Thursday, April 29, 2010

Country Music Marathon (Race Day)

I woke up at 4:00am from a nightmare. A race-related nightmare. In the nightmare, I overslept and woke up around 11:00am on the day of the race. The dream seemed so real, and I remember feeling such a crushing disappointment over doing something so stupid. I woke up from this at 4:00am and hopped out of bed. I had planned to get up at 4:45, but I wasn't risking going back to sleep and oversleeping. Even though I had three alarms set.

Since it was so early, I got up and read for about 45 minutes and then took a quick shower. I got dressed and went down to Starbucks in the hotel lobby to pick up a tall dark roast and a cup of hot water for my oatmeal. Back in the room, I prepared my oatmeal with 1 banana and 1 tbsp. of peanut butter. Normally I have to choke down food on race days, but I was able to eat most of the oatmeal with no problem. I did a few more things around the room to get ready, including several trips to the bathroom, and then headed to the start around 6:15am.

I had planned on walking to the start, which was only 1.5 miles down the road. It was PERFECT! The weather was so nice - it was sunny and clear, about 60 degrees. I was hoping that we might miss all of the severe weather that was predicted for the day. The walk to the start was super easy - I basically just had to walk down one road for 1.5 miles. Didn't have to make any turns or anything! The road was closed to traffic, and it was basically a mile of gas stations, hotels and restaurants...a nervous kidney's dream!! I stopped in at two hotels to use their bathroom, which were empty and clean - sure beats a port-a-potty! I got to the starting area around 6:45am, and then I heard the starting gun go off. What? The race started at 7:00am...but I found out later that due to the impending severe weather they decided to start at 6:45am. Since there were so many people participating it didn't make too much of a difference, though. I was supposed to be in corral 13, but after one last stop at a port-a-potty I joined the runners in corral 18. After waiting for a few more minutes, our corral got to the starting line (they were releasing the corrals in waves) and off we went.

As the marathon started, I realized I was surrounded by a sea of half-marathoners. There were very few blue marathon bibs (I think there were something like 24,000 half marathoners and 3,000 marathoners) and I remember feeling proud to be running the full. I felt ready, relaxed and prepared for the day. My plan was to stay nice and steady throughout the whole race. Miles 1-11 were very crowded, and actually went by pretty slowly. I thought the first half would go by quickly, what with all of the spectators, other runners and adrenaline - but it actually seemed to take forever! I did see one guy running in a Paducah, KY bike jersey so I struck up a conversation with him. He said he was mainly a cyclist, but had gotten into running. I asked if he had done a half-marathon before, and he said his first race was actually an ultra marathon! He was just doing the half in Nashville because his foot was broken! Crazy.

It was starting to get pretty hot (upper 70's) and the sun was out in full force. I tried to be very conscientious about taking in plenty of water and Cytomax at the aid stations. By the way, the aid stations were perfect! Every time I started to think "I'm a little thirsty" there was an aid station stocked with cold water and friendly volunteers. I tried not to drink too much - didn't want any bathroom breaks - and I also started pouring water on my head to cool down. The race split just after mile 11 - the marathoners went left and the half-marathoners stayed straight. After the split, it really thinned out which was nice. I read some reviews that said the last half of the race was pretty desolate (before you swing back into town for the finish) but it really wasn't that bad. It was kind of nice to have a little serenity and quiet on the course for a while! Amazingly, miles 15-19 went by really quickly. I felt like I was holding onto a steady pace, and the miles were just clicking away. We went through a park near the Cumberland River, and ran on a levee up by the river for a while. Somewhere around here a girl broke down crying and her boyfriend/husband was like "what! what are you doing?" And she was like "I'm listening to my body!!" And he was like "No you're not! Come on, keep going!" And she was like "No - just leave me!" It was a very dramatic exchange. I'm not sure what happened after this, but I hope she continued on!

Around mile 18 we were headed back into town and we came to a long, steady 5 block climb up a pretty substantial hill. That was tough, and everyone around me was walking up it. I did not want to walk at all, so I kept trucking my way up it. I actually did think "well, maybe it would be better if I walk up the hill now to save my energy for later in the race" and I took one walking step, but then I quickly started running again because I could tell that walking would only equal misery.

Around mile 16 I stopped being able to stomach shot blocks. Up until that point I had been eating one every 30 minutes, but then I just could not eat any more. At mile 19 we were back in the downtown area and it started to get very dark and windy and started to rain. Just after mile 20 I noticed they were packing up the timing mats on the course and then everything kind of got chaotic. Spectators and other runners were saying "they're cutting the course short" and "they're making us stop now" and "there's a tornado warning." Honestly, I was like well, that wouldn't be too bad right about now. My quads were definitely starting to ache, but I know I had 6 miles left in me. I was so excited to be at mile 20, in the home stretch, and then the next thing I knew I was crossing the finish line for the half-marathon. What? Basically, the half and full were supposed to split one more time on the course - the marathoners were supposed to go left and do some more miles and finish from the right side of LP Field, while the half-marathoners were to take a right and finish from the left side of LP Field. They blocked off the left turn to the marathon course and forced everyone to finish at the half-marathon line.

Here is the info from the website:

Due to severe weather in the Nashville area on race day, a large number of Country Music Marathon runners were subject to a route diversion at one of three different locations. While we know that this was very disappointing to all those affected, this plan was in the best interests and safety of all involved, especially the participants and volunteers. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation on race day.

The marathon diversions that were in place are as follows:

  1. If you did not reach the 11.2 mile at approximately 9:20 you were diverted to the half marathon course and your results will appear as a half marathoner.
  2. Just past the 20 mile point at 1st and Woodland runners were diverted to the half marathon finish and completed approximately 20.4 miles. If we recorded you on the 20 mile mats and you had a finish at the half marathon, you were moved to a newly created 20.4 mile race.
  3. Just past the 21 mile point at 5th and Davidson runners were diverted to the marathon finish and completed approximately 22.2 miles. If we recorded you on the 20 mile mats, had a finish at the marathon finish and took less than 30 Minutes to complete the last 6.2 miles, you were moved to a new 22.2 mile race.

I got my medal (I felt justified taking the full marathon medal) and walked into the finish area. My legs (quadriceps mostly) immediately began aching upon walking, and I could feel the toll that all of the hills had taken. I didn't mention this earlier - but Nashville is one hilly town! I train on a lot of hills so I was prepared, but for some reason I thought it would be a flatter course.

There were lots of fruit cups, bananas and apples, but I was craving something salty like chips or pretzels, and then I had the weirdest craving for beer. I don't even like beer, and have never really even had it. Which brings me to a point that I read on another guy's blog. He ran the race and was pretty pissed about being diverted. His point (a good one) was that none of the tents in the finishing area had been packed up. There were still finisher's merchandise tents, medal engraving tents, beer tents, etc. Were we all in such grave danger that we couldn't run run 4 or 6 more miles, but we could take the time to hang around and get our medals engraved and buy a finisher's t-shirt? That is pretty frustrating. If they were going to shut down the race to get people out of the weather, they should have shut down everything.

Since I finished 1 hour earlier than expected, I borrowed someone's phone and called Chad. He was waiting for me at mile 25, so we quickly decided that we would meet at the foot of the big pedestrian bridge that goes from downtown Nashville over to LP Field. I was basically right at the foot of the bridge, but for some reason I thought it was on the other side of the stadium (and a lady told me it was on the other side) so I walked entirely around the stadium just to get back to where I started! Oh, and it was absolutely pouring rain at this point.

I finally found Chad and explained the whole thing to him as we walked over the pedestrian bridge in gale force winds to get to the car. We headed to our hotel, stopping to eat lunch at a Jack in the Box. I was so tired and so hungry, and my Jumbo Jack, fries and Coke were delicious and full of the sodium I was craving. I know I only ran 20.4 miles, but I felt like I ran a marathon that day!

After lunch we checked into our hotel and I took a shower and changed into warm dry clothes. We wanted to explore Nashville a little more, but the weather was still pretty hellacious outside. Then the power went out in the hotel for about 2 hours, so that was wild. We ventured out that evening for barbecue, and then came back to the hotel and watched more episods of The Pacific and Mayweather Mosley 24/7. And then I went to bed about 8:00pm! Overall, it was a nice and restful low key afternoon and evening.

Overall, I had a fantastic time in Nashville. The race was a great experience, for the most part. It really sucked to have the race cut short, but what can you do. I know the Race Director did what he had to do, and as a participant I should respect that. I think that some of the major decisions (like the early start) could have been communicated better, but you live and learn. Overall, it was a really great trip and I had so much fun with Chad. I don't know if I will do any more full marathons in the future (I think I am going to stick to half-marathons and triathlons), but I would definitely recommend the Country Music Marathon to anyone.

Finally, here are some pictures from the day!

Breakfast of champions, thanks to Starbucks!

I was watching CMT while getting ready (appropriate in Nashville)
and lo and behold there was Keith Urban. Goal #2 accomplished!

My support crew, resting up for the big day
(oh yes, Chad got a big ass tattoo in January!)

Race clothes all ready to go.

Ready to race at 6:00 am!
I am not sure why there is a weird bulge near my belly button...this is NOT a baby bump!

12 hours later...ready to eat at 6:00 pm!
This involved chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, green beans, and fried pickles

Headed home - Chad drinking a latte from Starbucks and wearing my sunglasses

Country Music Marathon (Pre-Race)

On Friday morning, Chad and I woke up early and got ready to hit the road. The only one who wanted to sleep in was Emma! She was buried under several blankets in our bed, snoozing away. We woke her up and got her ready to go, then dropped her off at the kennel and headed south. Luckily Emma does really well at kennels - I know she enjoys the social aspect! We boarded her at a smaller kennel that came highly recommended by my boss, so I felt very at ease knowing that she was in good hands for the weekend.

When we started out towards Nashville it was pouring rain. But after about an hour on the road the skies cleared, the sun came out, and it turned into pretty much the perfect day. We arrived in Nashville around 11:30 and went straight to the Chipotle in the Vanderbilt area for lunch. I had 3/4 of a vegetarian burrito bowl - I think that is my favorite meal ever. The Chipotle was right across the street from the starting area for the race, so it was neat to be able to scope that out a little before the race.

After lunch we headed to our hotel, The Renaissance, which was only like a mile and a half away. The hotel was attached to the Nashville Convention Center where the expo was being held, which made for absolutely crazy traffic. There were people and cars everywhere, and for the life of us we could not find the entrance to the hotel's parking garage. We quickly decided to just use the valet, which was worth every penny of the $30 charge to get us out of the chaos. We arrived about 4 hours earlier than the posted check-in time, but luckily our room was ready. After putting our bags in the room, we headed down to the expo. It was so nice to just have to walk across the lobby to the Convention Center rather than drive across town.

At the expo I picked up my packet, bib and shirt and then we walked around to some of the booths. There was a huge Nissan booth, and Eddie George was there signing autographs. I'm not that interested in Eddie George, but I'm very interested in Ryan Hall, another Nissan athlete. I asked one of the Nissan employees if Ryan was going to be signing autographs anytime soon, and she said he was going to be there in about 10 minutes. I couldn't believe my luck! What are the odds that we would be in the right place at the right time to meet one of America's top marathoners? There were just a few people in line, so we secured our spot and looked through my packet. Once Eddie George was done signing autographs he walked right past me! I quickly snapped a picture of him, because I know my dad is a fan. (There are lots of pictures from the day at the end of the post.)

I was so nervous to meet Ryan Hall that I kept going over my three conversation points with Chad: Twitter, Boston, book. I repeated this over and over for ten minutes. I wanted to tell Ryan that I follow him on Twitter (@ryanhall3), congratulate him on his American course record at the Boston Marathon that week, and tell him I was looking forward to reading his book that he is writing with Josh Cox. When it was my turn to meet him, I hit all three bullet points, got an autographed poster, and then got two pictures with him. It was awesome!! He was so nice, and he definitely looks much younger in person. It was such a fun experience!

After meeting Ryan, Chad and I set out to find the Team Livestrong booth. I was really looking forward to meeting Dylan Trakas, the Team Livestrong staffer who coordinated the Country Music Marathon team. We found the booth and I got to meet Dylan and Amy Dodson. Amy is an incredible athlete - you can read more about her here. She has one leg, one lung, and is about to run the Western States 100 mile run. She lost one leg and one lung to cancer, but she is doing truly incredible things with the one lung and leg that she has left. She has done several marathons and ultras, and Western States will be her first 100 mile run. I asked her if she had any plans to do Badwater, but she said she was worried about the long term internal effects! She got to run a marathon with Dean Karnazes in Arizona as part of his 50 Marathons/50 States/50 Days tour, so we talked about that for a little while which was so cool! It was so awesome to meet these people at the expo - it was definitely an inspirational boost for race day!

After checking out the expo a little more, we headed back to the room to rest for a while. We watched college men's gymnastics on ESPNHD2 - it was amazing! After resting for a while, we headed back out to the streets of Nashville. Our hotel was one block off of Broadway, which is the "main drag" with all of the neat shops, boot stores, honky tonks, etc. There was a ton to see in a pretty small area - just a few blocks, really. It was so neat to see the Ryman Auditorium, Ernest Tubbs Record Shop, Gruhn Guitars, and Hatch Show Print. Chad has been talking about Gruhn Guitars for months - it was like a mecca for him. I am continually amazed at his knowledge of all things is incredible! So we spent a lot of time at Gruhn's, then walked around some more before heading back to the hotel to rest before dinner. I was afraid I was doing too much walking!

We had two places in mind for dinner - Demo's or the Old Spaghetti Warehouse. They were just a few blocks from each other, so I figured we would go to the one with the shortest wait. We walked past Demo's and there were like 100 people! We headed up the block to Old Spaghetti Warehouse, and passed a Sbarro on the way. The wait was pretty long at the Spaghetti Warehouse too, so we just went back to Sbarro. I got baked ziti, a breadstick, a caeser salad, and a bottle of Gatorade. It was quick, cheap, fast and filling - a good combo! After dinner we walked to Mike's Ice Cream for dessert, and then headed back to the hotel. By now it was about 6:30pm (felt like 7:30pm Eastern to me) and I was wearing down. I laid out my clothes and breakfast for the race, got ready for bed and was in bed by 7:00!

An episode of The Pacific was on HBO which was really interesting, but terribly gruesome! Chad loves Band of Brothers, so he was excited to catch a few episodes of The Pacific. After setting three alarms for the morning, I was snoozing by 7:30pm. I was glad our hotel was so centrally located because it accommodated me going to sleep in the early evening, and Chad was still able to get out and walk through downtown some more to keep from going stir crazy!

Here are some pictures from Friday - stay tuned for my race report!

Eddie George, former Tennessee Titans running back

Ryan Hall and me!!!!!

Amy Dodson, me, and Dylan Trakas
(I should have worn one of my Livestrong shirts!)

Apparently I sweat when I meet famous people.

Gruhn Guitars - Chad's reason for wanting to go to Nashville!

They had a buy 1 get 2 free special on boots -
Chad told me he almost got some new boots after I went to sleep!

The Ryman Auditorium

Perhaps this would lead me to Keith Urban?

Hatch Show Print - such a cool place!
We searched for a Wilco at the Ryman print, but to no avail.

Frozen yogurt from Mike's Ice Cream

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stay Tuned...

I've got two pretty long posts in the works for the Country Music Marathon. Remember my two goals from my last post? Well, I actually accomplished both! Stay tuned to find out more...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Inspiration

I have two goals for this race.
1) To finish under 4:30
2) Have a Keith Urban sighting
...luckily, one is within the realm of possibility!

A few weeks ago, I decided that when the going gets tough at the race on Saturday, I want to be able to easily call to mind all of the great people in my life. So I took a business card and jotted down 18 names on the back. Distance running can be such a mental challenge, so it is very encouraging to know that I can look down at this small card and instantly see 18 reasons why I should keep going.

These 18 people (or groups of people) mean so much to me, and I am incredibly blessed to have them in my life. Here they are (in no particular order) each will be with me as I make my way to the finish line on Saturday morning!

Chad - the love of my life, my wonderful husband and friend

Emma - my heartbeat, my baby...oh and I guess she is a dog, too. Our 5 year old mini-dachshund who brings so much joy to my life.

Mom & Dad - my incredibly supportive parents who I can't wait to call once I cross the finish line.

Michelle & Brittany- my sister and niece who I am incredibly proud of - my sister has lost 60 pounds in one year! And Brittany is so funny and sweet - my little tween is growing up so fast.

Megan - my twin sister and best friend, and the one who started my marathon dreams when she ran the White Rock Marathon in 2005.

My extended family (my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents) - I can't wait until we are back home and live closer to everyone again!

Mr. David & Mrs. Suzy - my amazingly supportive in-laws, can't wait to cheer on Mr. David as he runs New York this fall!

Payton & Jay - my hilarious and sassy sister-in-law and brother-in-law (Jay's not very sassy though)

Our Wilmore friends - our family away from family: Strebecks, Mostroms, Caldwells, Raborns, Harolds and Herons

Kelly Grace - my running partner and friend, a true inspiration to me

Lindsay, Sarah, Angela - my friends who are running the Derby Festival Marathon and mini-marathon on Saturday-I will definitely be thinking of them! Each of them are so inspiring in their own right, and I am excited to hear how their races go.

Elite/Pro/Inspirational Athletes like Matt Long, Kellie Smirnoff, Ryan Hall, Josh Cox, Deena Kastor, Meb Kefleghzi, Dean Karnazes, and Scott Jurek

Thank you all for your friendship, support and inspiration - I am so glad you are with me on this journey!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nashville Packing List

Here is my first post on race preparation this week - my extensive packing list! It really helps to ease my mind when I have everything written down and planned out. I also have a personal itinerary (I'm not making Chad stick to it!) for Friday and Saturday (will probably post it next!) just to make sure that I don't forget to do anything in the excitement of all the pre-race activities. My main goal for Friday is to relax , rest, and eat and hydrate well. It will only take 3 or so hours to get to Nashville, and Chad and I hope to be there by 12:00pm. I hope to be asleep by 8:00pm!

I've already started my "carbo-loading" for the week - each night this week I am eating a serving of whole wheat linguine with marinara sauce and sauteed squash, zucchini and spinach - it is super filling and delicious!

Now onto the packing list...

Emma’s Kennel Items

q Doggie information card

q Copy of recent shots and vaccinations

q SBL tote bag (with name tag attached)

§ Blanket

§ Food container & scoop

§ 1 toy (monkey)


q Race confirmation paperwork

q Hotel confirmation paperwork

q Snacks





§Trail mix


§ Gatorade

q Breakfast (Saturday)

§ Oatmeal (2 packs)

§ 1 banana

§ Peanut butter

q Utensils

§ Disposable bowl

§ Disposable spoon

§ Disposable knife

§ 1/3 measuring cup

q ShotBlocks (8 in saran wrap + xtras)

q iPod

q Laptop

q Cell phone charger

q Camera

q Foam roller

q Bathing suit/swim cap/goggles

q Pillow

q Wal Mart bags

Race day clothes:

q Sporthill blue shorts

q Back-up shorts

q Socks (salmon Brooks = race day socks)

q T-shirts

q Yellow LIVESTRONG shirt

q Throw away long sleeve shirt

q Disposable pancho

q White Nike hat

q Flying Pig hat

q Nike Lunarglides

q Nike sports bra

Misc. clothes:

q Black capri pants

q T-shirts

q Socks

q Flip flops

q Gray New Balance shoes

q Jeans

Bathroom items:

q Body wash

q Shampoo

q Toothbrush and toothpaste

q Contact solution

q Extra contacts

q Face wash

q Q-tips

q Glasses

Post-race bag:

q Flip flops

q T-shirt

q Light jacket

q Shorts/pants

q Cell phone

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Marathon Training - A Reflection

For my Country Music Marathon training, I used Hal Higdon's Intermediate I marathon training plan. I've used several different training plans in the past (like the Runner's World online smart coach and training plans from race websites) but I think that I have most enjoyed training with this Hal Higdon plan. He incorporates 5 runs per week - 3 Monday through Friday, 1 Saturday and 1 on Sunday. This worked very well with my schedule, and it was also easy to incorporate swimming, cycling and rest days.

As of this Saturday afternoon, I will have run 415 miles from January 13th through April 24th, which is roughly 100 miles per month. I know of some people who run 100 miles per week, which is crazy. I averaged about 27-30 miles per week, and that was perfect for me. I felt strong on all of my long runs (2 16 milers, 2 18 milers, 1 22 miler) and I tried to really make my shorter runs during the week count - I tried to incorporate speed work and hill work. Overall, I feel prepared. This week I have been trying to rest well, eat well, and think well! My mind is going crazy - but I keep telling myself 3 things:
  1. This is not a big deal. Millions of people run marathons each weekend. Just go out and run with them.
  2. You trained for this for 4 months - you are ready! All the miles and all the hours have brought you to this point.
  3. This is going to be FUN! I will get to meet new people, explore a new city, and hopefully set a new marathon PR. Many people would love to have this opportunity - have fun and keep things in perspective.
That is pretty much what I am telling myself over and over and over. And it is working! I am super excited about the race and the weekend. I found out this week that two of my favorite marathoners, Ryan Hall and Josh Cox, are going to be at the expo on Friday. I really hope that I can meet them and get a picture with them! Ryan Hall just set the American course record at the Boston Marathon on Monday, and Josh Cox is the current 50K American record holder. It would be so cool to meet them!

Back to training, one thing that has greatly improved my training this spring has been my diet. I have really, really tried to be much more careful about what I eat. After listening to several Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcasts where Brett spoke about how much his raw diet was affecting his energy levels, I decided to dip my toes in the water. Now I don't think I can or would ever go to a full raw (or even vegan) diet, but being more mindful of what I am eating has made a huge difference! I have tried to incorporate way more fruits, veggies, and nuts into my diet. I always try to keep dried fruits and nuts, raw almonds, apples, and Larabars on hand in my desk drawer for a quick and easy snack.

I've also been keeping a comprehensive food log since March 15th. I've found that its best if I eat breakfast around 7:00am, have a snack at 10:00am, have lunch at 12:30pm, another snack at 3:00pm, and then dinner around 6:30pm. I've also found from my food log that my definite weakness and craving is SUGAR. When it comes to candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, etc - count me in. I think these things are OK in moderation and I am usually satisfied with one serving, but having the fresh fruit and Larabars on hand really help to curb my sweet tooth. I also like having something sweet after dinner, so I've been curbing my dessert craving with greek yogurt, low-fat Pop Tarts (still not the best, I know) or Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal. This has made a huge difference in my energy levels! One more thing - I try to drink a "green smoothie" with fruits and veggies at least 4 times a week. I usually blend up spinach, baby carrots and 8 oz. 1% milk (or Odwalla Superfood) with two fruits - like apples, strawberries, pears or bananas. I sip on this for a couple of hours each morning for sustained, all-natural energy!

I still have a long way to go with my eating, but I think I am on the right track! I have noticed an incredible difference in how I feel before, during and after a run. I used to crave double cheeseburgers after a long run, but now all I want is an apple and some chocolate milk. I also used to crave Taco Bell, McDonald's, Wendy's etc. all the time, but now I don't even really think about it. I guess my marathon time will show if the proof is in the pudding with my nutrition changes....non-fat pudding that is!

The third thing that has been super motivating during my training has been being a part of Team LIVESTRONG. Thank you all for helping me reach my fund-raising goal to secure my spot on the team. Running for something that is so much greater than myself has been awesome, and I am thankful for the opportunity.

Next the people who are going to help get me across the finish line! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One WILD Day

Today has been one of the craziest days. It all started when I headed home from work this afternoon. I left at my normal time (5:00pm) and started on my normal route home. I wasn't very far down the road (Jessamine Station Rd.) when I started noticing several cars stopping in the road, doing a 3 point turn and heading the other direction. Just as I was wondering "what in the heck is going on" I saw it. It was a car, turned on its side, laying in the middle of the road. There were no cops, no ambulances, no people around - nothing. There was one car in front of me, stopped, so I turned off my car and ran up to the lady in the car to see if she knew what was going on. She said that she had just driven up, and didn't know what was going on. I knew that whoever was inside the car probably needed help, so I ran up to the car to see how I could help. I couldn't believe that no one else was getting out of their cars to help! The car must have been there for like 3-5 minutes already, and I could not believe that no one had stopped to check on the driver yet.

As I got closer to the car, I could see someone trying to open the door (which was tough - opening the door against gravity) and then I saw a girl trying to get a baby out of the car. I could tell that the was in total shock, so I told her to hand me the baby and then told her that I would help her get out of the car. She handed me the beautiful little baby girl, who only looked to be like 6 or 8 months old. Amazingly, there was not a scratch on her. By then, two other ladies had run up to help so I handed one of them the baby and then helped the girl out of the car. One of ladies said they had called 911, so that was good. It wasn't the easiest for the girl to get out of the car, as she was trying to keep the door open against gravity and climb out at the same time. The bottom of the car was super hot, so I tried to help her get down without having to step on any of the undercarriage. She made it out safely, and we all walked to a spot away from the car and got her to sit down. Shortly after, police and firefighters started to arrive and took over. The girl was only 20, and she seemed to be intact. She was definitely in shock, and kept asking if her baby was ok. The baby (I found out her name is Amelia) didn't have any scratches and was not even crying. I hope that they both went to the hospital to be fully checked out though, because they could have internal injuries. The mom did have a bloody mouth, but she said it was from when the airbag deployed.

I'm not 100% sure what happened, but I think that she was driving down the road (a 2 lane road), lost control and went into the other lane, hit the embankment which propelled the car back into the right lane, but turned the car up on its side. It didn't look like the car rolled any, just slid on its side. This is where they were really lucky - I think the whole situation could have been much worse - especially if another car had been involved. Thank the Lord for watching over those two this afternoon, and for protecting them in the accident.

When I got home my adrenaline was pumping through the roof. I had planned to mow the yard this evening, so I thought that would be a good way to get some of my nervous energy out. (Note: Chad's allergies flare up so badly when he mows that it has always been easier for me to do it. Plus, I actually really love to mow! It is such a satisfying chore. Plus, I prefer for the yard to be mowed twice a week, on Saturdays and Wednesdays, so it is probably best that I don't put my OCD expectations on someone else... : )

So once I got done mowing our yard, I took a long look at the house behind us (we live on a corner). The house has been for sale for months, and the lawn has been growing for...months. It has really gotten out of hand, and I don't know if anyone is ever going to come mow it. I normally walk Emma pretty early in the morning, and I am always afraid that a snake, cat, raccoon, opossum, or some other critter is going to come slithering out of the tall grass and get us. Plus, I read an article in Reader's Digest last year about some guy mowing the lawns of foreclosed homes in his neighborhood to keep the neighborhood looking nice. The Reader's Digest article solidified my resolve, and I pointed the lawn mower in that direction. The grass was so high that it was slow going at first, but eventually I began to make a dent in the section of the lawn that is between the street and the sidewalk.

When I was almost done with this section, I looked up from the yard to see a lady pushing her car from (a very busy) Main St. onto our street. Crazy thing #2. I stopped the mower and ran to her car to see if she needed any help pushing the car to safety. Once I got to her, the car started up and she pulled onto the street. She got out and said that she had run out of gas. We just filled up our little gas can for the lawn mower last night, so I went and got the can and we filled up her car. Her car started right up and she went on her way, so that was good.

Then I went back to the neighbor's yard to finish mowing the area near the house, and quickly found out that the lawn mower had run out of gas. And I had just given all of the gas away - the irony! But that was ok, the lady needed it more than we did. As I was putting the gas can and lawn mower back in the garage, I noticed that Emma wanted to go inside. Normally when Emma is playing in the backyard I leave the door cracked so that she can go in and out at her leisure. Chad had left earlier in the evening for a meeting at church, and I noticed that he had closed the door all the way. I went to open the door for Emma, and you guessed it, the door was locked. No!!!! We don't have a hidden key or anything, so I was totally locked out.

Luckily, the church is only like .5 miles away, so I decided the best course of action would be to run to the church, get the key and then run back. My only worry was that I would have to leave Emma in the backyard. The thought of her getting stolen out of our yard made me practically sprint to the church and back. I was wearing my New Balance 442's which was probably a lot like running in Keds. When I got to the church, Chad felt horrible. This is like the 3rd or 4th time this has happened! Luckily he is always within running distance. Once I had the key and was headed home I thought about the crazy events of the past two hours. All of this happened between 5 and 7! I also decided that I was going to go to Arby's and get a jamocha shake. And that just about pretty much sums up my wild day.

On a different note, I am in taper mode for the Country Music Marathon, and I am feeling good. Next week I will post more of my race prep plans, and some thoughts on my training and my expectations for the race. The race is in 10 days...I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This week I have been getting back into the groove after having Spring Break last week. The seminary was closed Wednesday through Friday, so I got to enjoy a nice and relaxing five day weekend! It was so great. It didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect during the break either - sunny and in the 70's/80's everyday. I spent a lot of time outside in the backyard with Emma and it was fabulous.

I was able to get some good swims and rides in last week, plus some later morning runs. I wanted to run some in the heat (a relative term) because I don't know what the weather will be like in Nashville on race day. I've trained through a cold winter and a pretty mild spring, so I'm hoping to get some warmer runs in over the next few weeks. I'm definitely tapering down, and I am enjoying the rest. In addition to my three weekday runs (ranging from 4-8 miles), I will do 12 miles this Saturday and 8 miles the next Saturday. The Saturday after that will be race day!

I've already compiled my packing list for the trip and have a manila folder of all my race registration info, our hotel info, Emma's kennel info, etc. This may seem OCD, but it really helps me mentally prepare for the trip and the race. I could not handle it if I had a lot of loose ends and paperwork everywhere. I need all of the papers in my folder to be organized by day, and then alphabetically. And I need my packing list to be ordered with sub-headings and then the items listed in the order of probable use. Now that's not very OCD is it? Oh well - it helps me tremendously!

Chad and I had a great Easter weekend. We spent Saturday night with friends in Wilmore enjoying smoked brisket (Chad smoked it for 15 hours-it was delicious!) and pulled pork, plus homeade cole slaw and other veggies. I contributed a bunny cake, which turned out better than I thought it would!
On Easter morning we went to church in Wilmore to see our little friends Morgan and Athan be baptized. It was a very special way to spend Easter Sunday!

On a disappointing note, I didn't get into the New York City marathon through the lottery. I didn't really expect to because it is so huge, but I was still holding onto some hope. The way the NYC marathon works is through a lottery - once you enter your name into the lottery you are guaranteed to get into the marathon within three years. You can luck out and get in the first year, or it might be the second year, or the third year. And once you get in, you have three years to use your race entry. Chad's dad got into the race two years ago, and his friend Mr. Doug got in three years ago. They planned to run NYC last year, but were unable to due to scheduling conflicts. Since they want to run the race together, they have to run it this year since this is Mr. Doug's last year with a valid lottery entry.

Last November, after watching the race coverage on NBC, Chad's family decided that we would all go to New York in November! As soon as the lottery opened, I put my name in. I was really hoping to be able to run the race with Chad's dad and Mr. Doug, but I think it might be just as fun to be a spectator. The NYC marathon is so huge that it seems like just being a spectator will be an experience in and of itself. Plus, I have never been to New York, so just being able to go to the City and see all of the sites will be amazing!