Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My First 1/2 Marathon

3.5 years ago my wonderful sister-in-law asked me if I would run the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5K with her.  I laughed because I hated running.  I could barely run 1 mile in high school, and was pretty slow at that.  But, I agreed and started training with the Couch to 5K program.  I was quickly amazed at how much I enjoyed running and how great I felt with each mile ran.  I fell in love with running and after my first 5K, continued to run a few times a week.  Fast forward to my surprise 3rd pregnancy 2 years later, and a friend and I decided to run a 1/2 marathon 8 months after we had our babies.  I trained really hard all through the winter for my 1/2 marathon.  Quickly losing my baby weight and feeling really great about myself.  Most of you know what happened next.  After being very sick for 2 (strep, fever, etc) I tried to pick up where I left off in my training and ended up with a hairline fracture in my right foot (4 weeks before the half marathon).  I had to miss the thing I had trained so hard for.  So, I immediately signed up for a new 1/2 marathon, the MO Cowbell.  It sounded fun and flat (thank goodness).  I honestly didn't train as hard or as well as I did over the winter.  We moved in the middle of training and that threw me off.  However I was so ready to mark a 1/2 marathon off my bucklet list!  Here is what happened the weekend of the 1/2 marathon.

My hubby, kids and myself stayed over night in a hotel Saturday evening to be closer to the race.  We swam, went out to a nice dinner (something we rarely do) and hung out in the hotel room.  We had a suite, so that was awesome!  I tried to go to bed around 8:30, but could not fall asleep.  Add loud children outside the hotel playing basketball into the mix and a baby who was up a few times during the night and I got about 5 hours of sleep total.  I guess baby girl not sleeping through the night consistently has helped me, b/c I wasn't too tired on Sunday morning to be honest.  I got up around 5 am, went and got an egg mcmuffin with cheese (closest thing to what I normally have for breakfast), coffee and water.  I will quickly say that I spent a bit of time in the bathroom due to nerves...thanks for that nerves.  I tried to mentally prepare myself for the race by pumping myself up!  I was hoping to leave our hotel by 6:45 am to get to the race before 7, however we left late, then hit traffic.  The hubs ended up having to just drop me off close to the race and I ran for it.  I had to get all my gatorade gels, water bottle, phone and everything situtated, then hit up the restrooms...which was a nightmare.  I spent 20 minutes in line and ended up missing the National Anthem, the Cowbell "sing along" and the start of the race.  Yeah...I started 6 minutes late.  I was so nervous.  However, once I started running, my body and my mind just kicked into auto pilot.  Training really does do wonders!!  I couldn't use my runkeeper app to track how fast I was going b/c my phone would run out of batteries, so I set my phone stop watch (ha!) and tried to kind of keep track.  I was running about a 10:45 minute mile.  Right on target with my training.  Around mile 6 my left foot started killing me.  Now, I've had 2 back surgeries and I'm still dealing with numbness in my left foot due to a ruptured herniated disc, so this came as no surprise to me.  However, I still had a long way to go and was kind of freaking out.  Right at that time though someone cheering on the runners had a sign that said "Your feet hurt right now because you're kicking so much ASS!"  I about cried.  It was exactly what I needed at that moment and I kept right now.  I saw so many signs, received high fives, encouragement and honestly I was smiling almost the entire way.  I also continuously heard my hubby telling me "shoulders back!".   I was feeling great until mile 11.  I hit a wall.  I could tell I was slowing down, but I only had 2 more miles and I refused to walk.  My overall goal was to not stop running.  I knew once I hit mile 12 that I was good to go!  I saw the finish line and just kept going.  Seeing my husband and my 3 kiddos at the finish line cheering me on was awesome!  I don't know what I would've done if they hadn't been there.  I finished the race at an 11:01 mile pace and overall I ran the 1/2 marathon in 2:24:13.  Not very fast, but I did it.  I'm proud of myself and I'm more addicted than ever to running and cannot wait to run the next one!

Here is a picture of me and my cheering team after I finished!  Baby girl was not impressed and fell asleep.  I guess I took too long! :)

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has encouraged me along the way.  Thank you God for the ability to run and for the mental strength to keep going. I am not going to lie and say that this is hasnt' been hard, because it has.  The past 6 months have been hard for me.  I'm still not eating as I should, and I still struggle with over eating everyday.  BUT, I know that through HIM I will make it past this and will be stronger on the other side!!  Here's the next 1/2 marathon.  And in the words of my 8 year old "Mommy, are you going to run a marathon now?" I hope so!  Much love to all of you!!  

Friday, May 10, 2013

What Mother's Day Really Means to me.

Well, it's here again.  The second Sunday of May, the day we celebrate moms.  Every year I think of having a day "off".  A day where I'm served breakfast in bed, where I'm waited on hand and foot, and a day where I don't have to deal with everybody's stuff.  That has NEVER happened. Ever. And you know what?  I'm extremely grateful for it.  This year the only expectation I have is to spend as much time with my sweet 3 babies as I can.  I'm not sure if it's because my two boys are getting bigger (almost 8 and 6 years!!), or if I'm maturing, or both.  But, time is going by way too quickly and it makes me so very sad.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm so excited for my children.  They are getting taller, stronger, reading on their own (not baby girl of course), writing, playing sports, learning so many things from school and becoming such amazing warriors for Jesus.  I'm so stinkin' proud of my kiddos.  However, when I look at my now 7 (almost 8) year old's face;  I see that sweet face of the day he was born.  The chubby cheeks, bright red from screaming.  I remember holding him in my arms and snuggling him.  Now he's 75 pounds, 55" tall and I can't hold him anymore.  My 5 (almost 6) year old I remember being so tiny.  He was only 4 lbs 1 oz the day he was born.  He is my miracle baby.  We made it through a bought of preeclampsia together.  3.5 weeks of hospital bedrest, of being away from our loved ones.  He was born so quickly and then rushed off to the NICU and I didn't see him for over 15 hours.  Now he is my rambunctious, strong willed mini-me.  I love that boy.  And then there is my sweet baby girl.  Our precious girl that we didn't realize we were missing from our family until the day she was born.  She completes our family.  She is growing too quickly.  The days of being able to keep bows in her hair are gone, the days of dressing her up in frilly dresses are no longer ideal since she crawls around so much and eats dirt, and gets as dirty as possible.  But, my goodness what a treasure she is.  Her smile is incredible.  She lights up the whole room with her beautiful 5 tooth smile.  Her sweet baby kisses and hugs make even her Daddy melt.  

I won't lie.  There are days I feel like I won't make it through the day.  But, with God's help and with the encouragement of fantastic friends and family, we somehow make it through.  And then there are days where I'm so taken aback by the amazing blessings I have been granted, that I just cry.  Why am I the lucky one that gets to be the mommy of these children?  I could never deserve them.  And to actually share the journey with my best friend? My goodness.  I am living the dream my friends, living the dream.  

I also am so eternally grateful to my mom.  She sacrificed for me.  Loved me.  Let me play.  Let me get dirty.  Let me figure things out for myself.  She sang with me.  Played games with me and helped me develop my love of reading.  My mom was 16 when she became pregnant with me.  I will always be grateful to her for choosing my life.  This year I will be celebrating with her at a local winery.  Lunch, winery, chatting.  Just the girls.  I love my mom so much.  

So, this Mother's Day, I vow to just sit back, enjoy my three beautiful children and just bask in the glow of their love.  I am a mother. And I am blessed. To those of you who are also mothers, just enjoy your day.  Yea, it's nice to be pampered, and if you get that, then great!  No matter what, just try and enjoy the day.  Don't worry about dishes, laundry, messes.... just sit and watch them play, or heck, even play with them!  Trust me, you will have fun! :)  Happy Mother's Day!

Proverbs 31:28
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises he