Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Next?

For my running, that is.

Hmmm.  First, I read so much about the post-marathon blues.  I did not get any.  None.  After the marathon, I felt good.  I will admit, I was disappointed with my performance and know I could have pushed myself and done so much better, but other than that, I had no let down.  I think it was because I had so much to catch up on around the house, that I had no time to think about the fact that the marathon was over.

I have had people ask me if I feel different now that I have completed a marathon.  Truthfully, I do not.  There are moments, when I just stop and think, "I cannot believe I am a marathoner.", but other than that, I do not feel any different. 

I am running again and this is the first week that I am back up to higher mileage again.  It feels good.  I was sore for the first week and, after most runs and workouts last week, I was so sore.  I could only attribute it to the fact that I was still recovering.

I am running with the Zooma ladies on Saturdays.  (Haven't registered for Zooma Annapolis yet?  Go do it now!  You will not regret it!

And on May 22, I am running the Run for the Dream half marathon (my hubby and J are running the 8K the day before, and A and K are running in the kids' races).  I would really like to PR at this half.  So, I need to work on speed.  For the past several months I have only focused on endurance.  I would like to get a bit faster too.  Being like a turtle is nice and all, but I would like to get faster.

So, speed work here I come.

And, I will be wearing these for my shorter runs now that the weather is nicer!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marching Through Time

I am very behind on blogging.  After running the marathon, I had so much to catch up on before Easter.  Then Holy Week hit and I did not want to blog.  And now, this Sunday is J's first Communion!!  So please excuse my sporadic posts!

Two weeks ago we went to a local event called Marching Through Time.  It was an encampment that had renactors from 1st Century Roman times all the way to the modern wars.  It was amazing and a paradise for my boys who love all things history.  I am fascinated by these things as well.  Each reenactor knows so much about the time period they are reenacting.  I love to soak up any knowledge I can from them.  They know more and can explain the time period in a way that no history book can.

So, without futher ado, here are the pictures from the weekend:

In Barbarian armour:

K fell over shorty after this picture was taken!  The chainmail weighed more than he does!

Struggling to hold up the shield

Barbarian J
 Medieval Times:

Hubby learning about field of vision in Knight's helmet


Ladies of the court

J learning to shoot a long bow

15th Century

The littlest squire

Chainmail is now lighter!

A Pirate, I mean, Privateer:

World War II:

Not sure what war these soldiers were from:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Zooma Women's Race Gear Giveaway Winner!

The winner, picked my is #28, Jen at Why I Run.  Jen, check your email!

And for those who did not win, I have a Gratitude Giveaway going on with great items. Go check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Gratitude Giveaway!

Melody at Blossoming Joy had a great idea to host a Gratitude Giveaway, well I have decided to join her in hosting a Gratitude Giveaway. 

I feel as if I have so much to be thankful for and the items that I have choosen for the giveaway are a reflection of the blessings in my life and the things that have helped me to grow spitiually and physically as well.

1.  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voaskamp
Have you seen my lists of a thousnad gifts on my blog?  Well, they orginate from Ann's blog A Holy Expereince.  And this book is about how giving thanks and finding the gifts in each moment can affect your life and your relationship with God.  This book and listing the gifts in the moment has really helped me to become so much more thankful and happier.  It is a must read book!  I loved this book and would love to share it with one of you!

2. Lena, at JOYfilled Family blog, and soon to be Esty shop of JOYfilled Creations (do not worry, I will let you all know as soon as it opens!), has graciously designed and made a glass tile necklace for one of you readers.  Since running has been such a big part of my life lately and has been so intertwined with my spiritual journey, Lena made this great "RUN" necklace:

The tile comes on a silver plated bead chain and will be placed in a gift bag just for you!
Please go to Lena's blog to see more of her beautiful tile necklace creations here and here and here!

3. And finally,
The "Hail Marys aren't just for football" wicking t-shirt!  This shirt was designed by a great bunch of women and they even have a new one coming out soon too!  Mama's Moving with Mary is an inspirational group of women and proceeds from the sales of the shirts goes to the Run the Race Club.  I gave a full review of the shirt and the Mamas' mission here.

I love this shirt so much that I wore it for my first marathon!  And I got several compliments on it from other runners!

To enter:
(1) Leave a comment on this post stating which of the items you would like to win.  You may choose one, two, or all three!  Remember, you do not have to have a blog to enter, just leave a way for me to get in touch with you if you do win.

Extra entries:
(2) Follow my blog
(3) Spread the news of this giveaway!  You can Facebook it, Tweet, or Blog about it! (You can use the lovely little buttons at the bottom of the post to do that!)  You can get one entry for each way you spread the news, which means you have three extra chances right here!

The giveaway will end Friday April 29, 2011 at midnight (because Holy Week and Easter are in there).  If you win one of the items, you will not be entered to win another, that way I can spread the love a little more!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Marathon Day

Warning: Long Post!

So I was off and running in my first marathon, the Garden Spot Village Marathon.

But, first a little background:
Before the start of the race.

As I got closer to the National Marathon (the marathon I orginally registered for), I started to set some goals.  The first, was I wanted to run a sub-5 hour marathon and come as close to 4:30 as possible.  I had no doubt, that with the right conditions, course, and remaining injury free that I could do it.  Two weeks before the National Marathon, I developed the IT band issue, which you have heard me mention, over and over again, and I knew that that changed everything.  Plus, I had now tapered for a full month and one week of that taper I did NOTHING.  No running. No crosstraining. Nothing.  Plus, I was not smart about my taper. I ate as I had been eating at my peak mileage weeks.  Eating lots of calories and exercising less = weight gain.  I was not going into this marathon at top form.

So, I revised my goals and how I would run the marathon.  First, I had no time goal.  I just wanted to finish.  And I wanted to enjoy the marathon.  I wanted to really let myself experience it and not worry about the clock.  And, I did not want my IT band to act up.  In order to do that, I decided that I would stick to the Jeff Galloway method of 4 min run/1 min walk NO MATTER WHAT.   And, I would walk down EVERY downhill so as not to aggravate my IT band.

Back to the marathaon:

Waving good-bye to my boys as I started the race.
The first mile was good.  I hit the 1 mile marker and thought, ok 1 mile down without pain.  I was doing my run/walk intervals and was around many people who must have been on the same run/walk interval as myself.  An older man and his wife started talking to me because we had the same leg compression sleeves on.  I normally do not talk while running a race and would have just givven a nod and run faster, but I actually started a short converstaion with them.  Enjoy the race.

Miles 2 and 3 were fine.  There were inclines here and there, but I felt good.  I watched my Garmin closely to make sure I kept my overall pace (since I was run/walking) at around an 11 min/mile.  I had to slow down a few times, but that was it. It was also around mile 3 that I saw the first of many Amish families sitting outside, cheering on the runners as we passed. It was really cool.  Also, at this time, I noticed an older Amish gentleman with a marathon race bib attached to his back, running in the race.  I had seen a few younger Amish men at the start and though it was neat that they were running.  How did I know they were Amish?  Because they were in their normal dress: short sleeve button down shirt, brown dress pants, suspenders and hat.  Oh, yes, and the older gentleman was even wearing his normal shoes! I wondered what he thought of all the other runners, totally "geared out" (myself included).

As mile 4 began, we hit the start of "the hill."  The hill was really a series of steeper inclines separated by short straight-a-ways and even one down hill.  I made it up the longest portion of the hill and was happy it as over.  At the top of the hill was another Amish family waving to all the runners.  They had a cute little son, no more than 6 who was blowing a horn!  I waved and said hello.  Matter of fact, I waved and said hello to all the familes cheering us on.  I figured that if they were taking the time to come out and cheer us on, I could thank them by saying Hi back!

Then the down hill began and I walked it.  I made it down the hill successfully with no IT pain.  I was somewhere around mile 5 when I actually began to get optimistic that I could hit double digit miles without my IT band acting up.

Right around mile 6.5, we hit the steepest of the hills.  On this end of the race, it was a downhill. I had no choice but to walk it.  At mile 7, I saw my husband and the boys.  The boys ran with me a tiny bit.  It was at this point too, that the half marathoners turned around and headed to the fiinsh and the marathoners continued on.  Once the half marathoners were gone, it got quiet.  The rest of the runners were all pretty spread out now.  I was officilally at the "back of the pack". 

Miles 8-10 were pretty uneventful.  The only thing I really remember about these miles was an Amish boy in his front yard who offered everyone who passed a piece of gum.  He was there at mile 9 and I saw him again when I passed back through at mile 19.  Now, I do not know if there are runners who actually chew gum while racing, but there he was, holding out the gum saying "Would you like a piece of gum?"  When I saw him at mile 9, I just said no thanks and told him to have a great day, but when I passed him again at mile 19 and he was still out there, offering every runner a piece of gum (how many hours had he been out there????) I said yes and I took a piece! How could I say no?

I still was feeling good, and remarkably, my IT band was feeling great.  I was enjoying the scenery.  We were passing Amish farm after Amish farmer.  There were Amish boys fishing in a stream, and children going down the road on these bike-like scooters.  There were horse and buggies going down the street. I waved at every one.  We passed organic farms, vegetable farms, and dairy farms that sold ice cream (oh, how I wanted to go back to that farm to try their all-natural, homemade ice cream).  I ran passed fields that were dotted with cows, horses and sheep.  I ran passes a huge barn and looked inside and saw the prettiest Guernsey cow.  There were flowers blooming alongside the barns and the homes.  It was a beautiful run!

At mile 12 the course turned into a loop.  For several miles we had been going down roads where we could see marathoners, fast marathoners, who were already on their return trip to the finish.  But at mile 12 we split off that road to go on a loop.  I still felt good and was beginning to pass a few runners.  I stopped to help one woman who seemed to be in pain (her IT band was acting up!!), so I showed her a few streches and headed on down the road.  At mile 13, I thought, I am half way there

Mile 14 was my slowest.  I had to stop completely because a gnat flew into my eye and I could not get it out.  I also stopped at the water stop to use the port-a-potty, refill my water bottle, and eat my clif bar (I walk while eating . . . I still cannot eat and run).

Then, I mentally hit a "wall". Not the real "wall" that everyone talks about in marathons.  Physically, I felt fine. A little sore, but fine.  But, mentally I beagn to contemplate quitting.  I saw an ambulance around mile 15 and I thought about knocking on their window and telling them to take me back to the start.  I walked longer than scheduled. I just could not get back into a good groove.  I still passed a few runners, but my heart was just not into it.  I think it was beacuse, at this point, runners were so spread out that I really felt like I was running alone.  I kept telling myself, "Just hang on until you get to mile 17, you will only have single digits left."

And I think that worked.  I hit mile 17 and I said out loud,"Yes, only 9 more to go!"  Plus, after several texts to my hubby to tell him what mile I was at, we were finally able to connect and at mile 19 he drove up behind me.  It was SO GOOD to see them.  They drove up the to water stop just passed mile 20 and got out.  My hubby took my water bottle from me to fill it up so that I could continue through and "run" with my boys.

I saw them several times over the next 3 miles.  The drove to the top of "the hill" and waited for me.  They were cheering me on when I got to the top (I told my husband I would need them there!).  I waved and yelled, "It's all downhill form here!" I will be honest, at this point I felt great!  My legs were tired and I was sore, but I knew I was so close now.  I saw them one last time at the mile 23.5 water stop.  I only had 3 more miles to go!

A picture so you get an idea of the hills.  This was just one that we had to run up and down.  You know the phrase, "Went up hill both ways."  Well, that was this race!
It was also at this point that I knew I would not make it in to the finish under 4 hours.  Most of the race, I was ok with that fact, but by mile 23, I knew I was close, but not close enough.  And, I felt good enough that I knew I could have pushed it harder throughout the race to get into the finish under 5 hours, but not good enough to run fast enough in the last 3 miles to get in under 5 hours.  I was slightly up set, but determined to run the last 3 miles as hard as I could and to pass as many runners as I could.

Still Smiling at mile 23
I pumped Christina Aguilera's Fighter in my ears over and over again over the last strech and ran on!  When I hit the 26 mile mark, it finally started to hit me, "I am almost a marathoner." And, as I turned off the main road and into Garden Spot Village to the fininsh, I began to tear up.  My husband got pictures of me coming into the finish, but no one will see them . . . I look more like I am angry than filled with tears of joy!  I do not take good race photos AT ALL!

I ran though the finish, got my medal and looked at the boys and my hubby and said, "I am a marathoner."

Now, a few days later, I am still slightly sore.  My IT band,which did not act up AT ALL during the race, feels better than it has in weeks.  My quads are sore (those hills) and I struggle to get up and down the strairs at home, but other than that I feel GREAT!  And, I am already planning my strategy for the Marine Corps Marathon!

The Garden Spot Village Marathon was an amazing experience.  The course was tough (one marathoner wrote on the Garden Spot Village Marathon Facebook page that this was the most challenging course he has run, and he has been running marathons for 30 years!). But, everything else about the race was perfect.  The volunteers were amazing.  The water stops were well run and had anything a runner could want (water, gatorade, gels, gummies, pretzels and power bars).  And the scenery was beautiful. 

All in all, a great first marathon experience. Praise God!

PS: If you got yourself through this whole post, congratulate yourself and go enter my Zooma Running Giveaway that ends April 15th.  And look for my Gratitude Giveaway that will be posted in a few days!  You deserve something for reading all of this!

Monday, April 11, 2011


The day before the marathon was fairly busy.  The boys and I headed to co-op for just the first class (that I had to teach) and then we left early.  I wanted to go to the chiropractor one last time before the race and we had tons of packing to get done before my husband came home early so we could head to PA for the race.

By Friday afternoon, I was exited, but really nervous.  I have had IT band issues on and off over the past month and really tried to rest it by doing lots of cross training, but for some strange reason, it was hurting during regular activity.  For those who do not know what ITBS is: the IT band, is a tendon that runs from your hip to your knee.  If it becomes inflamed, it can work its way into the area of the knee cap, causing severe pain every time the knee cap hits the IT band (ie: every step you run).  I had it flare up in three different runs and had only attempted to run through it in one.  So, I had no idea what would happen if I tried to run through the pain for 26.2 miles. 

After my hubby got home from work, we packed up the car and left.  We went straight to packet pick up and the pasta dinner. I ate dinner, but truthfully, I was on edge.  I had heard so much about "the hill" during the race, that I wanted to, needed to see it before I ran it the next day.  I looked at the elevation chart, but truthfully, who can figure them out?  I looked at it and could not translate it into what I would see on race day.  So, after we ate, we drove the first 7 miles (and last seven, it is an out and back course) of the course so that I could see the hill.

Off we drove.  We got to an incline and my husband looked at me, "Is this the hill?"  I looked at the map and just shook my head.  We then proceeded to drive closer to the MOUNTAIN in front of us.  I guess I should have read the race description that said that the race took place in farm country at the foot of the Welsh Mountains.  What land is flat at the foot of a MOUNTAIN?  Oh, boy.

We drove further and began to drive a steady incline up into the mountains.  The boys were in the back of the van commenting on how beautiful it was and how cool it was that Mom (me) got to run here and get such a view of the town! Meanwhile, my stomach is churning and I was getting more and more nervous by the second. Then we got to the down hill.  Now, most people would think, "Oh, a downhill, Katie, you can run fast down that!"  But, all I saw was the possibility of each step going down the hill being excruciating (downhills are the worst for IT Band Syndrome, it is most painful going downhill).

By this time, I was practically in tears.  Fear was seizing me. And, I will be honest, I did not think I would even be able to get through the first 7 miles of the race, let alone the last 19.2.  The boys were still in the back of the van talking about how beautiful it was and how I was so lucky to be able to run it the next day!

We drove back to the hotel.  I told my husband, "You really need to pray for me."  We prayed, got the kids to bed. And, surprisingly, I slept well.

Race morning I woke up.  Ate an almond butter and honey sandwich in the bathroom (so as not to wake up the whole family), showered (yes, I shower before all races I run), taped up my IT band (and prayed that the tape would help) and got ready to head to the start. I also prayed that God may give me my boy's eyes during the race. The night before, I was so focused on the huge hill, the obstacle before me and all they could see was the surrounding beauty.  I wanted to run the race with their vision.  I did not want to be so focused on the obstacles of the 26.2 miles ahead of me, but rather the beauty around me.  So, I prayed to have their vision.

I am blessed to have an amazing husband who was willing to pack up the kids and go with me to the start.  I had told him that I needed them there at the start.  I was so nervous. We got there about 1/2 hr before the race would start and as we walked around, and I was amidst all the runners,  I started to get excited again and a bit emotional (OK, I teared up!).  I was about to embark on my first marathon.

About 5 min before the start, I lined up and headed to the back of the runners.  Most of the runners were running the half marathon (or were a part of a marathon relay team) and so they would be running a much faster pace, so I knew I would be one of the slowest there.

Before I knew it the horn blew and the pack of runners was moving.  I waved good-bye to my hubby and kids and set off on the journey of my first marathon.

To be continued tomorrow . . .

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gotta Run . . .

We are getting the car packed and ready to go to PA so I can run the Garden Spot Village Marathon tomorrow.  Are all first time marathoners this nervous? 

Please pray for me tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sometimes I wonder . . .

Sometimes I wonder if I am doing a good job with the boys.  I wonder if I am a good teacher.  Being a homeschooling mom can be hard.  And many days I just hope and pray that they are learning all that they need to learn.

And then, the most important thing, teaching them Faith.  Teaching them to love God. 

Just a few days ago, A was napping and K and J were outside playing.  I started washing the dishes and looked out the window to see this:

Can you guess what they are doing?  

How about now?
I wasn't so sure either when I was watching.  But, when I asked, they said they were playing the Stations of the Cross.  For, at least that day, in that hour, I thought I must have done something right at some point that they "play" the Stations of the Cross.

Here are the rest of the photos I took:
Jesus falls the second time and gets slightly distracted by something in the grass.

Jesus is nailed to the cross. (The boys secretly built that cross a few days before)

Jesus dies on the cross.
Jesus is taken down from the cross.
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Jesus is Risen!
Sorry for the absence of several of the stations.  I was asked to be Mary the Mother of God, Veronica, and the Women weeping, so I could not take pictures of those!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Race

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run is such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last,: but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.                              I Cor.9: 24-25

I got this video in an email from a friend.  I am sure it came from a blog post.  And, I am sure that this video has probably made the rounds before.  But, it is simply inspiring.  It reminds me to get back up again every time I fall, and to push forward with all I have.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Zooma Women's Race Series, a random fact and a giveaway!

Giveaway is now closed.

First, for the random fact: unless something changes between now and April 9th, I plan on running the Garden Spot Village Marthon! I am nervous and excited. I am going in with no expectations since I now have been tapering way too long, but I am hoping for a good first marathon. My IT band is still not too happy with me, so pray that it will be better before the marathon. It will be totally different from what I expected for my first, but I am looking forward to the smaller crowd of runners, running country roads, and getting passed by a horse and buggy!

A picture from last year's Garden Spot Village Marathon, courtesy of their Facebook page!
Second, I am surprised I have not shared this before, but I am a ZOOMA Annapolis Race Ambassador! I am thrilled to be apart of this fun team for this great race. I ran the Zooma Annapolis 10K last year and had lots of fun doing it, so I am excited to be able to help other women prepare for this race.
The Zooma Annapolis Ambassadors! These ladies are amazing!

The Zooma race series is designed specifically for women.  Here is a little information about Zooma from the website:
Imagine a powerful sea of women on the move--encouraging fellow runners and celebrating personal running triumphs. Picture a post-race party and expo all wrapped up in one memorable “after-party expo” where these strong goal-oriented women come together for well-deserved partying and pampering. This is ZOOMA Women’s Race Series presented by New Balance.

ZOOMA Women’s Race Series is an exciting new concept in women’s running that celebrates the power and beauty of all women.

◦Purpose is to promote women’s and girls’ health and fitness by encouraging them to participate in a challenging and fun running event
◦Pampering amenities and exciting entertainment with a “girls’ weekend” atmosphere
◦Inaugural event held in Annapolis, MD on June 1, 2008 attracted over 1,600 runners
◦ZOOMA welcomes both men and women to participate in all ZOOMA events.
◦2011 events will be held in Austin, TX, Annapolis, MD, Colorado Springs, CO, and Atlanta, GA

ZOOMA Women’s Race Series works with a charity partner in each city. 2011 charities include Team in Training, the world's first, best and largest charity sports training program; Got Your Back Network, a charity that connects with military families who have lost a parent or spouse while serving our country; and Wounded Warrior Project whose purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
I loved my Zooma Annapolis experience last year. There were post race massages, wine (YES!!!), a boxed lunch, as well as the typical post race foods, and even shopping! The race "medal" was a cute necklace that could be worn more than just after the race.

Some of the ambassadors at the Zooma Annapolis Kick off.
 Zooma Annapolis has three distances to cater to all women: the half marathon, a 10K and a 1.5 miler. Plus, there is a kids race to keep the kids entertained while mom is running! And, if you are in the area, we have training runs each weekend. They are free and lots of fun. You can check them out here.

And to celebrate the fact that I am an ambassador and soon to be marathoner, I have a fun Zooma running giveaway for you all!

What am I giving away (Thanks to Brae at Zooma and some of the generous sponsors of the race):

1. This cute grocery bag (I had one and loved it!):
2. A Zooma tee! (You pick your size)

3. Luna bars! Yummy!

4. Vanilla flavored GU! (Sorry, there were just two left!)

And since there were only two GUs left, I thought I would add:

5. 5 Clif Shots (Razz Berry Flavor)

6. Two Bondibands

7. Samples of FlexPower Pain relief cream (I LOVE this stuff!)

To enter:
1. Just leave a comment on this post!

For extra enteries:

1. Like Zooma Women's Race Series on Facebook
2. Follow my blog
3. If you are registered or will register for any Zooma Race of 2011
4. Shout it from the rooftops! Share this giveaway with all that you know via Facebook, Twitter, your blog or even email! (And just click one of the buttons below to share!)

Just leave a separate comment for each thing you do! Giveaway will end April 15th @ 12 midnight! And, you do not need to be a runner to enter. If you are not a runner and would just like some of the items in the giveaway, please enter. If you win, just let me know what you want and what you do NOT want and I will pick a second winner that I am sure would love to have some extra GUs for long runs!

Good Luck!