Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Part 2

Since Doug's birthday is the 23rd of December, I took the day off and we made a day of readying our house for the holidays because we were having guests over on Christmas Eve. In the 9 years we've lived together, this is the first time we've gotten a Christmas tree. I've always had a moral dilemma about cutting down a tree and then just throwing it out after Christmas, so this year we went to the local garden center and got a pine tree with the bulb of roots still attached so that we could plant it afterward. Since the bulb of roots are so big on a normal size Christmas tree, we went with a small tree with a more manageable bulb size. This is going to be a new tradition of ours and I can't wait to have a whole forest full of our old trees!

Our little tree with Monty the Moose

Doug's sister, husband and our nephew Jami came to visit this year from Charlotte, so we all went to Christmas Eve service at the little Pocono's church and then went back to our house for some appetizers and desserts. I didn't bother taking pics of the mini mac and cheese muffins or spinach and artichoke dip I made, but here are a couple of the goodies I baked.Yum.

On Christmas Day, Doug and I got up and exchanged our gifts before heading over to his parents for breakfast and to watch Jami open some of his gifts. A little later in the day, Doug's other sister, her hubby and 3 kids came up Christmas dinner with the whole extended family. It's always a bit chaotic with 20 people, kids high on sugar, dogs looking for handouts and more food than one house can hold. But that's what the holidays are all about right?

After dinner was wrapped up and the guests were gone, we sat down to exchange gifts with Doug's family. Now that the kids are older (7, 10, 10, 12) the gifts are a little more practical than the plastic toys of their younger years. Anna, the 7 year old, still gets toys, but the other kids mostly wanted name brand clothes and iPads.

We got David and Jami North Face fleeces (Becca also got one from Santa) and we got Becca the purple UGGS she had to have (which you can't see here, whoops.)

Anna's gift was a little different. Since Doug and I got our paddleboards this summer, Anna has become obsessed with learning how to surf. She came paddleboarding a bunch of times with us this summer, usually by herself because the other kids were playing soccer or basketball or swimming, as fell in love with the idea of being on a board. So, since this summer, she has told her teachers, grandparents, friends and Santa that all she wanted for Christmas this year is a surfboard. When I offered to help Anna's parents get her a surfboard through my store, they said no "we live in the Philadelphia suburbs, she'll never use it." So Doug and I offered to get it for Anna for Christmas and Kristie said no "she doesn't need it and she'll only use it a couple times a year." But every time we talked to Anna all she could talk about is surfing. She has watched the Soul Surfer movie about Bethany Hamilton probably 40 times and knows all the surfing lingo. So, despite Kristie and Derek's wishes, Doug and I surprised Anna with a surfboard for Christmas. We figured that even if this thing ends up being a piece of art in her bedroom, we had to feed her passion for wanting something so badly.

After the other 3 kids opened their gifts, Doug called Anna over and had a card for her that he wrote. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Doug was reading this.

As he finished up reading the card, I snuck out on the porch and grabbed the surfboard. The look on Anna's face was priceless (as was the look on her parent's face!!) and made it all worthwhile for Doug and me.

Surfer girl Anna

The next day when we went back over to see everyone again, Kristie told us that Anna slept on the surfboard. I went upstairs to say hi and she had the board on the bed and was practicing paddling and jumping up, you know, just getting ready for surfing season! I've never been so happy!! I guess paybacks could be a bitch when Doug and I have kids.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a very happy new year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Part 1

For the last couple of years we've found it a lot less hectic traveling before Christmas than during it, so we have been opting to see my family on the early side and see Doug's family for the actual day. We headed out to Utah December 15-20th for lots of family time and a little skiing time.

Since the snow was really non-existent, Doug and I met a friend up at Snowbasin for a change of scenery from the Cottonwood Canyons. There were only 2 lifts open and just a few runs off of each lift, so the skiing was pretty meager, but we had a great time hiking and finding bits of snow to ski on.

On Saturday night my dad took all of us to Cirque de la Symphonie at Abravanel Hall. It was the Utah Symphony playing traditional Christmas music with Cirque du Soliel performers swinging from the rafters in front of the orchestra. It was one of the coolest events I've been to and thought it was such a great deviation from the normal lots of gifts.

On Sunday we went up north to visit my grandparents and then headed out to celebrate Christmas with my mom, Jerry, Kyle, Whitney and Greg.

My mom was really excited to have us there

Whitney was obviously super excited too

Not sure about these two

On Monday morning Doug, mom and I headed up to Deer Valley for one more crack at snow. Since Deer Valley is super high end, we figured they would have the best man made snow and we were right. Quite a bit of the mountain was open (only groomers), so we were able to occupy ourselves for a few hours.

On Monday night, Whit and Greg came up and met us in Park City for a fancy dinner and then we all stayed in a really great hotel right on main street. This place had two huge bedrooms, a hot tub on the deck, a full kitchen and a roof top bar with a hot tub. The next morning Whit and Greg went to work and Doug and I went to the spa for a while before having to head to the airport to go home. It's always so sad leaving my family and the mountains, but I was happy to be heading home to our 2 furry children!

Check out this ad I saw in one of the magazines on the airplane...too bad it was too late to order it for xmas. (click on it for all the details!)

Christmas Part 2 coming soon!

Monday, December 12, 2011

iPhone photo dump II

I love going back and looking at some of the random photos I have on my phone. Every once in a while I like to dump them on my blog so you can too. Here you go...

Pre-marathon nerves

Cute little apt. we looked at

Loved this ad

Lazy dog yoga

Bulldog in Radio Flyer w/ t-shirt that says "Big girls are more fun." Touche.

Awesome NYC moment

Big Boulder Ski Resort - Lake Tahoe of the Poconos

Jersey's finest

Ugly dolls and tennis balls = happy dog


Monday, December 5, 2011

Animal Lover*

I'm an animal lover, but sometimes I feel like it gets me into trouble. I've had more animal encounters than I care to remember and I'm convinced it's because animals know that I don't eat their kind and so they consider me a friend (this sounds really crazy while typing it out).

One time while kayaking in Monterrey, CA I had a baby seal climb into my kayak. It was really cute, but I had no idea whether the mom would think it was cute or that I was trying to harm it. The little thing sate there for a few minutes just looking at me while I sat there motionless with my camera strapped uselessly around my neck. Then without cause, it slid off my boat and went on it's way.

Another time I was walking out of the subway in Times Square and all of a sudden a giant python, slithered/jumped onto my shoulders. Some freak show was using it as a prop, and then a horn started honking and spooked the snake right onto me. I stood there screaming, jumping up and down in the middle of Times Square while tourists took pictures like I was part of the show. I finally grabbed the snake and threw it back to the snake guy and got out of dodge. Perhaps this is why I hate Times Square so much.

In college, as I've written about before, I was attacked by a squirrel while walking our dog. The squirrel came out of nowhere and jumped onto my leg and held on for dear life despite my kicking like hell to get it off. Finally I gave one big kick and the stupid thing went flying into the grass. Ever since then, I've been deathly afraid of squirrels, like every time I see one my heart starts pounding a million times/minute and I start looking for people around me that might be able to help if I get attacked. Eww...I'm having severe palpitations as I type this.

So a couple of months ago, when we had a little squirrel friend take up residence with us, I hit my random animal encounter limit. I'm a nature girl and appreciate wildlife like the best of them, but I prefer that it is outside of my living space, be it my house or my tent. Since we haven't seen any trace of the squirrel in the house in a while (poop by the windows, bite marks in my garlic, holes in my GU), we thought we were free of it. Apparently not.

When we got to the lake house on Friday night, I ran inside to go to the know, long car ride + diet coke = mad dash to the bathroom! Just as I was about to sit down I saw this:

Um, yeah. Squirrel in toilet. WTF?

"Eeeeeeeek, EWWWWWW, OMG - Doug...please come upstairs now! OMG, ewwwww, OMG." Doug came up and was as mortified as I was but he knew he was going to be the one taking care of it. Luckily (or not for the poor squirrel), there was no "catching it in a coat and smacking it with a hammer" necessary, Doug just got a shovel to scoop it out with and a garbage bag to catch it and then took it out to the garage.

Doug is convinced this is the same squirrel that invaded our house last time because "they were the same size" and I really hope he's right, otherwise we have a squirrel problem that needs dealt with asap!

I may start eating animals again because none of this happened when I wasn't a vegetarian. Not really, but COME ON ANIMALS...I LEAVE YOU ALONE, SO LEAVE ME ALONE TOO!

Monday, November 14, 2011

2011 Iron Mike Virtual Tofurky Trot

Last year I started what I hoped would become an annual virtual run on Thanksgiving day. The premise was that most of my friends are spread out around the country, so it's impossible to get together and go for a run. I figured that if we all ran virtually, it might be close to the same thing. It also helps get me out the door, knowing that I pledged to be out there and knowing that my friends did too. Those of you participated last year know that your "prize" for doing so was a Starbucks gift card. This year I want to do something different/much better!

3 1/2 years ago my college diving coach passed away from a battle with lung cancer. He was the epitome of health and was an inspiration to everyone who had the chance to know him. He could be tough, but I always knew that he wanted us to be the best we could be and so he pushed us hard. But he cared a lot, so I worked harder for him (well, most of the time...I was a brat sometimes, particularly at 6am practice). I still think about Mike on every run, every hike, every bike ride, every activity I do because I know that he would have been pushing me harder. His voice in my head keeps me going...I can hear him saying "Raise the bar and change the attitude Kelli!"

So, in an effort to keep Mike's memory at the top of mind, I want to dedicate this virtual run to him. In doing so, I will donate $5 to the Iron Mike Memorial Fund for those of you who email me and tell me you
are running virtually with me on Thanksgiving (I will donate for the first 20 people, but would love to have as many running as possible!) If you feel moved to donate to the memorial fund on your own, here is some information so you can do so:

Wildcat Aquatics – Iron Mike Memorial Fund
Lancaster Aquatic Center
416 Complex Dr.
Lexington, KY 40506-0219

My email is kellijamison at gmail dot com or feel free to message me on Facebook to secure your spot. I can't wait to virtually run with all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 NYC Marathon

This was my 5th time running the NYC marathon and my 7th marathon in total. The short version of the story is that I ran a 3:40 flat. Third best time overall, but one of the more painful experiences I've had.

People always talk about NYC being a really tough course because of the hills and the bridges (which are hilly). Compared to Boston and San Francisco marathons, I never thought that NYC was hilly. I guess my problem with the course is the monotonous stretches of flat sections that seem to go on forever...especially if you know the city and know how much further you have to go.

Miles 1-8 I felt really great, in fact, probably too good. The beginning of the race is so magical, that it's really hard not to get caught up in the adrenaline of the crowd. I started out way too fast (like 7:25-8:00 range) and I knew it, but I just figured I would "bank a little time" so that I could afford to slow down later if I had to. I've heard people say that before and also heard them say it doesn't work, so maybe not such a great strategy after all, but whatever.

Miles 9-16
My sweet hubby met me at mile 9 and jumped in to run a few miles with me. We had a nice time chatting about the weather, making fun of other runners, looking for friends on the sidelines and before we knew it, we were crossing the halfway point. I still felt good at that point and hit the half somewhere around 1:46, so on target for a decent time if I could keep it up. We kept trucking through Queens and finally got to the bridge that leads into Manhattan, right around mile 15. The bridge is over a mile long and has a nice steady climb for quite a while. It's a really lonely time because there are no spectators on the bridge, so all you can hear is your belabored breathing and heavy footsteps. This is the point that my head started going mental. I was just tired of running and kind of over it all at that point...a little earlier than normal for me.

Miles 17-23
The bright spot in my day was knowing that I had friends waiting for me at mile 17 with a PB&J sandwich. Because the race starts so late (9:40 for the first wave), I'm always so hungry throughout the whole race since we run right through lunch. GU gels and chomps just don't do it for me, so my lovely friend Flora made me a lunch to go! I've never been so excited to see anyone in my life when we picked Sam and Flora out of the crowd. She handed me my sandwich and Sam handed Doug a Dunkin Donuts Glazed Donut! We were quite the site running up 1st Avenue having a veritable feast...people were so jealous! Unfortunately, peanut butter is a little hard to eat while running since it just sticks to your mouth, I was breathing like a pug in heat. Perhaps the donut is the way to go next year!, because Doug was as happy as a clam.

Doug's original plan was to run with me until about mile 18 and then peel off to go try to see me one more time before I finished. But, he saw the look on my face when he said he was going to head off the course and decided to stay on with me through the Bronx. I was hurting pretty badly and my head was not in a good place. I usually get stronger as I go along, but not on Sunday, it was a mental struggle after the half way point right up until the end.

Miles 23-26.2
Once we got ourselves out of the Bronx (which is hilly and not a lot of fun), I knew that my company's cheering section was coming up pretty quickly, so I put on a fake smile and a nice strong gait for 2 blocks before we got to them, you know, just for pictures sake. Once we passed them I slogged along (like, 9:20-9:40 slogging) for a bit and then Doug jumped out and left me to my own devices and crazy voices in my head. I put my tunes in my ears, pumped them up, said screw it (or something like that:) and just gave what I had left. Somehow I got my pace back down around 8:30 for the 24th mile and then down to about 8:12 for the final couple of miles. I have no idea where that came from, but I guess my body wasn't done even though my mind had been retired for a while. I crossed the finish line in 3:39:59 according to my Garmin and 3:40 flat official time, round numbers are much nicer anyway.

Fake cheese

Once I finally waded through the crowds to get my bag, I beat feet (ed?) it to meet Doug at our car to get the hell out dodge. For our late lunch, we went to Chili's to load up on chips and salsa and then headed home for a little relaxation. I was quite happy lying in bed at 6pm and could've gone to sleep, but I was already getting hungry again and knew I would wake up starving in the middle of the night, so we started thinking about dinner plans. Amazingly, I had the biggest craving for Taco Bell...I can't remember the last time I went there. I just needed a bean and cheese burrito! Doug agreed and so we went on a quest to find one. About an hour later of driving around, we were stuffed with the dinner of marathon champions...fake beans and who knows what else!

I'm happy to have #7 in the bag and am looking forward to running for fun and gearing up for ski season in the next couple of months!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh, Hey There

Neglect has come in many fashions in the last month, house cleaning, blog writing, hairdo's, phone calls to friends and cooking at home. Work has been non-stop with an event every Tuesday for the last month. On top of that, we filmed our second commercial on Friday. Somewhere in all of that I've been "training" for the marathon, so I'm pretty much a dead beat when I get home at night (which has been really late most nights).

The commercial was the most exciting of the many projects I've been working on because they asked me if our dog Zoe could be in it! The scene would be an Upper East Side woman in one of our fashion coats walking a dog down the street. Zoe did an exceptional job and I'm just hoping she makes the cut! Here is a picture of her in her car service to the set:)

I had to hide out most of the time she was on set, otherwise she just wanted to run to me. So, I made myself useful by helping the crew close off our side of the sidewalk to pedestrian traffic. A couple of guys walked up towards me and I asked them kindly to cross the street and use the other sidewalk, they obliged. As soon as they walked to the other side, one of the production guys told me that I just told Matthew Broderick to cross the street for our little commercial. Nice work KJ. In my defense, he looked really old and frumpy...he's no Ferris Bueller anymore.

This weekend is the NYC Marathon, so the city is a buzz with runners. It's such a fun time to be in the city and always so great to be able to run it. I really don't have a lot of high hopes for the race this year. I'm not pushing it because I've had a nagging quad injury that's still pretty pissed at me. I'm going to take it easy and enjoy the sights this year. I've got friends staked out in different parts of the course, each with a job. My friend Flora is in charge of my lunch...PB&J, Doug is meeting me at some point and running with me to keep me entertained and our company has a big cheering section that is making signs to keep us going. I guess since I don't have a goal in mind, I'm not feeling any pressure, which is kind of nice for a change. We'll see if that changes on Sunday morning when I line up with everyone, but hopefully I can keep myself contained.

Friday, October 7, 2011


About a year ago I was so tired of living in Manhattan that I told Doug we had to get out. So, we looked across the river in Jersey City, found something we really liked and got out of Manhattan. Now, I totally miss living in the city, I miss running in Central Park, I miss taking a cab home if I need to and I miss having my friends come over and just chill on the couch (for some reason, Jersey City seems so far to people).

There are a lot of pros to living in NJ. Much cheaper rent, walk in closets, washer and dryer in our apt., a balcony, beautiful views of NYC and did I mention cheaper rent? Some of the things I don't like are: it feels so lonely and far away from all of my friends, a cab home late at night costs $55, the restaurants by us aren't go0d and the demographics are so very different than what I'm used to. The area is primarily families from India and China that have the grandparents living with them, so they really aren't very social with people outside of their family, it's quite an insular community. In fact, the only people I know are our 3 neighbors and I've never gotten past the weather forecast with them.

Our lease runs up at the end of November, so I think we're going to start looking at moving back into the city. The Upper West Side is sounding very appealing to both of us. We've always lived in a newer, full amenities building with a concierge, gym, new appliances, etc. This time I think we are going to look at more traditional brownstone apartments with a lot of charm. And on the UWS, we'll be right by Riverside Park and Central Park, so I'll be a very happy runner.

Moving in the city is such a pain in the ass and the thought of packing up all of our stuff again and moving it across the river makes me want to throw up, but staying out in no man's land sounds a little worse. Doug thinks I'm a crazy person and that the grass is always greener on the other side for me. I say, I know what I want and I just haven't found it yet, maybe because there's not enough grass here in the first place.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Home Invasion

When I walked into our lake house on Friday night, I knew something wasn't right. The baggy of dog treats that had been on the counter was torn apart on the floor, a candle was tipped over on the ground, the blinds on one window were down, magazines that had been on the coffee table were all over the floor and our wall sconce light was turned 90 degrees. I left the evidence as it was and ran out to tell Doug that someone or something had been in our house. I strapped on some "cajones" and started tiptoeing around from room to room looking for signs of our intruder. When I got upstairs to where the master bedroom is, it was really dark but I could see that our phone was on the ground. I yelled out to tell Doug that it had been in our bedroom and all of a sudden I heard this load rustle and then crash in our room. I hightailed it downstairs and right outside and stayed there for the next hour. At this point I still didn't know what the heck it was in our house.

Dog treats

Doug opened all of the doors to the house and armed himself with a broom to see if he could scare this thing out. I watched from a nice safe distance through the screened in porch. The next thing I know, Doug flipped on our bedroom light, let out a little yelp and I see this furry little critter flying down the stairs. Doug confirmed that the furry little critter was a arch nemesis in the animal world (sidenote: I was attacked by a squirrel while walking in college and I have been terrified of them ever since).

After the little thing ran downstairs, Doug poked and prodded around to make sure it had gone outside and when he was sure that it had escaped through one of the doors, I let the dogs in to double check. (I didn't let them in earlier because I could only imagine the Tom and Jerry chase scene that would ensue and the destruction it would cause.) The dogs didn't even pick up a scent, so I just assumed all was good. I spent the next hour cleaning up massive amounts of squirrel poop (ewwwwwwww) and then we all went to bed, shutting our bedroom door just in case.

Those are not just specks on the woods

No, our dogs did not pee on the rug, some other furry thing did

Saturday morning Doug got up to let the dogs out and when he got to the kitchen he found a couple bowls tipped over and my packet of GU, that I had laid out for my long run, torn open and gone. it has lots of energy

Crap, that stupid thing was still in the house. Our dogs are useless! They did more damage to the stuffed squirrel they have. (I wonder what intruder squirrel thought of this guy as he passed him on the stairs!)

We continued to hit things with the broom, look under couches, behind the fridge, everywhere and still couldn't see or hear anything.

We did notice that the fireplace door was a little opened, so we quickly shut it and barricaded it with a big, heavy bin. And then Doug secured it with duck know, because it's just not fully secure until the silver wonder tape is on there.

Look who finally seems to smell something. Good work Ciena, only 14 hours too late.

Since we barricaded the fireplace, we haven't seen any signs of the squirrel, so either it's still in the fireplace or it found a way out. I guess when we light our first fire of the year, we'll find out if it got out or not!

Monday, September 19, 2011

8 years of wedding bliss

The Slug and I are celebrating our 8th year of officialness (9/20) with an evening run and then a nice sweaty dinner afterward...romantic eh?! That's kind of the way that we roll, and have rolled from the beginning. I have more pictures like this

than I do wedding pictures, and I'm actually okay with that. It's been 8 years (and a few before that) of adventures and I'm hoping for 78 more years of the same.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blue Ridge Relay 2011

This is what my weekend looked like at the Blue Ridge Relay: 208 miles, 28 hours of running, 9 runners. This is my 3rd year doing this race and as long as I'm able, I will do it. Every year I say it's the hardest physical thing I do all year. Marathons are really hard, but more on the mental side. This race is purely physical.

The typical relay team has 12 runners, but we've been doing it with 9 because it gives us all an extra run and we end up not sitting in the van in between runs as long as a 12-person team would. And believe it or not, it helps the stiffness a lot. Here is a breakdown of my four runs...

Leg 1 - 7.5 miles
- 10:00am Friday

Starting a weekend of running with a 7.5 mile downhill bomb, losing over 1200 ft. of elevation, is pretty bad for the quads. Of course, they threw a really nice super uphill section in the middle of the downhill (which, for some reason, barely registers on the chart) to break it up. It felt like Mt. Everest after cruising downhill at a mostly out of control pace.

Leg 2 - 6.3 miles - 5:30pm Friday

Even though this wasn't supposed to be a very tough run, it was a struggle for me. It felt like once I started to climb, the road would make a turn and keep on climbing. There was a particularly tough long climb that I refused to walk up, but I should have because I'm quite sure I looked like a turtle. I tested out the Chi Running side shuffle up the hill and it saved me!

Leg 3 - 7.5 miles - 2:00am Saturday

Middle of the night running is heaven to me. It's so peaceful out, especially in this area. Before I took off, the volunteer woman, who was a local, told me "I hope you brought mace because there's some crazy people and some crazy dogs out there", no, I don't have mace...eeek! But, all went well. I only saw two other runners the whole time. I passed one guy a couple miles in and then got passed by one of the crazy ultra runners. I was a tad delirious on this run, so every mailbox I saw was a potential bear, every tree stump a rabid dog and every leaf a frog. This was probably the hilliest of all of my runs, but once again, my only goal was to not walk and I made it!

Leg 4 - 7.5 miles - 7:30am Saturday

This leg wouldn't have been bad if my legs didn't feel like tree stumps starting out. Every step I took hurt. I ended up charging as hard as I could and went a 7:51 pace. It hurt to go slowly and it hurt to go fast, so I opted for getting done as quickly as I could!

My total mileage: 28.8 miles
Total sleep: 1 hour

Here are some pics of our team and the beautiful scenery...

This is part of the uphill I was talking about on my first leg. No bueno.

On my way into transition after leg 2. I got all dramatic after I finished this one and threw myself to the ground gasping for breath.

Doug, not so slug-ish, charging to the finish

Our fearless captain, Mama CKH

Girl power

Goonies in the Boonies

My buddy Kelsey from NYC. Swooped in and filled a spot on our team at the last minute!

Doug and Meg-O

RunningJustAsFastAsWeCan Teams 1 & 2

Our team ended up 47th out of 120 teams with an average 8:26 min/mile, which we thought was great considering the mountains we had to climb!