Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. - 1 Cor 9:24-27

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Long Run

The alarm clock went off too early this morning.  I wanted to run seven miles, so I had to do it early because hubby was leaving for Green Bay at 6:30 AM.  I didn't start my run until quarter after five (one snooze too long).

Since it was dark, I wore my headlamp.  In town, it was set on it's lowest brightness.  I like that it has a blinking light on the back.  Once I was out of town, I turned the brightness to high.

A mile into the run, it looked like it was raining, but it didn't feel like rain.  On closer inspection, I realized that it was snowing!  I debated with myself for a while.  Maybe it looked like snow because I wasn't wearing my contacts or because there was a mist in the air.  Looking at the road confirmed it, a light dusting of snow.

I don't mind running in the snow.  It's very peaceful and prayerful.  I was concerned about the darkness, though.  At mile two, my headlamp picked up an animal's eyes.  They seemed to glow green.  I noticed the shadow of the head and it's ears were up, listening ... Was it a wolf, a dog, a coyote, I thought.  Bear season is now underway.  Maybe I should have stuck with running just in town.  Does my husband know that I take this route on my long runs?  If it was a dog, I think that it would have barked.  "Dear Jesus, please keep me safe on my run."  "St. Francis, intercede for me."  I prayed over and over those two miles.

At mile three, Gunner (my garmin) said that I was going too fast.  Average pace for three miles was a 10:48.  My long runs should be around 11:30; though the McMillian running calculator says I should be at least a 12:00 pace.  The speed probably came from the darkness, the animals, and the concern that I needed to get home before hubby left.  I saw four deer crossing the road.  When I turned to look at them, I noticed the shape of their head and the spacing of their eyes.  Laughing at myself, that had to have been a deer looking at me at mile two.  "Thank you, God, for keeping me safe from harm."

At mile four, I walked a bit and ate four Clif Shot Bloks, Tropical Punch flavor.  Washed them done with Nuun that was in my handheld.  The snowfall had ended.  The dawn was breaking and I was less anxious about the animals.  When I started running again, I noticed that my legs felt great.  Usually after walking for a bit, they feel sluggish.  Hmmm, could it be the CEP compression socks?  Hubby gave the go ahead to buy a pair, hoping that they would help with my ankle tendons.  Smart purchase.  I could definitely use another pair ... running sponsor??

Mile five was relaxing.  The sun was starting to peak through the trees.  The sky was glowing in all shades of oranges, yellow, and blues.

Mile six felt great.  Gunner was yelling at me to slow down.  Split time for mile six was 10:17.  I ignored him and listened to my body.  Plus, I knew that the last mile would be slow with the 200 ft climb back to the house.

Mile seven was slow; 11:51.  Almost the entire last mile is uphill; but I ran up the entire hill.

When I arrived home, hubby had left twenty minutes before.  I was mad at myself for not getting out earlier.  I would have liked to say good-bye and kiss him.  Lots of Hair was awake.  Luckily, she has an awesome big brother who is willing to take care of her.  I found the two of them watching Dora when I returned.  I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for getting me back safely and for keeping the kids safe.

I felt very blessed this morning.  Blessed to be able to run.  Blessed that my son can take good care of his 17 month old sister.  Blessed to be able to see the little bit of snowfall.  If I would have gotten up after the sunrise, I would have never known that it did snow a bit.

Mr. T took my picture:

Friday, September 10, 2010

The End of Taper Week

This week has been a total recovery week for me.  I want to be strong for my next half marathon on October 9th.  I'll be running with my mom, my little sister, and her friend.  I'm still holding out hope that a good friend of mine will join us too.  We have a super cute outfit planned ... (stolen idea from another runner's blog, but she said to.)

I've started a part time job.  I know, you're thinking ... When do you have the time?  I'm very fortunate to be able to work from home.  They set me up with a laptop and I'm able to connect to their networks via internet.  I'm a mechanical engineer by trade ... I've just been a domestic one for the last ten years.  The work that I'm doing is 3D computer modeling.  I was surprised how fast I was able to come up to speed with the software.  I work in the early morning hours before school on non-running days, during nap/quiet time, and after dinner.  My goal is 18-20 hours a week.

What to do with the extra money?
  1. Increase the running budget =)
  2. Build up our emergency fund from 3 months of living expenses to 6 months
  3. New tires for the van
  4. Start a vehicle fund  -  Hubby's truck is a '96 and the Sienna is '05   We are at full capacity in the van and would need to go bigger if there are babies in a future.
Speaking of babies,  Lil' Chef asked me the other day if I may be pregnant.  I asked her why she thought that.  "I was hoping that we would have a baby next year."  LOL.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that my fertility hasn't returned yet after Lots of Hair's birth.  I did say that if God willed it; we would be very happy.

Here's the graph that she made a year ago:
Notice the stationery that she drew it on; The Couple to Couple League
The Couple to Couple League (CCL) is an international, Catholic, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and teaching fertility awareness (natural family planning) to married and engaged couples.
Hubby and I were NFP teachers for almost nine years.  It works, people!

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Day of School for St. Michael's Academy

We had our first day of school today.  I know that's it's Labor Day.  It worked out well with hubby home to keep an eye on the younger two.

St. Michael's Academy - before students arrived:
Pencils are sharpened.  Workboxes were prepared.  I had added cabinets this year; the fronts are painted with tinted chalkboard paint and a few with magnetic paint.

The students:
Lil' Chef - 6th grade
Mr. T - 3rd grade
Squeaker - Kindergarten

Hard at work:
Yes, they are wearing pajamas.  One of the benefits of homeschooling.  =)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Marquette Half Marathon

We decided to spend the night in Marquette instead of driving up the morning of the race.  The race started at 7:15 EST and we live on CST (the race would start at 6:15 our time; which meant I would have had to leave by 4 am).

Friday night, I picked up my race packet.  The wind was wild.  Hurricane Earl had nothing on the weather here!  I hoped that the wind would calm down before the race the next morning.  After driving the course, we enjoyed swimming at the hotel pool.

Saturday morning, a good friend of mine, S., and her friend, P., agreed to pick me up from the hotel.  I was so thankful of them to do that.  That way, my husband didn't have to rush to get the children up and eat breakfast before the start of the race.  I had marked out on the course map about what time I would be at each mile marker so that he could find me.

At the start of the race, the temperature was 48 degrees with wind and a rain/sleet mix.
The poor volunteers were cold.  They were so cheerful and helpful.  
Aid stations were placed about every 1 - 1.5 miles apart.

Mile 1:  10:13
I started out running with S.'s friend, P.  She said that her goal was 2:20 ... She's a bit faster than that!  By mile 2, I told her not to let me slow her down.
Mile 2:  10:39
It looks like I'm on my own.  I saw a group of three runners wearing Vibram Five Fingers.  So cool!
Mile 3:  10:36
Connected with a wonderful lady named, A.
Mile 4:  11:04
Chatting away with A. and the miles started to fly by.
Mile 5:  11:05
I ate a raspberry gel that was handed out ... really gross!  I should have eaten the Clif Shot Bloks that I brought with me.
Mile 6:  10:55
On the bike path in the downtown area of the city.  We could see the Farmer's market going on.
Mile 7:  10:19
We had a speedy split this mile.  I think it was from the excitement that we were half way done.
Mile 8:  10:57
We walked for a bit after the aid station.  The wind was really cold coming off the water.  We passed one of the big playgrounds and I was surprised that I didn't see my family yet.
Mile 9:  10:41
Still no site of the family.  We passed by Picnic Rocks park.  Two swimmers have drowned here this summer.  Click here to see the local paper's article.
Mile 10:  11:43
Tried to open my Clif Shot Bloks that I brought with me, but my hands were so cold they could not open the package.  A. tried and couldn't get it open either.  She had the exact same kind with her and was able to get hers open.  Thanks for sharing A.!
I heard the honk of a horn and see our family van.  The kids were yelling, "Run, Mommy, run!"

Mile 11:  11:19
Mr. T took this picture of us.  Great job there, son!

Mile 12:  11:33
The only hill on the course was during mile 12!  It was an 80 foot climb for about 3/4 of a mile.  We killed it!  (No walking)
We saw three gentlemen who had just finished surfing in Lake Superior!  They had on full wetsuits with hoods and shoes.  Crazy!
Mile 13:  10:45
We are almost to the end.  We can do it!
The last 0.1 miles:  8:44 pace

The finish:

Official Time:
 Check out those waves and the wind!
Thanks, hubby for taking photos of me at the finish line!

 The Finisher's Medal & the Running T-Shirt

After the race, I refueled with a hamburger, bagel, and a banana.  I met up with the family and we went to the local Catholic bookstore.

We drove the course to see if we could find my friend, S., who was running the full marathon.  I asked the family if they could wait around while I ran with her for a bit.  We met up with her just before mile 21.
 Hubby thought that I was just going to run a mile or two ... since I just ran 13.1 miles.  After he took our picture, he realized that I was going to run with her all the way into the finish.  He was so sweet to let me.
Are you liking my recovery socks that I changed into?  I won them in a blog drawing.  Thanks Marcia!  I would like to try running in compression socks.  My legs felt great.
I think that I could have done the full marathon.  I ran 18.5 miles ... what's another 7.7!

To see what the course looks like on a nice day, click here.

The local paper's take on the event is here.