Thursday, May 31, 2007

Prayer Request

If you are reading this, and believe in the amazing power of prayer, please say a prayer for our friends the Strebecks. In my last post, I shared the amazing news of Athan's birth. He was taken to the hospital yesterday morning when he began having trouble breathing. He is in stable condition, but could be in for a long stay in the hospital. He and his family face a lot of uncertainties in the next few days, and all I can ask is that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Being a Strebeck, I know he's a strong, steadfast, persistent and faithful little guy.

Update: You can now track Athan's progress here.

Psalm 20:7-8
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Tuesday

Oh, what a weekend! Saturday started off a little shaky, with a bad performance at a local 5k. It was one of the toughest runs I've ever done - mentally and physically. As soon as I started, I knew any hope of a PR was out the window. I was shocked when I checked the results this morning and I won 2nd in my age group! Saturday afternoon, Chad and I had the honor of going to Peter and Jackie's beautiful wedding. Saturday evening I got to enjoy a much needed "Girls Night Out" with three of my closest friends here. Our friend Amberly was pregnant, and two weeks overdue at this point, and I think she was itching to get out of the house. We enjoyed "grinders" (Yankee speak for really good sandwiches) and good conversations for about 3 hours - it was such a great time to relax and be refreshed by my friend's wits and wisdoms.

Sunday, I got up early for a pre-church run. Part of me was dreading it, due to how I felt in the 5K the day before, but part of me was hoping that this 4-miler would rejuvenate my mind and body. It was a perfect morning - sunny, clear, in the 70's - and every step I took reminded me why I love running so much. It is training runs like this that keep me going. I'm slowly realizing that I love the training way more than I love the events. I get so nervous and tense and stressed on race day - trying to focus my training over the past 6 weeks, or whatever it may be for a particular race, in hopes that the training will culminate in one glorius run. A run where I will break past my own records, where I will defy the odds (and gravity) and be the one who crosses the finish line first. I know this is very unlikely to happen, but I think it is good to have lofty goals. But, for my own sanity I think I need to knock it down a few notches. Or maybe just keep competing in these really small runs in Wilmore, where I have a very small chance of realizing these dreams.

I think one of my issues with 5k race days is that I have not trained to be a fast runner. I've trained to be a distance runner. Running 15 miles at a 10 minute pace is completely different than running 3.1 miles at a 10 minute pace. My body is strong, but my mind is weak - it is hard to shock my system into kicking out even an 8 minute mile for a 5K. But, in my marathon training I am going to work on getting a little faster. If I can keep a comfortable 9 minute marathon pace (rather than my half marathon pace of 10 min) then maybe I can be a little lighter on my feet during the shorter races.

We have a huge event coming up at work, so getting Memorial Day off was almost a blessing and a curse. Part of me wanted to be at work getting things done, but I was very thankful to have the day off to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary! It was a relaxing day, and we went out on the town to celebrate.

When we got home last night, we got the best news of all - our friend Amberly was (finally) in labor! She gave birth to their son (at home, no meds, no drugs...what a cowboy!) this afternoon at around 3:40pm. He is a big boy - a whopping 9.5 pounds! I think he must have gotten Ryan's hips.

Chad and I were fortunate enough to get to visit them tonight and I was able to meet their son - he is so precious and so little. Congratulations to Ryan and Amberly on the birth of your first son! Congratulations to Morgan on becoming a big sister! We are so proud of your family and your precious baby boy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Idol Finale

While I haven't kept up with the show much this season, I am watching the finale tonight. So far I have seen three performances, one by Gwen Stefani, one by Blake and Jordin, and one by Smokey Robinson and the top 6 guys in the competition, including the ever-present Sanjaya. I'm flipping back and forth between SNL in the 90's and the American Idol finale, both hilarious in their own right.

Favorite quote of the finale: "I believe it was a haiku. Thank you Margaret." -Ryan Seacrest

On another note, I'm looking forward to gearing up for marathon training. My official 16 week training begins the first week in June, but now I am trying to get a little faster for some local 5ks and 10ks. I can't believe how tough it is to run a fast mile - after months of training at a steady pace, it is hard to pick up the pace for a few short miles. But like most running endeavors, I think about 90% of the task is mental. This weekend I'm running the Jessamine County Skelter for the Shelter 5k. It is a 5k/2k fun run for people and/or dogs. Since doggies are welcome, we are going to make it a family affair and bring Emma along. Due to very short legs, she won't be running - but she will be with Chad to cheer me on!

My goal is to run a 25 minute 5k. While this isn't very fast, it will be pretty fast for me. My 5k PR right now is 27 minutes. I'm hoping to whittle that down to a steady 8 min mile pace - with an anticipated finish time of 24-25 minutes. I'm very happy to be supporting such a worthy cause - the Jessamine County Humane Society - and I look forward to seeing several doggies out at the course!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ay Chihuahua!

The chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world, and I got to spend the last few days with a fine specimen of the breed. My sister has one of these little angels - his name is Pod (short for "Compadre") and he is a devilish little thing. I'm used to Emma's low slung body and lazy ways, so it was different to be around a little Mexican jumping bean. I'm very thankful for this little guy and the companion that he is for my sister - they are like two peas in a Pod.

The little guy when he was a puppy.

PS: My sister did not choose the backdrop.

A picture of his girlfriend, for good measure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wilco Day!

Everyone rush to your nearest record store and pick up Wilco's newest release: Sky Blue Sky!

We are going to see them in June in Cincinnati - an early birthday present for Chad!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jessamine County Sightings

Last night, after working in the yard and taking Emma on a long walk, I decided to treat myself to a Dairy Queen blizzard. I pulled into the drive-thru, and it was about 8 cars long. As I was waiting, I saw a family walking through the parking lot. It was a dad (I assume) and two kids - the kids looked to be 4 or 5 years old. The dad was a few yards ahead of them, talking on a cell phone. The kids were behind him, weaving in and out of cars, and running a parking lot. At one point I lost sight of the boy, but then caught him coming out of a fenced dumpster area - yes, a dumpster area! Meanwhile, the dad has no idea because he is so engrossed in his cell phone conversation. The little boy called out to him at one point, and the dad turned around and lunged forward at him with a bark/growl type sound, like some crazy dog. The little boy recoiled and kept walking, a few lengths behind.

In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to give a "shout out" to my mom and dad. I know my mom is a faithful reader! I am so glad that I grew up in a safe environment. No matter what I did, I never had to worry about being hit or being left to wander alone in a parking lot. My sister and I were always getting into trouble and we were disciplined, but we never lived in fear. I hope that one day, when Chad and I are parents, we can draw from all of the wonderful things our parents have taught us over the years.

On a lighter note, I took Emma to the dog park this morning. Once again, we were the only people there! Dog parks aren't too fun when you are there alone. I don't think Emma got enough of a workout, so I'll be taking her for a long walk later today.

My training is about to kick back into gear, and I am really excited. I did some light workouts last week, swimming and 2-3 mile runs, but I'm going to start upping the mileage this week. My hope is that I can still get all my workouts in while I'm in Dallas. I'll be staying with my sister and she is in incredible shape (marathoner, cycler, collegiate lacrosse player and body building hopeful), so I'm thinking we can work out together and she can show me some good running routes.

I'm thinking of finding some stat counter type things for my training and integrating it into my blog. I really enjoy reading other running/training blogs (such as Jay's Ironman Training Blog, Running Chick with the Orange Hat, and Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong) It is really interesting and inspiring to see their progress.

I will post Boston pictures soon - I had a great time on the trip!

Friday, May 4, 2007

World Tour

Starting Sunday, Chad and I will begin zig-zagging across the country. I'm off to Boston for a conference, then Chad is off to D.C. to be in his good friends wedding, then I'm off to Dallas for my sister's graduation! Unfortunately we will be making our trips solo, so I'm sad that Chad and I will be apart all of those days. But, I know we will each have a great time on our respective trips. Plus, lil Emma will get to stay at home and not have to go to the kennel. I'm already planning a fun outing for us at a dog park when I get back from Boston.

I know Chad is looking forward to his trip to D.C. - he gets to spend the weekend with some old friends and be a part of a really swanky wedding. He is also very excited and honored because they've asked him to read Scripture during the mass (it is a Catholic wedding). Chad is excited, and he is even going to bust out his Catholic Bible!

I am really looking forward to my trip to Dallas. I know it will be so great to see my family and catch up with everyone, and I am also so excited about the food! My sister Megan and I have plans to hit up Braums, Taco Bueno, Taco Cabana, and Burger Street. My lost Texas loves - I will get to revel in them once again!

As for my marathon training, I'm getting ready to really ramp up my workouts. After my half marathon, I've realized that I need to be at a completely different level of fitness, and in a completely different state of mind, if I am going to be successful in my marathon. While I am in Boston I plan to get some miles in, and also do some swimming. I'm going to try and not let my traveling affect my training, although I can already see it is going to affect my diet! I've got some 5ks and 10ks throughout the next few months, and hopefully I can squeeze in one more half marathon before the big one in October.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Post Race Post Script

I did it! I ran 13.1 miles in a reasonable time. My goal was to finish in under 2:30. My hope was to finish around 2:15. I came in right in the middle of my two goals at 2:22:17.

On Friday afternoon, I got home from work to find some surprises waiting for me on the back porch. Our friend Sarah had left 2 packs of Sportz Beanz and an encouraging note. Our friends Amberly and Ryan brought me some McDonalds gift certificates (double cheeseburgers!!!) and an equally encouraging note. I looked at my gifts with tears in my eyes - thankful for such wonderful and generous friends!

Race Day Run Down:
3:20am - Rolled out of bed and started making my breakfast, double checking my bag, and getting dressed

3:30am - Woke Chad up with surprising ease

3:55am - Dragged Emma out of bed to go to the bathroom, then tucked her back under the covers

4:00am - Hit the road! Our journey to Louisville had begun.

4:20am - Stopped at Doughdaddy's donuts for a pre-race treat!

5:40am - Arrived in Louisville at the convention center (picked up my race packet, hit the bathrooms, and caught a bus to the starting line)

6:40am - Arrived at the starting line (hit the bathrooms once again!)

7:00am - Started stretching, applying band-aids, then I found my spot in the crowd near the 10 minute mile pacer group. I talked with a man who was near me about the marathon course and about Wilmore - he went to Asbury College back in the day.

7:30am - And we're off! The race started right on time.
Mile 1-8: These miles felt like I was floating on clouds. I was sticking close to my 10 minute mile pace and everything felt good. My breathing was fine, and my legs felt like I could keep running all day. We went through Iroquis Park - and I felt great as I breezed through the hills that had previously crippled me during the Papa Johns 10 Miler.
Mile 8: Reality set in and I started to hurt when I realized I still had 5 miles to go. Between miles 8-9, we ran through a section of Churchill Downs. This was probably my favorite part of the course - we ran through a long tunnel and everyone was hooting and hollering. I know it sounds cheesy, but I got goosebumps! It was one of many times throughout the day where I was like - "Ok, I am really doing this!"
Mile 10: This is where things started to turn for the worse. My hamstrings were cramping, and I decided to walk through one of the water stops. I decided to eat 3 of my Sportz Beanz, and take in a lot of water. Not a good idea. About a 1/2 mile later, I felt like the Sportz Beanz and water were about to come back with a vengeance. I was reduced to a run/walk shuffle for about 2 miles for fear of getting violently ill on the course. I also was in the world am I ever going to do 26.2 miles in October!
Mile 12: The best mile of the day! The thing that kept me going through miles 10-12 was knowing that Chad would be waiting for me between miles 12-13. I knew that I had to keep going to get to him, and that I had to be running and looking good when I passed him! Just as I thought I could not go on any longer without finding a bathroom of some sort, a White Castle emerged on the horizon. And who was standing in front? Chad! It was the happiest moment of the race for me. He let out a strange yell/cheer, and I hugged him and told him that my stomach was killing me. He said that he'd seen people using the White Castle restroom, so we went in and I got things taken care of. I felt like a new person when I came out, so I said my goodbyes and headed out to finish the last 1.1 miles.
Mile 13: The course was lined heavily with spectators and I held my head high and lengthened my stride as I made way to the finish line. As I passed under the finish line, I slowed to a walk and tried to get my bearings.
Post Race: I got my finisher's medal, turned in my timing chip, and made my way to the food (my favorite part!) There were all kinds of things, but sadly no donuts like my friends got in Nashville at the Country Music Marathon. There were the obligatory bananas and bagels, but I opted for pretzels, Doritoes, and Take 5 candy bars. And while the thought of eating another Sportz Bean made me want to puke, I grabbed a handful of the fruit punch samples the Jelly Belly vendor had available. I've searched all over for the fruit punch flavor to no avail, and plus - those things are $1 pack so I stocked up on all the freebies I could get. I didn't really go overboard though, I just got three packs. I grabbed some water and PowerAde and made my way to the "Runners Re-Unite" area to find Chad. I was stumbling along, not sure of where I was going, and then all of a sudden Chad was beside me! I was glad we were able to find each other so quickly. We made our way back to the car, where I saw that I had some voicemails and text messages. After listening to some voicemails and reading a text message from my sister - I burst into tears! I was so happy and relieved with what I had just accomplished, and then to see that my friends and family had been thinking about me - it was just too much! I gathered myself together and we headed towards home, stopping at McDonalds for a double cheeseburger, of course!