Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Magic Kingdom

Ever since the Turtle moved into our place, I have been dying to fill this HUGE space in our stairwell with a painting. Every time I walk down the steps it's blank whiteness begs me to put something there. Four years after the Turtle moved here (and 2 years after I have), I've finally done it!

It never occurred to me as I struggled to stuff all 3ft x 4ft of canvas into my backseat that I might be biting off a little more than I could chew.

What have I gotten myself into?!

The only way to sketch was to stand the canvas up because I couldn't stretch far enough to reach all of it was lying down. I started to feel overwhelmed when I got going because it is really hard to get perspective on something so big! I had to keep stepping back to get a clear view of it, and then by the time I stepped closer to sketch more, I lost all perspective again.

This was going to take forever.


But oddly, once I got the initial sketch of the castle done, the painting went really smoothly.

I'll admit, I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to do this painting. But once I stepped back and saw how the well the castle had come out, my worries melted away!

And finally, after tweaking it 3 times after I swore I was done (the problem with having it propped up and staring at me while I watched DWTS last night)....

The Magic Kingdom - 36" x 48" Acrylic

I can't wait to make the Turtle hang this up! Time to start something new!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Going the Extra Mile (or 2): USAF Half Marathon Recap

Did you know Half Marathons are 15.02 miles? Actually, if you were one of 500-1,000 runners who were misguided TWICE during the Air Force Half Marathon on Saturday, your half marathon could have been as long as 17+ miles. 15.02 was my lucky distance.

Does the USAF Marathon have a different tool for measuring? Is it a choose your own adventure race? No, no. More like a lack of signs, ill-informed volunteers and just poor planning on the race staff's part.

Let's start from the beginning. Saturday morning dawned with a chilly and foggy 47 degrees.

My family was all bibbed up and ready to start our races. My mom, sister in-law, niece and nephew started out first with the 10k, leaving my brother and I with our sherpa, the Turtle (that's what you get for not participating!) Bro and I were bouncing off the walls waiting for our 8:30am start time, slap happy with excitement. As usual, the Turtle stared at us blearily, with "What did I marry!?" practically oozing from his expression. (hehehe)

Just a taste of what the Turtle had to deal with....keep in mind this is 6 am

A calmer moment
When the gun went off, I flew over the start line, super pumped. I felt amazing, my U2 start song was blasting and I was raring to go!

Mile 1: I was flying! I passed my mom, sis in-law and the kids, who were on the 3rd mile of their race. I was so proud to see them on the course (the kids were the youngest competitors of the 10k!)

Miles 2-3: Feeling great, keeping a 6:30 average pace. I chucked off my arm socks, leaving them Hansel & Gretel style on the side of the road as reminders to my brother that I'm ahead of him (I'm terrible).

Mile 4: Mile 4, mile 4....Buehler?? My Garmin says I'm at 4.25, huh, well I guess I just missed the marker.

Cones have sprouted up, dividing the race and the lead car with the 1st place marathoners are coming at us. Huh. I don't remember ever seeing the lead marathoners in years past.

Suddenly, we approach a T-intersection with a road to the left. The cones are going straight ahead as well as making a curve to lead you down the road. Runners are going in both directions. As the half and full runners are now mixed together, I think to myself a SIGN might be a nice thing to have right now. I spot 2 airmen standing on the corner with a race map and shout to them, "Do Half Marathoners go down this road?" They nod yes, I turn down.

About .25 - .5 miles down the road, I start to notice half marathoners coming toward me, along with the marathoners who were already running down that road. Full marathoners are shouting at us "Half Marathoners, turn around! You're going the wrong way!"


WHAT!??! No way. This is NOT happening to me. I don't believe it. I slow down a little, try to figure out if I should continue on, (because surely they're joking or misinformed), or turn around.

I turn around, cursing in my head and as I approach the airmen at the corner who had misguided me, I notice several runners bitching them out.

Ok, Tink, so you went a mile out of your way, at best. You can make this up. Come on. I keep going in the correct direction, (so I think), and slowly get back in my groove.

What's this? More runners turning around.


I approach another airman with a map who's talking to more panic-stricken runners. I do the unthinkable. I stop. I ask him where I'm supposed to go, and he helplessly tells me he doesn't know. I ask him if he can show me on the map where we are right now. He can't. But, he says, he can go run down to another airman who has a walkie talkie and can tell us where we need to go.

Can't you just put me in a golfcart or something and take me to the finish? I quit! At this point, I don't have any idea where I am or where I'm supposed to go or how many more times I might get turned around. What the hell is happening here?!

And that is the exact moment where I decided to sign up for the Towpath Half Marathon.

Just as he's about to take off to get help, this beefy half marathoner comes up and starts freaking out on the airman about how much money he paid for this race. Dude, the longer you talk to this guy, the longer it'll take for him to get us help. It's not his fault he wasn't informed!

I calmly put my hand on Mr. Beefy's arm and gently tell him the airman is trying to get us help. Mr. Beefy doesn't like this (or maybe he hates the human touch) and flings my hand off his arm and starts freaking out on me.

Aw hell, I didn't sign up for this.

So, I turn around and just start running back where I came from. Again. I find myself amidst marathoners and the 2:00 pace group for the half marathon. WTF. It's a sea of people (now I know what the Turtle felt like back with the cattle in the Disney Half). I jump up on the grass and start whizzing by people, hearing "Look at her go!" at my back. I recognize other runners I'd been with before also trying to weave thru the masses.

Eventually, I come by mile marker 5. I look down at my Garmin: 7 miles. AHHHH. Really?! I'm that far behind on the actual course? This is insane!

Slowly, reality sinks in and I just plug away. Mile by mile, I make my way toward the finish, all the while joining in on conversations with other runners as we compared what mile we were really on. At one point, I passed the Turtle's sister (who was walking the half) and hysterically scream at her what happened and to make sure she goes the right way. I may or may not have come across as a little possessed.

At mile 11, when my Garmin showed I was at 13.1, I flung my hands up in victory and shouted, "HEY! Where's the finish line?! I'm done!" and everyone around laughed, which started another round of "Hey, what mile are you on?"

At the mile 12 marker, I spot my brother. I sidle up to him and casually say, "Hey, what mile you on?" He blinks confusedly at me and goes, "Uhhh..12? What mile are you on?"
I gleefully say 14.5 and continue on.

Mile 12 is a big, demoralizing horse shoe, where you have to pass the finish to loop around to cross it. It sucks on a good day. But after running the most miles I've ever run, I just wanted to quit right there. However, feeling my brother breathing down my neck, I sped on.

After crossing the finish at 1:51:57, I waited for my brother to cross 2 minutes later, when I triumphantly pointed at him saying, "I ran 2 extra miles and I still beat you!"

My official 13.1 finishing time was 1:34:27...however, that doesn't take into consideration slowing down to figure out where to go and getting caught up in the sea of people. I would have PR-ed had it not been for this, I know it.

My family of finishers!

I spent the remainder of the race, (we had to wait for the Turtle's sister to finish), going from giddy from my runner's high and trading war stories with other halfers, to totally pissed (runner's high worn off), to utterly depressed and crying (It's just not faaaaaiiiir!).

2 days later, I'm back to just being pissed. There's no excuse for this to have happened. I understand that race staff cannot be everywhere at once, however, signs can. What is so complicated about putting up signs directing Half and Full runners on where to go? The USAF Marathon is not cheap, and people pay the money expecting quality. If this were some $20 trail race in the deep woods, I'd understand, but this was a road race on an Air Force Base. There is no excuse. 500-1,000 runners is a lot of people who were robbed of PRs, division placement and just the satisfaction of their true time recorded. (some runners have requested to be DQ-ed so this race isn't on their record)

As soon as I got home from the race, I signed right up for the Towpath Half Marathon in October. Hopefully, I'll still feel just as good and fly thru that race. Towpath, here I come!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Hawaiian Runner

I have to say, this was one of the most fun paintings I've ever done. When I was asked to make a painting of a girl running in Hawaii...for a girl who loved running and Hawaii, I thought I was dreaming. Could there really be another girl out there just as obsessed with both of those things as me!?! Not only that, but her brother owns a running shoe store on the Big Island of Hawaii! So she might have a leg up on me there (hehe, leg up).

As you can tell, they really had to twist my arm to agree. I couldn't wait to get started! The painting is meant to be a surprise birthday gift, and after throwing a few ideas around, her husband and I decided on a girl running along a Hawaiian beach at sunset.

Step 1: Sketch out the landscape to then cut out and trace onto canvas
Step 2: Paint the sky and ocean
Mountains and beach

Though I cut out my sketches of palm trees, I ended up just painting my trees free hand while staring at my cutouts, rather than trace them with my brush. I've gotten comfortable enough with palm trees to be confident that I can free-hand paint them, despite knowing that I've got that one shot- screw up once and the whole thing is toast! I think I've gotten pretty good at them!
The cut out palm trees I never used

See? Not too shabby!
All I need is a girl running...Now, who do I know that's a girl that runs? Hmm....... Ok, ok. I couldn't resist putting myself in the painting, so I made the Turtle take a picture of me running in our parking lot.
Sketched me...I took a little artistic license and added more hair so you'd know it's a girl

Now, you think I'm done right? No, sir! Now comes the tricky part. He wanted me to add a scripture verse to the painting. Now, for those that know me, I have absolute chicken scratch for handwriting. Its horrid. It's some kindergarden print/cursive mutant hybrid. So, I typed out the verse in a fancy cursive font and printed it out to stare at while I attempted to write pretty. It can't be that hard, right? Just pretend they're palm trees, Tink! It's just lines and shapes, how hard can it be?


After 2 attempts and a trip to the local craft store, I finally got it right. Third times the charm! It helped that I was writing the verse in white on black, so each time I messed up I just painted over it in black to wipe the slate clean.

So finally, I give you The Hawaiian Runner:

Hawaiian Runner - 24" x 28" Acrylic
 I can't wait to find out if she likes it! And the added bonus? When her husband sent my payment, he sent me a little surprise.....

It totally made my day! I can't wait to wear it. This too could be yours from the Big Island Running Co.

Well, another painting done...Time to start on my next one, and this one is going to be HUGE.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Recap

Why couldn't every weekend be 3 days long? Better yet, how about 5 or 6?

After escaping the Hurricane Issac rains that pounded Southern Ohio all weekend, I started out my holiday weekend by conquering Puke Hill with RRB, on Saturday morning (Cleveland only got a little downpour late Saturday night).

RRB tricked me into wearing a water belt ("But you'll look badass!"  I'm such a sucker). I've never worn my water belt before, and one mile in I was already raw and bleeding at the hip. I pulled up my shorts Steve Urkel-style for some extra padding, but not before it left a pencil-erasure sized goudge in my hip. It looks pretty cool!

Nothing says badass like a water belt

We had a blast tackling Puke Hill and ran a total of 7 easy trail miles. It was so much fun being on the trail! Since we were both injured last summer, we hadn't run there since 2010 and it felt so good to be back! Just like old times!

We don't call it Puke Hill for nothing!

I'm not a big fan of down hills

On Monday, my mom and I mom-touraged on the path together. It was even more humid than Saturday and we were both struggling to breath (she even took a picture of steam coming off my sweaty head)! Also making it hard to breath- trying not to laugh at my mom's insane slap-happiness throughout the entire run. Suuure, easy for her to laugh as she cruises along on her bike. Hmph!

But have no fear! I got my chance to laugh! After our mile 8 water stop, my mom fell into the canal. That's right. She rode her bike right off the path, down the steep 8-10 foot drop right into the murky canal. She claims she lost control of her bike while avoiding another bike going by. Whatever the reason, watching her slllloowly ride down into the canal was one of the funniest things I've seen in my entire life!

After she'd wiped off a bit of the mud

Once I established that she wasn't mad and going to blame me ("Mooooooommm.....Is it ok to laugh?"), I about doubled over in hysterics on the path. Luckily, she joined in with me. And it all worked out to her benefit because she got to get her flirt on with a very nice man who helped pop the chain back on her bike, completely ruining his white tshirt in the process.

We finished up our run, and aside from looking like a swamp-thing, a scratch to the knee, and now-muddy newly purchased running shoes, my mom was just fine. And I ran my fastest run EVER! I think when it's humid and I feel like crap through the whole run, I push myself more thinking I must be going slow when I'm really not. Which is how I end up running a 7:13 pace, faster than I've ever run, even in a race! I'm still a little worried about how I'll do for the Half next Saturday, but I am so happy!

We stopped at my brother's on the way back home from the path and I ended up run/walking the 1.5 miles back to my mom's with my neice and nephew (the last .5 miles I walked with my niece on my back). When we got back to my mom's, I tossed them some of my old t-shirts and we finger-painted in the backyard.

My mini Picassos

It was a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I don't even have words. Last Summer Me would never have believed I could not only get back to pre-marriage speed, but surpass it. I have absolutely no explanation. There's no wedding planning or long-distance relationship stress fueling this. All I know is I am unbelievably appreciative of that little number down there.