Monday, April 21, 2014

Marathon Recap: 8 days later

     I can honestly say that the day after wasn't nearly as bad as it should've been.  The Monday following my run, I had more muscular pain than I'd had on Sunday but I could move and I had truly expected not to be able to move!  I didn't work out at all Monday, Tuesday and I did some yoga, Wednesday and Thursday I got on my spin bike and Friday I did a workout with stroller strides.  Saturday I did a short Jillian Michael's workout.  On Friday I noticed that my left knee was a little funny, like it wanted to pop.  I just paid attention to it when I sat down and so far, no popping.

     In fact, my recovery went so well that I've decided I'll have to run another marathon, where I actually run the entire thing.  For some time now I've said that I want to run the Disney Wine and Dine Marathon.  It's at night, through Epcot with many Disney characters on the route.  I think it sounds like fun!  Plus, your marathon entry also gets you entry into the Wine and Dine event at Disney, which features food and beverage from many of the countries represented in Epcot.  I also want to run the Marine Corps Marathon.  So we'll see what pans out in the future.  I have no plans on running a marathon in the next year.  Breastfeeding every two hours makes a 5 to 6 hour running event difficult, for sure!  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rock N Roll Raleigh

Yesterday, I ran the Inaugural Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon.  Wait, I should back up.  Last April, when I found out this event was coming so close, location wise, I was immediately interested.  The Rock N Roll series of half marathons/marathons is popular in the running community.  Popular because of live music at every mile and a fun atmosphere.  I signed up for the full marathon because it was close, and cheap.  And I had a year to train.  No problem for someone who has run many half marathons, right?!?  

So up to the Expo on Friday to pick up my race packet I went.  I really liked this mirror and am thinking about putting these stickers on my bathroom mirror.

Yet, May 1st, 2013 changed the course of events in my life dramatically.  I learned I was pregnant with my handsome little man.  I experienced my worst pregnancy; intense nausea that lasted more than 4 months, braxton hicks by 27 weeks, contractions by 32.  And I was big.  It was hard to run during this pregnancy.  Initially,  I thought I could still train for the full marathon, as I had so much time to prepare.  I could just take it slower than if I weren't pregnant.  But no, most of the time I was so miserable, that the thought of running a few miles didn't get me excited, much less the long distances required for proper marathon training.  So months ago, I made the decision to run the half marathon.  

Then, about two weeks ago, something changed.  I started thinking about the wall that I ALWAYS hit in a half marathon, at mile 11.  I knew that running past the 13.1 half marathon distance point would likely allow me to run through, and past, this difficult point and bring me to a peaceful and happy running place.  This would make running the half distance much easier.  So I began to ponder running the marathon course, for as long as I could, then hitching a ride on one of the "Sag Wagons" when needed, to take me back to the start.  My goal simply was to run 14 miles, maybe more if I felt ok.  David and I had a lengthy conversation the night before.  He told me he felt like I could make it to 18 easily.  And that he thought I could finish the race.  He gave me a ton of advice for the run.  The plan was for me to caravan up with two guys from the church that were also running and for David to stay home with the kiddos.  

We made it to the race corrals with about 30 minutes to spare.  We dropped off our bags at gear check, and headed to our respective corrals.  There were a lot of people, a little more than 12, 500 entries were sold.  We started out and ran up and down the streets of downtown Raleigh.  After about 2 miles, the hills came.  And kept coming for the next 6 miles or so.  The hills were rough.  And I hadn't trained properly, much less in hills, so this part was very tough for me.  I knew once I got past the half marathon and marathon split, it would level off for most of the remaining course.  In between mile 6 and 7, David called to tell me that he'd be waiting for me at the turn around point, mile 15.  I teared up, thinking about him and the kids waiting for me.  At 8.5 miles, I made my right turn that put me on the marathon course and teared up again.  I chugged along, feeling pretty darn good for miles after.  I saw David and the kids at about 12.5, typically a very difficult point for me.  I teared up again.  They were waiting for me as I rounded past the 13 mile marker, sailing past the greatest distance I'd ever run.  The miles kept coming and I felt good.  By mile 15 I was ready for my turn around, which happened at 15.5.  In between 17 and 18, I started feeling rough.  My hip flexors were in pain.  I called David and he calmed me down.  He told me that I was doing awesome.  He asked me if I felt like I couldn't go any farther and I said no.  He encouraged me and told me how proud he was of me and reminded me not to worry about him and the kids.  I decided to chug along, until I couldn't go anymore.  I carried on, walking as little as possible.  I was having a hard time but I kept telling myself "Just make it to the next mile."  That thought took me to mile 21, which is when I really felt pooped.  But I was so close at that point that, for me, there was no other option than to finish.  I didn't care if I walked the remaining 5 miles, I was crossing the finish line.  It was hot, more than 80 degrees, and humid, with 80% humidity.  And at this point I'd been running for about 5 hours.  I talked with a few runners around me.  In between 22 and 24, there was a photographer sitting on the ground, taking photo's, who was yelling nonstop encouragement; "let's go runners, show me what you've got!"  As I ran past, I said thank you and told him he was awesome, he responded with "No, you're awesome, I"m just sitting here."  David and the kids were waiting for me at 24.5.  He told me I had one big hill left, and that it would be brutal but smooth sailing to the finish after that.  He was right.  In between 25 and 26 Wear Blue Run to Remember was standing.  First I ran past many signs, with photo's and stats of fallen soldiers, then I ran past members of the group, holding American flags.  It felt like there was 50 flags draped over the course.  This was so touching, and motivating, at such a rough point in the run.  A point when I was tired and just wanted it to be over but I kept going.  This was so inspiring. And then I was in the final stretch, which was short, thank goodness.  I could see my finish.  I ran past the timing sensor and cried as I took my medal.  I looked right and there were David and the kids, smiling and telling me how proud they were for me.  Hannah was jumping up and down.  I don't care that I didn't run the entire time, I don't care that it took me 5 hours and 46 minutes to complete.  Rather, I'm impressed with my ability to keep moving for that long.  I was carefree, giving high fives to anyone I could, saying thank you to all the volunteers.  And I stopped at every hydration table for water and every medical table for vaseline (to prevent chaffing).  
David has always said, in regards to running, that your brain will quit on you long before you body will.  I've never found this to be truer than I do after yesterdays running.  I wanted to finish, and that's why I did.  It was very difficult.  I was hot and thirsty, I was sunburned.  But I wanted to cross that finish line, which is what I did.       

What I loved: The challenge of it.  The signs; some of my favorites included "Ignore the guy with the sign" "Wave if you're not wearing underwear"  (most long distance runners don't wear underwear because it's one more thing to chaff)  and "I pooped today, did you?" and " I'm very impressed with total strangers."  There was a guy dressed as a banana out and a bride and groom cheering us on.  I loved the lack of shame.  I saw lots of people walking at various points.  There was no shame in walking, it was all about finishing.  

What I didn't love: the pain I feel right now.  It was all  joint pain the day off.  All my joints from the waist down.  My legs refused to work against gravity.  Today, I can feel it everywhere.  My shoulders and upper back.  My hip flexors really ache.  I have too many blisters to count and I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose my right pinkie toenail.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Love between sisters

  This is a blog I started to post last year.  Riley curled up next to Hannah, while Hannah reads to her.  They do this frequently now.  When Riley has trouble falling asleep, Hannah will read to her.  I love my girls and pray they always have this kind of relationship.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Global run for education

This past Saturday, David and I ran in the Global Run for Education.   

Can you spot the elephant in the street?

It started because our friend, Laura (seen in the bright pink shirt and black capris in above photo) asked me to run with her.  This was her very first 5k.  I'm always about supporting new runners, and cheering them on.  After all, I wouldn't be where I am without the support of David.  

Meanwhile, the church has set out to promote our new sermon series, the elephant in the room.  He decided to join Laura and I, while dressed as an elephant.  Crazy, I know.  

David had a great time!  He was born to be a mascot, I'm tellin ya!  He ran all 3.1 miles, then ran back to greet people coming in even after he'd finished.  He also accomplished his goal of attracting attention.  He gave high fives and danced in the street.  Lots of people wanted their picture taken with the elephant.  When appropriate, we told people to come see the elephant in the room.  

He said running in the costume wasn't too bad.  When he stopped running is when he started to get hot.  
As you can see from the photo, Hannah ran with us.  Her friend Logan was out there, which seems to motivate her to run more.  Pretty sure she had her fastest 5k time.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Playhouse upgrades

For all the world to see: here's the upgraded and improved playhouse!

Hannah has been so anxious to get her playhouse back.  We choose not to have it brought to the rental, because we knew the rental was not a long term thing.  My dad had it in the backyard of our new home less than a month into staying here.  

Hannah cleaned it out, with spray cleaners and a broom.

Then we added some curtains.  And a table and chair.  

As well as this wire shelf for her.

My dad had mentioned a swing set going off the playhouse.  A week later, he did this:

There are three swings; a baby swing, a regular swing and a disc swing.  There's also the rock climbing wall, which leads you to the slide.  

The girls LOVE it.  Riley does have a very difficult time saying good bye to the swing. 

Hannah's been perfecting her jump technique.  

The kids have quite the backyard paradise; a swingset, a playhouse and a sandbox.  

Oh, and the playhouse will get an addition in the near future.  I mean, Riley has to have her own area (according to grandpa)!

Myrtle beach part 2

After the cheer competition, we headed to Broadway at the Beach.  It's a total money trap, but nice for all the reasons that it is a trap.  There's so much for kids to do there. They have some dinosaurs, which are very popular.  All you can do is climb on them, but the kids love to do just that.  

The girls discovered that they could pick up the little pieces of food dropped by others and feed it to the birds.  The birds would practically take it right out of your hand.

After the cheer events had wrapped up, Jayden and Layla and their cousins met us at Broadway.  We decided to head to the aquarium.  

Which is always a hit.  And a VERY reasonable price for active duty and veterans, families included.  

The girls ran around, oohing and ahhing the sharks, eels, turtles and fish.  

Jayden and Hannah played with some crabs.  

After exploring the aquarium for a few hours, Jayden said good bye.  She had to go take team photo's.  Then our family went back in to watch the mermaid show.  A neat addition to the aquarium, and the show is free.  David had scooped it out and figured how to get the girls right in front during the mermaid meet and great.  

It's a dark photo, but there's our girls with the mermaids.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Myrtle Beach

A few weeks ago my very best friend, Kelly, who now lives in Chicagoland, traveled to Myrtle Beach because of a cheerleading competition her daughter was involved in.  As soon as I found out, I knew we'd be driving down to see her.  I mean it's 13 to Chicago, and 2 to Myrtle!  Plus, it's been almost a year and a half since I've seen her, and I miss her so very much.  

Moving on, the hotel had numerous indoor pools.  We got there late afternoon on Friday.  The girls were restless so I took them down to the pool while David and Joshua hung out in the room.  Kelly had driven through the night from Chicago to Myrtle Beach, so they were still drifting in and out of consciousness.  

This little 1 foot pool was perfect for Riley.  

She even figured out how to climb out on her own.  

We bounced back and forth between these two pools for about an hour.  

You can see Riley climbing her way out in the corner of this picture.

When I went back up to the room, David took the girls down to the beach to walk around for a little.  Kelly came by and we chatted for a little while.  I also got information for the cheer competition the next morning.  
So early Saturday morning, we all headed over to watch the competition.. 

David got us in and out without paying $20 a person!!!  Yikes, right.  When the guy asked David where our wristbands were, David said "Do we have to have those if we're just spectating?"  And the teenager at the door said, no, go ahead and go in.  

We're pretty sure the guy went home and looked up the definition to "spectating" only to realize that he shouldn't have let us in!  I mean, what else would anyone be doing there?!?

And to avoid a crazy long post, the remaining photo's will be in tomorrow's blog.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cernock Circus

These are pictures from about two weeks ago.  

Joshua and me, cuddling.  

Enjoying some sunshine

Here Hannah was walking around the back yard, singing into this stick.

Riley likes to climb in Joshua's swing.  

Sleeping peacefully.

Hannah and I were playing Sequence.  We started while Riley was sleeping but then she woke up and joined us.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The artist in the house

Hannah's painting

The original, by Matisse

She did this at homeschool co-op two weeks ago.  All the teachers were so impressed with how well she reproduced the painting.  Her teacher also said she she took her time it, unlike all the other kids.