Our Daily (G)races

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  We had a wonderful, meaningful, and fun Easter weekend filled with great church and family activities.  Our weekend actually began on Thursday with the Maundy Thursday service.  This is my favorite service of the year because it involves children, youth, and adults.  It includes traditional and contemporary music.  And, I get to sit with my entire family instead of us all being at different places in church. 

Saturday our friends came with us to the Eggstravaganza at church. The kids had lots of fun enjoying the secular silliness of Easter.  I think the favorite thing for them was the Easter egg hunt because Easter definitely includes candy.  Drew and I also gave the kids their baskets on Saturday.  Sunday is so crazy that there is no enjoyment in giving the baskets and the kids can't enjoy them. I think this is one of my smartest mom decisions ever!

Everyone was happy with their candy, books, and random other fun things!
My "basket" from Drew which I absolutely loved!

Sunday we had a lovely service at church followed by a butterfly release.  The symbolism of new life is easy for everyone to understand.  Having butterflies sit on your hand is also pretty cool!

In addition to all the Easter activities was baseball.  The kids and I went Friday night.  Some of us went on Saturday afternoon.  And we all went on Sunday after church.  For the second year in a row Rice has played at home on Easter weekend so we had our Easter meal picnic style. 

They participated in an egg hunt after the game!
Our Easter picnic
He caught a Rice home run ball

One of the reasons we started following Rice baseball and going to the games is because Drew went to school there.  For all the time we spend at games we have never taken the kids on the campus to see where Drew went to classes.  So, after Sunday's game we toured the campus and the kids loved it.  It was fun for Drew to share his experiences with the kids and I think they were really excited to see where their daddy went to school.  They also thought it was pretty funny that it was the third college that Drew attended (lots of letters after his name)!

Our weekend was not filled with much besides being together, watching Rice win baseball games, and rejoicing in our Risen Savior.  It was a wonderful break in the craziness of our daily life.  I am so thankful for these beautiful, crazy kiddos and Drew. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Woodlands Marathon

Every single time I get ready to cross the starting line of a marathon I feel several emotions....

Fear....it's a long, long, long way to run
Excitement that the day is finally here
Nerves....no explanation needed I think
Calm....there's nothing left to do but run
Sadness....I really like the training part
Happiness....Glad the training is over because it's exhausting

I decided to run The Woodlands Marathon in December.  Philly so was horrific for me that I wanted a better experience and I knew I could have a better day.  Drew was very supportive of the decision because me running a marathon is a family commitment.  My weekday runs don't interfere with family life, but my long runs do each and every week.  Drew willingly takes care of all the Saturday or Sunday things when I'm running.  I am so thankful for that! 

I felt super prepared for the marathon.  I was calm all week.  No nerves at all until race day.  Saturday morning was crazy because I literally thought I would vomit on the way to the race.  I was so glad that Drew drove me to the race so I didn't have to think about parking.   I have never felt that nervous before a race and I was a little shocked.  As soon as I got out of the truck I was calm as could be.  Weird!  I just wanted to get the race started.

This is the third time I have run The Woodlands Marathon, but the first time on the single loop course.  I studied the course map and can still say that I have no idea where we ran for most of the race.  The back of The Woodlands just goes on forever.  I'm not sure people live back there either because there was hardly a person cheering along the course.

My plan was to run between 8:30 and 8:40 pace.  I planned to take in fuel every five miles or so depending on the location of the water stops.  Then between mile 18-20 I would get my own water bottle from Drew.  I always want more fuel and water at the end of a marathon and I want it when I want it.  The fueling plan went really well.  The running plan went really well until about mile 20.

I started in Corral A just behind the fast people....so exciting to see them run.  The weather was perfect to start, but it warmed up quickly.  I was thankful I was at mile 8 before the fog lifted and it became sunny.  From that point on it was just hot.  The day warmed quickly and I would guess the last 10 or so miles were run with temps in the 70's and mostly in the sun.  I have quite the unattractive sunburn on my back and chest.  Thankfully it wasn't humid, but it was still way too warm for me.

Everything for me felt great until about mile 13.  I could tell I was hitting a slump and so I just kept focusing on one mile at a time.  A slump generally always comes. I focused more on my music and kept thinking "I am ready for this."   I was still hitting my pace range and overall I felt good. 
still happy and feeling good around mile 9
At mile 18 I happily saw my family.  I was thinking that would happen around mile 20 so it was quite a surprise.  Elena gave me my water bottle and I thought just push on to mile 23 when I would see them again.  My times were slowing down and I was really feeling the heat.  Thinking back I think I stopped sweating sometime around mile 20.  That is never good.  I had 10 ounces of water in my bottle and it was gone within two miles.  I started taking little bits of the Gatorade at the water stations too and I think it helped some.  Also at that time my left hamstring tightened up so much that I figured I pulled it.  Having recovered for several days I didn't pull it.  It is crazy sore, but I think it was cramping.  The pain was crazy bad at times and it forced to me walk.  I tried to stretch my hip and calf hoping that would help, but it didn't much.  I was now running 9+ minute miles and I felt so defeated.

I cried when I saw Drew and the kids at mile 24.  I barely looked at them because I knew I would stop.  I told Drew I was hurting badly and I just kept moving forward.  With 1.5 miles to go I decided it was gut check time.  Everything in my left leg hurt and there was nothing I could do to change that.  So, I figured run as fast as I could so I could be finished.  The last mile marker was a welcomed site.  There were more people cheering and I could literally feel the finish line pulling me to it.  Crazy as it is I ran my fastest mile for mile 25.  It was all about the will to finish.  I squeaked out a tiny PR, but all I could do was cry sad tears.  Even that was hard because I was exhausted.  I could only walk a few steps at a time and then I needed to rest.  The race crew was so nice and I must have been asked 10 times if I needed help or treatment.  All I wanted was to see Drew.

dying as I finished
I don't even know how I managed to look this happy
Finally hearing him call my name was the best feeling of the day.  I just clung to him as I tried to cry, but my body wouldn't really let me too much.  I was having such trouble standing so Jonah got me a chair.  I have to say that my family is the best.  Elena prayed for me to have "stamina".  Jonah told me he was proud of me.  Emma texted me good luck and a message after as well.  Samuel was just Samuel and smiled at me.  Drew kept me together until I could get myself together.

Still several days later I am so sad when I think about this marathon.  I did not accomplish what I felt I was ready to accomplish.  At the same time I am really proud of myself for gutting out another marathon.  I am also on the right path to achieving my marathon goal.  I ran more miles in my target pace range than I ever have previously.  It will happen.  The marathon is the biggest emotional roller coaster I have ever experienced.  On Sunday one of my favorite bloggers posted this and it is total truth.

My official time was 3:49.29.

My time break down was 8:39 pace for 10K; 8:35 pace for 13.1; 8:11 pace for 18.6 and 9:25 to the finish.  I took some comfort in these stats when I really looked at them.  Not a single female in my AG held their pace for the last 10 miles.  Every single person slowed by at least 45 seconds to 4 minutes.  The heat and sun were killer.  So, I took some small comfort in knowing that even the speedier people had trouble with the temperatures. 

I finished 7/50 in my AG and 40/323 for women. 

I am thankful for marathon #7.  It's taken me a couple of days to feel that way, but I am.  I worked hard for this medal.  I learn things about myself each and every time I ran 26.2.  Until next time because there will be a #8.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The best of the rest of February

So this is what I didn't take the time to blog about in February.  Life is just a little crazy at times with baseball, gymnastics, instruments, running, and birthdays.  It was a crazy busy month!

The Kindergartners at Haude dressed up for the 100th day of school.  Elena was just precious!

It has starting being warm consistently and Samuel thought it was time to get a tan.  I really think he was nuts because on that very same day I was wearing a sweatshirt as you can see in the picture of me and Drew.

The very next Monday it was cold and Samuel had to wear a sweatshirt to baseball camp.

It was decade day at school.  The boys agreed to dress in cool 50's style, but Elena refused anything fun that day.  I think they made very handsome 50's dudes.

Ranger loves stuffed animals and shoes.  This is actually a dog toy and it is the only one he hasn't destroyed within the hour.  It is actually still in one piece and he still likes to cuddle with it.  

For the first time in I don't know how long we had off for President's Day.  We had planned to go to the Zoo, but the weather was not very nice.  Instead we went antiquing at two different places.   It was a group decision and we had lots of fun.  It is hilarious to me how they react to some of the "antiques".  Then we went to the park because the sun started to shine.

My girlfriends took me to lunch for my birthday.  It is tradition and it was so much fun.   My birthday was on a Thursday.  A middle of the week birthday for a parent means not much  birthday fun. So, we celebrated my birthday on Sunday at Reckling Park with a Rice victory and a nice dinner after the game.  It was a relaxing day and I had the best grapefruit beer to top off a fun weekend and birthday!

Loves his condiments
The last Friday in February was Go Texan Day.  It is rodeo season here and that is serious business in Houston.  Having lived here forever now we are all in for the rodeo especially Samuel.  That boy!  For the two weeks prior to Go Texan Day the kids spend PE time learning various dances.  Each grade was a little different and it was so fun to watch.  Drew took the day of work so he could see each kiddo dance with their classes. I'm telling you....serious business!

He would rather be in the gym
A cowboy in the making

Emma and I volunteered at an event that collected items for Camp Hope which is a facility helping soldiers who suffer from PTSD.  It was an emotional morning and time well spent helping those men.

Finally, we celebrated Jonah who earned a regional qualifying AA score at his meet.  It is a little crazy, but fun and exciting for Jonah.  He spends 16+ hours a week at the gym so to achieve such a honor made him so very happy.   He has to qualify again at the state meet in three weeks.  Here's hoping it happens again!  These are some fun action shots from his meet!


For all that Jonah doesn't do well yet, the boy can tumble!

And my favorite because it is so Jonah....