or are we just back to being overly sensitive about our own stink or that we’re some kind of wild diaper bandits randomly trying to scam money or free hotel stays or something?

And while we’re asking questions here’s a few more I’d like answered:

Do parents of infants & toddlers who wear diapers generally not allow their children to use them at your hotel? I mean we can’t be the only people changing diapers in your hotel. I know I’ve certainly changed them at other hotels and it didn’t sour the entire room. So why is the problem us and our kid and not your hotel room?

Are stinky diapers somehow heat activated and thus only truly stink once the heater is turned on? Because the rooms we were in didn’t stink until we turned on the heater. My kids diapers were present at all times.

Why is it exactly that the rooms the offending toddler and thus so too the perpetrating diapers were in most of the time, the back bedroom and the bathroom, were not stinky? But the room the toddler was hardly in at all did?

Why would a diaper removed from the first room the day before cause the second room to stink the next day?

If you didn’t think the first room stunk the day before, then why go to the trouble of moving us and why tell us something did stink and it was removed?

And perhaps the smoking gun, why was the window of the 2nd room open and the heat off on a cold rainy day when we opened the door?

I don’t know maybe I’m being too harsh and the dude needs to have his nose checked or something. And after all, some smells are sort of a personal preference. For example, my husband HATES the smell of parmesan cheese and I kind of like it. But there are some smells I’m pretty sure we can all agree on. This was more like, you get sprayed by a skunk on your morning run and when you get back home nobody seems to notice. Your kids, your husband, your dog, they just go on like it’s any other day not noticing your wacked out funky stank. Probably not going to happen.

And even if we are totally 100% wrong. Say we let 500 people smell those rooms and out of those 500 people the only 4 that smell anything are me, my husband, my mom, and dad. We can even go so far as to say that the other 496 people thought the room smelled fantastic, like a bouquet of freshly cut flowers or something equally as pleasant. We were the 4 that paid and spent 3 nights in those rooms, we were NOT happy.

How about using an ounce of people skills and instead of accusing us of creating mythological smells and whatever else exactly this manager was getting at, how about saying something along the lines of, “Gee. I’m so sorry that you did not enjoy your experience here at our hotel. Customer service is a top priority here at the Clarion and I guarantee you that I will personally check out both of those rooms myself. I was actually in them both yesterday and just did not smell what you seem to be smelling, but perhaps I missed it” (if he really thought that). Or, “you know, we thought we had found what was creating the smell, but perhaps we didn’t, especially now if you’re smelling it in a second room. Let me see, what I can do here for you. And where exactly again, did you say you think the smell was coming from, just so I’m certain I check the right place thoroughly.” Then go ahead Mr. Clarion Manager and give us that $20 which seems to be your standard go away and leave me alone rebate, since you gave it to us for nothing more than what you considered to be a big fat stinky lie.

Then, I wouldn’t have felt this obligation to rat you out to my running friends who might one day want to come out and race on Mackinac Island. Or my fellow moms, who might want to take their kids Up North for a weekend with some of the best our state has to offer. I would have just considered it to be some out of the ordinary weird freak funk, but you did your best to take care of an extremely unusual situation. But nope, that’s not really the way it went down now did it? So “for the record” I did think BOTH of the rooms at your hotel reeked. I do not appreciate being called a liar and brushed off with a $20 refund and I will not stay at your hotel again. And I’m kind of thinking, that now I won’t be the only one.

'Til next time...

P.S. I DO NOT feel that the customer service or condition of this one Clarion hotel is in any way reflective of Clarions or Choice Hotels in general. I’ve stayed at plenty of them and never had a problem even remotely close to this. I believe this was a limited problem to the Clarion Hotel in Mackinaw and quite possibly the result of it being the very last weekend the hotel was open.

P.P.S. **Deep breath** Now that that’s off my chest (thanks for the vent btw), I’m thinking it’s time for something fun. How about a giveaway tomorrow? Gift card anyone?