Season’s Heatings! {Holiday Halfathon Recap}

When I registered for the Holiday Halfathon earlier in the year, I had no intention to aim for a PR.  With these plantar fasciitis feet, my PR days are gone, however, I expected to beat my time from three years ago.  Since I was pregnant, I could totally redeem that time even with bad heels.

Being a stunner runner, my attire is crucial next to the training.  Chrissy, Maribel and I wanted to match, so we decided on homemade tutus with striped furry stockings and a red wicking running shirt.  I added a little sequined clip-on Santa hat to my ensemble to finish my sporty Santa Baby look.

Lots of our Strider friends were also at this race as well as many of my runner blogger friends, Katrina of Sneakers and Fingerpaints and Beth of Discom-BOB-ulated Running.  Everybody looked so festive in their holiday attire.

About 4 miles into the race, I was dying from a heat stroke.  Usually, December races are cooler, but with the warmer weather, overcast and humidity, it felt like we were running in a Santa sauna.  I haven’t exposed my post-pregnancy belly in a sports bra in public, but I didn’t care.  I stripped off that shirt faster than a Catholic school girl at a frat party and then, I rolled down my cute striped socks.

Although Chrissy had been suffering from a sinus infection, she looked like a rock star out there.  She showed those bridges that she was the boss and she smiled the whole time.

The bridges were another reason I didn’t anticipate a PR.  I didn’t even want to push myself on that course.  I just wanted to finish better than I did three years ago.

Between the bridges and the heat, I needed to walk a large portion of the course.  Another runner on the course ridiculed Chrissy and I every time we walked the course.  John teased us about our tutus and socks having superpowers, but I don’t think so.  Those furry striped socks were my kryptonite!

Eventually, Chrissy and I caught up to Marie who was struggling due to a nasty bronchial infection.  Poor thing!  You know speedy little Marie is not up to par if she’s pacing with me.

Even with all the bridges, that last mile had to be the toughest for me.  We ran for a short distance on a sidewalk and then final half mile led us along a sandy, soft uneven trail covered with pine needles.  It was difficult to judge my footing and I stumbled a few times.  I decided to walk the trail and then I ran the last stretch to the finish line.  I suppose my tutu did give me some superpowers because I saved a sprint just for John.  I finished a few seconds before him and I beat my time from three years ago by nearly 30 minutes!

13.1 miles
Gun Time 2:26:55 
Chip Time 2:26:36
Ave Pace 11:13

We lost Maribel early in the race, but after we crossed the finish line, we all ran back to meet her.  The week prior to the race, her knee had been giving her a lot of grief and now, Maribel was really hurting.  When she spotted us, her spirits lifted and she sprinted the final stretch of her first half marathon.  Once past the finish line, we all cried in a huddled, blubbering mess for Maribel and everyone’s accomplishments and then we helped poor Maribel hobble over to the picnic tables to ice her knee.

Poor sick speedy Marie could barely talk.

I just wanted JM’s cookie cake beer.

At the post-race party, I found Jina of Behold the Turtle and we posed for a quick photo.  I loved her reindeer shirt!  As you can see, I was still so hot after the race and I was looking real hot in my white, very see through sports bra.  Yep, I’m a classy act.  Thank goodness for Cliff Shots covering my ta-tas like pasties!

I am so making Santa’s naughty list this year.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

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Tupper Feeling Deep in My Heart for Dixie

When I received an invitation to Dixie’s Tupperware Party, I dusted off my Amy Winehouse wig just for the occasion and if I had some real Tupperware, I would have brought that too.

Photo credit: Bradford Rogne

Dixie’s Tupperware Party is not your “grandmother Tupperware Party” (NBC Today Show).  Dixie has taken the Tupperware world by storm and transformed it into something reminiscent of a Passion Party.  Hold onto tight to that corkscrew and strap on in for a wild ride because Dixie will show you a side of Tupperware you have never experienced before, one “more fun than a gaggle of lesbians at a Home Depot sidewalk sale”.

Grab your girlfriends for the ultimate girl’s night out with your favorite southern belle hostess, Dixie Longate. 

Dixie Longate, the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, has packed up her catalogues, and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across the country. Join Dixie as she throws a good ol’ fashioned Tupperware Party filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, FREE giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage. Loaded with the most up-to-date products available for purchase, see for yourself how Ms. Longate became the #1 Tupperware seller in the U.S. and Canada, as she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products! WARNING: recommended for mature audiences.

Complete with catalogues and order forms, guests welcomed into Dixie’s living room can find gifts for everyone on their Christmas list and the “Unchristmas, Chaka Khan Jewish holiday” too.  Much like Tupperware’s lifetime guarantee for its “great crap”, Dixie delivers a presentation full of laughs complete with one-liners and innuendoes that popup faster than a FlatOut!® bowl.

Raffi and her friend, Jennifer, were invited to sit on Dixie’s sofa.

The classics are still Tupperware’s top sellers, but Dixie offers her guests new ideas for the classic products.  I will never look at a Shape-O Toy® the same way.  Dixie also proudly declares Tupperware products to be BPA-free as well as provides helpful tips to keep those beautiful colorful plastic bowls stain-free.

After Dixie’s Tupperware Party, my blogger friends and I had the pleasure to meet Dixie in the lobby where she processed Tupperware orders, signed autographs and posed for photos.  Her loving, adorable presence glows on and off stage.

“Denise, I love you more than an Asian girl loves counting. xo Dixie Longate”

Dixie’s Tupperware Party premieres December 4 through December 9 in the Jaeb Theater at The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.  Tickets may be purchased by visiting strazcenter.org.

*I received tickets to Dixie Tupperware Party in exchange for my honest review.*
Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

A Purple Run to Cure Epilepsy

On a dark, cold early Thursday morning last week, my fellow Suncoast Striders and I officially kicked off our Wear Purple Virtual Run to Cure Epilepsy Marathon.  I was truly touched by the turn-out and the number of people that wore purple to show their support for this cause.  I am blessed to know so many caring, kind people and fortunate enough to call them “my Strider family”.

To show my appreciation to the Striders and their support, I provided a purple tailgate complete with very purple cupcakes and grape Gatorade for our post-run social hour.  Of course, I also brought the typical less purple and sugary runner supplies, such as water and bananas.

Chrissy, Maribel, Jen H and I took an easy pace through the streets of Longleaf.  Although the temperature was cooler than normal, we quickly warmed up and the layers came off revealing our more purple attire underneath.

5.8 miles
Time 58:41
Ave Pace 10:07
Max Pace 8:29

After two loops through Longleaf, we joined the rest of the Strider gang for our purple run post party.  In the daylight, it dawned on me (Ha! Ha! bad pun) I realized just how many people wore purple. It was a truly an amazing sight!

A sincere THANK YOU to David and the Suncoast Striders for making this fun purple run such a success!

If you would like to join the Virtual Run/Walk to Cure Epilepsy, there’s still plenty of time.  Register for a 5K or a marathon and then complete the distance on your own time, but be sure to finish it before November 30.  There’s even a purple bib to print out to wear when you cross that virtual finish line.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

A Halloween Treat

Despite being shattered from a long week and camping with the Girl Scouts the night before, I conjured enough strength for our annual adult Halloween party and I’m so glad I did.  As usual, the party was a real scream treat.

It seems we weren’t the only ones with crazy a schedule this year, because our party was a lighter than normal, but that didn’t stop it from being a truly bewitching time.

Like previous years, most of the costumes were creative and fun, although Marcia needed a little help with hers.  During the party, Marcia confessed to not liking Halloween or dressing up even though her husband Patrick loves it.  I told Marcia, “You have to find an angle to make Patrick’s costume work for you.  You work around his costume.   For example, you could be his hostage.  You just have to think outside of the costume box.”

Speaking of thinking out of the box, no one knew what I was supposed to be until I explained it to them, which only made my costume more comical.

My iCarly inspired sushi costume was so cheap and simple to throw together starting with a white cami and skirt for the rice.  The maroon throw pillow, which was meant to resemble raw tuna, was wrapped and pinned to dark green ribbon and finished with a pair of Chinese restaurant chop sticks.  The ginger and wasabi were rolled scraps of material hot-glued to a dollar store headband. See, so simple and cheap!  Allan’s psycho sushi chef costume ordered from amazon was the costly costume!

Plus, my sushi costume was almost as comfortable as last year’s Amy Winehouse ( minus the wig, of course).  It’s funny how my costumes get more and more casual each Halloween.  This sushi costume was so comfy that I’m totally weating it trick-or-treating with the kids.  I wonder if anyone will know what I supposed be then?

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

How I Sweat Pink, Think Pink and Act Pink

Yesterday, I underwent a second mammogram performed once again by Linda.  As I discovered last year, mammograms are nothing to fear.  Forget the horror stories of tortured ta-tas and boobs being squished.  It doesn’t hurt and for only few moments of being manhandled, you are preventing breast cancer.

Being over the age of…eh…hem…*cough*… forty, I’m the prime pink ribbon candidate.  Last year, I received my baseline mammogram (a series of four x-rays or four squishings) in order for my doctor to view the structure and composition of my breasts.  That baseline will be compared to yesterday’s mammogram and each of my future mammograms.

Linda informed me this year that even if you have no history of breast cancer in your family, you’re not out of the woods, though you’re risk is less than a woman with a family history.

According to the American Cancer Society,

“Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease.

Having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk about 3-fold.

The exact risk is not known, but women with a family history of breast cancer in a father or brother also have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Altogether, less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member with this disease. This means that most (over 85%) women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.

Some other risk factors include: (source komen.org)

  • being a woman
  • getting older — the older you get, the greater your
  • risk of breast cancer
  • having an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or
  • BRCA2 breast cancer genes
  • a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • a family history of breast cancer
  • having high breast density on a mammogram
  • having a previous biopsy showing hyperplasia
  • lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • being exposed to large amounts of radiation at a young age
  • never having children
  • having your first child after age 35
  • high levels of blood androgrens or estrogens
  • postmenopausal hormone use (current or recent use) of estrogen or estrogen plus progestin
  • being overweight after menopause or gaining weight as an adult
  • high bone density
  • having more than one drink of alcohol per day
  • starting menopause after age 55
  • being younger than 12 at the time of your first period
  • current or recent use of birth control pills

The bottom line is if you are a woman, you are at risk. Period.

So promise me you will go get squished.  Together, we are the cure.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Race for the Cure 2012 {recap}

Last Saturday, “sweat pink” was more than a clever catch phrase from my SPA sisters.  With temperatures in the 90s and stifling humidity, I took sweating pink to a whole new level at the Race for the Cure.  All 664 10K participants have officially sweated pink for a good cause.

Normally, the weather is cooler for this event but it’s so hard to predict if fall will arrive in Florida in time for the race.  Maybe moving the start time up an half an hour would eliminate some of that heat?  Either way, we would still get to enjoy a gorgeous golden pink sunrise over St. Pete Pier.

Though year after the heat may be unpredictable, we can always count on a beautiful backdrop for this pink cause. It’s like the race officials roll in the sunrise with the balloons before the start of the race.

As we lined up for the start, we were oddly nervous about this race.  Chrissy and I wanted to finish under an hour.  Faith just wanted to finish for Miss Sharon, which is all we really wanted to do.

Chrissy and I paced together for the first couple of miles but I was really struggling with the heat and I had to walk the water stations.  Since I wanted to finish under an hour, I decided against snapping photos while running, a decision I now regret.  I was walking anyway and capturing the race in photos makes me happy.  I definitely was not running happy and snappy for this race.

The tutu I wore may have had something to do with the heat I felt.  Normally, I make my own tutus, but this kid’s petticoat costume from Target was so much cheaper than making one.  However, instead of hand-knotted tulle like my other tutus, this one had a nylon skirt underneath.  Let it be known, nylon does not wick away the sweat or the water I kept dumping on myself at every water station.

The little girls manning the 5 mile water station put a smile on my face and pep in my step with all the compliments they showered on me while handing me water.  “I LOVE your tutu!”  “I love that headband!”  I felt like the belle of the ball at the 5 mile water station.

Thankfully, my knees and heels held up for the duration of the race.  When I would feel a twinge of pain here and there, I looked for level ground to avoid running at an angle.  I also walked the “uphill” portion of the course through downtown St. Pete.

I tried to push it a little harder for the last mile, but I didn’t have a sprint in me.  With only 0.20 of mile to go, I went for the sprint, but then the race didn’t end.  The course ran longer than 6.2 miles!  I felt deflated.  Then, I heard the Suncoast Striders cheering for me and my attitude perked up.  My Strider family helped turn that frown upside down and I finished the last 0.15 of mile with a smile.  It wasn’t my best time but at least I beat my time from last year by 3 minutes.

10K (actual distance 6.35)
Chip Time 1:01:19
Garmin Time 1:10:19
Ave Pace (chip) 9:54
Ave Pace (Garmin) 9:40
Max Pace 6;35
Div Place 19/74
Gender Place 142/476
Overall Place 244/664

But the race did put things in perspective for me.  No matter how hot or tired or the pain I felt for the duration of the race, there are women who are suffering for more than a mere hour. Every minute of every day they are feeling pain, sick and nauseous.  Along with losing their hair and their breasts, they’re losing hope. They can’t see the finish line and they are feeling deflated.

I want those women to know that we are here for you!  We’re cheering for you in the homestretch!  Be strong!  You, the survivors who fought the battle against breast cancer and even the women who lost their lives in the battle are our inspiration.  You are our heroes.

That’s why even in the heat and humidity, I will always sweat pink and Race for the Cure.

A shout out to David and Aaron for capturing these pink moments and many other fantastic photos for the Suncoast Striders! xox

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Dine Out for No Kid Hungry

I fed starving children today.  What did you do?

No, I didn’t breastfeed them.  My inappropriately placed sticker is more than a pastie.  It represents several restaurants across the country participating in the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry program.

“Every September, Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry™ brings together thousands of restaurants and their customers to raise funds for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. This year, more than 6,500 restaurants are extending their participation through the end of September.”

While staying in Anna Maria Island, my girlfriends and I happened upon the Sandbar and learned about its involvement with the program.  With every grouper or hamburger purchase, the Sandbar will donate $1 to Dine Out For No Kid Hungry.

Even one dollar can go a long way as one in five children in the U.S. struggles with hunger.  That equals 16 million children.  Therefore, “every gift helps us connect hungry kids to the food they need”. – No Kid Hungry

There is still plenty of time to participate.  The Dine Out For No Kid Hungry program runs through to the end of September.  So dine out and do some good in your ‘hood today.

Find a restaurant near you here.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+