Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Evan!

So, today my baby turned FIVE, if you can believe it! I still can't. He's such a sweet boy. And fortunately he's easy to please. Here's a little recap of our special day with our now five-year old!

Here's Evan excitedly opening his first present:

I wish I hadn't tried to take this picture with the bright window right behind! Grammy was helping Evan open her card to him--just for a five-year old!

Opening more presents:

Evan & Brookie givin' big cheeser smiles:

Here's Evan before blowing out his candles. The funny part was that my camera was dying, so I made him sit there and say cheese for about 30 seconds while the dumb thing took one picture! That was the longest "CHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSEEEEEEE" in history, I think! In his mind he's just thinking, "Come on, Mom! I just wanna blow out my candles!"

This was too cute. Evan was a little anxious about getting too close, so he stood way back and had to blow about 10 times to get five little candles blown out. Good thing I didn't buy trick candles!

Aww! Typical Evan grin:

(And really, the best part is that we used this same cake for the combined family birthday bash we had on Saturday when Vince's family was here for his brother's graduation. I didn't want to bake yet another cake and have it sitting on my counter for the next 2 weeks. So I turned this cake just right so you can't see that 2/3 of it is missing! Hehehe!)

And here's Grammy, Uncle Joseph, and Auntie Debbie with the kids (where was Opa, anyway?) eating their yummies! The best is the expressions on my kids' faces! I think Evan was too into his bite of ice cream, and Brooke looks like she's crossing her eyes!

And when I tucked my kids into bed, I asked Evan if he had a good birthday. And he said "Yes. And tomorrow I get to go to school!" Oops. Guess I hadn't made that clear enough. Yes you go to Kindergarten when you're five, but not the next day! He was a little disappointed that he has 3 1/2 more months before he gets to go, but I'm certainly not!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I am now officially a Marathoner!

Wow! What an experience! I have to say that running a marathon is one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I'm also so glad that I did it. I'm sorry I haven't posted about it yet, but I've been resting ;0) and thinking a lot about the experience. I have to take a few days to mull it over in my brain in order to talk/write clearly. And I'm grateful to Vince for being my soundboard, and not minding that the marathon has been the only thing I've talked about for the past two days! (Thanks, Babe!)

I've been preparing for this for 6 months. And I honestly think it was harder to do than I actually thought it would be. (Not that I wouldn't recommend it, though, so if you've been thinking about it, it's awesome too, just hard!) I've been trying hard not to feel disappointed in the results, because really the main goal for me was to finish! But I was so far off my time goal, that it's been hard to feel complete satisfaction from it. I originally wanted to run a 4 hour 30 minute marathon. Then in training, I adjusted my goal to 4:45. My chip time was 5:11:44. I was #79 out of 89 in my age group. I think there were many factors that affected my performance:

1. TOTAL lack of sleep the night before. (I was way too wound up--and probably slept 4 hours total, if that.)
2. Having to take a potty break after the 1st 3 miles. (I think I drank too much before the start, and at that point, the lines for potties were so long, I wasted 7 minutes just going to the bathroom!)
3. Wind! (It was a pretty windy day. And I was slow enough that I experienced headwind from about mile 7-13. But then I turned north, and had fabulous tailwind to the finish! That part was great!)
4. Running too fast at the beginning & using up too much energy to start off. (After my 1st potty break, I was really anxious and tense, and tried to catch up on time by running faster. I think that really hurt me more than anything, and I tired out more quickly than on my practice runs.)
5. Inadequate fuel intake. (They have these GU packs on the course, which is just a shot of frosting-ish carbohydrate, about 100 calories, in a little pouch you eat w/ water to give you a boost of energy. I've been training by taking them about every hour. The problem was they only had 2 fuel stations along the route--at miles 10 and 16. I think I was already tired by the time I started fueling up. If I could go back and do over, I'd bring my own & fuel at mile 7 or 8, again at about 15, and then again at 20 or 21 to get me to the end. But once I got to mile 20, I was so nauseous I could barely drink down water, let alone anything else. And that's when I really started to slow down. I just felt sick and weak the last 5 or 6 miles.)
6. Breaking the 1st rule of marathoning--Never do anything new during a race, only what you've tried in training. (In training I only ever drank water and used GU packs. But during the race, because I knew I'd only have 2 GU packs, I drank Gatorade on some of the stops. I've heard that Gatorade AND GU can sometimes affect the stomach in adversely, and I think that's part of the reason I got so sick. Next time I'll skip the Gatorade and just go for more GU.)

Now the positives:

2. I ran almost the entire route. I only walked at the water stations. (And sometimes a LITTLE past, but not much!) And the rest of the way I ran/jogged. By the time I finished, most people were walking the majority, but I kept shuffling along, and felt good about that!
4. I experienced such wonderful camaraderie from such fabulous runners! Like John T from Louisiana. He was probably in his 60's, and this was his 1st marathon, too! He was all alone--no one running with him, and no family at the finish. So he ironed on letters to the front of his shirt that read, "Yell 'Go John T'" so everyone knew him and cheered him on along the way! He was very sweet and felt bad for me as we were jogging along together, so when spectators would cheer for him, he yelled back at them and told them to cheer for ME! I also saw several people with the 50 states marathon t-shirt--this was their first Utah marathon. Some only had less than 10 states to go before they'd run a marathon in all 50 states! I also met a man who'd been running "since '73!" I met another man in a florescent yellow/green shorts and shirt that was a speed-walker. He walked all 26.2 miles, and finished before I did!! This was his 10th marathon in 2008! And by the end, we were all friends, and rooting each other on, and trying to distract one another by thinking of anything but the pain!
6. I am so thankful for all the people who made it out to support me! It made such a huge difference! Thanks to Leslie, my very pregnant internet friend who jogged with me (and she's due in 3 days, people!) for a few yards, asking how I was feeling, and cheering me to go another 8 more miles! You're awesome, woman! Thanks to Robin, one of my piano moms who met me at Liberty Park and jogged with me for most of the way around the park, exclaiming how amazing it was that I made it this far, what I was doing, and letting me know 3 miles was NOT that much further (even though at that point it really felt like it)! Thanks to Jeff & Becca who brought baby Tyler to smile and cheer me on. Thanks to both my parents & my (big) little bro Joseph who met me at the finish with Jeff & Becca & my family. You should've heard them yelling!! (Well, you can, if you check the video below...) And especially thanks to Vince who happily woke up at 4am with me, dragged the kids to 5 points along the way, took pictures, gave me high fives, and told me I could do what I never imagined I could've done! You're amazing, Babe! And I love you for it. I never would've gotten there if it hadn't been for you!!
7. I feel like I've learned so much from this first experience, and that I can take what I've learned now, and do it again--better--the next time!

That's right! I'm signed up to run the Ogden Marathon next on May 17th! And this course is going to be much easier, I think. It's all downhill. My new goal is under 5 hours! I'd love to get under 4:45. I think it might take me more time to reach my ultimate goal of a 4:30 marathon, but maybe that just means I'll have to train for another one in the future! It's amazing to think I'd want to do this again. But it really is exhilarating! And if you'd asked me on Saturday if I'd try it again, I honestly thought it would be misery to put myself through that experience one more time! But even the next day, I was excited to try once more (on an easier route!) to see if I could meet my goals! At least I can come away knowing what I can do to improve and do better next time! So if you're in the Ogden area in 4 weeks, come on by. I'll definitely be to the finish by noon this time!!

And now for the pictures:

Here I am shuffling by Sugarhouse Park

On the other side of Sugarhouse, going up the hill

I don't remember where this one was, but it was in the first half

This was taken on Van Winkle Expressway

Closer up on Van Winkle. I'm definitely looking tired now!

Here I am after it was all over, in the car waiting for Vince to get back from buying ice cream, pizza, and grapes for me. He said I should get whatever I wanted, and that's what sounded good! (Brookie took this picture, by the way. Not bad, eh?)

Here's me and Brookie waiting for dad

Here's Evan in the car! Hehehe! I love this picture! I guess a 4am start was just a little too early for this poor kid!

And here I am after it was all over, proudly sporting my medal, and so glad to be done!

And this is the wonderful short video Vince took of me as I was getting the crowd to cheer me on the last few hundred yards, right to the finish line. It still brings me chills watching it again. That was the greatest moment in the entire race! Thanks again, everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2008

SLC Marathon

So, I didn't get a very restful sleep last night. Tomorrow is the big day! I've been looking forward/dreading this day for months! I'm all set to run my 1st marathon (SLC) tomorrow morning. And yes, I AM nervous! But I try not to think about it too much. I've already had several strange dreams about it. One in particular was odd in that it was the first time I ever was aware of feeling an actual, physical, sick nervous feeling while I was asleep. It's not like I was nervous just in my dream, but I was physically nervous in my stomach while I was dreaming about it. I worry that I'll get sick, not be rested enough, be rested too much, not be hydrated enough, not eat enough carbs, eat too many carbs, be late to the start, not have the right clothes, and then there's the whole: Will I be able to finish? thing that I can't think about too much. But I read something the other day that made me feel better. It said, you've already done the hard part--that was the training. The actual race is the fun part. You know you can do it, so just enjoy it! So that's what I tell myself every time I start feeling nervous. I KNOW I can do this, so bring it on!!

First Blog

Okay, so after lots of thinking, "I should do my own blog!" I finally decided to start one up. Hopefully this will be a fun way for me to keep up and share photos with friends and family, and update you on what's going on with me. Thanks for reading!!