Friday, March 30, 2012

Seven Quick Takes - The what's next edition and some added randomness

1. Race pictures . . .

I have never purchased race pictures before, but caved this time . . .
 I love the pictures with my boy!! 

2.  I have taken the last two weeks fairly easy.  Letting my body rest and formulating a plan.
 My plan:
- Running down to 3 or 4 days a week, adding speed work
- Cross training with a combination of Chalean Extreme and Insanity, and hitting the gym until I get rid of my membership

I have The Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon and the Frederick Half Marathon one week a part from each other in a month.  I would love to PR at one, but we will see how my body feels.  It seemed like it took me months to recover from my last marathon. So far I feel great running and am getting back up to speed.

3. Speaking of speed . . . I want to get faster. I have said that before.  I wrote a post about it last year at this time, but like I said in #2, I feel like my body handled this marathon better and I am recovering more quickly, so building speed may actually happen this year!

4. The weight of the issue.  
Building speed is not just about running faster and doing speed work.  The plain fact has stared me in the face for too long.  To run faster, I also need to reduce my weight.  I am about 10 lbs away from my ideal weight.  That is not a "racing weight" but more like a realistic weight that is closer to my racing weight.  I have read Racing Weight and do not feel I need to get down to my racing weight, as defined by the book.  I have spent the past two weeks just getting my eating back down to normal levels from the "eating more food than you think is humanly possible."  Next step, time to eliminate some of these unnecessary pounds.  Thanks to Colleen's great idea, I think I will add a tab to my blog to catalogue workouts and meals . . . I need the accountability. 

5. Last week I mentioned I wanted to run another marathon.  Well, this week I was so close to registering for a Charity team for the MCM (which is this October).  Luckily, logic and reason intervened.  I am not sure what I was thinking . . . I do want to run another marathon, but I do not think my body could handle another one this year.

6. Livin' like a college student . . . we have been staying up way too late this week.  Between researching ticks online (don't ask), reading and late night talks with my hubby, I have been up way too late each night this week.  Every morning my husband and I say, "Not again tonight." And each night we stay up til passed 11 PM.  I am officially tired and really need to get to bed early tonight!

7. One Thousand Gifts
I do not usually read a book more than once.  But, I am reading One Thousand Gifts again.  I started a book group that is reading it.  I have to admit, I love this book more the second time around.  There have been sentences that I have read this time and thought, "How did I miss that the first time?"  This really is a must read book.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Seven Quick Takes - random post marathon thoughts

1. Never say never (or at least, not again) - I said that. I said that the Shamrock Marathon would be my last.  I was wrong.  I had too much fun.  I am fighting the urge to find another one to run next Spring.  But, I promised my hubby that I won't.  Right now I am thinking 2014 may be a good year to run marathon #3.

2. I cannot wear shorts for a few more weeks.  I have the geekiest "runner's tan."  See this picture . . .

 and this picture . . .
Check out by my ankles

 Now imagine the strange tan lines I have.  Yep, no shorts for me!

3.  The Spibelt
It is hard to see, but it is that black thing around my waist under my bib.

I totally needed it.  My skirt (I made that skirt) and  the Aspaeris Shorts (the best compression shorts ever!) I wore had no pockets.  I am not the type of runner that likes to just "use whatever is at the water stops."  I like to be prepared with what I know works for me.  But, I will be honest, after about 5 miles of having to adjust that silly thing during each walk break, I wanted to throw it in the ocean!  If I use it again I am going to have to figure out how to keep it in place.

4.  Be thankful for all the blessings-
My 5 year old woke up in the middle of the night Tuesday night and spent the whole night with a "puke bucket" (Where did my kids learn to call it that????).  The only thing I kept thinking was, "Thank you Lord this is happening now and not before the marathon."  God really did make sure that our trip to VA beach was perfect!

5.  I mention that I ran a marathon this past Sunday at least once a day.  Even if it is only to my kids.  I do not think it is prideful, nor am I trying to be boastful or show off.  I am just so excited that I did it!

6. I am taking it easy this week and formulating a "what's next" plan.  I am working on planning workouts for the next several months.

7.  And now that the marathon is done, I am making a plan for a more structured eating change around here for the whole family.  I probably will not implement it until after Easter, but it is time for a change.  We eat well as it is. No  cereal.  No crackers and processed foods.  Lots of fruits and veggies.  Mostly organic.  But, there is still further I want to go.  And further we need to go . . . after a weekend of letting the kids eat whatever because we were on vacation, I can see how it affects them and how hard it is to get them back on track (My 3 yr old is still crying for crackers because he had some while in VA beach!).  I am really praying about doing the GAPS diet, or a combination of the GAPS diet along with some Paleo diet principles thrown in.  I am trying to figure out what is best for our family and what we need most.

That is it! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shamrock Marathon Race Recap

So, yes, Sunday I ran the Shamrock Marathon in VA beach. I went into the race weekend fairly relaxed.  I was, surprisingly, not that nervous about the race.  Unlike, my first marathon. Saturday, I walked all over with my family, ate well and stayed very hydrated.  I felt like I was doing everything I could to have a good race on Sunday.

I had no definite time goal or pace plan until Saturday either.  I really just wanted to PR, which I did not think would be hard to do.  I ran my first marathon in 5:08:10 on a very hilly course with an IT band issue that kept me running a very conservative pace.  Shamrock is FLAT, I had more miles under my belt and I was not injured.  I planned on maintaining a 10:50 pace (4:45:00 finishing time).

The marathon start was late, in my opinion; 8:30 AM (the half marathon started at 7AM and I think they wanted to give lots of time between the races so that the faster marathoners would not get stuck behind the slow halfers). Anyways, I woke up, took a shower (yes, I shower before spending 5 hours sweating!), and went down to get breakfast where I talked to some other marathoners.

Our hotel was about a mile away from the start, so I left the hotel at about 7:50AM and went to my corral.  Still, all this time, I was fairly calm!  And then we were off . . .

The first few miles were down Atlantic Ave and I ran past our hotel!  All my boys were out to cheer me on and I gave them hugs.  I was running about 30 sec. per mile too fast, but by the 4th mile I was able to slow myself down to my goal pace.

I won't bore you with a mile by mile re-cap.  I was feeling good during about 95% of the race and had fun.  Around miles 7 and 8 we ran through Camp Pendleton, a military reservation.  There were service men and women in their uniforms yelling, clapping and cheering us on.  I slowed down a little to high-five as many as I could.  So cool.

High-fives with my boy at mile 12
It was around mile 8 that I noticed a man and a woman, who had been doing a run/walk method too, run passed me again.  I noticed that we had been passing each other for miles.  So I decided to talk to them and ask them their goal time.  We started talking.  They said they were on track for a 4:30 marathon. I was shocked, because I knew I was running slightly faster than a 4:45 goal, but I did not think I was that close to a 4:30 marathon finish time.  They offered to let me run with them. We started chatting and I quickly found out that they were military and they homeschool!! How funny is that that out of 4,000 + runners, I start talking to two that homeschool!  Anyways, I ran a few miles with them before I realized that my pace was slowing. At first I thought maybe they were slowing for me, but as I tried to push the pace a bit, I noticed they started to lag.  They were both seasoned marathoners (who run faster normally) and I thought if they could push me to run faster that would be great, but I began to worry when they said they barely trained for this one.  When the man finally said that he needed to slow down the pace, I used that as my moment to break away from them.  I said I was going to pick up my pace a bit and thanked them for letting me run with them and I was off.

Running with my little man

Between miles 11 and 12, I got to see my family again and my boys ran with me a tiny bit.  After I left them, I was trying to get my pace back up after having several miles below goal pace (from running with the homeschooling marathoners . . . I do not regret it though, AT ALL!).  I was able to get my pace back up to goal pace until about mile 16 when I slowed again.  I was feeling good, but mentally I started doubting.  I was running a good race up until that point, and I think I just let myself slow.

Around mile 20, we were running on another military base, Fort Story.  We passed a cute little chapel of St Theresa and I asked for her intercession.  I picked up the pace again and ran a strong mile 20 and 21.  And I really did not feel tired exhausted until about mile 23.  It was cloudy most of the race, but somewhere around mile 21 the sun peaked out of the clouds and it felt hot!  I started to lose energy pretty quickly at that point.

But, I gave it my all at the finish.  I picked up the pace as much as I could for the last 1.2 miles.  And once we turned on to the boardwalk and toward the finish line I was so happy.  I scanned the on lookers for my hubby and kids.  I really wanted to cross the finish line with my boys.  But, when I found them, only my 5 yr old was adventurous enough to run the rest of the way with me, so K and I raced each other to the finish!  I finished with a time of 4:50:33, 18 minutes faster than my first marathon!
K and I racing to the finish

I got my medal and K put it on me.  That little boy is so sweet  . . . every bottle of water, banana and snack I was handed, he would take it from me and said, "Mommy, I'll carry it for you."  I got my finisher's hat and sweatshirt, seriously the best SWAG of any race I have done!  I met up with the rest of the family and we all headed to the after party.  We enjoyed some Irish stew and my husband drank my beer (I do not like beer) and we sat on the beach enjoying listening to the band while the boys played in the sand.  It was really so great!
Modelling my medal and new sweatshirt!

I am writing this post two days after running the marathon and I am still in the "marathon after glow."  I did NOT feel this after my first.  I was sore and miserable after my first marathon.  But, this time, even the following day, I felt good. I was sore, but only a little and walked miles with my family up and down the beach.  Today, I am not even sore anymore.

I am pleased with my time.  I felt good, but as with most of my races, I would not say that I really pushed myself hard.  But, more importantly, I enjoyed the race. I have memories from this race that I will remember because I took the time to give high-fives and to talk to other runners.  Things I would not have done if I were solely focused on my time.

Finally, I just have to say that I loved this race!  I would totally run it again.  The Shamrock marathon is flat, and fun.  There are DJ's along the course to keep up pumped up and moving.  There are beautiful views of the ocean.  The medal is nice and I LOVE the hat and the sweatshirt!  The biggest bonus of the race is that there was so much for the family to do while I was running the marathon, so I did not feel too guilty for running it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Shamrock'n Weekend

This past weekend we headed down to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Marathon and a little fun too!  And, boy did we have lots of fun while we were there!

We headed down Friday afternoon.  It ended up taking us about an hour and a half longer due to traffic.  Gotta love the metro DC area!  We went straight to the Shamrock Marathon Packet Pick up and expo and then went to our hotel.  The boys were so excited about the weekend.

The sunrise view from our room
Saturday, my hubby and J were running in the 8K and A and K were running in the "Children's Marathon".  J and my husband were up early and off to the start.  The great thing about the 8K is that it ran down Atlantic Ave, which is the main street in Virginia Beach (they call it Beach Street USA), and then it runs on the boardwalk.  So, it passed the front of our hotel and the back of the hotel.  A, K and I headed out to watch the race pass our hotel.  It was really fun because I have never seen the start of a race before.  The hand cyclists passed first, followed by people who are a part of Team Hoyt.  So inspirational!  Then came the police cars and the Leprechaun on a bike (it was St Patrick's Day after all) followed by about 10,000 runners.  I loved seeing the elite runners pass by.  They make running fast look so effortless and so graceful.

Cheering on J and my husband on the boardwalk.
After a while, we could finally see my hubby and J coming.  My husband was wearing a Leprechaun like hat which made him easy to spot since he is already 6'3" without a 1 foot tall hat!  We gave hi-fives and then headed to breakfast, then caught them again on the boardwalk a little while later.  I am so proud of J!  He ran so well considering he barely got to train for this race!

The view of the 8K from our hotel room
Next up, was A and K for the Children's Marathon!  My hubby ran with A and I followed K.  K is so fun to watch run.  He just beams with excitement!
Focused determination before his race!

A view of the finish line

The rest of the day was spent on the beach and at the indoor pool at the hotel.  K and J loved playing in the waves.  They are brave kids.  The water was so cold!!  Later that day we went to mass and then to dinner and headed back to the hotel for the night.

As close as A would get to the ocean . . . smart boy!

Sunday, I took a little 26.2 mile run around Virginia Beach. (A separate post on that is coming soon).

Monday morning, the weather was PERFECT.  We were drawn to the beach by a passing aircraft carrier and then got to see a pod of dolphins!!  J proclaimed that it was the best moment of his life!  The boys played in the waves some more, and then, of course, we had to use the indoor pool one more time before we checked out of the hotel.  After check out, we took one more walk along the beach to see the statue of Neptune and the sand sculptor from the race before we got in our van to come home.
aircraft carrier
Not the best picture of the dolphins. But you can see them.  I took this one after running down the beach to try to get a shot after they swam away from where we were.

The medals from all our races!
We had a great weekend!  And we loved every minute of it!

Monday, March 19, 2012

You know you have boys when . . .

Does it seem that you mysteriously have less knives in your silverware drawer?

Are some of your large spoons and kitchen utensils missing?

Check your boys' favorite dirt hole in your backyard.  You will find them there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You know you have boys when . . .

Chicken wings are named after weapons.
(overheard at out dinner table tonight)

"Mom, can I trade in my club for a pistol?, " asks my 5 year old.

K with his two "pistols"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Top 10 signs that you are experiencing taper madness and it is race week

So, it is race week.  Taper madness is in full swing and I am stressed, nervous and anxious.  Yes, it is race week and I am exhibiting all of the signs below!

1.  Your runs have become so short and you are running so little that you seriously doubt your ability to run anything more than a 10K.

2. You visit more than any other website.  You know the race city's 10-day forecast by heart and you notice when it changes, hourly.

3. You are obsessing giving a lot of thought to race day fuelling. You have tried the SPI belt, a handheld water bottle, gels, chews, and regular food and although you have a plan of what to use, you spend hours deliberating what is best.

4. You have visited the Runner's World "What to Wear" planner as much as you have visited

5. You are convinced that the muscle twitch, soreness, or twinge in the knee is something major and you will be limping across the finish line (that's if you finish).

6.  You dream about the race, nightly.

7. You tend to bring up running or marathon training in most conversations you have.

8. You feel like a slacker when you see the dailymile leader board and you are not even on it anymore.

9.  You stay away from anyone (even your own child ;-)) who is ill or has been in contact with anyone who has been ill.  (No sickness will take you out so close to race day).

10. You have 3 different race day outfits planned. You know, just in case is wrong!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

St. Joseph Novena

The St. Joseph Novena starts today and goes until St Joseph's Feast Day, March 19th.  Check out the Novena prayer here and pray it with me.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great Running Shirt Giveaway

Slow is the New Fast and Cute Running Shirts are teaming up and giving away this Run Luck running tee . .

Perfect for anyone running a Shamrock run for St. Patrick's Day!  Hurry on over to Slow is the New Fast because the giveaway ends Monday (so you can have it by St. Patrick's Day!)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012 and helping the children


This video has been showing up all over the Internet the last few days.  It comes from Invisible Children. Please take the time to watch it.  It is truly sad what is happening in Central Africa.  The more I read about the plight of children all around the world, the more my heart aches for children like these.  My husband asked me recently why I have such a heart for orphans.  I had to think about it.  Yes, it is scriptural and as a Catholic, the daily mass readings have reminded me over the recent weeks that we are to answer the orphan's plea. But it is more than that.  I think it is because I am a mom.  And, as a mom, I know my heart would break if my children were in same situation as the children in the above video.  And as in the 147 million orphans around the world.

And, naturally, I think, what can I do?  These children are half a world away.  I am a busy mom to 3 boys whom I homeschool.  What can I do?  There are many moms that have answered that call already.  And I am amazed at all that women just like me who have heard the cry of the orphans and have responded. Some have adopted.  Some have gone on mission trips.  Others run for the cause.  And many start organizations to help the orphans. To feed the orphans.  To visit the orphans.

I know I have mentioned one of these before, but I just have to share again the organizations that have my heart right now:

1. 147 Million Oprhans.  They raise money for adoptive families.  They organize mission trips to feed orphans.  And, it was all started by two busy moms.

2. Team Orphans. This is charity running.  Running and racing to raise money for orphans or families that are adopting.

2. Visiting Orphans.  I heard about this group through one of the adoption agencies we were looking at.  They organize mission trips to touch the lives of the orphans in 11 different countries.  They are an AMAZING group trying to do their part to answer the call to take care of the orphans.  If you do not feel called to a mission trip, you can donate or buy a cute t-shirt to support the cause!

 Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!

Wash yourselves clean!

Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.
                               Isaiah 1:10, 16

  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
                                                                                                             James 1:27

Monday, March 5, 2012

One Thousand Gifts


a daffodil blooming in February!?!
Mardi Gras with friends
king cake
a compliment
the fun the boys have with Hungry Hungry Hippo
St Pius sodality for making Bingo special for the kids
another compliment
roses that still linger
a glass of wine
boy laughter
Trader Joe's
 a bouquet of sunshine in my home, from my flower beds and it is still February!
the smell of daffodils int he home
warmed up by boys crowding me while reading
texts from hubby
stations in the AM with my boys
a quiet morning
boys who sleep in
perfecting my "home school blinders"
a long, but productive day
Patrick Henry's speech and my 8 yr old working so hard to memorize it
getting all items up for sale
warm weather
playing outside
the newness of old toys
1st Friday mass
Trader Joe's
a full day
my hubby watching the boys and strolling around Lowe's for 2 hours!
a yummy breakfast
seeing friends at mass
getting the counter top ordered
dinner with family
chocolate cakes
a good workout
Dixie cup icers
resting my legs
the boys helping each other do school
getting the sink and faucet ordered
(gifts 621-663)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

1. Taper Time!!

I ran my 20 miler last weekend and, now, I am officially tapering!  I am happy, but do feel a bit like a slacker for not running more.  15 more days!!!! Yikes!

2. Running stats.  

I was comparing my stats from Feb. 2011 to Feb 2012.  Both months I was in the middle of my peak mileage for marathon training.  I felt that I was better prepared for last year's marathon than this one.  But, You know what?  I was wrong.  I ran 40 more miles this Feb. than I did in Feb 2011.  So maybe I am better prepared this time around.

3. "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

Patrick Henry has taken over my 8 yr old.  One of the things Sonlight has students do is to memorize poems, psalms, Scripture, etc.  Well, this week J had to start memorizing a longer piece.  He could choose from Longfellow's Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, a portion of one of his other poems which I cannot remember right now, and the concluding portion of Patrick Henry's famous speech.  J, looking at the length of the pieces, choose Patrick Henry's speech since it seemed shorter.  I tried to explain to him that since it does not have the rhythm that poems have, it may actually be harder to memorize.  But that did not deter him.  And, after only 4 read-throughs, in less than 24 hrs, he had the whole thing memorized!! So, I have been hearing,

Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable, and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
 . . . over and over again the last few days!

4.  Our nation, politics, etc

I am not one to blog about my feelings on the current state of affairs of our nation and I am not really going to begin right now except to say that I worry about what the future holds for my children.  Maybe I am a pessimist, but things are getting bad and I think things could get much worse quickly.  So, I pray, HARD for our nation's leaders; for God to raise up holy men and women who will devote themselves to public service.  And I pray that my boys may grow up strong and courageous so that they may be ready to fight the battles that may come.

5. China's One Child Policy Slogans

Anyone read this article on China's One Child policy and read the "slogans" that they have for it?  I have no words . . .

6. Back to my cute kids . . .

K, my 5 year old has really taken off with his reading.  He begs to do school and to "read another book."  I am amazed and shocked.  He has flown through his kindergarten curriculum and is working on 1st grade work.  I love his enthusiasm for it and am so proud of him.

7."How do you handle it?"

This morning, we headed to one of my favorite grocery stores. I only get to go about once every two weeks because it is NOT local.  It is always busy and the staff is friendly and fun.  I headed to the checkout with the 3 boys and the young man checking out my groceries looks at me and says, "Wow, all boys?" I do my usual, smile and nod.  "Wow, how do you handle that?" was the question he responded with. 

Um, really?  What does he expect me to say (in front of my kids, no less)?  "I don't handle it." "I am miserable." "These boys drive me up a wall!" (None of that is true, by the way, at least 95% of the time.)

But, what parent would say something like that back?  And why does having all boys seem to invoke pity in most strangers?  You would think I were cursed by a plague. (Can you tell that comments like the one I got today are my BIGGEST pet peeve?)

Personally, I LOVE my life with my "men."  They are fun and active and crazy most of the time.  They fill my house with laughter and silliness.  Sure, they seem to think that the floor is the proper place to leave their coats, even after being reminded for the thousandth time to put it in the closet.  And mud and dirt and digging are a natural part of their daily life.  But that is what makes life an adventure!

Yay for boys!

Have a great weekend everyone!