Friday, November 29, 2013

DIY riding costume... or "How to stuff a turkey costume for your turkey trot"

Eight days before my "Turkey Trot" race on Thanksgiving Morning... I got onto Google.  This is usually bad news for me, because I see some idea that I can't let go of and become obsessed.  

This time, I looked up "Turkey Trot Costumes" and scrolling through the images, it didn't take long to come across this beauty:

The website says it was the Turkey Trot from 2011 in Detroit... So, getting more specific in my Google search terms, I found a youtube video with the runner in action (which you can click here to see it, but you might want to fast forward to 4:25.)  and a blog about his costume!

After my detective work was done, I set to sketching and after two hours from the initial Google search, I had the head completed.  

Because I was in such a hurry, I didn't think this through in terms of blogging and didn't take many photos of the process to make this.  So, bare with me as I try to explain it...

I've made 90% of the costume with found objects in my random home.  I have lots of felt for all sorts of projects, so using some felt, some orange-ish 4-way stretch jersey material, a pool noodle, black pants, coat hangers and a pole I use in the garden for bean runners... I have my costume.  And a whole lot of pillow stuffing.  Some I had to pilfer from friends who had some old/extra pillows I could de fluff.  

First thing, my orange material was "tube shaped" like the material was meant to be sewn into a skirt.  So, I took the "waist" of the skirt-like tube and folded it down to the bottom and sewed the two together all the way around, except for a small hole to shove pillow stuffing and the pool noodle in.  

Next I cut an "x" in the crotch of some old black pants and sew the new opening around the doughnut-hole opening in the orange material.  This "x" has to be big enough to fit around the hole in the orange doughnut and big enough for me to jimmy on before a race.  :) 

Getting into this thing is a making for a bad video on youtube or something.  

Then next part, I had my husband place a tennis ball on the end of the "bean pole" so that if/when I tripped and fell over my costume, I wouldn't impale myself on the rod in the head.  Shove it in the turkey head, add stuffing and sew the neck shut and attach the pole through the "chest" of the orange doughnut and secure pole into the pool noodle with just about anything you can get to work...  We have a lot of hot glue, string and maybe even a little duct tape in the mix.  The tail is attached the same way, with some coat hangers within a couple of the feathers so that it didn't just flop down behind me and get dragged behind me on race day.  It did droop a little and I'll want to fix that somehow so I'm not irritating the serious racers around me when i run in it.

That's pretty much it.  Oh!  Except suspenders.  Suspenders are a must.  That is what I did purchase for the costume at the local thrift shop.  Attaching the suspenders to the orange doughnut, I had to be cautious stepping into the doughnut hole... not to get tangled in the suspender straps and hike the turkey butt up over my own.  That was a chore.  Most certainly something I needed help with.

I have very patient friends...

This is me taking the turkey out for a test spin.  It did great for those 2 test miles.

The reactions I got from witnesses of my test run would be a whole other blog entry...

On race day, I'd change how to get the tail to be a little more predictable and not so droopy and after 3 1/2 miles in it, my suspenders came loose.  I pestered two poor race volunteers at separate parts of the course to reach down into the "doughnut hole" and clip my suspenders.

I swear that isn't as naughty as it sounds.

After giving up on it working again,  I carried the turkey to the end/beginning of the race where I had one more loop to do.  I'll go into all of that when i get the race recap up... but for now, I think instead of suspenders that are removable with their clips... I'd sew in something much more permanent and no chance of snapping/breaking/coming undone.

Anyway.  I added some old back socks to the end of the pants for "boots" (with some white material from the old pillow for the "socks"), hot glued some painted cardboard on for buckles and used a black tech shirt and some white material for the pilgrim's shirt.

The hat is black poster board and a little bit of foam inside.  I hot glued a headband to it and it stayed on perfectly.  That's about all I can think of...  :)  I'll get the recap up soon and post a pic of it on race day.  I added a couple embellishments with jingle bells on the reins and black arm sleeves with white cuffs on my arms.

Did you do a "Turkey Trot"?  Do you ever run in costume?  DIY or store bought modified for running?

**I should add that this beast weighed 11lbs, so I'll probably want to figure out ways to lighten it up too**

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weight weighing on my mind. (Reflecting on the last 12 months...)

Without a doubt, the year is drawing to a close, and as we think about what we are grateful for, turkeys and shopping for gifts... maybe you are even getting a jump start on New Year's resolutions?  I am thinking about the year that has gone by (and so quickly too).

I have never ever been one for resolutions... I mean, the whole point of them is to brag on Facebook how quickly you broke them.  Right?  That's what it seemed like to me.  I'm sure there is a statistic somewhere about how many of those resolutions are based on weight loss and how many of those hopes and goals are forgotten before June.  I wasn't going to do that.  So... why even make some silly promise to myself anyway?   

That was before I saw this picture:

The photo that "said it all" to me.
 This is Christmas Eve 2012.  We are arranging presents under the tree and last minute decorations before the kiddos go to bed and I gobble down all of the cookies left out for "the big guy" who sneaks into houses and leaves presents behind.  Unless you get coal.

I was in total shock!  That's what I look like?  Denial was not even the right word.  I was mortified and shocked and afraid.  How would I ever get to a healthy weight?  Depression set in and I felt hopeless. My stomach over hangs and spills into my lap!  my breasts sit on top of the shelf provided by my large stomach.  My legs look like huge rain barrels to me.

It shouldn't of been too much of a shock.  I had just had Squeakers and had "baby weight" to loose, but even my maternity pants weren't buttoning up.  This was November 2012.  One year ago I looked like this:
I'm so big, I couldn't even button my pants!
A friend had great success at Weight Watchers, and as a Christmas present, offered to pay for my first two months in the program.  I was so skeptical.  Assigning "points" to food and eating "whatever you want" as long as you stay within your assigned point values sounded fishy to me.  

So, you could eat all your daily value in peanut butter and chocolate cups and starve for the rest of the day, and still be following the program?  Well, if you want to simplify it that much.  I learned so much about myself and the program I was so willing to dismiss since my New Year's resolution to "loose the extra fat".  I joined Weight Watchers in January and  I started pounding the pavement, rain or shine.  Exercise and looking at my food choices and portion sizes is my only secret to my success.

Jan 2013 in the freezing rain.
I'm not perfect.  I still have so much more to learn.  For example, I still stress eat and turn to peanut butter and chocolate cups.  I also still think of myself as fat.  I do, actually have a few pounds to go before I'm with in the "healthy" range on my BMI chart... but more than that... I still purchase clothes that I think are going to be too small and skeptical about it and then find out that it is actually too big.  

But this is my journey.  I thought I'd share a little more about that, because sometimes I forget about it.  About how far I've come and I forget to celebrate my successes instead of seeing them as small milestones in a goal that I still have so very far to go on.

For every pound lost, there is a 4 pounds reduction from knee joint stress.  That is great news, because there was a point where i was not sure if I'd be able to grow old in a home that required the use of stairs.  I could get on the floor to play with my children, but then I'd have to crawl to a sturdy piece of furniture to pull myself up again.

So much has changed.  For that I'm so grateful.

I can run and play and keep up with my kids.  I started a local chapter of Moms RUN This Town and I've finished two half marathons (within a month of each other).  I've lost 66 pounds.  Here's to a good finish to the year, despite the temptations and treats... and to a healthy 2014!

What a year it has been!

Tell me about your goals (for the new year?) or how you started running.  :) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Streaking through to the New Year!

Idly flipping through my Runner's World magazine while cross training on the stationary bike... I thought about my lack of motivation.  It was Sunday... my "long run" day.

However I was on day 15 of my "I can't seem to lace up my running shoes" streak. 

Then I came across an article about the holiday Running Streak to take place Thanksgiving day to New Years day.  Run every day for at least one mile.  Okay.  I can do that.  But I need to start now...

I have a 10K coming up on Thanksgiving Day to usher in the holiday and my first year of trying not to be a glutton.   I need to start training again!

So... today is day 2 of my run streak.  Yesterday was a slow and stiff one mile.  Today was an even slower three miles, but I think I'm getting my mojo back!

As you can see, my sweet Bugaboo wanted to run with me.  It has been even longer for her since she has been able to go for a ride.  And "Ludo" from our "Labyrinth" themed half marathon came with us.  This doll goes with us everywhere now... (he even has his own set of pajamas and clothes.)

So, you might just see more of "Ludo" on this run streak....

In the mean time, you might just find me on pintrest, drooling over pumpkin pie, eggnog, persimmon cookies, anything with chocolate in it, candied yams, homemade fudge and on and on.  This season is full of so many temptations that I usually walk out of it a full 20 lbs heavier.

What are you doing to stay healthy this holiday season?  Do you have any issues with food, over eating or lack of motivation to run or exercise?  ...My hibernation instinct is kicking in.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Overcoming my fears and traveling to volunteer...

Last week, I had the privilege of volunteering at the Silver Falls Half and Full Marathon!  This truly is a privilege as the race sells out in about ten minutes for the half and within a day (if not sooner) for the full.  Volunteers are a limited number and many would like the opportunity to go and help out and cheer on these amazing runners!  (...Not to mention get an entry into a future event for free.)
As you might have gathered from some of my other recaps, I'm a bling chaser.  I love that feeling of celebration a race brings for all that training and hard work and the token of accomplishment at a "well done" a fun finisher's medal can give hanging from your tired, aching neck.  

On my way to the race to start my volunteer shift, it occurred to me that I had no idea what the finisher's medal looked like, if it was "worth it" or if it was only available to finishers of the full and not the half... as I have goals on participating in next year's half.

So what was it that is drawing me to this race?  After reading some of the recaps of the amazing but challenging course, I'm not so sure how I'll fair.  Hills, mud, very cold rain, flooded trails, etc.  And amazing Oregon scenery.  Running behind waterfalls!  Look at the race photos on the website, they are ahh-mazing. 

Let me tell you a little about myself, what running has done to me and why I'm going after this race....

I'm an anxious person.  I am.  A wall flower even.  Driving far from home (over 30 miles) in a new area on roads I've never traveled on... scares the crap out of me.  Maybe literally.  So here I was, sitting in the driver's seat of my empty car driving 2 hours away from home for a race I wasn't even running.  

I was scared, but reveling in the new sense of adventure and being so proud of myself for this achievement, I could only blame one thing.  Running.

I really really want to be apart of this elite race that sells out so quickly.  I want to be apart of the pack that can say "I finished it."  "I survived the cold rain, the flooded creek, the crazy hill at mile 10 and the freezing temps.  My legs carried me, my training got me through and my spirit was ablaze and I could do it.  I did it."

But can I?  I have 12 months for doubt to set in and be fought off with cross training and building up some miles.

Any advice on trail running gear for the cold cold rain?  

I snapped a quick photo of the finish as I picked up any litter from the after party/recovery tent.  I got to help serve hot chili to the finishers and then scrubbed the dishes and helped break down "camp".  While cleaning up, the youngest finisher crossed the finish line at 5:56:49 for the FULL marathon.  His FIRST marathon.  His first half was at this event last year.  He is 11 years old!  WOW!

Everything is getting put away, but the beer tent is still open!  
 I think that nine out of ten runners told me "thank you" or "thank you for being here." which just gave me all those great warm fuzzies.  All I was doing was scrubbing pots and pans, how could that be helpful to their race?  But they walked past my sink and said it anyway.  :)

I think my volunteer supervisor said thank you to me more than 50 times.  Then, after the raffle and prizes for the finishers, the announcer called up all the volunteers and remaining finishers under the tent all clapped for us.  My wall flower tendency was in overdrive, but part of me was eating it up too.

Afterwards, the volunteers all received a tech shirt from the race.  I absolutely love it, though I feel like I still need to "earn it" by running the race.

Here is the finisher's medal, that also doubles as a bottle opener.  I asked a group warming up by the fire if they'd use it as a bottle opener after working so hard for it on the trail.  Without hesitation all of them said in unison "YES!"  Then someone dug out a bottle of beer in a near by cooler and showed us all how it worked.  

The welcoming fire place under the picnic area where food was served.  I was a wee bit grateful to be near the hot propane camp stoves with boiling pots of chili and the near by fire.  Temps were a November cold and the rain was also freezing.

Next year a ultra will also be offered in the line up.  This is going to be amazing. 

I need some serious tips on running in such cold and wet weather.  I'm a slow runner and going to be out there awhile.  Any advice is welcome!!