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...