Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Christmas. I know I did, even though it derailed my exercise plans a bit. Work gave us off Friday and Monday for the holiday, but me, glutton for punishment, picked up overtime shifts for those days. But, I'm not complaining, because when I get some OT, it's dispatching and I enjoy it. I would do it full time but I can't stand shift work. And the extra money isn't bad, either. Pays for some race entries :)

Christmas Eve was awesome. I spent most of the day relaxing, and went to my sister in law's house in the early afternoon. I should've got my butt up and went for a run, but honestly I just didn't feel like it. My body was tired and wanted to rest. We decided to let the boys open one gift from the grammy and poppy (my parents) early, and they loved them. Hunter got a lego set he wanted, and Ryan got packets of seaweed. Seawood, really? But he said that he had asked my father for it, and it's something that my dad would get for him. Imagine my surprise when my hubby had my oldest bring out a gift for me. My husband had purchased me the camera that I was trying to save money to purchase. I couldn't believe it, I was so excited!!!!!! He couldn't have purchased a better gift, and he let me open it early so I could use it during the holiday.






The time at my sister in law's was wonderful, we had awesome food, and time with family. It was truly what Christmas was meant to be. The kids got to open the aunt/uncle gifts which always consists of books, and they seemed to enjoy what books were picked out for them. It truly was an unstressful, happy event. I also got plenty of time to enjoy taking pictures with my new camera. My youngest son decided to be very challenging at night time. He was very excited for Santa to come and couldn't fall asleep. Finally about 12:30 he seemed to be asleep and Santa was able to come, but escaped barely before my son's door opened. He checked out every present before waking me up to come see what Santa had left. While I was admiring the gifts, Hunter decided to make sure that the reindeer ate the food on the lawn, and scared a baby raccoon that was drinking out of our pond. We rarely see raccoons where we are, so this was a very amazing sight.




Finally, we all fell asleep, only for me to wake up around 7:30. The boys slept in, though, so there was some nice quiet time with my hubby before the Christmas madness began. Everyone seemed to love the presents that they got, and they played until it was time to go to Grandma's house. Time for more presents, great food and awesome company. While the adults relaxed, and enjoyed each other's company, the kids played and swam. Yes, swimming on Christmas Day - got to love Florida weather. I got some great pool shots with my camera.














I was blessed to have a wonderful Christmas, but I miss the rest of my family, especially my mom and dad, during holidays the most. I hope that some day soon I will be able to spend Christmas with them again. I hope everyone had as great of a Christmas as I did.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Race Report - Spacecoast 1/2 Marathon

 Ok, its a few weeks late, Christmas shopping has kept me busy. This was my favorite 1/2 marathon I have ever done, well ok, it was only my second and I did not enjoy my first at all. My two friends (who were actually running the full marathon) and I arrived at Kennedy Space Center about 1pm the day before the race to pick up our race packets. The process was quick, and flowing; no waiting in line and we were done within like 5 minutes. The only thing that I was a little disappointed in was the size of the expo. It was very small, and we walked through it in less than 20 minutes, but I guess, how many similar booths do you really want to cram into an expo.





Next, we grabbed some lunch before we went to our hotel, the Courtyard Cocoa Beach. We got there a little before check-in time, and our room wasn't ready, so we chilled for a little while in the lobby. It ended up taking a little longer than they hoped, and they were good enough to give us a couple drink coupons to help pass the time. The hotel was very nice, great view from the balcony off our room, comfy beds and pleasant staff. My only complaint is that they didn't have complimentary breakfast. They did offer a bagged breakfast, but it was $5 and there wasn't a lot in it. Good thing we thought ahead and brought our own bagels.





After a relaxing afternoon in the room, we decided we need to carb load for dinner and headed out to Olive Garden. Man, there are so many yummy things on the menu, but I didn't want to chance messing with my stomach, so I went for the tried and true cheese raviolis. So good. Of course, I was too nervous to sleep well that night, and afraid alarms weren't going to go off, so I think in all I may have gotten a total of 5 hours of sleep.

 Now onto the part that you've all been patiently waiting for - the race. There were scheduled times for buses, 4:30 am and 5:15 am, and there were signs all over saying that only the first bus was guaranteed to arrive in time for the race. I so wanted to be on the 4:30 bus, but my two running mates convinced me that the second bus would arrive in plenty of time. I was so worried, but it worked out and we had plenty of time to stretch and get ready for the start. This was my biggest race, a total of 3094 people ran. 908 for the marathon and 2186 for the 1/2 marathon. For me it was crazy crowded, and I am slightly claustrophobic - the race couldn't start quick enough for me. After what felt like forever, we got started. It took a full 6 mins for me to get to the starting line. After I crossed, the crowd thinned out quite a bit and I had room to run.




After my experience from my last 1/2 marathon, my only goal was to enjoy my race and have fun, but a little part of me hoped that possibly I might be able to PR this race. This race definitely met both expectations. The course was beautiful, the intercoastal on one side and gorgeous houses on the other, and wonderful people. Everyone running was awesome - very friendly, I talked to and was cheered on by so many other runners. We were all just extremely supportive of each other. And if the runners weren't good enough, we had tons of people all up and down the route rooting us on. I was amazed at the amount of homeowners on the race route at 6:30 am, just to wish us good luck. I kept, what I felt, was a semi easy pace, and did 3/1 intervals. As I started to really feel comfortable with my pace, I noticed that the pace group for a 2:30 time wasn't too far in front of me. Could I really finish around 2:30? For some, that might not be a great time, but since my last race was 2:43:51, to me it would be an awesome time.






I continued to run at a comfortable pace, and continued to stay pretty close to the 2:30 pace group. There were water stations and port-a-potties set up about every 1.5 miles, well supplied and manned, and the marathon runners were also given gels. I can't say enough about how great the planners and the volunteers of this race were. Everything went so smoothly. There were even a few characters along the route,even my favorite, Marvin the Martian, which I saw right about the turn around.

The race seemed to go by quick for me. I don't know if it was because I trained better for this race, or just was in a better mindset, or maybe both, but I just really enjoyed it. As we started getting down to the last few miles, we started passing some of the marathon runners. It felt great to be able to give them some encouragement. As I neared the end, I decided to step it up, and put my all into it. I hadn't seen the pace group since probably mile 10, so I had no idea how far behind I may have fallen, but I still was going to race my race. As I rounded the corner towards the finish line, I saw my time 2:36 something. Yay, I was going to PR, and that just made me run harder.


I crossed the finish line, received my medal and towel, and got my official time - 2:30:43, and full 11 minutes faster than my last 1/2.








Now the wait until my friends finished the marathon. I wasn't bored by any means. There was a lot of vendors giving out free stuff, and food. You had a choice of a breakfast or pizza, and since I am a breakfast person, that was an easy decision. As I ate I watched the crowd, listened to the awards ceremony for the 1/2, and people watched. Then I went to right before the finish line, and cheered on the marathon runners. What a rush that was. I was in awe by the determination of the runners that came through. It was truly humbling for me. Not much longer my first friend came towards the finish line. She finished in 4:57:45. What a rockstar she is!! Unfortunately my second friend finished 23 miles, and felt she just couldn't go any further. My heart ached for her, she had spent so long training, but I made sure she still received a finishers medal and a towel, because she achieved a great accomplishment going that far. She also rocks!!!



This would definitely be a race I would recommend. A beautiful course, awesome bling, and great organizers!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

Ok, I'm jumping on the band wagon and posting about what I am thankful for. This year I feel like I have been so blessed, and I don't think I could even list all that I am thankful for. So I am just going to name a few of the major things that I am thankful for.

The number one thing of course is my family. They are extremely supportive of me and my endeavors. My husband and I have been married for 15 years, and while it's not always fun and games, I am proud to call this wonderful man my hubby. While he may not always express in words his support and patience for my running, and the many years I have spent hitting the books to get my college degree, he does show it in his actions, and for that I am extremely grateful. I am blessed with 2 wonderful boys, also - they are definitely challenging to say the least, but life in my house is definitely not boring. They also share my love of running, and it's great to listen to them brag about how great their race was. I, also have the best parents in the world. I'm sure raising me wasn't the easiest thing they have ever done, but they must have done something right, because I think I turned out to be a pretty decent human being, with a good head on her shoulders. I have been lucky enough to have another set of parents, and 2 wonderful sister in laws. My husband's family welcomed me with open arms when we started dating and throughout the years they have treated me as if I am another daughter, not just their son's wife.

Health is another thing that I am very thankful for. I feel very lucky that I am physically able to do what I enjoy, run! So I have brought my health to the top of my priority list, and have been researching ways to ensure that I continue to stay healthy. Recently I have started eating more healthy, and making sure I stay motivated to run and XT. This is not an easy feat. A few weeks ago, I started seeing a chiropractor/holistic doctor just to enhance my wellness. Come to find out, I have arthritis in my neck. Luckily, my chiropractor says that I have come to her just at the right time, and she can stop the degeneration. I am thankful that I decided to see her, because I would hate to see what would happen if I left it untreated. There are many people who haven't been blessed with good health, and in honor of them, I am going to make sure I stay healthy!

Believe it or not, I am thankful for my job. Even though some days its monotonous, and other days I feel overwhelmed, I am thankful that in this economy, I still have a job. Many people have been laid off, and can not feed their families, let alone meet their monthly bills. I am lucky to have a good job, where I feel secure and wonderful coworkers and bosses. Even though I don't always let them know, I am appreciative of their support and friendship. We are definitely a family here and have our good and bad days, but the good days make everything worthwhile.

I have one last thing, I am extremely grateful for. I am thankful that I just turned in my last project for school, and within the next few weeks will be graduating with my Bachelors Degree in Public Safety Administration. It has been a long, hard road, but the end result is so amazing. After 21 years of on and off schooling, I am finally a college graduate, and should be graduating cum laude. With my schooling finally done, I can concentrate on spending more time on my hobbies.

I hope I didn't bore you too much, and I hope that over the next few days you all will take a moment to reflect upon what you are thankful for in your life. Hopefully your lives are as blessed as mine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Race Report - Sunnyside Survivor 5k

So after last weekend's race, wanting to PR, but not being able to since I was struggling between runner and mom, I was anxious about running the next one. I really wanted to PR, it had been over 2 years since I PR'd and after all my training, I was getting a little discouraged. But after hearing a few people talk about the hills in this race, I was starting to lose hope that I would be able to. Hills and me are not friends. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn't PR at this race, but that said, I wasn't going to allow the hills to beat me.

Ryan and I got up that morning, and drove to the race, getting there early because we didn't know how many people would be registering and not really knowing what to expect since this was the first time we ever ran it.Let me also say, it was cold! Not up north cold, but cold for an October Florida morning. We checked in and got our t'shirts - very cool, warmed up, and went to the start line. Since they changed the layout from the race last year, a lot of people were asking if anyone knew what the route would be - so I guess we were all in the same boat.

Finally, they sounded the horns, and we were off. What an awesome, challenging course. We went through beautiful neighborhoods, and there were a lot of hills. The route was well marked, and there were people routing us on throughout the race. I ran most of it, but I have to admit, I had to walk a lot of the hills - not easy at all. But I pushed on, as I said, I wasn't letting these hills beat me. My son decided to start at the front of the pack, so I never saw him throughout the race. Finally, I saw the street sign of the street we started on and knew we had to be getting close, and what confirmed it was when I saw one of the 5k runners running back towards us. With that confirmation, I decided I would step it up a bit, and then when I made the turn and saw the finish line, I really started to book it. As I got closer to the finish clock, it said 31:51, 30 seconds from my PR. I almost cried from joy, I was going to do it, I was going to PR this race. I finished in 32:06. I was so happy!! My son didn't PR, he finished 28:52, but he was okay with that because he made a running friend and ran the whole way with him, each encouraging the other.

Now the wait to see where I finished in my age group. Honestly, I didn't care if I placed or not, I was just happy that I PR'd. Finally, the first set of results were put up. Imagine my surprise, I came in 2nd, and 1st place was only 15 seconds faster than me. Woot Woot!!! Ryan came in 2nd also, and his running friend came in 3rd. Great race for all. Only after they handed out trophies, did I find out there was only 2 runners in my age group, and 3 in my son's. Ha Ha - I came in 2nd and last. Didn't matter, it was an awesome race anyways.






Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Progress

After a wonderful weekend, I was glad that it carried into today with Hunter's counselor appointment. We haven't been making very much progress over the month and 1/2 that we have been going. Usually our appointments consisted of Hunter telling me on the way to the appointment that he wasn't going to talk and then  the counselor and me talking with Hunter either hiding behind me or a pillow, not saying a word. To say I was very discouraged, would be an understatement. I was almost at the point where I thought that it was a waste of my time and money, and that Hunter would never open up to the counselor.

Well today, when we drove to the appointment, and Hunter never mentioned that he wasn't going to talk. Should I get my hopes up? Usually when we wait, Hunter complains he's bored, today he played contently on his phone.   Then it was our turn to go in, and Hunter actually shook the counselor's hand. That in itself was amazing. But as soon as we went in, behind the pillow he went. My hopes began to falter. The counselor said that he thought it might be time for me to go to the waiting room, and leave Hunter and him to talk by themselves. As hard as it was for "mama bear" to leave her cub in this awkward situation, I knew that it was best for him, and he wouldn't progress if I kept answering for him.

As I sat in the waiting room, I kept looking at the clock, knowing that they would come out early, with little success in the session. I was so anxious, trying to read the book that my running mama friend lent me. 4:30 came - still in there, 4:45 - I was beginning to again be hopeful, 5:00 - they were supposed to be done, was it really going that well? I could only hope. About 5:10 they came out to the waiting room, and I was pleasantly surprised when the counselor said Hunter did great. I am so proud of my baby - he had such an awesome day, today! So after soccer practice, I decided I would reward him - he has been asking for a mcdouble for weeks (yes, I know they aren't good for you, but we rarely ever eat there anymore), so I stopped and got him a mcdouble and a small fry. And the night still went great after that, he did his homework without complaint, and asked to play on the computer, which I allowed since he was behaving so well, but he never made it that far, as he is sound asleep.

I love days like this, everything we did was not an issue, and he went to bed without me even asking. Realistically I know not every day will be like this, but I can wish, can't I?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Faith Lutheran 5K race report

So the Faith Lutheran 5K was my very first race I ran back in October of 2009, and I loved it. I came in 3rd for my age group finishing in 32:58.Talk about a thrill, who would've thought I would win a medal on my very first race. So exciting! I can still remember the details about the race, and how much fun it was. It almost seemed effortless and my sister in law and BFF and I ran together, talking our whole way through the race. Well, this will be the third time I have run this race, and it is still my favorite 5K. Last year, I didn't do so well with it, but this year I finished in 33:31, only 32 seconds slower than my first. I think I could've PR'd.


Let me back up a step, this is the first race that both my sons and I have run a race together. I have ran with each of them by themselves, but never all three of us together. I was so excited this morning to do this. We met my sister in law at the race, and all went in and got our shirts and our chips. We all lined up and my sons decided to line up in the front, while Kerri and I lined up in the middle. The boys took off at the start, and Kerri and I started at an easy pace. I was slower than Kerri, so I told her to go on. I am not one to hold anyone back - it's a race, and you should go at the pace you feel comfortable with.


Since both boys beat me in their last races, I never expected to see either of them, but not too far into it I ran into my youngest. Unfortunately, his race wasn't what he wanted, he said his legs were tired from soccer the night before. I think he was upset because his brother was beating him, and it looked like even if he tried his hardest he wasn't getting a medal. My heart was torn, do I stay with him, or do I keep going - I really wanted to PR at this race. I stayed with him for a while, trying to encourage him to run, even tried doing intervals with him, but he would only run about 30 seconds before he stopped and walked. Even though I felt horrible, I went on without him. (I still feel horrible about it even though he told me after the race he wanted me to keep on going).


Even with that little snag, I felt so strong running, better than I have since that the first time I ran it. I truly think I could've PR'd at this race, don't get me wrong, I don't regret walking with my son, I felt it was the right thing to do at that time .My oldest son and I decided we are going to run another 5K next weekend, and my youngest decided he didn't want to do another one so soon. So, hopefully, I will be able to PR next weekend - but if I don't I'm okay with it. I realize that I just love the feeling of the race, even if I come in dead last :)