To My Mom, for Mother’s Day

Earlier this week I was treated to a delicious dinner and night out, courtesy of Treat. While we were there, we were asked what we wanted to be treated to on Mother’s Day. Since I’m not a mom, I started to think – how would I like to treat my mom?

My mom and dad were married almost exactly 30 years ago (Happy early 30th anniversary!). A few years after that, I was born. And my mom’s life was never the same. I’m sure I changed her life in so many wonderful ways – but I know that it times it wasn’t easy. I wasn’t a bad kid or a problem child (I don’t think so, at least) but I know times weren’t always peachy. Come on – remember your teenage girl years? Now imagine having to be a mom to that? See what I mean? Exactly!

pretty awesome old photo of my mom, me and my brother

So mom – thank you! Thank you for all these years – for everything! If I had all the money in the world, here are the ways I’d treat you:

  • A year’s worth of pedicures.
  • Fresh, homemade pasta, delivered to your door on a weekly basis.
  • A whole lotta Tiffany jewelry,  because why not?
  • Fresh flowers, delivered every week.
  • Wine of the month club – but in the smaller single glass bottles, so you and Dad could share them.
  • A personal dog-walker, for the rainy or snowy days that you don’t feel like taking Queenie out.
  • An apartment in Cleveland, so you’d be able to visit whenever you wanted.
  • An apartment in NYC, so you’d be able to visit your family (or getaway!) whenever you wanted.
  • A private jet, so you could pick me up and I could join you for those pedicures 🙂
What would you add?
Sorry mom (if you’re reading this) –  I’m not actually getting any of those gifts for you. BUT – my bags are packed, my flight is booked and I’ll be seeing you this weekend to celebrate with you!

Event Recap: Treat Blogger Meetup

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to be invited to a blogger event, sponsored by Treat, a new greeting card company by Shutterfly!  Treat wanted to treat (repetition intentional) some local Cleveland bloggers to a girls night out and share with them us they had to offer. A blogging friend who I just started talking with online, Heather from CafeSMom, was asked to host the event.

What a great event! Heather selected DC Pasta, one of the restaurants by local chef Dante Boccuzzi, and not only was the food amazing, but it was also great to learn all about Treat and meet some other great ladies.

I know, the suspense is killing you.  What is Treat? What did I eat? Here are the details:

What is Treat? Treat is the new brainchild of Shutterfly. Yes, I may be in love with Shutterfly and have used them for the last few photobooks  and other miscellaneous goodies I’ve purchased, but I’m falling in love with Treat as well! They offer customizable greeting cards that you design via their website. After the card (with or without photos) is designed, you pay for the card plus the stamp and they can mail it out for you directly or mail it to you if you want to include a handwritten message. What else is cool about Treat?

  • Your first card is FREE if you use the code FREETREAT! So there’s really no reason not to try it out.
  • You can pre-design and pre-order cards! If you’re like me, you remember friends’ birthdays the week in advance, and then the day of you forget to actually call/mail that card (Sorry Caitlin! Your card is in the mail!) – Treat can help you out! When you design a card, you can select the mailing date – so you could literally design all your birthday cards and select the dates at once and forget about them until they’re mailed out a few months later!
  • You can import your Facebook friends and have Treat remind you when their birthdays are! No more forgotten birthdays. You can also select which friends you want to send cards to so you don’t get a reminder for all 1,000 of your friends. When you log in, it will tell you which birthdays are coming up and give you the option to send a card (or, as you’ll see below, send a belated birthday card… Sorry Katie… but Happy Birthday today!)

A reminder tells you who to send your next card(s) to!

I’ve already made one card and mailed it out and can’t wait to make more! If you want to learn more and try it out for yourself, visit their website, and don’t forget to use the FREETREAT code.

What did I eat? DC Pasta was great, and Brad, our waiter was awesome. He helped many of us choose what to order. We were treated to a variety of appetizers, including  a plate of colorful and delicious olives, some prosciutto, and various marinated vegetables, including sundried tomatoes, eggplant and artichoke. As a bread lover, I appreciated the steady supply of bread, along with a white bean hummus-like dip.

For my meal I ordered one meatball plus two taste size pastas. That’s right – for $5, they give you a “taste” which is actually a perfect child’s size meal. It was great – I’m always debating between multiple menu items, and this time I didn’t have to settle – I got both! I ordered the Lunache  e Polipo (toasted garlic, snails, octopus, parsley, chile flakes, broccoli) and the Ruote alla Puttanesca (wagon wheels, olives, anchovies, capers, peperoncino, tomatoes), along with a side of a Ricotta Meatball (a meatless, roasted ricotta ball). Everything was delicious – the Lunache was spicy and the Puttanesca was salty, both qualities I love in a meal. Oh, and for dessert? A tall helping of pistachio gelato!

Thanks so much to Treat for treating us ladies to a great night out and thanks to Heather for organizing!

Photos, below – top left, Heather shares with us some info about treat. Second row, my awesome food and the great menu. Third row, a treat from Treat – my goodie bag with some free cards and stationary.

Disclosure: Treat provided me with a free meal and will be providing me with a complimentary year-long subscription to their site. As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% all mine.

Marathon Training: Week Sixteen Recap

Week 16 of my Cleveland marathon training program is complete. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 8. Thursday: 4. Saturday: 12, for a total of 29 miles.  Due to more achilles pain, I didn’t follow the schedule completely – I took Thursday off and only completed 3 on Wednesday. I was determined to complete the 12 miler, so I took it easy in the days prior to the run.

Tuesday: 5 –  GREAT post-work run with B. My legs were tired and shins and tendon were hurting after the weekend’s 20 miler, but overall it was good to get out while it was still light and warm out. 5 miles felt SO much faster after a 20 mile run! We were booking it too, we finished the run in about 47 minutes.

Wednesday3ish – Less than stellar post-work run with B. We made it about 2 miles, and B started experiencing some serious shin pain and had to walk. My achilles started acting up, so I made it another mile and decided to just take it easy and use the bike for a half hour.

Thursday – Friday: 0 – Took two days off in hopes that Saturday would be pain free!

Saturday: 12 – It was the last double digit run of training, and for some reason it was a lot tougher than it should’ve been! B was still hurting so only made it three, but I was determined to complete the whole run. The achilles pain was acting up – maybe I’m still recovering from last week’s 20 miler?

Sunday: cross-training – and I actually did it! I usually just relax on Sundays, but I decided to use the elliptical for 55 minutes before heading to an Indian’s game with B and his parents. Thanks to B’s job, we had great seats — and they won! Below, some photos from the game, and one post-training.

I can’t believe that training is almost over. There are so many things I’ll miss about training, yet I’m getting excited for race day and for my parents to be there to support me and cheer me on for my first 26.2. Two more weeks!

What I’ll Miss About Marathon Training

While running twenty miles, I had a lot of time to think. While running all my miles, actually, I’ve had a lot of time to think – and what do I think about? Running, of course. With the race just three weeks away, I began thinking of all the things I’ll actually miss about marathon training.

7 Things I’ll Miss When Marathon Training is Over:

  1. Not having to think about what I’m doing for a workout. Some days, it’s all I can do to get out of bed and workout. Those days, it’s nice not to have to think “Hmm, what should I do today? Use the elliptical? Lift? Spinning class?” and instead just look at my schedule and get in my miles.
  2.  That feeling of accomplishment I have on Saturdays. After a 14 mile run, it’s hard to feel guilty for just sitting on the couch and napping. No matter what else I do that day, I still feel pretty good.
  3.  The camaraderie of a long run with friends. Not only is it nice to spend time and run with B (before training, we didn’t usually work out together – I’m more of a morning runner, and he’s a late-night gym goer), but it’s been nice to run with Dave and B’s sister, Mary. Even online it’s amazing what great support I’ve found – fellow runners and running enthusiasts on Twitter, Dailymile and here!
  4.  Not feeling like a poser when I go to Second Sole or Dick’s and browse through the running clothes/shoes/sports drink section. I may not look like a runner, but I can at least claim to be training for a marathon!
  5.  The sights – when you have to cover 10-20 miles any given weekend, you take in a lot of new scenery. Whether it’s been running around downtown Cleveland, trying out new routes on the East Side, running to Lakewood – or even running while traveling (remember my informal half marathon in Atlantic City?) – I’ve gotten to see a lot of new places while covering my miles.
  6.  The food! There’s nothing like a pre-run meal (hello pasta parties!) or a post-long run feast (I’d like to thank Jimmy John’s for keeping me alive and full after runs) or a post-race celebration (free food and drinks) to make me happy. Sure, the food will still be there after training is over, but it won’t feel as well-deserved.
  7.  This. I know I’ve blogged before marathon training, but it was never as regular. I’ve gotten used to and started enjoying compiling my weekly marathon recaps, reading other marathon training blogs, following the comments and so on. I know I’ll keep up the writing, but I may have to find a new hobby to write about!

What about you? What did you miss when your marathon training was over?

Marathon Training: Week Fifteen Recap

Last week marked week fifteen of my Cleveland marathon training. The week’s training called for Tuesday: 5. Wednesday: 10. Thursday: 5. Saturday: 20, for a total of 40 miles.  Yipes. Forty miles! Again, I didn’t follow the running schedule. 😦  After standing up all day on Monday and Tuesday and walking around a trade show in not-so-comfortable shoes, I was hurting. That, plus my on and off ankle and achilles pain during and after runs, made me decide to run every day but not complete the mid-week 10 miler.

Monday: 5 –  Pre-work run on the dreadmill at the hotel gym.  As I mentioned, I was in Orlando for work last week from Sunday through Wednesday, meaning I knew it’d be hard to fit in my normal workout schedule. Luckily, the hotel gym was awesome – it was like a full gym with rows of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and a weight room. I decided to hit the gym before a day on the Convention floor and was glad I did!

Tuesday– Pre-work outdoor run in Orlando with my coworker Leslie!  Leslie is another runner who has trained on and off for various marathons and whenever we travel together we like to run together. It was 55 degrees before the sun was up and it felt great to have someone to run with and explore the area where we were staying.

Wednesday: 6 – Another morning run in Orlando with Leslie. I didn’t think I’d be able to make the full 10 miles without being in some serious plane, but decided to see how 6 would feel. Not bad! After landing back in Cleveland, I spent some time icing.

Saturday: 20– 20 miles. Yes, 20.  WOW. Longest training run before the marathon (3 weeks!) and longest run in my life. Had to set the alarm for 5-something to get outside and get in 10 miles before completing the Cleveland 10 miler. It wasn’t great – Friday night I had started feeling sick, coming down with a cold, and Saturday morning it was there. What could be worse than running 20 miles? 20 miles with a cold. AND in the rain. Luckily the rain held off somewhat until mile 16ish where it started freezing rain/sleeting for about a mile. But by then, I was just happy to be at mile 16. We had our worst times ever in the race (woops!) but am SO happy it’s done!

No photo of the hotel gym, but here’s a photo of my bathroom. Love it when there’s a TV in the mirror!

Plus, a photo of me during the trip. Working hard of course!