Friday, June 29, 2012

Grandma's Marathon ~ 26.2

We set our alarms for 4:44 AM, not 4:45 AM because it's better luck to wake at 4:44 AM.  {Something about all numbers the same on the digital clock and a wish.}  These summer days, that was a little early for me.  Plus nerves and somebody getting up for water, {which turned out to be more than just water}, made for a sleepless night.  I have come to expect a sleepless night before an unknown race.  I also have come to know that it all works out and sleep doesn't really matter the night before.

We dressed, had our coffee {a must}, bagels and headed out to meet the bus to take us to Two Harbors, MN.  It was really nice to have my sister with me getting ready and on the bus ride, somebody to talk with, share the experience with and our nervousness.  This was our first Marathon and I am super grateful to have had this experience with her.  Not only is she my sister but she is also my sole sister!

We arrived among many buses and unloading runners in Two Harbors about 45 minutes prior to the race start.  Which was only enough time to wait in line for the bathrooms, apply some sunscreen {the forecast called for clouds so we didn't think of it as we were getting ready in the dark and thankfully the start line had some} and I applied Ben Gay to my calves.  I figured it wouldn't hurt and really doesn't it just smell purty!  We lined up at the 5:00 hour mark.  That was about where I thought I'd be and I didn't really see any point in pushing through the already in place line to get any further, especially since I'd probably just get passed.  Tonya on the other hand probably would have benefitted getting closer to her time of 4:30.  But she stayed with me, what a sister!

The race started with the National Anthem and a fly by of two fighter jets.  That just sends chills all over when they go by!  Right on time, 7:45 AM the race started.  It took us four minutes to cross the start line. 

The weather was forecasted at cool, overcast with a slight wind NNE, which would be to our backs and coming off the lake.  Then for late runners {I like how I'd be considered a late runner and not a slow runner}  the winds would change to SSW and become really humid and rain.  I didn't mind the rain part at all but was dreading humid weather at the end of the race when I anticpated not having any energy left. 

While training during my long runs, I ran with a water belt but for the race I decided to take water at the water stops, which meant I would have to walk through them.  I wasn't the biggest fan of that but also didn't really want to run with the water belt.  I did pin a bunch of gel packs to my shorts so I could take those when needed.

As I mentined earlier there was a definite need for sunscreen as there wasn't a cloud in site.  The first miles went good, very normal, with the first water stop at mile three.  Every two miles after that, until mile 20 there was a water stop.  After mile 20 there was a water stop every mile.  I tried to take my gel packs every four miles figuring there would be a water stop a mile further.  It somewhat worked until at some point I needed the gel pack earlier and lost count where I was.   Then during the last few miles I think I piled a few in me so I wouldn't lose steam and look like a mess on Suprior Street.

It was hot.  Around mile eight I started thinking this was going to be tough, I had 18 miles to go {which was the furthest run I did in training} and I was already feeling like this is getting hard.  I just kept thinking to the next water station, where I'd get a short walk and then at mile 13 I'd see my family.  It was so helpful to know that they'd be there.  Even though I thought it was getting a little hard I was doing a 10 minute mile and saw the 4:30 pacer about 200 feet ahead of me.  I thought I might catch up, was over the moon thinking of that time at the finish, but as soon as I hit the 9 mile water stop I lost the pacer.  I stuck to my plan of walking through the water stops to make sure I got enough.  Maybe next time, maybe another race.

Right about this same time, mile 10, I started to feel a cooler breeze come off Lake Superior and was seeing more clouds.  WONDERFUL!  That's when things started to turn around and I was feeling really good.  At this same time there were many people passing me, many people were starting to walk and I just started taking the whole experience in.  Every mile that passed since mile three I thanked God for the experience, prayed for the runners and said a Hail Mary.

Towards the end of my training I was pretty tired of running.  Not so much the actual running but the time it was taking to do the runs and how much sacrifice it was for me, Adam and our family as a whole.  I firgured this would be my one and only marathon, so when I was out there I really took the time to relish in the experience.  This isn't something I usually do, more often than not, I plow through whatever it is just to move on to the next thing.  There was really something special about this marathon that kept me in the moment that I was.

There weren't any crowds gathered at mile 13 so I didn't see my family.  I knew it must not have been a good spot on the ajacent road for them to have stopped.  Instead I saw them at mile 14 and even then, I almost didn't.  I was looking and on the correct side of the road but unless Adam didn't holler my name (I paused my shuffle ahead of time so I could hear) I might have missed them.  I ran over and gave each kids a kiss as well as my husband.  What joy it was to see them and I was so thankful.  It really does something for your spirit and body to see family. 

Right after that I had to use the bathroom.  That was about a three minute stop.  Three minutes.

Somewhere around mile 20 I saw a man coming up on my left side, he was tethered to another man.  My first thoughts were something like, what's going on here and then my mind jumped to children with leashes on.  They passed me and then I saw the tail runner's shirt.  It read, "Guide for Blind Runner".   I was in awe, simply amazed.  I thought this was the most charitable thing I'd seen all day.  They kept pounding the pavement and I'd wished I would have said something.  Thankfully, I was able to pass them a little further down the road and I told them I thought they were the most amazing people I'd seen all race day.  They both turned and said thank you.  AMAZING.  If I remember correctly, they did end up finishing ahead of me.  I was also told that the guide did not have a race number on and therefor was truly only doing it for the other man.  What a God sighting that was!

Around mile 22 I took my last gel pack.  A little while later I started wondering why my heart was hurting.  I had a single thought of worry and then I remembered that my last gel pack is always with caffeine.  I guess I had enough adreneline that I didn't really need the caffeine.  {Note to self}  I was hoping to not look like I was about ready to die coming into the finish line and thought I better take all the energy I could.

I saw my Dad & Sally at Lake & Superior on the left side.  I saw Sally right away and she saw me but my Dad was looking further down the street and I had to holler, "Dad, Dad, Dad" before he finally turned before I was out of sight.  It was good to see them!

Then about 100 feet down the road I saw my nieces with bright pink signs that said, "My Auntie Rocks" and "Auntie Go Go" on them.  They were with my Mom & Jim.  Mom was snapping pictures.  Awesome to see more family!  Oh and this part of the road wasn't the best to run on.  I felt like I had to watch for all the uneven brick.

Then around the corner to the back side of the DECC where I found Henry, Karley, Sophie & my dear Adam.  He also snapped a few pictures.

Just after this you go under a bridge (I think it's Lake Street bridge) and turn the corner and then it's the last stretch.  Just after this spot a girl next to me was struggling and asked me, "Where's the finish line".  I so remember my first half marathon being in that same place, thinking it would never end.  I offered her some encouragement, knowing it was almost over.

I saw my family on the bridge and then I rounded the corner. 

I kept looking at my watch and wasn't exactly sure how this was going to end up.  I knew that there was about four minutes between gun time and my chip time and that at this point I knew I could have both of those times under five hours if I trucked.  So I pretty much started to sprint as much as I could.  It felt great, I could hear the clapping, was checking my watch, everything was great, calves started cramping really really bad.  There wasn't much I could do and I only had a few more feet to go.  I kept checking my watch and at the same time I wondered if I was going to curl up on the ground afterwards and look like an idiot after sprinting.  I knew that wasn't the smartest thing to do.   I had so many thoughts going through my head as I crossed the finish line, I meant to stop my watch but paused my shuffle instead.  Then I realized that I didn't have the shuffle on and had to hit pause again.  Finally found my watch and stopped that.  This all happens in a matter of seconds and you don't even know what you're doing.

I felt great at the end.  The cramps went away right away.  The weather was nice and cool, even so much that I grapped the foil things they give you after the race, which was great!  I grabbed so food, bagel, banana, salted nut roll, chocolate milk.  YUM.

It was a great race.  I love every part of it.  I didn't "hit the wall" towards the end like I thought I would.  I am very thankful for that. 

My Times:

Chip Time ~ 4:54:57
Gun Time ~  4:59:02

While my sister had a much better time than I did of 4:24, she didn't have a great race.  She felt sore the entire time and in the end she thought she could have had a better time.  As for me, I think I could shave off time by running with a water belt and only fill from my bottles vs walking through every water stop.  Otherwise I think my average mile time of 11:16 is about right for this kind of run for me.  Maybe I could beat it a little.....we'll see!

Thanks for all the well wishes, support and prayer.  I couldn't have done it without all that and it was only possible through God!

In Christ,


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dance Karley

After a school year of her first dance lessons it was finally time for Karley's first dance recital.  She performed in early June on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  It couldn't have been any cuter and Id on't think I could have been any prouder or teary eyed than I was on that day.  

She did so well, as well as a four year old can do in their first year of dance instruction.  She amazed me by how well she was able to listen, and be without me.  I think this might have been the cause for some of the tears.  She was actually able to stand on stage and do something all on her own and perform in a large autitorium of people.  It was something to see.

Her Daddy gave her a red rose after her first performace which she loved and took with her everywhere for the next two days.  Then she finally put it in her room, so very sweet.  I wasn't able to get the pictures I'd hoped for but still, I  marked the occassion.  A DVD will be coming to us soon which I do hope to be able to post here, should I figure that out!

Time is flying by.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pre-Marathon Week

It's hard to put into words what last week was for me, yes, it was a busy but not like this week's busy.  Yet, it was a busy week, different I suppose because in the back of my head I was always thinking about running a marathon.  Pondering what would ever make me think I could even run a marathon, 26.2 miles. 

Earlier last week I started a craft project for Father's Day.  The project turned pretty much like the photo I pinned.  I think I could do it faster next time now that I've done it four times.  Doing this wood project kind of gave me the bug to make more to sell at our local Farmer's Market.  We'll see where that goes.  I do have a huge list of things I'd like to craft up.  Maybe over the Winter for next year at the Farmer's Market.  I have a few photo books next on the list and I'd like to tackle a couple other pins.

The latter part of last week was spent getting ready to go camping and the marathon.  We left early Friday morning so that meant getting everything ready on Thursday.  This included a trip to the grocery store, which has become a little bit more time consuming with three very interested children along.  More on a Summer remedy to that later.  It all got done and we were on the road by 9:00 AM Friday morning.

We got to Duluth around 1:00 PM, I think.  A couple of stops along the way as well as some detours.  Not the best thing to be going down gravies with the 5th Wheel.  When we got to Duluth we set up camp and then went to pick up the my race packet.  After all that we opted to skip the spaghetti dinner and just enjoy some ice cream.  {I made chipotle burritos for dinner later}. 

Canal Park enjoying the ice cream. 

My sister found us down at Canal Park and sat with us for a bit.  We left and she went to pick up her race packet.  We all camped together later which was really nice to have her with me to share those night before your first marathon jitters, not to mention how great it was the next morning!

This was also from Canal Park and you can see evidence of the ice cream. 

I'll re-cap the marathon sometime this week.  Thanks for all the support and best wishes.  It really helped!

God Bless,


Friday, June 8, 2012

Seven Quick Quick Takes ~ June 8, 2012

Right to it....


I'm getting ready for a garage sale.  I've never had a garage sale or been a part of one.  It's a major de-clutter in my house right now.  Not just kids clothing, that routinely gets donated, but anything and everything I can possibly part with.  I'm trying to get Henry wrapped around this idea by letting him have the money for his things {he doesn't wish to part with one single solitary toy from birth} to buy legos.  He has offered up a few baby type board books.  Little does he realize how far the board book won't go towards legos.  Bless his heart for savoring his things and now, please bless his heart to bless somebody elses. 


In all this purging I've come across some old baby pictures.  I could just tear up with how fast this time has gone.  At the same time, I so enjoy the ages they are and their ability to have conversations with me {especially during the day}, participate in the things we do not just tag along, watching them enjoy the things that they enjoy.  So bittersweet. 


Today is the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in 160 cities across the country.  I went to the first one without any children.  I helped my friend, Kristen, with her kiddos.  It was really great to be a part of that event.  This rally was in the big city and I didn't think I'd be able to take my three by myself in the busyness of downtown.  {It seems these days, I'm pushing it by going to Michael's for a craft project} and I didn't dare do something like the Stand Up Rally, even though I'm watching all these photos on twitter and facebook and wishing I were there.

{Update:  I just saw a picture from Minneapolis, it looks nothing like this one below.  I made the right choice for us.}


Busy weekend full of travel all across Minnesota.  Grad parties and dance recitals.  Speaking of dance recitals.  I need to post all about Karley's dance recital last weekend.  She was so precious! 


Karley is so in love with her swimsuits that she wore one to bed last night and refuses to take it off today.  Looks like a fun summer.  As soon as we get the back yard somewhat finished in landscaping we can set up the kiddie pool for them.  FUN!  For now, we've been enjoying smoothies in the afternoon for cool treat.


One week from tomorrow {June 16 depending on when you are reading this}, I'll be running the marathon.  Yes, 26.2 miles.  I am hoping for temperatures in the 50's.  Wouldn't that be nice.  Hoping that the 87 I see on the thermometer now is long gone by next weekend.  I've had some strange running this week, making me very nervous.  I like the taper {winding down of mileage before the big day}, yet, at the same time it's making me more nervous about not having had a long run in weeks. 


Once I get this garage sale stuff further along I hope to be back to blogging more regularly.  I do like it.  {What a lame #7}  What are you doing this weekend?

God Bless!

Joining Jennifer at Conversion Diary

Monday, June 4, 2012

Daybook ~ 6.4.12

Around the Avenue we still have heavy machinery working on the street to the south side of our property.  Not sure about the garden.  It's either dry or still really wet or perhaps not so wet that it probably needs some water.  I better find out.  Otherwise all our summer projects are at stand still.  Big Daddy has been out of town salmon fishing.  Yeah for him, he so deserves a weekend with the guys.

I'm Listening To birds chirping, heavy machinery and at times my voice telling littles to go to bed and an occasional dog barking.  Somebody's {not mine} children yelling for Mom.

I've finished Reading St Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle.  Pondering/Praying about what to read next.  I'm pretty sure it's been decided.  Until next week, I'm taking a small break.  In the meantime I still read Give Us This Day and a Year With the Saints.

Since Adam has been gone fishing, we've been coasting with the Menu.  But I did manage to make a nice meal before he left {Beef Stroganoff}.  Let me tell you how many times I was thanked for the wonderful meal, a lot.  I think there was a message without a lot of words there.  I'll be thinking up something wonderful for tomorrow night.  In general, a menu plan is a must.

It would seem the lackadaisical summer plan is not working so well and Home Learning today has consisted of correcting bad behavior with calm parenting and early bed times.  Tomorrow will be chores first and foremost by all, including myself.

Then I hope to start a few Craft Projects for Father's Day.  I am falling in love with Pinterest.  What I lack in creativity I make up for in being a copy cat artist.  According to a friend of mine, that's what Pinterest is for, so I'm allowed to be a copy cat!

Today in my Running program, I ran my last double digit run {12 Miles} before the big day of 26.2.  I missed the 20 mile run last week.  I was sick and couldn't run or do much for a few days.  I hope that missing it doesn't wreck my confidence on marathon day.  The longest run I did was 18 and it seems like forever ago.  I have had a love/hate for running and then really loved it as I was getting further in the training, then towards the last 6 weeks it became hard to schedule the runs, they became very time consuming and it became more hate.  I can't say that I won't do another marathon, but not one any time soon.  It's easy {or fairly} to actually run, but the time these long runs take {2 hours minimum, 3.5 maximum} has taken a toll.  Not to mention how I feel afterwards, sometimes really tired and don't want to do much.  Don't get me wrong, it's been a great adventure and I'll probably do one again, but I'll be good for at least nine months {He hopes}.  Physically, my body is tired too, my hip still hurts a little and my knee is getting tight, not hurting but it could use a high mileage rest. 

Praying to be less slothful, more organized, utilizing time wisely and productively.  For souls close to me to hear the call.

Gratitude abounds with safe travel, healing little girl, Grace given, friendships, spiritual direction, good books, employment, babysitter so I can run, calmness in crisis, whispers of better parenting.

The Week Ahead is pretty quiet as far as commitments outside the home.  We have plenty to do here.  I will be volunteering on Friday night at the big county music event for our school.  Saturday the kids and I are going to stay with my sister while Adam gets a few house projects cooking.  While we are there we are going to my cousins graduation party and my nieces dance recital.  It will be busy for the twenty-four hours we're there.

I hope you are having a great week!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Spy... family, making smores, all camping together.  {Karley is hiding behind Gram and it looks like Adam is bent down helping her}

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Peonies Peonies Peonies

Friday fun was going to a peony farm. 

We are going to landscape the back side of our house this summer and I thought it would be nice to have something that would bloom early.  Everything on the front side of our house blooms more early to mid summer.  So I thought I'd remedy that with some peonies that would bloom early, look nice as a landscape shrub when it's done blooming and be able to cut the flowers.  And as I write that, I think I'd like to be able to cut a lot of flowers for the house all summer long.  I bought four peony blubs that I will get in September.

Here are a few snapshots of our afternoon.

 I will be so excited to see these come up next Spring!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pre-School Picnic Graduation

Each year the kids have a fundraiser about half way through the year to raise money for a picnic with The Teddy Bear Band.  Usually, the band performs at a local park and we sit on blankets, listen and watch the kids dance with their favorite teddy bear, followed by an awards ceremony.  After all this we have lunch potluck style and then say good-bye to our friends until we all meet again in the Fall. 

This year we have been abundantly blessed with rainfall and had to have the picnic in the school gymnasium.  Since it was in the school, the Kindergarten and First grade classes we invited to listen and dance to the band.  The kids really loved it and quite frankly it filled up the large gymnasium so we didn't feel like we were such a small group.

My children, all of them, loved the band.  Last year they were too shy to get up there and dance, I guess the apple doesn't fall from the tree.  This year all three of them danced and threw their teddy bears all around.  I think by the time Sophie goes through the pre-school program she's going to be a pro.

I was super sick on that morning.  I tried calling my sister-in-law to come get the kids.  I really didn't think I could make it but by the grace of God I pulled through enough to get there, get some pictures {with the new lens I got for Mother's Day} and get my children fed without bringing anything to eat from, with, or bringing a dish to share.  Thanks fellow parents. 

Needless to say, the rest of the day was a movie day.  And I am so thankful my husband, who rocks, came home to pack all our stuff for camping and feed the kids.  I'm one blessed woman!

I tried not to think about it too much but on the inside I was super teary that Henry would be moving on and this would be his last year of the Teddy Bear Band.  Seeing the Kindergarten and First grade in the gym made me think maybe he'd get another year of it, even though he'll still be in Kindergarten.  It's pretty obvious I'm going to miss being with my son for the majority of the day in Kindergarten, even if he's ready.

What a blessing two years of pre-shool have been for Henry and this last school year for Karley. 

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