Sunday, November 07, 2010

I feel so lucky

I feel so lucky because in October we got a visit from my Grandpa, Aunt, and Uncle who all live in California! They came to visit my mom and dad in Billings. They all took a few days to visit Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower and we happen to be right on the way! They stopped on the way down and we ate lunch and visited. Then on their way home we ate lunch together again. My Grandpa, Aunt, and Uncle then started their long drive home that day. My parents stayed because they would be watching the kids for a few days while I went to Kansas to run the marathon and while Tom had to work.
I kinda felt "special" because I have 5 other siblings and of course much more extended family.... but I got to have a visit from my awesome extended family. Guess it pays to live by a few national monuments!
All of the photos below are courtesy of Evan. He snapped a few photos while they were getting ready to leave. Evan and Carter call my Grandpa "Grandpa Grapes" which is supposed to be "Grandpa Great"!
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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Kansas City Marathon & Sister's Trip

The weekend of Oct. 16, I ran my first marathon! Every year we try and plan a sister's trip. This year we planned it in Kansas City, KS, where Jenny lives, and decided to run a marathon the same weekend. This was Susan's second marathon. Our brother in law decided to run the half marathon too. Jenny has a beautiful 3 month old so we'll make her run with us next time :)

Training began on June 7! That is 4.5 months of training. It's funny that when you are training it's seems to drag on forever, then when you finish it all seems like a blur! I'm still in shock that we trained through the summer and somehow never had a really hot day to run on. I'm thankful for the cooler summer this year! My only complaint for training in Gillette is the WIND.... ok and no shade. The day I ran my 20 mile run (the longest training run), it was cold and 25mph winds! I won't forget that one for awhile.
But I was blessed with very few problems during training. No blisters, no chafing, and no injuries!
Despite most of my good luck during training, I did end up getting sick the last month. I got a NASTY chest cold. Definitely the worst cold I've ever had. I think I missed 3 of my Saturday long runs. Yeah I was pretty stressed about it. But, I kept reminding myself that it was good to get it over with BEFORE race day. You'd also be surprised at how well your body maintains your fitness level, even after being sick for a few weeks. I listened to my body and rested when I needed to, but also got RIGHT back out there as quickly as I could. Susan also got sick, pretty much the week of the marathon. But she powered through and was still able to run a great race! On to the race.....

We flew into Kansas on Thursday the 14th. (By the way, my parents came and watched the kids for two days because Tom did not have vacation time - so THANK YOU to them for making it possible for me to go!) Friday we went to the Race Expo to pick up our race packets, with our bib numbers and timing chips. The girls did a little shopping that day too. (We squeezed in the "Sister's Weekend" events where we could. Shopping and eating out! I'm so glad we got to spend time with Jenny, Chris, and the boys! Love my sisters!)
We spent the night getting our clothes and gear ready for the next morning. Gotta make sure you don't forget anything! We went to bed early and woke up bright and early the next morning. Then we headed for the starting line.
Surprisingly I wasn't very nervous, not really sure why. We decided to start with a pace group (a runner or group of runners who run a certain pace during the race, to help you finish by a certain time) and try and finish under 4 hrs. and 30 min.
This marathon is well known for it's hilly course. We had tried to train for this, but still weren't quite sure what to expect. But, yep, there are lots of hills! Oh, and I can't forget to mention it ended up being 80 degrees for the high that day! Susan and I ran with Chris up to mile 6. Jenny and the boys were there waiting for us. It's also where the half marathon and marathon course branch off from each other.
I felt really great and even picked up the pace around mile 9. Susan and I stayed together until around mile 10. I kept going strong until about mile 16. Then it got REALLY hard. My feet hurt and I thought I had blisters on them (I didn't). My hips ached like nothing you've ever felt before! I felt fine when it came to feeling tired... I just HURT! But, I knew to expect that.... it's all part of the experience! So, on I trudged. We saw Jenny, Chris, and the boys again at mile 20. It really occupied my mind, waiting to see them! It actually helped. After that I walked a lot. I tried so hard to run when I could. There were even down hill parts of the course. Your body couldn't even feel it... it still felt like a flat road. Somehow, I ran/walked the last 6 miles, it was all a blur! I just remember that I realized there was no way I was finishing in 4 hrs. and 30 min. But I didn't care, I just wanted to finish!!! And I did! I finished the race in 5 hrs. and 5 minutes. Whew I was so glad to be done! It was such a challenge, but such a great experience!
I've thought a lot about people you meet, who have run marathons. Now I realize what they've gone through. You truly cannot understand, until you do it. You don't appreciate the hard work and dedication they've put into it. Yeah, you think they are crazy and know they run a LOT. But, you don't know the mental toughness they have endured. I would say it's 60% mental and 40% physical. I'm proud of myself for sticking with it... finishing the training and finishing the race! It was no easy feat, that's for sure. I think some people wonder,"If it's so tough and grueling, why do people do it, let alone more than once?" You can't even describe the great feeling of accomplishment after you finish a long run and especially a race. You feel like you can conquer the world. You feel like you can do ANYTHING! You've pushed yourself past your limits and you feel GREAT when you are done. I feel like it's all about challenging yourself and accomplishing something that most people can't or don't do. Will I do another one? Probably. In a few years. The competitive part of me wants to get a better time! Next year = sprint triathlon! :)

Fall 2010 - A new school year!

At the end of August, Evan and Jordyn started school for the year. Evan is attending a pre-school provided by the local school district. It's a really great program to get the kids ready for Kindergarten and it's free! He absolutely LOVES going every day. I can already tell he is learning a lot too. I took pictures of him in his class, on the first day of school, BUT I can't seem to find them anywhere now! I hope they turn up some day, but for now, these will have to do! They were taken by my dad when they were here to visit for a few days.

We thought the picture below was funny because it looks like they are praying! Carter and I get to spend three hours together while Jordyn and Evan are at school. We run errands or I do things around the house and he gets to play computer games without being bothered by anyone! I think we both like our three hours together :)

Jordyn started 2nd grade this year. As most of you know, she spends the majority of her time in a special needs class room. She had switched teachers from last year and was back with her teacher, Mrs. Watt, whom she had the first year we moved here. Sadly, Mrs. Watt passed away suddenly from natural causes, about a month into the school year. I think everyone was very shocked and obviously very sad. I thought a lot about the kids... did they know and understand that she was gone? She was a great lady and taught MANY years for this school, all of which were with special needs kids.
Jordyn had a new aide this year, Mr. Johnson. Early in the year, Mrs. Watt told me that Jordyn seemed to really like him. Well, he just told me yesterday that he is going to be the new teacher! I think he will do just great!
PS: Just have to say again how FANTASTIC Jordyn's bus drivers are! They are so great with all the kids. The drivers that bring Jordyn home always let Carter ride the ramp up and then give him a piece of gum every day. We love them.