/> SLO in Arkansas: October 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lots of Randomness

There is a lot going on so this will be a lot of random stuff:) Apparently Blogger is not cooperating right now and I can't get the pictures to post that are missing from my previous post. I keep getting and error and am not sure what to do about it. I will try again later.

I am 5 weeks out from my marathon!! That is really close! My training partner raced an out of town half marathon this morning and couldn't run with me, so since I was on my own I decided to run my own half marathon:) You just could not order a more perfect day for running. It was crystal clear blue skies, 40 degrees and gorgeous outside when I left a little before 8am. The leaves are turning brilliant shades of red and orange, and I tried so hard to look around and just soak up the beauty of the day. I do most of my runs very early in the mornings these days, and don't realize what all I have been missing by running in the dark! It doesn't get light here until close to 7am, and we are usually running around 5 or 5:30am and finish up around 8. Plus, when I am with my partner and we are jabbering on, I forget to pay attention to the pretty surroundings. I put my ipod in this morning and just ran. I tried to start off slow and was aiming for 10 minute miles, but I can never seem to do that when I am alone. After a few miles of 9:30 pace I decided I would just hang in there and see if I could hold it. I finished the 13.1 miles in a little over 2:03, which is my second fastest half marathon time ever!! It was a 9:27 average mile pace, and I ran faster during the second half than the first. I felt great the whole time, and it went pretty fast. I need to do these solo runs every once in a while, but I really do enjoy talking for hours and being with a friend:)

Our second 20 mile run is this coming weekend, and then we start to taper for the race. I think that will leave me with 18, 12, and 8 mile runs left for my long runs, which isn't bad at all! I am getting excited and anxious to see what I can pull off this second time around. All of the race predictor charts seem to think I should be able to run a 4:05 marathon, but I am thinking that 4:20 is a bit more realistic for me. I faded a lot more than I wanted to in Little Rock, but I am hoping that was just due to the crazy hills and my minimal training base. I cannot believe how much I have enjoyed this marathon training cycle:) I am having a lot of fun running and really enjoying seeing my times come down. My shoes are getting towards the end of their life, so I am planning to buy some new ones to break in over the next few weeks to wear for the race.

I guess I am still crazy since I am already planning my next races after this marathon is over:) I am really wanting to run the half marathon in Little Rock in March. My running partner and I are out of our minds and are throwing around the idea of a half ironman for next summer! I am really trying to decide if I am willing to commit to that kind of intense 6 months of training as soon as this marathon is over. Silas is on board with whatever I decide, so we will see:) I am so much happier since I starting running. I went way too many years without any athletic competition in my life, and I can't tell you how much fun I am having! I am so thankful for the talents God has blessed me with, and am so happy to be using them again at this phase in my life:)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Heading Towards the Holidays

I love love love this time of year:) Fall is just beautiful and there are so many fun outdoor things to do. I found this picture of the boys from the pumpkin patch last year and posted one from this year to see how much they have grown. Please ignore the pouting/crying faces on both boys from this year. They were not feeling cooperative with my picture taking and had just gotten in trouble and told to stand still!!!

I made spooky sugar cookies with the boys this morning and Tyson and I decorated them while Jace was napping. It was fun, but messy!! We will carve our two pumpkins this weekend, and are very excited about attending the Fall Festival at our church on Sunday. Then we are heading to a friend's house on Halloween night to eat dinner and trick-or-treat with a group. Lots of fun activities planned in the next few days:) Tyson got to wear his costume to school on Thursday and had a Harvest Party too. I got to go with him and it was fun. I just have to get this candy out of my house soon before I eat it all!!

Everything else is good. I have a break from running this weekend and only have to run 10-12 miles! My running partner is racing a half marathon in Conway this weekend so I am taking it easy and running solo. Next week we ramp back up to another 20 miler so I figure the rest this weekend will be good. I have been running 5-8 miles for my shorter runs during the week, so I still have some decent mileage for only running 3 days a week:) I feel good and couldn't ask for better weather than what we have had this fall. I have only missed one run I think due to yucky weather. I hope it stays nice until the marathon!!

This was my first week not to work at 3 jobs and it was awesome! I was a little out of sorts, but got a lot more things done at home and with the boys, which is what I was wanting. There are lots of amazing things going on work wise right now and Silas and I are throwing some pretty big dreams around as some goals to work on over the next few years, so that is pretty exciting too! Never a dull moment around here:)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

We took the boys to Peebles Farm for the 3rd year in a row this past weekend. It was a beautiful fall day and we had a great time being outdoors and spending time together all day as a family. The boys really don't like to look at the camera, so these are about the best pictures I got of them! We picked a pumpkin, successfully navigated the giant corn maze, picked some cotton, played on the playground, crawled through hay tunnels and looked at the animals in the petting zoo. The boys loved gathering the dried corn from the corn maze and Jace came home with his pockets stuffed full of cotton from the field! We ate lunch at the Bulldog Cafe as usual and actually ran into some folks from Jonesboro that we go to church with! It was a great day and the boys are really looking forward to Halloween, carving our pumpkins, and dressing up for Fall Festival at church this weekend. I plan to make and decorate Halloween cookies with them on Friday to get the holiday weekend kicked off right!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Accidental 20

Enjoy these pictures of the boys and our fall decorations while I bore you with running information! I fully realize that I am officially crazy. I have read other blogs about people who just happen to feel good and run 20 miles, but that was never going to be a problem in my life! Except that I did just that on Saturday:) I had 18 on the schedule, so I also realize that running 20 miles wasn't that much more, but still, 20 miles is 20 miles:)

The miles flew by as we ran and I realized when we were around 16 miles in that I was feeling awesome. The weather was picture perfect! Fall day, cool, brilliant blue sky, no breeze. You couldn't ask for better running conditions. Usually towards the end of a long run I am just ready to see the finish line and stop (Silas' truck). But at mile 17 I started thinking, I feel great, I could keep going! So I dropped Liz off after we finished our 18 and she ran into my house to tell Silas I would be gone 20 more minutes. Those last two unplanned miles were nice and I just enjoyed the quiet time and beautiful day. My calves cramped a bit after the run, but nothing a few IB profen and Silas working them out couldn't fix:) I was so happy too! We have another 20 miler coming up in about 3 weeks and I am hoping it goes just as well. My average pace for the run was 10:10, which I was very pleased with.

The weather has just been amazing lately and I figured I should take advantage of it, since November tends to be a bit cold and rainy around here. Just a few more weeks and I will be tapering for the marathon! We had a hay ride and chili/ hot dog party with our Sunday school class on Saturday evening for the whole family, and I rested on Sunday. I felt so good that Amber was able to convince me to run 8 miles on Monday morning! I can really see my fitness improving and my body seems to be tolerating the pounding ok. My feet do hurt all the time though, but that's just part of it I guess!

We are hoping to get the boys out to the pumpkin patch this weekend and have a fun filled family day again. I just love this time of year and am really enjoying it:)
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Things Are Changing!

This has been a pretty eventful week for me. I have been doing a lot of soul searching and thinking and praying the past few weeks in light of the craziness that has been my life recently. The one conclusion I came to over and over was that something needed to change! And when it came down to it, the thing that needed to change was pretty obvious.....work.

I have been blessed to pick up several new clients at my Christian counseling center, and have had some really busy and full weeks. I finally reached the point where I just wasn't able to fit everything in anymore, and was getting increasingly overwhelmed by all the hats I wear. I realized I was stretched way too thin, and I didn't like it. I feel that God has been leading me in a certain direction for some time, but as usual, I am pretty slow to let go of the familiar and jump into the unknown. Well I am finally ready to jump, and I did!! I turned in my two week notice to my second counseling job, and will no longer work there effective October 25th. I really wrestled with this, as this is an agency I have worked for since graduating with my Master's degree in 2004! I would have been there 8 years in the spring. It was familiar. But ultimately, I am in a different place in life right now, and I have been shown over and over that it just wasn't a good fit for me anymore. So I turned it loose.

I am in the process of wrapping things up with my clients there and getting my paperwork turned in. I feel good about my decision, and would be happy to go back and work there again in the future when my life is a little less crazy! But for now, raising pre-schoolers and counseling in a Christian setting are my main priorities, and I have to let the extra things go. I am excited to see where this leads, and looking forward to seeing the plans God continues to reveal to me day by day. God is good!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Fun

We have really enjoyed our fire pit out in the backyard. This was one of the first times we headed out there since the weather started to cool off. We had s'mores, which the boys loved! We talked and listened to the sounds of the night. We sang some songs together too. The boys decided it was time to go inside when the raccoon family that lives next door came out looking for food!

Jace just eats the marshmallows by themselves.

Tyson loves the fire just as much as his daddy, and has fun sitting and watching it.

My little marshmallow man:)
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Fall Football

We are loving us some ASU Red Wolf football around here this fall. We have had such a good time going to several of the home games, tailgating, and cheering for the team. The boys love getting decked out in their football gear too:) I love having things that the whole family enjoys doing together, and this is definitely one of them.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

What a Week

This week just about killed me. Luckily I survived, but just barely:) I went to bed about 8:30pm last night and didn't get up until 8 am. I am thinking a 9:30pm bedtime tonight is also in my future. I have missed some serious sleep and it is taking a toll on me. The month of September wore me out, and October is proving to be more busy than that! I ran over 100 miles last month, and worked double the amount of hours I did in August. We are in full swing with the boys in Mother's Day out two days a week, and my Bible study on Wednesdays. Life is busy and I am frazzled right now! I am trying to re-evaluate my priorities and make some changes where I can so that I don't feel so crazy all the time:) Hopefully I can do that soon and give myself a break.

I ran 16 miles again this weekend, in exactly the same amount of time I did it the first time! 2 hours and 44 minutes, at a 10:16 pace. I am impressed I even finished really. My legs were sore until Wednesday from my half marathon, and I moved my run to Friday morning instead of Saturday, so I didn't have much rest from my harder run on Wednesday night. Thank goodness for running partners who make you finish those last 2 miles when you really want to quit:) And we ran the last mile at a 9:20 pace! We have 18 miles on the schedule for this weekend, and I am hoping to go into it much more rested and prepared! I am still a bit shocked at how close we are getting to tapering already. I am hoping to stay healthy and rested and get to the starting line in December in good shape:) I have several friends running the Chicago marathon tomorrow morning and it is making me excited for my race:)

Since I ran long on Friday, I got to sleep in on Saturday (if you count waking up at 7:30 and getting up at 8 sleeping in!). We spent the day buying pumpkins and mums for the yard, shopping, watching football, and enjoying the beautiful day. Silas has everything torn out of the front flower beds now, and we are making a plan for what new landscaping we want to put in. It is definitely a work in progress, and will take a while to get everything we are wanting. At least I have fun and festive fall decorations up!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Heart and Sole Half Marathon 2011

Here are the missing pictures!

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Saturday was just one of those days that you wish you could bottle and re-play over and over again. I woke up early, ate breakfast, took my vitamins and got dressed. I wanted to have plenty of time to wake my body up and get moving before heading to the race. I met up with Amber in the parking lot a little after 7am to pick up our timing chips, stretch and jog a bit to warm up. About 10 minutes before the race we walked over to the starting line and the only bad part of the day happened. I went to turn on my Garmin watch and it was dead....nothing! I had charged it the day before and made extra sure to have it ready to go for the race. This has never happened to me before, so I started to panic quite a bit. I mean, my whole race plan was based on our time....and my watch was going to tell us our mile splits, our current and average pace, and where we were distance wise. I was depending on that thing!!! Amber had a watch that would at least tell us our total time and mile splits, and I had made a little cheat sheet to carry that told us what time we needed at each mile to be on our target pace. We would have to make it work!! The gun went off and the race was underway, with me still freaking out a bit mentally at how we were going to pull this thing off.

Now the plan was to run the race in just under 2 hours (hopefully), which would require an average pace of 9:05-9:09 miles. I was nervous about keeping that pace. We had planned to start off slower too and warm up for the first 3 miles, then settle into our groove. Well everything went out the window from the start. And it was the best thing that could have happened! We hit the first mile in 8:16, and it felt easy. We tried to slow down for the second mile and ran it about 8:20. The rolling hills started about mile 3.5, and by then we were over a minute ahead of our planned goal. I felt great, and figured we would lose some time on the hills, so it was good we had banked a little up front. We chugged away and keep cranking out the sub 9 minute miles through all the hills. I guess it was about mile 5 or 6 that I fully realized we were going to break 2 hours for this race, and I was pretty excited. It was a gorgeous fall day, perfect blue sky, no clouds, bright sun, and 50 something degrees. The wind did pick up quite a bit, but it kept us cool. By mile 8 I knew we would beat our time of 1:59 if we just kept doing what we were doing. We went up the last big hill around mile 9, and I felt Amber start to fade just a tad after mile 9.5. At mile 10 we were still about a minute ahead of schedule and I was feeling excellent, so I pulled ahead. At this point I was running alone and with no watch whatsoever. It was so fun to run by feel and just push my body without looking at the numbers. I couldn't help but smile the whole way too:) I knew I was crushing my previous time, and I felt amazing! I started trying to pick the people off in front of me between miles 11 and 13 which kept my pace strong. I turned the final corner and sprinted to the finish line. Official time.....1:56:18!!!! I had taken off over 12 minutes from my previous race time!!!

I was elated. I felt strong and good the whole time. I smiled and laughed and had fun through the whole race. I really enjoyed running with Amber in her first half marathon, and was so proud that she finished with a 1:58! She totally rocked it! Of course I tried to turn my watch on many times throughout the race, and it came on while we were driving home, go figure:) I am really happy that it didn't work though. I ran so much faster by feel than I would have if I had been staring at the numbers the whole time. It was so freeing to run without it! My average pace ended up being 8:53 minute miles, which was almost a full minute off my previous race pace!! Whooo Hoooo!

I got my medal and mingled for a bit, then we headed home to take a shower and get cleaned up. I went back up to the race to check on my official time, and realized they were doing awards. I ended up finishing first place in my age group and brought home a trophy and towel as a prize, which I didn't even expect!! I was the 11th overall female too. It was the perfect ending to a perfect race:) I love this gift of running and am so blessed and thankful for every day that I get to do it:)