Monday, November 11, 2013

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

So.  It's been a while since I've written.  It's been even longer since I posted anything about sewing.  I was preoccupied.  A lot.  So let's do a quick photo dump of recent projects, shall we?  Lovely.

I tested the Ruffled Bustle Top pattern for Sumo's Sweet Stuff.  I'll do a separate post of that later.


For the half marathon I made myself a running belt using this tutorial.  It worked great!  My running shoes provided the color scheme for the running belt.  Because you've gotta match the shoes and the purse.  ;)
I also made this shirt and enjoyed wearing it a couple of times.  Unfortunately, I had to stop counting and put the shirt away a couple weeks after this picture was taken.  Hopefully I'll be able to get it back out again in the future.
This year's Halloween costumes were nowhere near the huge production of last year.  The only costume made completely by me is my own.  As I was the only one who didn't get a new costume last year, I deserved it.
Captain Hook
Tinkerbell
Peter Pan...NOT dressed in tights
The whole crew, including Wendy and Mr. Smee
The biggest project was a mini wardrobe for my cousin, for which I will also write a separate post.

I am also in the process of making myself a coat.  Right now I'm in full weight loss mode.  I decided I want to work on losing 15 lbs before the end of January, which is when we would have the doctor's okay to try to get pregnant again. I'm not convinced I'll be ready that soon.  However, I'm racing with myself to see if I can lose those 15 lbs before the waiting period is over.  It's a way for me to compete with myself and I'm already down two pounds.  Now I just need to keep it up.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Half Marathon: DONE!!!

Saturday was the big half marathon!  It's all done and I am so glad!  The race was a big accomplishment and I'm so very, very proud of myself.
The race is all about getting the picture.  And the medal.
My morning started with a 4:25 am alarm.  It wasn't too hard to get up because of the anticipation.  Q-ball also started screaming shortly after.  I worried that it would take forever to get him back to sleep.  He only wanted a bottle so it didn't throw me off much.  I was a touch later to the bus pick up than I'd planned but I was still there in plenty of time.

We had a full bus on the way up and I sat next to a woman who was probably just about my age and running her third half marathon this year.  One of the pacer runners sat just a few seats up from us.  He was loud enough that we could hear his conversations perfectly.  I kind of wanted "accidentally" bean one of his friends with my water bottle.  As they talked about someone who agreed to pace a full marathon at a 4:30 finish time the friend said, "4:30?!  Well, yeah, I guess he could run a 4:30 and get his free medal," in a mocking tone.  Free?  FREE?!  It was good I didn't have anything to throw or I might have dropped something horizontally and in his general direction.  My best guess for myself to finish a half marathon was 2:15 to 2:40 (with a pipe dream of 2:00 if I was having a really fantastic run) so a full marathon of 4:30 seems pretty impressive to me.
Hey, look!  I took a before picture!
Once we got to the starting point we stood around fires to keep warm while we waited.  After a while three women from another bus came to the fire bucket where I was standing.  We chatted and took each other's pictures.  Two of them had been running together for about ten years and the third was running her first half marathon.  The three of them felt bad that I didn't have a running buddy.  I didn't mind.  They eventually left for the bathroom and I met up with them again unexpectedly when I decided I should probably also take a little potty break. That was the point when I decided I would tag along with them.  They were very welcoming and invited me before I would have asked.  Just before the race started I followed their lead and slurped down an energy gel pack.  Nasty.  Super duper industrial strength nasty.  I thought the flavoring would make them taste good.  I was mistaken.  But I guess if they help then choking them down isn't the worst thing I could do.

After the race started I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were running close behind the two hour pacers and that I felt pretty good at that speed.  Within the first half mile one of them intentionally gave us a good look at his right glute.  The half mooning, by the way, was not done in a gross or suggestive manner, I just can't remember the back and forth jokes that led up to it.  We passed them soon after and fell in behind the 1:55 pacers.  I was pretty stoked about that.  One of the ladies I was running with, Tiffani, developed a stitch in her side and dropped back a little.  I dropped back with her to keep her company and make sure she was okay.  We covered several miles like that, chatting every now and again when our breathing would let us.

The canyon wasn't closed to traffic and one of my cousins was scheduled to do his Eagle Scout project at the top of the canyon.  I saw two of my aunts and their families driving up on their way there.  I was super excited to see them and waved and smiled like an idiot trying to get their attention and say hi.  That was fun.  I was still doing pretty well then so I probably looked good when they passed.
One of the 2:00 pacers.  Interestingly, the woman in the green striped shirt is the one I sat next to on the bus ride up.  Also, you can see my butt and shoulders on the left side of the picture.  Blue tank.  I swiped this picture from www.runningtowardshome.com
Before the race I did not stretch sufficiently.  My calves became very angry with me by the time I got to the mile 4 aid station.  At that point they were little knots of pain.  By the end they were great balls of fire.  It wasn't pleasant but it also wasn't anything I couldn't handle.  The calf pain was my faithful and constant running buddy.  :)  On the bright side, the canyon run is gorgeous.  It's easy to take it for granted when it's in my backyard.  I can't wait to go up when the colors change.

We caught up with the other two friends right before an official photographer.  I decided to be a big shot and jump for the picture because I was still feeling pretty good.  The jump wasn't so bad.  The landing, however...  I didn't take into account the downhill nature of the road or how my burning calves would take the impact.  At least I didn't fall down.  I blurted out, "That wasn't very smart," and the photographer had a good laugh.  If there's a picture of that I'm totally buying it.  I would love to see the expression on my face.

After the 7 mile mark I really started to fade.  It became very difficult to feel strong.  I had to pull out some mental techniques to keep going.  That worked for about a mile.  After going through the mile 8 water station I realized my options were to slow down or pass out.  Walking through the water station showed me how weak my legs had become.  I opted to slow down.  I prefer not to get road rash on my face.  Tiffani had caught up with her friends.  They looked back to check on me and I waved goodbye to let them know to keep on going without me.  The two hour pacers had already passed but there was no mooning this time.  :)  At around mile 9 or 10 I allowed myself to go into a fast walk.  I did that twice more before I hit mile 12.  I walked again when I had about half a mile left so I could call the Hubs and let him know when to expect me.  His phone is so fancy it took me a while to figure out how to place a call.  Oh, the irony.  I had hoped not to stop to walk at all, but I'm not disappointed with myself.  I pushed a super fast pace for over 8 miles and that is amazing to me.  I'm not sure how my calf muscles made it through.
Waving to the Hubs and the kids.  You can see that my legs had stopped working.
As I approached the finish I tried to speed up a bit.  There wasn't much left in the tank but I got a little bit out.  I saw my mom cheering me on and choked up.  I got that under control (wouldn't want a picture of me crying through the finish, would I?) and spotted the Hubs and the kids standing with my in-laws.  I finished strong with my arms up and saw my dad standing behind the finish line taking pictures.  Big smiles were shared all around.
Just after finishing
My least favorite picture of the bunch.  For honesty's sake.
After I stepped into the finishers' area I saw Tiffani and thanked her for running with me.  She grabbed her daughter and had her take a picture of us.  I had her do the same for me.  I thought it was sweet that she told her daughter I was the one who had helped her through the first eight miles.  She was the one I'd been leaning on to go as far and fast as I did.  I'm glad I got a picture with her.
Running buddy
Following that I met up with my family again to get a picture at the finisher sign and get some food. Once I'd eaten my food I got that lovely, overwhelming need to rush off to the bathroom.  I ran (read: hobbled along the best I could) to the Honey Bucket line and was lucky there was one available. After that bit of pleasantness I picked up my bag of belongings and we went home.
The water felt SO good.
Now that you've read all the way to the bottom I will post my results.  2:05:59.0 was my final time. I'm totally shocked and super impressed with myself.  I really expected a time closer to 2:15 or 2:20 if I felt good through the whole race.  Had I not kept pace with those women I'm pretty sure I never would have gotten a time like that.  I also would not have been so worn out by mile 8, but that's more than half the race I ran at a pace faster than I thought possible.  I'm pretty proud and my family is sufficiently impressed with me.

Aftermath:  Could be worse.  I saw someone there with a bloody blister on her heel and heard someone else exclaiming, "Look at your toe!"  I'm sore as the day is long, but not injured.  There is a weird spot under my toe callous.  It hasn't yet finished coming to the surface, so we'll see what comes of that.  The sore muscles, however, are nothing to sniff at.  I didn't get a good chance to stretch before or after the race and I'm paying the price for that.  It's kind of funny to hear my legs snap and pop as I walk, though.  I won't be sneaking up on anyone any time soon.

As is customary whenever I run a long distance, I got wretchedly sick and the recovery time for that far exceeded the race time.  It's pretty much four or five hours of shuffling between the bed and the bathroom until I can get up again without feeling the need to void my stomach or my bowels.  The rest of the day after that is spent gingerly getting up and around because being sick doesn't get me out of wife and mommy duties.  I'd rather run the race again than feel so cruddy.  As I lie down on the bed trying to stay in just the right position so I don't puke or mess my pants, I wonder why on earth I did this to myself and why anyone would want to run a full marathon.  Then I remember that the people who do it actually like to run and they probably don't get so sick for so long.  Lucky ducks.  I haven't figured out how to keep from being sick.  Running would be so much more enjoyable if it didn't include sick time.

Now that all is said and done I'm not sure how I feel about running another half.  I love the feeling of accomplishment.  I would like to be able to run a half in under two hours.  That was something I never thought I would approach.  I just don't know that the motivation to run it at a faster pace is greater than the motivation to avoid being sick.  If I could find out what it is that makes me ill for hours afterward and change it then it would certainly be a goal I'd work toward.  As it is...we'll see.  but I'm glad I did it.  Go me!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last Running Day!!!

I'm surprised I didn't write any updates on the training since the announcement that I'll just be doing the half.  Or maybe I'm not.  I took on a large sewing project for my cousin and that kind of took over everything.  I even ended up missing two training days while trying to get it all done, which, for the record, I didn't.  It was a lot of work.  I'll post pictures after I get everything sent off and then beg for pictures.

Anyway, today was the last day of running before the half marathon.  I still have one more day of walking to go.  I've been following the idea of tapering off the running for a few weeks ahead of time. The idea is that all the conditioning is not lost and the body gets ample time to rest and repair.  I like that it involves less running.

I am very excited for the half marathon.  It feels like a culmination of my efforts, almost like a graduation ceremony.  My last long training run was 14 miles, so I know I can do this.  I'm hoping to make the run without stopping but I won't feel like a failure if I have to walk a little bit.  After running down the canyon a couple of times in training runs I know how much I love it.  That may be one reason why I'm so excited.  A downhill canyon run that ends in crossing a finish line is pretty sweet. Too add to it all, my race will include a pair of these:
These shoes make me think of Spiderman.  Not sure why...
I had kind of hoped for a pair of obnoxiously bright neon shoes, but you go with what is best for your foot.  Although I was a little disappointed to find that this style does, indeed, come in the obnoxious neon, I won't be exchanging them because I also like the purple.  But even if these shoes only came in a combination of putrid green and orange I would still wear them.  I knew my old shoes were worn out, I just didn't realize how bad they really were.  When I went in to get new shoes I asked to have my run evaluated again.  And it's a good thing I did.

After running longer distances I've got a much better grasp on what my legs and feet are doing while I run.  I was correct in guessing that I need a stability shoe.  When the salesman showed me how my foot was striking the ground I was shocked to see the amount of over-pronation I had going on.  No wonder my ankles hurt so much.  Now my ankles are happy again.

Next time I post I will have finished the half marathon.  I can't wait!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Making the Decision

I kept on with my marathon training schedule this morning.  It calls for four miles today, seven tomorrow, four on Thursday, and 16 on Saturday.  Yesterday I made a firm decision about what to do with marathon training.  It took way less time than I thought it would, considering how long I've been working toward this goal.  It's been ten weeks of "real" training and probably as long doing pre-training.  The investment in time, physical effort, and motivation has been considerable.  Aside from what I put into it, there is also the contribution of support from my wonderful husband and my outstanding running buddies.  Without their help, encouragement, and other efforts I'd never have been able to train at all.  I have an incredible support system and I appreciate them more than I can say.  I really feel that I owe my success to them.

Oh, I said I'd made a decision, didn't I?  All I've mentioned above went into consideration.  Thoughts of everyone else who has helped me was the hardest (and easiest) part of realizing that training for the marathon will actually be training for the half marathon.  Everything I've worked up to will culminate in me being awesome on Sept.7 at the half marathon I signed up for last week.  I feel really great about ending my training here.  I feel peaceful about it.  The only part I don't like is telling people I'm not running the full marathon.  My vanity makes me feel that I have to defend my decision because I worry that others will look down on me or be disappointed in me.  The only person who would really carry any disappointment is me, and I'm not disappointed with myself.  I was able to set aside the fear of others looking down on me by remembering that the only people this would affect are my husband and my running buddies.  No one else matters.  In the end, I've trained to run a half marathon and that is crazy good.

Now for the why behind finishing with a half marathon.  I'll try to keep the story short.  It began with me feeling miserable on the toilet and wondering why people choose to run marathons at all when it makes you feel so cruddy.  I thought of my own reason: so I can say I've done it.  Basically it's a bucket list item from a list I've never cared enough to write.  I had no other reason to run a marathon and I realized that reason isn't good enough anymore.  The time I spend running and recovering (ugh, the recovery is a thousand times worse than the running) has started to take over other aspects of my life.  When those "other aspects" include my family and my spiritual development, I need to reevaluate how I'm spending my time.  I've felt that for a while, but tried to ignore it because I had a goal in place.  It's time for a revamp and the heavy training simply doesn't get to keep its place on the priority list.  It is, however, very important to me that I finish with the half marathon rather than just stopping right now.  Thankfully, the load gets considerably lighter by the end of this week and there are only two more weeks to go after that.

This has been such a great decision.  Several times a day I discover a new reason to be pleased to stop with the half marathon.  I was so happy yesterday to read the next section in my marathon book.  I decided to read on a little bit more to make sure I really was happy to be done.  This is what I found, with my own emphasis in italics:
Running this marathon is not something you HAVE to do.  It is something you HAVE CHOSEN to do, something you WANT to do.  In the great scheme of things , it is not that important that it be THIS marathon...
As strange as it may sound, it will sometimes help to take your mind OFF the goal of running the marathon and to remind yourself that training is for you and your self-development and that it is contributing to your physical and mental health.  If, for whatever reason, you don't complete the whole program this time, it will still have contributed to your well-being and you can choose another marathon and restart the program later...You don't HAVE to do anything.  You are doing this because you chose to.
It was perfect.  The book is very encouraging and after reading through the chapters I always feel like I can do anything.  At this time I choose not to run a full marathon because other things are more important to me.  I really love that I can own this decision.  I am neither injured nor pregnant so I can't place blame on stopping anywhere but in my own mind.  There is nothing to feel wistful or bitter or disappointed about.  I've always been a bit sad that the other two times I've tried to do the training I've had to stop because I got pregnant.  This time it's all me...and I'm so happy about it.  No regrets here!  And I'm also excited to be nearing the end of the training.  :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Halfway Point

Today's run was remarkable.  14 miles.  I was pretty amazed and pleased with myself.  I ran those 14 miles like a boss.  When I started off I was pretty nervous.  Last week was 11.5 miles that I did mostly on my own.  That makes a 2.5 mile increase and I knew I would be doing ALL of it by myself.

I started off early because I was going to need to be home earlier than usual to keep an eye on the kids. When I was ready to go it was darker outside than I felt comfortable with.  I am extremely nervous about running outside by myself.  Some pepper spray might help with those nerves but I'd still rather not put myself in what I feel like is a dangerous position.  Anyway, once I saw how dark it still was I decided to run the first three miles on the treadmill and then do the rest outside.  As it became apparent that I would not be able to finish all of my run outside before I needed to be home to watch children I decided to just do all the run on the treadmill.  That would also allow me to take a short break anytime I needed to run upstairs and grab myself another bottle of Gatorade.  I went through three (or was it four?) of them, as well as most of a water-filled Gatorade bottle.  Running is thirsty work.

During the run I discovered that our treadmill stops itself off when it reaches 100 minutes.  I worried that I had burned it out or something but it went on running just fine once I selected a speed again. Even though I had several little stops during the run I am so proud of how I did.  I kept up a good pace and I kept going when I wanted to be done.  Two and a half hours is a long time to run.

After the run was done I was shocked to realize that my body felt really good.  I had taken a couple of pain pills with caffeine in them (LOVE those pills) to keep from feeling the intense pain I'd had in my ankles after last week's long run.   I'm sure the pills helped with how I felt.  As I stretched my muscles I marveled at how unfatigued my legs were and how not painful my joints were.  It was pretty great. Then I stood up.  MOTHER MINE!!!  Ow! OW!!! OOOOOOWWW!!!!!  The middle of my heels, which have been troublesome for quite some time, protested when I stood up.  They hurt a lot so I stretched them some more and they felt much better.  When I was all done The Hubs went out to do his yard work and I took over the watching of the children.  Sort of.

Not long after my husband went outside (he also took the two oldest with him) I had a recurrence of the intestinal troubles that plagued me for several weeks.  I thought I'd gotten over them because I had two weeks of no troubles after the long run.  It's pretty horrible.  I've spent more than an hour in the bathroom since finishing my run and that was less than four hours ago.  There are frequent trips to go sit on the porcelain throne.  I really hate it.

Along with the intestinal distress I was unhappy to experience chafing beyond anything I've had before. One of my exercise shirts rubs my arm and I have stopped wearing it to run.  Today I touched the bare skin on my back to see what was feeling strange there and I was met with a fair amount of pain. Ooooh, it hurt.  A lot.  The waistband of my running shorts (which I have been running in regularly for over a year and irregularly for a few years before that) left two long strips of rubbed-off skin.  Ow. Not cool, running shorts.  Not cool.  Once I took my shower I also discovered, thanks to the warm water hitting it, that my sports bra had also left a spot of chafed-off skin.  So basically my back is one big welt and it hurts to wear clothes.

If you have held on and read this far it's time to get honest again, as I promised myself I would.  It's possible that I'm done.  Well, that I'll be done as soon as I finish the half marathon I signed up for.  It's in three weeks.  As I was sitting in the bathroom suffering from intestinal distress and rubbed-off skin I said to myself that I don't want to do this anymore.  The only times I've ever felt so strongly that I didn't want to do something were all when I was in labor and about to give birth.  I get that feeling whether or not I'm medicated--it's just an inescapable part of the process of transition and every mom I know of goes through it with each birth.  I sat there in agony and wondered why people (myself included) are dumb enough to choose to train for marathons.  If it were just sore muscles and joints I'd be able to cope.  That's exactly what I've done for months now.  But the idea of feeling like this for another ten weeks is almost more than I can bear.  The sick really is horrible.

There's a part of me that hates the idea of "giving up".  There's another part of me that tells me I'm freaking amazing and that what I've done is sufficient to prove to me that I've done what I set out to do.  I feel like I do when I'm on the treadmill and debating with myself whether or not I should slow the pace.  The is always a conflict of thought that goes back and forth between "if I keep up this speed I'll finish faster" and "if I slow down I'll run longer but I'll feel better in the rest of the time I have left".  The second one usually wins because it will only add a minute or two onto the time and I'll feel good instead of cruddy for the 10-20 minutes still left to run.  It all comes back to if it's worth it or not.  I mentioned in another post that included wanting to quit that I wasn't sure if, come marathon day, I would be disappointed for not doing it or if I would do a happy dance that I hadn't chosen to subject myself to that kind of torture.  On a somewhat related note, every new school year I do a happy dance knowing that I'm no longer teaching.  There's an enormous amount of relief associated with thinking training will be completely done in three weeks rather than having ten more weeks of misery.  There is also some disappointment in myself in the thought of stopping, though that feeling isn't nearly so strong.

One thing that has kept me going when I wanted to stop was my desire to prove to everyone that this is something I can do.  I'm very stubborn and one of the best ways to encourage me to do something is to tell me I can't.  No one has told me I can't or vocally expressed doubts, but I'm self-conscious enough to believe that if I quit something there will be some jerk out there feeling smug and pleased to see me fail.  I talked to the Hubs about my thoughts.  He has been enormously supportive of my marathon training.  I never would have gotten this far without his efforts and encouragement.  He, more than anyone else, is the one I don't want to disappoint.  I was completely honest about what I'm thinking and why.  I told him I didn't know what I thought he'd say or even what I wanted him to say. Smart man that he is, he spent a while thinking before saying things to suggest that he'd be fine with either choice.  I wasn't asking him to make the decision for me and he didn't.  He knows me so well.  :)

So right now I feel comfortable with saying that my training will be finished after I run the Mt. Nebo half marathon in three weeks.  Is that a permanent decision?  I don't know.  It's amazing to me that my muscles and joints can stand up so beautifully to 14 miles of running but the aftermath with my digestive tract is enough to leave me moaning and miserable.  As I've been typing my body has started to recover and the sick is going away.  Huzzah!  That may also be because I've been sitting still and it could come back with a vengeance as soon as I stand up.  Not looking forward to testing that thought.  When my body feels better I'm less likely to want to stop.  The difference with what I'm feeling in this very moment as I type is that if I stop with the half marathon that I won't be quitting, just stopping.  Perhaps that's a fine line but, again, at this very moment, my mind doesn't immediately reject the thought as it usually would.  Right now what I have done feels...sufficient.  That's the best way to describe it.  It's the same way I felt at the end of my mission as I pondered whether I had been diligent enough and worked hard enough.

I am helped along with the sufficiency thought by what felt right as I was registering for races this week.  I really wanted to sign up for the Mt. Nebo half.  I expected to run that with my running buddies.  They won't be running it because they've got other things going on in their lives.  Imagine that. :) I still wanted to do it and I was excited to sign up.  So I did.  I went to register for the full marathon because the price was going up.  I couldn't do it.  I felt like I shouldn't do it yet.  So I didn't.  I was even feeling really confident about the marathon that day.  Whether that was an impression or not, I simply don't know.  I'm not yet ready to say that this is as far as the marathon training will take me but, as of today, it's looking that way.  If that's disappointing to you then I apologize.  If you feel smug about it then please keep your feelings and looks to yourself or I may have to blow a raspberry in your general direction.  In the end I'll make the decision I think is best and makes me feel peace. That's what I always do.  We'll see what exactly that decision is.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Enjoying a Run?!?

Well, it seems I may have turned a corner.  There I times I actually (gasp!) look forward to my next run.  Weird.  It's not generally for treadmill runs, but I do seem to enjoy running outside now.  It's more pleasant to actually see the ground moving under my feet than just to stay in a single place and run until I'm done.  The change seems to have coincided with when we started to run down the canyon and when The Hubs downloaded Zombies, Run! onto his phone for me.  It gives me something a little more exciting to run to than just my regular playlist.  All I have to do is steal his fancy pants phone when I go on a run. :)

Today's run was 12 miles...almost.  It came up to about 11.5 when I was done.  I had driven a route the night before and got everything all planned.  When I actually ran I missed a turn and it cut 2 miles off the course.  I was cursing the stupid GPS on the phone because I thought I had one mile left and it told me there were still three.  You want to know what's demotivational when you run?  Realizing there are two extra miles to go when you thought you were almost done is pretty disheartening.  I added in some extra running spots to try to make up the mileage I'd lost.  By the time I got to 11.5 I was almost at my front door and I could see that I needed to get inside and shower lickety-split if we were to make it on time to the family activity at my in-laws house.  So I decided that 11.5 miles was good enough. Besides, at that point it was all I could do to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  One of my neighbors told me she saw me running around our block and I was a little embarrassed.  By that time my form had broken down completely and my pace was comparable to a sloth's.  I was so tired and sore in muscles I didn't know I had.

The good news is that I finished and came close enough to my distance goal to make me happy.  The bad news is pretty much the same as it always is.  I start to question and wonder about the decision to run a marathon.  Do I really care about doing a marathon as much as I need to so I can finish?  If I were to quit the training would I, on race day, be disappointed in myself for not finishing or would I dance a jig and be pleased I wasn't putting myself through that misery?  Hard to tell.  What I do know is that I'm one that just keeps putting on foot in front of the other until the run is over.  That means I would certainly finish the marathon if I went--even if I had to walk the whole thing.

**Continued two days later**

There was some pretty good news about Saturday's run along with the discouraging thoughts.  Most of the day Saturday I was sore and tired (I'd just run 11.5 miles, how else was I expected to feel?) and walked a bit gingerly.  Sunday was a huge surprise.  I expected to be hobbling around, sore and tires, as I usually do the day after a long run.  I didn't.  My body felt pretty good.  Even more exciting to me was that the runners diarrhea I've experienced for the past several weeks never showed up.  I can hear the heavenly choirs rejoicing with me.  I love not feeling like I have to be parked on the toilet all day.  Last week I only had half a day of feeling sick and I thought that was pretty good.  Not sick at all is about a million times better.

The biggest surprise of all came this morning when I got on the treadmill for a four mile run.  I did awesome.  I expected my legs to rebel against me and refuse to cooperate.  I got the four miles in 41 minutes.  That's really good for me, especially because I run on a little bit of an incline.  We'll see how it goes tomorrow when I run six miles.  I'm expecting to do pretty well though I doubt I'll be able to keep the same pace.  It's all stuff to look forward to.  After my last post I had a really difficult running week.  Last week was great and this week is shaping up to be even better.  Also, by the end of tomorrow's run I will have reached the gold level of the fitness challenge I've been doing.  I originally signed up with the goal of finishing at silver level, which is 170 miles.  After a good week of running I looked at my projected mileage for the marathon and saw that I could reach the 220 miles of gold level. I was super nervous, but a challenge isn't a challenge unless you push, right?  Well, I'm 4.9 miles away from gold level and I've certainly pushed it.  I'm pretty proud of myself.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Houston, We Have a Problem

The marathon training hit a major snag today.  Well, the snag won't come for several more weeks, but I found out about it today.  Neither of my running buddies plans on finishing the marathon training. That means there will be 2-5 weeks (depending on how long they choose to continue running) where I'll be on my own for the long training run.  I don't do solo runs.  I'm glad they told me now so I have a bit of time to see if there's someone else I can run with or so I can figure something else out.  But after today I wonder if I won't just choose to stop the training also.

There are several reasons I'm torn about the decision.  For one thing, in my book it says that if I follow the training and advice I will complete a marathon.  That's pretty exciting and I trust it entirely.  On the other hand, I'm tired.  So tired.  Our run today was 11 miles.  We ran 8 down the canyon and 3 more in town.  I started to get some stomach cramps three or four miles in and those were pretty uncomfortable.  It was hard.  The opposite of that, of course, is that I never expected this to be easy.  Every hard, worthwhile thing I've ever done has always included a time when I wanted to give up and quit.  I'm a rather stubborn and prideful girl, which makes me balk at the idea of just saying I'm done without finishing.  Then there's how I feel after the long run every Saturday.  The runner's diarrhea is bad enough to make me question if I am willing to feel it every week until the end of October.  That's 13 more weeks of miserable Saturdays.  On the other hand (I'm starting to sound like Tevye), if I don't do this now it is unlikely that I ever will.  How will I feel in 13 weeks knowing I had planned on running a marathon that day but had simply given up during the training? That thought grates on me worse than any other.  However, there is my family to consider and that is a HUGE consideration.  The Hubs has been so wonderfully supportive of me in my attempt.  Every Saturday he makes sure he's in charge of the kids and the house while I run and then take a couple of hours to recover and shower.  Even after that I'm fairly useless because I feel cruddy.  By the evening or the next morning I'm fine, but it's not a fun way for the Hubs to spend his one day that is completely off.  There are times when I can see the strain and I feel guilty knowing I'm the cause.  I also know that he would never ask me to stop.  The kids don't seem to mind that I'm gone though.

So now that you know what's going on in my head I'll move on to the big run itself.  I actually really enjoyed most of it.  I didn't urn my music on for quite a while because I really love listening to the sounds of the canyon as I run.  City sounds aren't my favorite but it's had to beat the sound of a mountain stream--so peaceful.  We've been running down the canyon to keep cool, to have an "easier" run, and to train the muscles we don't usually use in a city run.  We learned about those running muscles last week. :)  We've talked about running the Mt. Nebo half marathon and this is great training for that.  Not to mention that the marathon I intend to run is also a downhill canyon race.  There doesn't seem to be a better way to train than to actually do something identical or similar to what I plan. Aside from the oh-so-lovely stomach cramps, I think I would have been quite pleased with the run had it not been so hard on my running buddies.  It was pretty hard on them which, in turn, got me thinking about what was difficult for me.  Not a good way to feel confident.  The plus part is that I made it to the top of the final hill by chanting, "I am a marathoner.  I am strong.  I love to run." until I made it all the way up.  That little mental trick works wonders.  Really what I need to do is focus on me and what's going on with me to keep totally positive.  I think that will give me the best idea of my body's capabilities.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Above and Below Average

I'm still on the running kick.  Most of my sewing has been on hold as I've been doing other things. The marathon is the big goal for the next three months.  But I will be making some shirts and a pair of pants as Blue Eyes gets ready for Kindergarten in the fall.  Gah!  My baby is growing up.  :(

Anyway, I was talking about the marathon.  The only reason I started running as because I needed to lose weight and having an end goal kept me motivated.  That was why I started training for a 5k last year.  Marathon training lasts longer and, therefore, keeps the motivation up for longer.  Moving on.

I was reading through the new chapter in my book and part of the chapter is about nutrition.  In the section where they talk about how many calories are used there's a line about "the average 120 pound female runner."  That's where I burst out laughing.  I am way, way above average on that count.  I weigh almost half again as much as the "average" female runner.

Now for the below average part.  This week has the miles for the two short runs of the week bumped up to four miles from the three I've been doing for the past several weeks.  The book said I wouldn't even notice it.  I was amazed to find it was true!  I was still sore from the 10 mile run on Saturday (we ran almost all of it downhill and used muscles we're not generally accustomed to) so I expected the four miles on Monday to be akin to torture.  I was shocked at how easy the four miles were.  Today's medium run was also bumped up from five miles to six.  It was very challenging.  The worst part was the last mile.  It was only sheer force of will that kept my legs going.  "You won't even notice it" my foot!  It was miserable.  I felt like I'd hit the wall after hitting five miles.  But I was pleased with myself for pushing through regardless of my desire to stop.

After I was all done and showered and recovering from a difficult run I took another peek in the book. The reason that last mile was so blasted horrible was because...I wasn't supposed to do it.  It was still supposed to be five miles but I jumped the gun and didn't check the schedule.  Silly me.  But hey, if my weight is above average at least my intelligence is below.  ;)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

10 Miles!!!!!

Last time I said I needed to have a good run.  Well, I can check that off now.  I've had two GREAT runs in a row.  Actually, I guess it's three.  Last Tuesday's five mile run was so much better than I expected.  It certainly wasn't easy, it was just way better.  I was worried during the run that I hadn't had enough to drink because I was hardly sweating at all.  Turns out I was sweating profusely from my head and it all went into my ponytail.  When I finished I was able to wring it out.  Three times.  And I felt great when I was done.  Thursday's three mile run was the same but with less sweat.

Today was my first ten miler.  We started out going down the canyon single file with one of the husbands following in the car.  There was some concern about being mauled by a bear or a mountain lion. It was also nice to have someone to whom we could give our cast off items we didn't want to carry (long sleeved shirts for them and a waist pack for me).  That took care of the first 6.8 miles and the rest were done in town.  It felt great!  There were obviously parts where I was tired or thought it would be nice to just walk for a bit, but it is easily my favorite run of all time.  Who'd have thought I would ever say that about a 10 mile run?!  We did stop a couple of times to stretch or walk for a bit and for me to go to the bathroom.

Now comes the honest part.  As great as he run was and as terrific as I felt immediately afterward, I'm still paying for it hours later.  I'm pretty sure my intestines are angry I bounced them around for two hours and are now wreaking their vengeance.  Last week I thought I'd figured out why they were so mad at me.  I must have been mistaken because it's all the same this week.  Stomach cramps are not my friend.  On the plus side, I can eat anything I darn well please today and tomorrow.  I probably burned at least 1800 calories on this run and my...uh...urges...will be gone by morning.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Princess Festival

One of the prizes Q-ball got at the Baby Contest was a pass for this year's Princess Festival.  He didn't use the pass, but the girls and I did.  We even got to bring along some friends.  It was pretty terrific. The kids and parents are invited to dress up as princesses and go on adventures.  That's where the sewing was involved.  I didn't make anything new for the girls because they already had short sleeved princess dresses.  They didn't get a choice about which dress to wear because they each only have one dress in their size without long sleeves.  The girls didn't mind me dictating which costume to wear.  Blue Eyes went as Cinderella in a dress she got from her aunt and Pink Blur went in her Snow White dress from Halloween.  I was able to bring along my niece.  She was in the Cinderella dress my mom made for her.  I was also able to bring along some neighborhood friends and their mom to join in the festivities.
The group of us at the end of the day.  Looking at all that blonde hair I feel like singing "One of These Things is Not Like the Other Things".
L to R: D (my niece), Me, Pink Blur, T, friend C, M, and Blue Eyes
 The only sewing I did specifically for the festival was my shirt.  The skirt I wore for my brother's wedding made for a great start of a Sleeping Beauty costume.  I found a t-shirt pattern and grabbed some fabric from the box of blue fabric at my parents' house.  I made a half-hearted attempt at adding white things to the sleeves to really look like Sleeping Beauty.  As half of an attempt tends to make for failure, I abandoned the sleeve embellishment as it failed the first time.  It was also midnight when I decided that "good enough" really was good enough.
You can't really see the shirt well, but there it is.  We're getting autographs from the Cheshire Cat.
I am ever so glad I didn't try to go over the top with my costume.  It ended up not being too hot to wear and was super comfy.  But I won't be wearing it anymore.  I'm not a huge fan of the length or the cut but it was great for its intended use.  If we go next year I'll have to get myself a different dress. I could have fun with my very own princess dress.  The pattern I used was 5-10 years old, when shirt length was shorter.  I survived being slightly less fashionable.  :) 
Here's a better view of the costume.  The tee is just a basic V neck with gathered sleeves.  Nice and comfy.
The girls are using magic to work together and fix the crown.
I had briefly considered wearing my Arwen costume from several years ago and I'm so glad I decided against it.  The sleeves would have been ridiculously hot.  It was also fun to see the costumes the princesses had.  The mermaid princess costume was phenomenal.
Blue Eyes wasn't the only one who wanted to touch the costume and see what it was made of.  I'm just the one of us who respects personal space.
It was a fun time.  I'm glad I made the shirt so I would have a princess costume to wear.  I also really did enjoy seeing the other costumes and getting ideas for things to make in the future.  

And now I'll leave you with a few more pictures because they were really cute.

The photo prop of death.  Before this picture it had already fallen down once, which is why my friend C is in the back holding it up.  After we finished taking pictures it fell over on Pink Blur and pinned her underneath.  She was unhappy about that.  We let it stay face down after that.
All set for the carriage ride.  I had abandoned my curly hair piece by then.

Rapunzel was very sweet after D fell down and got a nose bleed.  D was pretty upset about it and I was just glad her parents happened to pack a little hand towel in her bag.  Brilliant!

Fatigue

Oh, how I wish I had a really encouraging, uplifting post to cover the past few days.  But I promised myself I would be completely real.  I am in serious need of a good run.  Maybe I should say I'm in serious need of an easy run.  There have been quite a few truly difficult runs over the past week or so. The 8 mile run on Saturday just about finished me off.  It was partly the distance, partly my lack of water, and mostly the heat.  I'm not so good with heat.

We took a new route that none of us had ever run before.  There was a big section of straight and flat that my running buddies really hated.  Because I'm on a treadmill the other three days of training a week that wasn't so bad for me.  But my body just kind of gave up.  At one point I thought to myself that it would just be easier to get pregnant and deal with that instead of the run.  Obviously I wasn't thinking very clearly.

The last mile or two was pretty bad.  I started to get a bit light-headed and had to walk while I downed some fruit snacks.  Then I pretty much hobbled the last little way back.  I was not helped along by the fact that there was some idiot standing around right by where we were going to finish that started heckling us.  I had a couple of choice words saved up for him until I realized it was the husband of one of my buddies and he was cheering us on.  And he had ice cold water bottles.  Then I decided he was my new best friend.

This morning was another 3 mile run.  It was hard.  My legs were so tired.  I guess that's to be expected after only one day of rest.  Tomorrow I have a five mile run so we will see how that goes.  I just need to remind myself that I don't need to be a hero or a speed demon.  Saturday is a 10 miler.  I've asked them if we can keep it to 9 miles because I'm not sure I'm ready for 10 after last week's run.  The other part of me wants to just push forward.  It will be an easier run because most of it will be down hill through the canyon and earlier in the morning so it won't be so hot.  As I write that out I feel a little more confident about doing it.

I've been trying to think of ways to encourage myself and get past the mental block, so here goes.  I'm no stranger to doing hard things.  There is always some point at which I think I can't possibly go on, that I don't want to, that it's not worth it, or any number of things that make me feel like simply quitting.  Quitting would be easier but there would always be regret that I didn't finish what I started.  The big thing I keep trying to remember is that I built a house.  While I was pregnant.  There were several times I felt like we would be building forever and never actually move in.  Moving day was a year and a half ago, so obviously we did finish building.  I tell myself that this is just one of those times when I feel like I'll be training forever and never cross that finish line.  That helps me get through.  If I could build a house while pregnant I should be able to do anything.  The mental game is just as important and the physical one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When Long Becomes Medium

Documenting the marathon training is starting to seem a little silly to me, but I know I'll want it in the future.  So, for anyone who isn't interested in yet another running post, this would be one to skip.

Every week I run four times.  The first and third runs are short runs, the second is a medium distance, and the fourth day is the long run.  I've scheduled my runs for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  This week the medium run bumped up from four miles to five.  It's amazing to me to think that it was only three and a half weeks ago when I was nervous to run five miles for my first long run. Even more amazing is knowing that in seven weeks the five mile distance will be the short runs in my week.  It's not easy, but it is doable.  I never thought it would be easy.

Probably the hardest thing about upping the miles is the time commitment.  I seem to have a mindset that a workout lasts for around 30 minutes and then you get on with your day.  Five miles, including the warm up, cool down, and stretching, takes me over an hour.  The miles go up just a little at a time so, while it is challenging, the amount of time I spend on the road or on the treadmill is harder than the physical work.  At least it is at this point.  I imagine that when the long runs get past 10 or 12 miles I'll think the physical demands are the hard part.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Running Buddies and Seven Miles

I'm afraid to run outside by myself.  It's true.  There are too many stories of women running alone and being attacked or kidnapped, as well as my own fear of overdoing it and not being able to make it back home on my own steam.  On the other hand, I was nervous to basically ask someone if they wanted to marathon train with me.  "Hey, I know we haven't talked a whole lot, but I know you're a runner sooo...wanna run a marathon?"  Awkward.  So it was with hope, excitement, and anxiety that I sent an email to a lady I go to church with and asked her if she would be my running buddy.  I needn't have worried.  She was great about it and I even ended up with two buddies instead of just one.  Score!  The other one is someone I had tested the waters with and it seemed she wasn't ready.  They're both great.

Running outside with these two lovelies is one of the best things that has ever happened to my running.  We run at the same pace (how lucky is that!), we all listen to music rather than chat, and they are wonderfully encouraging.  Running with them has been terrific because they are easy going and they know what they're doing and where they're going.  All I have to worry about is keeping up and listening to my body.  On the longer runs I've figured out that my right foot rolls to the inside as I run.  I'll probably need stability shoes to help with that.  In the mean time I just run wherever the street or sidewalk slopes down to the right.

This week's long run of seven miles was fan-flippin'-tastic!  After the Freedom Run I was sure that trying to go seven miles would be my doom.  I was wrong; it was great!  The hills were difficult but the breeze was a lifesaver.  I'm pretty sure I can do anything now.  One reason I was so nervous is because we had to go in the evening.  Usually I run in the morning when I have more energy.  I took a couple of Excedrin pills before the run to stave off aches and give me a little jolt of caffeine.  It was a good choice and I felt great at the end of the run.  I did end up getting kind of sick after I got home because my body needed to eject a few things, but it went away by morning.

Now this week brings a small bump up in distance during the week.  My short runs will still be 3 miles, but the medium run goes up to 5 miles.  I can do this!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Freedom Run 5k!!!

WOW!!!  This race was about a thousand times harder than I expected.  Bragging:  I've progressed to the point now that a three mile run is no big deal.  Not bragging: This run nearly did me in.  I had assumed it would be a really easy run and it would just be my regular workout with my training schedule.  I was going to pass out a few cards (which I did) and push hard to get a PR on a 5k.  My time to beat was 30 min flat, the time I got in December at the Santa Run.  The last two Saturdays I've done 6 mile runs.  Both of those were easier than this 5k was for me.  No joke.
Before, while I still looked lovelyish.  I'm #840.  I'd never met the two in the middle, but the other three are family friends.  The one on the far right is the one who organized the fundraiser.  The other two I know are her mom and her sister-in-law.

Hey, look!  It's my back!
What I didn't count on that day was the humidity.  Really?  Humidity?  Here?  I'm used to a dry heat.  And a touch of a breeze.  We had neither.  I also got a surprise from my monthly visitor that morning.  I swear that adds 15 pounds to each leg.  Neither of those were things I had any control over.  I did, however, have control over my pace.  I decided to be a big shot and keep pace with C, the one I'm talking to in the above pic.  That worked for the first mile or so until I told her to run ahead because I needed to slow down.  She ended up finishing more than four minutes ahead of me, so I'm glad I didn't try to keep up or slow her down.

It's my back again!  Betcha can't guess who forgot to bring her camera... 
I finally gave up and started walking a little after the halfway point.  I preferred that to complete collapse.  It wasn't the first time I would walk.  I did make sure that when I walked I was going pretty quick  I kept up with my music, which was fast.  At first I felt like maybe I wasn't doing my best, but the humidity really was oppressive to me.  If it gives you any idea, I spilled a little on my shirt when I went to a water station.  It took well over an hour to dry.  When I bought the pink shirt to run in I debated over the one I got and a tank top.  I sooooo should have gotten the tank.  Anyway.  One of the difficult things was that during the run I started to seriously question whether or not I really want to try for a marathon.  If I hated a short run so much then why on earth would I want to add another 23.1 miles to it?  However, one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received is "don't quit on a bad day."  So I'm not quitting.

Most of the race is flat, but the last part is uphill. Such a mean, dirty trick.  Toward the finish line I tried to pick up the pace a little and that was moderately successful.  I went faster but there wasn't a whole lot left to give.  I made it, though!  I went through the lines to get my souvenir water bottle and some food and watched the people around me.  I heard someone say, "Man, after Ragnar I thought this would be cake but it wasn't!"  I've heard how truly challenging Ragnar is so that made me feel like I'm less of a wimp.  I really had been disappointed not to run the whole thing.  I heard someone else ask their friend if it was worth waiting in line to get the special water bottle.  That's the hardest 3 miles I've run in a loooooooong time, so there was no way I was leaving without that water bottle.  I earned it, man!  In the end I'm actually pretty proud of how I did.  With the humidity and my other...uh...bodily ailments, I think I still did well.  Final time was 31:48.6 (10:15 pace) and I placed 55 out of 214 in my age division.  Not too shabby.  It was just complete misery while I was doing it.  I'll have to go for another PR in the future; it's okay that this one wasn't my best.

Now it's on to tomorrow's seven mile run.  I am once again apprehensive to do the long run because yesterday's three was so beastly.  I'm nervous for tomorrow and hoping for much, MUCH less humidity.

**UPDATE**  The professional pictures from the Freedom Run have been posted.  Find mine here.  If you look at picture 13 you'll see I apparently came in just behind "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy"... who is pushing a stroller.  Maybe next year I'll make it ahead of the stroller-pushers. :)

Independence Day Attire

This one's a quickie.  After making Q-ball's costume for the baby contest I had some leftover fabric and knew it would be perfect for shirts for the girls.  I already had McCall's 6737 pattern (a pattern that's not discontinued but actually new?  Miracles do happen.) on hand.
Meeting the princess.  The girls had not yet abandoned all semblance of being groomed. That happened later...and so did the potty accidents.
It was a quick sew.  I wasn't pleased with the width of the neck so I narrowed it on Pink Blur's top by cutting the contrast panel smaller. The sleeves also sew in a little funny.  It's probably not a pattern I'll use again but it worked well for it's purpose.  The front and back pieces are identical, making it super-duper easy to match stripes or other designs.  The shirts are pretty cute and the girls love them.  I think Blue Eyes will be able to wear hers another year.
My cutie pies with the sweet princess.  We had a great Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Not What I Wanted...Better!

For years (YEARS!) I have wanted to participate in the Freedom Run on the Fourth of July.  Even back in the days of hating running only slightly less than I hate stepping on Lego pieces I still wanted to do it.  I wanted the cool shirt and I wanted to be able to do it.  I've never done it because I've never been ready for one reason or another.  This year I'm ready!  I actually considered running the 10k, but my training schedule has me down for 3 miles that day and I've been determined to stick to it religiously.
Last year's (or maybe it's for this year, not sure...) shirt and the measurements.  Because the two were connected.

Now that I'm all signed up and don't even see a 5k as particularly difficult (what did that happen?!?) I'm way excited.  I finally get to run along with everyone in their red, white, and blue tech shirts.  Because I've gotten better at running I've even been looking forward to seeing how much time improvement I'll have over my last 5k.  My last time was exactly 30 minutes and I'm pretty sure I can do better.  I've been looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Then something happened.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was running the Freedom Run 5k in support of one of her former mission companions, Kassi.  I told her I'd see her there.  When she replied back she asked if I would hand out a couple flyers with a website for donating to help with the costs of Kassi's fight with brain cancer.  I said I would be happy to help.
The flyers
Not long after that the brakes in my head screeched me to a halt as I realized what handing out flyers would mean.  If I were to hand them out along the way it could seriously effect how long it takes to reach the finish line and that time is important to me.   As I read more on my friend's Facebook page I saw that those who are supporting Kassi could also wear hot pink and gray to be noticed among the sea of red, white, and blue clad runners.  That would mean not wearing the shirt I've coveted for so long and wanted to wear along with all the other runners.  And that was it.  The selfish part of me couldn't get past giving up the two things about this race that were most important to me.  I didn't want to do it anymore.  And then a thought occurred to me: I'm pretty sure Kassi doesn't want to have cancer or go through the treatments.  I bet her husband doesn't want it for his wife.  I bet their newborn daughter wants her mommy.  That certainly put things in perspective.

I've never met Kassi and, as she doesn't know me from Adam, I'm pretty sure our paths will never cross.  But I do know Lori.  She and her family live around the corner from us and moved into the development about seven months before we did, around the beginning of July 2011.  Her husband was in the final stages of brain cancer.  The day of the Freedom Run is the second anniversary of his death.  I know, love, and admire Lori.  She is raising two amazing children and supporting her family by running a preschool from her home.  She's pretty incredible.  I wasn't able to do anything to support Lori, but I can do this as a tribute to her family as well as to help Kassi and her family now that she has started her treatments.  So now I won't be running in my matching shirt and I may not beat my old time.  That's okay; this is better.

If you want to help and read more about Kassi, go to the donation website: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/59c2/teamkassi/

Monday, July 1, 2013

Perfect Playtime Pants Pattern Review

Most of what I have blogged (or thought about blogging) this past little while has all been about marathon training.  There are things I've sewn but never got around to posting.  This is one of them.

A while back I was lucky to test the Perfect Playtime Pants pattern from Feather's Flights.  I loved the different options for length and that it's a unisex pattern.
Roomy and comfy
I grabbed some fabric from my stash to whip them a pair in the bloomer length.  These pants don't take long to sew and are a great instant gratification project.  There are pockets for the longer lengths and those are pretty cute.  I wanted the bloomers because Pink Blur was in serious need of some summer duds.
Matching top is modified from the Blank Tank pattern by Blank Slate Patterns
The pattern fit well and the instructions were thorough.  Pink Blur loves her new outfit and gets excited whenever I pull it out of the drawer.  It's perfect for the deathly warmer weather we've been having recently.  Now she's ready for BBQ season!
Check out Heather's stuff here!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 2b

I am so excited today about marathon training.  I had a breakthrough during my long run over the weekend and today I accomplished a goal I'd been working on for weeks now.  It's all very encouraging.

So first off I'm calling this week 2b because I am repeating last week's training.  My chosen marathon is three weeks after I am scheduled to finish the training, allowing me to build those extra weeks into the training and use them where I need.  I was able to find a couple of running buddies (WOOHOO!) and I'm thinking it will be best if we start with six miles instead of seven for our first run together, as one is just getting over being very sick and the other had to take a break for a while.  It all works out perfectly.  I think we will even be able to keep the same kind of pace.  It's so excited to be able to run outside with other people for support and the extra push I need.  And, of course, because I'm afraid to run outside by myself.  Their original plan was to train for a half, but at least one of them is starting to think about training for a full marathon.  Yay for running buddies!

Now for the breakthrough.  Every Saturday I run more than I have ever run before.  That means it's always kind of hard for me because, well, I've never done it before.  This past Saturday was six miles.  Once I had finished the first four miles I thought, "There's only two more miles to go.  I got this."  Only two more miles?  Only?  Since when have I ever though that anything could be "only" two miles? Along with that, the Hubs came downstairs to put away his camping things and was super impressed when I told him I had a mile left and that I could tell him that without panting.  There's a lot to be said for moving at a comfortable pace.  Anyway, between those two things, I realized that I don't hate running anymore.  That's a first.  Now that my body is conditioned to run it's not the horror show of trauma and fatigue it once was.  It's the first time I've ever not hated running.  In the past I've tolerated it for weight loss purposes and hated every moment of it.  Even on my mission when I ran with one of my companions as a way to serve her I wished I was doing pretty much anything else.  Anyway, I'm not to the point that I love it, but I don't hate it like I did.

Today's big accomplishment was running 3 non-stop miles on the treadmill at 6 mph.  That's only a 10 minute mile, but it's not something I've been able to do in the past.  I also feel good about my pace knowing that, in the past, I've run faster outside than on the treadmill.  I'm still not fast, but the goal is to finish, not to meet a time goal.

It's really great to meet the goals I've set out for myself and to keep up with the training.  I realize that I am in the early phases and that it will only get harder.  That's why it's called training.  As my body gets more used to the miles I am confident that I will be able to keep up and keep going.  The time will pass whether I am training or not, so why not make the most of it?  The most motivating things for me are looking back at both building a house and having babies (especially the one labor and delivery that I did without medication).  The house was built over the course of seven months, not a week.  Gestating my babies takes 40 weeks.  Making it through "natural" labor and delivery required preparation and a full day (well, about 13 hours) of pain and concentration.  If I can do those things then what's to stop me  from training for a marathon?  Only me.  And I've got this.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Marathon Day Six

Today was rough.  The run nearly killed me.  Okay, it was the first ten minutes that nearly did me in, but that's ALWAYS the worst.  It was a four-miler today so I didn't expect it to be too hard.  I should have known better.  For the past two or three weeks I've had some kind of upper respiratory crud.  It won't go away.  I just want it to GO AWAY!  It leaves me coughing in the morning and evening, as well as waking me up several times during the night between 1 and 3.  Not cool.  Last night was particularly bad because I felt like my airway was constricted and I couldn't take a deep breath.  Great for running, right?
image via kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com
The good part is that I completed the run.  I ran at 6 mph for the first two miles, then knocked it down to 5.5 for the next mile and then to a 5 for the last mile.  That made the last mile fairly doable.  It was just the first mile that made me question why I'm doing this and whether I really want to continue.  I'm hoping it's the breathing thing that is making running so difficult right now.  I'm set to run six miles on Saturday and I really want to be successful with that.  I try to remind myself that when I was getting ready to do 5k races I had the same trouble with wondering if it was worth it and why I wanted to do it.  I completed that training so I tell myself it's the same thing with marathon training.

My fear now is that one of my two big obstacles will get in the way of finishing the training and completing the marathon.  The first is my heel.  It's been sore for quite a while and I'm not entirely sure about how to fix it.  Sometimes I think it's a heel spur and other times it acts like the Achilles tendon is causing the problem.  I don't know.  The best I can do right now is gently stretch it out after warming up and then again after I finish the run.  It hasn't gotten better but it hasn't gotten worse, either.
image via capilano.com.au
The other obstacle is a running buddy.  The long training runs I'll be doing on Saturdays would be much better done outside than on the treadmill.  I'm not comfortable with the idea of running outside all by my lonesome.  I don't feel safe and it makes me nervous.  Maybe it shouldn't, but it does.  That's just how it is.  I'm unwilling to run outside by myself, particularly at the distances I'll be going.  The real trouble is that I don't want to run a marathon badly enough to suck it up and run alone.  If I can't find someone to run with me...well, that'll be the end of it and I'll have to figure out something else.  I think there's one more person I'll try.  If that doesn't work I suppose I could run around the block in my neighborhood.  Over and over and over and over... you get the idea.  The longest training runs are 18 miles and that would be 36 times around.  Fun, huh?  I suppose it's better than nothing.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Baby Contest 2013

Okay, how have I not blogged this little bit of goodness yet?  Every year I make a costume for the Freedom Festival Baby Contest.  It was really early this year.  Usually it's more toward the end of June than the beginning.  Anyway.  This little Uncle Sam costume was just begging to be made.  It's the same pattern that I used for Q-ball's leprechaun costume, but this time I followed the pattern almost exactly.
image via betsyvintage.com
The picture's a little fuzzy, but you get the idea.  I also really love the little policeman uniform on the top left.  It's pretty adorable.  Maybe next year...hmm...
I started with the idea of making it look identical to the pattern.  But when you want fabric that is simple red and white stripes or blue with white stars then it will be impossible to find.  I had some solid red fabric that I cut out for the overalls, intending to print with white stripes.  As I was getting ready to start drawing lines on freezer paper to make the template I realized that it would be too time (and sanity) consuming.  So I made a run to JoAnn's and got the closest I could find.  I'm not disappointed with the results.
The only real change I made to the pattern was adding piping.  I just like the extra touch and definition it gives the jacket.  The collar would have gotten lost without it.
I modified and cut out a pattern for the hat.  After the first seam I saw that it wasn't going to work as I'd hoped.  Rather than spend the time tweaking and adjusting I decided to take a little shopping trip to a place I was confident would have something I could work with.  It's all about the dollar store hat, baby.  He hates it but the photographer was able to get in a couple of shots where he doesn't look like somebody has just questioned his sister's honor.
The bow tie was one I improvised.  It was a piece about 10" x 6".  Then I folded it lengthwise (hot dog) and sewed down the side.  After a turn and press I folded it widthwise (hamburger) to form a loop and sewed down the side.  I made the center section the same as the bow, just smaller.  Then the bow was pinched in the middle and slid into the center section loop.  The whole thing was attached to some elastic so it would stretch over his head.  I'm all about easy right now.
Q-ball was entered into the age category and the costume category.  There is a rule that the same child cannot win in two different categories.  Last year he got first place in costume and second in age.  There were no other 0-3 month boys in the costume category so he won by default.  In the age category there was only one other boy entered.  Not exactly a lot of competition.  This year they added superlatives (best smile, cutest hair, etc.) in each age group and the costume category included both boys and girls of the same age.  In the age category he got biggest eyes.  That made me laugh, as I don't think his eyes are particularly big.  I was surprised there was any prize at all, as Q-ball wasn't especially friendly with the judges and that is a big part of the criteria they list online.
The costume judge was super impressed with his costume.  She totally loved it, maybe even as much as I do.  When it came time to announce the costume winners I was a bit disappointed when his name wasn't called for second or third place, but two little girl names were called.  Girl costumes are always so much more fun than boy costumes.  I was sure that with the combination of boys and girls that he hadn't won anything.  That left me really surprised when they called his name for first!  Woohoo!  I know it's shallow and petty, but I felt particularly accomplished knowing that he got first place in a field of more than one.
So now I'll be deciding whether or not to dress him up in his costume again for the 4th of July.  Probably not because it'll be too hot with the jacket.  But I'll probably put on a onesie under the overalls so he gets another wearing out of it.  There is also a little children's parade the weekend before the 4th that I'm hoping we'll attend.  It could be fun for the girls.  I'll put them in the shirts they got from the scraps leftover from Q-ball's costume.  I over-estimated my fabric amounts.  Score for the girls!  And here's one last peek at the world's cutest Uncle Sam.