Family and Fun

We had a wonderful visit with my parents this past weekend. We live 15 hours apart, so it is not exactly easy to get together, so we enjoy every minute we have to share. They happened to be here for a track meet on Saturday, so it was really nice that they were able to see the kids run. Unfortunately, Liam has an injury, so he was not able to compete, but they got to watch the twins. They even took home souvenir sunburns!

Nathan had such a great day! He placed 2nd in the 110m hurdles and also ran the 800m leg of the 1600m medley relay where they also placed second. In fact, he did so well, that he found his name on the Varsity roster for the meet in Albuquerque today! He is so excited!

Go Nathan!!!

Catheryn ran the 800m and did really well. She was disappointed with her time, which was slower than usual, but she is just going to work harder. In the meet today, she will be running the 1600m instead of the 800m. It will be her first race at the mile distance, so we will see how she does. I can’t wait! Liam is still out with an injury, but he will go with me to watch his team run.

Catheryn in the 800m open run.

On Sunday, we went for a hike through the park and climbed up Alcove House. That was something my dad really wanted to do, so it was fun to be able to take him out there. It was really just a nice, relaxing day. In the evening we went out to watch the turkey vultures start coming in for the night. They roost here in the canyon, so there are quite a few circling up above before they land in the trees. They are neat to watch. And of course, we took family pictures.

The kids with Grammy and Grampy.

Me and Rob with my parents, Bill and Caryn.

Our crazy family

Like I said, it was a wonderful weekend. I am so glad my parents were able to drive all the way down here so we could spend some time together. They are planning on coming down for Thanksgiving, so we have another great visit to look forward to!!!

~Special Thanks to my parents for being so incredibly awesome! We love you so much!!!~

Clear the Track!!

Track season is in full swing now. Yesterday was the first Varsity meet of the year and JV has their first meet next week. Liam and Catheryn are on the Varsity team, so I picked Nathan up from school early and we drove down to Rio Rancho to watch them run.

The first running event of the meet was the 800m, which is what Catheryn was running. She was nervous to be running with Varsity, but you never would have known it watching her run. She did so well and her kick was amazing! I think she was glad to be done early on since it was so cold. She joined me and Nathan up in the stands, and we huddled together while we watched the rest of the meet.

The start of the 800m. Catheryn is 5th from the left.

She’s got a great kick!

Liam runs the 200m, the 400m, the 4x400m relay, and does the high jump. The running events were started early yesterday due to cold temps and high winds, so several of the boys, Liam included, were not able to participate in the high jump. His first race was the 400m, followed shortly by the 200m, which was immediately followed by the 4x400m relay. He raced really hard and did amazing. He was not completely satisfied with his performance, but that is his competitive nature. He is always striving to be better.

The start of the 400m.

The last curve of the 400m. Liam finished 2nd.

Liam’s final stretch of the 4×4.

By the time the meet was over, we were all frozen, hungry, and tired. The ‘frozen’ and ‘hungry’ were easy to take care of: blasting heat and a super-unhealthy stop at the Taco Bell drive-thru. The ‘tired’ though, wasn’t quite as easy… we still had a two-hour drive home. We made it home just in time for the snow to start falling.

I am so proud of my kids and love watching them run. Stay tuned next week and I will let you know how Nathan does at his first meet. He is running the 400m and the 100m hurdles. I can’t wait!

Bragging Rights

Apparently I will never get caught up on posts unless I actually sit down and… post. Who knew?

You will have to forgive me today, because I am about to brag. I know bragging is not very attractive, but perhaps after you hear what I have to brag about, you will not hold it against me. ūüôā

Last month we went to West Yellowstone where we met up with Rob’s sister, Mary Beth, and her husband, Jim. I had considered changing names to protect the innocent, but I realized that bragging is absolutely no fun at all if nobody knows just who you are talking about. Sorry, guys. ūüôā So where was I? Oh yes, West Yellowstone.

Some time ago we decided that it would be fun to meet up in Yellowstone to run with Vacation Races. They put on 5k and half-marathon runs in about eight National Parks. Yellowstone worked out in easy travel distance for both parties, as well as for vacation days, so we signed up. Rob, Jim, and the twins were running the 5k together, and Mary Beth and I signed up for the half-marathon. This was to be her first!

Once we got there, Liam decided that he wanted to run as well, so we tossed him into the 5k group. The kids ran off and on through the spring, but they did not do any serious training. This was strictly for fun, though, so we were not too worried about it. They could have walked all 3.1 miles if they chose to.

Anyhoo, the 5k was on Friday night, so after seeing everyone cross the start line, Mary Beth and I walked over to the finish line. We were not sure what to expect, but we figured we would start looking for our people at about 40 minutes or so. Liam was about 10 minutes earlier than expected, followed closely by Nathan, who was followed by Rob, who was just in front of Jim and Catheryn, who came through together.

Our 5k gang!

Our 5k gang!

They all got their medals, we then took pictures and gushed over how well they all did. Just as we were getting ready to leave, we decided to stay for awards, because as Mary Beth pointed out, there were not many kids in front of Liam, so there was a chance that he placed in his age group. Awards were given to the top five finishers in each age group. Well, as it turned out, all three kids placed!

Age group medals!

Age group medals!

But the excitement did not end there. Rob rocked his age group, finishing 9th! And Jim placed in his age group as well!!! It was such an amazing night! I cannot begin to tell you how exciting it was to watch everyone run so well and have such a great time doing it. And to think, we almost left before the awards ceremony!

Way to go, Jim!!

Way to go, Jim!!

Mary Beth and I were up next, running our half-marathon on Saturday morning. Mary Beth was running her first half, and I was so honored that she invited me to run it with her. The course was a little terrifying, high elevation, steep hills, rocks galore, but we were ready.

You rock, Mary Beth!!

You rock, Mary Beth!!

It is safe to say that we did not place, or even come close, but it was such a fun time. The run was challenging, the course was beautiful, and the company was amazing. It is a run that I will never forget. Thank you, Mary Beth, for allowing me to share this experience with you!

And thank you to the race-course photographer who captured this moment that I will never forget…

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“Act like we’re running!” -Mary Beth

Just when everyone thought they were done with the running vacation, it was time for one more 5k at the Fort Union Rendezvous. (I had to work so I got out of this one!) ¬†Once again, everyone ran a great race and all three kids, Jim, and Mary Beth placed in their age groups! Rob was 5th in his, but unfortunately this race only awarded through 3rd…

Fort Union Rendezvous

Fort Union Rendezvous

I am just so proud of everyone! I love that we were able to get out there and run together. And that is why I love running so much. It does not matter if you are tall or short, fat or thin, fast or slow. All you have to do is get out there, put one foot in front of the other, and soon you will be crossing that finish line. It is a feeling you will never forget, and one that nobody can take away from you.

Thank you, Jim and Mary Beth!!! You two are amazing! And we love you dearly. So… where are we running next?

Fox Valley Marathon

Well, I did it. I am officially a marathoner! I could not have asked for a more amazing experience.

The weather was absolutely perfect, cool enough for a sweatshirt in the morning, but warm enough to take it off before the race even started. It warmed up as the day went on, but not too much. The course was a little crowded in the beginning, but eventually the half-marathon and marathon routes split, so it was not too crowded at all on the trails.  

The crowd along the course was spectacular, cheering for everyone as they ran by. Their signs were great. Even the chalk writings on the sidewalk were fun to read. There was everything from “You Rock, Runner!!” to¬†“Don’t Stop Now!”, followed almost immediately¬†by “That’s what she said!” My favorite signs were “Run¬†faster… I just farted!” and “Marathon runners never die, they just smell like it!”

The course, as promised, was relatively flat, scenic and shady. I took pictures along the way, determined to remember as much about this day as possible. 

I didn’t really have a time goal in mind, but I knew what I could expect to finish in. 5 hours was realistic,¬†so I lined up behind the 4:45¬†goal pacer.¬†Eventually, though, I lost contact with the pacer and was¬†running my own race. I had read too many stories about people who forgot to enjoy the experience because they¬†were so focused on time, and I was not going to allow myself to be in that group. Especially not in my first marathon. So, I just ran. And looked around. Read signs. Took pictures. And I loved¬†it. Every. Single. Minute. Of course, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the half-marathoners at the 13.1 mile mark…

In the end, it took me 5 hours, 8 minutes and 50 seconds to cross the finish line.¬†I wasn’t fast at all, but I finished.¬†And, since this was my first official marathon, I set a Personal Best. How could I possibly complain about that? ¬†¬†¬†

Time to Run!

I am sitting in my hotel room right now, anxiously awaiting the start of my marathon tomorrow. William and I arrived yesterday after an 840 mile, 14+ hour journey. The last 40 miles alone took us a little over two hours to complete. I had never seen so many cars in one place in my life, let alone at a stand still on the freeway. Every road coming and going was barely moving, which was amazing considering it was only 1:00 in the afternoon.

We are actually in St. Charles, about 30 miles or so¬†from Chicago. The¬†starting line for tomorrow’s run is just over a¬†mile from¬†the hotel and I know right where I need to go. I gathered all of my gear today and have my morning all planned out. I think I am ready for this. I have been training for this for a long time and I am ready to run. Less than 12 hours to go!

Time to Run

I finally realized that I cannot wait for the conditions to be perfect. They never will be. All I can do is get out there and do my very best. Give 100% of myself. If it works out, perfect. If not, well at least I tried, and I will not have any room for regret.

What on earth am I talking about? I have absolutely no idea. But I wanted to share something with you. Something that makes me certifiably crazy and completely alive at the same time.

I signed up for my first marathon!

My original plan was to run the Chicago Marathon in October, but I think it will be too crowded, and I do not do well in crowds, especially by myself. So I began searching for a smaller marathon that happens around the same time. If I plan it right, it will take place right in between our summer and fall jobs, giving us the travel and recovery time needed.

What I found was the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles, Illinois. A beautiful course that winds along the river in a suburb of Chicago. They only allow 2,900 runners, so it will be quiet, and it is also ranked as a good race for first-timers because of the frequent aid stations, not to mention it is flat. I could not find a single bad review, so I signed myself up.

September 22, 2013

7 am (Ouch! I am not even sure this is legal…)

This is it. I am going to do it. My 35th birthday present to myself: a heart attack in the streets outside of Chicago. Sign me up. Oh wait, I already did!!!

IMG_0500 marathon

My feet have several thousand meetings scheduled with the dirt on a trail not
far from here.  Who am I to keep them waiting?  Time to run.  ~Jeb Dickerson

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my
life.  But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a
saint.  So, too, are you.  Find your own play, your own self-renewing
compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.  ~George Sheehan

IMG_0457 resolve

It is not a resolution, it is a life’s dream put into motion. I will run a marathon. It may not happen this year, or even next, but it will happen. My¬†goal is to be ready for it when the time comes…

I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under
your own power.  You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted,
fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the
strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.  ~Jesse Owens