Friday, December 26, 2008

Whole Foods and New Jersey

Neil left this morning for New Jersey.  His uncle is getting married, so Neil and his dad drove up to New Jersey for the wedding.  I already miss him like crazy.  I think I started missing him even before he left this morning.  

Layla has been asking about him periodically today.  She expected him at breakfast and then again at dinner.  Each time, I explained to her that daddy was in New Jersey for a few days but he'd be back really soon.   She was--and probably still is--wondering who or what is New Jersey.  HA!  

Layla has really gotten into saying her prayers.  It's so sweet to see her little hands folded so tightly that her finger tips turn white.  She squints her little eyes and gets out a couple of "thank you Fathers" and some other little odds and ins.  Tonight before I put her down for bed, we were thanking God for her new fuzzy bear, new milk, new chewing gum (see a pattern...she's REALLY...I mean REALLLYYYYY into "new" things--in fact, she almost always asks me if something is "new" or "yucky"...HA!), a nice warm house, and a strong daddy....when I heard her little voice say, "tink you fowa neeeewww jersey"...and she was serious--WAY serious.  I kind of cracked my eye open and saw her little eyes squinted so tight.  Then she thanked God for Whole Foods...yep...Whole Foods?  She ended her prayers with a very satisfied, "there, all done".  I tried to slip in a request to help her with her desire to hit....but she said--sort of impatiently--"No mommy.  All done."

So sweet and innocent.  I'll try and get a picture of those little folded hands to post.  It'll melt your heart, for sure.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas...if anyone is reading this from New Jersey/Whole Foods, know that my little almost two year old really appreciates your state/company.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blessed tank was on empty.  For whatever reason, I stumbled through the entire day, exhausted.

I normally greet each day with quiet time....two cups of coffee...and my "cereal snack" (which is really just a cup of dry cereal).  I wish you all knew how excited I get about this time of day.  Some nights, I rush off to bed so that morning will come quicker.  I just enjoy getting my perspective right for the day.  For me, its like stretching before you exercise.  Yesterday morning, I was awoken from my sleep at 5:30 by my sweet little Layla...yelling "hold you mamooooo"--which is Layla speak for "hold me, mommy".  When I hear "mamooooo", I know its serious.  So I ran upstairs and spent the better part of the 6:30 hour getting her calmed down.  She was grumpy, needed rest, but wanted to come downstairs for oatmeal.

OKAY...I just HAD to find time to put this picture in that my dad took the other fits here, right?

Midway through the morning, I was talking to a dear friend and was told about a precious little baby who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  I cried.  I looked at Layla and was embarrassed that I would even think about grumbling when she pulled me out of bed in the morning.  I probably wore her little cheeks out from kissing them.  That was my first little gut check of the day.  I immediately asked for forgiveness and for a change in my perspective.  Problem yeah...not so much.

Layla and I both plowed through the morning and were generally happy, despite her early rising.  Layla went down giggling for her nap....but my day was about to change.  I had to run to WALMART...YIKES!  I had last minute stuff to do for Christmas and silly me opted for WalMart instead of going for a run.  Looking back, a nice little run to catch my breath and talk to God would have probably been a better choice.  After nearly being plowed over by a buggy--driven by a girl who clearly saw me standing there...and doubling back twice to the gift wrapping aisle...I was on my way back home.  I tackled some laundry...put together gifts for the neighbors..but all the while knew deep in my heart--I mean, I felt the pull--that I needed to stop and spend a couple of minutes with God.    I didn't...and within minutes of getting the first load of laundry put away, Layla was up and ready to play.  

She and I had a great afternoon, we went to the park...ran through the grass pretending we were airplanes....sang the "Name Game" song while swinging...AWH, but then I looked at my watch and remembered that Neil and I had plans that night and my mom was coming over to keep Layla at 5pm.  It was hair was still damp and I had no makeup on.  I rushed back to be greeted by a husband who was pouring over a WAY TOO HIGH power bill.  Fist in my stomach.  I wanted to puke.  My stress level started climbing.

Needless to say, by 5:30 when we were heading out the door...I just wanted to crawl in the bathroom and have a "Lifetime shower" know..the one where the chick cries her eyes out in the shower.  I am a little dramatic...

I didn't want to go to our friends house.  I love them dearly..but I felt wiped out and defeated.  I felt that painted smile wanting to creep across my face.  Yuck!  We arrived....and were greeted with little Christmas gifts from our friends Chris and Lindy.  I opened my little bag and found this picture (click on link here).

For the second time that day, my eyes filled with tears.  Here was a man who, despite his work schedule, personal demands...and all the "impossibilities" that keep us (OKAY...namely ME) from seeking time with God, climbed up on this mountain, REMOVED HIS SHOES...and worshiped.  Second gut check of the day.  I sat in my chair quietly embarrassed at how I spent my day.

This is what I learned yesterday....I can ABSOLUTELY not let the "temporary" dictate my day or choose my perspective for me.  HA--and God is going to get His point across to me no matter what.  I avoided him more than twice yesterday, but He still managed to bring me to my knees.

I also learned that Neil and I have some really amazing people that we call friends.  People that we laughed until we cried with last night and people that inspire us...that help change us for the better.  Oh and people that buy great sushi :-)

Thank you Beth and Matt for all the laughs--Beth, I really think we rocked that game--in a nerdy cool kind of way...right?  I think so...HA!  Chris and Lindy--thank you guys for hand delivering God's message to me yesterday.  That picture is worth more to me than you'll ever know.  I'd like 50 wallets of it to place around my each room where I that when I start to put God off...or when I start to complain...I can glance at that picture and remember that my stress comes from the temporary....and that only the permanent can provide me with comfort and peace.

Can I have permission to reprint :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The results are in....

Yesterday was an experience.  My dad battled a back problem early in the week, which made me really worried as to whether or not he'd even make it through the marathon on Saturday...THEN...on Thursday, he developed quite the stomach virus.  He thought it was due to the steroids the doctor gave him for his back, but when my mother was sick on Friday night, he knew it was the norovirus.  Needless to say, dad wasn't able to keep any food on his stomach for three days...INCLUDING Friday and Saturday morning.

Still...we were so positive all the way to Charlotte.  My stomach was doing flips...I chalked it up to nerves and adrenaline.  The gun went off...and off we went.  Our first few splits were 8:30, 8:00, 7:55, 8:00, 8:10...By the 12th mile, we were set to finish about 6 minutes ahead of our qualifying time.  By the 12th mile, my stomach exploded and there were NO PORTA POTTIES.  I had some stomach pains for a couple of miles, but I still thought it was all the adrenaline.  It wasn't.  I had the norovirus.  I held off saying anything to dad until the 16th mile, because we were still right on target to finish 6 minutes ahead of our goal.  But my stomach started cramping again and I noticed a beautiful green porta potty.  I ran in...threw up twice...walked out with my upper thighs shaking (as they do when you have a stomach virus).  We ran into the Marriott for me to clean myself up, where I proceeded to throw up three more times.  I walked out of the bathroom....cleaned my face..and dad and I took off running.

I ran the final ten miles of the race with potassium cramps (from losing all the gus I took, the powerade I drank, and the breakfast I ate) and stomach cramps.  My lower back hurt from my bowels screaming at me to stop.  

Dad and I finished the marathon pretty strong, even thought I seriously considered quitting at the Marriott...on mile 19, mile 21, mile 22, mile 23, mile 24 and even up to the finish.  Dad and I crossed the finish line 20 minutes short of qualifying...which was extremely heart breaking and disappointing...but I was ecstatic that the battle was over.  I actually think I was more excited for a heated...indoor restroom and new clothes than anything else.  In retrospect, I wish I would have felt good enough to really enjoy the presence of my family at the finish line.  I could hear little Layla's voice yelling, "go go go" was so sweet.  I honestly don't remember much of the finish line or the first 10 minutes after I finished..its all a blur.

The biggest disappointment was that my post marathon meal/treat was a jug of Pedilyte....which didn't entirely stay on my stomach.  I was really looking forward to some pizza, Mrs. Fields cookies and butter pecan ice cream...BOO!  My body ached this morning in a way its never hurt before.  The Charlotte course was difficult...but I think it was the energy depletion that left its mark on me when I rolled out of bed. for Boston...
Dad and I are running the United Healthcare Marathon in May, which is a Boston Qualifier, and the Marine Corps in October.  We are hitting the road tomorrow to pick up our training again :-).  I'm kind of excited to be really working toward something still....I'm going to be a stinkin machine by May...haha!

One of the best things about Saturday was my sweet little Layla An...she didn't care
 that I was pukey, sweaty or stinky...she loved on me anyway.  And even though I was exhausted...I wanted nothing more than to hold her and squeeze on her.  In fact, she and I both insisted that I carry her back to the car after the race :-)  I can say this day when she meets a challenge and wants to give up...I can speak to her from experience.  I have never been so physically and emotionally challenged in all my life. 

BUT...that's over...and I'm on to the next one.  But first...I'm going to attempt to eat a peanut butter sandwich. Wish me luck...I probably need to eat a whole loaf's worth of sandwiches...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last post...

I wasn't going to post any more until after the marathon on Saturday...but I really felt like I needed and wanted to say thanks to my support system...

I have really been blessed with some amazing friends....some of whom I also call my family.  I've had moments during these past few months where I've thought this marathon thing is a ridiculous endeavor.  It has required a lot of time and a lot of discipline for just a couple of minutes of glory.  I am stubborn...I am driven.  Sometimes during this process, I've worried that those qualities may have ticked off all of those who love me and have witnessed my moodiness (my husband has called me "The Mood" for three days now) and seemingly selfish behavior.  My dad did warn me when I mentioned to him that I'd like to run a marathon that it would require me to be a little selfish with my time...something that I RARELY do.  

BUT...I was reminded this week that I haven't managed to isolate everyone :-)

**The GRAND thank you goes to my dad...but I'll post about that on Sunday...

**My sweet mom continues to love on my little Layla while I'm out running.  She has done this for months without the first complaint and without making me feel guilty.  She puts out drinks for dad and I on some of our long runs and she always has me a goody bag of snacks on Saturday mornings.  But more importantly, she has lent me her husband for 7 months.  Thanks least you'll get your trip to Boston now :-)

**I opened my mailbox the other day and saw an envelope with some very familiar handwriting on it...handwriting that made me smile so big that my cheeks hurt.  One of my best friends in the world took time out of her CRAZY schedule to write me one of the most thoughtful letters I've gotten in a long time.  I feel so blessed to call this girl my friend...and I definitely don't deserve all of her kind words.  That little letter provided more encouragement than I've experienced in a while.  Thanks Toddy....

**Several times over the past few weeks, I've gotten the sweetest emails from my second mom (some call these women "mother-in-laws" but that just sounds so distant).  She's asked me more than once what I needed...she's expressed interest in my runs...she's unknowingly given me HUGE ego boosts by complimenting my discipline...and she's let me know often that she is proud of me ..she also bought me some super comfy lucky running socks.  I think she's just as anxious as I am for Saturday...which is really sweet.

**My sister (or sister-in-law...whatever) sent me the most amazing email yesterday with a very well thought out YouTube list of video encouragement that included a nice little Rocky clip.  My personal favorite is attached below.  She has recently started running and I HOPE HOPE HOPE that I can gradually ease her into running a half marathon with me sometime.  She's actually doing really well you never know.  I may be dragging her up the mountain in the near future :-)

**One of my most favorite people in the whole mother's twin...was excited beyond belief to keep Layla on Saturday during the marathon.  You can't even begin to understand how great that makes me feel to see her so visibly excited to spend time with my Layla--and Layla just adores her.  She sent me a  little email today which included one of the best compliments I've been given.  She told me how she admired me for all my hard work and accomplishments (which believe me--they're mostly very small)...but the biggest one was how I mother Layla...HOW SWEET. back to sitting around some more and letting all this nervous energy build.  Oh how I'd like to go out and run tonight...then perfectly wonderful husband has told me that the one thing that would make HIM so happy tonight was if he could run me a bath and take care of the dishes...He definitely swept me off my feet with that one :-)  I picked a good one, huh?  Thanks...again, love.  

Look forward to a new blog coming in January or February.  I've got new venture of sorts cooking in the oven but I don't want to show it off until its all done.'m not pregnant...HA...whew...scared some people, huh?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

7 days 2 hours 3 minutes

One week until the big day...okay..just saying that makes my stomach churn.  Fortunately I was blessed with this thought as I was going to bed last night with my mind racing about marathon day....

I've worked hard...and I've had the best coach body is capable running the race and qualifying for Boston...and I've got 3:35 minutes to prove I can't really mess up...I've got my dad leading the way...I just have to make sure my mind is in order.  

SO...I spent the better part of the early morning hours visualizing myself running the course.  Dad and I went up to Charlotte on Thursday to drive our 26.2 miles.  We were told it was hilly...but we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was quite similar to our training runs.  AND I've gotten to a point with my running where hills don't really scare me like they used to (take that you silly hills).  Last night I was able to picture myself running through each point in the course...which was really nice.  

I also tried to think of why it was so important to me to qualify for Boston and not just finish the race.  I know at some point during the marathon, I'm going to have to dig deep and qualifying is going to have to be REALLY important to me.  All that said...this is what I'm going to run so crazy fast for...

I want to see the look on dad's face when I actually exceed his expectations and we do something so accomplished TOGETHER...I want to capture that instant that we realize we're going to make it and hold it in my head forever...and I want to go back to the shoe store where I bought my shoes and tell the lady who looked at me with complete shock when I told her I have been running for 8 months and am doing a marathon AND trying to qualify for Boston that I DID IT.  I want the feeling of doing something incredible.

So when I start to do a slow fade next Saturday...I'm just going to visualize this sort of reception at the finish line (except replacing the o-so-wonderful Red Sox with my family).  I don't think I'm asking TOO much--a nice little pile of excited family members and oh yeah...some tissue :-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Garmin 305

taaaaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaaaaaaa....

Thanks to my precious mom and dad...Christmas came a little early for me this year.  Look at the new addition to my running garb...yep that's right guys...I am officially hooked..I got a Garmin 305 for Christmas!

Mom gave it to me yesterday and I couldn't get over myself.  Although Sunday was my day off from running..I couldn't help but bust out my shoes and new Garmin once Layla went down for bed.  Its incredible!  I got up to the second pace, distance, heart rate, time....WOW...can you all tell I'm just a tad bit excited--and I haven't even tapped into all its capabilities yet?  I actually wore it while I walked around the house last night and watched my pace change.  I know its GPS system will help me track my runs...and get me back home if I were to ever get lost?  Its strange for me...I am a self proclaimed gadget hater---well, up until last night :-)  I guess the 21st century isn't all that bad...ha ha! and I will run with it this afternoon and see how well it works for us.  Dad so graciously agreed to wear it for me during our marathon...I have NO business keeping an eye on that thing during the race...I don't quite trust my slightly "type A" self with it on race day just yet.  On a side note...last Saturday, dad and I ran 12 miles at an average pace of 7:50 a mile...WOW...30 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace...and it really felt great.  I think it gave us the confidence boost we (okay...I) needed.  Now we are OFFICIALLY in taper mode.  We have 7 miles tonight....3 tomorrow, 7 on Wednesday, 4 Thursday, 3 Friday and 10 on Saturday....easy week, huh?  I'm going to be climbing the walls OR enjoying some time with the hubby now that I'll have the energy to carry on a decent conversation...

Oh yeah...back to my Garmin..YAY!  So I'll make sure to give a full report of our runs this week and how the Garmin fared.  I'm taking votes on what I should name any ideas are welcome...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gettin skirted...

So I completed my first ever race...strange that I decided to shoot for a marathon before even running a single race.  HA!   Although my dad opted out...he had too much work to do (whatever), my mom, my sis-in-law and myself ran the Turkey Strut 5K on Thanksgiving morning....and boy was it cold!

I was so excited that I could barely sleep...I woke up a 5am...made some the news and started pacing.  Why in the world was I so nervous.  I was definitely not running in order to win.  I guess maybe anxious?  Who knows.  Mom and I left my house at around 7:30 and parked in Winston.  We thought (okay...I thought) we parked much closer to the start line than we really did.  We ended up about a mile away from the start and had to run to get there in time.  Mom was not too happy...I saw it as a nice little warm up ;-).

After about 20 minutes of sizing everyone up, I decided to call my dad to find out what in the world to do with my pace.  Dad pulled some Mr. Miyagi stuff on me and advised me to run the first 100 yards slow and the first mile in 8 minutes.  After that, I was to pick up the pace just a little and the sprint the last 200 yards.  WHAT...I knew I was capable of going much faster than 8 minutes, but dad said it was an exercise in holding back a little.  HA.  He never ceases to surprise me.  SO the gun went off...and about 2 minutes later (we literally had to walk to the start line because the pack of people was so huge) I went.  I made my first mile in 8:15--despite the 100 billion strollers and walkers that started out IN FRONT of me???  Start in the back next time people.  SO, I was a bit slower than dad told me.  It felt WAY slow to me...which is a good thing.  I guess that means all the marathon pace running is paying off.  

The course was WAY the first mile was a hill...up hill...the whole way.  I began picking people out of the crowd in front of me and made it my goal to pass by one.  It was a great feeling to be able to blow by people on the hills.  I could really tell all our hill work and speed work was paying off BIG TIME.  By the last mile, I had a nice little clearing....and noticed (1) a group of men...about 40...with all the best gear on and (2) one single man...about 35ish...with nice form and a runner's body.  My final goal was to "skirt" those men.  So me and my running skirt picked up the pace to a near sprint.  I passed the first group of fellas and felt myself grinning from ear to ear.  I neared my final "target" with about 200 yards to go.  I quietly fell in behind him until just the right moment...I turned it up to full sprint mode and passed him just as we were nearing the finish.  I was more excited about that than I was about my 7 minute mile...HA!  Poor guy...I probably ruined his Thanksgiving.  I'm sure it doesn't feel great to get passed at the finish line...especially by a skirt. my splits were..(notice I ran a negative split...YAY)
1 mile:  8:15
2mile:  7:30
3 mile:  6:55

After I finished, I turned around...ran back and caught up with my was so cute to see her little pink hat coming around the corner (she was dressed like a stinkin Eskimo...I think she had 3 layers of clothes on..HA) I got to cross the finish again with mom.  I was--am--so proud of her.  She ran the entire 5K without stopping once to walk--which was big for her.  She hasn't really run in YEARS.  As we got closer to the finish line, I felt my nose start to burn and I knew I was seconds away from bawling my eyes out...HA.  I guess I was just overcome with emotion.  You know, it was just a really nice moment to share with mom.  So for those of you who have asked me what you could have at the finish line in Charlotte for me...bring some tissue.  I'm going to be a hot mess.  

FINALLY...the one thing I learned on Thursday morning....make sure you step on the pads when you are being chip timed!  I neglected to step on BOTH of the first pads because I was trying to get around a stroller....needless to say, my time was based off of the gun time--not my start time.  I made lots of notes to self NOT NOT NOT to do this in Charlotte.  My time was an entire 2 minutes off!  Fortunately, this race didn't count for much in my book....just some experience.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shins...who needs em?

May as well come right out with it...I've been benched for THREE DAYS and I'm going crazy.  During my last speed workout last Wednesday [8x1200s (2x400 @ 2:05 and 1x400@1:35)] my shins started really hurting.  I had known for weeks that my shoes needed to be replaced, but I thought I could squeeze a couple more runs out of them.  I was wrong.  I was greeted with some pretty yucky shin splints....In fact, my shins actually became quite swollen which was REALLY strange to see.  I continued to run on Thursday and to do our final marathon pace workout...but we stopped after 7 miles because of my stinkin shins. dad recommended that I rest for at least three days.  He said there was no sense running my marathon in the weeks leading up to the real thing.  He also said that I'd never finish if I couldn't make it past the start line.  He was right...unfortunately.  Today is my third day...and I am climbing the walls.  Elliptical machines set at the hardest level interval program are not cutting it.  I miss the cold air in my lungs...I miss the dull pain in my legs after a long or hard run...I did not realize that running had become such a positive outlet for me.  I told Neil today that I think I've become depressed.  Its strange.  I need a run.  NEED it.  My shins feel great thanks to ice and motrin...AND I have NEW SHOES....I am counting down the hours until tomorrow's run.   I don't normally talk about aches and pains....I absolutely LOATHE pity...I probably would have made a pretty good marine.  I prefer someone yelling at me to toughen up and run anyway than to rest..HA!  Am I weird?

Finally...stay posted...I'm running the Turkey Strut in Winston on Thursday morning...good times!  Its only a 5K but I'm interested to see how I'll do!  
Happy Thanksgiving to you all...too bad carb loading pre marathon has been proven pretty ineffective.  I was really hoping to eat my weight in my aunt's cranberry apple casserole.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

26.2 baby


Dad and I completed one of our (okay MY) hardest training weeks yet.  As of yesterday at 2pm, I had logged 62 miles IN ONE WEEK!  I remember only months ago  when I just started running thinking that 30+ was a big deal.  WOW.   On Wednesday, we ran about 12 miles.  The first one was a warm up...the second one was an all out fast mile and the rest was a tempo run.  Dad told me, just before we started, that the top speed mile would be one of my biggest challenges thus far...YIKES--I thought the big old mountain run was my hardest challenge.  

We were at the track and the goal was for me to run one mile as fast as I could.  After two laps...I noticed that my legs felt a very warm sensation....Um yeah...I peed ALL OVER myself.  It was almost as if I was so focused on the muscles that needed attention that I forgot about my tiny pea sized bladder (and how is it that such a small bladder holds so much liquid?).  Oops.  We finished the mile in 6:35!  MAN I was so proud.  My legs were drenched and we still had 10 miles of speed work to go.  Needless to say, by about the 7th mile, my pants had dried and I was fine....and able to laugh about it.   Thank goodness I had on black spandex hopefully no one in the Thomasville area noticed some chick running in 50 degree weather with wet pants on :-)  If you did..yes that was me and YES it was urine.

THEN on Saturday we set out at 7am to run just over 26.2 miles.  During the first few miles, I knew this run was going to be difficult.  It was humid and muggy and the wind was CRAZY.  Despite the very warm weather, I opted for a long sleeved Under Armor shirt...silly me...should have really checked the weather!  By around the 16th mile my inner thighs were burning like crazy...I guess from the sweat and my shorts were not long enough to keep my upper thighs from touching (by the last mile...they were bleeding).  Nice!  BUT we completed almost 27 miles on Saturday and our last mile was at an 8:30 pace. felt like the slowest, longest mile I have ever run.  I would love for you guys to experience the feeling of running THAT far and that long and then stop at then end to entire body instantly warned me that if I tried to jump or squat, it would seriously rebel on me.  Funny that nothing hurt while running, but once we stopped we both started limping.  

we have one more sort of difficult Saturday run (16 miles at race pace) and then we are off to taper...and stock up on Vitamin C 

Most importantly before I go...
I have to give 20 miles worth of credit to my husband...I don't think I could have run a single mile over the 6 mile mark without his support and excitement.   He actually looks forward to his Saturday mornings with Layla...taking her out for breakfast and on trips to Lowes.  He scoops my ice cream for me on Wednesday nights after doing first, hills and then speed work.  And more than anything, he lets me know how proud he is of me...rather than letting on for a minute that he thinks I'm a nut job for doing all of this stuff.  Thanks, love ;-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where is it?


WELL three weeks now and EVERYTHING has been "blue".  I'm starting to think that's Layla's favorite color.  She wants blue eggs...she wants blue milk...she wants blue bananas...she wants only blue gum (YES...I've let her chew gum...if you know me well, you understand that would be difficult to keep away from her..HA)...she wants blue candy.  BLUE BLUE BLUE.  I've never been more happy to look for blue things in my life.  She's so much fun to humor.

She also said her first real sentence two nights ago.  Most of her attempts at sentences have been lost on me.  I can't understand a word of them.  This one, though, I understood perfectly well.  She said it exactly as I do.  Some background on the little video...she likes to hide all of her bath toys under her little legs and make me look for them.  I act surprised each time one pops out.  Notice the little smile when she realizes that I may be taking a picture :-)


On Saturday, dad and I will run our last long run until marathon day.  We'll run 26-27 miles on Saturday.  Somehow...its not that daunting.   BUT...we'll see.  I'm starting to get really really really anxious and nervous.  I'm afraid of working so hard and then not qualifying for Boston.  While I should be proud to just finish my first marathon...I have to go and get my heart set on qualifying for Boston.  I have very few doubts that I'll hope is that I cross the finish line with enough juice left to do a cartwheel or continue to run a couple of laps as did Constantina Dita Tomescu in the 2008 Women's Olympic Marathon.  The more likely scenario is that I cross the finish and need a gurney.  HA!  

So yes...26-27 miles on Saturday and then we'll do 16 miles at marathon pace on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It'll be so nice over the craziness of the holidays to get out and run...think...enjoy some quiet time.   

Friday, November 7, 2008

We call it the "Dirty Bird"

I had to share this little video..Layla does this dance-she has for several months now--that Neil and I call the Dirty Bird.  I don't know how it actually started...but it is so stinking funny--especially in her little Halloween costume.


Dirty Bird from dillon james on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And me?

Alright...I'm throwing in my "nerd" card.  I know...its completely shocking that I have any bit of nerd in me.  I mean, I am normally so cool.

I tossed and turned all night last night...I was so filled with excitement for today that I could barely sleep.  TODAY I am fortunate enough to enjoy the privilege of voting.  YES...I even get this excited about voting during mid-term elections AND primaries.  Voting is something that is so dear to my heart...I treasure this privilege...I hold it in very high regard...I walk around all day humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic in my head.  YEP...pretty stinking nerdy.  I'm even looking forward to watching all the commentary this evening...probably popping corn too.  

Layla woke up at 5:30am this morning...she was probably excited too.  I ran up to her room, told her good morning...gave her hugs and then asked her if she knew what today was (stupid question for a 20 month old..I KNOW).  She responded with "Nana home".  Um yeah, we weren't going to Nana's house...sorry.  I told her that today we got to VOTE.  She acted thrilled beyond belief.  SO we ate dressed and went out to vote.  The entire trip to our polling place she chanted, "vote maMA, vote and me? vote, Layla, vote vote vote".  I let her push the buttons...she made some great choices :-)  And when she pushed the last green button...she responded with very very LOUD...."".    She also told her daddy that she voted for the "good guy". smart already.
Here's a picture of Layla outside of the polling place.  She doesn't really look that excited...I think she was maybe still confused by all of my excitement over what she probably thought was a very silly machine.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Layla An...

What can I say...this Halloween was so much fun!  Layla woke up on Friday morning and played in her crib for a while.  When I walked in and said "Good morning, pumpkin.  Happy Halloween!" She responded IMMEDIATELY with "Candy?". funny.  I didn't know she actually got it...but apparently she did.  In fact, she got out of her crib, ran to her closet and said "tume"--for costume and then danced around while I got everything out and ready.  

Here are some pictures...notice Layla's favorite treat was the Krispy Kreme doughnuts...she had a death grip on those things...and I think I wiped at least two packages worth of powdered sugar from her face and hands :-)
Neil's sister, Lauren, works for Krispy Kreme so our house was the hit of the neighborhood thanks to her.  Every year, Krispy Kreme sends home hundreds of packs of those tiny powdered doughnuts home with their employees to give out as candy.  So this year, Lauren brought all her doughnuts over to our house.  Layla had so much fun giving out candy and going to her friends houses for "treat".  At one point, she took off running down the street hugging every small child she could find.  She even attempted to hug a very scary adult monster.   I would have loved to know exactly what was going through that little head of hers--it must have been some crazy things because she didn't settle down for bed until 9:45...YIKES...we are still suffering from that (and the time change).  Poor little thing.  But she woke up as happy as ever on Saturday morning....grabbed her pumpkin...ran to the door and yelled "treat maMA".  

Dad and I completed our 24 mile run on Saturday...we started at 5am and finished up at 8:30. It was surprisingly easy....the previous Saturday must have really done me a TON of good...I guess nothing can be quite as difficult as running up a mountain--not having a clue as to when you may be done with your mean reward (sorry dad).   Dad and I actually finished our run on Saturday...I came home and had my treasured post run shower with my Layla An...took her to the park and to the trampoline (PS-I don't recommend jumping of any kind shortly after running 24 miles)..and then after I put her down for her ready and ran out the door to shoot a wedding with dad.  Dad and I had a blast shooting the wedding. For some reason I was so worried that dad or I one would either pass out from exhaustion or trip and fall in front of everyone because we were both kind of shuffling our feet.  Fortunately, we made it through the day very gracefully...and I made it home in time for some much anticipated ice cream :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Killing me softly

"I choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman" Anais Nin

I chose "this man" to train me to not only complete my first marathon, but to help me qualify for the 2009 Boston Marathon.   The Boston Marathon represents  the top 10% of elite runners in the to be able to qualify is one thing..but to qualify for Boston in my first marathon is a completely different story.  You guys know that "this man" is my daddy and I am already looking forward to running the streets of Boston with him by my side.  

Yesterday he sat out to test me.  We have completed so many different runs and I have responded well to all of our training.  Dad has been saying for weeks that he can't quite figure me out...he's pushing buttons and I'm responding well.  His reward for my progress...push the one button certain to test my resolve.  

Let me back up for a minute...
For those of you who have followed my journey, you know that I have learned so much from running.  I found discipline when I needed it...I found the importance of maintaining priorities...I've learned to not only love but have a deep appreciation for my body...and yesterday while I was lugging around my sweet little Layla up and down the steps before my big run, I realized that I SERIOUSLY need to work on my mental toughness.  I've always been one to freak out.  I have a crazy imagination and I find it very difficult to reign in my not let them consume and sometimes defeat me.  This is not just a running thing...but its a "me" thing--its an emotional intelligence thing.  I realized even before my run, that I needed some work.  I also have a hard time with "not knowing".  I like to have a plan a, b and c.  I like to walk through each plan on try to see where it my fail and how I'll respond.  Clearly...not knowing my route for the run was going to be a huge test.  I was already a nut job. forward to 1:30pm  yesterday.  Dad and I drove out to the country...I kind of knew where we were heading, even though dad kept all the details TOP part of my test.

The first couple of miles were on rolling hills (note...the name of the town was, yeah).  I thought, if this is all dad can throw at me, I am SO good to go.  It was difficult, but no more difficult than anything else I've done.  The last turn we made was on Hillsville Rd.  We were on that road for what seemed like an eternity.  I was praying for a stop sign...a sign indicating a bridge...even a little yellow sign warning of a side road--something to break up the silence of the road.  NOTHING for miles and miles except for some encouraging McCain signs and burning leaves.  I thought this was my mental test.  I was getting sort of frustrated with not knowing how much longer we had or what was up ahead...but I knew I had to pass this test.

Dad passed me a Gu pack...told me to take it even though we only had three miles to go?  Strange--but okay?  We went down a nice little hill and I looked ahead and saw a mountain--Caraway Mountain.  Interesting.  How were we going to get around that mountain.  It so clearly looked as if we were going to have to run up it...that would be silly though, right.  Um, wrong.  Dad and I ran uphill for 2 miles...up mountain hills for 2 miles.  No downhill leveling out...2 MILES of uphill climbing.  Around each curve in the mountain, I thought "this has got to be then end".  I was looking like crazy for break lights...yellow signs.  We made our last turn...I looked up and saw a hill with an incline so steep that I couldn't even see the top.  I lost it.  I cried...right there on the road.  Completely broken.  I told dad that I've never been more mad at him in all my life...and it was true.  We started up and half way...I stopped.  My legs burned so bad that I couldn't move.  I would have laid on the side of the road in the ditch if I knew it wouldn't take so much energy to get up and walk again.  Dad talked me through it (bless his heart)...I gathered myself and what was left of my mind and legs and started back up.  We made it...I experienced my dad was proud of me.  

Go back and read the quote at the top of the page..perfect description of how I think my dad treats me...

Dad told me in the car on the way home that finishing a marathon takes preparation  and muscular endurance and strength...but qualifying for Boston during your first time out requires a mental toughness that you can just get by doing normal long runs.  I have to be able to push past hurt, exhaustion, dig deep...because in December...I won't know what's around every curve. I passed my test and left everything on that mountain.  I can wait to find a pupil to take out on that same run with me one day...anyone interested?  Come'll be fun.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kids and Kin


Layla continues to surprise me.  For the past two or three days, she's been REALLY into counting.  She counts steps...cereal...crayons....buttons on my name it, it has been counted.  I am surprised that she's able to count to 10 already.  Maybe I shouldn't be surprised--I don't know at what age they are supposed to do that kind of thing?

AND our night routine has been really strange.  She's pulling out all the stops to avoid sleep...she's requesting additional in her crib...more singing.  She's already memorized both of her night night songs and actually puts out some pretty good background vocals--she stays about a word behind me.  Its so cute that I can't help but keep singing them over and over.  Right now...I can hear her singing Baby Mine (Dumbo theme song) over the monitor.  I looked at our little TV screen monitor and saw that she's rocking her bunny.  Poor bunny must be fighting his nap too :-)

Dad and I have still been doing our speed work at the track and tempo training every other week.  The past couple of Saturday runs have been used to practice pacing.  Last Saturday we did great...we averaged 8:20 miles which is enough to qualify us for Boston!  YAY!  AND this Wednesday at the track, we ran our 6th mile repeat in 7:22 and in 42 degree weather--and this clip instantly came to my head

Dad told me last Saturday that he has something up his sleeve for this weekend.  I'm afraid its going to be super hard...he said it would really test my mental toughness and physical strength.  Now...I don't know what that could mean...Maybe we are sprinting up Grandfather Mountain (please NO)  or maybe we are running a slow, short run and gearing up for our three 20+ mile runs?  I don't know...but rest assured that I'll write about it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Silent Woods

Just a short little note...
My wonderfully talented and amazing husband is WOW...starting his own business.  I'm so proud of him...his creativity...his commitment...he's like the "little engine that could" but with a super cool paint job.  

So yeah...he's started a blog...and has the skeleton of his web page up and running.  

Check it out...and send some encouragement his way :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wanna get dirty

Dad and I were talking about discipline a few weeks ago as we were doing a long run...he told me when he was younger and a wrestler in high school that he would work on his mental discipline in every aspect of his life.  He told me how when he'd brush his teeth in the morning and at night and when he felt like quitting, he'd force himself brush his teeth just a couple of minutes more.  He used that one little exercise (along with many others) to work on disciplining himself to go a couple more steps past quitting.  

SO...after my experience yesterday with the ivy...and with the dirt and bugs in general, I decided to work on some discipline of my own.  Now, you guys know from reading my blogs about running, that I am a person of extremes....SO this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
My mom came over today to spend some time with I decided to get sweaty and dirty and see how much I could handle.  SO, I got out the Clorox and some gloves...a nice little household brush (like you'd use on tires) and scrubbed the siding on my house.  Then, I scrubbed the cushions that go on the porch swings....then...I got out the shovel (Oh yes...dirt time) and dug up some small shrubs that have been driving me nuts for a little while...then..I dug up some tiny saplings that were randomly growing around the house...THEN...with dirt in my hair...bleach on my skin..I thought what the heck..I'm digging up some bushes that I've been dying to get rid of.  SO, with Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" playing in my head, I and my shovel approached said bushes and in 20 minutes, they were out at the road for garbage pickup.  YAY!

Today my friends, I battled dirt and bugs...and I won.  I took a little picture as evidence of my victory.  It probably doesn't do me justice.  I swear the bushes are much larger than they appear in the photo.  They're boxwoods...crazy old boxwoods.    OH and notice all the pretty white pieces of siding in the background.  I think I'm going to have dinner tonight in my neighbor's yard...facing my house.   Ahhhh...the thrill of victory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not the hands of a lady

Layla An- seems like she's changing every day!  She's started playing in her room by herself in the mornings and sometimes a little the afternoon!  I noticed the other day that I was kind of getting in her space so I asked her if she'd like mommy to go downstairs and she could stay in her room and play.  She said "yes"...I walked downstairs and turned the monitor up.  I sat and listened to her talk to her "BAby" her telephone...she sang a little bit...I had to fight the urge to run back upstairs and squeeze her.  She played alone for over 15 minutes.

HA-and she also did the funniest thing on Tuesday morning.  I went up to her room when she woke up as I normally do.  I had a North Face over my pink and white polka dot dress shirt (a shirt Layla's never seen)...I took off my jacket...Layla's eyes lit up, she gasped and said..."ooooooo prettty" and then danced in circles.  HA!  She was commenting on my shirt!  So funny.  

I don't really do yard work...I don't like dirt...I don't like bugs...I'm not at all prissy...I SWEAR...I just am not a fan of dirty hands...

SO after working all afternoon in my front bed pulling up variegated ivy that had been growing for two years and cursing in my head more than I did driving back and forth to downtown Charlotte every day for 5 months, I wondered why someone so NOT prissy hated dirt on my hands and bugs crawling up my arms.  When I felt like taking a knee in my front bed...looking at my house and screaming "As God is my witness, they're not going to lick me....As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again"--HA--I remembered my love of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind--oh yeah...and my inclination toward the slightly dramatic.  

My favorite movie growing up was Gone with the Wind--in fact, there was a short period of time when I watched it multiple times a month.  I say all this to say...I honestly believe that I was crazy influenced by the movie...I've noted random parts of Scarlett in my responses and outlook on things way too many times.  Certainly not something I'm very proud of... I remembered this part from the movie while washing the dirt off my hands. Scarlett goes to visit Rhett in jail as an attempt to get money for the taxes her family owes on Tara.  She's quite successful with Rhett until he notices her normally soft hands are calloused from having to work in the fields.  

Rhett:  What have you been doing with your hands.
Scarlett:  I went riding yesterday without my gloves
Rhett:  Those aren't the hands of a lady, you've been working with them like a field hen. hands are so yucky today...BUT...BUT BUT...all of the ivy is gone and an intense moisturizing treatment for my hands has commenced.  We battled hard.  I sensed it starting to get weaker...easier to pull out huge masses at a time...and when I sensed it getting weaker--I pulled out a major offensive BAM...gone!  You know...gloves would have probably prevented 9/10 of the ugly words coming to my head.  And can I just say...I dreamed about that stinkin ivy last night.  I woke Neil up because I was thrashing around in bed...I thought the ivy was wrapped around my ankle.  I think it was mocking me.  Strange that that stinkin ivy would take on a life of its own!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

80% happy

YES..I am that mom...

That mom who is just now getting around to completely weaning her 20 MONTH OLD!
That mom who has put her baby down for bed every night (except for maybe two or three) for her entire 20 months...It just kind of happened that way, for some reason--but definitely not on purpose
That mom who was hoping when my mom put my baby down for bed last night that she'd at least cry for a mili second and ask for me :-)  

She didn't.  I listened for 20 minutes over the baby monitor as my mom sang and hummed to Layla and then put her in her crib without even a tiny whimper...not even a little tiny "mama"
I told mom when she came back downstairs that I was 80% happy that Layla went down so easy without me but 20% sad...maybe its more of a 90-10 split..but you get the point.  Holding on tight and letting go at the same time...strange concept.

TODAY Layla and I went out to buy new fall/winter shoes.  This was our third shoe hunting trip in two weeks.  Here is a little taste of shoe shopping with my fashionista Layla and a mommy who chokes on making a decision when overwhelmed with choices.  Layla ran around the store picking up the TACKIEST shoes she could find...Pepto pink, glittery boots with pink furry pom poms--pink, purple and teal sparkly shoes with lights--do you get the idea--and brought them all to me.  I had to put each shoe on her little foot as she marched around the store excited about her "new shoes".  She had the shoe ladies ROLLING with laughter.  I hated to break it to her so harshly...I mean...she's only a toddler.  BUT I told her that mommy could not afford to buy her the BEAUTIFUL plain brown mary janes AND the very nice pink furry boots.  We'd have to pick one (picture mommy holding up the brown shoes with a look of excitement on my face--DID NOT WORK).  She looked at me...said "no" (very matter of fact) to the plain brown shoe and ran to the front of the store with her pink glitter furry boots AND the box.  In retrospect, I should have bought the pink furry boots--I mean in the grand scheme of things, who really cares as much as Layla does about her own shoes.  I didn't--really. BUT I did not make a single purchase.  All of the sudden Rack Room became like K&W with all the choices and decisions...I froze...and decided it best to leave, collect myself and return again for trip number 4 :-)

Sweet little Layla and her flair for fashion.  I was quite surprised that she didn't make a peep when we put both shoes back and left the store empty handed.  YAY..public tantrum avoided! She did talk about shoes..all the way home.  So please, if you see my child running around with awful pink boots and say...a red shirt...really, just tell her how much you love her shoes.  HA!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Practice Practice Practice

**UPDATE:  Dad and I completed 16.6 miles last night (Friday)...we thought we'd increase our long run pace a little...but when all was said and done, we'd ran 16.6 miles at race pace--and it didn't feel that difficult.  I'm sore this morning...sore like crazy, sore.  But, HOLY COW I am so proud of us!  16.6 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes...YAY!  Boston Marathon here we come.  

WELL...I have officially taken a weeks worth of random pictures--mostly of Layla but I have quite a few of my lamp...artificial flowers...a bug??  Layla has ran around for the better part of the week saying "cheese" at every little black box that she sees.  It was quite humorous when she "cheesed" for a lady's black cell phone at the grocery the other day.  She's also started gasping with excitement when she hears the camera click!  So funny.  She's such a good mirror for my reactions--reminds me I better watch my attitude double time since she's picking up on everything.  

Layla in her little tutu--she loves that little tutu...wears it ALL day

SO yeah...I have my third wedding with dad this weekend and I couldn't be more excited if I tried.  I don't know how dad does it...waiting a whole week to get out there and get his game on.  It was only Tuesday and I was up at 3am thinking about the wedding this weekend.  I really think I've stumbled upon something that seems so unlikely..but something that I actually love and am developing a passion for--and something that actually makes money--as opposed to running which has been a debit since I started (cue Disney fairy tale music....or maybe I'll get a sponsorship...ahhhhhh...nice...Asics maybe--Nike???). 

Finally...speaking of running...
Dad and I did a tempo run on Wednesday--3.5 faster miles between a warm up and cool down.  Our plan was to do the faster miles at a little less fast than race pace (8:20 per mile)--say around 8:30 a mile.  After the second fast mile,  I was thinking...hummm....not as easy as I thought it would be.  Dad and I neglected to actually go out and mark miles on the we were doing a best guess.  When we finished and plugged in the numbers we found out that we were running 7:23 miles!!!  So 8:20 should feel like a breeze, right?  We'll see next week as we add on another mile to the fast 3.5 :-).  Tonight we'll head out and do another 16.5 miles at a slightly faster pace before gearing up for the last BIG push.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Theory of Exposure...Theory of Speed

Okay so I visited my dad today for my first of what will be VERY MANY learning sessions.  

Layla and I got up this morning...I had my coffee, she had her milk..and we headed out to my parent's house for breakfast and (1)photography school for mommy (2)botany school for Layla.  Dad and I shut ourselves away in the basement with the camera while mom took Layla away to talk about flowers.  Dad walked me through the basic theory of exposure...aperture, shutter speed and ISO (which is a film term--still used in the digital age--to indicate how sensitive the film is to light).  It was so interesting to learn the "science" behind what makes a technically good photo.  One of the things I've always admired about my father's work is that he is so technically precise...his photos were spot on even before Photoshop became so widely used.  I still think he's an "old soul" when it comes to photography and I LOVE IT!  Sorry for digressing...back on topic...

We also talked about how to know when to use a flash based on my shutter speed...AND probably more important than anything on the technical laid the foundations for how to operate the camera on a manual setting.  YIKES!  Don't they have automatic for a reason?  HA!  Dad convinced me that what can make or break a photo is knowing how and when to tweak things manually.   Ultimately, I should be in control of what the camera is doing, not the other way around.

I read this today in one of dad's books and it described my dad's philosophy perfectly 
"In reality, what makes someone a good photographer is not a special lens, or a limited-production film, or a rare filter known to no one else (or a photoshop "action"); it is the use of good photographic technique and a thorough knowledge of exposure control."  I guess that's why dad does all he can to make sure that I KNOW good technique by not allowing my camera to make all my decisions.

Then, we talked a little about composition as we reviewed some of my pictures from the wedding this weekend.  There were some moments I felt really proud and some where I sort of felt silly.  I am so excited to be able to fire away with the camera some this week. download my images and look for the things we talked about.  So, I'll probably be shooting a lot of randomness this week, but that's how I'll learn. dad is such a good teacher.  I don't even feel slightly overwhelmed...quite the contrary.  I feel like today brought a lot of clarification to that strange little camera.  It opened my world up to more than just the automatic setting--albeit  only marginally for the time being.  This is just so exciting!  I really haven't been this excited about something outside my family and running since I learned how to make Eggs Benedict from scratch :-)

SO finally...we walked upstairs and found Layla in the kitchen with was telling her the scientific names of all the flowers they picked while Layla would give each one the sniff test.  On the way home, Layla was quietly looking out of her window when she all of the sudden SHOUTED....'ahhh ohhhhhh Nana"  followed by a big, huge sniff.  I realized that we forgot the flowers she picked with Nana.  We immediately called Nana to ask her to bring them over tomorrow when she comes to visit...which I thought would be satisfactory.  Wrong.  Layla went down for her nap telling her bunnies about how she left her flowers at Nana's...which I am assuming reminded her of Beau because I heard her telling him "no" over the monitor.  SO FUNNY to catch little glimpses of what goes through that little head of hers!  

Not much to say and I did speed work last night...we averaged 8:18 mile repeats and finished our last mile repeat in 7:36, despite the wind blowing HARD for about 3/4 of our run.  That's right guys--the wind somehow blew right in our faces for about 300 of our 400 meter laps!  How is that possible?  I spent the better part of the first two miles trying to figure it out, but never came to a conclusion.  I did have several moments of clarity with regard to the crazy wind--(1) the force with which my feet propel me forward on a rubber track is slightly mitigated by strong head wind and (2) snot dries on the side of my face relatively quickly when I'm running...cold...and running in a cold wind.  HOWEVER, (3) I do feel like dad and I are now capable of posting our 8:20 miles to qualify for Boston--despite the wind and snot.   We did great last night! 

Monday, September 22, 2008


As I wrote in my last post, this weekend I had the pleasure of working with my dad on a wedding...and like the title says...I think I'm addicted!  I had so much fun, I never looked at my watch and I definitely didn't want to leave.  

This is the thing...I have always loved watching people.  I used to visit airports (pre 9/11) to sit and watch people getting off the planes. I loved taking note their faces when they would see the familiar faces of their loved ones.  I like the rawness of peoples' emotions when they haven't a clue that someone is watching.  And there is something to be said about seeing people interact with those they love...its the one place people tend to relax and let everything out.  Shooting the wedding with dad this weekend reminded me of how much I am intrigued by people.  I know it sounds kind of strange to say, but it was a THRILL to see people through the lens.

SOOOO...I've attached three of the pictures that I took on Saturday.  I'm sure dad will have more on his blog at some point.  Lizzy and Alan (the bride and groom) were so sweet.  One thing I couldn't get over was how Alan could NOT keep his hands off of Lizzy.  He was constantly touching her hair...pulling at her veil...sneaking kisses.  Even when dad was lining up the guys for some pictures, Alan could hardly pay attention for staring at his beautiful bride.  One of the pictures below shows him watching her.  Dad was taking some pictures of Lizzy alone and I noticed Alan looking at her with the look of pure elation on his face...that was the look on his face through the entire ceremony and reception.  There was no posing in that picture.  That's the way it should be (not the lack of posing..but Alan's obvious adoration of his bride--the love of his life)!  It made me miss my husband--I just wanted to run home and kiss him...

HA--and yes...I had to fight to hold back tears during the father/daughter dance.  I ALWAYS bawl during those dances.  So embarrassing!  Her daddy was just so stinking sweet...and quiet.  So I'm standing there shooting away and I look across the floor and see my dad....HELLO...I was holding back the Hoover Dam out there!  I think the mother saw a tear, because we made eye contact and she gave me one of those knowing smiles that only moms can give.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

chatter box child is seriously talking now and its not Chinese!  It is so exciting!  She adds new words to her vocabulary every day --yesterday she enjoyed saying "water" "whoa" "wow" and "work, dadDY" all afternoon and then threw in her own name periodically.    It has to be one of the cutest things in the world to watch a child learn to talk.  So SWEET!

She's also required a new bed time ritual as of late.  Layla has ditched some of her favorite books in favor of mommy telling her stories.  Keep in mind..I am NOT a very good story teller.  I guess the funniest part of the night night stories is that Layla has to cue me in when I leave out details and it is HILARIOUS!  Two nights ago, I was telling a story about her friends, Elliot and Lucy (which are two of her new favorite words) at the park.  She sat up in my lap, looked me in the eyes and corrected me that "yay ya" (Layla) should be at the park as well.  Last night, I left Papa out of the story...SHAME SHAME mommy!  

But the biggest story of the week is this...
Last night as I was finishing up our night night story, I leaned over to Layla and whispered that I love her...something I do so much that it probably drives her bonkers.  She looked up at me and did her best impression of a whisper and said, "aye yuv yuuuu".  Yep...that's I love you in toddler speak.  I can't put words on my feelings at that very moment.  So we sat in her rocking chair and exchanged back and forth "I love  yous" for 5 minutes.  I felt weightless for the rest of the 5 minute conversation with Layla last night has to be in the top 5 biggest and most special times in my life so far.  

OKAY so on to running...this will be pretty short and sweet.
Dad and I have started speed work at the track on Wednesday evenings.  Yesterday we finished up our last interval with these splits...
4-7:34 MILE

For those of you doing the math...that last lap was FAST--for me at least, especially after already doing mile intervals.  Dad actually said that he things I can go faster and push harder.  The strange thing is that I believe him and am excited to feel that burning in my legs and my lungs.  Yesterday...on that last mile...I really knew I was alive.  I was focused on the rhythm of my breath and could feel my legs were doing some major work.  I am waiting on next Wednesday with so much excitement.  I love Wednesdays and Saturdays...I love the feeling of being pushed to the extreme.  I love giving myself a "gut check" and passing.

Okay and and I have been tossing the idea around for awhile now, but I've been a afraid to commit...I finally did and...DA DA DA DAAAAAAAAAAAA I am shooting my first wedding with dad on Saturday.  Whew...deep breath Lindsey.  DEEP BREATH.  I'm nervous and anxious...but am excited that dad invited me into another little part of his world with him.  It'll be fun.  Perhaps I should wear a in obscure terms...maybe throw in some random French phrases here and there and I'll look like a pro.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Discipline-not to be confused with denying myself chocolate cake in massive amounts

Dad and I had a great run today.  We started at 5am to avoid the heat (and to make certain he could make it to Bradyn's soccer game at 9:30) and it was BEAUTIFUL.  At one point, it was so quiet that dad said he felt like the rapture had taken place--good thing it didn't or we'd be in a very tight spot :-)

We've been hanging out at 16.5 miles for the past two weeks so that dad can map out the rest of our plan for conquering Charlotte and qualifying for Boston.  I know that we will eventually run 26.2 miles in preparation for Charlotte..but we'll do them much much much slower than on race day.  We also talked about doing a 16.2 mile run at some point that is at race pace--YIKES!  I guess that's the magic number for a run being long enough to prep our bodies and minds but short enough not to lower our performance in Charlotte.  All this planning....crazy!

Okay in case you all were starting to miss my "things I learned" section...its back.  I are welcome :D
Things I Learned While Running Today:
(1) Gu Roctane is the jam.  That stuff is AMAZING! It has an amino acid blend that actually slows the lactic acid build up in your muscles (the stuff that make your muscles burn and your limbs feel SUPER heavy).  Plus, it comes in blueberry flavor which is pretty good by "gel" standards.  I know I've already sang the praise
s of Gu...but you really can't beat the Roctane
(2)  Long hills actually feel pretty darn good on long runs.  Yeah, I said it.  I think it must have been all the hill repeats that make just one or two hills in a row seem like a cake walk (speaking of cake...I believe I might..chocolate...with chocolate icing).  
(3)  I've been working a lot on bringing discipline to several areas of my life--obviously not in the areas that effect cake consumption--one I continue to struggle with is knowing when and how to keep my comments to myself.  I'm doing a pretty good job of it today (baby steps, right?).  I've already kept my mouth shut TWICE...even though I felt like I had some wisdom to impart...HA!  Those of you who know me well should be very proud.
(4)  Make note of this...PLEASE make note of this.  At about 16 miles, dad informed me that we had been running the last mile at race pace and that we should feel, on race day, like we did at that very moment--as far as our breathing and talking pattern go.  
Let me back up...I asked him on Wednesday during speed work if we would be able to have   our normal conversations on race day.  He informed me that we'd probably be breathing to heavy and focusing too much on the run to really talk.  WHAT?  Everything suddenly became much clearer.  December 13th is not going to be a long easy run...who was I kidding. We are going to run our legs oh man am I excited!  Seriously...I can't wait. finished up his thing about our breathing rhythm with the following, "but I don't really know about you.  You are in as good of shape as me now...maybe even better." NOT true, but I'll take it.  Thanks for the encouragement dad...that was a very nice thing to say :-)

I'm closing with a picture of my sweet Layla...she has started really hamming it up for the camera.  Neil and I are trying so hard to teach her the "senior picture pose".  I think she's starting to get the hang of it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Restraint--Layla's showing it..should I?

Two days and no hitting!  I know we aren't out of the woods just yet...but it was so interesting to see Layla start to use some self-control.  That notion must be so foreign for her (must be nice).  I could see that strong desire to hit go straight across her little face...I would brace myself for a battle of wits with an 18 month old...and then WHEW...she put her little hands down and shook her head "no".   So she's learning a very important life lesson and I am so thankful that I am the one teaching her...restraint...and self control...those are hard ones!

She also is now convinced that only her Papa changes her diaper...despite the fact that I change almost all her diapers?  Strange.  Today, she made a yucky and then ran to find my phone, brought it to me, opened it and said "papa" while grabbing her diaper.  So dad...looks like you have a very lucrative career as a professional diaper changer.  You definitely made an impression on little Layla. funny.  Layla has also woken up nearly every morning for the past 3-4 days saying "Nana...Papa....Beau....NO!" (which is Layla speak for nana and papa have a new puppy, Beau.  He bites at my feet and nana tells him "NO BEAU!")  I wonder if she's dreaming about Beau or something?  It is certainly the first thing on her mind in the morning.

FINALLY...I purchased her little Halloween costume and it is so cute.  I was considering a piglet costume, but the hood looked really REALLY heavy and uncomfortable.  SO I opted for a flower costume.  She has little green and pink striped tights that go with it, but I haven't put the whole thing on her yet.  She really found the "hat" to be quite I'm thinking I made a good choice.  PLUS, I figured this would be my last Halloween to dress her completely ridiculous and cute, so I'm taking advantage of it :-)  She happens to be quite SMITTEN with her daddy right now so she insisted he be in the picture.  I feel so incredibly blessed to see the two of them together--two peas in a pod.

Tonight is my first stab at speed work.  I'm excited but kind of nervous.  I guess I just don't know what to expect.  It should be fun though...and it'll be nice to have my dad with me while doing lap after lap around the track.  Natasha, dad and I did a 10 mile run last night so it'll be interesting to see how my muscles have recovered from my long run on Saturday...a 5.5 mile run on Monday...10 on Tuesday AND then speed work tonight.  Am I doing too much?   Should I be working on showing some restraint?  Guess I'll know in about 5 hours :-)

AND I have to give kudos to Natasha for doing so well last night!  She was sick with a yucky cold but still did 10 miles without even the first complaint.  Good job Tasha!  I'm so proud of you and excited to have had an hour and a half of YOU time last night.  I am so blessed....SO SO SO blessed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good morning Hanna and I finished up a short little 16.5 mile run today.  We got started about 7am and were DRENCHED by 7:05am.  I think both of us were a little worried that the wind would pick up,  along with the rain, at somewhere around 12 miles.  SO even though we planned on doing a 12 mile run with 6 miles in the middle at near race pace...we opted to wait on that and just to stay close to downtown (just in case the rain tried to wash us away).  

FORTUNATELY...despite dad's and my musing about how, after commenting about the rain not being too bad,  God may want to surprise us by piling on the rain and wind--you know, to see if we were up for the challenge....the rain let up after about 7 miles.  Though our feet were still squishy and our clothes were drenched, we enjoyed a nice finish to our run.  No hot rain...just clouds and some traffic.  It was a perfect day to run and we were both so happy that we risked looking like complete nut jobs for a couple of miles to enjoy a great day on the road.

I added to play list to sum up our run...we started with crazy rain...then wind...then beautiful skies.  What a defiantly deserved its own play list.  Hopefully I can keep up with it and change it periodically :-)  We'll see.  

OH btw...Neil and I have attempted to start using a chair for Layla when she is disobedient.  I really thought she was the type of child who would do well with that sort of "punishment".  HA...sadly mistaken.  After being put in her chair just once for hitting, she proceeded, later in the day, to hit her Harvey bear and THEN place herself in the chair---sitting quietly with her eyes closed.  I had to make a very quick exit because was laughing hysterically.  Aye Aye Aye....back to the drawing board. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Not a lot to talk about today...but I wanted to share two links..

I think I'm going to add her to my list of people with whom I'd like to run.  Can you imagine the conversation!?

Layla and I went to my parents on Monday so that I could do a 7 mile run with Natasha (and mom could keep Layla).  On the way over to mom and dad's, I noticed Layla had her little foot slung over the side of her car seat with her pant leg hiked up.  For some reason, it struck me as funny...SO I looked back at her and stated the obvious:

Mommy:  Look at you.  Your pant leg is all hiked up.  Ha ha ha ha!
Layla:  I know.  (NOTE:  the tone in her voice was HILARIOUS--completely matter-of-fact--not even a little TINY smirk on her face).
Mommy:  What??
Layla:  I know.

Needless to stay, I spit coffee out all over the place and laughed uncontrollably while Layla continued to chant, "I know, I know, I know."  She said the same thing that afternoon when I told her that mommy needed to peel the apple before she ate it because she may choke..."I know, I know."  Its very odd that she uses that phrase correctly.  She seems like such a big kid when she says it.

Dad took some pictures of Layla on Monday and they turned out SO sweet (for those of you keeping number two).  

Tonight dad and I will face our last hill repeat session!  I am so excited.  I'm excited about seeing progress and I'm excited to move on to speed work at the track :-)  

Monday, September 1, 2008

King Midas I have to brag on my very smart and gifted husband for just a minute or two :-)

Most of you may already know that he is a very talented musician.  He's absolutely amazing...he writes...he plays...he sings.  He's my own personal Bob Dylan (except MUCH MUCH MUCH nicer on the ol' peepers).  

WELL, my Neil William is also amazing with his two little hands in another way.  He is able to imagine...and then work wood into the most extraordinary pieces of furniture--or art, as I like to think of it, because he puts so much of himself into every single piece.  We recently had to purchase a new computer--our 8 year old Mac finally went down the tube--which required us to find a place for said computer.  Neil decided to make a small desk in our living area--a desk that warped into a full on entertainment center/bookshelf/humidor...with leaded glass and lights that have three levels of brightness (NOTE: for those of you who have a clue about home improvement project, please forgive my kindergarten way of describing Neil's work).  WOW, I am so proud of our new living room...and BEYOND proud of Neil.

Neil has the Midas touch.--I've never seen him fail at anything.  He reminds me of that guy on Meet the Parents--Owen Wilson's know..the way he does EVERYTHING with ease and perfection.  That's my Neil William.  I am just in awe of how much talent lives in his little body.  Watch out world...he's going big time with 
something...sometime...someday.  I'm just giving ya'll the heads up :-)  

And yes...those are all MY books.  I've read them each--probably twice (esp the really thick ones)--wink wink

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I have a TON to write today and am struggling with how to put my thoughts together without really confusing you guys.  Sorry--in advance--if I lose anyone :-)

First...blankie number two is NOT working.  In fact, Layla responded to blankie number two by stepping on it...blowing her tongue at it..and then "fading" it (for those of you who haven't witnessed at Layla fade--its her way of giving the cold shoulder and its HILARIOUS!).  So...back to the drawing board, I guess.

Second...she has just clearly said "Jesus" and it has got to be what angels sound like when they say His name!  It is the absolute sweetest thing I have ever heard.  She must think it pretty strange that I keep asking her to say it.  I think I should probably make a recording of it :-)

Dad and I busted through the 20 mile mark today. was not an easy run with the temperature getting hotter and more humid.  The first part was actually very nice, but by the 15th mile it was starting to really heat up.  I find that the hardest thing about running in the heat is staying well hydrated.  It seems like when I wait to long to drink, the sports drinks just slosh around in my belly and cramp my stomach up.  Nice!  Dad was very patient with me, though.  I hardly said two words during the last 1.5 miles.  I think it took every single drop of mental energy to focus on my form and not letting myself go my conversation with dad completely STOPPED.  He started trying to talk to me with less than a mile left and all I could muster were some "uh huhs" and maybe even a little grunt or two..HA!  Poor dad.  After today's run, I went home and spent some time with Layla before her nap and then I grabbed my hoodie and hot tea and made my way into a nice COLD ice bath.  Good times.

We did talk about a few things today that really made me find a new admiration for my dad.  Somehow we found ourselves on the topic of living with regret--and I still don't know exactly how.  Dad was telling me about a conversation he had with one of his friends about a new photographer who has busted on the scene and is charging upwards of $20,000 per wedding--I know...CRAZY!  But I think the conversation between dad and the other guy was about whether or not dad regretted not being the first to the gate with that guy's idea.  Dad informed me (although I already knew this about him) that he has always been the type who works very hard and very efficiently...but doesn't have the desire to climb any sort of  "ladders to success".  I told dad that my thought was that there are two types of people:
(1) People who label success via worldly standards and as such, are terrified of living with regret
(2) People who label success via Godly standards and can't quite comprehend that fear of living with regret.  I am so proud to say that my dad very nicely fits into this category as evidenced by the way he will drop EVERYTHING to chase make believe dinosaurs with Bradyn, watch Layla just be Layla and listen to me ramble about something probably meaningless.  I couldn't be prouder.  I think making your daughter as proud as dad has made me should--in someone's book--qualify as a success, right?

Its interesting... Neil and I have gotten a lot of encouragement (and advice) about Nashville and the decision that we'll have to make.  I've heard from at least a few very well-meaning people that they would "hate for us to have to live with regrets".  And I was astounded.  Regret over something so temporary?  Regret would be missing the opportunity to see Layla really KNOW Jesus as her Saviour, not deciding to stay here (or going there) because that's where God leads us.  I guess I just can't wrap my brain around making a decision because I don't want to live with regret?  Its just a little weird for me.  I do think there is such a freedom in knowing that as long as I'm--WE'RE--consulting God--we'll look back on life and the decisions we made and be pretty stinkin satisfied.  Different strokes for different folks though, I guess :-)

This whole little dissertation on regret (or lack of it) lead dad and I on to the final serious topic of the run--HA--before I flaked out on him.  It kind of relates...a little?  At least it seemed like it did several miles into our run.  

While I was running at the beach several weeks ago, I passed this MASSIVE house.  In the front yard was a sign that read, "Private residence, not for rent."  HA!  The sign was HUGE.  It was almost as if the owners were saying that even if they stayed in the house for one week out of the year, they were still so loaded with sweet moola that they didn't need to rent it out.  I caught myself thinking...'hummm...must be nice."  I was already a little way down the street--and picking out furniture for my new MASSIVE beach house--when I heard a very quiet voice say "but I can take it all away in a moment".  WOW...I was completely humbled by God in a matter of two seconds.  God so nicely reminded me of that again as I started to feel just a little too proud of my running accomplishments.  AND I was reminded of it the other day--I won't go into the specific circumstance, but know that he did LOUD AND CLEAR.  Not really sure what's going on--or what craziness He may be preparing me for????  Maybe God's just bringing some things to my attention--trying to help me stay focused on my priorities and what is important.  Strange--it just seems like one of those molding and shaping principles that we are working on.  Maybe I'm reading into it WAY to much.  I tend to do that.......often :-)

For those of you who made this far...CONGRATS.  You all must be very patient or bored...or both.

Enjoy the weekend.    

Thursday, August 28, 2008

poor blankie...

Hooray!  One more week of hill repeats on the book.  Last night's were AMAZING!  I felt like dad and I were flying...and I think we were.  Our last hill (the big one) was fifteen seconds faster...which is a significant increase when you talk about running a hill.  And dad said I am started to recover after each hill faster and more efficiently!  YAY for progress.  I continue to be amazed at how thoughtfully and perfect God made our little bodies.  Last night dad and I ran for a little over an hour with 10 hill repeats sandwiched in between a warm up and cool down run.  Dad and I joked on the way back to our cars that we really could have done hills all night, but we didn't want our friend, hill, to get tired of us.  HA!  

Can I just say...switching gears a little...that we have had a four alarm emergency in the Broere house in the past 24 hours.  Layla's MUST HAVE blankie is starting to shred at a rapid pace.  At first glance yesterday, it was barely splitting at the seams (so we drove to Winston to unsuccessfully find a replacement) and by nap time, it was completely ripped down the middle...YIKES!  So I got out a needle and thread and made some quick stitches while my patient Layla looked on.  I informed her that her blankie had some ouchies that mommy had to fix--and she proceeded to kiss it over and over!  AND the award for super husband/daddy goes to Neil...he actually finished up stitching the blankie while I started dinner.  Such a wonderful and talented man.  I wish I had taken a picture of him sitting on the couch with a needle and thread and pink blankie on his lap.  SO CUTE!

SO I searched relentlessly yesterday afternoon and last night for a replacement and after no success ANYWHERE was informed that the blankie I am searching for is also used by scientolotot Suri Cruise.  What in the world!?!  So I've put in my order with a local baby store in Winston and in the mean time am going to try to substitute a satin and velvet blankie?  Same company...same color...slightly different blankie (the current one has a chenille backing --which Layla doesn't seem to like at all so maybe I'm safe?).  Neil suggested I get the same velvet, chenille, satin blankie but in a different color...I'm unsure.  I think the color would really make Layla upset..but we'll see.  Daddy may be right on this one.

Here's a pick of mommy and daddy's handy work.  You can see from the picture that the blanket has actually started peeling back at the satin seams.  Should I be avoiding the dryer with the next one?

I'll keep ya'll updated.