Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now What???

Having my big races under my belt, I get the feeling that I'm not the only one wandering around dazed and confused about what to do next.  I forced myself to take a week off to give my ITB and piriformis a break.  It was really difficult after about 4 days, as I was starting to feel better and getting a little cranky.  Since then I've been out on a few runs....short and enjoyable....and have taken a few fun bike rides with the fam.

This past Sunday was Weight Watchers national Walk-it Day, and I had a great time running the Relay for Life 5k at Hawk Island.  We had over a hundred members participate with a combined team weight loss of over 4000 pounds.  That's pretty amazing!!  I just so happened to come in second female overall and won my age group, so it was a great day for me too  :)  Sometimes those small events do have their advantages over the hype and excitement of going to a Playmakers event. 

So what's next?

I'm going to do a 21 day raw diet cleanse...that's what!!!

I've been a little MIA this week, and it's because I've been researching and planning out my approach to such an experience.  I love being on a weight loss plan that provides me the flexibility to do something like this....making sure I'm meeting my healthy guidelines without any processed foods. So, my plates will be covered with a 75% raw foods/25% cooked food ratio.  Raw foods will be Veggies, berries, homemade dressings, beans, seeds, and nuts.  Cooked foods will be whole grains, gluten free pastas, soups, sweet potatoes, and beans.  I'll also be incorporating some green smoothies, protein shakes, teas, and LOTS of water!!


Why now?  Because I'm in between training cycles, and if I don't pay attention to what I'm eating and how I'm spending my time....I'll be feeling really yucky by the time I figure out what I'm training for next.  I'd love to start that next journey feeling my best....not the other way around.

So, it's time to dust off my juicer and get to the grocery store tonight for the eats and a supplement or two.   I will be sharing more on what I'll be eating in the days to stay tuned!!


Jen B.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Race in On!

Miles 1-5

As the crowd crossed the start line, I was confused as to where it actually was....I started my Garmin when I noticed most people starting theirs. Good enough right?  The first mile or two was a slight downhill, and I remember thinking that this might turn out to be a VERY bad day.  My stomach started growling during the first mile, I had to pee already, and at one point I felt really hot.  It was a warm humid feeling, like there was heat rising form the street...weird.  I tried to keep my breathing under control, I reminded myself that I had three gus and there would be bathrooms all along the course, and I decided to take the first five miles easy.  I tried to look around and take it all in, listen to the chatting around me and just chill out.

We jumped onto a two lane road at around mile 3 that reminded me of a park service road.  It had rumble strips running down the middle of it which kind of sucked.  At mile 4 I took my first gu.  It was a little earlier than intended, but my stomach was screaming at me, and since I didn't know exactly where the water stations would be I took it while running, without water...A FIRST.   I noticed that my mile split as a little slow and decided that I couldn't let the congestion of being on this narrow road get me stuck behind people.  I did a bit of dancing around and short sprints to squeeze between runners.  It was a fun game I played to keep things interesting and my pace where I wanted it to be.  As you can imagine the water stations were a complete cluster, but to prevent the dehydration fail after Martian I had decided to stop at every single one of them.  I had a big day ahead and I couldn't risk it to save a few seconds.  At this point I stalked every row of porto johns that would come into view on the off chance I could catch a break and be blessed with one without a line.  The sides of the road didn't have a shoulder, and I noticed that there was thick mud to jump through to get to them so I said "forget that" and kept trucking.   I did contemplate the fact that so many men were just pissing at every set of johns along the way.  What's the point I thought....if you're willing to piss anywhere...why wait til you see a line, why not just go when you had the urge a half mile ago.  I think I was just severely jealous. Two ladies during this time came along side of me and asked about my ribbons and what they represented.  I had to keep my composure to explain that I was honoring the loved one's affected by cancer who donated to my running team through ACS.  They congratulated me and we ran together for awhile.  Her PR time for this race was 1:38 or something crazy.  She pointed out that was more than 15 years ago, and this was one of her favorite courses and makes a point to do it every year.  Bravo to that!!

Right at mile five I looked to my left and saw a little girl holding a sign that read something like "My Mom is HOT" and immediately following it a random sign propped up on a camping chair with "JEN BRANCH" on it.  I pretty much thought I was hallucinating and practically bent backwards to get a second peek.  I also saw the name of a friend of mine and thought, "Could it be...My beloved Red and Spike are here somewhere?"  I'm not going to lie, the thought made getting to the finish line that much sweeter...even thought the chances were next to impossible.

Splits:  9:34, 9:21, 9:19, 9:28, 9:18

Miles 6-10

At Mile six I was feeling really great, settling into a comfortable pace and trying to keep the effort consistent even with the continued congestion.  Coming up to the gu station, which I didn't need, I felt sad for everyone else, as I watched a volunteer hand out the very last one they had.  I just can't understand how on earth they ran out with only half of the runners passing...bummer.  We came up a upon a huge crowd of cheerleaders and football players and I had a blast giving "hi-fives" and "Woots"  I also noticed a pair of ladies in front of me with really tight silver and black zebra print hot pants on.  They ran by two little old ladies who gasped in horror at the sight...I too was a little grossed out and decided that I needed to pass them with the quickness!  As we crossed the river and started heading back, I was on top of the world.  The spectators were lined along the road, which was now wider and more open.  I noticed a lady, a bit older than myself, come along side of me and she just looked really experienced and strong.  I decided to try my best to stick with her...she became my official rabbit.  It didn't take long to realize that the challenging rolling hills were upon us.  The spectators thinned out and the climbs became quiet as people were concentrating and working to keep pace.  Did I mention we were now running into the wind too.  I was so glad that I had incorporated some hills into my last two long training runs, because I was able to shorten my stride and stick with them pretty easily.  I was passing people left and right, even my rabbit on the uphills, but she would consistently catch back up with me on the downhills.  I gu'dButterworth and the most challenging hill awaits.  The damn thing lasted forever, but I was really excited to see a sea of spectators to fill me up with encouragements and praise.  I was having a hard time NOT peeing my pants up this hill, and I contemplated just doing it since the lines to the porto johns had been ridiculous up until this point.  I mean, how long can you realistically force yourself to hold urine...isn't 10 miles long enough.  Well it just so happened that a random porto john on Butterworth came into view, and as I approached it a dude flew out of it...and there wasn't a line.  I had to stop myself in my tracks to jump in before anyone else.  I remember in my mind bidding farewell to my rabbit...and thanked her for her help pushing me up until this point.  I felt like a million bucks and was determined to make up lost time.  Five to go, lets do this!!

Splits: 9:09, 9:04, 9:14, 9:15, 10:02

Miles 11-15

Most of Mile 11 seemed to be a gentle downhill, which was much needed at this point.  I noticed that I was coming up upon and passing people I had once passed on the way to Butterworth St.  I had a little chat with myself that if I just kept a good effort on the nice downhill we were enjoying then maybe, just maybe I would catch up to my rabbit after all.  Gu number three went down with ease again...three for three felt really good.  Another sizable hill approached, and I remember looking up ahead and seeing that indeed she was within sight.  At the very top of that hill, a wonderful man was standing on the side yelling "You're done with the's flat to the finish."  I was so relieved...and it seemed so were many other runners as we ALL let out huge sighs.  I again was feeling great and in what seemed like a minute or two I did indeed catch my rabbit.  I checked my pace and realized we had 5k to was time to push even harder.   I wanted to see 8's...even if it was 8:59.   I passed my rabbit and started to pay attention to  tangents as were entering neighborhoods with lots of turns.   I felt like I was passing  a bunch of people....the crowds were getting thicker.  Another lady came up next to me and asked about my ribbons and I had a hard time talking to her.  She couldn't hear me very well so I turned a bit to explain.  She complimented me and I was back to focusing on the last 2 miles.  As I passed the 14 mile mark I was astounded at how good my body felt with entering uncharted territory.  In fact...I kept thinking "I'm running the race of my life."  In true fashion, it was just my luck that at exactly 14.6 miles...when we start a decent and noticeable uphill for the last mile, the ever so frightening twinge of my left ITB decided to be present.  Was is all the turns...or how I adjusted my stride to chat with that lady?  I don't know exactly, but all I could think was "NOT now, DON'T mess with me!  It kept getting worse, Uh Oh!

Splits 9:11, 9:15, 8:58, 9:06, 9:16

The final .5

As silly as the girl thought it was that I would stop for a cup of water at the the 15 mile she yelled "You only have a half mile to go!"....I had to walk for a few seconds and assess the severity of my ITB's wonkiness.  I had to keep myself from concentrating on that dreadful day that Jeff had to come get me less than a half mile from home last summer, when my ITB took me out of all of my intended fall races.  It seemed to calm down with only a few steps so I picked it back up.   Now anyone who has run this race knows, the finish is cruel with it's uphill climb up Ottowa St.  I was working so hard to keep a steady shuffle and to tell you the truth...had the deafening cheers from the spectators on both sides of the street not been there, I'm not sure I wouldn't have finished walking.  I wanted to cry my leg felt so unstable...and I literally limped across the finish.

Split:  Garmin reads (.69) @ 9:25

Official Time  2:25:57 for 15.5 @ 9:24P

I can not believe how long that corral was as it seemed like another mile was added.  I turned around and waited for a few minutes to catch up with my rabbit and thank her for the push, but was unsuccessful in locating her.  Who knows, she could have passed me in that last bit.  If so, kudos to her!  Within a minute or two I heard Leah and Lainie screaming their heads off for me.  They both kicked some major ass that day!  I grabbed a couple rolls and some chocolate mile...the best I've ever tasted, and headed to the DetermiNation tent to regroup and head out.

We Did It!!

We snapped a quick pic and took off for our cars.  I was already running late heading to meet my Cleveland crew so we walked/shuffled/hobbled our way as fast as we could.  I was so glad that my ITB calmed down and didn't stiffen up, that walk did me wonders I think.  I got on the highway pretty easily and called Red to tell her I was going to speed my way to meet her!   I had a wonderful time reflecting on every inch of that course.  I was so proud of myself...for ALL that race represented....What an amazing Day! 

See You Next Year River Bank Run....I WILL be making this a yearly tradition!!


Jen B.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Beginnings of an Epic Race Weekend

Golly Jeepers, I hardly know where to start!!! I just had THE most amazing weekend with all things running related!!

Friday afternoon, after getting my hair did  (Thanks AJ), I headed for Grand Rapids to meet up with my lovely Abbey Road Runners teammates at our hotel.  I'm not going to lie, we were in the hood....Ann St., kinda industrial and sketchy, but close enough to downtown.  We were assured by the front desk that the place was full with runners.  Now if that doesn't make a nervous nelly long distance runner feel better, not sure what will...LOL.

As soon as I threw my bags in the room, we jetted for the expo to get our packets and race singlets.  The second we got downtown on Monroe St., I fell in love with Grand Rapids.  The Devos Center is absolutely gorgeous, and the energy of the race was electrifying.  We enjoyed the expo for a bit, but by then it was getting late and we were all starving.  We had decided a week or two prior to have dinner at Founders....a pretty well known Michigan brewery, and I'm so glad we did.  The atmosphere was so cool as the whole side of the building opened up to a large porch.  I was practically drooling over the specialty beer selection that they only brew in-house, and the bartender seemed more than excited to concoct his own pairings for us to sample.   The food was also great.  We shared a Tomato-Basil-Mozarella sandwich, a sandwich called the Tree Hugger (lots of veges with honey mustard), and chips and salsa (They were out of quacamole).  Being that Leah and I are vegetarians, they had many options for us to choose from.  We all made a pact that we HAD to come back and enjoy this town without an impending race.

The Abbey Road Runners....Carb Loading the only way we know how  :)

If it wasn't enough that we had to rip ourselves away from the most awesome beer Grand Rapids had to offer, our hotel had a D.J. dance party going on in the lounge when we stopped at the front desk for a few forgotten toiletries.  I was more than ready to get to bed, but my teammates, I'm pretty sure, would have been willing to take the chance and check it out.  Sorry ladies for being so "Mama" on your ass...but we had a race to run in the morning!  Hopefully, you don't still hold it against me  :)   We were in bed by a little after 10pm (way late for me, and way early for Leah), luckily I slept great!

With no surprise, my bowels internal alarm woke me up at about 4:20.  I'm got them trained, finally!  LOL.  After getting that out of the way, I spent the next hour or more hanging out in the bathroom eating my bagel, peanut butter, and banana....pinning my ribbons to my singlet...guzzling water....and planning my parking situation.  It was imperative that I parked somewhere that I could get out of Grand Rapids with the quickness.  Kyle (or team DetermiNation organizer) had stuck a number of options in my race bag...LOVE HIM!   I decided to park at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge and walk the half mile to Charity Village.

At about 5:30, I could hear Lainie starting to stir and promptly make the decision that it was a reasonable time for us to get up on a race day....I was more than ready to get things repacked so that I could leave at 6am to get downtown.  As the girls continued to get ready, I headed out.  I arrived at the parking lot with no problems and was actually very surprised at how quiet it was.  The 5k was set to start at 7 at which time lots of roads would be closed off....I think I expected more traffic. 

It's tradition to have a rainy day, and this morning didn't disappoint.  As I'm walking I am looking down to keep it from getting in my eyes, it dawns on me that I'm sloshing around in the shoes I intend to race in.....FAIL!!  Why...when I had a backup pair of Kinvaras in the car didn't I wear those to get all soaked in?  I had a vision of Jeffrey being very disappointed in me...he would have never done that...LOL.  I got to Charity village at just the right time as it started to pour buckets not two minutes later!  I can't tell you how blessed I felt to be in a cozy, wind breaking tent.  Oh and did I mention we had one of these.....

Oh yeah...our very own porto john.  Rock on!!

I can't tell you enough how well we were pampered by being charity runners!  We also had our own table of tasty snacks, coffee, our own bag check.....Amazing!!!  By this time...7ish...Lainie and Leah had made it to the parking lot, and texted me to let me know they were going to try and wait out the heavy rain in hopes that it would stop.  I got a call from Red....I'm not sure what all I said, but I know I wanted to puke and that I was freaking out enough to want to let her go to spare her from it.  She always has the most perfect things to say to invoke calmness and confidence.  Thanks girl!!  The rain actually did let up, and  it wasn't long before my teammates walked up.  They were excited to see the 5k instant energy boost.

I went through my bag and did my last minute preps....imodium (check), three gus in my spibelt (check), my race band from Races2Remember (check), my wrist rocker (check), Garmin (check), Bib and D-tag (check), Sanity....Well....kinda.  We took some photos with our team.....

My Race Band I designed from Races2Remember after wining a bloggy contest!!  Thanks Marlene!!!

Check em out!!

Getting Ready to Race our Brains Out!!

Before we knew it, Kyle announced we should get going to the start....all we had to do was walk down a flight of stairs and we were dumped into the coral.  The pacers were starting to line up and it was quite overwhelming.  I started to get a bit I always I ducked into a parking ramp to do a little warm up.

As much as I was hoping for a decent time, it didn't take much reminding of why I was actually running this particular morning.   I thought about my surgery and how I DIDN'T have cancer....I looked down at all of the ribbons pinned to my spibelt and how even though some of them are no longer with us, they were certainly about to run this race with me.  I prayed that their angel wings would help to carry me to the finish.....and how next year I hope to see more "In Honor" ribbons and less "In Memory" ones.  I can only hope that the money I raised during this experience will somehow change a person's life....I just know it will!!   I was really glad I took that final ten minutes to be alone and find clarity. 

As I came out of the ramp....Leah, Lainie, and I wished each other a good race one more time before we split up and found our spots in the crowd.  There was No looking back now....the whole crowd started to do the final countdown followed by lots of cheers and it was GO TIME!!

I get goose bumps just thinking about that moment....Next up, the race!!

Peace and Blessings

Jen B.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Race Weekend Extravaganza!!

The race week crazies are still in full affect.  I've been reading countless blogs about upcoming plans (and loving every minute of it), but I haven't been able to sit still enough to get my own thoughts down.  At this point, ANYTHING that can keep me from mindlessly snacking and stressing is exactly what I need to do, so here I am.

I've received my last newsletter from the DetermiNation team organizers, and I can't say enough about the hospitality of being a charity runner.  I mean, sure I did work hard to raise money for the American Cancer Society, but our own back check...private porto potty...and parking at the finish line?  Hey, it's the closest I'll come to feeling like an elite know I'm doing to live it up!!  I am so humbled by the wonderful generosity of those who donated, and being part of this team has been so sweet!!  It has just been such an amazing opportunity.  In that newsletter, we were giving a little push to keep our last minute rallies for donations alive.  It was an all out war to be in the top 5 yesterday, and I had an absolute blast "competing" with my teammates throughout the day.  Is there a better reason to compete with your friends than seeing who can raise the most money for charity?  I think not!!  I'm thinking this will certainly be an annual event!

I'd like to thank B.o.B from Discom-BOB-ulated Running for your donation.  
I am looking forward to meeting you in a few short days!!  

So here's the plan.....


The day will be filled with lots of list checking and hugging and kissing my kids.  This is the first whole weekend away from my family!  I can't believe it really, but it's probably a little past due  :)  I'm getting my hair cut in the afternoon, and then heading to Grand Rapids to meet my Abbey Road Runners Teammates at packet pick-up and also get my racing singlet.  I hope to have the chance to meet some of the other DetermiNation teammates before heading to dinner.  We are having dinner at Founders...a local Michigan Brewery.   After that it's off to bed.


I finally race...thank heavens!

There are a lot of things I'm planning to differently for this race than Martian.  I'm not going to list them here, but will share if they were good changes or not post-race.  My main goal is to enjoy the experience and fuel and hydrate enough so I don't feel dead afterward.  That in itself will be a huge success!!  When thinking of time goals, I think 2:25 is a realistic goal to shoot for, but 2:20 would really be tits.  I'm not hung up on it, and if I've learned anything from my Martian experience, there are sure to be wonky wooden bridges things along that course that I won't be able to control and might affect my overall time.  

Following my run, the REAL race begins.  I gotta book ass out of Grand Rapids to meet up with Redhead, Spike, and Bob in order to get to Cleveland in time for Beth to get her packet for the Cleveland Half Marathon on Sunday.  Five hours in the car following the longest run of my life...I know, I'm nuts.  I can't wait to enjoy a nice dinner out in a different city, and prepare to spectate my first marathon.  I am really looking forward to  the adventure of it all.  My life kinda resembles the movie Ground Hogs the excitement of going here and doing this, to then go there and do that is truly making me feel young  :)  I'm confident it will all work out...I have a plan and the will to make shit happen  :)


I'm pretty much in the passenger seat for the day...whatever they want to do, I'm down.  I'm just going to soak it all up, hopefully sans a duck waddle.   Go Beth Go!!!

Good luck to ALL who are running this weekend.  May your legs feel light and carry you to meeting and beating any goal you have set for yourself.  Your training is in the books so lets shoot for the moon!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.  Pardon my language...I'm in the middle of reading a book where the author constantly swears.  It's temporarily wearing off on me  :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Tuesday!!

Taper week and all it's glory is making me batty!!!   How is everyone else getting along?

I happened to watch a hilarious episode of Arthur this of my the girl's all time favorite cartoons!!! 

Peace and Blessings!!

Jen B.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Graditude is My Attitude.....

This time each week I review the previous one and list out my workouts and cumulative mileages.  This week I'm going to do things a little bit different.   I'm going to start it all off with a big huge Thank You!!!

I have been working so diligently raising money for The American Cancer Society for my upcoming race next weekend, and it has donned on my just how many of my bloggy friends have helped to support me.  I am continuously humbled by the generosity of people, many of whom I hardly know!!

Thank you Marlene from Mission to a(nother Marathon for your donation!!  I am loving your blog and all your mad training and race recaps.  You always have the most uplifting things to say to me through my blog, and I can't tell you how lovely it is to receive them.  They inspire me everyday!!!

Thank you Redhead from CAUTION: Redhead Running for your donation!!!  I can't say enough how lucky and honored I am to know you in "real" life.  Your strength and bravery through all these ups and downs over the last few months has kept me going with a smile on my face, even when I'd rather not do shit sometimes. 

Thank you Spike from Running Spike for your lovely donation....I love your DetermiNation to give more than Red  :)   Even though she already donated, it really was amazing that you too gave on your own.  I know, you're not married...blah blah, but you're a couple so it could have counted to give as a collective effort.   Thank you!!

Thank you Jessie from Live~Love~Run.  In the midst of raising money for autism and other important causes of your own, you found a way to give to something so important to me.  Thank you!!

Thank you Joanna from Joanna Runs!!  Girl, I cannot tell you how shocked I was to see your donation come through.   It was so nice to meet you at Martian, and I can't wait to give you a great big hug at Cleveland for your donation.  You really don't know how much your support means to me!!!

I'm so glad to have this place to share my gratitude to everyone that has donated.   There is a long list of people who have given money to support my efforts who are not part of this crazy blogosphere, and I will surely take time to thank them as well in other more conventional ways  :)

With all of your help I'm currently in Third Place with $961.96

I couldn't be more proud!!

If you haven't donated yet, and want the link below :)

Back to last week...mid week was sprinkled with a small bit of running, some weights and barely any biking.  I spent most of that week nursing my foot and muscle tightness issues in anticipation of my long run....which by the way never happened on Sat.  Throughout the day with all of the hoopla of Ella's Birthday party...I know, maybe it was the 10 screaming children running a muck at the bowling alley....I developed a splitting headache and took a nap instead.  I was ready to take off Sunday morning....and it went a little like this...

Warning to all of my Dailymile friends...I'm merely reposting the run so you can skip/skim if you'd

Country 14 Miler

With the River Trail a complete mess with all of this flooding, I decided to go out to my parent's house to get in this run. It was set to be my last mileage building run before Fifth Third. I was determined to make it a great run with proper hydration, fueling, music selection, route, and plan.

I set out feeling amazing with the mild temps and light breeze and had to keep myself from going out too fast. It was great to be out on the open road on a Sunday morning. I got to enjoy lots of wildlife and farm animals, and I got the feeling they thought I was a little crazy. At least the traffic was minimal :) At mile three the sun started to peak out and I was really happy to see it disappear a short time later. It kept things a little windier, but less humid or warm.

I stopped back at the house at mile 8 to hit the bathroom and gu/hydrate. Miles 6, 7, and 8 were into the wind and anyone who's been down Grovenburg knows the rolling hills are quite numerous. It was a much needed break! Back out I went for another out and back up to Holt Rd. I felt great until the turn around, as heading back into the wind and hills was much more challenging this time. I stopped long enough to turn on my 5k racing mix to get some decent techno going and just kept pushing through. The last half mile was a long downhill and I was pretty sore during this, but I did it!

My longest run to date is under my belt with two weeks until the race. I needed this so much, as I've been feeling like my body has been on strike for a week or two. Can't say my attitude has been much better...bad combo to have with a big race coming up so soon.

I feel really good post-run, which gives me hope for actually getting to enjoy Cleveland fully!!! It's going to be a great weekend, only thing to do now is survive the taper madness :)

Splits: 9:31, 9:40, 9:32, 9:04, 9:10, 9:23, 9:34, 9:17, 9:22, 9:19, 9:29, 9:50, 9:56, 9:45


I had been looking at the race maps and stumbled upon an elevation map on Map My Run, and it showed more than I had been training in currently, so I was glad this run with the elevation below went as well as it did.  It wasn't a cake walk, and there was just cause for the soreness in those last few miles.  I never did get the latent muscle soreness I usually do a few days out so maybe....shall I even fathom, that I might be getting somewhere with all of this.  Shhh....

Anyway...I hope everyone had a Fab week!  All of the recent race recaps have me itching to race!!!

Peace and Blessings!!

Jen B.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Whirlwind...Like Whoa!!

What a Week!!

I'm happy to report that my foot/piriformis muscle issue has "worked" itself out...Woohoo!  I happened to be reaching into the back seat to hand Ella a snack and my back cracked like crazy and the pain in my rear and foot are gone.  How's that for saving money on copays...rock on!!  You know what that means....tomorrows 14 miler is a GO!!

Speaking of baby turns 4 tomorrow!!!   It just doesn't seem possible!  This morning, a day shy of this monumental day, she sat on the counter licking a beater clean of cupcake batter while watching a real princess get married (you all know what I'm talking about...yes, I tuned in), and I stood there for as long as possible ingraining that moment in my brain.  It's like a reel of every precious memory leading up to this one replayed in my mind, and I couldn't help but get emotional and smile the biggest grin at how amazing she is.  In true fashion, she looked over at me as she could finally feel me starring and said "What Mom!"  I smiled and told her how cute she was, and that she must really like cupcake batter.   She knew it was all over her face and started to lick all around her lips.  Reading my mind she followed it up with...."Don't ask to take a picture, I don't want anyone to know I look silly."  I have to add that a few moments earlier I took Paige's picture after she decided to dip her pretzel into her paints and smear it all over her face and arms.  I sent it too a friend who I knew would get a kick out of it.  Anyway, just like that she is such a "Big Girl" that she doesn't want to be silly, or for me to smile at her, or even take her picture.  Perhaps, maybe, I'm a little sensitive today  :)

Last but not least, I thought I'd give a quick update on my DetermiNation fundraising.  For those that don't know, I'm running the Fifth Third River Bank 25k on May 14th, and am raising money for The American Cancer Society too!!  As it stands right this second I'm in Third Place with $936.96!!!  We are two weeks out from the race and I'm in the final push.  If you are interested in making a donation I would really love your help!!!   Just go to my donation page HERE and do so.  Thanks a bunch!!

The sun is finally shining here in Mid-Michigan....gotta get outside Stat!!


Jen B.