Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Akron Marathon 2009, 1st time marathoner, MARY, 3231" I stared at my marathon bib and tears welled up in my eyes so heavily that I couldn't read the words on the bright yellow bib any longer. I was holding my bib, knowing that I wouldn't be running a step of this race due to my stress fracture that I incurred during my 1/2 marathon in May. I heard my husband call my name, looked up and he and our friends were waiting for me. I crumpled up my bib, stuffed it in my goodie bag and joined them as we walked through the expo hall.

Way back on May 3rd, the day after my 1/2 marathon, Brett, our friend Lynk and I were sitting in my living room, moaning about our soar muscles and discussing the race. Lynk brought up the idea of doing a marathon and I told him no way, I was way too sore after just 13 miles, no way I could do 26. Well, the idea grew on me and after much research and many e-mails between Lynk, his wife Nancy, Brett and I, we registered for the Akron Road Runner Marathon. The lingering hip pain that I had from the 1/2 was not improving so I went to a sports doctor, had an MRI and was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my hip and in my pelvis. So no marathon for me. But I knew I could be useful to my friends by being the all important support staffer so I focused on that, pushing my disappointment aside.

We left for Akron on Friday afternoon, drove 5 hours and went straight to the expo hall. After picking up our bibs, we went from booth to booth, spinning wheels for free stuff (I got a reusable grocery bag, Brett won a pair of 1980 sunglasses) and meeting up with one of my Sparkpeople friends, Jan, at the Teams in Training booth. I kept looking at the sale racks of women's running clothes for a good deal. I had been released by my doctor to run up to 3 miles 2 weeks prior to this marathon. So the thought of running the first 3 miles entered my mind. But I didn't bring any running clothes with me. I did buy a long sleeved tee that said "I run like a girl, try to keep up". I mentioned to Nancy that if I had a sports bra, I would love to run the first few miles of the race. But all the ones at the expo seemed pretty over priced. Brett overheard me and said he thought it was a great idea and that I should do it. So Nancy suggested stopping at Target or Walmart on the way to the hotel to buy a sports bra. I immediately lite up inside and out, thrilled to even run 3 out of 26 miles of this race. At least I wouldn't be completely stuck on the sidelines, I could wear my bib, get the rush from crossing the start line, feel part of the experience. I was stoaked. Brett and I looked over the course map and the 3 mile mark was very close to the start and finish lines so we knew it would be an easy place to stop and still get to the car to change, get the camera and get to the finish line to watch him finish. It all seemed to be lining up.

We picked up our "free" Brooks tech jackets that were included in our entry fee and left the expo to find the hotel and dinner. We stayed at a Courtyard By Marriott, ate dinner at TGI Fridays and went back to the room. Nancy and I ran up to Walmart, got a sports bra and some running shorts for me as well as trash bags and ziploc bags. We had checked the weather and it said 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms. None of us wanted to run in the rain but we were more concerned about the race being canceled due to thunderstorms as well. But weather is the one thing you can't control so we just went to bed.

Wake-up call was at 5:00 am. We got up, grabbed some breakfast and drove to the finish line, which was at a minor league baseball field, in the middle of downtown Akron. It wasn't raining but still very dark. We walked 5 block to the start line where there were 1000's of people. It's a full, 1/2 and relay race so lots of people were participating. I gave Brett a big kiss and he went to find the 3:20 (7:34 min mile) pace group. Lynk and Nancy headed to the 10 min mile area and I settled in about 8:30 min mile area. The music was cranked over the loud speakers and the feeling from the crowd was electric. The announcer said there was no rain in the forecast, only thick cloud cover, answering our prayers! I did some stretching but mainly stayed to the side so I wouldn't be in the way of the real marathoners. 7:00am came and the bell sounded, signaling the start of the race! I settled into a comfortable pace. I knew I didn't want to push too hard, my main goal was to make it to 3 miles without walking (since I didn't do that at the 5K I competed in the week before). I passed mile 1 at 9:00, hit mile 2 about 18:20 and then was happy to see mile 3 at 27:00. The course had rolling hills, nothing out of control but hills so I was really happy that I made it 3 miles without walking. And no leg/hip pain either. I pulled off to the side and a man said "Come on, Mary, don't stop!" (my bib had my name on it) and I smiled at him and said "I'm injured, I'm only supposed to go 3 miles".

I walked 5 blocks to the car where I changed shirts and grabbed our backpack with the camera, course map, smiley face balloon (so they could pick me out of the crowd easily) water bottles and other things for the rest of my crew. And I hoofed it another 6 blocks up to the 10th mile marker, which also was the start line. It was pretty crowded there, lots of family members stayed there after the start of the race. Took a little searching to find a good spot and I settled in to wait for Brett. I signed up for text messages as Brett, Lynk and Nancy crossed certain points of the race so I would have an idea how they were doing. I got one about Brett saying he had crossed the 15k (9.3 miles) at 1:10:26 with a predicted finishing time of 3:17:57! So I knew he was staying with the pace group. I saw him coming down the road, waved and snapped a picture.

Next up was Lynk and his text at 15K said 1:25:38 with a predicted finishing time of 4:00:46. I crossed the street to get a better angle which wasn't easy because security wasn't allowing people to cross for the safety of the runners. But I got across and waited for Lynk. Saw him coming from a ways away and got some good pictures of him. He stopped to tie his shoe and ask how my run went. I also told him that security was being strict so I wasn't going to stay around for Nancy because I needed to get to the finish line to see Brett. He thought that was fine so I headed out. Walked back to the car to get my new tech jacket, drop off some of the bottles of water that were weighing down my pack and headed to the stadium. At this point I get a text saying that Nancy crossed 15K at 2:00:52, predicted finishing time of 5:39:31. So I figured that if I hurried, I could make the 10 mile mark and see her. But the crowd was bigger, streets harder to cross so by the time I got to the 10 mile mark, it was 17 mins later, well past the time she would have reached 10 miles. So I turn around and head back to the stadium.

I get another text - Brett crossed 25K (15 miles) at 2:01:15, predicted time of 3:24:30. That was strange, he was 4 minutes off of the pace group. I say a quick prayer, hoping that his knee wasn't bothering him. Next up was a text about Lynk, 25K at 2:29:47, finishing time of 4:12:34. He was slowing down as well. Hmmm. I get to the stadium as the 1/2 marathoners were starting to finish up. I grab a seat and see the winner of the marathon cross at 2:28 - amazing. See the first woman finish at 2:44. I get a text - Brett reached 30K (18.6 miles) 2:42:59, predicted finishing time of 3:54:13. Oh crap. How/why did it take him 40 minutes to go 5k???? He normally does 5k in 21 minutes. He has to be hurt. Or maybe he couldn't keep up with the pace group, slowed down and was planning on finishing by 4 hours, which was his backup plan.

I get another text saying that Lynk passed 30K at 3:12:45, predicted finish of 4:36:36. I sadly watch the 3:20 pace group come in. I get a text about Nancy, she crossed 25k at 3:26:49, predicted finish of 5:48:42. The cut-off time is 6 hours so I worry and hope that she stays at that speed. The lady behind me tells me that no texts are sent after 30k until the runner crosses the finish line. So I was in the dark from mile 18.6 to mile 26.2. There is a lot that can go wrong in those 8 miles. Hour 4 approaches and I'm on the edge of my seat, watching for Brett to come into the stadium. They had it set up that the runners came in from right field, ran down a tarp to 1st base where they crossed the finish line. I watch runner after runner cross, waiting to see his white long-sleeved tech shirt and 10 year old gold athletic shorts come down the stretch. And I wait and worry and pray. Four hours passes. I start thinking "Ok, he didn't fill out the emergency info on the back of his bib, how will anyone reach me if something has happened to him? He'd call if he was unable to finish so I wouldn't worry, wouldn't he?? Please, please let him finish soon."

I text Nancy to tell her that Brett and Lynk were not finished yet. She lets me know that she hurt her hip back at mile 2.5 and was in pain but determined to finish. I get a few phone calls and texts from family members wanting to know how Brett was doing. I just tell them that he hasn't finished yet, I'm worried and will call when I know something.

Finally, at 4:45 (11:45am) I see Brett running into the stadium. I scream as loud as I can, take some pictures, scream and wave and cry as I watch him cross the finish line at 4:45:49. He doesn't see or hear me. I run up the stadium stairs and push through the crowd, trying to get to the runners area. I dash down another set of stairs and start screaming his name and waving the smiley balloon like a mad woman. He finally sees me, smiles and points for me to sit down. I quickly text a few people to let them know he finished and wait for him to get out of the runners area. He walks up to me with his mylar blanket around him, medal in one hand, food bag in the other. I give him the biggest hug and kiss and cried telling him how worried I was but how happy I was. He sits down and tells me about his calfs cramping up terribly at mile 15 (right when I got the text that he was slowing down) and his calf completely locking up at mile 18. He goes to the bathroom to get sick (too much Gu and water). Suddenly I get a text saying that Lynk crossed the finish line at 4:57:25, I missed watching him finish. But I got some pictures of him walking through the runners area. So he met up with us and he and Brett quickly started swapping race stories. Lynk cramped up partway through as well so just took his time finishing. He wasn't worried about a finishing time so he was really happy to just be done. Brett was extremely disappointed in his performance, especially since he had never cramped on any training run. I was just happy to have him safe. They continue to talk and we move down to the better seating area and wait for Nancy.

It's about 5:45 and no sign of her. Brett and Lynk decide to walk up the road to find her and help bring her in. I wait to get pictures at the finish line. I watch the minutes tick by, knowing that the race is over at 6:00. The stadium is nearly empty but the 100 people that where there started cheering very loudly for every finisher at this point. I start getting really nervous at 5:55 and start crying at 5:59, knowing that she wouldn't have time to cross the finish line before it hit 6:00. The clock hits 6:00. Then the announcer says that the last person didn't cross the starting line until 7:05am so they were giving everyone an extra 5 minutes to finish. Whew, she can still make it. The clock is ticking. I'm not taking my eyes off the entrance. Suddenly, I see Nancy and Lynk come around the corner. Lynk points me out to her and steps off the course. Nancy starts running down the tarp to the finish line. I'm screaming her name and taking her picture. She crossed the finish line at 6:03 but had an official finishing time of 5:59:53 - she made it with only 7 seconds to spare!!!!! What a rush.

Within a minute of her crossing the finish line, the skies opened and started to pour. God waited until all 3 finished before letting the rain come. While Nancy is cooling down and gathering her stuff, I head to the car to pull it up to the stadium. Everyone slowly piles in (we actually had a police officer stop traffic so they could climb into the minivan) and we head back to the hotel. Much race talk ensued. Nancy said the 6:00 pacer caught her at mile 18 and she just started bawling. She knew that if he passed her, she would be picked up by the sag wagon. So he talked her through the next 8 miles and got her across the line in time. He even gave her his pace sign as a momento.

After showers and resting, we headed to Texas Roadhouse for an early dinner. There were plenty of other runners there, all limping and proudly wearing their medals or marathon jackets. We all looked each other in the eye and congratulated each other. No matter what your time was that day, you still reached a goal and that's something to be very proud of.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I got it for you, Mommy

Irishfest has a kids play/game area. I was helping Matthew with some of the games while Brett was with Kylie. It was a simple enough game, pick a duck out of the tub, if you have a number on the bottom of the duck, you get a prize. Well, Matthew's duck had a number. He started digging through a container of plastic rings, which I thought was odd since there were plastic lizards in another bin. And I thought it was really odd that he picked a pink ring. I asked him "Matthew, are you sure that's what you want?" and he turned to me, took my hand, put the ring on my finger and said "I got it for you, Mommy." Oh, melt my heart!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I ran the Indianapolis Irish Fest 5K this morning. I didn't know what to expect from my legs or lungs. I was praying that I wouldn't have pain in my hip but also praying that I could finish in a respectiable time for me.

Brett was kind enough to use this 5K as a training run for his marathon and ran at my pace for encouragement.I started off strong, felt great. I was running without my ipod because I had read that there would be bagpipers along the route. Well, there wasn't so it was a quiet run other then Brett telling me my pace (and he said he thought the Garmin was a bad investment - ha!).The route was right through downtown so that was neat, we ran on the major roads and around the "circle". I was feeling a little tired at mile one and started to doubt if I could keep up my pace (8:15 at this point). I must have zoned out or speed up or something because mile 2 was at a 7:45. But once we hit mile 2.5, I was gassed. Lungs killed, stomach hurt, emotionally shot. I stopped to throw up (I didn't but sure thought I was going to) and Brett turned in to Coach Nabb. Through his "encouraging words" I was able to gut out the last .6 miles. Finishing time of 25:45.

So, not my best race. Actually that's the worst that I've done in a 5k. But considering I was only given the ok to run and only 15 mins at a time at that last FRIDAY, I think I did ok. Actually, other then the near hurl and yelling between Brett and I, I did well considering. Here are the official stats based on gun time, not watch time:

There were 54 finishers in the Female 30 to 34 age group and 555 finishers in the race.
Your overall finish place was 160 and your age group finish place was 5. Your time of 27:00.7 gave you a 8:43 pace per mile.

Just for kicks, I checked the finishing times for my age division. The second place finisher had the EXACT same time as I had for the 5K I ran in April. So, at least I know that if I had been healthy, I would have been 2nd!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Daisy Outing

So Kylie is in Daisies, which is the precursor to Brownies. It's a two years long and the girls earn petals instead of patches. I don't think she's really understood what it is, she's been thinking its just a big playdate. We had her first camping experience though on Friday night. It was so fun!! For both of us.

We were at Camp Dellwood, which happens to be about 10 minutes from our house, super convenient. I was impressed by how large the camp seemed, certainly didn't seem like we were pretty much in the middle of the Westside. Long, narrow gravel road and everything. We were camping in cabin complete with kitchen and indoor bathroom. There were 5 girls and their moms. We slept on mattresses in our sleeping bags (I borrowed mine from a friend).

We started off the night with having the girls make their own pizzas. So we had pizza and salad for dinner. Then we took a hike, ended up getting a little lost on the trails so it turned into a "flashlight" hike since we were gone longer then we planned. Pretty sure we heard bats! Once we got back to our cabin, the girls had a fun craft - making daisies out of pipe cleaners and foam balls. After that, it was late so we put them all to bed where they just talked and giggled until we joined them. I think it was about 11:15 before everyone settled down. I didn't sleep too bad, it was nice and cool.

Kylie and I were both up about 7am. I heard her rolling around so took her to the bathroom. I asked her if she was having fun and she said "Oh yes, I'm having so much fun!". We had bagels, muffins and donut holes for breakfast. One girl wasn't able to spend the night so she and her mother came in the morning. The mother was kind enough to stop at Starbucks beforehand so I had my nice yummy latte to help start my morning! Then we made another craft, the girls made a "sit-upon" which is a piece of carpet padding covered with a plastic table cloth and decorated with duct tape with a string on one end for them to carry. It's meant to give them something to sit-upon when they are outside camping so they don't get wet clothes.

Next we took another hike, without getting lost. The girls collected lots of acorns and leaves on our hike. We stopped at the pioneer cemetery on the grounds and the girls were very interested in how old the stones were, we found some from the mid 1800's. We might do some rubbings of the stones on our next trip there. After our hike, it was time to clean up the cabin and head home.

Kylie and I had a fun time and are really looking forward to more fun with Daisies!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes, yes, yes!

I ran for 15 mins today and it felt awesome!!! No pain, no weird gait (post-injury, pre-diagnosis I was running with a "pat, thump, pat, thump" gait), no soreness afterwards. It was just wonderful. Before I got on the treadmill, I listened to a hymn on my ipod and had a few minutes of stretching and prayer. This injury has truly humbled me so if that's the lesson God wanted me to learn, it's worked!
I started off at 6.0 (10min mile) for the first 10, just to get a feel for it. Then at 10mins, I bumped it up to 6.5 for the last 5 mins. 2 min cool down so I got in 1.65 miles in 17 minutes. I was sweating good too.
My dr said I could follow up my 15 min run with 25 mins on the bike so I did that to start to build up my cardio. I can tell that my cardio has improved since I started working out again. Not where it was, of course, but I no longer feel like I'm dying 8 minutes into a workout.

Did some serious abs as well. The kind that make you feel like you can't do one more crunch. And that felt good too.

I'll run again on Monday, taking the weekend for ST and rest.

I feel great!!!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I need to check messages.

So, I have a terrible habit of not checking our messages on our home voice mail. There isn't a light or anything to let you know when we have a message, just a faster beeping dial tone. Brett NEVER checks messages and I only check about once a week or so. I figure most people call my cell phone or e-mail me. Well, today I lifted the phone and heard the fast beep. Dialed the number, entered my 7 digit code (seriously, 7 digits???) and heard "You have 5 new messages". Huh.

First message was from Mrs. Moore, Kylie's K teacher. What?! She called to ask me to be the Room Mom! How excited. But what a bummer that she called LAST Tuesday and wanted to meet LAST Thursday to go over the information. Opps.

Feeling just terrible, after all, Mrs. Moore said I was her first choice and I would be perfect at it, I e-mailed Mrs. Moore back and apologized for not returning her call. And then I called and left her a voice mail message as well. I'm thinking that it's been over a week, she's gone to the next mom on her list and I would be happy with whatever volunteering she needed still.

But the phone rang and Mrs. Moore said she figured that I hadn't checked my messages, apologized for not e-mailing and asked me to still be the Room Mom. Woo-hoo! Call me a dork but I think that's pretty cool. I'll be in charge of getting donations for the class parties, helping during parties, and other fundraising projects. Right up my alley.

Mrs. Moore also let me know that she's very impressed by Kylie and how quickly she picks up on new concepts. She wants to go over some "above and beyond" activities for Kylie when we meet for parent/teacher conferences in October.

I guess we're both "Teacher's Pets". ;-)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

School days, school days.

Matthew outside of Discovery Days.

Matthew and his friend Joshua, they are in the same class.I got in one last hug and kiss.

Matthew started preschool today with Miss Joni. He was ready, he's been bored without Kylie. Matthew insisted on wearing his pirate rainboots because he said the other boys would like him then. A few years ago I would have argued but not now - who really cares if he's wearing boots or shoes? He liked finding his name tag on the wall and hanging up his book bag. But once the door opened and Miss Joni was standing there - none of the kiddos moved! They all stood there and waited for either their parent to push them in or someone else to go first! Matthew hid behind me so I walked him up to the door and kinda shoved him forward. I asked him to count the frogs that were in the aquarium. Then he walked in fine.
Two hours later, I picked him up. He had a big smile on his face when he came out the door. He didn't say much about school, not a surprise. But he did say that he wanted to go back and that there were 5 frogs.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Meet the Teacher night part deux

We met with Matthew's teachers Miss Joni and Miss Nancy last night. They are the same teachers that Kylie had at that age. Matthew was excited to go to the classroom but not interested in meeting the teachers.

On a side note, there is a child with a severe peanut allergy in his class. So we're not allowed to pack anything for snacks or lunch with peanuts. What will Matthew eat if he can't has his PB&J??
The Break-up

I ended my 2.5 year relationship with my gym, Cardinal Fitness, this week. It actually made me quite sad. I've seen myself go from a couch potato who couldn't be on the elliptical for more then 10 minutes to running 13.1 miles. I'm made some friends, my kids like Gladys, the kids room worker and it's comfortable.

But, my sports doctor suggested adding swimming into my rehab for my hip. Swimming is a zero impact exercise so it's ideal for injury recovery. Cardinal doesn't have a pool. The big huge new gym down the street, LA Fitness, does. I felt like I was cheating just walking into it. But after taking the tour, I saw that there's a whole new world out there! It was like eating hamburger every day of your life and then switching to steak. In addition to the pool, LA also offers all the cardio equipment you could ever want, weights and machines (often time 2 or 3 of the more popular machines), classes that range from yoga and pilates to spinning and kickboxing to latin dance and hiphop. The kids room is nice too (bonus for a bathroom in the kids room so I won't get paged 1/2 way through my workout to take Matthew to the potty). After going through the sales pitch, bargaining my dues and childcare costs down, I signed on the dotted line.

Next I had to break the news to the kids and also break up with Cardinal. The manager, who is a friend of mine, was disappointed but understood where I was coming from. Kylie cried when we said goodbye to Miss Gladys and Matthew actually gave her a high-five (he's not big on physical contact!). I was sad to pull out of their parking lot but secretly excited about my first workout at LA.

So, today after dropping Kylie off at the bus stop, Matthew and I piled in the car and headed off for LA. He loved the kids room right away, which helped me feel better. Then I hit the locker room to change my shoes and ran into a friend who left Cardinal in May! It was great to catch up with her and to get an insiders perspective of the new place. She said I'd recognize a lot of faces, which I did, 6 actually in the hour that I was there. I got in a good workout on the elliptical (my last cardio equipment before being allowed back onto the treadmill next week). I also did legs on the equipment. That was a little tricky because I had to find the equipment, figure out how to adjust it to me and do the reps. But I got it all worked out. Finished up with some serious ab work and I was done. Matthew said he had lots of fun too.

I'm really looking forward to trying the classes and pool. I might do the pool some next week and am planning on a yoga class next Thursday morning. This is going to be good!