Monday, April 28, 2008

Athan Update

Athan is going home from the hospital today! He had his surgery on Wednesday morning, and is being discharged today. The little guy is such a trooper - being released from the hospital not even a week after open heart surgery! Thank you to all who kept him in your prayers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Derby Festival Mini Marathon Report

I am happy to report that I finished my 2nd Derby Festival Mini Marathon in 2:03:03 - my fastest half-marathon time ever. The last time I ran this course, I completed it in 2:22. I was very pleased to beat my time by 19 minutes, and improve my average pace from 10:5/mile to 9:20/mile. I feel strong, ready, and poised for a marathon PR next weekend.

The girls that ran with me did an absolutely amazing job. There is no way I could have maintained that pace without them. From the moment we left Wilmore on Friday afternoon, I felt so encouraged and ready for the race. We had a great, and very large, pasta dinner at Bucca di Beppo in Louisville. Then we went to the expo, picked up our packets, got lost and then stuck in traffic in downtown Louisville - but we finally were able to make it to the hotel. We got to bed by about 10:00, and I think we all slept pretty well, but I could tell that we were all anxious about the race in the morning.

The alarm went off at 5:00, and we all began getting ready and eating our various bars and fruits for breakfast. My nemesis has struck again, and unfortunatley I've found that one of the best pre-race early morning beverages is the loathsome Starbucks Doubleshot. I hate to give in to this beast again, but it puts that extra pep in my step and helps to clear my head. We headed to the Kentucky International Convention Center, where the buses were loading to take the runners to the starting line. We waited in line for the bus for what seemed to be forever, each of us ducking out periodically to go to the restroom just one more time. Once we got the starting area, we jumped in line for another porta potty stop. When we all got out of our respective porta potties and to the starting line, we realized that the race had started 15 minutes earlier! We started our watches as we crossed the starting line, and we were off.

Amber, Kelly and I were all hoping for a near 2 hour finish, so we crossed the line and got to work - trying to pass the walkers and joggers at the back of the pack. We were careful not to exert too much energy bobbing and weaving through the crowd, and we settled into a nice 9:20 pace. Within the first few miles - I believe starting at mile 3 or so - you enter Iroquis Park in Louisville. This park is know for it's brutal hills - but it really wasn't much compared to the hills we had trained on in Wilmore. We powered through this section, and came out feeling strong. We kept a pretty good clip until about mile 8 when Amber started pulling ahead. We tried to catch up, but Kelly and I knew that we were going along at our max pace, and we didn't want to over do it early on in the race. We told Amber to cut us loose - we knew that she could maintain a faster pace on her own. She zoomed ahead (finishing in an amazing 1:59:30!), and Kelly and I focused on maintaining our pace and staying strong. I was amazed at how different I felt this year compared to last year - I could remember certain points along the course where I was dying and walking during the 2007 race, but this year I was able to move along and keep going. I'm not saying that I wasn't hurting - I was definitley hurting starting about mile 9 - but I was able to mentally push past the pain and not give into the desire to slow down. We saw our husbands at mile 12 cheering us on - this really, really made a big difference for all of us. Thank you guys for coming out to support us! We finished out mile 13, and turned the corner off of 7th Street onto Market Street to cross the finish line. We gave it our all, pushing at a dead sprint, for the last .01 mile - crossing the finish line in 2:03:03. Sarah and Kat were not far behind us - finishing in fantastic times.

I know that I trained harder for this race this year, but I think the absolute biggest difference was that I was training with a great group of friends. They all had a blast and finished in amazing times - I can't wait for our next training season and big race to complete together! I am so so proud of them, and I am so grateful for our time together over the past four months. My secret ploy is to convince some of them to do a full marathon in the Fall, and to get more people training for a half-marathon next Spring. (Sarah M- this means you!!)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Half-Marathon Well Wishes

I am heading to Louisville tomorrow afternoon for my second running of the Louisville Derby Festival Mini Marathon. I want to send a special shout of well wishes to the girls I have been training with for the past four months. I have no idea if any of them ever read this, but I am so proud of them. I remember our first Saturday long run of 3 miles, and a few of the girls were like "there is no way I can run 3 miles!" But they did - and they worked up to peaking at 10 miles just a few weeks ago. Kat, Amber, Kelly, and Sarah - I am so proud of them and I know that they are going to do so well on Saturday. Just think - everyone will get a PR (personal record) in the half-marathon distance! Except for maybe me. And one of our runners, Eve, trained with us but is not going to be able to run the race since she will be out of town this weekend. She ran the 13.1 miles a few weeks ago and did an incredible job. Eve - I hope we can run a half together this fall!

My personal goal for the race is 2:05. But I will be happy finishing anywhere between 2:o5 and 2:10. After all, this is supposed to be a training run for the big show next weekend - the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati. I ran my last 20 miler last Sunday in 3:15:46, which I was very pleased with. My 13.1 mile split was 2:06. But running at race pace (9:30), I hope to get it down to about 2:05 for this Saturday.

Best of luck to all who are running any race this weekend - the spring racing season is upon us!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for this little guy today, and in the next few days. He is going to have open heart surgery at the University of Kentucky Children's hospital early tomorrow morning. You can read more about the procedure and why he is having the surgeon at Athan's Journey ( His parents started this blog when he was just days old, and had to be admitted to the hospital for an extended amount of time. This precious baby boy has grown leaps and bounds over the past 11 months, and we can't wait to celebrate his 1st birthday on May 29th.

Please pray for his parents, our dear friends Ryan and Amberly Strebeck, that they may be comforted in this time. Please pray for his 3 year old big sister, Morgan, that she would know her baby brother is going to be ok. Please pray for Athan's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members for safe travel as they journey to Kentucky to be with the Strebecks over the next few weeks. Please pray for his surgeon, Dr. Plunkett, as he prepares for and completes the surgery. And please pray for Athan, that God will be with him (as He has been since he was in Amber's womb) that he will come through this procedure stronger than ever, that his heart will be made whole.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blizzard on a Hot Tin Roof!

Yesterday, I tried the new Blizzard of the Month at Dairy Queen - the Tin Roof Blizzard. It was nothing short of amazing. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, chocolate covered peanuts, and brownie pieces. Hmm, Goobers never tasted so good.

On a different note, marathon training has been going pretty well. The weather and my work schedule have done a pretty good job at disrupting my schedule, but I still feel good about a 4:30 finish in May. I have decided that I won't be doing any more Spring marathons. It is too hard to train through these brutal Kentucky winters (it's brutal for a Texas gal, at least!), and my Marches are pretty much dedicated to working 80-hour work weeks. It's been really difficult getting back on track after March for a full marathon, so from now on I am going to reserve the Spring for half-marathons, 10ks, and 5ks. There are several options for Fall marathons in this area, so I will possibly be able to do 2 full-marathons in the Fall/early Winter. I'm still hoping for Chicago in October 2009.

I have my last 20 miler this weekend, and then I will begin a two week taper. Before my October marathon I had a three week taper, and it felt too long. So, I am kind of happy that I didn't get to do the 20 miles yesterday (it was raining and in the 30s all day and I have a huge event at work this week and didn't want to risk pneumonia) so...I pushed the 20 miler to next Sunday. Temperatures are supposed to be back up in the 60s and 70s this week, so I'm hoping the good weather will hold out. I went to the gym and ran about 7 miles on the treadmill, and then ate my bad weather blues away with the delectable Tin Roof blizzard.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Welcome to the Family

Chad and I were very pleased to welcome a new member into our family this past weekend - a 2002 Volkswagen Passat. It is my absolute dream car and I am so happy that we bought it! It was sad to see Monty go (my 98 Mitsubishi Montero Sport that was faithfully there for me for the past 6 years) but it was definitely time to put her out to pasture.

Chad and I got a really great deal from a dealership outside of Louisville ( and the whole process of selling a car/buying a new car was surprisingly smooth and easy.

And, I had the delectable treat of coke and peanuts on the way to Louisville - it was a great way to start the weekend, dare I say a good luck charm.

In training news, I did 16 miles on Sunday and felt really great. I was able to maintain a 9:30 pace all the way through, and I finished feeling like I still had some kick in me. I will do 20 this Saturday, and then 20 or 22 on the 9th, depending on how I am feeling. After the completion of this run, I will start my three week taper. I stocked up today on Luna Moons and Cliff Shot Bloks, so I should be good to go for the final push of training.