My First Half Marathon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This summer I had been running with my friend Leslie pretty consistently. I started to feel more confident that I could add some distance to my usual 3-4 mile run. Near the end of the summer I had a crazy thought that I might want to try a half marathon. Leslie had run a million of them and was training for her first full one, so I knew I had a wealth of wisdom and encouragement at my fingertips. She was very excited and encouraging. She told me that she would be willing to run it with me because she would have her second marathon the following week, so it was a good amount of mileage to run the week before and she shouldn't run it at full speed with the marathon the next week. So training began. I had a few set backs and honestly I am surprised I didn't quit. Running does not come easy to me, and when things don't come easy to me, I tend to quit. I powered through--I powered through a bloody mole that was chafed from my fuel belt (I had it removed. I had part of me removed so that I could continue this crazy running stuff--weird!) I was sick for a week and couldn't run and coming back set me back incredibly. I hurt my foot and had to see an orthopaedic doctor and limped for 10 days. I had some random weird bloody growth on my toe that bled through my gym shoe while I ran. It was there for about a month but eventually ripped off because it was stuck to my sock when I took my sock off. Anyway, I just really want you to appreciate the obstacles that this notorious quitter overcame to do this thing!

The day before the race I became REALLY nervous. We were at Jenna's house celebrating Thanksgiving #2 and I was clearly agitated. My longest training run was 12 miles--you can go back and read about how miserable it was if you have a few minutes :) That alone terrified me. But, to make matters worse, it was going to be 24 degrees outside. 24 DEGREES!! Fahrenheit! I hate being cold! Almost as much as I hate being hot! I really was scared that my lungs were going to hurt, that my face would be chapped, and my buns would be numb. My mom asked if I was still going to do it. I had come this far, yes, I was going to do it!
Here come a series of unfortunate pictures where I have awful posture (let's blame it on the cold) and  look terrible.

Leslie suggested wearing sweatshirts we didn't care about while we waited for the race and then discard them when it started. She is really brilliant! I was comfortable before the race and she gave me advice for what to wear for the run which also was the perfect amount of layers.

I am not going to lie. The first few miles were pretty awful. My toes were numb from waiting for the start. My ankles felt every jarring movement. But by mile 6 I was feeling pretty good. I even said that to Leslie. Then my Achilles tendon started a-killing me (Ha! See what I did there ;) ). I started to inwardly freak out that I was going to have to stop and walk. Fortunately all of a sudden it stopped hurting.

Then at mile 10 we saw our hubbies! I also saw Leslie's 4 adorable boys. Bill and I had decided to leave our kids with Grandma because Rori was coughing for days and we have Advent activities coming up. She would've been devastated if Brendan and Liam went and she couldn't. Fortunately her boys cheered for me too and gave me high fives :)

I was given a boost of energy after seeing them all. I knew we would get to see them again in about 2.5 more miles. Those miles became rather loooooong. Then we saw them again, and I knew we only had about a half mile to go! I hobbled across the grass and my foot was killing me so when I heard someone yell, "Sprint!" I wanted to stop and punch them in the face. But instead I tried to pick up the pace and I finished!!! I did better than I had hoped!! I had been hoping for an average of an 11 minute mile but we ended up with an average of 10:31!
This is not the finish line--but let's pretend it was.

I couldn't have ever done this race without Leslie! She and her husband let me tag along for their long runs so I could get mine in and not have to be by myself (because I just wouldn't have done it) and she stayed with me for the entire race even though she could've gone way faster (and still not have over trained). She encouraged me and helped me keep up my pace so I could beat my goal. And the best part about the race was that we were able to talk for 2 hours and 17 minutes without children distracting us :) I am unbelievably thankful for her friendship and I just wish God had brought her into my life earlier! Little did I know that I had a special friend living less than a mile away from me for years!
She's not even sweaty! Unfair! Let's blame my posture on exhaustion. Excuse me while I go look at decent pictures of myself in order to rebuild my self esteem...

Lies the Weatherman Told Us

Monday, November 12, 2012

Friday afternoon Jenna and I were trying to figure out what we should do on Saturday. The menfolk were going to be working on my kitchen and Jenna offered up her house again. I suggested we do something else as opposed to terrorize her house. I suggested a bouncy house place that I had free passes to or we also have a membership to the zoo and can bring guests for free. Jenna checked the weather Saturday morning and it said zero percent chance of rain. Zero percent. Zilch. That means there is no chance it will rain. We decided the zoo would be perfect!

It was a great temperature and sunny. The kids were super excited. We decided to see the dolphin show because it's not very expensive and all of our kids are fascinated by dolphins since seeing Winter the dolphin in Florida. Jenna and I each brought a stroller for our Bubba's. They aren't the best listeners, as 3 year olds rarely are. We pushed them around the zoo, letting them climb on all the picture taking attractions. We took pictures like this

and this

and this

Then we made our way to the dolphin show. You can't bring strollers in there, so we parked them outside. We were having a lovely day and snapped pictures like this
Noah's very excited to see the dolphins!
 And even snapped a blurry picture like this

Then I heard thunder. I looked out the window and saw a huge downpour. After the dolphin show our strollers were soaked. The Bubba's could no longer ride in them. So the rest of the afternoon was spent dodging raindrops and herding children. At one point I even said that I felt like a sheep dog the way we were working together to herd the stray Bubba back to the group. It was exhausting. I felt like I was constantly counting heads-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Thus, the end of the pictures. And I am rather annoyed with Mr. Weatherman. The forecast could not have been farther from the truth. It said ZERO. ZERO.  I am over it now. Mostly. I have a functioning kitchen and I love my sister. I wouldn't want to spend a rainy day at the zoo with anyone else. The end.  

Hitting the wall

Sunday, November 11, 2012

So, I wasn't going to blog about my running adventures until after I completed my half marathon that I'm running the weekend after Thanksgiving, but, well, I changed my mind. Today was my last long training run. I really wanted to do 12 miles--I had hoped to be past the point of 12 miles, but a few obstacles had come up along the way and put my training to where it was coming down to the wire. My friend and running guru, Leslie and her husband Jon are running their second full marathon in a few weeks and needed to run 20 miles today (shudder), so she offered to let me tag along for the first 12 of their 20.

The weather was beautiful--low 60's and sunny, but early on, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy run. I had only run once during the week due to kitchen stuff and just general busyness. not good. With the "heat" and general difficulties, I was concerned about only having two little bottles of water--because now that I'm a "serious" runner, I "gu" during runs and it takes water to get that stuff down. Anyway, about three miles in, I saw a table with a giant gatorade cooler/ thermos thing with cups by it. There was noone around to ask, but I topped off my bottles anyway.

We continued to run. and run. and run some more. I was drinking my water and starting to panic that I wasn't going to have enough to finish the run--all of the local water fountains were turned off for the winter. I had visions of it being hot, me dehydrating, my skeleton laying on the prairie path whilst tumble weeds blew by. I'm not dramatic at all. As we were returning to the spot where I filled up my bottle (we did 6 down and back) I saw a man loading up his car with the table and gatorade. I didn't know if we could make it to him before he drove off. (Well, Jon and Leslie could've made it to him, I wasn't sure about myself--I should've sent them off ahead). Fortunately we did. I hobbled up to him and said "Please sir, (gasp) can I (gasp) have (gasp) some of your (gasp) gator(gasp)ade?" He took pity on me and said he was with a local running club, and was happy to give us as much as we needed. I have never been so thankful to take a beverage from a stranger in my life. The joy of knowing I wasn't going to die from dehydration pushed me on for a bit. Then I hit a wall. I could tell that I was clearly holding Jon and Leslie back. And they still had 10 more mile to run and I didn't want them to take forever on my account and the path was pretty crowded so I wasn't concerned about being raped and murdered, so I forced them to go on without me.

I figured this would be a good time for me to have a nice visit with God. But alas, I couldn't concentrate over the screaming blisters on my feet. My legs were none too quiet either. So instead, I gave myself empty promises that I could walk when I hit certain landmarks. Anyway, I managed to finish it and ran quite a bit of the last 2 miles. Honestly they felt like they took longer than the first 10, but that appears to be the definition of "hitting the wall." So, now I feel even more official. And now I am hobbling around as though I just got off of a horse. And forget about asking me to bend over and pick something up. But, now I know I only have to run one more mile in 2 weeks and then I can be done!!!!

Thank you Jon and Leslie for letting me tag along for the last two weekends!! You guys amaze me!!

Visits with dear friends!

Friday, November 9, 2012

 I love to laugh

Loud and long and clear

I love to laugh

It's getting worse every year!

The more I fill with glee

and the more the glee

the more the merrier me

It's embarrassing

the more the merrier me!

We love to laugh!

Oh Brendan, you're hilarious!

Aw shucks!
(name the movie that song is from, and I'll give you a quarter!)

Kitchen Blessings

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It has officially been one week since kitchen destruction 2012 started. I will show before pictures when we have reached the after :) Right now, I am feeling especially grateful for all of the help and offers of help that we have received.

Last week, I came home from a run with Leslie and discovered Bill had two helpers in the demolition.
After seeing Rori knocking tile off the wall and Brendan cleaning it up, I thought that perhaps shards of porcelain flying in the air at small children might not be the best idea, so I suggested another way of helping.

 Wallpaper removal!

The next day, Jenna's husband, Ryan, Bill, and my father-in-law all took Friday off and spent the entire weekend taking apart my kitchen.

Isn't it a thing of beauty?

The kids and I went to Jenna and Ryan's house on Saturday and spent the night. Jenna was kind enough to put up with the loud, crazy, crying, whining, feeding, destructive invasion that we were. The bubba's worked together for evil, not good and wreaked havoc through her house. I think she and I were more exhausted than we have ever been in our lives--it doesn't help that it was the weekend of the time change and our children do not believe in sleeping in the extra hour. However, she graciously told me we are welcome to come back this weekend.
Here they are congratulating each other on emptying Uncle Ryan's desk...

We have been without a kitchen sink and stove since destruction began. So, in order to help us avoid living on take out and sandwiches, my mother in law, who doesn't enjoy cooking, invited us over for three delicious dinners. She cooked our favorites--pot roast, meatloaf, and a whole chicken (she was so sweet that she made me a salmon fillet since I can't eat chicken). It really meant a lot to me that she made us comfort foods.

My most awesome friend Leslie invited us over for dinner twice and let my kids stay until bedtime so I could avoid the dust bowl that I currently live in. She is an amazing friend that I am so thankful for! The first night, Rori went to Grandma Casey's for dinner instead of going to Leslie's and Liam came home and told her, next time you have to go there--James and Andrew's mom makes the BEST tacos!! He went on and on about them :)  I had been trying to have a really good attitude about the inconveniences of not having a kitchen because I realize that it was my choice. The inconveniences are clearly first-world problems. I just have to walk up a few stairs to get clean water to drink, while BILLIONS of people in the world have to walk miles to get clean water. However, yesterday, the whole dust bowl, inconvenience, cluttered, messiness was starting to get the better of me. When Bill came home from AWANA he had a bag from Leslie. She had baked me 3 different loaves of quick breads, all packaged adorably, with a sweet note. It went a long way to cheering me up.

Today, I painted the kitchen and Brendan was begging me all day to help. So, being the super cool (or completely crazy--probably from dehydration) mom that I am, I let him.
I just wanted one photo of him painting and a smile--he's so photogenic when he knows the camera is on him--much like Chandler in the episode of friends where he and Monica are trying to take an engagement photo ;)

We have also had other offers from friends to help with the electricity, painting, or anything else we need. I feel so blessed and loved to have people help me when I can't do anything in return. But, as soon as I have a working kitchen, I will repay you all with my love language--baked goods!