I know it's been quiet around here lately but as is the case for pretty much all of us, there's just so much to do this time of year!
I'm not complaining because as always, no one is making me do anything, but wow, it's a lot. Having a late Thanksgiving this year, and then going out of town for a marathon the following weekend (did I mention that?, yeah, marathon about 8 days ago, not a PR attempt, just 4.25 painful hours of an otherwise fun girls' weekend), then one weekend in town, and now just a few more days before I fly home -- it all adds up to mean that all the usual holiday stuff is not unfolding seamlessly. Oh, and I have to add on work chaos since we're understaffed right now and the work is really being piled on.
So here's the general holiday status:
Decorating -- 100% done!
Cards -- 60% done. Have mailed/delivered about half of them, and made a list and set aside photos for the other 50%. Just have to write, address and mail all of those.
Baking -- 100% done! Baked with my neighbor all day Saturday this past weekend and we made 8 different kinds of cookies. I made cookie plates for 3 holiday parties (1 for me, 1 for hubby, 1 joint), for several co-workers, for another neighbor, and for a bunch of friends.
Shopping -- 65% done. TGFAP (Thank Goodness for Amazon Prime). Guess I know what I'm doing Wednesday night after the social run... Unfortunately, I still need ideas for a couple people, but I've at least made progress on most of my family. I need to sit down and make a big list of what I've got for each person, what else is needed and where/when/how I plan on getting what else is needed.
Wrapping -- 0% done. Maybe tonight? It's perhaps my least favorite of these holiday to-dos. Maybe this year I'll cheat and do gift bags? But honestly, I love the way pretty wrapped presents look. Almost all the gifts for my family are being sent to Wisconsin, so I don't have to lug them with me when I go, but that means that I'm going to be stuck spending lots of time wrapping over this coming weekend when I get there.
Shipping -- 0% done. I only mail gifts to two of my best friends, my stepson, and one of my brothers. And I'm done with the shopping for all of them. But back to that 0% on the wrapping...
So despite that massive list hanging over my head, I managed to have a thoroughly fun weekend featuring a 5k, marathon spectating, and the aforementioned baking. Plus I went to my Chinese class, Sara's post-marathon and birthday dinner, and all kinds of other good stuff.
I spent the entire 5k warm-up holding this little guy. I'm not usually big on babies, especially not for more than the initial 5 or so minutes of seeing them, but he was so quiet and alert and non-drooling and non-smelly and smiley and non-hair-pulling that I couldn't resist holding him for the better part of an hour. He loved watching everything around us.
And here are the cookie photos, the results of an entire day of baking!
I also took about 100 pictures at our local marathon on Sunday. My husband and I walked to a place along the route and watched the parade -- from runner 1 (a half marathoner who we almost thought had cheated by starting early because he was so far out front), to the lead marathon pack, to Sara Hall (who was being paced by Ryan Hall and who was going for an American half-marathon record), to my first friend (not far behind the elites, he was running on the co-ed relay team that won the race, so they were all flying), to my training buddies, to other friends, to pretty much the very end (the people who appeared to be 100% walking). Then I drove to go see them all again. I parked near mile 21 and missed the 3:05 pace group, but I was there several minutes before the 3:15 pace group, so I didn't miss many people I knew. I ran a bit with several friends. Unfortunately, I was right at the beginning of the suckiest uphill in the entire course, so people seemed kind of disheartened, especially since it was a humid day in the low 60s, so far from ideal weather. It was fun to see the people who were still trucking along and it was fun to encourage those who seemed to be struggling.
One of my biggest race pet peeves I noticed during my marathon last week -- so many people who came out to cheer who were just standing there, watching and quietly waiting for their family member or friend to come by. So I vowed not to be like that -- I would cheer and make noise constantly, not just when I saw a friend. One of my friends said he heard me a mile away! I hope he was joking, but I will admit that people definitely heard me because many times, I missed a friend's face in the crowd, only to hear that runner call out to me and wave, having seen me and recognized my voice. It was so much fun! But part of me understands why so many stand quietly -- it was a lot of work! Trying to come up with things to yell, and then yelling the same thing again and again and again and again and again and again...
My faves for my first watch point (mile 7): Looking strong! Nice job! Keep it up! Doing great! Way to go! Less than 20 more miles! You're doing it!
My faves for my second watch point (mile 20-21): Keep it steady! Keep going! Keep your head in the game! Last hill! Looking strong! Nice job! Hold on! You've got this! Run, run, run!
Anyway, a friend I ran with several years ago met up with me and we headed backwards on the course to look for his wife. Eventually, I wound my way back to one of the beer stops right at mile marker 20, and I waited to find Sara, who was running her first marathon ever.
Thankfully, I was watching and cheering instead of looking at the clock or the pace groups. She came through way ahead of schedule. By then, it was raining steadily, and I jumped in to run with her for a couple miles. I assumed that would be the best place to meet her since it seems like that's where I (and pretty much 95% of other marathoners) struggle the most. But she was ticking along, kicking butt! She was in a great place mentally and running strong. Within a few minutes, the sky seemed to really open up on us, and it poured. After dodging some puddles, we eventually had to ford a small river across Abrams -- there was no avoiding it and our shoes got completely soaked. But at that point, she was already nearly at mile 22 and 5 miles in soaking shoes isn't the end of the world, so she just powered through. I'll leave it to her to tell her own race story on her blog, but it was one of the highlights of my weekend to get to join her for a bit.