/> SLO in Arkansas: April 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring Rundown

 Lets see.....what all have we been up to these days?  It is that crazy time of year where I just feel....crazy!!  I can't keep my head on straight some days with everything going on to wrap up the end of the boy's school year, planning for summer activities, work, meetings, etc.  Some days just seem a bit out of control, and that is with only 2 kids!! 

We have successfully resisted another season of organized sports craziness, but I have to admit I feel it pulling on my heartstrings at times!!!  Silas and I are all for our children playing in organized sports, just not right now.  Some days I feel like I am the only parent in the world who is not on that crazy train.  I value sports tremendously and playing soccer had a huge impact on my life for lots of years, and that is something that I definitely want for my children.  I just refuse to get sucked into the craziness of all that when my child is 4 years old!  We play ball with them and teach them all kinds of things about sports and they don't have to be at an organized practice to get that right now.  Plus, I am kind of secretly hoping my kids show an interest in oh, you know, running or swimming or biking:)  One thing I know for certain, I am not handing my 2 year old a bat, aka weapon any time in the near future:)

Everything else is good.  I had trouble walking for two days after that half marathon....my quads were not happy with me at all for running that fast.  They recovered though and I am back out and running again.  I think my next race will be a local 5k in May, so I have a few weeks.  Silas and I have been working on the yard and we are finally getting some landscaping planted in our front beds.  There are a million and one projects we want to do with the yard, and if I had a ton of money they would all be done by now!  We are having fun though and taking it one little step at a time.

The boys are driving me crazy for some reason.  Maybe the weather, school getting ready to end soon, I don't know!!!  They fight with each other constantly and it just wears on me.  Parenting pre-schoolers is exhausting some days.  Of course I love them to pieces and we have lots of fun, but they both seem to be in a "pushing limits" and "emotional meltdown" phase at the same time:)  Fun times some days:)  They crack me up at bed time....Jace's favorite song is Jingle Bells and Tyson's is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  They request them nightly and constantly ask if Christmas is coming again soon:)  Tyson has learned to use the word "actually" and some days I cannot believe how many times that boy uses the word!  Jace still refuses to be potty- trained so we are in no man's land with that.  Some days pull-ups, some days diapers, and some days he goes on the potty....you just never know.  Maybe he doesn't care to try because I ended up eating all his potty rewards (jelly beans) when I am stressed out! Whatever.  We will get there some day:)  Things just seem so busy right now and I feel tired a lot.  I am still out of sorts without a major training schedule or future big race on the horizon.  Taking it easy just does not sit well with me:)  I am hanging on for the next few weeks and will re-adjust my work schedule when summer hits and the boys are out of school.  We are looking forward to having some fun in the sun:)  I can't wait to get that boat pulled out and cleaned up soon!!!
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

HMG Doc Rock Half Marathon Race Recap

 I ran a half marathon this weekend and it was awesome.  I didn't register for it until last week since I was seeing how well my body recovered from my half ironman 3 weeks ago.  I have only run about 4 times since April 1st, so I was interested to see what kind of time I could pull off.  Of course it was windy and cold on race morning, but it didn't rain thank goodness.
 My biggest time goal for the race was to break 1:56 since that was my last half marathon time.  Other than that I wasn't sure what I could do.  My running partner told me she was aiming for a 1:50 and I didn't think I could hold that pace, so I took off with her at the starting line and told her to go run her race about half a mile in.  I had a pace chart for a 1:52 printed off as my aggressive goal, but planned to just hang on as long as I could and see what happened.  When I hit the first mile at 8:02 I  knew I had gone out too fast, but what do you do??!  By mile 6 I had run 2 minutes faster than my last 10k and knew the rest of the race was going to hurt!!! My brain decided it didn't want to be running anymore about mile 6.5, and unfortunately the only way to quit was to cross that finish line!  I kept chugging along and finally made it to mile 10.  I had stayed ahead of my 1:52 goal pace the entire time and was happy about that.  The course was super hilly and it was starting to wear on my legs.  By mile 11 my quads were screaming and I just wanted to stop.  The race was well marked and there were lots of volunteers at every turn up until mile 12....then it all fell apart.  We were running on and around the ASU campus and the course markers were everywhere from several different local races.  No volunteers in sight either.  People were getting lost and backtracking everywhere.  It was really frustrating and confusing.  I just kept following the 3 people in front on me and no one knew where to go.  We finally found the finish line and I was elated to see the time on the clock....1:49!!  Unforunately my mileage was all screwed up from the course being wrong, so I ran a little shorter than the 13.1 miles.  I hate that so much, but what do you do??  I know I would have had a time of 1:50 something if I had run farther, so I hate to claim this as my actual PR. 
 Regardless, I still managed to knock 7  minutes off my previous PR, so I was thrilled with that!!  Finish time was 1:49:36 with an average pace of 8:22.  It was good enough to get me into the top awards too:)  I was the 4th overall female finisher and won $75!!  My first prize money for a race:)  The best part of the race was that my running partner finished 1st female overall!!!  I am so proud of her and her amazing race and time.  And super thankful I did not try to hang on with her from the beginning!!  It was a fun day, but a tough race.  My legs are killing me today too, so I guess I will take it easy for a few days to rest.
 Me and Amber after the race.  #1 and #4 female finishers:)  All those 5am runs paid off!
My sweet little guys spectating the race.   
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Random 70.3 Pictures

0149_41868 #11400149_43379 #1140Sorry these are so random!! I finally found some of my official race pictures from the race to post. At least there is one of my face finishing since Silas could only get one from the back:) Looking at these makes me want to do another one....what in the world?!?!!
0149_12500 #1140

0149_04188 #1140

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why I Run

I have been struggling a lot the past two weeks. Just feeling down, depressed, overwhelmed, sad. I chalk a lot of it up to the post race blues....you know....you have a huge goal, you put all your time, effort, energy into it for months, day in and day out. The event comes and goes and is awesome, and then you are left with a void. I feel restless, aimless, unfocused. "What's next" is the question that keeps constantly running through my mind, and for now I have no answer.

I know a lot of people don't really understand why I do what I do, exercise wise. Honestly I don't even know some days, which is why I have really been giving it some thought lately. Today I have an honest answer to the question...."why do you do all this?"

It's hard being tender-hearted. That's why I run. I am a crier. I hurt when other people hurt. I am happy when other people are happy. I worry when other people are worried. I empathize with those around me. I would like to believe that those are the reasons that make me good at what I do. I don't talk a lot about my real job on here, but it really has a huge impact on my daily life. As a therapist, unfortunately I don't have very many "good days" at work. The nature of my job is crisis. People only come to see me in the midst of chaos, when life and problems get so big they don't know what to do next. It's messy, it's raw emotion, it's hard, and a lot of the time there are just more questions than answers at the end of the day. I can't fix any one's problems. That is not my job. I think there are a lot of textbook answers of what my job is supposed to be, but in my mind, my job is to walk with people at a time when they may not have anyone else. My job is to listen, to hear the stories that make them who they are, to hear their hurt and pain. I listen, but I don't fix. I encourage. And I try to offer the gift of hope. Hope in something more than this world can give us. Hope in something eternal. Something that is bigger than all this pain they feel and something that makes it ok to not have answers to so many hard questions, like why??

I see and hear it all in my work. And it hurts. My clients hurt, and it makes me hurt for them. Parent's who have lost their newborn babies, families ripped apart by drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, divorce, affairs, physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse, abandonment, grief. I have walked through the year of "firsts" with someone whose spouse was murdered, teenage cutting, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, remorse, regrets, anger.....the list goes on and on. It's heavy, and it is so easy to fall right off the edge and stay in that pit of sadness and hurt with them if I am not careful. I pray for my clients. I pray with them, and I pray for them at home. I am excited when things go well, and sad when they don't. I may not work full-time, but it is hard to shut my mind down in the quiet of the night some days. For years I carried a lot of this stress around with me, and it made me sad and overwhelmed. I couldn't leave it at work.

And then one day I quit my job and decided to start taking care of myself and my boys. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I started walking around my block. Then I started jogging to the corner, then a 1/4 mile, then a mile. As the days turned into weeks and months, the pounds started dropping, and I felt myself coming back to life again. That was 2 years ago this past February and I haven't looked back since. I went back to work re-newed myself and better able to encourage others in their journeys. I have the energy to chase my crazy pre-school boys all day, and to love my husband better. My days are still hard. My weeks are still hard. I carry a lot with me from work. But now I have the ability to run it off. I pound the pavement. I let it go. I turn things over to God. I push through the physical pain and wear myself out, and I sleep well because of it. Exercise and natural endorphins are the best thing ever! I have not been depressed like I used to get. Some people drink, some smoke, some do worse to cope with stress and emotions.....I run. I bike. I swim. My body is stronger for it. My mind is stronger. My family is happier because mama is happy again. I do it for them. I enjoy the companionship of my running partners. I enjoy the solitude and quietness of my early morning swims. I see the sun rise lots of mornings before the rest of the world wakes up. I love the sun on my face and the breeze as I ride my bike. I love the shot of adrenaline I get toeing the starting line of a big race, any race. I love setting a new personal record, pushing limits, overcoming pain or obstacles. I love how proud of me my husband and little boys are when I cross that finish line. I am thankful every single day for this body and the gift I have to move and use it. This is my fun. This is my relaxation. This is my passion. This is my stress reliever. This keeps me sane. This is for my physical and mental well-being. I have been physically trying to "rest" since my 70.3 race, and its been hard. I feel the heaviness of work creeping back in. I can't turn my mind off at night. I have worked a lot. So I did what any normal person would do.....set my alarm for 4:40am and hit the gym this morning. I pounded out a mile swim 3.5 minutes faster than I have ever swam one before, and then ran 3.1 miles as fast as my fastest racing 5k last year. Wore me out, and I loved every second of it:) This is why I run.

March Rewind

Better late than never, right??!!  Here is how my March workouts broke down.

Swim: 16,900 m or 10.56 miles

Bike:  9 hours and 57 minutes

Run:  76.86 miles

It was a bit of a strange end to the month since I was somewhat tapering for my 70.3 race on the first of April.  Can definitely tell I really needed to put more time in on my bike, but it is what it is at this point!!  Live and learn:) 
 Look at my cutie pies on a tractor in Texas:)  I never really mentioned in all the aftermath of the race that the boys had the time of their lives while Silas and I were down in Galveston.  And to think I was worried!!  The little stinkers would not even get on the phone one time to even say hi to me while we were apart!!!  At least I knew they were having a ball and too much fun to talk:)  They celebrated a cousin's birthday at Chuck E Cheese, went to San Antonio, swam in the pool, ate out a ton, and got to watch another cousin perform at the half time show of the Spurs basketball game!!  From what I heard it was non-stop action, and they did awesome!  They were with Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and cousins the whole weekend and just did not want to leave when we came to pick them up.  They were loved on and spoiled rotten and I am so grateful we had the option to leave them with family:)  I saw some really cute pictures from their adventures, but don't have any but this one from my own camera.
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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

 We had a wonderful Easter!  My day started early with an 8.5 mile run with a friend.  The weather was cool and perfect and it was great to be up early pounding the pavement and watching the sun rise:)
 The boys were so excited to see their Easter baskets and were busy for the rest of the morning playing with their new trains and excavators.  Tyson kept saying, "Mom, we aren't playing, we are working!"
 Tyson took this picture of Silas and I!  I am so excited he is old enough to work the camera:)
We headed off to church and had a wonderful and uplifting worship time with our church family.  They did cardboard testimonies which are always so powerful and touching.   
After church we enjoyed lunch out since we still don't have much of anything left in the house!!  The boys took naps, and Silas and I spent a lazy afternoon napping on the couch and watching the Masters on TV.  Perfection:) 
 After naps it was time to hunt Easter eggs in the backyard.  The boys were so excited!  Silas did a good job hiding them and the boys loved searching for their treasures. Tyson was the first one to find one of the "fancy eggs" that was filled with quarters:)
 Jace needed a little help but finally found his fancy egg:)  He was so happy and proud!
A rare picture of Tyson cheesing it up for the camera.  That boy just does not want to smile on command. 
Jace however, will cheese it up almost every time you ask:) 
 It was a great family day of relaxation and fun.  I had taken Tyson to our church's production of the Easter story yesterday, and it is so neat to be able to discuss the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ with him, answer his questions, and see his faith and understanding start to grow.  I am constantly humbled by how blessed I am and am reminded again of God's amazing love and perfect sacrifice on this beautiful day.
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Thursday, April 05, 2012

70.3 Ironman Texas- Part III (Bike and Run)

 Transition 1 went well, although slow.  I made sure to get sunscreen on so I wouldn't burn, and was half way down my aisle to leave when I remembered my inhaler.  I stopped and went back for it at the last minute.  I never needed it, but you just never know with asthma and I didn't want to risk it.  T1 time as a result was 7:06.
 My bike was SLOW!!  It's ok.   It gave Silas plenty of time to hang out and wonder for hours if I had wrecked or had a flat tire:)  Anyway, it also gave him time to check out the pro athletes on the run.  Check out this great picture of Lance Armstrong!!
 Not much to say about the bike.  My whole race plan for this portion was to stay steady and save my legs for the run.   We had a headwind the first 28 miles out which slowed me down even more.  I sang some church songs in my head, and just enjoyed the fact that I was on my bike, which once again meant I had survived the swim.  I spent some time enjoying being in the moment, taking in the race experience, looking at the beauty of the Texas coastline, and trying not to get run over by all the people whizzing past me yelling "On your left!!"  I took in my fuel every 15 minutes or so as planned and alternated between Ritz PB crackers and GU chomps.  I only had 2 water bottles on my bike and those ran out about mile 40, so I quit eating then too.  It felt forever to reach the turnaround, but I knew I would have a faster split on the way back due to the wind.  I even saw Lance Armstrong race past on his bike, which was fun for about 2 seconds:)  After mile 40 I got really bored.  I got tired of sitting in aero position and couldn't get comfortable, which made me restless.  I kept really hoping I would not get a flat tire, and I didn't!!!  The miles drug by and I finally made it back in.  Bike time: 3:34:57 with an average speed of 15.63 mph.  I definitely know where I need to put in the work next time around!!! 
 Transition 2 went well.  T2 time was 3:26.  Before I knew it I was headed out to start the 3 loop run course.  By this time it was afternoon and really heating up.  Thank goodness I like it hot!  I was so thankful for all the years I spent playing soccer in the summer Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas heat:)  It was good practice.  Man I felt good on the run.  It was by far my favorite part.
Mostly it was because I knew all I had to do was run 13.1 miles and cross that finish line.  Run and done!  Seeing Silas and the excitement on his face was my main motivator though.  I ran harder every time I saw him, and he did an amazing job of chasing me all over the course!!  Click on the picture above and check me out!!  I felt so good running and the first loop flew by fast. 
I definitely got tired about mile 4, but decided I was going to run the whole stinking way no matter what.  I walked through every aid station I came to and hydrated with water, Ironman Perform, ate an orange slice, and dumped water, ice or a cold sponge on my head.  It would give me a short break every so often, and I knew I would overheat or dehydrate if I didn't keep forcing the fluids down.  It worked well, and I was able to maintain my run the entire way. 
 Heading out for one last loop:)
 Still running!
 I was chatting with this lady for a bit.  She had a big 62 on her calf indicating her age.  I said.."you go girl!!" as I ran with her a while and told her how impressed I was that she was rocking this thing:)  I hope I am still out there competing when I am her age.
 I passed a ton of people on the run, mostly because I kept running:)  I was really surprised at how many people were walking.  This made me feel better about my turtle pace on the bike!
Heading for the home stretch.  I never really started hurting during the race.  My hips felt tight about mile 10 on the run, but nothing awful.  I repeated my mantra in my head over and over the entire last 3 miles of the race and it kept me going.  "This is easy, this is fun.  Mama's gonna be an Ironman!"  I actually would say Ironmon with a Jamaican accent in my head, because it rhymes better:)  I crossed that line with a huge smile on my face....best feeling in the world!  Official finish time was 6:53:05.  Silas found me quickly and I felt overwhelmed and thought I might cry, but never really did.  We walked around for a bit so I could get a drink and use the bathroom.  I just wanted to sit down...I was tired of moving.
We finally made our way back to transition so I could gather up my bike and all my gear.  It was a loooooong walk back to the car, but it was good to stretch out my legs.  I was nasty and covered from head to toe in salt from sweating so much.  Luckily we only had a 4 hour drive back to Silas' parent's house so I only had to be disgusting and cramped in the car until bedtime that night (the joys of racing out of town).  All said and done it was an amazing race experience.  I did what I came out to do and accomplished my 2 main goals....1) Finish and 2) Have Fun.  And the icing on the cake was breaking 7 hours:)  I am an Ironman!!! 
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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

70.3 Ironman Texas- Part II (The Swim)

 I got all my gear out Saturday night and packed my transition bag.  I was still feeling pretty calm at this point and hadn't freaked out yet, which was good!
 I got about 2-3 hours of sleep Saturday  night.  Nerves kept me from going to sleep and 4am comes quickly when you don't go to bed until after 1am or so.  We got dressed, I choked down a bagel and some Gatorade, and we headed to the race.
 I think I started freaking out a little while we were in the car.  Our hotel was about 14 miles from the race, so I had a nice little ride to start letting my brain run wild with what I was about to attempt to do.  I listened to my ipod of my workout music which helped me feel better.  My body knows those songs well and what I require of it when I hear them:)
 Transition opened at 5am and I went about the business of setting up my area.  They had us packed tight in there, so there wasn't much space for all the gear.  I pumped up my tires and tried to keep my hands from shaking....no such luck!  It is awfully lonely racing by yourself.  Silas wasn't allowed in the transition area and I knew I would be on my own from here on out for the most part.  I chatted with the other women around me and was glad to learn most of them were freaking out a bit too!
 Luckily Silas got to walk down to near the swim start and hang out with me for a while before my wave was called.  I was just trying not to throw up at this point!!  I watched carefully for others in my wave (light blue swim caps) to start pulling their wetsuits on and did the same.  The tension was building and I knew I was about to get to the point of no return in this crazy little adventure I was on:)
 I left Silas and am sure I looked like I was about to cry!  I quickly made some new friends in my age group and we helped each other zip into our wetsuits, and chatted nervously while they herded us ever closer to the swim start.  I made sure to stay to the back of the pack since I had no plans to swim fast:)
 I felt fairly calm when the time came to jump off the pier and swim to the start buoy.  The announcer yelled, "30 seconds to start," and I thought my heart might jump out of my throat!!  Then the gun went off and I didn't have time to think any more.  I just put my face in the water and started to swim.  It took me FOREVER to find my rhythm.  People were hitting me and I kept sucking in big gulps of salt water.  I guess I was hyperventilating because I just could not get my breathing to calm down or regulate.  Somehow I managed to swim the first 681 m with this crazy breathing.  I rounded the first buoy and began the longest leg of the swim.  About 200 m down I seriously considered quitting.  I couldn't breathe right and I just wasn't sure I could make it the rest of the way.  Then I thought about Silas waiting anxiously for me at the swim exit, and how disappointed I would be if I let him down.  I also realized I had made it about half way at that point and should probably just keep going as long as I could.  I was staying wide so I am sure I swam a lot farther than I  needed to, but it was less crowded and I felt better.  I focused on finding the next buoy and just swimming to it, and so on.  Before I knew it I had gotten my breathing under control and was actually swimming comfortably!  Too bad it only took 3/4th of the swim to get there!  I felt the biggest relief when I turned the last corner and headed for home.  I felt my hands hit sand, put my feet down, and couldn't stop smiling:)
 I checked my watch and was surprised to see I was right on track for what I thought I could swim.  I was aiming for 45-50 minutes, and crossed the mat at 48:42. I was working hard to get my wetsuit off so I forgot to look up for any pictures.  The wetsuit strippers were very efficient and yanked the bottom half right off for me:)  Oh my goodness....I seriously just swam 1.2 miles in the ocean!!!!
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