June Runfessions

I am so sad that this is the last Friday in June! June is always such a good month. Before I get to my Runfessions, I want to share a story with you.
Puppy Reed and then Reed (on the right) with Baylee and Puppy Belle

June is my birthday month and it is also the birthday of "someone" very special to me. It is no secret that our family loves Yellow Labradors. However, Baylee and Belle were not our first labs.  Our first lab was Reed (or Reedy girl).  This was a family dog of ours when my sister and I still lived at home with our parents.  One evening my mom was sitting at that dinning room table filling out the AKC paper work for our new puppy and all of a sudden she shouted "You're not gonna believe this,  YOU and Reed have the same birthday".  It was the same month and day, but of course not the same year. I always knew that dog was so special!  I never got to formally introduce you to Reedy girl because she passed away 6 months before we started this blog. She had a good life and lived to be 16 .  She would have been 21 this month.

1.So I guess for my first Runfession (even though it has nothing to do with running), is that I'm missing Reed this month.

For the duration of my Runfessions, I'll keep them somewhat related to running because that's the fun stuff, right?

2. I've become increasingly more fearful of groundhogs lately.  I mentioned to my uncle that I run by this big hole in the ground on the trail and I'm worried a ground hog is gonna pop out of it and chase me as I run by (since I have actually seen groundhogs on that trail near by).  He informed me that Groundhogs can be quite aggressive creatures. However, they should have no reason to randomly come after me though, but it still worries me.

I found like 10 more programs after I took this photo.

3. I did some major cleaning of my den and my desk and I finally got rid of all my race programs. I have a habit of keeping the programs from every single race I've ever done. I'm not sure why. Do I think I need to read through them again  to remember the course?  I have actually done that a few times as I  was writing a blog post about the race but I guess I should have no reason to look through them anymore. I have so many other things to commemorate my races by. In the burn barrel they went. Does anyone else hate burning things? It just seems like such a final ending. I'm a big proponent of donating or giving something to someone else so it can live on but who wants old race programs?

4. During my cleaning spell I've concluded that I have WAY too many Running magazines,  I LOVE my magazines, they make me happy but I Runfess that I haven't read them all.  Again, this is something I hate to get rid of because I think I would read them someday because there is so much good info in them I am missing out on. I just need to face it, I'm not going to read them. Anyone want past issues of Runner's World or Women's Running?

5. Lastly, I Runfess that my next race is the 4th of July 5K and I am SO not prepared for it. This is the race with the killer hill. I didn't know about the hill last year when I ran it, but  afterwards I told myself I had a year to practice and run that hill since it's not too far away from the rail trail I normally run on. But did I ever run that hill since last year's race? NO!  At least I know this isn't a race to be "raced"  so I'll take my time right out of the gate instead of pushing it thinking that I could do well.

And that's it for June. Can you relate to any of my Runfessions? -M

Monumental Mile and Parade

If you read last Monday's post than you know exactly what kind of week I'd been having, but here's an update.

I went to the Dr on Monday and got some antibiotics for my post vacation illness. I didn't start feeling better till Wednesday, so that meant the only practice runs I got in were Thursday and Friday.

Saturday was Race day and Parade day. I just loved everything about this day.

We had beautiful weather! It was HOT, but beautiful!

I picked my dad and my pap up and then we drove over to the parade route to park the car. My Pap is a social butterfly so while he was finding all his friends to chat with, my dad and I made our way down to the race area to pick up our bibs and meet our friend Jason (my run buddy that you've met in previous posts).

Local races like this bring out mostly the faster runners and not so many Run for Fun Runners but I thought more people would come out to run since the race took place right before the parade.  I was surprised how small the field was. I heard a lot of people say they didn't want to run down the parade route with all the people watching them.  I've run large races like Las Vegas and NYC so a large spectating crowd does not bother me. I actually think it adds an element of fun to the race.

I thought that since the race was in town that it would be flat, but it wasn't. There were 2 hills (inclines), one right at the beginning and one shortly after we turned on to the main street.  It was fun running past my family and friends. I wish my Pap would have been out on the route to watch my dad and I run by, but he was in the "staging area" for the parade with the other veterans.

As I was running my throat was so dry! It felt like someone was stabbing me in the neck. When I would smile, I could feel my face cracking and it felt like it was literally frozen in that position and I could not move it. It was such a weird feeling as I 've never felt like that before.  Even though this race was only a mile, I thought I would not be doing this again next year. it was just way too hot.

As I was turning the corner to the finish, I was neck and neck with this other lady who looked to be old enough to be in my age group so I gave all I had to sprint passed her.  I came in at 8:13, which is a time I was quite happy with but obviously was not fast enough to earn an AG award.

Monumental Mile
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I am SO proud of my dad and Jason who both earned AG Awards.

Instead of medals, we got these cool military dog tags for finishing.  The tag says "Monumental Mile, I raced for those who served for me". Such a great sentiment.

After we collected our waters and our tags I had to make it back another mile to my car so I could drive in the parade. I had like 7 minutes to spare. I started walking/jogging about a block and then I hailed a golf cart courtesy shuttle. At this point I had like 3 minutes until parade time and I knew my pap would be getting antsy because I was not there. He called me right when I got in the cart and I told him I was on my way.  I had to get to 8th street and of course my driver did not know where that was. He says 8th st. that's a new one. I'm not sure where that is.  8th street was one of the main staging areas where all the cars and floats were being held. How could he not know where it was?  I told him we had to turn around and go the other way. As he whipped the golf cart around his radio/walkie talkie flew out and broke apart. We had to turn back around and pick up the pieces. Ugg, I was getting nervous now.

Finally we made it back to my car and thank goodness things were running a little late. I had enough time to get my things situated before we started driving off in the parade.

Driving my pap in the parade is always such a pleasure. It's fun that so many people know him and they holler sweet things as we drive by.  We had 7 bags of candy to throw out and we ran out by the half way mark. I think we gave out too much in the beginning. I guess we need to be a little more conservative next year!

This year we were fairly close to the beginning of the parade so that meant that when we were finished driving we could park the car and then go and sit with our family and watch the rest of it. This was nice as I rarely get to see the parade because I'm usually driving in it.

That was the highlight of my week! -M

We are linking up with Holly and Tricia and the special host for for Weekly Wrap!

Running through these smells

Running is definitely a feast for the senses! It can physically make you feel good, it can be visually pleasing ( depending on the route) and there are smells that that can literally make or break a run!

 Here in our neck of the woods we experience all four seasons and each one of them has a distinct smell. I can't even begin to describe it, but you just know.  I can remember last year that distinct smell when I knew it was officially Fall. I don't know if it was the smell of the leaves, the crisp air, or the dirt, but it was the smell that you only smell on an Autumn run. Anyone else know what I mean?

It's not only Fall that has those distinct smells. I can associate a specific smell to each of my routes, some pleasant, some not.

1. Right now on the Island there are stretches of trail where the Honeysuckle is just amazing. I love that sweet smell. It reminds me of my grandmother. It's funny because I always smell it but can never see it.
2. Another smell I can never "see" is something that smells like grape soda. It has the aroma of a Grapple. I have no idea what it is but it smells so good.

3. As much as I would love to live in the town of Hershey and smell chocolate on my run, I'm pretty lucky to run here where I am.  I grew up in the town of Chef Boyardee and when I cross the river to go run back in that town I can smell spaghetti sauce being made. That company also makes Crunch n Munch Caramel Popcorn and there are certain days that scent permeates the town!

4. When I run in town the other direction I almost always catch the scent of someone doing laundry. I must say that is always a pleasant smell.

5. When I run at the Rail Trail I run by a landscape place that stores mulch out back near the trail. Now I will say I hate the smell of mulch when it is landscaped around people's homes (we are a mulch free household), but I do like the smell of mulch near the trail because it smells more like fresh cut wood!

Unfortunately not all the smells on the trail are pleasant. There are days that the Farm Smells are just overwhelming.  This isn't an every day thing though. It's only on certain days or when the wind blows just right. I just use this as incentive to run a little faster!

Tell me about a distinct smell on your running route. -M

Cenote and Mayan Coffee: A Must Do

One of the outings we enjoyed while in Riviera Maya was our visit to Alux.  Alux is a underground Cavern / Cenote that is said to be 10,000 years old  that is now turned into a restaurant.  It's amazing to think that anything could be THAT old, but that is what the info says.

Playa del carmen, Riviera Maya

Alux was about a 15-20 minute cab ride from where we were staying in Riviera Maya to Play Del Carmen.
PLaya del carmen, Riviera Maya

When we arrived we were greeted by the hostess upstairs (on street level) and then made our way down into the cave.

Playa del carmen, Riviera Maya

As you go down the steps you are greeted by another hostess in this bar area. There is an $8 cover charge which includes the tour and a drink from the bar. We thought this was well worth the charge to just visit and tour the place.

Playa del carmen, Riviera Maya

Since there were not any patrons dining at the time we arrived, we were able to walk around the cavern by ourselves and take our good old time.

PLaya Del Carmen, Riviera Maya

What makes this place unique is because it was a cenote (underground sink hole) that is all dried up except for a few spots that still had a bit of water running through it.

Playa del carmen, Riviera Maya

The main dinning area.

They had a main dining area and then these cute little alcoves for couple or private parties. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing a couple on one of the seasons of the Bachelor/Bachelorette having a date here.
Playa del carmen, Riviera Maya

I don't recall if they mentioned the name of the place but the little tables in the cave look so familiar.  Does anyone else remember seeing that?  If not, it's the perfect place to have a date!

Playa Del carmen, Riviera Maya

When we finished our tour, we had our drinks and learned more about this unique place.  Our friends from the area visited here  last month so this is how we knew to check it out. They said one thing that was not to be missed was the Mayan Coffee.
Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Ordering this coffee was probably the highlight of the evening!  They bring the coffee cart right to your table and make it. It really is a show the way they caramelize the sugar on top of the glass and the whole process of mixing the Mexican coffee, alcohol, and American coffee.

There were some flames involved.

Playa del carmen, Riviera Maya

The coffee was not included in the price of the cover charge but it was so worth it.  Of course I didn't remember to take a photo until the drinks were already consumed.

Playa del carmen, riviera maya

I thought it would be a little chilly in here seeing it was underground but it was not. It was just the opposite. They actually had fans plugged in around the place.

Throughout Riviera Maya there are tours you could take to visit Cenotes that still have water running all through them, they've turned them into water parks and similar tours.  We opted not to do those tours because they involved a lengthy bus ride and it made for too long of a day.  This place gave us a very authentic experience as to what a cenote was like, we didn't have to go far, we didn't have to take an all day excursion to do it, plus we got some yummy drinks.

Vacation Aftermath

I mentioned previously that we had a fabulous time in Riviera Maya. However, when the vacation came to an end is when things started going downhill.

Those of you who know me know that I am generally a positive person so I apologize if this is a pretty negative post.

When we got to the airport, our flight was delayed and the gate was not even posted until 50 minutes before take off.  We didn't even know up until that point if the flight would still be going or not.  We decided we would be getting home one way or another so we were being proactive and plotting out which other flights were on time that we could take. We figure we would try to get one of the flight to NYC or DC and then take the train home. Thank goodness it didn't come to that. The flight home was uneventful.
Baylee had Flowers waiting for me when I got home. She picked out some nice ones didn't she?

When I got home that morning, I felt awful. I had a pain in my stomach and every muscle and joint in my body was sore. I could barely move and if I did, it was to run to the bathroom!  I felt fine while on vacation and although I did stay hydrated, I didn't drink the water!

My family had tickets to see Titanic the musical that night but I had a feeling that I was going to end up in Urgent Care instead.  After laying on the couch all day, I decide that I would go to the show. I'm glad I went.

Before I left for vacation, I was partially planning on running our towns bicentennial 5K. Since I woke up not feeling well, I decided that I would just go spectate instead (I didn't pre-register). After the 5K there would be food and craft vendors and then a parade.  I walked out to my car and for some reason, it would not open. I just replaced the battery in my remote back in April, but whatever, I'll get my spare keys and open the door.  The spare key did not work either. What the heck is going on?

 Then for the first time ever I had to remove the plastic cap on the door handle and put the metal key like thing in to open my door. Something was wrong. Apparently the battery was dead. PSA #1: If your battery is dead, your car remote will not work to open your door. I did not know that but I guess it makes sense.  We took my car battery to the auto part store to charge for 24 hours but since the battery is only 2 years old, it appears there may be another problem.  So needless to say I did not make it to the  5K or the parade, which was probably not that big of a deal because I was still sick.

Later that evening we went to visit my parents and were able to see the bicentennial fireworks show right from their back deck. It was amazing and the best fireworks we've seen in a long time! (This was probably the only positive thing that happened this weekend)

So at this point I am dealing with stomach problems and car problems. I don't know what is wrong with my car and quite frankly the way I have been feeling it is the least of my worries. However, I have been doing some research and I am worried that I've contracted some foreign disease from being in the tropics! I know I'm over reacting but I will be making a doctor's appointment.

Anyway, I can now add swimming pool problems on top of this.  Scott was trying to keep the pool clean while I was gone but it somehow turned green.  We got it back to a somewhat shade of blue but now our pool pump is toast! That's another thing that is only over 2 years old.  So now this coming week while Scott is away on business, I have to take my car to a mechanic and possibly buy a new battery or alternator, shop around for a new pool pump, and then find time to take my self to urgent care. Oh, and my Monumental mile race is coming up this weekend so I don't even know if I'll be able to run if I feel like this!

They say things come in threes so hopefully this is it.  -M

Edit: I did go to the dr. today and PSA#2: Don't call in a prescription for your pet the same day the dr calls in a prescription for you. It confuses the people at the pharmacy. I almost thought they were going to give me Baylee's heart medicine instead of my antibiotic. 

A Week at Grand Riviera Princess in Riviera Maya

We spent this past week at the Grand Riviera Princess Resort and Spa in Riviera Maya, which is on the Yucatan Peninsula.  For our Weekly Wrap I thought I would share what kind of activities we did while there. Quite honestly I do not remember what days we did which activities so these will not be in order.

First and foremost we did a lot of eating. This resort is basically like a cruise but on land. There were 11 different restaurants to choose from, each with a different theme (and several buffets too).  Some of  the specialty restaurants we tried were the Italian, the Swiss, the French, and the Mexican. Is that not the largest pepper grinder you've ever seen?

Fortunately with all that eating came a lot of walking. We would get up early each morning and walk around the resort or down to the beach since it was a beach front resort.

Some of us tried running but it just became too hot so it result in runs on the treadmill.

One morning we got up for sunrise yoga.

One day was spent at the spa. We each got massages and then got to spend the day using the rest of the facilities.

 I was hoping that Lacey would do the fish spa but in the end she decided against it. I don't blame her as I didn't want to do it either.

We did get to watch someone else do it though. If you've never heard of a fish spa, here is the process. You get your feet washed and sanitized and then you put them in this tank with these special little fish that will nibble the dead skin off your feet. They love callouses so I bet they would have a feast with runners!

One day we went into Playa Del Carmen. This is the downtown area. Here we did a bit of shopping and walked along the beach area.

Part of this area reminded me of a flea market with people haggling you. This was not my favorite part.

Back at the resort we participated in organized activities like volley ball and water aerobics. My shoulders are still sore from those. Can you find me in the pool?

We also participated in target shooting.
The promenade were some of the nightly entertainment took place.

Each night there was nightly entertainment. We were too tired to go every night but we did see a fire dancing show, a song and dance throughout the decades show, and a rendition of the musical Grease.

One of the neatest things we did was to visit an old dried up cenote ( ancient sink hole) that was turned into a restaurant. We got to tour the cavern and than have drinks afterwards. We than had Mayan Coffee which was an experience in itself. The making of it is quite a show. Perhaps I should do a separate post on this experience.

Although the week away was fabulous, it's always nice to come home. However, the weekend after this vacation was anything but fabulous. Stay tuned I may write about that too!  -M

5 Tips for Bloggers from Readers

Not only do I enjoy writing for the blog, but I also enjoy reading blogs. I will admit that most blogs that I read, I am invested in (meaning that I actually feel like I know the blogger). I am invested not only because I read their blogs on a weekly basis but because they make it easy for their readers to become invested.

To do this, keep it easy to for readers to find things on your blog.  Here are some examples.

1. Have an About Me page. If people stop to read your blog, they are probably going to want to read more about you. It's fun when you discover people who have similar interests as you.

2. Have a search box. It is SO frustrating when you read about something (an event, a product, etc) on someone's blog and you'd like to find that post again but there is no search box.

3. Post an archive of your blog posts somewhere. Ours is on the right hand side. If you missed last Friday's post (or even yesterdays post) you can quickly click on the link. If you know you want to reference a post from last month, you can click on that particular month and scroll through and search for the blog post you are looking for.

4. PLEASE keep the date on your blog posts.  If I am new to your blog, I want to know how old your newest blog post is before I get invested. Is this a current post from this week? This month?  Or is it from two years ago. Some I don't know because the date is not posted.

5. If you are a running blogger, it would be awesome if you had a link with all your race recaps listed. Yes, I know we could search for them (in your archives or through your search box), but having a page where they are all listed makes it nice for others to browse through and find races they are interested in.

Are you making things easy for your readers?

Running through a real life Dateline Mystery

If you are a regular reader than you know I seem to always have some sort of story from my runs. Lately they’ve been about runs in the park.

Sometimes I switch it up and I run from the park to in town on the sidewalks along the water. Before I get any further into my story, I must tell you that I do not run in an unsafe neighborhood. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s a peaceful tree lined street with older Victorian homes (that I always think have so much potential).  This is one of my regular routes in the summer when my legs need a break from running on the trails.

So anyway, as I did my normal in town loop I am stopped in my tracks by yellow police tape that has the side walk in front of a huge Victorian house blocked off. This is right on my path. As I step on to the street to walk around, a K-9 cadaver dog is being released. There is heavy equipment on the road as well as a firetruck, Hazmat truck, and several Search and Rescue vehicles.

So I guess you want to know what is going on. This is the story I’ve gathered from the local TV and radio stations and their social media feeds.

This happened to be a cold case from almost 30 years ago that is being re-opened. Apparently In 1989 a woman went missing. She was never found, so in 2001 she was declared dead. Her boyfriend at the time was a police officer, and he was the main suspect.

Now today, there is reason to believe that the remains of the deceased lady’s body are buried in this house somewhere (I heard buried either in the basement or in the walls). Apparently this house is where the boyfriend’s sister had lived.  I’m not sure what sparked this investigation after this many years but I heard that the sister passed away this year so maybe some secrets are now coming out.  The current police chief had announced that they were going to tear every bit of that house apart looking for the body.  I’m gonna guess this part of my running route will be under construction for a bit of time now.

This type of story is one for the ID channel for sure don’t you think?

Please note, I am in no way making light of this event. You all know that I usually document what I see on my runs and this just happened to be it on this particular run.