Tuesday, September 28, 2010

195 and 1/2

Here it is...The post I've been promising for weeks now would come.
The one about RUNNING!
See these feet...

In the past 13 weeks they ran 195.5 miles!!
Why the crazy would they do such a thing??
Well, the story goes something like this...
Thirteen weeks ago, my friend Michelle approached me with this question,
"Hey, you want to train for a half-marathon with me?"
My answer, "Oh girl, I am not a runner! There is no way I could do a half marathon."
"But you've been working out, you go to the gym every morning, you could train and do it," she says to me. To which I respond, "Michelle, I'm not kidding, I may work out but I am NOT a runner. The most I ever ran when I was in my best shape ever (which I am very FAR from now) was 5 miles at the most."
Then came the guilt trip. Michelle said, "Well, my sister from NJ is coming out at the end of September and she wants me to run a half-marathon with her. She is fifty and has had cancer so I figure I should give it my best shot to do it with her. And I really wanted someone here to train for it with me to keep me accountable."
And I bit! "Okay, I'm not making any promises except to give it my best try," I said. Wait, did I really say that? Yes I did. I committed to at least TRY to run with Michelle. I got online and found a training schedule for beginners, Kyle found me a jogging stroller so I could run with the boys and the next day I started with week 1.

Day 1 of week 1.....AWFUL! I couldn't get half a mile ran before I had to stop and catch my breath. So continued week 1. Run a bit, stop and breath a bit, run a bit more, stop and breath a bit more until I had completed the miles required on my training schedule.
Michelle promised that my lungs would get better if I would just keep at it.

So, that's what I did. I kept at it. And my breathing did get better. My pace didn't get much faster but I could breathe better and that was a huge improvement for me.
During Week 2 of my training Kyle and our friend Jacob decided they would join Michelle and me in our half-marathon endeavor. We tried to run together. Kyle couldn't run slow enough for me and I couldn't run fast enough for him. It was a blessing though because Kyle did try pushing the stroller while running and realized how much more difficult it was to train while pushing 70 extra pounds around and therefore started trading out watching the boys with me while we each took turns running over the next 12 weeks.

I just knew that as time passed and I kept running I was going to realize one morning that I just LOVED to run. It NEVER happened. Seems like the entire time I just did my best to ENDURE running for the sake of keeping my word. Although, I always felt great after my runs and was really glad that I did it, I never really found myself enjoying the process. AND THEN WE WENT SOUTH!!! Weeks 10 and 11 of my 13 weeks of training were done in Oklahoma and Arkansas where it was EXTREMELY HOT! I was miserable and there were a few days that I couldn't even get all of my miles in because I thought I might have a heat stroke. Certainly gave me a great deal of admiration for those southern runners. And it did make me appreciate my final two weeks of training back in the nice cool Pacific Northwest even if I still didn't LOVE to run.

Somewhere in the process of training Jacob dropped out on us and Michelle got injured and had to stop training (she was completely devastated). And near the end our crazy-cool friend Amanda, who hadn't been training at all, decided to join us. Good thing for her she is a runner by nature and has done quite a bit of competitive running in her day. She said she just wanted to run the marathon to keep me company. How sweet!

And so...
Two days ago WE DID IT!
The Black Diamond Half-Marathon!

This is Michelle's sister Lynnie!
We teased her about being the one who had gotten us into this mess.
It was true! She was a sweetheart, just like her sister. And we were sad that Michelle didn't get to run with us.

Kyle and I were all smiles before the big race sporting our numbers.
We had this to look forward to...

The "finisher medal"
You see, this race for me was not about competition. It was solely about completion!
My goal was to run the entire 13.1 miles without stopping or walking. I really didn't care how fast I ran (or rather how slowly I ran) only that I ran the entire race. And I did it!!!
I did not come in last place, either!
Of course out of the four of us running together I did come in fourth. Ha!

A few pics from the finish line so you know I'm not making it all up...

He made it to the finish in under two hours. 1:53:18 to be exact. With an average 8minutes 39 seconds per mile. Nice work!

Amanda did keep me company for over half the race, but then her competitive spirit kicked in and she just couldn't keep my slow pace....she made me eat her dust! Ha!
I totally didn't mind her taking off, I knew it was in her blood to compete and she just couldn't help herself.

She too, beat me to the finish line!
Lynnie had also come across the finish line by the time I got there.
The cool thing about being the last of our crew at the finish line...
I had three more people there to cheer for me!

And I made it!
Finished in 2:16:17 for an average 10minutes 24 seconds per mile.
I finished 8 out of 19 in my division...not too bad. But that didn't matter at all to me because I had made my goal of running all 13.1 miles without stopping or walking.

I was so sad that Michelle, who got me into this gig in the first place, didn't get to run with us.
But I will say that I was very glad that Kyle and I both ran our first half-marathon together.

And look, we don't even look all that miserable after 13.1 miles of running!

One more pic for you...

This one has our crazy-cool friend Amanda who decided last minute to run the marathon with us. Yea, she loves to run. I think Kyle is kind of liking it now, too. So here I am sandwiched between two people who love to run. Oh how I wish some of that love would have rubbed off on me. However, at about mile ten of this fabulous half-marathon I was thinking to myself, "You know, I could think of lots of way more fun things to be doing with a couple hours of my morning than this running business."

One more draw back to this whole ordeal...after 13 weeks of running....I didn't lose a pound. I started out a big girl running and I finished my race as a big girl running. Oh, I'm definitely in better shape and of course everyone says the whole bit about gaining muscle and muscle weighs more than fat....yada yada yada. Seriously, not one pound. Oh well, that wasn't my goal in the first place. Guess I'll just have to work on that next. Who knows, maybe if my feet had twenty less pounds to carry around they might decide to LOVE running.
So, the jury is still out...will I keep running or close the door on that chapter of my life and get off the roads and head back to the gym? I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our Trip South- Part 4- The Conclusion in AR!

To pick up where I left off...
Okay, I'm actually going to back up one day and fill in a gap. I told you that we picked up Daisy in between Class Reunion Shin-digs but what I didn't tell you is that we had some great friends show up that day to see us. It was sort of a West Memphis reunion for us!
Granny Gayle and Johnny of course were there because they actually gave us Daisy. But we also got to see her grandson Ben and meet his new wife. And then our fabulous friends Marc and Ashley Carozza drove over from Texarkana with Carly and Carson. Added to that were our friends John and Nicole Wright and their little guy Gabe who were at the deer camp for the weekend a couple hours away. We all got together and had lunch and tried our best to catch up on the past year or two of our lives. Here are some pics from what I would call "Daisy Day"....

Ashley, Monk, Me and Nicole

Here is Ryne with Grandaddy and Johnny. I think my Dad and Johnny could pass for brothers. What do you think?

Johnny, Gayle, Kyle, Katie and Ben on one end of the table. I promise there was a whole lot of talking going on down there.

And in the middle of the table, Monk Monk was keeping Ryne entertained and happy by letting him open dozens of straws. Hey, whatever works!

The kiddos on the other end of the table were doing a great job of entertaining themselves.

And apparently after lunch, there must have been something quite entertaining in the back of C.G.'s car Goldilocks. Gotta love a grandmother who carries toys around in her car even though her grandchildren live 3,000 miles away!

And the fellas Gabe, John, Kyle and Marc...the other little fellas (Carson, Kade and Ryne) were hanging out in the car watching a movie at this point.
And that will be the final picture of Kyle you will see in this post. Why? Well, remember the next morning he was flying home with Miss Daisy.
Once I dropped Kyle off at the airport in Little Rock I started the 2 hour drive back to Junction City. Got tired about an hour into the trip and had to pull over for a quick nap. I planned for a thirty minute break and woke up two hours later!! I must have really needed the sleep.
When I did finally make it back to my parents house this is what I found....

Ryne was intently trying to get something out of this drainage hole.

Buster Brown wanted something out of there, too. Apparently Ryne had put all of Buster's tennis balls down the drain. Poor puppy.
And that was just the beginning of the Sunday afternoon fun.
Grandaddy had the firetruck charged up.

And this time Kade and Ryne rode in it together quite nicely.

Kade was even starting to figure out how to steer that big rig where he wanted it to go. Their imaginations were working overtime as they called out emergencies with each tree and bush catching fire and having to be rescued.

Mrs. Nancy and Mr. Johnny came over to visit and have dinner with us.

Kade kept Mrs. Nancy pretty busy coloring. I'm pretty sure he is explaining to her here just what color each character should be colored.

We also got to meet Monk's friend Josh.

He was an excellent pirate and of course my boys were LOVING that!

Probably because they always thought they were winning????

See, can't you tell this is one happy little pirate?
I have to agree with Kade that it was a happy Sunday afternoon. To top it all off we had a big ole steak dinner with Mr. Johnny and Mrs. Nancy.

After Sunday everything just kind of ran together. A good "ran together" that is because we did a lot of just hanging out. Mom didn't do much at the flower shop that week and we just tried to enjoy each other's company. It was nice. All except for the weather, which wasn't so nice...remember how I told you it was HOT in Oklahoma the week before? Well, it was even HOTTER in Arkansas this particular week. Yuck!
But we handled it well....

Indoor picnics in front of the television still wearing our pj's!

Monk Monk provided these cool "houses" that the boys left up all week and played in often.

Ryne learned how to shuck corn.

We didn't stay in the house the entire week.
We went to the Soda Shop...

To ride the horse of course.

And to have some ice cream.
Kade had Krazy Kolors ice cream. You can look at his teeth and the ice cream and see why it is named that. When I read the description to Kade it said something about how it would "knock your socks off" and I wish you could've seen his face. "Why will it knock my socks off, Mom?" he said. I tried to explain that it was just a figure of speech but he still checked to make sure his socks were on his feet when he finished his sweet treat.

Ryne enjoyed his ice cream, too. Not Krazy Kolors, just Birthday Cake for him and C.G.

It was a fun afternoon outing to the Soda Shop.
So much fun, in fact, that we decided to have another outing and meet Monk Monk for lunch one day...

Monk Monk was all smiles but Kade was too busy working on those peanuts.
John met us for lunch that day, too. John was in Monk's class in school and so we've known him forever. In fact, I've affectionately called him Rosco for many years now, so many years that I'm not even sure why I ever started calling him Rosco in the first place. It was nice to get to see Rosco...

And he and Ryne really hit it off.

While we were out we made a special trip to the wholesale where Mom gets her flowers for the flower shop. She is good friends with the people who own it. Good enough friends that when we were pregnant with Kade she sent a gift, even though we had never met her. The gift was a matching blanket and pajama set. It just so happens that the blanket she gave us is the one that Kade had become completely attached to and has named "Blue." Seriously he sleeps with it every night. And on this particular day Kade got to meet the lady who gave him "Blue." It was a special day indeed.
And here they are....

Mrs. Kay, Kade and Blue!

While we were there the boys got to explore a bit...

Inside the giant flower cooler.
Mrs. Kay even gave them each a flower. Any guesses to what they did with their flowers?

If you said, "used them as swords to play pirate" then you get the prize!

Ryne got hit so hard with a flower sword that it knocked him silly. Oh wait, he already was silly, don't guess I can blame that on the flower sword swung by Kade.

Kade did take time to stop and smell his "sword." He's not completely uncultured.

Hang in there with me, still a few more things to go. We were there for an entire week.

Ryne has always had an attraction for his Grandaddy's hats. This time Grandaddy gave him one of his very own and he wore it so proudly.

We celebrated Grandaddy's birthday while we were there. It was a few days early but we like to celebrate birthdays. Why?

Mostly because birthdays mean birthday cake!
I've shown you many pictures of my boys enjoying birthday cake in the past so I'll spare you those pics this go around and just show you this..

Kade and Ryne giving Grandaddy his birthday card that says something about the whole family being crazy or silly or nuts or something like that. It was completely appropriate!

Ryne found the scooter to ride. Didn't surprise me one bit. I was surprised that he hadn't found something to put on his head as a "helmet" though. It's just usually not his style to ride without his head protection. Guess he figured C.G. was there to take care of him.

We went to see Nanny!

I think this is a cute picture of Kade and Ryne with their great-grandmother, Nanny!

There was never a lack of entertainment. If things started to get dull C.G. always came up with something...

Yes, she has them both set up in the kitchen watching their own individual screens as they enjoy one of the new movies she had gotten them. I am pretty sure this was something she came up with while I was out trying to get my 5 mile run in one evening. Can't even tell you how miserable hot it was when trying to run in AR. Way worse than it was in OK. But that's another story all together. I will tell the running story, soon I promise.
Let's move on to something a bit cooler...

Water hose and swimming pool!

Look at Kade trying to actually swim in the little wading pool. They were hilarious in the pool. We probably had to refill it five times.

Monk spent as much time with us as she could. On our last night there she came back to hang out with us. The boys kept her busy playing "tents" in the hallway. They could have stayed there for hours under the blanket...um, I mean tent....with their flashlights having a big time. Monk Monk said it was getting a bit toasty inside the tent so she had to just play from outside.
We had such a good time. And then our time was up. Daddy and Daisy were waiting for us at home in Washington.
For our last hoorah we had lunch before heading to the airport.

Kade checked out his kid's menu with the magnifying glass the restaurant provided.

Ryne had one last moment of full attention from Grandaddy and C.G.

Got to spend a little more time with Monk Monk.

And had some fun friends join us...

Billye and Whitney!
Yea for getting to see Billye two times! And I'm so glad we got to see Whit!
Ronda, Cameron and Nathan came, too!

Cameron, Nathan and Kade did some serious dancing to the groovy tunes the restaurant was playing. We were thankful that there weren't too many people there at the time.
Before we left our sweet friend Jennilee showed up with...

The Berry Boys! Noah, Austin and Eli are just wonderful little guys and we were so happy that they came out to tell us hello.
That was all we had time for, our plane was waiting. AND Granna and Paw were waiting, too!
That's right, Granna and Paw met us at the airport to fly back home with us.
We had a super great time getting to be in Arkansas with our family and friends. And the adventure would continue because Granna and Paw were coming to stay with us for ten days.
Those ten days have now come and gone so you know I have lots of blogging still to do...stay tuned!