Sunday, April 29, 2012

Parkway Half Marathon

 On Saturday I ran my first half-marathon.  This has been a goal of mine for a while (since I stopped having kids) but I didn't expect to accomplish it so soon.  I had some unexpected setbacks come up during my 10-week training, such as a knee injury that put me back two weeks, sickness that kept recurring, and a trip to Yosemite, so I virtually missed all but one of my long runs (topping out at 8 miles;) subsequently I was a little nervous about how my body would handle the distance.  I have to say that this was probably about the easiest half-marathon a person could run, as it was entirely flat. 

My outfit all laid out the night before.

Charisse, Michelle and I getting ready to head over to the starting line.  We were all a little jittery and had to keep moving.  Charisse and I shared a Rockstar. =)
  They had several live bands along the course, which I thought was really great.  At points there were small crowds of people cheering you on, and other times you felt all alone with the pavement and the sound of your breath.  These bands really helped to rejuvenate my energy.
 The trail was a loop, so as we were running we could look down and see the runners on the return path along the lower trail.  Occasionally we would cheer each other on or there would be a random shout of encouragement from friends.
 Here was the turnaround point.  Keeping in mind that my longest run ever had been 8 miles,  everything beyond this was uncharted territory.  I kept waiting for that point where I felt like I hated it, but it never happened.
 They had mile markers along the way which you could anticipate.
 They also had these inspirational (and sometimes funny) quotes off to the side of the trail. 
"I'm with the bomb squad.  If I'm running, try and keep up."

"You have a choice: you can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face."
Mile 11- 2.1 to go.
Crossing the finish line and waving at my family.  The longest run of my life!
 Two of my other favorite quotes of the day included "Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit" and "Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt the ones who are doing it."

My happy boy in the grass after the race.
My biggest supporter.
Jacob at the beanbag toss.
My half-marathoner in training.
Bouncehouse for the kids (which actually collapsed on a couple of them.)
And have you ever seen so many port-a-potties in one place in your life?

This was a great run and it feels so good to have it under my belt.  I ran the entire time and came in just over my goal at 2hrs. 17mins.  Like I said, I kept waiting for that time when I would "hit the wall," and it never came.  I think we were blessed with perfect weather and a beautiful, flat trail and those were definitely factors.  I also feel blessed to have worked through my ailments, including my knee injury and overcoming sickness.  I received a lot of help along the way at times when I didn't know if I was going to be able to do it and learned from my experiences.  There are so many life lessons to be learned from running, which is for another post entirely, but two of these lessons are faith and endurance.  That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and the breaking down and building back up process of training is definitely a similitude of life (in my opinion.)  I am grateful to have a family who supports me in my endeavors, and there have been countless hours of babysitting on Ashlee and Forrest's part that made my training possible.  Not to mention their being willing to get up early on a Saturday morning to drive down and be with me.  I do have to say that I will probably do a full marathon (26.2 miles) at some point in my life, but probably not for at least a couple more years.  I want to make the enjoyment last.  There is another half-marathon in October that I would like to do called Four Bridges, and possibly Ragnar in September.  I look forward to the challenges and accomplishments of the future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our Yosemite Trip

So we just had our 2nd annual (we decided it's a tradition now) "all alone" overnighter to Yosemite.  Let me just say, it couldn't have been a more perfect trip!  The drive was beautiful, the weather was perfect, the food was great, the crowds were not too many, and we happened upon the best hike ever.  It truly was a dream get-away!
We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, right at the base of the falls.  It made for the perfect backdrop.
See what I mean about beautiful weather?  Sunny and mid-70s with a few whimsical clouds in the sky.

Our hotel room was cozy- especially without any kids in it!  I joked with Forrest that we fantasize about a hotel room for different reasons- it sure made for some good sleep!
Getting ready to go out to dinner...
I could not get enough of Forrest in front of Half Dome.  He has the ambition to climb it one day.  It could've possibly been on this trip, but we found out at the last minute that you need a permit, for which there was a waiting list.  Next time we'll do better planning.
It's such a beauty of a structure!
I felt drawn to the water, probably due to the warm weather.  It was a little chilly this time of year for swimming, but definitely nice enough to dunk your feet in.
I could've taken a nap on this beach; most relaxed I've felt in a long time.
On our first day there we rented some cruisers and went on a bike ride around the valley.  This was the most fun we'd had together in a long time, and I felt as free as I did when I was 10!  It was definitely a well-spent 20 bucks.
Trying to ride and look at the same time- everything was so breathtaking!  Forrest said it reminded him of The Sound of Music.
Upper Yosemite Falls, which we would like to hike next year.
My handsome buck out in the field!

This was near the top of our hike up 4 mile trail.  Let me tell you, this picture gave me some anxiety.  Forrest kept "pretending" to slip near the edge, knowing he was giving me a heart attack each time.  In fact I think my eyes were closed while I was taking this picture.
A little bit of a safer distance from the edge.
This was the river we soaked our feet in at the end of our 6 mile hike.
This deer came so close I could've reached out and petted it!  Only in Yosemite are the deer so tame.  I couldn't help but think of my kids every time we saw wildlife.

On our hike...
We hiked up 4 mile trail, but the trail was closed at 2.8 miles due to snow and ice, so this is where we stopped near the top for a snack and to drink in the view.  It was truly breathtaking to be at eye's level with Half Dome and the top of the Yosemite Falls.  We passed many nice people along the hike, including those two guys in the background.
I love this picture.  I want it in a magnet on my fridge.

The place where we were staying has a really nice food court, restaurant, and gift shop.  Everything is really quality and the food is healthy.  I had been wanting a Camelbak water backpack for quite some time and we found this pink one with "Yosemite" printed on it- a functional souvenier that I can use during my training!
We didn't get any pictures, but we had a wonderful dinner at the Mountain Room restaurant and lounge.  We both had the New York steak, which was a treat for me as I usually get chicken.  The food was excellent as was the service and the view.  We slept like logs that night.  It was such a treat to get away just the two of us; retreats like that are so rejeuvenating to a relationship.  I had some reservations about leaving the kids (especially my nursing baby Anthony) but none of my fears came to realization and my only regret was not doing it sooner or more often!  I already want to go back.  Thank you honey for a marvelous getaway.  It truly was a dream and I can't wait to do it again. =)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter 2012

Easter was pretty low-key this year. We opened up our house for Easter dinner, but most everyone was busy so we had a small turnout with our family, Cheryl, Nishay, and Neveah. Scott, Kimmy and their two little ones stopped by later in the evening. We did the usual dying of Easter eggs, making chocolate bird nests, having an egg hunt, and all the kids got baskets (candy content was especially good this year, according to the kids.) We had a nice time at church, and for dinner we made ham, skillet potatoes, brown sugar carrots, cheese sauce, rolls, and salad. Nothing fancy but yummy just the same.