Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wardrobe Planning...

I think we've found out shirts!!! :) :) :)

So excited to debut them on race day... if I don't wear it before. They're super cute, and hopefully functional (because let's face it- function is secondary.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yesterday's Texts

Christie @ 8:27 am: "Happy 1 day late anniversary!!!!!  How was it?"
Sarah @ 8:29 am: "And 2 days late happy bday to miss n!!!  Fun anni!  How was the party?"
Christie @ 8:30 am: "So fun!  Sooo tired though!  And didn't run a single mile!  Eek!"
Sarah @ 8:31 am: "Me either!  Lol!  Drank A LOT of booze!"
Christie @ 8:33 am: "Lol!!  I love it!  I could only be doing this with you!!!"

I love you bestie!!!  Way to rock it this morning! 

Good break!

Like Christie said- we kinda went on hiatus. We both had so much going on this weekend, and all those things were more important than running.
On Friday I had an awesome birth. I knew it was going to mess with my training, but boy was it worth it. Getting to experience birth, for me, is getting to see God in a way I never have before. It touches my heart, reminds me of Grace, Strength, and the Holy Spirit. I remember at one point watching this exhausted mommy while I told her, "Just a little longer!! You're almost there, and I know you can do it!" (Just typing it now brings tears to my eyes.) And I thought, when I get to this point in the marathon where I don't think I can do it a second longer, where I'm certain the end will never come, and I was crazy to even try this- I'm going to remember that mommy. The look in her eyes when she would say in a quiet whisper, "I can do this." And I'm going to practice what I preach, dig deep, and find the strength. Because if I believe it of her, I have to believe it of me.
After the birth we went up to the lake to celebrate our anniversary :)
We had an amazing weekend full of sun, a wonderful surprise, and huckleberry mojitos (I don't know what it is with me and Huckleberry mixed drinks!!)
Soo... come this morning when my alarm went off and I felt like sleeping in I knew after taking the weekend off- it was make it or break it time!
Started out and it was surprisingly cool outside! My 4 mile loop is an easy run one way, and a hard run the other. Guess which way I almost always go. Imagine my delight when I realize that I'd been daydreaming and was going (gasp!) the hard way. My legs felt really fresh though, and I was maintaining a solid 9:40ish pace. Which is pretty good for me. I tried to keep only fast songs on the shuffle. Pat ran with my shuffle this weekend and couldn't believe how slow all my songs were. He thought that may have something to do with my pace issues (p.c. for "slow"). I think he was right! (Damn!) It was a beautiful run, killed the massive hill, only beat my dog twice when he cut me off because a few of the 2 million Quail up where we live may have been in the bush next to me.
Felt great to finish strong and according to Daily Mile it was my fastest run EVER! Woot woot!
So, the weekend off was worth it. Got to see what perseverance looks like first hand, saw another chapter open for someone I love, and celebrated 6 years of ups, downs and marathon training with my husband :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week's Recap (and a Really Good Lesson)

It appears that we took a bit of a blogging hiatus.  Kinda like the running hiatus we seem to be taking this weekend.  More on that later...

I had 2 days off from running following my 15 mile run last Saturday, yet when Tuesday rolled around I still wasn't quite feeling it.  I set out on my short run for the week...a "measly" 4 miles.  I could tell right off the bat it wasn't going to go well.  Apparently wine and Nestle drumstick(s) night the evening before any run is not the best idea.  My legs felt like lead, and I honestly did not enjoy a single step.  I turned back early, walked a LOT, and ended my run at 3.3 miles.  My pace was the worst I've ever run since I've been documenting it.  It was just not fun.

Thankfully, Sarah was there to save me.  During a conversation with her later that day, she told me the BEST quote.  She said that expecting every run to go well is like trying to have the highs without the lows.  This totally spoke to me in so many ways!  I think this is true in all aspects of life.  You can't see the view from the top without working through the valleys and hills.  You can't have a thriving and secure marriage without having proven to yourselves that you can make it through the storms.  You can't fully grasp just how divine a full night's sleep is unless you've been up every hour for months on end with your newborn.  You can't appreciate vacation until you've been working long or hard enough to see how different it is from the day-to-day grind.  And you can't understand the freedom and joy of feeling like you are flying during a run if you haven't experienced the feeling of not being able to drag your feet a single step further. 

Wednesday I was scheduled to do an 8 mile run.  Overall, it was amazing!  It was reaaalllly hot, and crazy hilly.  At one point I hit a ginormous hill (I swear it was almost a mile long) and walked nearly the entire way.  Then I kind of scared myself when I started running again.  I could instantly tell I was going really fast.  And that it felt really good.  I checked my Garmin (yes, I finally got one!!!  More on that in a future post :), and for a full 1.5 miles I was sailing at sub-9 minute miles (and often sub-8.3) Um, what?!?!  I am a solid 10 minute mile runner.  On a great day I'll float into the upper 9's, but that is rare.  Running that fast, and feeling like I was in my sweet spot, was  c  r  a  z  y !!  I may never do it again, but for those 12 minutes, I was floating on air!  And I appreciated it all the more having survived my 3.3 mile crawl the day before.

I took Thursday off, really just because I was lazy. :)  We are supposed to be doing 16/17 miles this weekend, but I've been having the hardest time figuring out when to fit it in.  Tomorrow is my daughter's 2nd birthday (and party).  My husband's parents are already here, and my parents fly in tomorrow morning.  Even if I left at 5 am, I wouldn't be back in time to greet my daughter when she woke up on her birthday, make her a pancake breakfast, and spend every minute focused on her.  I made a promise at the very start of my training that if it ever got in the way of my family, I would quit on the spot.  I couldn't figure out a way to balance it all with the events of this weekend, so I called Sarah for moral support.  She said she had already decided to take the weekend off (or do a shorter run), as she just finished a birth and was headed to her family's lake cabin for her anniversary weekend.  I was instantly relieved of any guilt, and we reminded each other that we were doing just fine and would pick up where we left off.  Just one more reason she truly is my sole sister. :)

I'm going to try to get in a good run Sunday...maybe even the 12-miler we are scheduled to do next weekend.  But with family in town, and pizza and cake for dinner tomorrow, 5 miles or so is looking more realistic.  I'm just excited to wake up tomorrow and enjoy every minute of the day with my family and friends.  The roads will still be there on Sunday.  And I know I'll enjoy my run all the more.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Christie, this one's for you!

Click on the link to watch the video titled 'Lost Jogger' :)

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week was tough for me.
I hit a bit of a wall. Realizing that I can't do all of this!
With work (I have one client due any day and two more before the marathon. Going to a birth usually means at least 30 hours without sleep), my kiddos (lately running has been the easiest part of my day), keeping my home in somewhat working order... oy vey.
So, when Friday hit and I got a text from Christie that said, "I'm so EXCITED about tomorrow!!!!" I pooped on her party and texted her back that I was dragging. So, being the psychic that she is she told me to check my mailbox- that I had a surprise coming and it should have come today!
Only best friends can foresee that kind of stuff :)
So this is what was in my care package:

My card filled with encouragement, exclamation points, and smiley faces!

My Race Countdown
My new running shirt :) "so people know what we're running for!" -Christie

So grateful for my wonderful friend who knew just what I would need :)
When I called her to thank her she told me something that really stuck with me. When I started running a year and a half ago it was to get away from the chaos that is raising 3 young kids. I would go for 10 or 15 minutes (because that's all my body could do!) She said, "Back then you would have PAID to get 3 hours away from your kids! Now you've earned being able to be away for that long. Be so thankful for it!"
5:15am on Saturday morning came very quickly.
I planned on running a new course off of the prairie that we live on. I had driven it the night before and couldn't believe how FAR IT WAS! Until now I've been running lots of out and backs and loops, so to see how much distance 15 miles really is was crazy. The course was hilly to say the least. Insane hills. Driving them I thought, "oh well, if they get tough I'll just walk..." Ha. Right. We'll get back to that part.
First I had to plant some water around my 10 mile mark. Got that planted and drove to my start while I talked to C. She said, "Hahaha! This is so ridiculous!" And I'm just shaking my head while I'm driving in the early dawn to go run for hours.
Started at 6:15 (Christie! I didn't know we started at the same time!!" :)
The first 4 miles were along city streets, but it was mostly flat with a few downhills sprinkled in. I headed into the "scary part" where it's actually beautiful country roads, but there's no shoulder and its pretty desolate. Perfect place for a horror movie where some serial killer abducts an unsuspecting young (hee, hee!) runner. So, with pepper spray on my hip- I headed into the jungle :)
The miles flew by during my death cheating 4 miles in the wilderness. I kept up on my Shock Bloks and only took one gel. The only hard part was the hills- which even walking up these steep windy beasts made me breathe hard- and the no shoulder parts.
Passed, 2 squirrels, 3 wild turkeys, 2 wild and rabid (probably) dogs, 4 horses, and a deer.
Got to my 8 mile mark and into civilization! Yes! Started I sing, "Survivor" and my phone rang, and it was my running buddy Ashlee who was planning on meeting me for my last 4 miles :) Told her to meet me at the McDonald's on the course because I was fairly certain my bladder was about to explode. Sprinted into Micky D's and the boy at the counter gave me a funny look. All decked out in my water belt, with a bright red "running for my life from the wildlife/murderer a mile back" sort of look on my face. Waited for Ash while I inhaled a Cliff Bar and a Hammer Gel. She pulled in all perky and well rested, and we headed out. Once again, a friend that knew what I needed. Her enthusiasm was contagious, she was whooping and hooting and singing and dancing :) We got a few honks and I'm fairly sure its because Ash was shakin' what her mama gave her :)
At mile 13 I hit a big time wall. It was shadeless in those last few miles and was almost 9am. Ash stuck with my snail pace and got me through those last (thankfully) few miles. As we jaywalked (ran?) across the street to finish she was hollering, and I screamed, "I did it!!!"
We went to the grocery store to get ice and she informed the lady at the checkout that I had just ran 15 miles. (Gee, thanks!) The lady gave me a look like, "and I care because...?" :)
Headed home and the kids clapped and splashed in my ice bath.
They think this is normal and what every mommy does on Saturday mornings. Which I love.
Then got back to real life and cleaned the garage all day. Haha!

I'm blessed with friends who share my joy, hardships, bad days and good days.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

15 Miles: It's Kind of a Big Deal

Well, we did it!!!  Our 15-mile milestones have been met!  And let me just was AMAZING!! 

I know everyone always talks about a "runner's high."  Honestly, I don't really get them.  I had one after the half marathon, and maybe after 1 or 2 other runs over the course of the past few months, but it's definitely not a usual occurrence for me.  This morning I realized why.  I think I only get highs like that after accomplishing something that is a really, really big deal.  Not from things that are just so-so everyday kind of accomplishments.  I count this morning's 15.68 mile run as a really, really big deal.  Hence the high that is still going strong!

I got up at 5 am, got into my gear, and had some coffee and peanut butter toast.  I mapped out my run one more time and decided to write each turn on my hand so that I wouldn't get lost (although I still managed to take 1 wrong turn...hence the extra .68).  I even got to talk to Sarah for a bit as she was prepping for her run...mainly just about how stupid we are. :)  Eventually I drove to my starting point, and at 6:15 am, my feet hit the ground running.  With the exception of a few photo stops and water breaks, they kept moving until 8:54, when I was met by my amazing husband and 2 precious kiddos, cheering me on with all their might.

I can honestly say I loved every single second of it.  15.68 miles is ridiculous.  I mean, honestly.  I ended up going through one extra city than I thought I was going to (Sherwood!).  In other words, I crossed 5 city limits this morning (Beaverton, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Tualatin, Sherwood, and back to Tigard).  If you really sit down and look at the map and see the distance that was traveled, it's INSANE.  But I did it.  And I had fun!!!  Here are some photos from the morning:

My route mapped out for me.  As I ran I discovered how fun it was to erase each street I finished.  Watching the list shrink was such motivation!

My reply to a picture Sarah sent me of her gorgeous river view.

Then I finally got a gorgeous river view of my own.

Stopping to take a mental picture at 13.1 miles (the distance of a half-marathon, and prior to this morning, the furthest my feet had ever traveled).  I later found out due to my wrong turn, 13.1 was quite a ways before this, but the sentimental value is still there. :)

Josh passing me on the street as he drove the kids to my "finish line."  He said he got some really interesting looks from those passing by thinking what a creep he was for taking pictures of a female runner's backside, no less with his kids in the backseat.

My cheerleaders on the lookout for mommy.

I realize I look like I am barely walking here, but I swear I was still running!

Hugs from my bundles!!

All that was left at the end of the run.  Every street had been conquered.  Only the memory of 15 miles remained!

Indulging in a HEAVENLY post-run Egg McMuffin (or two).

The journey continues!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lazy Schemes and Long-Run Dreams

Wednesday night I was scheduled to do a 7 mile run (or so I thought...this was before Sarah and I discovered we're a week behind schedule.  Oops.).  I had mapped out my course earlier that day and was excited to try a new route.  Part of the route was a loop, and as I approached that part (about 1.5 miles in), I thought through the loop and determined that the way I had planned to go had more uphills and that if I went the opposite way that would mean more downhills and it would be smooth sailing.  I wasn't sure, as I didn't know the route all that well, but I could picture at least a few of the hills and it seemed like a pretty safe bet.  I'm not gonna lie...I jumped at the easy way out and approached the loop from the opposite direction.

All was good until I turned a corner and saw a GIGANTIC hill staring at me.  I had to laugh...that's what I get for trying to cop out!  I instantly decided to walk the hill (it was THAT big), but when I got to the bottom, lo and behold, "Apple Bottom Jeans" came on (woot! woot!).  So I ran that whole darn thing and never looked back (thank you, psychic shuffle!!).  Problem is, I don't think I looked side-to-side either, as apparently I missed my turn.

It took me quite a while to realize how off track I was, and by then there was no turning back.  I kept to the major street names that I knew and just kept going until I found my way back to my car.  It got dark quickly, and at one point, I actually had to chase down a poor stranger and ask to borrow his cell phone so I could call Josh and let him know I was still alive (and also still a good way from home).  As I finally made my way back to my car, I was so excited to blog about what I was sure was an accidental half-marathon.  Turns out it was only 9 miles.  But still a good payback for my attempt to be lazy!  P.S. No worries, I have since purchased a hydration belt with a pocket for my cell phone (and pepper spray!) for the next time I wind up lost in the dark. :-/

I'm about to head off to bed in preparation for our 15 mile run tomorrow morning.  I am cautiously optimistic about it...and really, really excited. :) :) :) :)  For some reason, I've decided that this is the turning point for our training: the moment it really becomes real.  Maybe it's because it's the furthest my feet have ever traveled.  Maybe it's because there's no [normal] reason someone would be running 15 miles unless they were training for a marathon.  Maybe it's because I'm kinda excited to say I ran through 4 cities before breakfast.  Whatever the reason, I think tomorrow will be huge for us.  I think, like Nicole alluded to on a previous post comment, it will be liberating and empowering.  I was talking to Sarah this afternoon and we were thinking about how 15 miles isn't something that people can just wake up and do.  It's a   c  r  a  z  y  distance.  Something one can only do if they've trained for it.  If they've worked their butts off (not as literally as I would have liked) to get to that point of mental and physical endurance.  It's just not normal.  And I think that's what I like about it.  Bring.  It.  On.  Can't wait to wake up, put on my 26.2 t-shirt, and hit the ground running.  Sleep tight!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

aww crap.

Numbers have never been my strong suit, but I thought I could count... we're a week off of the training.
Miscounted. :) Whoops.
Whats funny is it stresses me out more than Christie. We've totally swapped personalities during this training! I'm the one who thinks it needs to be planned and scheduled and that we need to follow all the rules, and shes the one who's like, "whatever!"
So, she walked me through my 'on the ledge' moment and we figured it out. Phew!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just call me Speed Racer

I finally tried picking up the pace at the end of my run today (like the last 2 1/2 miles) and found it was actually EASIER to run it at a quicker pace.
 I know it's a total mental thing with me. I think that running slower will reserve some of my energy, but I've seen the light this morning and realized that maybe it would be easier (and quicker!!!) to run it at a slightly faster pace...
Light bulb.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm sorry, what?!?!?

So I'm sitting here in front of the computer and decided I would map out my 15 mile course for Saturday.  Yes, that's right, 15 miles.  My husband Josh is playing football that morning at 8 am, so I have to be done by then and am planning to meet him at Cook Park in Tigard, where he will hand off the kids to me and I will somehow find the energy to entertain them for the following 3 hours.  For those of you who know Portland, here is the route I came up with:

Start at Albertons on Barrows Road in Beaverton (my go-to starting point) and run to Scholls Ferry
Run all the way up Scholls to Hall
Run all the way down Hall to Bonita (yes, Bonita)
Run all the way down Bonita to 72nd
Run all the way down 72nd to Tualatin Road
Run all the way down Tualatin Road to Hwy 99
Run all the way up Hwy 99 to Durham
Run all the way down Durham to Cook Park/Tigard High School

In other words, run from Beaverton, to Tigard, to Lake Oswego, to Tualatin, and back to Tigard.

I can't be reading this right.  That's got to be like 32 miles.  Not just a random midway training run.  Not 11 miles short of a marathon.  There's no way.  It's not possible.  Right??
Pray for me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Great Article from 'Shape Of A Mother'

If you havent heard of this go check out their blog and facebook page! Love it! All about embracing who you are (and what your body looks like) after you have kids! This is about a woman running her first marathon...

Bearing It (Christina Plant)
August 11, 2011
My last entry was about where my heart is and how our physical flaws should not prevent us from celebrating who we are on the inside. I showed photos of myself from a couple of different races and my shorts fit so that the stretched hanging skin was not visible. When I wrote that entry, I had run several race distances: 5k, 15k, 10 miler, 20k, and half marathon.
I am proud to be a mother of three sons. I am proud to say that I worked hard to regain confidence in my physical appearance and in my athletic capabilities. (Actually, I had no athletic capabilities before I was a mother- but that is another story.) I earned my position at every starting line with my own drive and determination. This year (the year that I turn 36) I decided I was ready to raise the bar. Did you ever just get the feeling that even though something seemed nearly impossible that you could do it? When something within you that you can’t describe steadfastly believes that you can?
I began training for my first marathon in February of this year. For those who do not know, a marathon is 26.2 miles long. Any other race that is not 26.2 miles is NOT a marathon. Only 1% of the population ever completes a marathon. I used to say I would never do it. But this year, something made me certain that I could. I know a few people who have completed a marathon. They are not better or stronger or more capable than me. If they could train hard and get it done, then there was no sensible reason to say that I could not. I was on fire for this goal. I knew it was going to be difficult and feel impossible at some points but I also know something about myself: if I want it enough, I will get it. (And I am not better or stronger or more capable than anyone else who aspires to a goal. If you want it- whatever “it” might be, start working. If you don’t stop working even when it sucks, then you will get it.) Wishing for, wondering, thinking about or planning is not the same as WORKING to get it. Once I stopped all that and started working, unsurprisingly, I got results.
I ran my first marathon in Lake Placid, NY (that’s right- Adironacks!) on June 12, 2011. I ran the whole thing (with the exception of a few steep downhill portions) and finished strong. Every mile was dedicated to someone I loved and that is what kept me going for 26.2 miles of rolling hills. The runners that surrounded me were such an inspiration. Every person that steps out to the start impresses me. I don’t care if you finish in 3 hours or 8 hours. Everyone has a reason for why they are there that goes deeper than the actual physical run. What an honor to stand among all of these bold determined people and begin this grueling but glorious journey together.
All types of people run. It’s fascinating and liberating to see that sheer will and determination has no standard shape or size even for this extreme distance. If you want it, get it, right? Don’t wait until your belly is perfectly flat. Don’t wait until your arms are toned. Don’t wait until you are a size 4. You’ll always find some other flaw anyway so celebrate who you are inside AND outside now. This was part of the reason I decided to run a marathon- I wanted my body to do something amazing. I wanted to feel what it is like to believe and endure and keep moving (literally) toward my goal even when it seems impossible and even when I didn’t want to keep going. To believe beyond reason when the only reason to believe is to show yourself that you can- that you will- if you want to enough.
During this race, I noticed something. There were very few who were not lean or aesthetically ideal who stripped down for the sake of comfort. I tend to take the “when in Rome do as the Romans do” stance on things, so I did not shed my top layer. This was mainly because I was wearing new shorts that seemed to ride lower than I’m used to and I didn’t want to be self conscious of the stretched skin on my stomach while I was running. I was hot. Then it down poured for 40 minutes and I was soaked to the bone. But I ran in a soaking wet shirt instead of bearing it in my sports bra and shorts like so many others did.
What if I didn’t care? What if the others who weren’t “perfect” didn’t care either? What if we showed the world and the media that we are happy with who we are and that we don’t need to hide or alter our bodies to feel amazing and alive? Why do I care? I’m a mother. I’m proud of what my body has accomplished and I’m happy to tell any woman that I love my body even though I am flawed from pregnancy and I am always willing to show her if she doesn’t believe me. I actually thought about this for awhile I was running and wondered how I could change this. How could we all change it and remove the silly notion that women’s bodies are better when artificially modified? Am I the only one that thinks it’s silly to wear a bra that pushes your breast up to your neck? Wouldn’t it be frightening if your boobs were really that high? Wouldn’t it be tiresome to have to hold your baby up to them while nursing?
Anyway, I crossed the finish line and was overjoyed and beyond proud. This was the moment that I spent months training for. This was what running over 400 miles during training was all about. No one did this but me. So I had to do something even more amazing. I registered for another marathon just two weeks after this one. I wanted to qualify for a Marathon Maniacs membership and one way to do that is to run two marathons in 16 days or less.
I found myself in Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, Pa two short weeks later struggling through the same distance. It was much hotter (mid 80′s) and I was literally drenched in sweat by mile 9. I saw the same trend- the lean, tight-bodied, and young stripped down so as to be more comfortable in the heat. The chubby, old, and disproportionate tended to stay covered, with rare exception. I had already decided that I would strip down too. Who else was out there running their second marathon (ever) just two weeks after their first? Who else among these runners raised on a diet of ramen noodles, rice, and canned vegetables who barely passed phys ed and never dared to participate in school sports? Who else had three children and was in the best shape of their life just as these children are entering adolescence?
So I did what I should’ve done in Lake Placid. I took my top layer off. I purposefully wore the same shorts that were too low to hide my lower abdomen. AND I purposefully wore a sports bra that had no padding/enhancement/etc. If I don’t fearlessly do this, what am I saying to myself? That I’m not good enough? Why? Because I didn’t see the purpose of having a surgeon implant sacks of saline into my chest? Because I believe it’s illogical to have a surgeon carve out the skin that stretched during of the precious time that I carried my sons? I need to mull over the previous paragraph again if any part of me believes that I’m not good enough. No one needs to hide. Yes we should all strive to improve. Better yet- strive to do something amazing. Something that amazes you. Something you have always wanted to accomplish or something you never thought that you could do. Work your ass off. Do not give up. Take all the time that you need. But for goodness sakes, do not hide. If you love who you are and who you strive to become, please do not hide what is inside or outside. Bear it. And be grateful and proud. Who’s with me?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dear Christie Ann,

I just want to say again what I've said many times over the years- you are my blessing.
When life is crazy, hard, exhausting, wonderful, peaceful;
when I laugh, am lost, am confused, or am inspired- you're who I call.
I'm continually amazed at what an amazing woman of God you are. Your faith inspires me. You wisdom is one of the first I seek. I admire you soooo much!
I just googled a million "Friendship Quotes" to try to find something sweet and deep to put on here, but they all seemed... cheesy.
Remember the shirt in that window in Cannon Beach? I feel like that's the quote of our friendship. Maybe because it makes me laugh and maybe because someday I secretly hope we're in that situation (it WOULD be funny... :)) and maybe because all the sappy sweet things are already implied.

"A good friend will bail you out of jail.
A great friend will be sitting with you in the cell saying, "man, that was FUN!"
-Shirt in Cannon Beach :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Behind the Music

I've been wanting to do a post about my playlist for weeks.  I love, love, love to run with music.  It's my absolute favorite part of running, in fact.  My playlist is 70% hip hop/pop music, and I get really into it.  I love to dance but rarely get the opportunity to, and I've often said that I kind of see running to music as a married 30 year old mother's version of clubbing.  :) Quite a few of my songs are ones that make me laugh when I realize I'm a blonde, white girl.  For example, that Apple Bottom Jeans song (no idea what the real name is) can get me up the most daunting of hills.  Embarrassing, but true.

I always let my playlist shuffle when I run, and I have this weird superstition that just the right song will come on at just the right time.  Self-fulfilling prophecy or not, it really does happen most of the time.  And for some reason I look at it like it's a conversation with God, where he gives me exactly what I need exactly when I need it.  As my dear friend Noelle's husband Brett once said to me, "Oh, like God knows you need Apple Bottom Jeans?"  OK, maybe it's not always a divine selection, but today I know God planned it perfectly.

I got up at 4:45 and headed out to do my 11 mile run.  It was dark and quiet outside, and I was running a new course through the country.  It took me over 2 hours to run this morning, yet that entire time only a handful of fast songs ever showed up on my iPod.  Instead, it was dominated by worship music.  Some of the songs I remember hearing include:
-"Stronger" by Hillsong
-"Sing to Jesus" by Fernando Ortega
-"From the Inside Out" by Kristian Stanfill
-"I Will Lift My Eyes" by Bebo Norman
-"My Offering" by Nichole Nordeman
-"Perfect People" by Natalie Grant
-and of course, "Beyond Measure", right at the start of Mile 10 :)

My favorite moment was in the middle of mile 6.  The sunrise was in front of me, a hot air balloon was in the distance, and one of my favorite songs of all time came on: "Brave" by Nichole Nordeman.  At one point I was running down the street with a gel in one hand and my other hand raised.  I can't imagine a better way to start a morning.  I was able to reflect, pray, and just worship my Creator.  Wow.

As I approached the last quarter mile of my run, I shuffled through to find my current favorite running song to end on: "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz.  It finished faster than I did, and guess what song came up next?  "Brave" again.  I'm just not so sure that was a coincidence.  I am sure that it was the perfect way to end my run and the perfect reminder of what it was all about.  I love that God is in the small stuff. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm kinda tough!

"Today I will do what you wont, so tomorrow I can do what you cant."
I think that quote is from crossfit... I read it on someones fb page once and it stuck with me.
So, when I had to wake up at 4:45am on Monday morning to run my first ever half marathon distance... I kept telling myself that the people still in bed sleeping blissfully wouldn't be able to keep up with me on the next run... and it helped :)
The run started out great. It's always hard for me to do the first 3 miles... I don't know why but they're always the toughest mentally and physically.
I didn't really have any clue where I was running. Just went. I found a few new roads and neighborhoods and that was fun. I also downloaded an entire new album on itunes- which was amazing! Thank you, Mat Kearney for getting me through this run :)
Got to about 6 miles and realized I had to pee... big time. Luckily there's a park in the area so I ran over there praying the entire way that the bathrooms weren't locked- OPEN :)
After that it was me and the pavement :)
Looking back it was just a really great run. I had a couple tough moments where I cramped up. Once I even had to stop on the side of the road to stretch out a butt cramp (yes, butt cramp.) At that point there were quite a few other runners beginning to trickle out. Always nice to see friendly faces!
All the sudden I looked down (thinking I was on maybe mile 8...) and I was over 10!!!
That was a pleasant surprise. Then about 10 seconds later I ran out of water. Suck.
Pushed it big time. Dug deep. And re-read Christies text from that morning, she said,
"A friend of mine told me that if you can do a 10K you can do a half, and if you can do a half you can do a whole. So, today's your proof!"
I started to get choked up, and didn't want to be hyperventilating on my last mile without water. So, I tried to lock it up :)
I had tried to plan the run so that my last mile was the loop right by our house. Where it all started. The loop where I ran my first mile without stopping. This was where I wanted to finish my first "half marathon" :) This didn't help with fighting back emotions!
Pat had texted me to see how close I was and I texted back. I was about 8 minutes ahead of my estimated finish time and he texted back, "I'm impressed, but not surprised!" so I texted him, "I'm a bad a$$!"
As I rounded the corner right by our house and looked down my street at my last .2 mile I saw my family come pouring out of the house. They stood on the sidelines of the most creative finish line EVER, and cheered me on as I completed one of the biggest feats of my life.


Notice the paper in my hand- Addyson made me a card with a rainbow, and '13's written all over it :)

Helping mommy stretch...
 You know what's funny is that this really was the easiest part of my day! I know that if I can raise 3 kids, and if I can go to births for 30 hours straight- I can do this. This really was my proof :)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the road again!

I just got back from a 4 day trip to Wisconsin Dells, WI (the "Waterpark Capital of the World!") for a family reunion.  Even though my initial plan was to wait until I returned to attempt to run again, I packed my running clothes and shoes just in case.  My foot had been feeling totally normal for a few solid days, so on Monday morning, I laced up my shoes, clipped on my iPod, and set out on the Wisconsin country roads for my first run in 16 days. 

No more than 5 steps into it, I got teary-eyed.  Thank the Lord, unlike my last attempt, these tears did not come from pain.  They came from an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude!  It felt AMAZING!!!  It's so hard to have the will to do something but not the physical ability.  Just to be healthy again was such a gift!  I iced a lot that day and night and was sure to stretch really well, just as I will continue to do for the remainder of this training.  I felt some kinks the next day and could definitely tell I hadn't run in a while, but I was just glad I was able to do it without too much difficulty.  I was so worried that I'd be back where I started, dying at mile 1!  It was just shy of 4 miles, and it felt to me just like my pre-injury 4-milers.  Praise God!  I am so, so grateful.  Next time I complain about "having to run," someone please remind me to be glad that I can!!!

My favorite part of the run was knowing that here I was, in the roads-less-traveled of Wisconsin, with my feet pounding the pavement at the exact same time Sarah's were doing so in Spokane.  It was 8 am for me and 6 am for her.  I was working on 4 miles and she was doing 13.1 (YOU ROCK!!!!).  I was slowly easing into it, and she was giving it her all.  But there we were, running miles together, miles apart. 

Less than 2 months to go until race day!  The countdown continues!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dumb things I did yesterday...

1.) Tubing behind the boat with a crazy 11 year old. Just because she has young knees doesn't mean I do.
2.) Huckleberry Daiquiri
3.) Huckleberry Margarita
4.) Laying in the hot (read: dehydrating) sun

So, I'm sure my half marathon this evening will be a cake walk :)
Hoping my husband gets home from his guys golfing/reminiscing/boozing weekend early enough that I don't have to run more than a few miles in the dark.
I am totally going to make my kids draw a gigantic finish line in chalk on the street in front of our house!

Christie- missing my running buddy :( Hurry up and heal up!
p.s.- I am never going to be up for driving cross country with our kids. ever.  :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Aw, Snap!

I literally just realized I can't really wear that shirt, because I wasn't born in Oregon!  LOL!  I honestly didn't know that until Josh just reminded me we've only lived here 8 years!  I responded by whining that I couldn't wear the Washington one either since I've never raced there.  To wish Josh added, "You weren't born there either."  Double crap!  Maybe I should lay off the ibuprofin... ;)

Side 2 (see below) just pulled ahead...

...because I REALLY want a reason to buy and wear this shirt!!!  How cute is this?!?!

"Born and Raced in Oregon" running tee by Oiselle ( LOVE!!!  I have their 13.1 t-shirt from when I was training for the half and it's one of my favorites to wear.  SO comfortable and cute! 

Sarah, there is one for you, too!!!

Nothing like an adorable new addition to a wish list to encourage a girl! :)

My Bipolar Outlook

So, I'm still hurt and still not running.  I heard from my running coach today who said it takes 2 weeks off to lose endurance you've built up.  Well, 2 weeks is a mere 2 days away, and I'm still not 100%.  Praise the Lord, my foot is feeling much, much better.  Not perfect, but soooo much better!!  But now I have pain in my shin on the same side, similar to an electric-shock sort of feeling I got in the same shin during my half-marathon.  Therefore, I'm still not quite ready to run.  Sarah gave me a great pep talk earlier this week reminding me I HAVE to take the time off.  I'm kind of at a breaking point, where I either take off enough time to fully heal and then work my butt off to catch up in training, or I run too soon and get injured again, making it nearly impossible to be ready for the race. I feel like my mind is so bipolar this week.  Two completely different trains of thought take turns racing through my mind:

1) I'll never make it.  I've missed too much time.  I'm not ready to run yet, and I'm now dozens of miles behind.  This weekend I'm supposed to run 13 miles.  The distance of a half-marathon.  And right now I can't even run 2.  I could try to maintain my endurance by cycling at the gym for 2 hours (like real cycling, not "Us Weekly" reading style of cycling...), but, I'll be honest, just the thought of that kinda makes me want to die.

2) I'm going to do this.  It's not too late.  I will suck it up and give it my all.  I want this so bad.  If I have to ride that darn bike for 2 hours a day, I'll do it.  If I have to run at 4:00 am once I can in order to leave an hour to recover and stretch every day, I'll do it.  I'll do whatever it takes to run this race, and run it well.  Crossing that finish line will make every single ounce of effort worth it.

I'm not really sure what side is winning right now.  It's a pretty strong tie for the most part.  I know this next week will be the tie breaker.  Sarah, I'll be calling you for a pep talk soon... :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I cant be the only person who has done this...

This morning I looked down at my Garmin and saw 4.51 miles and my brain (which is still very asleep) read that to mean I was almost to 5 miles... I was like, "WOOP WOOP! Must have miscalculated the distance! I can cut this loop short and head home!" When I glanced down again and saw 4.63 I remembered that it's not a clock...
Kinda threw a damper on my woop-ing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some more pictures from our Portland Trip...


Ahhh...the ice bath.

Only Christie would still be smiling!

Noah was having a little too much fun if you ask me...

Thoughtful Tuesday

I've been saying "I have to run ____miles today."
Not only do non-runners look at me like I'm crazy, and say, "you have to?"
But, I think it's possibly linked to and therefore affecting my attitude and success...
I'm going to start saying, "I get to run ____miles today!"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Miles, Travels & Love

Whew. It's been a little while!
Last week we were in Cannon Beach on an amazing family vacation. We had a blast, and managed to fit in a couple of runs on the beach too!
My favorite memory of the trip was when Pat and I got a chance to walk the kids down to the spot where we were married. It was a really cool moment for me. There's this little staircase down to the beach that's covered with trees and bushes. I remember walking down that staircase in my wedding dress, about to see Pat for the first time... and then watching him walk down that staircase 6 years later carrying our youngest in the ergo carrier, and the older two following behind him. It hit me just how blessed I am. To watch the 4 most important people in my world walk down that path, and see right in front of me God's grace.

Our "I do" spot

 So that was awesome!
I was thinking about doing my 12 miler the last day we were in Cannon Beach, but had realized that there isn't a lot of room to do a lot of miles around there unless you're willing to tackle some serious hills... which I'm not :)
So, I saved it for the day after we got home, Sunday.
I'm not sure if all of you know this or not yet, but my amazing, handsome, wonderful & FUN husband seen here:

is training for the marathon too!! So, not only are we tackling the psychoness of training for a marathon and the 250ish miles that entails, but we're juggling it between the two of us, with two very crazy jobs, and 3 very young kids, and two annoying dogs :)
So, Pat ran on Sunday morning, and then I was going to do it that evening...
seemed like a good plan. Until I realized I was talking about 2+ hours, which meant starting the run at 6:30 so I could avoid running in the dark. (I have issues with this because of previous runs with creepy guys cat-calling from dark porches...eww...)
So, at 6:25 our stupid dog got out.
At 7:15 Pat came back with him... seen here:

So, now I was kinda stressing because not only was I presumably going to be running in the dark, but my road dog was now on the bench. Crap.
Off I go with most of the neighborhood kids cheering me on and my kids screaming, "Go Mommy, GO!"
My plan was to run my little 3 mile loop 4 times, so that every time I came back to my house I could grab a fresh water bottle, and wouldn't have to strap on my very hot water belt.
1st loop was horrific. So painfully hot, I was bright red and sweating like a... well sweating bad. Hosed myself off, grabbed a fresh bottle, gave kiddos a goodnight kiss from the curb and headed back out.
2nd loop was about the same... I was hot. Just really hot. When I came back that time I grabbed a half a Cliff Bar, and a gel and gulped those down while I walked for a couple minutes.
3rd loop the sun started setting-fast. So, it was cooler, but I was calculating the whole time trying to figure out if I'd have enough sunlight to do my last loop. There was a very distinct moment where I realized it was a fear I had to face. I knew I could just loop our 1 mile loop around our house 3 times for the last 3 miles and be fairly safe.
Went back to the house for my last water bottle, and was honestly thinking, "maybe I'll just do 9 and call it good. I'm tired, and scared, and want this to be done!" ... right in front of my car bumper (where I was keeping my water bottles my incredible husband was filling up) on our driveway Pat had written this in sidewalk chalk:

"Finish Strong"

I cried a little as I started back out. Crying while running doesn't work. It definitely doesn't sound good... kind of like I was choking :) But, that support and unswerving certainty that I CAN DO THIS is one of the things I love most about him.
Started my 1 mile loop (X3) and on the backside of it there are NO STREETLIGHTS! Oy. So, thanks to the guy who left his sprinklers on all day and had a ginormous puddle next to his curb... because I stepped in it. Cool. And another shout out to the jerk who had his massive black dog walking around off a leash and almost gave me a freaking heart attack. As I'm smacking his dog with my empty water bottle the guy stands up on his steps and says, "HEY!!" Cool dude. Cool
As I finally was on that last quarter mile I realized that this isn't it. At all. I have to do this again next week. Plus another mile. And then the week after that, and so on... and I kinda felt like, "this sucks."
And then, in the pitch black of the 9:30 night I saw my other half waiting in the driveway for me. I'm sure he was exhausted from his own 5am 12 mile run, but he was out there- for me. And, I started to cry...again. As I ran up to the driveway he came out and gave me a huge hug, and through my gulps and sobs and tears I told him, "I don't want to do this anymore!!" :) He laughed, and told me I rocked, and went to start my ice bath for me :) He came in and talked with me while I shivered in the torture chamber that is an ice bath. I told him, "This isn't F U N any more!" And he said, "You thought this was going to be ??!!" And I said, "Yeah, I thought anything could be fun if you put your mind to it!" So he told me (in no uncertain terms) that this was not going to be funWhat was going to be
 F U N  was the moment we crossed that finish line and knew we just ran 26.2 miles.
I hate it when he's right.
But, he is. So, I'm going to suck it up. And like Christie said, "some runs are super fun, and some suck. you just have to live for the ones that are like flying and survive the rest!" (I'm probably paraphrasing, but that's the jist!)

It's on its way...

This is my post to say I'm going to write my post at some point today!! I've been such a slacker :) -Sarah