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Monday, December 17, 2012

New perspective

I'm not exactly a Pro at the photo shopping, but you get the idea, right?  The tragedy in CT rocked my world.  I have no idea how to put it into words, but I will try.  Or maybe I won't.  Truly, I just can't care so much about my weight.  It makes me grumpy to be hungry.  I am not a happy person when I am tracking my food and concentrating so hard on every little thing and feeling guilty when I miss a run and working so hard on my schedule...it's exhausting!  And those 4 little faces up there are SO much more important to me.

I believe, if I can go out and run 6 miles without stopping and am still participating in my day later, my health is fine.  These pounds are vanity pounds.  I have had 3 full pregnancies and my body shows it.  I have no interest in wearing a bikini or looking good in a belly shirt...I just want to be comfortable in my clothes.  I want to run this marathon in a faster time than the one last year, but I want to ENJOY my running.  Last week felt great.  Every run was very purposeful and really got my mind thinking and turning.

Last week's 6 miler was completed with the assistance of 3 Focus on the Family podcasts...the first two were about marriage and the third one was about depression.  I felt so uplifted and powerful listening to these words!!  On Saturday I ran a 5K and thought about the victims in CT the whole time.  I prayed for their families, I prayed for the kids, I prayed for the country as a whole to be able to come to terms with this.  Yesterday I read an article about an interview held with one of the father's of a victim.  He had such a great outlook and was so positive and strong in his faith...he truly loved the years his daughter blessed his life, rather than wallowing in the WHY?  or WHY ME?  I look at my kiddos and I don't want to waste another minute worrying about MYSELF, when everything at this point is about them.  Truly. 

I am happy.  I have a strong marriage - with ups and downs, for sure - but I have found a man I honestly want to spend the rest of my life with, I have 4 beautiful, awesome children who are hilarious and stressful on a daily basis!  Sometimes at the same time!  I have a fun job which I love, I have a close-knit family support system, I have a great home, reliable car...I do not care if there are a couple extra inches around my waistline. 

I think I will be switching over to my other blog - Adventures in Ma' Hood.  I would love to continue blogging.  I definitely will continue to track my mileage on Dailymile.com....I am, after all, still signed up for a marathon in April!  I love running.  I feel like it makes me a better momma.  I especially love running when I am not taking time away from my family.  Wednesdays are perfect - Shaun is at work and all four kids are at their various "schools".  I can take my time and get my long run complete without stressing out that someone needs me!  Saturday mornings are usually good, as well, because we are all kind of low key after a long week and lounging is our favorite until about 11 am.  I don't mind taking them to the daycare at the gym...they love it, there is active stuff for them to do. 

Thanks for listening and reading!  Have a blessed day.


Monday, December 10, 2012

One week down!

Good morning!! 

What a great week.  Seriously.  We got our Christmas tree up (earlier than ever before!) and lights all over the house (indoors mostly, but also some outside)...so, the spirit of the season has arrived.  I had my monthly "9 and Under" luncheon this past Saturday which went great in and of itself, but also leaves me at home for a Saturday night (rather than working) so I feel like I got some extra family time in there. 

There were other things, but those are the highlights coming to me now. 

Since I haven't been blogging for a while, I feel like there are some things I should catch the readers up on!!  I realize I am mostly here just to detail my weight loss and running and all things involved with that...but I gotta admit that when I read blogs I downright LOVE to get some personal "nuggets" in there, as well.  Definitely makes the person more relatable.  If you are here simply to find out how my first week of weight loss went and my first week of marathon training I will end your suspense before my rambling...

Bad at math?  That is 4.6 pounds down this week!  Hooooooray!!  I ran 2 miles on Tuesday, 3 miles on the track Thursday followed by 2 on the elliptical (does it count?  I feel like it does), then Saturday morning was a slightly tough 4 miles with my marathon partner, Donna.  I say slightly tough because the 2 mile route is mostly, if not all, uphill one way and downhill the way back.  We ran the up first.  I truly had to stop twice just to stretch!!!  Then I felt all great on the way back down.  Of course. 

So, following my Saturday run, I had to rush in to work for our monthly "9 and Under" luncheon!!  My parents own a restaurant called Fellini's #9.  We serve Italian food that is fantastic, and we really have quite a reputation for being a great "date night" restaurant.  Ever since we moved here and my kids have been able to hang out there a lot and do some waiter things (fill their own drinks, venture into the kitchen), they have played "Restaurant" regularly at home and at the park and pretty much all the time.  I had the idea to allow other kids (I only bring one of mine at a time!) to come in one Saturday a month and wait on their parents!  It is truly the cutest thing ever.  In fact, "cute" is the wrong word.  It is just awesome.  To see these children (ages 4-10) come in and actually focus on doing everything...and I do mean everything!  They roll silverware for their guests, seat them with a menu, take drink orders (alcohol is served by myself or my co-worker, Robyn), take food orders, cut strawberries for dessert, deliver bread, deliver each course of the meal...bus the tables.  Cool, right??  Meanwhile, their parents are relaxing in the dining room and enjoying a 3-course meal!  The kids get to sit and eat during the entrĂ©e course.  It has gone wonderfully every month and this marked our 4th time.  We tried something new this month and had one of the local piano teachers bring in several kids to play piano during lunch!  We always have live music during dinner, so I thought that would really complete the experience. 

I did well with sticking to Slim Fast this past week!  I really, really made it a point to not eat at work and cut out some other secret (horrible) snacking I had been doing.  I increased the water and only missed my mark one day!  Unfortunately, that day was Saturday...after a run...so I was feeling pretty crappy and headache-y Sunday.  I am so excited to see results!!!  I know this will help to keep me going.  Just knowing that the hard work is worth it. 

This week I plan to switch over to the Jackie Warner plan which I had great success with in the past!  I will try to make it to the grocery today in order to get all the items I need...I do have some Slim Fast shakes leftover, though, because I have used my AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes a couple of times.  They froth up wonderfully and look like ice cream when blended with frozen fruit!  Yum. 

That's all for now!  I have 3 miles on my schedule today, 6 Wednesday, 3 Friday, and 4 Saturday again.  I really, really, really, really want to be dead on this week with the numbers and the days they are planned.  Wednesdays have been hard, for some reason!  The 3 kids that are home with me during the week go to "school" on Wednesdays from 9-1, and I have just wanted to crawl back into bed every week lately after dropping them off!  I am going to ignore my internal voice and get out for that 6 miles.  Even if it takes me 2 hours.  Hahaha. 

Have a great day!!
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

And so it begins...again...

Good morning!!  Let the games BEGIN!

I weighed in this morning, and I'm just going to go on record as saying I will only accept 40 pounds lost over the next 20 weeks.  Ugh. 

I am going to have a quick pity party.  Or something like that. 

I worked SO hard and went SO far!  I had so many people supporting me in various ways, I took up running and honestly feel in the best shape of my LIFE at this point!  I ran a whole freakin' marathon!  I laughed at signing up for a measly 5K!  I looked at a 2 mile run on the schedule as a joke and always ran at least 1 extra!  I had family and friends all rooting for me and cheering me on along the way.  I lost 54 pounds!!  WHAT HAPPENED??  I have the excuses...I moved.  Started a new job.  New job just so happens to be in a deliciously yummy awesome restaurant where the bread and pasta is a'plenty.  I still have 3 kids at home full time.  I began making new friends.  Had to find a new church.  Etc. Etc.

I am still so frustrated to step on the damn scale this morning and see this:

Grrr.  218.8??  From my beginning (almost 2 years ago) weight, I am still at least down 20.  If I have to find a stupid silver lining.

Can you tell I am disappointed?  I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this.  It just wasn't.

So, still...40 pounds down would be 178.8...that sounds like a lovely goal to me!  I am going to try this a little bit differently and set mini goals throughout.  The math might not work out short term, but it should all end up being about 2 pounds per week at the end.  Considering the way I have been eating and drinking and just generally not caring lately...well, I expect some rather quick loss in the beginning.  I have partnered up with my sister and a co-worker (and possibly more people soon!) to set a goal for the month of December.  We have our company Christmas party on January 2nd, so each of us have set a number of pounds we would like to lose before the party.  Because I am promising nothing on that night!  :)  Just kidding.  I will actually plan to be very conscientious of what I eat and drink that evening and definitely up the workout on the day of and the day after. 

I am getting ahead of myself, though.  Starting this morning I got a good night's sleep (hooray!) and did some light cleaning of my daughter's bedroom before blending up 2 juiced apples, ice, and a slim fast shake.  It made a huge frothy mess, but it was actually quite delicious!  Here's proof...

So, shake number one is down for the day!  I will be eating a 500 calorie lunch with the family and I will pack some veggies and a shake for tonight at work.  My December goal is 19 pounds because I think it is very important for me to get below 200 quickly!  I realize this sounds a bit high, but I have NOT been drinking water and I have been eating way too many carbs for a while.  Including daily M & M's.  Seriously.  DAILY.  I began putting them in my yogurt for breakfast.  It's freakin' good.  :)  I am also going to cut out my  morning coffee because I have become accustomed to creamer in there and I think it is better to just cut it out entirely. 

I'm thinking the first 19 pounds will be easy.  It's the ones after that that are going to s-u-c-k.  However, maybe I should join the girls and their 10 pound December goals?  Just so I don't get discouraged if the first 19 fight me?  Ok.  10 pound December goal it is. 

I also kinda want to get some "prizes" for myself.  When I lose 10 pounds, I am buying a brand new Bible.  A super cute one with the tabs in it and maybe even a fancy case!  Oooooh. 

All right.  Enough for now.  Time to head to the grocery store and restock our bare fridge!!  Have a great day,

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Friday, November 30, 2012

So...40 pounds in 20 weeks?

Good morning!!

In all honesty (regarding the title of this post), I would be happy and content with 30 pounds gone.  However, in keeping with my blog address...I just thought it would be cute.

SO, I'M BACK!  I am back to this.  It worked the first time.  Surely it can work again!  Having you hold me accountable, holding MYSELF accountable by typing things out.  Having something to refer back to when things get tough?  Yep.  Here we go again. 

I have gained weight.  Like, way too much.  Ick.  It is making me depressed and angry and short tempered and then I find myself in. the. kitchen.  AGAIN!

I still run, occasionally.  I am a member at a lovely gym with a daycare the kids love.  I live in a great neighborhood with lots of places to run.  I have all sorts of things in my favor...I do, also, have some things stacked against me.  "Excuses":  working full time, very little uninterrupted sleep thanks to my 3 year old, stress, stress, and more stress.  Still only one child is in school full-time, but I do pay for Zoe to go to a home daycare 2 days a week and the twins go to a program from 9-1 on one of those days.  I thought those 4 hours to myself on that one day a week was going to be huge...time for me to organize the house and do all the laundry and run a bit and catch up on my sleep.  Yeah, written down it seems ridiculous, but I was super excited about those 4 hours.  Sigh.

Moving on.  I will officially weigh in tomorrow.  20 weeks is tomorrow through the day I will attempt the Blue Ridge Marathon again!  I will be properly training this time.  I will be making nutritious choices EVERY DAY.  I will do this right.  I WILL. I WILL. I WILL!!

Right this moment I believe I have decided to start with the Jackie Warner program.  I remember getting great results, and I remember it not being too hard.  The first 2 weeks are simply adding in these 7 things:

Eggs (2 daily) - hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, or scrambled, but without added fat.  (**the only way I have ever eaten eggs is scrambled)
Oatmeal (1 cup daily) - she doesn't specify if this needs to be a certain kind of oatmeal, but she has a "tip" below that says "I keep packets of instant oatmeal on me at all times."  This leads me to believe I am fine with the Active brand of weight management oatmeal.
Hormone-Balancing, Detox Vegetables (2-3 cups daily) - veggies listed: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, kale, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, parsley, peppers (all varieties), radishes, scallions, spinach, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip greens, watercress, yellow wax beans, and zucchini.
Fresh Fruit (2 servings daily) - apples, apricots, bananas (underripe), berries (all varieties), cherries, citrus fruits (all varieties), kiwi, guava, mango, melon (all varieties), papaya, pear, peach, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, and watermelon.  A serving generally equals one piece of raw fruit or one cup of chopped fresh fruit.
Water and Lemon Juice - so, she says lemon combined with water is a "bile thinner" and it prevents cravings.
Whey Protein Shake (8 ounce serving daily) - I have Advocare Recovery Shakes.  And Meal Replacement Shakes. 
Herbal Teas - I am going to type exactly what she has in the book about this and ask for your input.  "To satisfy oral fixations (most late-night snacks are really about oral compulsions), have one packet of decaffeinated green tea with one packet of herbal fruit tea every evening.  Green tea contains L-theanine, a chemical that increases dopamine and serotonin in the brain, two chemicals that regulate appetite, mood, energy, and cravings.  It also contains compounds that block fat storage.  The herbal fruit tea gives green tea a delicious flavor."

Happy to eat eggs every day.  Also, happy with Oatmeal and fresh fruit.  I admit I need to up the water intake, for sure.  Also, the shake thing is something I have been meaning to get in each day...for a while now!  Which is why I have a surplus.  :)  I have the shake powders and I also have 2 packs of Slim Fast. 

In fact, I probably will start out with Slim Fast for 8 days.  Just to get rid of the shakes in the fridge.  Ok, new plan!!  Starting tomorrow: 

Breakfast:  Apple, Spark energy drink, Slim Fast shake blended up with ice and fruit
Lunch:  500 calories
Dinner:  Spark, Slim Fast shake blended with ice and fruit and spinach
Snacks:  Two 100 calorie snacks throughout the day. 

I work tomorrow evening, so I may have to creatively space these things.  I honestly could probably lose the first 10 pounds just by NOT eating at work!  I have delicious bread and marinara sauce and soup at my disposal.  Oh, it's so good.  So not good for me, but Y-U-M-M-Y.  I mean, it's not "bad" for me...but moderation has never been my strong suit.

Okay, 8 days of the above plan.  Awesome, starting December 1!  I can do this.  If I simply start with a plan of 8 days...no eating at work, drinking 2 shakes per day, and really paying attention to what I am eating for lunch or dinner.  **I will switch my 500 calorie meal to dinner on evenings that I am home with the family.  Wednesdays and Thursdays usually.  I will begin a marathon training program and I will include one Body Pump class each week.  80+ ounces of water per day!  8 days...shooting for 4 pounds down.  Truthfully, with as bad as I have been recently, I could probably lose 10 pounds making all those changes.  It will definitely slow after. 

I will post as much as possible!  I will post tomorrow morning with an official first day weigh in!  I am so doing this.  :)

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Friday, May 11, 2012

An "anniversary" of sorts

Good morning! 

Yesterday it occurred to me that it was around May, 2011, I had started running with the Couch to 5K program.  Guess what?  It was May 11!  Exactly one year ago today, I posted the following:

EXERCISE: I went out to meet up with my friend, and I was a little early arriving and Zoe had fallen asleep in her carseat. I decided to go ahead and try Week One: Workout 1 of the Couch to 5K program! 5 minutes of brisk walking warm-up, 60 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking all to total 20 minutes. It was awesome!! I do believe now that the Born to Run book is getting to me a bit...I tried to focus on the awesomeness of the blue sky and the green trees, the slight breeze, and just the peacefulness of my surroundings. Beautiful! In the beginning I realized I kind of don't know how to "jog" (long legs=long stride), but by the final 60 seconds, I am pretty sure I had slowed down plenty to count as jogging. I completed 2 miles, but may have gone over the 20 minutes a little bit. I was pushing the stroller, and kept alternating which hand was holding the phone/stopwatch and which hand was pushing the stroller. I am looking forward to this program, thanks, Ashley!! After that, Zoe was wide awake and wanting to play at the playground we kept going past, so I let her get out and slide and climb a bit. When my friend showed up, Zoe went back in the stroller with some snacks and we headed back out to the track. We only got 1.5 miles in before Zoe had had enough of the heat and the being pushed around in the heat. I felt great, but a little worn out when we got home for her naptime, so I decided to lay around while she was doing the same. In between all the fruit salad I was eating. Ha!
Wow.  So, in one year I have run several 5K's, one 8K, two 10K's, two Half Marathons, and one Full Marathon.  Holy moly, right? 

This month I have taken up bicycling.  I started with a new personal trainer last week and he was very interested in getting me away from all the running for at least this month.  I told him I have a training program I would like to start on June 10 to prepare for the Women's Half in Nashville in September (this is significant to me for 2 reasons, to be discussed later), but I also would like to get into a different routine over the next few weeks in order for cross training to come easier to me when I start back up with all the running miles! 

So, I am doing his weight lifting regime 3 days a week and I found a bicycle training program here:  http://beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=1671.  I used to think riding a bike was too easy to be any good at actually burning calories...turns out I was way wrong.  Wow.  First of all, will the pain in my "butt" go away?  Ouch!  I'm sure I am bruised!  Sitting on the seat hurts and then, at the end, getting up hurts.  I am tempted to sit in the comfy low-riding bike seats, but I really do hope to get a "real" bike one day and I guess I'd better train my butt now for the seat! 

Secondly, 85-92 RPM's is kinda fast and hard to maintain.  Thirdly, 55-65 RPM's is super slow and easy...until you up the "resistance"...and then, by the end of 4 minutes, my heart rate is all high and I'm just counting down the seconds for my recovery 3 minutes!  By the way, on a bike - 3 minutes is super fast.  Just sayin'. 

I really am enjoying myself, though.  I have another meeting with my trainer, LaRue, this morning, and I'm sure he's going to increase the weight training.  Eeek.  What I am very excited about with him is that he totally understands what I am after.  He knows I have no interest in being "strong"...I don't care about being able to lift hundreds of pounds or anything like that.  I know, I know - I'm supposed to worry about being "healthy", not "skinny".  Sorry, but this is my blog and I'm not afraid to confess I want to be skinny.  I do.  I never have been, and maybe my idea of skinny isn't the world's idea of skinny, but I want to feel good in my clothes.  All the time.  I will never wear a bikini or short shirts, but I want to be able to put on a t-shirt and not have to stare at myself in the mirror from every angle to see which way I need to stand all night long.  Ha. 

So, on that note, I explained to LaRue that I understand cross training is necessary to keep my body safe while running, and I am totally okay with doing the weights and the other exercises.  I will begin my training in June with the hopes of breaking the 2 hour mark in September...and I truly believe I need to be about 20 pounds lighter by then in order to really accomplish that.  LaRue got me thinking, though, and I have to admit I am likely right now at my pre-all-my-pregnancies weight.  Crazy.  He explained to me I am now needing to focus on the distribution of that weight.  My body will never be the same, I get that.  It doesn't mean I can't want it to be better than the way it is now, right?

Okay, lots of rambling.  I am truly having a rough time with the twins this morning and I guess I am using my "work" as an excuse to look busy.  :)

Have a great day!
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May, 2012

I am on a mission.  10 pounds will leave my body this month, I assure you.  Enough with all of the eating and the lazing around.  ENOUGH!  Enough of replacing 500 calories burned with 1,000 extra calories eaten!  Enough with eating the crap that doesn't fill me up.  I am going to focus this month.  I am going to re-read my blog when I need some inspiration. 


Know what I mean?  I lost 50 pounds last year.  I did.  Me.  Not "my friend" or "my sister"...it was me.  And I am still me.  So, 10 pounds should be a piece of cake.  NO!  No cake.  It should be a carrot.  Losing 10 pounds should be a carrot.

You feel me? 

I know I have other friends who want to lose 10 pounds.  It's a nice round number that most of us can relate to...even if you want to lost 80 pounds, 10 pounds would be a nice start, right? 

So, let's refocus!  Let's get on this!  I would love to set up a competition of some sort, but I think instead we should all just do it for ourselves. 

Um, if you want to "compete" and set up a "prize", contact me, cause I am all about that.

Anyway, I have an app on my Kindle called Lose It! and I have been using it today.  Logging every bit of food and exercise.  I did join a (beautiful, huge, amazing) gym with a Kids Zone that my children went bananas over (yay!).  No excuses.  I'm on it.  This month I am going to refocus on my weight loss goals, discover some new exercises I have been ignoring (in my quest to be the best runner ever)...I am also going to tackle my new Bible study with all the studiousness of a new believer. 

Yes, May of 2012 will be a memorable one.  Join me?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Final Recap - Blue Ridge Marathon

From my notebook, Mile 20:  "Anyone can run 20 miles.  It's the next 6 that really count." - Barry Magee.

Mile 21:  "You CAN do this.  You WILL finish and it will be AMAZING.  You are an inspiration to me."  - Kristy

Kristy and I ran a 10K together last September.  It was my first 10K and, I believe, her first as well, but she had already done one half marathon at the time.  We both had a finishing time goal of less than an hour.  She had a fancy watch to tell us our pace throughout the run and she had to reel me back in a couple of times at the beginning.  I had only run a 5K at that point, so I wasn't considering the extra 3 miles I would be tacking on at the end.  We made it to mile marker 6.  Yep, mile marker 6! and I had to stop and walk.  STOP AND WALK, just .2 from the freaking finish line.  We could even see the finish!  We had it in sight.  I had previously given her permission to encourage me or yell at me, whichever she deemed necessary.  Sweet girl didn't have it in her to truly "yell", but she did her best...I just simply gave in to the heat and exhaustion.  I walked for about 20 seconds or so, before digging in and sprinting to the finish.  Our final times?  Kristy - 59:xx; Audrey - 1:00:11.  I deserved that.  I did indeed spend the rest of the day kicking myself for that walk break.  She and I both knew I would!

Well, Kristy, I was walking when I read your encouraging words this time, but it gave me enough umph to break away from my comfort zone of walking with my new friend and do some jogging.  And you know what?  It felt good.  I was still capable! 

Does the song from Clueless come to mind for you, too?
"Alllll by myself!!!"   :)
I managed to run past Mile 21 marker and didn't stop to take the photo.  I was on a runner's high.  I was going to finish this damn thing.  And I was going to finish it strong! 
Excuse the inevitable "leaning down fat roll". 
My husband says I'm ridiculous to even think anyone will notice, but how could you NOT?!? 
Still smiling, right?!  I couldn't see anyone behind me nor in front of me at this point.  I had just passed a water stop with some more super encouraging volunteers.  The told me bib numbers 155 and 156 weren't far in front of me (liars, lol), and I explained to them I was under the impression we were to run in order.  Which is precisely why I was going so slow.  Haha!

Pretty, right?  This was on the Greenway.  There were people out playing and riding bikes and jogging.
Mile 23 in my notebook:  "There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon.  There will be a lifetime of knowing you have."  - Thomas and Jennifer Harning.

I would repeat these words before the finish line once I caught up to my final "new friends".  They were absolutely what I needed right at this moment.

Know what else I needed?  A reminder of Ashley's words about this last part being run from the heart.  On the twins' 3rd birthday they had a checkup at the doctor.  When the doctor placed the stethoscope on Jack's chest he said, "Do you know what I am listening to?"  Jack nodded.  I asked, "What?  What is in here, Jack?"  as I tapped my chest.  Jack said, very sweetly, "Jesus."  I thought of this moment as I jogged and walked the Greenway.  I passed a church called "Jesus is Lord".  I saw a sign, way above the trees in the distance, that said "Jesus Saves".  Yes, He does.  He has saved me so many times in my long life, and I had NO reason to think He would fail me now.  I pushed further.

Another note to make you, hopefully, smile.  I remembered when our sweet cat, Steve, died a few months ago.  Explaining his death was hard when it came to the kids.  It was hard to explain to myself!  He was only 3-ish.  Anyway, I explained to Jack that Steve was in heaven with Jesus...ever since then, if you ask Jack who lives in his heart, he will answer "Jesus and Steve".  So, I ran mile 23 for Jesus and Steve!  Our sweet tabby cat who would follow us anywhere we walked around the neighborhood, and always greeted me at the door after my runs.

When I saw Mile marker 24, I knew I was in the home stretch.  I also realized I was very much alone at this point on the Greenway, so I took advantage of that moment to express myself appropriately...
Take THAT mile 24!
I started a light jog at this point.  I was all done.  Ready to be at the finish line with my husband and Jack and Henry...ready to get in the car and drive back to Charlottesville to move on with my life! 

In the right hand corner of this picture, you see two women?  I caught up to them very soon after this mile marker, we would cross this finish all together.  Running!
25 miles.  25 freakin' miles.  Ups and downs and curves and beautiful scenery and sunny skies and threatening clouds.  6 hours of highs and lows.  I received a text message from my husband saying, "Almost there!" 

I met Christine and Anna at this point.  A 16 year old beautiful girl with her mother.  Anna had decided to attempt this marathon as her first, and her mother wasn't going to let her go it alone.  Awesome.  Inspiring.  I told them I hope one day my sweet Zoe will undertake such a thing with me.  Maybe something a little "easier"?  Ha.  They had such great attitudes at this point.  I had been seeing them off and on throughout, but this was my first chance to actually talk to them.  I shared some of your encouraging words from my notebook with them.  I learned that Anna is the oldest of 3.  They trained appropriately, but still just didn't feel quite as equipped as they had hoped to feel.  Two sweet souls that managed to get the smile back up on my face and lifted my spirits as we closed in on the finale.

At some point either right before this marker, or right after, there was a professional photographer. 
Us three girls made sure to run strong past him as he captured our final moments! 
Once we began our run for the photo, we just decided to hit it home strong.  As I came around the final turn to the very last tiny bit, I was greeted very excitedly by these cuties...

It's fuzzy...because in the words of Forrest Gump, "I was RUNNING!"
Jack and Henry joined me as we sprinted over the finish line.  It was like the Wizard of Oz ending!  I saw Rich again and Susan and then turned around to catch Anna and Christine's finish.  So exciting!!  This is the moment when the ran began to fall.  Drops at first, then full on RAIN.  It was glorious.  As though the skies were just holding back until I was at a safe, comfortable place and then my sweet heavenly Father was crying his tears of joy over my accomplishment. 

The rain helped me to focus on getting the kids back to the car and out of the wet.  Then, as I sat in the back seat and realized my legs were going to begin to cramp a bit, I slammed my hand in the sliding back door.  This definitely took my mind off the pain in my legs!  Ha.  I quickly changed clothes and listened to the boys excitedly tell me about their fun-filled day.  I was brought back into my life, just as I had "left" it.  Barely enough time to even register all that had just happened, I hopped in the driver's seat and began the 2 hour drive home. 

I didn't have much time to truly reflect.  These three blog postings will serve as my journaling about the experience.  It was more than meaningful to me.  I can't put certain thoughts and feelings into words, but I just have to say - without ever knowing this would be something for me to overcome, it is absolutely, 100% something I had to do.  And I did it. 

I don't know if I'll run another.  I like to think I will at some point, but it's not in any immediately plans.  This experience has rocked me to my core and I truly believe I am supposed to do more with it than just keep it in my mind.  It has changed me.  I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but the Blue Ridge Marathon was a high point in my life that I never expected to have. 

Does that even make sense to anyone else?  I hope you have enjoyed my pictures and my words.  I hope you will conquer your own mountain one day and share the story!  Memories are great to have and to hold, but you never know what someone else might get out of hearing them in your very own words.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blue Ridge Marathon..."personality part"

Mile 7 was over and done with.  As was the first hill.  I had made it!  I was feeling pretty good!  Some tightness after all the walking, but I stretched out a little bit and began the jog downhill.  At this point I found myself alongside a man named Rich.  Rich told me about being diagnosed with cancer at age 7!  He had been cancer free for over 26 years...having celebrated his 26th year in 2010/2011 by running in 10 full marathons.  Blue Ridge would mark his 18th marathon and the 17th state on his quest to run in all 50 states.  WOW, right?  Great guy.  Great attitude about everything.  We jogged for almost 3 miles together and all I got was pictures of the mile markers because our conversation was so intriguing.  We ran straight through those miles, only stopping for water at the water stop.  It was great.

I told Rich, during our run, I would remember 8 and 9 as the ones I passed when running with him
because these are the only 2 pictures I took AFTER passing the sign. 

I caught Mile Marker 10 is where Rich had to leave me for a minute...
I took that moment to snap a quick picture of my excitement at being in the double digits! 
You may still be able to see Rich.   Hahahahaha.  Completely unintentional!
Rich did catch up with me at this point, but then he went ahead as we came to the absolute bottom of the hill and I needed water.  I thought I might catch back up to him at some point, but I didn't see him again until the finish line, where he congratulated me and we exchanged Facebook information.  What a cool guy!  Rich, maybe I'll run with you again some day!

The volunteers at this water stop were very concerned about me!
While I am taking this picture they are yelling, "Miss?  Miss??  Are you okay?!"
Hahahaha.  I popped right back up and showed them the camera.  Must've been quite a relief for them!
These past couple miles were gorgeous.  Beautiful scenery all around, peace and quiet.
By the way, in case you didn't notice...we're going up again!
This is what the "up" led to this time.  Are you kidding me?!?
I stopped to stretch at this point.  I even had to remove my right shoe because the top of my foot had a sharp pain that was really, really bothering me!  I rubbed my feet a bit and did some stretching.  Until a very helpful fellow runner came by and said, "Let's go!"  Haha.   He must have recognized the look on my face that I would have been content to "stretch" (or lay in the sun) all day.  I got up and got a move on!
Sorry I missed the 13 mile mark, but this marks a very important mile! 
That ever elusive 14-miler that I just could NOT fit in during training.  This is a downhill, so I must have accidentally "flown" by the sign and then turned around at the last minute. 
This is me "flying"!  And realizing I have finally run 14 miles!
it was at this point that we were seriously going downhill...and I was feeling kinda tired.  Or a lot tired.  I was by myself at this point, and I started getting a little emotional.  Reading my notebook got me choked up, so I put it away. 
I came down the hill from the left and then a sharp curve led to the road on the right.
It was pretty cool, and great views all along.
At 15, I was a little bit nervous because I had heard "rumors" of a very steep incline at mile marker 17...
No sign of it yet, though?
There's the mile marker!  Where's the hill?
Yeah...I would be regretting those thoughts verrrrry soon.  Hahaha.
See behind me?  Yeah.  Not an optical illusion.  Just one HELL of a HILL.
Miles 15-17, I think is when I started running with Susan!  She is from Murfreesboro and we were both doing 2/1 intervals.  This was her second marathon and she had on a sparkle skirt and I kind of realized we needed to be friends.  We chatted a bit...a lot about how hard it was, but also a bit about our lives.  Anything to take our minds off the pain!  I found a bit of strength at some point, I believe just before this mile marker?  I started up my run and said "I'm sure I'll see you soon!" to Susan.  I did see her soon...as she passed me during my walk up the hill we were about to climb!  I saw her again as she was cruising back down the steepest hill of my life - she encouraged me with tales of Bloody Mary's!  Bubbles!  Music!  at the top of the hill!  So I pressed on...
I just came from the right...to run UP the left.
Will it ever end?!
Mile 18!  Surely there is an end coming soon?
Up in the distance there is a group hanging outside their house with water and gatorade and playing music!  "Against The Wind"  hilarious.  They were laughing and having a good time and really cheered my spirits...
P.S.  The 2 women up the hill would be my partners across the finish line!  More on them later...
I can still muster a smile!  Hooray!
If my memory is to be trusted, this mile marker is at the tippy top of the crazy "Mile 17 Hill". 
Also known as Peakwood Drive.  This is indeed where there was music and bubbles and very friendly people and a port-o-john and Bloody Marys.  I did not partake in the alcohol, but I enjoyed some light conversation with the "locals".  It was a very welcome break.
Wait, what?  Seriously?!?!  I have completed 20 miles???
Flat roads, some cars driving by (good distraction), and an end in sight...so to speak.  I mean, I couldn't really SEE the end, but I knew it was less than 10 miles away.  As my cousin Jenny said in a text message, "Only 6 miles left!  Like a walk in the park.  And without the kids!"

How did I use my personality to make it through this middle "hunk"?  Well, I did engage in conversation with volunteers at the water stops.  As long as I could still make people laugh, I felt like I must be ok.  I realized at some point I hadn't eaten anything during the run, so I did munch on a couple of Gu Chomps, but I wasn't feeling hungry.  Not really thirsty, either, but I took water and Gatorade every chance I got.  I was by myself for some of this portion and I was okay with that.  I had my ipod in the trusty fanny-pack, but never felt the need to use it.  I did meet a really nice gentleman earlier in the run and we kept passing each other.  He was on his 5th marathon, 3rd time doing the Blue Ridge.  !!!!  Really nice guy with a lot of great information, about the race as well as other "Adventure Races".  I enjoyed our chats immensely.  In fact, as I wrap up this portion of my recap, I believe I was hanging out with him. 

At the top of the hill (mile 19) I really felt done.  Like, really done.  Even walking was beginning to hurt.  The downhill wasn't encouraging me.  I kept getting emotional, but if I allowed myself one full tear I knew I would be in full-blown panic attack mode.  I couldn't allow my mind to think about the fact that I was truly on the finishing side of this accomplishment.  If I started to think about how far I had already come, I would feel my chest tightening up and my eyes burning.  So I pressed on.  One sweet volunteer at this point must have seen how I was feeling.  He was just sitting in a chair by the road...I wouldn't have known he was "working" if it weren't for the bright green shirt!  He smiled at me, and I thought I smiled back.  He didn't have anything...no water or gatorade or even a first-aid kit that I could see, but he asked me if he could get me "some water...or something?"  True to my nature, I politely declined, but my voice caught.  It is impossible to put into words, but something about the way he said, "You're doing great" was just different from the way all the others had been saying it.  I will likely never know this guy's name, but he is the reason I kept going on.

Blue Ridge Marathon Recap, Miles 1-7-ish

Holy Moly.  How are you feeling today, you ask?  Well, sore.  And tight.  And walking a little bit like a 9 months pregnant woman?  Hahaha. 

The marathon was amazing.  It was just flat out TOUGH.  And beautiful, and thought-provoking, and inspiring, and sometimes so hard I wanted to die, but sometimes so awesome I cried!  Wow.  A lot of emotions I squeezed in to 6 hours and 40 minutes.  Probably the slowest 32 year old marathon finishing time ever.  ;)  just kidding. 

Here we go...mostly pictures, but I do want to share some of the encouraging words I got to read at each mile...

Starting Line!  See the girl in the blue sparkle skirt??  I didn't know at
 the time we would be running together for a bit in the second half!
#1. First time for short socks!
#2.  Check out those snazzy shoes...
#3.  Don't I look "professional" with my bib on my leg?
#4.  Yeah...there's a bit of the fanny pack.  :)
Apparently I missed the Mile 1 marker.
Woohoo.  It's all fun and games at Mile 2.
From my notebook, sweet Sandy said "Throw back your shoulders, let your heart sing, let your eyes flash, let your mind be lifted up, look upward and say to yourself...Nothing is impossible!  Norman Vincent Peale"  I did exactly as you instructed!  And it felt good!  Might have looked a little crazy to others...   :)

Mile 1 asked for a picture of Jesus...my camera didn't capture it,
but the sun shining through these trees was just awesome.
P.S.  I tried to get a picture of a woman in tie-dye, cause I think
Jesus would wear tie-dye to watch a marathon.  :)
Here we go!  Uphill #1.  I seriously thought, hey, this ain't so bad...
The sign past the mile marker says "Entrance to Blue Ridge Parkway"
For anyone who's ever driven the BRP, it was pretty cool to be running on it with no traffic!
By the way...still going up....
But I'm still pretty chipper!
Lots of walking at this point.  Up, up, up
Kristy told me to dig deep and find my strong.  I was feeling good about it at this point...
Later, however, these words would come back to me several times.  Thanks, Kristy!!!
Mile 5 and some GREAT spectators!!! 
Oh, and more up.
Pretty unflattering picture, sorry. 
I was trying to get my shirt words in it
West End Community Church!  Represent!
Here we really go...where those people are, they are going to make a sharp right...
And begin the ascent to Roanoke Mountain
"No Stopping"!
Seriously.  Up...
I'm loving it, can you tell?
Check out the rockstars behind me...running!
Um....more up...
See how the scenery changes, but the road is still going UP?!
Success!  At the time I was being told "The worst Hill/Mountain is over!"
And I thought, "Hooray!"
From my notebook, "Mile 5:  It's not 26.2 miles...It's 10 water stops.  Take a picture of your water stop."
I believed those nice people when they told me the worst hill was over...this was the water stop at the "top". 

View from the top.  Breathtaking.
I missed the picture of the mile 7 marker, but I know this was past Mile 7.
Well, I am going to post the rest in a little bit.  Sorry!!  I just wanted to share this from my notebook...

"Mile 17: ...Just remember: Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart..."

My sweet friend, Ashley, who wrote this isn't the math freak that I am, so she had no way of knowing how much it would drive me crazy that 26.2 isn't evenly divisible by 3.  Hahaha.  Sorry.  Anyway, I am considering those first 7+ the first part.  I ran that with my head.  I jogged, didn't push myself too hard during my run intervals and pretty well stuck to the 2:1 ratio I had planned on.  I paid attention to good stretches during the uphills and I really made it a point to feel GOOD.

I will post the personality portion (and maybe even the finish, too) later today!
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