Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Pigmas!

Happy Holidays from the piggies Edgeworth, Gruden von Squeakycheeks, and Apollo!
Merry Pigmas from Gruden von Squeakycheeks!

Little Dummer Pig Apollo

Hello birdie

Happy Holidays from Edgeworth!


*yay pigmas!*

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Costumes Makes Michigan Runner Magazine!

I was lucky enough to have Tracey Cohen take a picture of my Thanksgiving Dinner costume for her Ann Arbor Turkey Trot article, which has been published in the January / February 2014 Michigan Runner magazine! It's on page 24 of the hard copy, page 43 of the online copy, the latter of which is available here: !

Delicious turkey dinner.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Running Infographic

I muchly prefer the hot and humid summer temps over the bone-chilling weather of winter. Based on information from local running store clinic, I crafted the below infographic illustrating some hot tips for winter running.

You can also download the Winter Running Infographic in PDF format.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday Hustle 5K - Reindeer Shoes and Big Hair

Race: Holiday Hustle 5K
Race Date: Saturday, December 7th

The Holiday Hustle 5K is one of the few races in the area that's an evening race. The 5K starts at 4:30 p.m., so by the time people are finishing, it's just getting dark and you can see the Christmas lights twinkling on everyone's festive outfits. It's perfect timing.

This year's Holiday Hustle bib added to the collection.

Several weeks before the race I picked up an ugly Christmas vest and a snowman turtleneck at a local thrift store for a few bucks. I was a little late in shopping; it was pretty slim pickins for ugly holiday sweaters. But my vest was pretty tacky so I could roll with it.

The center piece for this outfit was the wig. I stuffed the wig with poly stuffing to make it puff out, and then wrapped a garland around it. The garland was secured by using the wig's hair strands to tie it in place. Way easier than using a needle and thread to secure the garland (my original plan.)

The garland had tiny presents along its length. During the race, I had a girl ask me if she could have a piece of chocolate from my wig. She thought the presents were wrapped treats! That's actually a pretty great idea to put food in there. It could be my very own traveling aid station!

The wig with its fancy garland.

Originally, I was going to run in my Adidas, but I found a pair of red shoes for $12 at Payless. Then I was on a mission to decorate the shoes. The reindeer came from Target at $2.50 a pop. The reindeer were super glued onto the canvas shoes and took a day to dry. Glittery stickers were glued onto the shoes once the reindeer had dried.

So majestic.

Bows on the back.

To round out the rest of my outfit: Santa stocking socks, green ornament earrings, snowman gloves, and Christmas tree sunglasses. The round lenses from the shades went well with big hair, plus they were glittery. You can never have enough glitter.

Getting my bib for the race!
Photo by Greg Sadler

It was chilly that day - around 20F and a bit windy before the race start - so I was very glad for my nice warm wig.

Looking awesome in our festive flare.
Photo by Larry O'Sullivan

The wig stayed on for the most part until the last half mile. At that point the bobby pins in the front of the wig had worked themselves loose and the wig started to slide backwards. I had to support it a bit during that time by putting a hand on it, but I received a lot of compliments on the hair style, so it was well worth it.

Race start!
Photo by Greg Sadler

Sadly, my reindeer didn't make it through the race. One of them worked itself loose during the first half mile, the other one fell off with a half mile to go. They were glued on okay, but the glitter coating of the reindeer that I liked so much turned out to be their undoing. The styrofoam separated from its glitter coating, so I still have glittery bits stuck to my shoes. When the reindeer fell off, I chucked them to the side of the road so I could pick them up later. The red one I found, but the green one went missing. Maybe he's found a new home.

What's left of the reindeer. Now to figure what else I can stick on there!

My time ended up being 34:47, a 11:13/mile pace, which is a little faster than the 12:30/mile pace I was going for. Must've been the hair that made me a little too fast.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ann Arbor Turkey Trot - Thanksgiving Dinner Costume: The Return of the Turkey Dinner

Race: Ann Arbor Turkey Trot
Race Date: Sunday, Nov. 28th, 2013

The second outing of the Thanksgiving Dinner costume, this time on Thanksgiving day! This race was untimed, so no pressure there. The glass and corn came off the costume during the last race, so I glued another glass on the table and put carrots on where the corn used to be.

The race took place downtown Ann Arbor. It started to snow right before the race, so things were a little slick. My drinking glass was half-way filled with snow! The race went down Main St. down to Michigan Stadium and looped back up around. A little hilly, but not bad.

About a mile in I had a costume malfunction. Under the table I had a bag stuffed with coats and blankets, which helped support everything. During the run a coat fell out of the bag and onto the road.  A super nice woman stopped and helped me get the coat back into the bag; so thankful that she stopped! After getting everything situated, I tootled on, past the hot chocolate aid station and onwards to the finishing line.

Photo by Michigan Running Man

After the race my tiny T-Rex arms were shaking from supporting the table for so long. It's an awfully good arm workout!

Michigan Running Man captured a video of the 3,000 runners. I'm tootling around in there around the 1:20 mark.

 Such fun!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kona Chocolate Run - Thanksgiving Dinner Costume

Race: Kona Chocolate Run
Race Date: Sunday, Nov. 17th, 2013

The Kona Chocolate Run had a costume contest for this race so I had to think of something. Costume categories were: chocolate, superhero, or holiday.

I couldn't think of a superhero that I wanted to be. Cat woman, Wonder Woman, and Bat girl costume ideas didn't really make my skirt fly up.

The chocolate theme had potential and I looked at quite a few tutorials on how to make a Hershey Kiss costume.

But the holiday option - now we're talking. So many options! I knew I wanted to go with Thanksgiving instead of Christmas because hey, it's still before Thanksgiving, gosh darn it.

I've gotten a kick out of my turkey hat in years past, so I was thinking about what to do with a turkey a turkey dinner! Of course! The options for decorations are endless.

...and back!

The costume took a couple of weeks to put together. It's not hard, but takes awhile due to the glue needing to dry between steps. Here's what went into the costume:

Structure Materials:
 2 x 30" by 15" foam core
Tacky Glue
2 rolls of White Duct Tape

Turkey hat
Plastic plate
Fake food
Plastic glass
Candle holders
Decorative leaves and fruit
Cloth napkin
Place mat

I put together an Instructable on how this was made. It's pretty easy!

One of my favorite things about this costume was how easy it was to customize. Looking for usable items for the table in thrift stores was half the fun.

Delicious fake food! Mmmm gravy.

To support the table, I ended up pinning a bag stuffed with a blanket to my chest. It helped and allowed me to rest my arms at times, but I realized that I would not be able to run normally as a turkey dinner, so I adjusted by pace. My arms were sore the next day from holding the table, it ended up being quite the workout!

Karyn and myself pre-race!
Photo by Karyn

 There was a cold rain at the start, which did a number on the glue on my glass and corn, and my taper candle didn't survive the race with my weeble wobble running. Still, I'm impressed that everything else stayed on!

Near the very end of the race, a woman in front of me said "I can't be beaten by the turkey dinner!" So I sped up a bit and when she turned around I was right there. She really took off after that! I wasn't going to pass her, just trying to help her in her final kick. Motivated by a turkey dinner.

Almost to the finish line!
Photo by

My time ended up being 39:03,  12:35 mile/pace.

The race was huge - 6,000 runners and walkers! - and the finish line was pretty crowded as the 10Kers and the faster 5Kers had already finished. People were really nice and let me, the big ole table, navigate my way through the chocolate line crowd.

This was the inaugural Kona Chocolate Run and it had a few minor bumps, one of them being that the chocolate line was incredibly long. I heard later that it was a 45 minute wait. My brother, his girlfriend, and I skipped on the chocolate because of the wait time, but the Kona folks have already started working on improvements for next year, including better chocolate line traffic flow.

My costume was one of the winners! There was a super cute gingerbread girl I saw in the costume judging line in front of me. I hope she won too, she was absolutely adorable.

Not my fastest time, but it was certainly one of the funniest!

Finish line!
Photo by Greg Sadler

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K - Gobbler Turkey Costume

There are two Ann Arbor Turkey Trots in Ann Arbor. This one is hosted at Hudson Mills Metropark and is a lovely, slightly hilly course. It's mostly paved trail but there is a bit of gravelly road. My 10K PR came on this course, but today I was sticking with the 5K.

The weather was sunny and awfully windy.

Gobbler costume
A billion safety pins

This costume was the hardest thing I've ever had to run in. There is a small mesh panel so you can see, but the costume does not sit easily, so the mesh panel is always migrating downwards until all you can see is the ground.

It took 40 minutes to finagle with getting the costume on, and I still wasn't happy with it by the time I needed to head to the starting line. I put on the tutu, safety pinned that to my running tights, and then pinned up the turkey drumsticks so I could run more easily.


I tried pinning the costume in all sorts of ways to help see better, but it wasn't happening, so I was stuck with holding it up. The sunny day was beautiful, but it was reflecting off the mesh that was letting me see out of the costume, so I could barely see at times, eep!

Because the mesh panel that let me see out kept wanting to slide down, I had to run with one hand at all times holding the top of the costume up. This is not easy! I kept having to switch arms because my tiny t-rex arms were getting so fatigued. My arms were still sore later in the day from keeping the costume up. But it had to be done!

One of the highlights of the run was coming up along a man pushing his kiddo in the stroller. The little man in the stroller was telling his dad that he was done with running (we were maybe a mile in.) When I passed them, the dad said "Look, a turkey1 Do you want to run with the turkey?" There was a long pause and then an "okay." Kid approved! That made the whole costume worth it.

There were a lot of "go turkey!"s at the finish line which really helped me - I was bushed! Some people really got a kick out of the costume, but I would not suggest this one for racing. Way too difficult to see out of.

Red Carpet 5K - Shoes

This one's from back in August, but is the Red Carpet Run is my favorite race of the year. Everyone is dressed to the nines!

My fabulous shoes: 

They're $9 shoes from Target with black fabric flowers and white feathers glued on.  They held up great!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Halloween 2013 Races - Peacock Costume

I was at a local thrift shop looking for inspiration for what to wear for this year's Halloween races when I discovered a beautiful teal dress. The fabric had a great shine to it, and the bodice had sequins; perfect for a peacock costume! I picked it up for $8 and then was on a quest to find other pieces to complete the costume.

Party City offered quite a few peacock items this year. I picked up:
  • Peacock feather gloves
  • Black and blue feather boa
  • Peacock fan feather wings (this what became the tail)

Also purchased:
  • 36"-40" feathers from I ordered 50, but 30 would've been fine. I discovered it's much cheaper to order online than buy in stores.
  • Blue duct tape
  • Foam core
  • Flat sequin shoes from Payless. I am a minimalist runner, so as long as the shoe had zero drop or close to it, I was good to go.
  • Blue gloves
  • Tacky glue

Items I owned already and that were put to use:
  • Peacock earrings 
  • Peacock feather hairclips.

I cut out a piece of foam core that was the same shape of the feather tail and then wrapped the foam core in duct tape. This piece would be the support for the peacock feathers. The foam core isn't waterproof, so the duct tape made sure the structure would stand if the weather wasn't favorable. The duct-taped foam core was glued with tacky glue to the tail and left to sit for a day.

When first adding the feathers, I sorted through them and took the longest ones, and added those to the tail with the peacock eye facing away from the back. I originally tried to tacky glue the feathers down, but the shaft of the feathers were not sticking very well. I discovered that duct taping them was much easier! I taped down a row of long feathers, and then did another row of shorter feathers. A few more rows were added, trimming the feathers as needed.

For the shoes, I added gold glitter around the edge, but this ended up coming off in the wet grass. I took four peacock eyes from my feather pile and glued a feather on top of the shoe, and one on the side. The feathers stayed on just peachy.

The shiny shoes!

For the feather boa, I pinned it onto the dress with safety pins. This way I could easily remove the boa and wash the dress later. 

For makeup, I went heavy on eye shadow called "peacock."

It was pretty chilly out when I was wearing the costume, so I wore black long-sleeved shirts and black running tights under the costume.

The outfit was a hit! Nothing like a costume with some height. And peacock feathers are so pretty!

At the start of the Wicked Halloween 5K!
Photo: Greg Sadler Photography

There wasn't that much drag. It felt like a light tug on the back of your shirt. So not too bad at all.

Feathers flying toward the finish!
Photo by Greg Sadler Photography

This costume ended up winning the 2013 Wicked Halloween 5K/10K costume contest! I was awfully excited about that, there was some stiff competition!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Benito and Friends Go to the Vet

The guinea piggy Benito has been losing chunks of hair lately. He hasn't seen itchy or moody, so it wasn't a piggy emergency, but I did want to get him over to a piggy professional. Luckily, Dr. Marsh at the Animal Kingdom in Saline is amazing with the little fuzzies.

I packed up Benito and his piggy friend Gruden von Squeakycheeks so Benito would have someone to chat with on the drive over. Edgeworth was in his own carrier  - he was going to get his nails trimmed - and sat in the passenger's seat. He ate his parsley that I put in the carrier for him, and then stared at me the rest of the drive there.

Bentio hides under Gruden von Squeakycheeks.

Benito turned out to have a skin condition that isn't painful or itchy. He has lots of  scurf, which looks looks like dandruff. There's no way to get rid of it other than giving him a bath every day. Benito doesn't really like baths, so we're going with the second option and giving him a good brushing every once in a while. Glad it's just something cosmetic and the little guy isn't comfortable in any way!