Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Little Tidbit to Remember

This is my beautiful daughter Ella.  

While I don't think that anyone would dispute that she's beautiful on the outside, what you may not know is that she's beautiful on the inside too.  It might sound conceited to say these things about my daughter and yeah maybe it is, but she's my daughter and this is my blog.  Hah!

Anyway, yesterday we were at hockey and Ella doesn't particularly like to come in the rink.  I can't blame her as it's usually pretty darn cold.  So, I generally let her sit out by the fireplace in the lobby and there are usually a lot of kids milling about.  This give my mom and my sister a heart attack, but when you spend so much time at the rink, you get lenient.  I digress.

Ella will often meet kids and play with them.  No bid deal, right?  I mean they're kids.  They meet and become instant friends.  Well Ella came up to the rink to check in with me and she told me, "Mom I met a friend and we're playing and she's in a wheelchair and she's really nice."

I didn't think too much about it really until I went to leave.  Ella was playing with the "girl in a wheelchair" and, as I found out later, they were playing Monopoly on the little girl's iPad.  Ella had never played Monopoly before so she was happy to learn something new.   I told Ella it was time to go and she started to say goodbye to her new friend and reached and gave her the biggest hug.  The little girl's eyes were beaming.  She was so happy.

The little girl's mom was standing there (right next to her child... read good mom) auctioning raffle baskets and she looked at Ella with eyes that told a story in a matter of moments.  She said to Ella, "Thank you so much for playing with her today."  Her eyes didn't just say thank you for playing, but thank you for accepting her daughter.  I could tell from her mother's look alone that not many kids stop to play with the "little girl in the wheelchair."  It broke my heart and made me proud all at once.

Ella sees people for who they are on the inside.  It's a quality I have always admired about her.  Sure I've tried to teach her these things, as I have with my boys, but with Ella her love and acceptance of others seems so innate.

I wished we lived in a world where there were no wheelchairs, alas we do not.  So I'll aspire to see the world and people a little more like my beautiful daughter.  Inside AND out!

Disclaimer:  I realize Ella's behavior isn't anything special really and everyone SHOULD act just as she does.  This post isn't to toot my own daughter's horn but to one day look back and remember.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mom, I Don't Want a Costume

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  I love fall and trick or treating, kicking your feet through the fallen leaves.  I have such great memories of my own trick or treating and of course that of my kids.  Gone are the days of themed costumes, however, and forget about them wearing them what I want them to wear.  And that's ok. 

Kinder Captain Hook 
This year I found out Nicholas would be at a hockey tournament in Rochester, NY for Halloween.  I wouldn't' be with him as I have to stay home with the other 2 and get them to their activities.  I was very sad.  

1st Bumblebee Transformer
I was worried about telling Nicholas that he wouldn't be home to go trick or treating.  I broke it to him one night and he really did seem sad.  I told him I had heard of other hockey teams going trick or treating in random neighborhoods when they're away on tournaments and told him maybe his coach would let him go.  He didn't seem to think that would happen.  We never talked about it again after that night, but I got the feeling he was sad. 

2nd Buzz 
Fast forward to last week and I was reading the school newsletter.  They'd be celebrating Red Ribbon week next week culminating with Halloween costumes being able to be worn on the last day-- the Friday before Halloween.

3rd Andrew McCutchen 

I was so excited I called Nicholas on his phone and said, "Guess what?  I found out you can wear your Halloween costume to school on Friday the 30th."  His response?  "Oh."  So I prompt him asking if he wants me to get him another cool morphsuit.  I started throwing out other ideas and he interrupts...

4th Jace Robertson (Duck Dynasty) 
"Mom I don't want a costume."  Wait what?  You don't want a costume?  He didn't want a costume.  Of course I had to ask why?  Why didn't he want a costume? I just don't want a costume.  What had happened to my boy who seemed sad?

5th Crosby 
I don't know where my little boy was, but that little boy came to grips with no trick or treating and quickly decided that was ok.  Not only was it ok, but it's what he wanted.  He didn't want a costume.  I.DO.NOT.WANT.A.COSTUME.  Ok so it took him saying it 10 times for me to finally get it through my thick skull.

6th Morph Skeleton 
My baby didn't want a costume.  My Captain Hook, my Bumblebee, my BuzzLightyear... didn't... still doesn't want a costume.  It's been happening for some time now.  I sneak a glance and my boy isn't a boy anymore.  I'm not saying he's a man, but he seems less like a child and more like an adult.  It's hard to accept, but I realize it's part of life.  I like the new Nicholas.  He makes me proud, he makes me laugh and he makes me look forward to what's to come even if that means NO COSTUMES.  

The question is.... with Nicholas out of the picture, can we maybe sneak out another theme?  muhahahaha Thank God I have 2 left.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Philly Marathon Training 18 Mile Long Run

So I started PT on Friday after my 18 mile long run.  My doctor has convinced me that I only should be doing my long runs and no other runs during the week.  I have only been exercising 1 day a week.  He said with every mile run there are 2200 arm swings.  You do the math.  Not good.  

I'm a mess.  I don't even know what to do with myself so I've been eating and expanding.  I'm frustrated with myself because there are other things I could be doing, but honestly the smallest thing sets my arm back and that could just doing every day things like doing laundry.   So I just figure I could do the elliptical or nothing and I choose nothing.  I've been working a lot however, so there's that. 

I'm still training for the Philly Marathon and I know I'll get through it just doing my 1 run a week, but  it certainly won't be the race I had once hoped for.  

The good thing is when I run just one day a week, I actually don't dread my long runs.  I feel like I can do it.  The weather on Friday when I woke up for my run was pretty much perfect.  It was pretty cool (probably in the 40s) but you could tell the sun was going to burn off the fog and it would be cool and beautiful (and it was).  

I got to the lake and planned to run clockwise as I knew Kim was out there running counter clockwise.  We planned to bump into each other and run some together before I'd hook up with Tracey and Megan.  

I started off alone and had no headphones and it was freezing.  I felt sluggish and couldn't believe the first mile was going so slowly, but I turned the corner at the lake spillway and saw Kim coming down and I immediately smiled.  It funny how your friends can change your mood so suddenly.  I was glad to have company and hook up with Kim.  

Mile 1:  10:53 

Kim and I ran toward the boathouse (our normal meet up place).  We had only run about 2 miles together when we got back and Tracey and Megan were headed out.  I decided to keep on going with Kim and meet Tracey and Megan at the next loop.  

I told many stories to Kim and she politely listened.  I always go off on tangents when I'm running a conversational pace and then find myself wondering if the person running beside me wanted to push me over the guardrail and into the lake.  Kim?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Anyway, it was an awesome 6 miles with Kim!  

Mile 2:  12:11
Mile 3:  12:25
Mile 4:  12:31
Mile 5: 12:52
Mile 6: 12:17

I was kind of scared to hook up with Tracey and Megan because I knew I couldn't run their pace.  I was hoping to run a 10:30 ish pace but to be honest didn't even know if that was realistic.  I had worked an 11 hour day the day before and didn't hydrate properly.  I know my body and I knew it would be a slower day for me.  Tracey and Megan both assured me that they were fine with my pace, but it still makes you feel badly.

My pace was all over the place. I'd have one "fast" mile then one slow mile.  I didn't hook back up with Tracey and Megan at the boathouse so I didn't have my fuel.  I started to feel really hungry.  We finally made it back to the car at mile 10 and I grabbed a Gu.

Mile 7: 10:55
Mile 8: 10:39
Mile 9: 11:07
Mile 10: 10:20 ----> Gu 

I felt much better after the Gu, but I started to fade again around mile 13.  I think I was just underfueled and wasn't hydrating enough because I felt so sluggish.  There was one point where I literally just stopped running.  I just needed a moment.  After one more loop we were back at the car again for another MUCH NEEDED Gu.  

Mile 11: 10:28
Mile 12: 10:50
Mile 13: 10:23
Mile 14: 11:23
Mile 15: 10:29 -----> Gu 

When we got back to the car we saw Kim.  She had just over a mile to go, so I told her I would run with her.  So, of course, refused but I ran with her anyway.  You will NOT tell me no kim!  Seeeeeeee I told you she was trying to get away from my stories.   

Mile 16: 12:10

After we left Kim I honestly didn't feel horrible, but I was ready to be done.  My energy was low and I told the girls I knew I'd be running over 11:00 miles for the last two.  Again, they were so encouraging and told me it didn't matter.  These are girls who could be easily running a 9:00 mile (or less) at this point.  Thank you friends!  

Somehow we managed through the last two miles and 18 miles was D.O.N.E. done.  

Mile 17: 11:21
Mile 18:  11:19 
Total:  18.01
Average:  11:22 

This definitely wasn't my best training run, but I still spent several hours on my feet moving and that's what marathon training is all about.  I knew going into it that it wouldn't be the best, but it was still discouraging to me.  I honestly have no idea what I'm going to be able to do come race day.  I'm also not sure that it really matters.  

And that's where I am.   

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Always Say, "I Don't Know Why I'm So Tired"

I always say, I don't know why I am so tired.  Here's why:

6:30 Wake up
7:30 Get up
7:30 to 9:00 Ice cake in butter cream and then cover in fondant

9:00 to 9:15 Throw myself together with a hat and some deodorant
9:15 to 9:30 Drive to hockey
9:30 to 10:00 Get hockey player dressed and ready for game
10:00 to 10:35 Watch hockey game
10:35 to 10:55 Drive Ella to dance and drive back to hockey rink
10:55 to 11:00 Watch rest of game
11:00 to 11:15 Get hockey player undressed
11:15 to 11:30 Drive home
11:30 to 3:00  Finish cake and start cake pops

3:00 to 3:15 Drive to Walmart
3:15 to 3:40 Shop
3:40 to 3:50 Drive to dance
3:50 to 4:25 Sit and wait for Ella at dance (it was supposed to end at 4:00)
4:25 to 4:40 Drive home
4:40 to 5:15 Finish cake pops

5:15 to 5:45 Go upstairs to craft closet to find stuff to wrap a gift and flip out on Ella about the state of the craft closet.  Swear, throw things around and clean closet.  Also wrap gift.
5:45 to 6:00 Drive Ella to bday party
6:00 to 6:15 Drive to deliver cake pops and pick up Jack's friend who is sleeping over
6:15 to 6:30 Drive home
6:30 to 6:45 Eat Dinner
6:45 to 7:30 Clean kitchen (yes it took THAT long to clean up the EPIC mess I made)
7:30 to 7:45 Put clean sheet on Jack's bed, and put a load of clothes in the wash
7:45 to present time flopped my big ass on the couch

Every day these days seems to be just like this.  I'm thankful my day somewhat ended at 8:00 pm.  I'm not complaining really.  I just have to remind myself that it's ok that my front porch isn't decorated for Halloween.  I'm busy.  Dear neighbors, ignore my dead ferns and flowers.  Pretend they're mums and that my husband bought me the pumpkins I asked for.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I'm a Runner XXXIX Ragnar Homage

I've been kind of absent from my I'm a Runner series lately.  Let's face it, I've been kind of absent lately.  No one warned me children would be all consuming and exhausting.  If any of you are thinking about becoming a mom... call me.  To you moms already out there.... let's get together and commiserate.  Anyway.... The I'm a Runner thing, this is going to be a Ragnar homage.  Here it is.

I finished my first Ragnar last year in DC and couldn't wait to get out there and do it again.  To date, Ragnar is my absolute favorite event.

I've always been interested in doing a Ragnar or other similar relay and signed up for my first when I lived in Texas.  Shortly before the race was to occur, I found out I was moving and had to drop out.  I was devastated and determined to put a team together.

I didn't officially train for either Ragnar Relay that I did, but I was in the process of training for a marathon for Ragnar Adirondacks and for DC I pretty much just winged it.  Keep in mind, I keep myself in pretty good shape at all times.   I work to 4 to 6 days a week when I'm healthy.

If I do it again... or should I say WHEN I do it again.  I have this dream of making 2 teams and each team member will have a partner from the other team that they will run each leg of their race with.  Normally it's hard enough to find 12 people for a team let alone 24 people so I don't know that it will ever happen.

My experiences at Ragnar are filled with so many good memories.  Sure things get difficult, you're tired and hungry, but the good FAR OUTWEIGHS the bad.  The bond you form with the other runners is something that can't be matched.

I'm more in the mindset that Ragnar is a relay run rather than a relay race.  I enjoy going with the ladies and not worrying about pace.  Everyone does their own thing and to be honest, I don't think anyone ever even asked me what my pace was.  Slogging along up those hills was my pace in the Adirondacks.  Hah!

I ran my first night run alone this year and it felt so empowering.  I highly recommend it, but only if you have your own personal SAG vehicle like I did.

I'm not ready to retire from Ragnar.  Every time I run I marathon, I tell myself I'm never doing it again, but every time I run a Ragnar, I'm talking about the next one before the current one ends.

Lancaster is speculated to be the next location for Ragnar and I would love for Ragnar to return to PA.  I'll definitely be running Ragnar PA if my schedule (I mean my kids' schedules) permits.

I love running with my friends and prefer that over anything else (see my thoughts on making 2 teams above) but durning Ragnar I had to actually breakout my old playlist.  The last running playlist I made was in 2013.  I definitely need to update!

I have a daughter. I mean that's no surprise right?  My dream is to experience Ragnar with her someday.

To have my daughter want to spend 30 plus hours in a van with me, will mean I have raised her right.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Quick Chick 10k 2015 Race Recap

As you probably already know, I am training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November.  This week was a step back week and I had 12 miles on my plan.  I planned to run on Sunday due to scheduling conflicts on Friday and Saturday.  

Kim mentioned to me on Friday that she was planning to run the Quick Chick 10k and asked if I wanted to do it with her.  I really wasn't planning on it at all, but spending the morning with Kim and her friend Jen did sound fun.  I'd think about it.  

By Saturday morning I figured, "why not" and told Kim to sign me up for the race when she went to sign up (there were no online sign ups at this late stage of the game).  I don't know at what point it was, but I decided I would race this race.  I wasn't going to pay $40 to run and then just go out for a jog.  If I was going to pay, I was going to give it my best.  

When I woke up on Sunday morning I thought up a bazillion excuses of why I should just run with Kim and her friend Jen and not race the race.  I thought up every scenario from running with Kim to running at a really comfortable pace.  When I actually got to the race, I still had no ideas what I was going to do. 

Myself and Kim 

Kim and friend Jen 
When it was about 5 minutes until the race start, we started to line up.  I looked at Kim and told her I still didn't know what I was going to do.  I did NOT line up with her and Jen, however, so that must have meant I decided to run my own race.  What would be my pace?  

My friend Tracey (not THE Tracey but another Tracey) was there running the 5k and she is super speedy.  She was pumped and determined to do well.  I lined up not far behind her and a lot of the other 5k people.  Everyone looked fast.  

Kim, Me, Tracey and Judi 
The gun went off and we were off.  I promised myself not to look at my Garmin too closely and to run at a pace that was uncomfortable.  I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that running at a comfortable conversational pace wasn't going to get me a good time, one I could be proud of.  I saw Tracey pulling further and further away, but I was keeping up with most those around me.  I glanced down at my watch at the half mile mark and saw I'd been running an 8:35.  Um yeah, slow down.  

I knew I needed to slow down, but my body and breathing made me slow down naturally.  Still, I told myself, run uncomfortable.  And so I did.  

Mile 1:  9:02 

I was so focused after the first mile on not allowing my pace to drop dramatically.  I was running and trying to run hard.  At around mile 3 I got passed by about 4 people.  I was so afraid my pass had dropped dramatically.  That's when I spotted a girl in pink compression sleeves ahead of me.  I promised myself I'd keep her in my sights and keep at the same distance away from me the whole time.  

Right around mile 3 there comes a hill, I knew it was coming and I was dreading it.  Again, I had many conversations with myself.  I should walk.  I should slow down, etc. etc.  When I got to the hill, however, I tackled it and I ran it hard.  Pink compression sleeves didn't gain any ground on me.  Yay.  At that point in the race I told myself if I finished in under 1:00 I'd allow this to be my only run for the weekend.  Racing 6.2 miles = 12 miles jogging.  What?  That was my philopshy.  

Mile 2: 9:27 
Mile 3: 9:30 

Just before the 4 mile mark I felt like my shoe was doing something weird.  I looked down and my show was untied and my chip timer was rolling down the road.  I hurry up and dove after it just as it was going under a guardrail and into the leaves.  Relieved that I didn't have to climb under the guardrail, I quickly picked it up, tied my shoe and got on my merry way.  Pink compression sleeves' lead had lengthened.  I concentrated on running as hard and as fast as I could to get back to my normal distance behind her.  

Mile 4:  9:41 (bending over and picking up chip and tying my shoes lost me what 10 seconds?)  
Mile 5: 9:31

I noticed after I ran my little heart out, that I was gaining on pink compression sleeves and by mile 5 at the HUGE hill I had caught up to her. I pushed as hard as I could up that hill, but felt like I had nothing left.  I felt like I was crawling.  When I got to the top, I noticed something.  I recovered pretty damn quickly (thank you CrossFit) and I was ready to motor down the hill.  I passed pink compression sleeves.   We had just 1.2 miles left.  I decided to run as hard and as fast as I could.  

I felt like pink compression sleeves was coming.  With about .4 miles left I looked over my left shoulder and she was just hanging out there ready to pass me.  I decided to find my inner competitiveness and run like I had to beat her.  I decided to step it up and run just like that from that moment until the finish. 

Mile 6:  9:14

There I am coming into the finish and there is pink compression sleeves behind me.  Mind you she's probably a really nice person and I had nothing against her.   She had after all, paced me for 5 miles of the race, but I just needed that little extra motivation and the race between us got my competitive spirit going.   Thank you for pushing me PCS.  

As you can see, I was really dying coming into the finish.  I am NOT used to running this pace at all right now.  Plus I'm a holding on to a little extra flub right now.  That doesn't make for a fast runner.  Regardless I had run much faster than I could have ever anticipated and made my sub 1:00 goal.

The final result.  

Thank you Kim for asking me to do this race.  I needed this tiny confidence booster right now, plus I enjoyed spending the morning with you!  Thanks for always making me smile.

I should add that Kim planned to run with her friend Jen for the 10k, but minutes before the race started Kim realized her friend Jen had only signed up for the 5k and not the 10k.  Despite the snafu, Kim ran alone for 4.5 miles of the race and finished so happy.  I love it!

Congrats to all my Quick Chicks!  See you next year.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ragnar Relay Adirondacks 2015 Race Recap Part 2

In case you missed part 1 of the Ragnar recap, you can read it here.  So we left off just after my amazing prime rib dinner.  We were all full and ready to hit the next major exchange so we could hopefully get some rest before we had to start our night runs.  

The major exchange was actually at a school.  We parked and tried to sleep, but I'm not sure any of us  fell asleep. I definitely rested, but don't think I ever feel asleep.  I think we all gave up after an hour or so and just got ready for the night runs.  

Charlene was first to go and had a shorter leg.  Tracey agreed to run with her because you know that whole running in the dark by yourself thing and then Tracey continued on for her leg.  As if that wasn't enough, she offered to run my first 3.5 miles with me.  Yes, she is crazy.   I was definitely scared to run at night by myself and was glad she accompanied me.  When Tracey left, however, I felt so amazing and confident.  I was conquering a fear and that made me feel pretty badass.  My leg was pretty damn hilly and I think I was running slower in the dark, but I think I ran strong and that left me feeling pretty amazing.  This was my favorite leg of the race.  

Leg 2:  7.42 miles, 1:22:25 or 11:07 average  

After my leg was over, I was hell bent on changing my clothes and lying down to rest.  It HAD to happen in order to survive.  It was getting cooler outside so I changed out of my wet (sweaty) clothes and put on a comfy hoody and sweatpants.  I snuggled into the second row of the van and started to veg out.  By the time our last two runners ran (Jaime and Kim), I think I was dozing in and out, but went completely out for the night around 4 am.  

Tracey and Charlene stayed awake (Tracey drove) and guided us into the next major exchange where we slept for 3 (or so) glorious hours.  

I was so surprised how refreshed I felt when I woke up.  We all were in search of caffeine.  I found some in the form of Diet Mt. Dew and there may have been donuts too.  

We were all rested, caffeinated and ready to start our third legs.  

Erica came in on her last leg and she looked amazing and happy to be finished.  We hung out and talked a bit with Van 1 before we headed out to meet Charlene at the next exchange.  

Charlene handed off to Tracey and Tracey was on her way.

I think the theme to this leg was just happy.  It was another absolutely gorgeous day and we were all on our last leg, which means we made it!  

At this point, Van 1 teammate Erin joined up with our van.  Erin is Kelli's good friend and even though she was finished with her legs of the race and could be resting, she decided to ride along with us.  What a trooper!

When Tracey handed off to me, she told me she was sorry.  She was sorry because she just had run in on the road that I had to run out on.  It was hilly.  Very hilly.  I managed to tackle the hill with a good attitude.  I figured I just had to do it.  I didn't much care if it was slow, I just wanted to get through it. I finally got to turn off the hilly road and that's when it happened.  I swear I had to climb 5 mountains.  It was a VERY hilly run and I had to walk 2 or 3 times.  For as hilly as it was, it was absolutely beautiful.  I mean how could I be mad with this view?

Remember Erin from Van 1?  Well she came and ran the largest mountain with me.  She runs a VERY quick pace and is a truly gifted runner.  I felt embarrassed sucking wind at my 11:30 pace, but I appreciated her running with me so much. She told me I could do it and I did.

Sucking wind up a hill 
 I finally made it to my exchange and happily handed off to Kelli.

Leg 3:  I messed up my watch but it was right at 4 miles.  I managed an 11:06 pace. 

Even though my van wasn't finished running, I felt so much relief.  I had finished my last leg and survived.  For the most part, I was incredibly happy.  It felt amazing to be finished and the views on each leg were better and better.

Everyone made it through their last leg and we eventually made it to the final exchange to meet up with van 1.  After nearly 33 hours, we had completed our 200ish mile relay and cheered Jaime to the finish line.  

If definitely felt great to be finished, but I was honestly just done.  I was hungry and tired and did I say tired?  At this point everyone is irritable and dirty and I just couldn't wait to get back to the hotel for a shower and then a meal and sleep.  

Before that however, we took some final photos. 
Women of Steel 

Van 2 
Regardless of the hardships that a Ragnar brings, it brings far many good things.  The camaraderie and bond that I developed with this ladies just can't be beat.  We are forever bonded ladies and I can't wait for the next one.  We did it!