Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Marathon Eve Eve

Yes, it does feel a little like an upcoming holiday.  All the preparation.  All the excitement.  All the thoughts of will everyone be happy or in this case me.  My brain feels like it is on overload.  My thoughts are pretty much consumed with getting everything together for Saturday.  When I am not thinking about that I wonder have I rested enough?  Have I eaten the right foods this week?  Have I drank enough water?  Am I mentally ready for the battle?  Did I pick the right outfit?  Will my legs be ready 8 weeks after my 1/1 marathon?

The questions could go on and on for an entire post.  Too many questions in my brain causes me to doubt myself.   I am all about being positive so I just start reciting my power verses and phrases.  I will be relying on them so much this time.  January 1 was an awful run for me so I hope to erase those demons.  I hope to run a super strong race.  I hope to surprise myself!  Hope... I saw a little thing on FB a few weeks ago that said HOPE...Hang On, Pain Ends.  I have thought about that so many times since then.  It may just be my new mantra.  It could not be more true.  Why give up at mile 20 when there is only 6 more to run.  Why slow down at mile 24 just because you are tired.  It is almost over so just keep going.  Just hang on....
After my last training run
The training is over.  I believe I did what I set out to accomplish during the past eight weeks.  I have run my highest mileage weeks ever twice.  My recovery from both weeks seemed rather easy.  I nailed my paces and felt comfortable doing it.  I feel healthy and strong. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

The support I have received from my family, my friends, and my bloggy friends is amazing.  I feel like everyone will be cheering me on from their little corners of the world on Saturday and I could not be more grateful.

I am so thankful I have my little people to distract me from myself.  Cold weather has returned to Houston again.  Instead of playing at the park, Elena, Samuel, and I had a hot chocolate date at Starbucks this morning.  

Tonight was Open House at Haude.  Emma and Jonah loved sharing their classrooms with us. 

Tomorrow is all about relaxing and resting.  I am ready. 

Saturday is all about EMBRACING it all!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Four Day and Counting, but who's counting?

Marathon #3 is in four days.  Unbelievable!  I am super excited.  I am feeling really calm.  I am just stressing a little about the weather.  I could not be happier about the temperature, but what to wear...ugh!

This last week is a total mental game for me.  It is all about staying positive and believing in myself.  For Christmas 2011, Drew gave me Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong.  I asked for it and was excited to start reading it.  I started to read it as I was preparing for marathon #1.  With each page I read, I felt more and more inferior to her.  Her running experiences, running thoughts, and running in general just made me feel like a fool.  I stopped reading it.  I knew my mind needed to be in a good place and the book was hindering that.

Since that time, I have again picked up the book and am loving it.  I feel so much positive energy and encouragement from her writings.  I seriously feel like I could explode with happiness and confidence when I read some of her sentences.  I have turned my book into a college text book underlining everything that jumps off the page at me.  It is truly amazing how much more confidence I have in myself this time and especially since the start of this year.  I know it all comes back to deciding to EMBRACE IT ALL!

This may just be my favorite....I want to grow into a more peaceful acceptance of the challenge.  I don't want to dread the test; I want to embrace it.  I want to be curious about my potential, respectful toward my body, and grateful for my results - no matter what.  I want to be more willing and joyful about putting myself on the line. 

This Saturday is nothing if not an opportunity for me to be brave.  I have so much fear of failing...so much.  But, the past 8 weeks have put much of that fear to rest.  I feel strong.  I am grateful that I am healthy.  Joy has returned to my running.  I know I have potential to do really well.  I just have to embrace it!

There is a unique beauty to pursuing the glow that resides just beyond our reach.

When was the last time you gave something your all?...When did your effort simultaneously exhaust and invigorate you?...When did you last pursue something with the abandon of a child?

Competition is best utilized on the inside.  I need to run my own race.

...the simple bravery in the willingness to risk the attempt.

Perhaps my favorite is when Kristin talks about her coaches instructions to "run through, not to.  Her example was through the stop sign.  My through is the pain, the mental exhaustion, the fatigue, and the finish line.  I am running through the finish line because it is the beginning of my next journey.

I could go on and on and on.  I find inspiration and truth in each statement!

Four days.....

And, this post would not be complete with a few pictures.  Today Samuel, Elena, and I were at the park for 2.5 hours.  It was windy and cool and wonderful.  They had a blast, but were a little overdone come dinner time.

Finally, Jonah had his meet on Sunday.  It was a huge meet!  It went okay.  He made some silly mistakes and Jonah knows it.  He is growing as a gymnast and it is starting to make more sense to him.  Despite the silly mistakes, he still managed to receive 5 medals.  He also earned his highest score of the year on high bar...a 10.6.  His next meet is in two weeks. It would be so exciting for Jonah if he could put it all together at one meet!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jonah earned his badge

Yesterday was a big day for Jonah.  Really it is going to be a big weekend for Jonah.  Gymnastics watching/helping, Tiger Scout awards, and a gymnastics competition.  He gets to experience it all with Drew.  Jonah has been so excited about his special time with daddy this weekend....so sweet!

Yesterday Drew got Jonah out of school early to go to volunteer at a Trampoline and Tumbling contest.  A little bonus was getting to watch the Texas A&M men's gymnastics team and the Chinese National Team warm up for their competition.  Drew said that Jonah was so excited...more than words can describe at watching their tricks.  Jonah was also a little frustrated that he could not practice his own skills.  They were at the competition for three hours before heading home for his Tiger Scout award ceremony. 

After completing all the required assignments, Jonah earned his Tiger Scout badge.  It was a proud moment for me and Drew.  Jonah thought it was pretty cool as well.  He just looks so handsome in his uniform!
The table centerpiece

All this happened after he spent the morning playing cowboy.  Friday was "Go Texan Day".  It signifies the beginning of rodeo season, which is a HUGE deal!  Emma and Jonah had hoedowns at school.  Elena and Samuel just dressed for the occasion because why not?  I think our rodeo gear is lacking and I need to get the kids cooler stuff for next year.  I know they would all appreciate boots!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our day in photos

Today's weather was totally crappy.  It rained last night and some this morning so any outdoor activity was out of the question.  Because I am weather obsessed (I am currently stalking my marathon day weather), I knew this and planned ahead to prevent the dreaded "I'm bored".  Oh, how I dislike that statement.

Elena's current love...well one of them....is Batman. Yes, Batman.  He is her favorite superhero and she loves to watch the Batman superhero movie.  Knowing this and knowing how much she likes to interrupt me on the treadmill, I decided she and Samuel could watch the movie while I ran.  With the exception of her needing to use the restroom (think newly potty trained) I was able to run without being bothered.

My run was a total sweatfest because of the humidity.  Goodness, it was gross and I was a little bit thankful for her interruptions.  Six miles later, some breakfast, and a shower it was time for Play Dough.  Samuel loves, loves, loves Play Dough and he got some new accessories for his birthday.  Play Dough gives me at least an hour to accomplish things.  I help them and play some, but for the most part they are totally and blissfully occupied.

By then it was lunch time and we were on to rest time and playing with their new sticker books.  I forget who gave them these Melissa and Doug re-usable books, but what a hit.  They are both kind of obsessed with them!  Again, it is something that allows me to play with them and do other things at the same time.  I love it. 

Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day doing laundry.  Three huge loads later I thought I was finished, but I had two more on tap for today.  In this house, I must do laundry every day...maybe only missing one day a week...or 5 loads in two days happens. 

Before we knew it Emma and Jonah were home from school and getting ready for gymnastics.  Emma's team got a new spirit leo and it is so cute. 

I tried to take a picture of Jonah today, but he was all about the thug look.  I was not all about that so no pictures of Jonah.  Instead, I got a funny picture of Yuengling.  Yuengling has been a part of our family since May 1999 (she was 8 weeks old when we got her).  She is old!  She makes me nuts every single day with all her barking, but she is a good dog.  Her old age is catching up to her.  I found her eating laying down...WOW!

Today was so pleasant and relaxing.  Our weekend is crazy busy, which is good.  It will keep my mind off of tapering and my marathon.  Well, maybe because currently I pretty much think about the race all the time.  I have five runs between now and the starting line.  I get my bib on Sunday....woo hoo!!!  Let the busyness begin!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Samuel....

It is hard for me to imagine that you are 5 today.  I can still see your sweet smiling face when you were born.  You just don't seem something enough to be five, but you are.  Today has been all about your wishes....using your gift card to buy a toy, getting a new 3DS game, having a slushy, and eating ice cream whenever you wanted.  Dinner was even your choice.  Of course, all these moments occurred with my blessing which you won't be seeking someday.

So, Samuel on your 5th birthday there are five things I want you to know.

3 year old Samuel
1.  Always believe in you!  Trust your instincts.  Don't be a follower, but be a leader.  You are already a little leader at school and I hope you only further develop this quality as you get older.

2.  Be kind.  Think before speaking and acting.  This is not your strength at the moment, but you are only five.  Your Daddy and I will always help you be kind, but you have to learn to follow our advice.
4 year old who just got a big bike
3.  Never stifle your creativity.  Your mind is crazy fun and always taking you on some adventure.  Life is much more fun when you make it enjoyable.

4.  Allow music to be the song in your heart forever.  I love to hear you sing and I know you will do great things with music.  I don't know what it is and you don't either, but it will be something.  Music makes you happy....crazy, loud, off beat music makes you so, so happy.  Enjoy it, listen to it, make it and never exclude from you day.

5.  Remember that God loves you more than me and Daddy. 

The best parts of turning five....your CARS cake, your party with your friends, a dinner of your choice, Ice cream all day long, presents...oh the love from family and friends, and family!  It was a fun day celebrating you Samuel.

"I have big muscles now that I am five!"
That is his pint of ice cream for the day whenever he wants some
birthday dinner of ham, green beans, and sweet potato fries
Lots of love from family
so excited about his Eagles Dream Light

So handsome!
Happy 5th Birthday sweet Samuel!

Monday, February 18, 2013

38 gifts---it's my Birthday!

Oh how I love birthdays....mine, my family, or my friends.  I just love celebrating other people on their very own day.  With so much of life about everything else whatever that may be, I love having one day where a person should feel free to do what makes them happy without any regrets.  That is what I do on my birthday and maybe a few surrounding days because I like to have a lingering celebration!

So, today is my birthday and guess what?  I am 38 and I don't care at all who knows.  Samuel thinks I am really old, which I think is funny.  My family spoiled me last night with fun presents and a lovely meal.  I am making my favorite meal for dinner tonight and plan to eat more ice cream.  A little fun note about my birthday is that I spent my 33rd birthday in labor with dear Samuel.  His birthday is tomorrow.  Cake two days in a row is too much for me and since I love ice cream, we celebrate me with big, obnoxious ice cream sundaes!  There is absolutely no guilt in how much I eat....I just enjoy it!

Instead of writing all about me, which is not my favorite subject unless it is my birthday, I decided to write 38 things I am so thankful for on this day.  In no particular order, here goes...

1.  Ice cream...it had to be first!

2.  My running....it is total love at the moment

3.  All the texts, phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages I have received today.  I feel very loved!
4.  The card Emma created with the help of Jonah, Samuel, and Elena.

5.  My birthday muffin from Kim from my favorite bakery!
6.  My Valentine star gazer lilies are open and smell so amazing.
7.  Emma because she is wonderful!
8.  Jonah because he is silly!
9.  Samuel because he is so serious!
10.  Elena because she thinks she is a princess!
11.  Drew because he loves me unconditionally.
12.  Dark, stormy skies on my birthday....I like those kind of skies...strange I know!
13.  An email from Saucony with a free shipping code.
14.  My new living room furniture.  I feel like such a grown up with a pretty new sofa.
15.  Seeing Elena's sweet face being so excited at the new color of her bedroom.
16.  Fresh blueberries in my oatmeal this morning.
17.  A trip to the grocery store with no arguing, fussing, and can I have's.  Pure joy on this day.
18.  A new case for for my phone.
19.  A rest day----yes no running on my birthday so I could sleep until 6:45.
20.  Homemade muffins from my friend Leslie and they were so good!
21.  A birthday card waiting for me on the counter this morning.
22.  EMBRACING all things about this year and knowing it has had a positive impact on my outlook for everything.
23.  Steak, sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, and green beans for my birthday dinner.

24.  My parents because they helped guide me on the path to who I am and who I am becoming.
25.  Our church despite having a meeting tonight
26.  Arm sleeves for running and am so excited to use them!
27.  Feeling physically quite awesome after my 22 mile run yesterday.
28.  Having pretty painted fingernails.
29.  My birthday notes on our blackboard.

30.  My awesome friends that I can't wait to celebrate with on Saturday.
31.  The red bud tree I can see blooming out our family room window.
32.  Jonah's wrist being almost 100% healed.
33.  Watching Emma do a round-off double back handspring on the floor and a front handspring vault...she is getting braver!
34.  Celebrating Samuel at his birthday party on Saturday afternoon.
35.  Feeling like I learned so much about myself in the past year and being grateful for that.
36.  Knowing there is still so much more I can achieve and learn this year and being excited about that.
37.  Believing that I can be a better wife, mom, friend, and runner, but also knowing that I am a pretty good one on my 38th birthday!
38.  So grateful for all the love and joy in my life.  I don't take it for granted for one second!

Happy Birthday to Me!

I love their smiling faces!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My last long run!

I am in total disbelief that I am almost finished with marathon training.  When all this began in August, February just seemed so far away.  Now,  I will be running my third marathon in less than two weeks.  Total shock and gratitude best describes how I feel at the moment.  Shock that 6 months have come and gone.  Gratitude all I have learned about myself and all the support I have received to arrive at today.

I ran my last long run this morning...22 miles of total happiness.  I just realized when I logged my run that it was to be a fast finish...oops!  Normally that would totally upset me that I messed up a run and did not do what my coach asked me to do.  But not today.  Today I feel great about my run and I think my coach will be happy with it too!

I finally felt good.  I knew as soon as I starting running that today would be my best day running.  Well, at least the best day I have had in over 10 days.  That knowledge was enough to get me through the hard moments with a smile still on my face.   Knowing in mile 1 that this would be a great last long run was wonderful.  The weather was a bonus as well.  It was 37 degrees when I started in the dark and 52 degrees when I finished with sunny skies. 

I did not realize that I was supposed to fast finish today.  But, I wanted to challenge myself to run many of the miles around 9/min mile pace and finished the last 2-3 miles faster.  I was still challenging myself, but not quite like was planned.  My goal was to finish at 3:25.

I found out yesterday that my bib# is 449.  I felt like it was a good number, but could not figure out any great attachment to it.  Today I had my bib attachment moment, which is great for a superstitious person like me.  My first two miles were 9:44.  See----it is my bib# reversed!  LOVE!
Pretty view from my fun...love the "steam" coming off the creek
The next 8 miles felt controlled.  The only exception would be at mile 5 when I was so surprised by a dog.  I had to stop for about 5 minutes waiting for the prettiest and friendliest dog to go away.  I hope he found his way home! 

Miles 3-10 were 9:38, 9:32, 9:29, 9:18, 9:20, 9:08, 9:11 and 9:24.  I took 2 GU's by this point and was really ready to start pushing the pace. 

Miles 11-15 were 9:01, 9:04, 9:00, 9:08, 9:04.  I took my last GU at mile 15.  That was not my plan, but I just did not feel like I needed my last one at mile 19.  I am pretty sure I will take it during the marathon because it can't hurt me.

Miles 16-19 were 8:57, 9:01, 9:04, and 8:58.  At this point it was warm and my legs were feeling ready to be finished.  My breathing still felt very controlled and even, which is great!  I know I had more in me today, but I did not want this to be my marathon.  I just wanted a great last run.

Miles 20-22 were 8:53, 8:44 (44 made me happy!) and 8:42.  Done in 3:22....woo hoo!  So, not a super fast finish, but a solid strong run!
These legs are running strong!
I could not be happier to end the hard work part of this marathon training cycle on a good note!  I feel strong heading into the marathon.  I have two "easy" weeks of running and then it is the big day.  Now, my goal is to rest, stay healthy, and be happy while running!

I totally EMBRACED the past two months of running.  I really have loved almost every minute of it.  I was excited about the challenges and did not let my cold keep me down for too long.  The mind is so powerful and for now, I am controlling my thoughts.

My verse for today's run was 1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong