Our Daily (G)races

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pittsburgh Marathon here I come

On Sunday I will be running my 5th marathon.  To be perfectly honest, three years ago I never thought I would run one full and now I on my 5th...crazy.  The 6th is also on the schedule for December!  It is a little addictive.

I have only really been training for this marathon for 8 weeks which is not much time at all.  I did not lose too much fitness after the Houston Marathon so I did not have to build my base.  I just had to amp up the mileage again.  And, this is almost the most fun I have had running long runs ever.  My 16, 18, and 20 mile runs were fun.  I know that sounds really crazy to say, but it is true.  I ran them well.  They seemed easy and the time passed very quickly.  That is always a good thing on a long run. My times for these runs were some of my fastest ever training run times for those distances. 

This is going to be a very unique marathon experience for me.  First, I am running in Pittsburgh which is not flat at all.  I have not trained on hills so this worries me just a bit.  The course has a major hill at mile 12.5 and it continues for almost a mile.  After that it is rolling hills until the last 3 miles.  Thank goodness that is flat again.  In general I love to run hills so I hope I manage them well.  Second, I am running with someone.  I have never done that in a race.  I hope it works out well for both of us.  Lastly, I am not running for time.  I have never done this either.  I am pacing my friend and hopefully helping her achieve a personal best!  I am excited for this challenge and seeing a new city while I run.

I leave on Friday for my adventure.  I cannot wait to have a weekend away from my crazy but fun life.  This adventure is also a funny thing because I have never met Susan.  We became friends through our blogs (her blog).  We text and Facebook, but have never talked on the phone.  How strange is that?  Even stranger is that I don't think it is too weird! 

So, the goal for Sunday is 4:48.  It is supposed to be about 45-50 degrees at the start...wow!  My Texas self just may freeze waiting for the race to start!  Worse than that is the wind.  It is going to be really windy so I am praying it is at our backs!

The marathon is a tricky thing, but I do know some things for sure.  First is that Susan takes lots of pictures so I just may have this marathon documented pretty well.  I also know we will have lots of fun no matter what happens on Sunday.

And, I will miss these goofs like crazy....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Take me out to the ball game

On Saturday we went to the Rice Owls baseball game.  Drew and I like ball sports and I especially love college sports.  Just like in the fall when we went to the TCU-WVU football game, we wanted to share another fun experience with the kids on a college campus.  The boys like baseball and watching games at small parks is fun.  We knew the girls would tolerate the game so Ashlynn came along as well. 

Rice is a good team so knew we would see a good game.  What we didn't expect was a home run in the 8th to tie the game and 11 innings of great baseball.  The ending to the game could not have been better....a 2 run walk-off homer and a victory for Rice.  It was very exciting.

Winning home run celebration at home plate!
There was supposed to be an Easter egg hunt at the end of the game.  Because the game went into extra innings the hunt was held right after the 9th inning.  The kids loved this extra special part of the day.  The "hill" behind the outfield wall in the above picture provided the kids with room to play during the 10th and 11th innings.

There were two very cute statues outside the stadium that were perfect for picture taking.  Of course the sun was horrible and the pictures are washed out, but still cute.

Samuel has already told us that he is ready to go to another game.  I hope we can!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Run for Hope 10K

On Saturday I ran the Run for Hope 10K in The Woodlands.  Leading up to the race I felt less than confident about my ability to have a good or semi-good race.  My most recent speed work runs were not good and totally wrecked my confidence.  Mid week I was hoping for a 50-51 for the race.  By Friday, I was just feeling calm about the race.  In fact, I was so calm I almost forgot to pick up my race packet.  The last time I felt super calm before a race was the marathon.  I decided to hope for similar results meaning a PR!

On Saturday the weather was perfect for this time of year.  It was in the high 50's at the start, kind of sunny, not windy, and most importantly not humid.  That was the thing that I knew would make or break the day for me.  I hate humidity and it hates me.  Being coolish I felt ready to run.

The course was two 5K loops which I was initially nervous to run.  Loop courses have not been my friend in the past.  But, I really liked this course and more so as the race progressed.  I could feel myself feeling more confident.  By mile 3 I figured a big PR would happen.  I was running sub 8 min/miles and not feeling tired at all.  I just kept telling myself to stay in the mile...in the moment and keep on running.

My first mile was 7:57 and the next two were 7:56.  I was beyond excited to run this pace and feel great.  I can honestly say this has not happened to me previously for this distance!  Mile four was good with a 7:49 split.  I was tired during mile 5.  It was a long straight stretch and it was getting warmer.  I was disappointed to be a little slower at 7:52, but I knew this could still be a big run for me.  The last mile was flat with some turns so boredom with straight stretches would not be a problem.  Also, the same crazy guy kept passing me and then falling back.  It was really, really annoying me because he was heavy footed and he had a chain that made lots of repetitive noise...hate that.  Deciding I could no longer focus on him, I knew I had to pick it up and just stay in front of him.  I was so over him and the repetitive noise so I managed the last mile in 7:45.  I was feeling not totally tired and wished at that point that I had run faster.  STILL, I was not sad about my run and picked it up to run a 7:31 pace for the last 0.2.

I could see a 48:xx on the clock as I came to the finish and I just wanted to smile.  Two years ago I just wanted to break 50 minutes for the 10K and now after weeks of frustrating runs I was going to run under 49!  My official time was 48:49!!!!  That is a 44 second PR for me which meant big smiles for me!!!

I was obviously a little slow in stopping my watch!
This was the perfect race for me which I never thought I would say.  10K's are hard for me to race, but this was pretty much perfect.  It was a good confidence booster heading into the Pittsburgh Marathon in two weeks.  It also gave me a little itch to run a 5K.  I would love to get a new 5K PR.  Maybe, maybe.....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter celebrations

I am so thankful for Easter and what it means, but I am also so glad this week is over.  With all my responsibilities at church this is a tough and time consuming week for me and my family.  I never quite feel fully present in any moment and for that reason I am glad Easter Week has ended. 

Despite the craziness, we did have lots of fun together at home and at church.  We did all the normal stuff...dying eggs, hunting for eggs, making Resurrection rolls, and dressing in pretty outfits.   And, I still managed to take lots and lots of pictures!

Jonah had a short speaking part at our Maundy Thursday service.  He did great!

We dyed eggs using Kool-Aid.  It was pretty fun and less stinky than the store stuff that is mixed with vinegar.

The kids got their Easter baskets after church.  Drew even gave me a basket filled with some yummy treats.  Emma surprised me and Drew with these framed pictures she had taken of everyone.  So wonderful she is and I love the pictures.  Each one is so like their personalities!  They also hunted for eggs after church.  I have no time for this stuff before church. 

my basket
Our pictures from Emma

The kids enjoyed the butterfly release at church and we took lots of pictures. I have to say that I loved the girls dresses and wish they could wear them every week!

Inside the sanctuary by the Living Cross

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Being the youngest sibling

Saturday was one of the busiest days of my life or so it seemed.  I woke at 5am to start my day and kept going all day long.  It was exhausting.  Then I looked at the pictures I took on Saturday and wondered if Elena was as tired as I was.

Being the littlest sister she tags along to lots of things that don't involve her at all.  She goes to lots of practices, spend lots of times at gymnastics meets, watches ball games of various types, goes to school activities, and the list goes on and on.  As long as I have things along to keep her happy she doesn't normally complain too much.  Saturday was almost as long a day for her as me.

She had to spend some time at the gym while we waited for a birthday party to end. 

She spent two hours at the ball fields watching her brothers play football and playing.  Yes, we finally talked Jonah into playing a ball sport.  They play on different teams, but at back-to-back times.  For the next many weeks we will spend lots of time in the sun watching football....can't wait!

Thankfully the fields are at a local school and Elena loves to play on the playground.

She finally convinced Samuel to play with her after his game....

She tagged along to another birthday drop-off with the promise of a dinner out with me, Drew, and Emma. 

Elena did get to do things of her choosing during the day, but it all had to work around somebody's schedule.  She handled it like a trooper, but needed a little power nap to make it to dinner! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

There were big things happening at our church today.  Most importantly, it is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  To celebrate Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem the children processed into worship waving palm branches and singing.  I, of course, have no pictures of this because I had to help.  I could recreate it though because I have four huge containers of palm branches on our porch...lucky me!

After church there were games, a petting zoo, and an egg hunt...very holy activities!  Just a few fun activities for the families to begin Holy Week.  Samuel was afraid of the animals and it took him forever to work up the courage to hold an animal.  It was funny to watch him inside the petting area.  Elena, though, loved the animals and she would have stayed all day I think.

Samuel and Elena collected a few too many eggs.  Samuel even had them in his pockets.  Emma and Jonah found their fair share as well.  I now have a huge box of plastic eggs, but the good thing is I don't have to buy any for our egg hunt.

Elena won her age group as Drew said during the sack race.  She did a really good job...no falls and all smiles!  She is totally airborne in this picture!

And, as always, I had to have family pictures.  Maybe someday my boys will keep their shirts tuck in, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.