Thanksgiving, Shopping and Reunions, Oh My!

Ah, finally a few minutes to update you all on my super fabulous weekend. (But don’t be fooled, I still have two papers, a presentation and a project due, all by Dec.10 when the semester will FINALLY be over!)

So about my wonderful weekend…honestly, I cannot even remember the last time I had as much fun as I did this past weekend.  And it could not have surprised me more. Seriously.

Wednesday: worked a half-day, came home and took a nap and headed out for the night before Thanksgiving festivities.  It has been a few years since I braved the night before Thanksgiving, but we went to a spot close to home and I was with good friends, so I figured why not.  And I am so glad I went.  Saw so many people and had a blast.  Unfortunately, the cameras did not come out once, so I am picture-less on the night 😦  Trust me though…it was a 2am kind of good night.

Thursday: Up and at em early to get ready to go to the game.  Headed over with my Dad and even though Riverside lost, it was a beautiful day- perfect for sitting on bleachers and watching some football!  We left half-way through the fourth and pretty much as soon as we got home, we had dinner.  It was a very quiet affair for us this year, just my mom, dad and I, but it was nice.  And soooo yummy!  After dinner, it was time for sleep…needed to get at least a few hours before the long night of shopping that was ahead.  My mom and I were pumped and ready to go at 9:30 and on our way for some shopping madness.

Friday (day): This day technically began Thursday night on our way to the first stop, Jackson Outlets.  Last year, we went at midnight and parking was insane so this year we decided, that even if the shops weren’t open when we got there, it was best to leave early.  And we were so right.  We got there around 10:30, got porn-star parking and were happily surprised to see how many stores were already open.  We knew that a few were going to be opening early, but it was more than we had expected.  We decided since we had nothing but time at this point, to head into the indoor food court to get some info on the store sales for the night.  Then, instead of trying to have a plan, we made the executive decision to just walk around, go in when we wanted to and relax.  We did a lot of laps around that parking lot (yeah for working off the big dinner) and really just had a nice time.  It was cold, but not freezing and there was a general happy and merry vibe all around the place.  It was awesome.  Once we were through with the outlets, we headed back towards home and stopped at the 24 hour diner for muffins and tea/coffee.   Then it was off to Target.  The line was crazy long when we got there at 4am (they weren’t opening until 5am) and instead of standing in the long cold line (it was definitely freezing at this point!) we stayed in the car.  Then, when the doors opened, we walked over…waiting for the line to file in and then went in behind them.  And we still got (most of) what we wanted.   There was a flat screen TV I was debating but they only had 20 of them, and there was no hope and I took it as a sign that I didn’t really need it.  I did get my new digi cam which is awesome- a Nikon Coolpix and I love it!  Takes great photos! Once we were through with Target it was time to head home.  Normally this  shopping would continue throughout the day but I needed sleep before the reunion.

Friday (night): If you had told me (even a year ago) that I would attend my reunion, I would not agree.  If you told me I would have a good time, I would not agree.  I really did not like high school and it certainly was not the best four-years of my life.  I pretty much jumped for joy when it was over.  And it wasn’t so much school, but the people.  Which is why I surprised myself with how forward I was looking to this event.  And I was even more surprised that I followed through and went and I had a blast.  Seriously, the night went way too fast and I was really sad when it was over.  So many people to catch up with and it was a lot of fun chatting and reminiscing.  Thankfully, after the reunion, there was an after-party at a local bar.  And it happened to be that there was also another high school reunion after-party at the bar which was awesome because many people in my class, knew the people in their class.  See, I went to a regional catholic high school, so many of us had public school friends and many came from this school.  The whole night was so much fun.  A chance to get dressed up and just let loose.  And really see that after ten years…high school really is over.  Some people are still the same, unfortunately…but fortunately for those of us there, many of the jerks did not attend 🙂  And for the most part, everyone was just calmer, more open minded and generally just more cohesive.  The only people I didn’t talk to were a select few that I have nothing to say to, and the people who I simply do not know because we never crossed paths.  I was so happy to see that there was no drama (okay..a little but it was over before it started, had nothing to do with me and I didn’t let it ruin my time), lots of awesome conversation (every conversation I had, was genuine) and an overall nice feel.  It was another 2am night and although I was exhausted, I am so glad I lived it up!  Many of us talked about staying in touch and doing bi-monthly happy hours and etc…and that all sounds good on paper, but staying in touch is hard…I really hope we do though.  It would be nice not to have to wait five more years to see everyone again. Oh, and this time there were lots and lots of pics…here are a few of my favorites:

I clean up pretty nice, huh???

So, Saturday and Sunday aren’t much to speak of…Saturday I needed to recover.  Seriously.  I had only slept a few hours at a time over a few days and I was beat.  I cannot remember the last time I was out past 1am…let alone twice in three days, plus being out overnight Thursday.  But again, I wouldn’t have done it any differently.  It was totally worth the lack of sleep.  Once I felt caught up, the homework began.  And pretty much that was all day Sunday too.  And that is awful and boring and not fun to talk about!

I am still on my break from working out and really, with all the school work I have, I dont know when I would have worked out anyway. I must say though, I am toying with the idea of hitting spin class tomorrow morning.  My body just needs to move!  And on another note: can you believe tomorrow begins December!!  Holy cow.  I cannot believe how fast time is flying.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and great weekend!

Any fun reunion stories of your own?  Did you attend?  Why or why not?

 

 

End Of Semester Chaos

O.M.G

I am dying from a paper writing overload.  All night last night and all day today and everything is kind of just half-done. Yuck.

But, I want you all to know, I am still here…

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And a wonderful reunion.  It was all, well…wonderful.

And as soon as I get myself out of this procrastinating hole I have dug myself, I will do a full update 🙂

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

In honor of the holiday, I give thanks for the following things:

  • For my health, that at times, is easy to take for granted but that I am lucky to have considering I did not always treat my body right
  • My parents who have always supported my dreams, who have never let me down and who have always been my number ones
  • My extended family and for all the support they have provided me
  • My friends whom have all in some way shaped who I am
  • Those who have fought and are currently fighting for my freedom
  • For those who are no longer with me, but have touched my life and have a place in my heart forever
  • That I have a home.  It may not be an ideal situation, but I am grateful for a place to lay my head each night
  • For my job, that in this economy is more appreciated than ever.  I may not always like it, but I know how lucky I am to be working.
  • For a body that  allows me to swim-bike-run
  • That here in New Jersey, we get to experience all four seasons
  • My teammates whom have cheered me on and watched me grow in the sports of running and triathlon
  • All of you, my bloggies, who have been a great support over the last 10 months; especially the ones with whom I have built relationships with outside of the blog.
  • My education; it has been a long road, but I am proud to be a (hopefully) soon-to-be graduate of RU

There are so many more things I am grateful, especially small things (warm baths, snail mail, martini’s!) that this list could keep going.  But don’t forget- this girl is going shopping in 2 hours overnight!  Crazy? Yes.  Productive…absolutely!!

What is the one materialistic thing you are thankful for?  Mine is my cell phone…I know I lived my first 18 years of life without one, but now I would be lost if I didn’t have it. 

I wish you all a Happy (and safe) Holiday weekend.

Three Things Tuesday

Yeah for a short week!!!  Only 1.5 days until my Thanksgiving break begins!!!! 

Football game:  Every Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember, I have attended a football game.  For many schools in the area, the games are tradition with the same teams playing every year.  With the exception of one or two years (when I went to a different game) I have always went to the Riverside/Florence game.  Riverside is the public school I would have went to if I hadn’t went to private school.  Florence is a football powerhouse, with a bigger squad and many more wins in the series…BUT…last year, Riverside won.  It was a stunner game that ended 6-0 in Riverside’s favor.  This year, Riverside hasn’t won a single game, and if they beat Florence…well, that would be a miracle; however, I am still looking forward to watching some high school football on Thanksgiving morning.  And for the record, Riverside has a team of pretty stand up guys; despite a less than stellar season, they still go out and give it their all each game. 

Black Friday:  Honestly, I hate shopping.  And I hate crowds.  But oddly enough, Back Friday is one of my favorite days of the year!  I have been going out on Black Friday since I was a very small child.  One year, my mother had me at K-Mart for a vacuum at 5am…up against the door, first person in line and as soon as they unlocked it, I was off.  And we got the vacuum.  For many years it was a day spent with my Gram, my Mom and I…breakfast, lunch and dinner…and all day event.  When my Gram started to get older, it really just became too difficult for her to get around, especially in the busy crowds, so now it is just me and my mom!  Last year we started the new tradition of going to the outlets (they are open overnight) on Thanksgiving night after dinner and shopping through the night.  Once we leave there it is just about time for the stores to be opening where we live- so we stop off at Kohls and Target and then hit breakfast.  Last year we came home, took a nap and went back out but this year, I have my reunion so I won’t be able to stay out all morning as I will need to sleep. 

High School Reunion: Friday is my 10-year high school reunion.  With the advent of Facebook, I have been able to get in touch with so many people I normally would have never been in touch with but many of them I still haven’t seen in a long time.  I was very apprehensive for a long time about attending a reunion (I didn’t exactly love high school) but now I am actually looking really forward to it.  I know some people are still the same jerks they were, but I am not worried about those people.  I am focusing my energy on all the people I want to catch up with, especially the ones I haven’t seen/talked to in years.  I’ll be sure to do a full “reunion report” afterwards.  

What do you do on thanksgiving, outside of dinner/family time?  Football game, a race, a movie?  Do you shop on Black Friday or avoid the madness?

Give-A-Way Winner, The Next Two Weeks and Pictures

Yeah, I am jamming a lot into this post- this is a short and busy week, so I might not be around too much.  I am trying to get as much in as possible before the craziness begins.

First…without further adieu…the winner of my very first Give-A-Way is…………….

Felice

 

Yeah Felice!  Email me (jillyfly81 at comcast dot net) your address and I will get the goodies out in the mail.  Congrats!

And thanks to everyone who participated in my first give-a-way.  And a special thanks to TallMom for sending over so many new readers- I look forward to getting to know you all 🙂

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Now that this race is over, I really feel like I can relax.  At least where training is concerned.  For the next two weeks, I have more on my plate than can fit, so this is the perfect time for a training break.  With the exception of Pilates class and a bit of cardio and lifting, I really have no plans to work-out at all.  Mostly because in the next two weeks I have two papers(one seven page and one fifteen page) and a video project due and I have to get my Whitman blog up to date.  And of course, right in the middle of this is the Thanksgiving holiday.  And my high school reunion.  And holiday shopping.  Oh, and I am still looking for a place to live- I am still meeting with a realtor @ every two weeks, but still nothing.  I am already exhausted just thinking about it all!

Have I mentioned that I can’t wait for the semester to be over???  Have I mentioned how this semester has kicked my ass??? Cause I can’t and it has!  And I am so ready to be done!!!

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And moving right along…

How about some photos from yesterday’s race:

 At the expo

More at the expo

At the start line- not as bad as last year, but I was still freezing!

Coming into the finish- having just spotted my sign!

Me and my personal pacer, Brian, after the finish!

My mom and I with the official half-marathon sign

With Monique and Shawn, who came to watch me run!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

I am so glad I ran today 🙂

Just wanted to get that out there!

Time/Pace: 2:33:15/11:41

Overall: 5574/7188

Gender: 3347/4655

Age: 840/1050

Pre-race:  Wake up call was bright and early at 4am.  I got dressed, ate a bowl of cheerios, grabbed a water and a clif bar and was on my way.  Drove over to my teammate Brian’s house and he drove us both over to Philly.  Made it there in record time and got a great parking spot only 3 blocks from the race so we decided to sit in the car a while and stay warm (it wasn’t as cold as last year, but still very cold!).  At about 5:45 we headed over to meet up with some of our other teammates at the steps and chatted, then met up with my mom and her friend Marie at my corral.  Had to use the bathroom SO badly, but the lines were ridiculous.  As the race began and corrals were starting, we spotted a port-potty without a line so we took full advantage.  Whew!  Always better when the bladder is empty at race start!  At 7:20 my wave started and off we went.

Race: My friend Brian was running for fun (recovery run after his Florida Ironman…he is awesome) and was pacing me the entire race.  I felt great for the first few miles…I was concerned that I would have trouble because of my cold but I was moving along quite nicely.  Brian and I chatted as we ran and before I knew it, the first three miles were over and we were at a 10minute pace.  Score!  The next few miles were a little tough with some tight corners and crowded areas but we managed by getting on the sidewalk at times.  At mile 5 I needed a walk break, so I took a GU and we walked for a minute or so.  Brian was a great pacer- he let me stop if I needed to, but always got me going again.  He even wrote up a pace chart for my goal time (i’ll divulge that later) which was really cool.  By the 10k mark we were at a 10:30 pace and I was feeling great, but then for whatever reason at mile 7 I fell apart.  My ankle was bothering me (my knees felt great the entire race- it was amazing to have NO knee pain!) and I got a horrible stitch in my left side.  It was horrible!  That mile was spent doing the ironman shuffle and doing a lot of walking- especially the uphills.  Then at mile 8 I got a surge of energy when I saw the awesome downhill and we ran solid making up some time.  I was back to feeling good!  At mile 10 I took another GU and all the sudden we realized we were at the turn-around.  The time was flying!  And then….mile 11. UGH…mile 11….not a fan.  Talk about falling apart.  The stitch came back, my ankle was killing and I was starting to see my goal time go right out the door.  Brian was awesome at keeping me positive and moving even though he could tell I was hurting.  We did a walk/run and just kept chatting.  Then, just as I was feeling ready to go again, I got the very worst cramp I ever felt in my quad.  I wanted to cry.  We actually had to stop and stretch out for a few seconds.  Again, Brian was great helping me get through it and we went back to ironman shuffle mode.  And then…we saw the finish line and it was amazing, cause I needed that finish line.  As I rounded the bend I saw my mom and Marie (actually I saw the sign first!) and it gave me a great burst of energy.  Then a few feet further down, I saw my friend Monique and her husband Shawn.  And then Brian grabbed my hand and we went across the finish!

Because I had been sick, my original goal was a very attainable 2:40 (my PW is 2:36).  We went out shooting for a 2:30 and played it by ear.  Of course, by mile 7 and definitely mile 11, I knew that was not possible.  And I was okay with it because I still felt like I was giving it my all.  I mean, two days before I was barely able to get out of bed, so just to be out there was great.  At mile 10 Brian had said “We can shoot for 2:33, you got that” and as we came down the finish he saw the clock and basically pulled my hand so we could make it in time.  It was overall a great experience.  Running with someone made the race go fast and without Brian with me, I know I would not have done as well.  He did a great job of reading me- he let me stop when I needed and pushed me when he knew I could keep going.  Seriously, having my own personal pacer…nothing better!

Post-race:  Once we got through the finish we met up with my friends and my mom and headed to the food.  We were so hungry!!! They had decent food, but man…there has never been anything like Delaware (pizza, hoagies, ice cream, chips!).  I grabbed some chicken broth for the sodium to help with the cramp and downed a soft pretzel in about 3.5 seconds.  After a lot of mingling and picture taking we headed out of there and my mom, Marie and I went to breakfast.  Again, I housed a waffle in no time!  Once I got home I was on pure adrenaline.  Usually when I am done a race, all I want to do is sleep- but I felt great.  I ended up resting for about an hour but then cleaned my house and did laundry.  I spent the evening like most Sundays- watching my favorite shows and updating here 🙂  My legs are a bit sore but I took an ice bath so I am hoping they are good to go in the morning.  Overall, I am really pleased with this race.  Not my best, but I was so grateful to just be running.  Plus, the weather was great and I felt awesome and still feel awesome.  🙂

And I have to give a few shout outs:

The guy at mile 3 who kept blowing snot rockets– you need to refer to this post about not blowing them unless you know how.  And you my friend, do not know how.  It was gross when I saw your first rocket hit someone else, but when it hit me I wanted to throw up on your face.

The girl at mile 7 who elbowed me in the head– hey, it happens…but you turned around and laughed.  Really??? RUDE!!!!  The words you had been looking for were “I’m sorry” just in case you were confused.  Jerk.

The girl who was really hurting at mile 10– I really hope you were able to finish.  I am glad you had friends with you to help you through.  It is a tough goal and you looked at your wits end.  I hope you found the strength to keep it up.

The woman at mile 10 who crapped her pants– this is not a big deal if you are Paula Radcliffe.  But you were at my pace…just jogging along…and I had to stare at your crap stained pants.  All I am saying is this…if I was going to win the race, I would happily crap my pants; but if I am not going to win and I crap my pants…yeah, race over.

The Philadelphia police– thank you for being out there, cheering us on and keeping us safe.

All the “Jillian” cheerleaders– our names were printed on our bibs and many spectators would call us out by name and it was really uplifting.

The Mummers– so much fun! Thanks for coming out and having a great time with us runners!

My friend Michele– for ROCKING her first half-marathon.  Awesome job.  You worked so hard and you deserve it!

Denise– she is going to Boston!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the most important shout-outs:

The volunteers– it cannot be done without you.  Thank you for getting up early, braving the early cold morning and being there for us with water, Gatorade and GU.  I appreciate you all.

Monique and Shawn– Thank you for coming out and watching me finish.  I am thankful for our friendship 🙂  Monique, I cannot wait until our road trip to the Shamrock…can. not. wait.

Marie– for coming to watch me race and for keeping my mom company.  And for always being a support to me throughout my life.  And for being my mom’s best friend.

Brian– there are not big enough thank you’s!  Seriously, this race would have been entirely different without you!  It was such a blast running with you…walking with you…and running with you.  You were such an amazing support and I am so thankful for our friendship.  And like I said…if I ever do get around to that marathon, I am hiring YOU at my personal pacer.

Mom– where do I even begin.  My biggest fan since birth.  You have always supported my choices as crazy as they may have been.  I have come a long way from track and field days and and even longer way just from last year.  I am so glad you have been along for this journey with me.  You and Daddy are an amazing support system and I owe much of who I am to you guys.  Thank you for once again, coming out in less than stellar weather and standing for 2.5 hours just to watch me cross the line.  I love you.

What an amazing day!!!

Give-A-Way Extension…

I am extending the deadline for my give-a-way until tomorrow at 9am.  I will have my co-worker pick a winner soon thereafter.  For those of you who are curious, I finally got a pic 🙂

As promised: three GU’s, a XOOD, a pack of clif bloks, hair-ties and one bag of Trader Joe’s Pretzel Slims

(note: the hair-ties are a stand in, the winning pack  is in my car, still in the bag)

Good Luck!!!