Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowshowing Floridian Style

View of my snow-less backyard.  Yes, my deck rail needs painting, and yes,
those are prayer flags on Brendan's tent.  The kid has aspirations to
climb Mt. Everest someday.  He camps outside every weekend -
even in the winter
So, what do you do when there's no snow in the entire Denver Metro area, you're actually missing it a teeny bit, and your "Crazy Floridian" friend is vacationing with his family in the mountains?  Well, you take one of  your sons and you venture to the high country to do some snowshowing with your favorite Floridian family, Floridian style, that's what you do!

A Beautiful day in the mountains near Frisco

Adam, the "Crazy Floridain" and I taking a picture break
Not sure how many of you follow Adam from the blog, Crazy Floridian, but he's a really great guy and an incredible runner (he's getting ready to do his first 100-miler in February.  Totally BA Adam!).  Adam and I "met" a little over a year ago when we both did a wee-bit of writing over at Runner's World.  We've only kept in touch here and there via emails and Facebook, but he inspires me with his never-weakening passion to run and I was thrilled when he emailed me he and his family were coming to Colorado for a little winter vacation.

Adam and his lovely family
Thursday, the 23rd, Brendan, the son who is always up for any sort of mountain adventure, went with me up to meet Adam and his family to do a couple hours of snowshoeing.  What stuck me as we started our drive up in the mountains was how there was absolutely no snow one minute and then the next, right around Silver Plume, magically there was a ton.  I mean, like avalanche danger ton.  Brendan proceeded to explain weather conversion mumbo-jumbo of the Colorado front range to me (which went in one ear and out the other) and how this is very normal, but still, this was very odd, despite his attempted explanation.  That child, the mountaineering man he so longs to be, watches the mountain weather like a hawk.
Brendan, totally in his element
Adam found a great trail from a ski shop guy in Frisco so that was the trail we took.  Not very technical, nothing to get your heart rate up too high, and we stopped to take a ton of pictures, so not a killer workout, but we shoe'd about 4.5 miles and had a blast every step of the way.

My new BFF.  He looks a little afraid of me.

The day was a little overcast, but man was it still pretty.  Probably about 30 degrees so actually a bit warm when you got going and I removed all 3 layers of gloves and mittens I had on (I always apologize in advance if my fingers or toes get cold, I definitely become whiny.  Sorry.  It's a huge reason why I don't downhill ski any longer) and had my coat unzipped half the time.  At the end of our hike, it started to flurry some - a sight I haven't seen in Denver in ages.

A White Arctic Ptarmigan - a very rare bird to actually see.  Brendan
spotted him nestled in the bushes and he instantly became a rock star
with our group.

King of the mountain!
After our 4.5 miles of shoeing (we could have done more, but Brendan and I needed to get back home to Denver before the onslaught of rush-hour traffic hit), Adam treated Brendan and I to some awesome Mexican food in town.  It was great to talk to his wife and son a little more and to hear more about Adam's 100-miler quest - as it is hard to really chat up a storm while snowshoeing (though it didn't stop me from trying :)).  I hope Adam and his family make it back out to Colorado soon, like in the summer, when I don't potentially whine about my cold fingers or toes!  Thanks, Adam, we had a great time snowshoeing with the Floridians!!

On our way back to Denver, Brendan and I stopped in Silver Plume (click on link to read about this cute little town) at this amazing little bakery in town.  This is such a crazy place for such a popular bakery; Silver Plume is an old silver mining town, totally left behind in modern times.  I found this bakery a couple years ago when my friend, Dennis, and I were running the trails high above.  We needed more water so we detoured to this tiny town in search of some sort of gas station or local store.  None were to be found, but we did find this bakery far removed from the highway, which is a pretty cool story in itself that we found it.  It has probably changed hands about 3 times in the two years I've been stopping by here for the most amazing fresh baked bread, but it continues to be one of our favorite little stops if we have a few minutes to spare.  Such a cool place, especially in the summer when we run up there and stop and stick our feet in the creek, which is frigging freezing, even in August (fresh snow melt is always cold).  Sorry you didn't get to experience our very brief stop in Silver Plume, Adam - next time!!!

Main Street Silver Plume, looking down the road from the bakery
Below is a pic of Clear Creek, which runs through the town of Silver Plume, during our summer runs.  Such an amazing place, and perfect for a mid-run break!

Me trying to be brave enough to dip the toes in the creek
I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and got everything on their Santa wish list!  Here in Jill land, we had a very nice time.  Amazingly, as your children get older, so does the price of their gifts so our tree seemed bare underneath compared to Christmas' past, but the kids were just as happy.  Me?  I got a couple local running store gift cards (must be a sign I will no longer have any heel problems, eh?) and this I know will make your green eyes pop out...but I got a new washing machine!!  I know, I know - lucky me!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Up, up, up ... and then up some more

Looking for that amazing workout that will really get your heart pumping? Look no further than the Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs,  Colorado (a little town just west of Colorado Springs).

I think most of you know I run with some of the kiddos from school on the cross country team; the coach is a friend of mine whom is an incredible endurance athlete, as well as an amazing coach.  The kids adore him.  With the closing of cross county season a few weeks ago, the kids took a short hiatus from running but are now back at it with pre-season build-up base mileage for track season, which starts in a few short weeks.  As coach said today: The bigger your training base in December and January, the more speed you can do this spring, and the faster you will run.  Ok, I'm trying to listen.  In pre-season track running, the coach is trying to get a few different runs thrown in from the everyday run in the neighborhood, or the state park in our backyard,  for the kids to get psyched-up - and have fun.  And today's adventure took us to the Manitou Incline.

The Manitou Incline was built as a cable car to carry materials to build pipelines on Pikes Peak. After the pipelines were finished it was turned into a tourist attraction. After a rock slide damaged a section of track in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed down and the rails removed. Some locals started using it for a tough workout. A portion of it is private property and it’s illegal to hike up the ties of the old cable car. That hasn’t stopped it from becoming the most popular hike in the Colorado Springs area.

Below is a picture of Pikes Peak (famous in the running community for the "Pikes Peak Marathon" - 8000' up in 13.3 miles.  Did this a couple times, very hard, but very fun.  Well, not so much fun, but oh so rewarding!  Come and join me in '11) See the line going up the mountain just to the right of the white snow-capped peak ? (just a little off to the right from smack in the middle of the picture.  That long straight line you can almost see)  That is the Manitou Incline.  That's what we went up.  Total crazy steep!!

1 mile straight up with 2000' elevation gain.  The steepest section is at a grade of 68% with the average grade just over 40%.  Intimidating as hell! 

My studette friend, K of Happy Trails, can go up this thing in 32 minutes.  I cannot.  Not even close.  About half way up, I started counting 30 steps and gave myself permission to stop for a short break at 30.  I don't know how many of these 30-step short breaks I took, but it was plenty.  One time I was hurled over trying to get some air in - kinda like when I run mile repeats and gasp for air at the end.  But I didn't time my climb, I didn't want to know - truthfully, I just consider myself lucky to have done it.  Lucky to have the lungs to make it up the thing without them exploding.  Lucky I didn't get dizzy and fall backwards.  Lucky I live in such a place great place where I get the opportunity to run up the side of mountains, despite not thinking so at the time.

Start of my climb up.  See that line all the way to the top?
Yep, that's the trail!

Coach there in the red jacket, who didn't stick with me for very long

The steps.  Can you say holy glute workout!?

At the top with the cross country coach and two of the girl runners

View down below to Colorado Springs, and beyond, from the top
Small group running today, just two boys (one was Ryan, my son) and two girls and the coach (Brian) and myself.  One of the boys reached the top in 28 minutes.  Brian was second in 33 (but he hung with pathetic me for awhile and stopped frequently to check on us below, making sure no mountain lions had us for breakfast), then Ryan at about 40 minutes, followed by me at God knows how long, and then the two girls about 10 minutes after me.  When I reached the top, I told Brain, who was waiting for us all, "I am OUT.  OF.  SHAPE!"  He laughed and told me to do it frequently and soon I'd be in shape.  I guess so!

At the top, you have two options: Go back down the steep incline that you just traveled up or take a spur trail that leads back down to the parking lot.  I think there are two trails, one shorter and one longer (thanks, K, for that info today!!).  Brian wanted the kids to have the miles so long it was.  Pea-sized gravel marked the trail and sections are pretty steep, which make your footing slip on the gravel (or at least mine) - I was grateful only two twisting of the left ankle, but nothing serious, thankfully.  The girls, Brian, and I all stuck together on the way down; the girls decided to go at a neck-breaking pace and Brain even commented it was WAY too fast for his liking (this guy has run 11 Leadville 100's [btw, registration is open, if anyone is inclined to register.  I'll come crew ya :) ] - he knows his descents.  And ascents.  Obviously).

But we made it down in one piece, and had a blast doing so.  I got a killer workout in, my lungs are still intact, and I felt really good - for the first time in what seems like forever - with a run.  I think I need to add a little more adventures like these in my running routine - and I think the Manitou Incline may have to be revisited in the very near future.  I can't wait.
Ryan and I at the bottom of the trail we took down
(totally regretted wearing those pants at the start of the run -
glad I had them at the top, such a huge temp change in 2000')

Today's crew - small, but mighty!
Holiday Blog Gift Exchange:  Ok, guys - this is your final pestering love letter.  I have tried to check in on all to see if gifts have been sent and received - but I have totally lost track.  If you haven't sent your gift yet, and I know of at least one who hasn't (ahem!!), you're going to have to overnight ship that sucker.  For anyone who does not get a gift by mid-week next week, PLEASE email me and let me know and I will email your blog buddy to see what has happened.  I know mail is uber slow right now so be patient.  Please, please, please do a blog post with your gift, picture preferred, as I know the person who sent to you would love to see - and me too.  I put a lot of time into this and I just get really excited to see what everyone got.  Thank you to all who participated - it was a lot of fun and I'd do it again in a heart beat (well, next year anyway).  And no, I'm not planning any New Year's Eve blog party - I'm done with the entertainment in 2010.  A HUGE thank you for all of you for the kind wishes - it was a pleasure to bring us all together with a blog this really awesome connection.

I may try to post again before Christmas (stop laughing - you know who you are!), but most likely I won't - so if not, I want to wish everyone out there in this vast world of runners and athletes galore:

Happy Holidays, from my blog to yours!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Tis the Season for Shirts!

Official Blog gift exchange business first:
One week down since I sent all 81 of you your secret blog exchange buddy; I trust all is going smoothly - the perfect gift is thoroughly thought out and wrapped in the most gorgeous, sparkly, festive holiday paper with matching metallicy cheery bow!  Let's not forget the bow people, my most favorite part!
 If you haven't gotten your gift yet (ahem, Jillian!) then it's time to get busy.  Time's a ticking!

Many of you ordered online and had gift sent directly to your blog buddy.  Clever!!!
A few emails have popped into my mailbox inquiring whether we are suppose to expose our self (and not in a naked sort of way, Adam - sorry) to our blog buddy when you mail the package.  My vote would be yes, I would want to know, as I'm sure you would, too.  I won't name names (Katie A) but I know at least one package went out with no identification.  Your blog bud is going to have fun thanking you!  :)
Also a few emails from those of you who are not direction followers and introduced yourself to your blog buddy before sending the gift.  Ok, it's your blog buddy, you do what works best for you.  I can just tell when you guys were little and knew a secret, the whole neighborhood knew within an hour.  Just sayin'.

Ah, all is good and I'm just yanking some chains. This is just for fun and fun it needs to be so however you want to do it is good.  Just please don't forget!!  Blog exchange biz over - I am looking forward to reading blogs soon and checking out what everyone got - I know what several of ya got already and I'll just say - though my gift wasn't pink or glittery, it was pretty dang awesome.  Thanks blog buddy (below).

So Chris of BQ or Die was in town this past weekend, he was attending a seminar by his coach and then getting some running analysis done.  Of course Chris was dying to see yours truly while here, and who am I to deny anyone my presence, so despite a very long flight delay we were finally able to hook up downtown for some dinner and a couple beers - and later, wandered around the beautiful festively lite 16th Street.  If you want to see a picture of downtown Denver 16th Street, look at the picture on my blog header.  Pretty cool, huh?  And a HUGE thanks to Matty B, who photo-shopped the gold on the state capital (thanks, Matty B).  When I stole found that pic of off some website, the first thing that popped into my head was how cool it would be if that dome were gold amongst a sea of black and grays.  And there it is, in all it's glory.  Gold!  I love it!!!!

So Chris, the Southern Cali cold weather wimp he is, was whining about lack of proper cold weather running attire the entire time we walked down the mile-long street to look at the capital and the Civic Center building, which is simply amazing:
when low and behold, Niketown store was actually open so in we popped.  I'm certain they cringed as we came in as it was microseconds until close-time but whatever, I thought this would be a quick in and out.

Not so much.

It appears Chris isn't a speedy shopper, and has a phobia for color; despite my pleading for him to get this awesome lime-green shirt:

We had to get the oh-so-boring black instead:

You have fun with that blah black shirt, Chris.  Oh and did I mention that all 5 times I BQ'd I was wearing lime green?

Someone obviously runs in warmth in December;
while some of us get to be pasty-white.
But a nice time had by all.  Thanks, Chris!
But 'Tis the season for the shirt theme cuz the other day my pal, Ron, from Punk Rock Racing, sent me this little gem:
It may not be black like the rest of the gang, I prefer pink (this must make me the leader of the pack?: Beth, Emz, Hot Legs, and Jason and his wife) - but eat your heart out, Q!!!  We Rock these shirts!
(um, why yes, that's is a failed attempt at a painted ocean scene on my bathroom wall.  I love the beach!)

As I'm all smug with my new, pink Runner Runner shirt, I open my mailbox yesterday and LOOK what was inside, KOVAS!!!!
Is this the shirt you've been waiting so long for?  I didn't even have to beg, it was just anxiously waiting for me in my mailbox. Oh man, it's is the softest piece of fabric I have ever had on the bod - wore it to the gym tonight (post gym pic - sorry Q, I'm not looking my best here) and was I ever the eye of envy; people were staring at me like I was some rock star - I'm sure your phone's going to be ringing off the hook for these, Emz. 

So just when I'm thinking I'm all set for the season with my new t-shirt digs, NOPE - I got another!! 

Let's have a bit of a closer look at that little saying, shall we???

Awwwwww, my blogger gift exchange buddy knows me so very well! 

I don't want to revel who my secret blog buddy is yet as not all of you have received your gifts (has anyone besides me?), but I will.

Thanks blog buddy!  It may not have come all wrapped in a festively decorated package, but the white box was awesome just the same!

Before I wrap this post up, if you haven't already checked and joined out Patrick's  new project (click on Patrick's name for his cool blog), a Facebook-like social outlet for endurance junkies, please click on the link on my sidebar, or right here: Endurance Athletes Project - it'll pop ya right on over.  All the cool people are there so get on board.  No membership fees...but I'm thinking Patrick wants to give me a EAP t-shirt for my referrals.  Patrick, I love pink!

Happy miles, people!!  And don't forget to get those packages out SOON!!!  If you're still stewing with what to get, can everyone say SHIRTS??  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jill's offically a DUer, Chilly Cheeks DU #1

First, let me start off this post by letting everyone know that the gift exchange emails have gone out to each and every 81 of ya.  If you haven't received an email with your gift exchange buddy, please let me know.  Here's Tara (famous for searching the internet for anus plates and sperm necklaces - man, some people get all the good labels!) and I painstakingly picking names.  Don't let those beers, Fritos and bowls of chili fool you (NO enlargement of this photo for a closer view of that white piece of paper  *ahem*) - it was pure business as we totally worked those names, reworked those names again (and again, and again) when we realized we ( I ) obviously are totally stupid (just ask Kovas!) until I finally was able to get each one of us a name.  Yah, me needs to learn a little more Excel I think.  


Second, Jillian ( is doing a holiday card swap - please pop on over and sign up, Please!  What a great way to meet some fellow bloggers :). 

Ok, with official business finished, let's move on to my little race last weekend.

Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #1 (Yes, this is a series, #1 of 3, unfortunately) RR:
As one who loves to learn a little more about myself in every race (you now - things like strength, willpower, perseverance, mental fortitude - things like that) these are the two things I learned about myself during this little race:
1) I have lost tons of conditioning babysitting this s#&!! heel for 9 months.
2) I totally suck on a bike!

With that prep work in place, on to the race we go:

Jim, my neighbor, and one who twisted my arm into doing this so-called duathlon thing, picks me up.  It's 28 degrees.  Drive over to the baseball parking lot adjacent to the race start.  Ride our bikes from parking lot to start line and I have one prevailing thought, "This bike seat is not very comfortable."  Get to start line, check in, get race packet and as I grab safety pins, the check-in guy tells me they're not needed, no race number on your shirt, it goes on your bike (well, what are there safety pins sitting out for?).  I look at Jim with total confusion.  "Where?  How?"  We go and find a place to park the bikes - mind you, we're just watching what everyone else is doing - he's never done this Du thing either so enter the dumb leading the dumber.  At least Jim knew to turn my bike around when I placed the front wheel in the bike rack. 

Jim and I pretending we knew what we were doing
As we  spend waaaaay too much time trying to figure out how to attach race number to bike, I turn to Jim and said, "Holy Sh!t, there's some serious bike/tri people here."  Evident by some serious skin-tight tri suits painted on bodies with 2% body fat sporting bikes which cost well over my annual income!  I curse Jim for telling me this was a "fun" race and very low-key when one of those said tri chicks turns to me and tells me "Oh believe it or not, you'll find one or two newbies in this race."  When I tell her that'd be me, she gave me some "no sh!t" obvious look.  I'm seriously thinking Jim's entered me in some preliminary time trial race for some big tri event later next year.  Holy crap, I feel very out of place. 

Soon Tara shows up (YAY) - I love me a good cheerleader.  Thank God she showed up, too - apparently the bike helmet I stole from my son was not a good fit (Imagine!) so she made some adjustments and I was good to go in that department.

Tara and I before the start
Debate what to wear for run and bike.  I have probably run close to 350 races in my life, maybe more (I'm going to count that up one day - I've been running competitively for 35 years now) but I just feel all out of whack here and just can't quit get my groove down.  That damn bike part is just throwing me all off.
Look at me all focused and serious (at least I'm passing two dudes)
Walk down to the start; guys get a 3 minute advantage so I watch my friend Jim go off.  Jim's fast so he's eating up the competition - adios bike dudes!!!  Then the chicks line up, there's maybe 100 of us, very small race, no one pushing and shoving for a front-line position, we're just all kinda in front.

Gun goes off and I'm running - woohoo.  This is my first race since that little 2-miler charity race I did in August (which was very low-key so not sure it counts)!  Oh how I've missed you, Racing!!!!!!!

My goal is not to look at my pace.  Of all the pre-race anxiety I was having, my run pace ranked high at the top.  I know this mega month hiatus from running has really turned up the leg paceometer, I know this - I do - but it's not easy to swallow, and I didn't want it to get me frustrated.  But mile one came and though I didn't hit the "lap" button on my watch, I peeked.  7:48.  I was hoping I could run this thing in the 8:00 range - ahhhh, so good to know my going-out-too-fast bad habits never truly left me!  But I'm feeling good, though I am realizing that my stride is really choppy and everything with my legs just feel "off." Pre-Boston glute and hamstring tightness has returned the past month and I am truly feeling it right now.  Err.

Mile 2 brings you to the back side of the park, where you hit the trails - and the hills.  Oh good lord, I've run these hills probably 5000 times in my life (this park is practically in my backyard, these trails are a staple in my life!) - yet they have never felt as tough as they did in this race.  Which shouldn't be alarming considering all, still....

Mile 3 I'm slowing.  Going up one hill, I peeked again at the watch - 9:06.  This is ridiculous.

Mile 4 we're back on the road again and I can get the pace going a bit better but this NOT easy. Way more difficult than I thought.  Run finish time: 33:21.  8:21 pace.  UGH!!! (my last half marathon was a 7:58 pace  :(  )

Transition area.  I think Tara was yelling at met to hurry up.
First time into a transition area (aside from some short triathlons I did back in the 80's.  Yeah, that's right - the 80's.  Before most of you were born!) so I'm just taking my sweet time, when I hear Tara yell at me to "hurry up."  :)

First lesson learned: Put on gloves BEFORE you start peddling; I was seriously wasting precious time (I use that term loosely) trying to get my hands into my gloves.  Good thing I learned to ride bare-handed as a kid...I'm certain all you bike junkies are appalled right now, I definitely wasn't very aerodynamic in vertical position on le bike.  But we're talking mountain bike here, them things aren't meant for your body to be very aerodynamic - are they?

See anyone behind me?  No, me either.
Let me just sum up these 10 miles from hell on the bike: OUCH!  Every single microscopic crack in the road plain and simply hurt the girl parts!  Leave it to me to think that I could endure 10 measly miles just fine on a bike without padding.  I could not.  I prayed for salvation.  I was never so relieved to come to an uphill, because it meant I could get off that damn seat and pedal upright.  Crack, ouch.  3 seconds later - crack, ouch.  Repeat x 4 million.  My nose was a constant dripping faucet which caused my right gloved to become soaked (no need to apologize - we've all been there if we've played the cold weather running long enough) which caused my right hand to freeze.  My left knee was killing me - I'm guessing my bike seat is too tall for me.  Or I torn my ACL.  Knowing my luck, it's the latter.  And the arch in my right foot was screaming - I'm guessing because my of what I can only presume is Plantar Faciitis in that foot.

The last few miles on the bike I was out there on the road, looking up at the the mountains, pretty much alone, and I actually smiled - I suddenly just released all the tension and the frustration of how poorly I was doing and I was actually enjoying this stupid thing.  Yea, the girl parts were screaming and yea I was passed by 8469 bikers (considering there were about 200 in the race, this is pretty incredible) and I passed exactly ZERO, but ya know what....I had fun.  I truly did.
Jim, having finished a good 20 minutes before me, holding his
hot chocolate.  Me, looking totally dork-o in my helmet,
relived to be DONE!
I finished something like 1:24, including the transition area.  But reflecting on this race - yes, my running pace sucks.  Yes, it's evident I never will be a cyclist (and I'm ok with that!) ... but I got out there and I did it.  I pushed myself hard for the first time in many, many months, and I felt alive and fresh again - ready to get this heel fixed and move forward.  I miss racing, I miss the thrill of the start line and the high of crossing that finish line - I want it back and I'm ready to fight to do so!

We have two more of these duathlons left in this series.  I am not sure what to do about the butt padding - do I slip my bike shorts on over my tights?  Or do I invest in some tri shorts, knowing my limited time with them will never form any sort of bonding experience?  Maybe my gift exchange buddy is reading and wants to get me some, perhaps (my favorite color is pink, exchange buddy!).

Duathlon #2 is January 15th - 1.5 mile run, 3.6-mile bike loop, 2.5 mile run, then mount your bikes for 2 laps of the 3.6 mile loop.  Then, you will rack your bike and run 50 meters to the finish line.
Ok, how convoluted is THAT race going to be?  
Duathlon #3 is February 26th - ride 10 first, run 4 last.

Jim seems to think we have an advantage in the 3rd race, beings the bike is first and we can therefore run past all those sorry cycling asses at the end.  My guess is he's already implementing a plan to take down as many as he can.  Me?  I'm thinking it's not really going to matter much for me, all those 10 grand bike dudes and dudettes will be done well before I even start the run (can't wait to see those killer bikes sliding all over the road in Jan when it's covered in ice and snow while I'm safely riding my 300 lb mt bike)....but perhaps I'll get on my bike and train TWO days for this next race, as painful as that damn bike seat will be.  

And I'm looking forward to it!

I thank EVERYONE who gave me some great advice for this race about the transition and the attire and everything else - I thought about you guys, many times - even when I could barely sit on my seat!!!

I sincerely apologize for my absence reading blogs this week, the exchange really took up a great deal of my time (not complaining, just stating).  I will catch up this weekend.

Good luck to Andrew, running his Santa 5K tomorrow - in full Santa suit attire.  Have to admit it's the first Santa wearing suit guy I've ever had the privilege to work with!  Best of luck to Ginny and Jennifer traveling to the Rocket City for the marathon - a place I once lived so special memories there.  And best of luck to Emz and Slomo running Tucson Marathon - a race dear to my heart since it's my current marathon PR race.  Praying the wind's at your back this year, guys!!!

Run strong, friends!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ultimate Holiday Gift Exchange List

Please Note: I posted the below on the evening of Sunday, 12/05.  I have no clue why it did not show up as posted at that time.  Anyway...

Can you believe it?  It's almost here, THE annual Holiday Blog Buddy Gift Exchange.  Anticipation is oozing out of every pore of your body, I'm certain.  I've been a busy little elf compiling everyone's info who wished to participate and I think I got all names and corresponding website show below in this awesome chart below (I have no idea why Crazy Penguin is highlighted, nor why Michel has many spaces in her box. Trust me, I have tried to fix it.).  Please look over the list - it's all alphabetized to make it easier for you (except for a couple late sign-up-ers, sorry guys) - so please make sure you're name's on there and your blog's website is correct, and let me know if something is wrong or if I accidentally excluded you.  Sorry, no bailing now - you.  Are.  IN!

A few comments about how this exchange will go down:
  • You exchange bud is a secret, so do not email them asking what to buy them; let them be thoroughly surprised when they open their mailbox and see your brightly colored package anxiously awaiting them.
  • If you do not get an email from me by the end of Wednesday 12/08 with your exchange blogger, please email me and let me know so I can get that to you right away.
  • Monetary amount is approximately $5.  Feel free if you want to spend more (some, like myself, are definitely worth more) but this is totally up to you.  Do not whine if your gift is $5, that was the amount, that's what we're going with.  'Tis the season, Be happy.
  • Please do not forget your buddy.  Trust me, I will remind you every blog post I make - and you all know how often I post (ahem) - but I can't babysit all 81 of us to make sure we're getting our shopping, and mailing, done.  Ok, maybe I will, but I truly wish not to.  
  • If you wait to shop for your blog buddy on December 24th, I promise you it will arrive late.  Just saying.  Be courteous. 
  • When your gift arrives, open with sheer enthusiasm, brag a little to your family, then please post a blog of gratitude, with a picture of course, so all 81 of us can oooh and aaah.
I think that's it.  Pretty simple.  Enjoy shopping for just the right gift for your Secret Blogger Exchange Buddy!!

OH, and I'll post on my Duathlon experience in a couple days. (Hush, I can to post two blogs in one week.  I think).  Quite the experience!




Amanda (Zippy)

Amanda (Finish)

Amanda (Hood)

Andrea (ajh)




Anne Marie

Beth R.




Chris C.















Jen (Morgan)




Jill P.

Jill S.

John and Becca




Karen R




Katie A


























Tri Diesel