Sunday, December 23, 2007

Been a long Time

Sorry that it has been a long time. Sometimes I just don't feel like I have too much to say. That, and I have been incredibly busy as you have probably been too this time of year.

That said, on the running front, I have been trying to increase strength and build up runs to ultimately complete the Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass in January. Along the way towards capitol Peak, I ran in Yesterday's Pigtail's Flat Ass 50k. It was challenging, wet, and wet and wetter yet.
The day began with Rick picking me up at 5:40 and hitting Starbucks before meeting Linda at the Y and then down to the train station in Sumner to meet Rob and Steve. It wasn't raining yet. I was expecting it to be colder and was dressed for cold. I regretted not wearing shorts because it was warmer out than I had planned on (regret didn't last long). Once at the train station we learned that Steve needed to drive himself so Rob ended up with driving duties.

We checked in and made final clothing choices. I was feeling bad for Rob who didn't have a waterproof jacket and would be soaked in no time. I decided on the gortex jacket as it had begun raining steadily. We headed o the start and gathered together with all of our Y buddies, even seeing Ray who would run the marathon and start a bit later than the ultra.

We were off and when I noticed Rob was wearing a jacket and I was commenting to him on it when I ran right into a pole in the middle of the trail to keep motorized vehicles out. Let's say it left a mark. I shook it off, knowing it would hurt later and kept on going after Linda caught me from falling. A lesson to always look where you are going, especially in the dark and when in a crowded pack of runners!

The first half of the run was wet and I contemplated turning around at the marathon turn around. My hips were bothering me because the entire first half was a gradual uphill. When the trail turned from paved to gravel it became a bit more uphill. Nothing too steep, just 15 miles on a steady incline. Because of the rain, it wasn't long before the water was dripping from my pants onto my socks and into my shoes causing my feet to be waterlogged early on.

Rick decided to make that turn at the marathon mark, but I kept on. We had picked up a runner in our group who wanted to try running a 5/1 run walk ratio that I have been using to keep my ITB at bay. Her name is Vivian. I kept going with her by my side. We passed Steve and Rob on their way back down and then Linda not too far behind. I was really ready to turn around and stop going uphill. After what seemed like forever, we made it to the end of the trail and turned around.

Vivian mentioned she wanted to put on dry clothes at the bag drop area. I really didn't want to wait for her because I knew I would get cold being so wet and I just wanted to keep moving. i had decided I would tell her this once we got to the aid station, but before we arrived, she asked if I would wait for her. I said yes, I felt obliged. It took 5 minutes and I will be removing that time from my overall total. I wasn't happy about stopping. I did end up freezing for a while after that.

I felt good on the downhill and wanted to pick up my pace. I was determined to run the way I wanted to in this run. Slow if I needed to, faster I f I felt good. Now, going down, I felt good and better with a quicker pace. After a while, Vivian said she would try to keep with me until there were 6 miles left. She did, but was behind me about 15-20 feet for a mile or two before that. I was trying to keep a 8:50-9:50 minute pace on the way down between walk breaks. This lasted until I had to go to the bathroom really bad and had to slow down a bit to not wet my pants! I had to wait a while till the next porta-potty. Probably for a mile and a half I had to go and hold it in! The path here was along a main road and there was no where to go! So I suffered for a while, but made it! Best of all, I knew there were only about 3.5 miles to go after the park where the porta-potties were. I decided to skip some walk breaks just to be done quicker. I was ready to be done. I wanted dry clothes on and to eat some real food.

I finished in 6:03, but in 5:58 with the 5 minutes withdrawn for Vivian's clothing change. I am happy with that.

I feel pretty good today. Yes I have some sore muscles but I could go for a slow short run, or a long walk. I will probably run tomorrow morning with Michelle, before the hullabaloo of Christmas eve family dinner preparations begin.

I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family, sharing time with my parents and brother and his family. I will wake up early and sit by the lit up tree in the quiet with the fire roaring and a cup of coffee in my hand. Enjoying a moment of peace and solitude before the excitement of the day begins.

Through it all, we will take time to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ. Who was born to take my sins upon him and pay a debt I could never pay and be my savior. Thank you.

Grace and peace to you this Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkeys, Ghosts and Birthdays

What a fun title. Sums up my long weekend. What a great weekend it was.

With my parents in France, In-laws in Texas, Local Brother in Eugene and Older brother in Atlanta, I was left to fend for my own family this Thanksgiving. It was wonderful.
I woke up to a very cold morning and went off to run with the Y group over at the track and park. It was a nice, pokey run.

Then it was home to start cooking. My husband Paul took our 8 year old son Michael and went off to meet another dad and son for a 9 hole round of golf. 5 year old daughter, Annika, stayed home and we watched Sleeping Beauty while preparing dinner. It was good bonding time. Dinner was ready by 3pm and we sat down and gave thanks. As we do at every meal together we share our blessings of the day. This time though we tried to go a bit deeper and share bigger things in life that we are thankful for. It went well! Ya never quite know what an 8 and 5 year old will come up with, but they did well. Later we went over to the family that Paul and Michael had golfed with's home for pie and conversation. It was a great day. Both families called it an early evening in order for some of us to prepare for an early morning of shopping!

I woke up at 5am and didn't really hurry out the door. I brewed some coffee while the car defrosted and left about 5:30am. I didn't think I'd ever hit Toys R Us on Black Friday again, but there I was. It makes a huge difference in attitude and demeanor when you are not shopping for electronics the day after Thanksgiving! I found a few of the items on my list and patiently waited my 40 minutes in line. I only got after one small group of people who were trying to merge into our line. I said," You know, there are going to be some very angry people if you try to get into this line when these people have been waiting over a half an hour and started at the end of the line." They replied that they had been waiting a long time too. This was not true, they just kinda made their own line where there wasn't one. They did merge, but they made sure they waited till I was past them and then merged! Then it was on to Target and a few other stores. I was pretty successful and only have a bit of shopping left to do. I am trying to get less "stuff" this year and focus on experiences together. So I did purchase a few more board games than I might otherwise have.

Anyway, on to the Ghost of Seattle Marathon. It was awesome. I loved it. Again I wasn't trying to go for any speed as my ITB is still on the mend. In fact, according to my therapist, I am supposed to be on a hiatus and focusing on strength training. She is unaware of my recent 50k and marathon! Sssshhhhh! Don't get me into trouble! I am taking it easy and am running less than I would like to be and still using the 5/1 ratio for run walk. I'll send you over to Michelle's blog for her detailed report that included photos. It was a great day. Thanks for the great report Michelle!

Sunday the 25th was my 34th birthday. I spent it with the kids and the going out to dinner as a family. It was low key and restful. A good day. I made sure I spoke with my brother after I figured he made it home from Eugene. He spent the day driving, Yuck! It was a good year and I look forward to an even better one, God willing.

Grace and Peace to you this Christmas season.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turkey Trot 5k..... and I was Tagged

Sorry that it has been a while since my last post. I have been busy with school and family.

I decided for my run today, that I would go to a local race. The last time I ran it, it was a five miler. Today though, it was only a 5k. I decided I would take part of the loop again after I finished to make it at least 5 miles.

This is a small race put on by the Fort Steilacoom Running Club and was held at Fort Steilacoom Park on mostly gravel, grass and dirt trail with a little bit of asphalt thrown in. It happened to be the High school Cross country district championships course. I opted for my trail shoes as it had been fairly rainy this week. It is a great park for running. The problem was, it is a small race and the course wasn't clearly marked. If no one was ahead of me I didn't always know where to go. I literally stopped twice to ask people behind me which way to go! Once a volunteer made sure you made a turn to go up a steep hill, he said to turn left 2/3 of the way up and go down, problem was I had no idea if I was 2/3 of the way up! I just chose a path and went down. I could hear people follow me a ways back. Finally I came out and found a marker. People could have come down a different way, but I think I had the correct trail. I also stopped close to the finish, I could see a volunteer, but there was about three different paths I could take to get to him. He yelled and waved which way to go and I made it. So overall, it was a confusing race, but it was a good run. I ended up with first place for my age group and a 17 lb. turkey from the drawing! I'll save it for Christmas. I already bought a much smaller one for my family of 4.

After finishing, I went back out to make my run 5 miles total. I went back up to the trails and down around a small lake. Here, on the asphalt my trail shoes felt slippery. The path is an old road and was trying to grow moss.

I'll slow down for the rest of the week. I am running The Ghost of Seattle Marathon on Saturday and need to rest up! It should be another great run with Michelle!

Now, on to the tagging business....

Michelle tagged me. Here's the deal:

Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 3 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I am half a set of fraternal twins. I have a twin brother who also lives nearby. We have only spent one school year apart our freshman year of college. He stayed home, then joined me at Pacific Lutheran University, Go Lutes!
2. I love the fall. The colors, the smells, the falling leaves, running through the fallen leaves, the weather, wearing cozy clothes and pumpkin spice lattes return to Starbucks and egg nog coming soon!
3. I am not a morning person, I enjoy getting up early, but leave me alone. I will most likely be grumpy.
4. I cannot wink. I think I deserve a special parking permit. It is a handicap.
5. I love creating. From painting, or photography, to clay, to sewing to cooking. Anything that involves making something. I don't get to be crafty too much, but I do love it!

There's so much more I could say, glad I only had to choose 5 things...I 'll save the others for long car rides and long runs, so come along for the ride!

I tag: Rob, Wendy and Joe. Have fun!

Grace and peace to you.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Autumn Leaves 50K

What an awesome day.

First of all Michelle, Eric,( see Eric and Michelle for photos of the event) Steve and I had a great drive to Portland where we were able to stay at my parent's house the night before the race. They have been gracious enough to host us three times now, from 4 people to 11. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Photos courtesy of Tom Riley

The day began quite early with wake up at 4:00am. We left the house by 5am for the 19 mile drive to Champoeg State park where the race was being held. I grew up going to this park nestled along the Willamette River. It has wide open fields and forested areas for day and overnight use. It was as beautiful as I remembered.

Michelle, Steve, Rob and I took the early start, with Rob and Steve running the 50 miles and Michelle and I the 50K. The first loop and out and back were pitch black. I decided to wear my headlamp like Eric did for the CCC, around my waist as I had on both a baseball cap and wool ski hat. It was COLD! It was very cool to look up and see the crescent moon and a sky full of stars as you ran along and had bobbing headlamps coming towards you. It was hard to distinguish lamp from star. We could also tell that parts of the course were quite foggy. Aside from tripping over the roots that had pushed up the asphalt, running in the dark, having no clue of your surroundings was very cool.

During the first loop as we encountered the single track trail portion we noticed what we thought were giant piles of leaves along the side of the trail. Now, one thing about me, I love Fall and running through leaves. It is my absolute favorite. I wanted to jump into the pile of leaves, but was afraid there was tree branches or other hard things under the leaves. I joked about getting impaled by a branch. Michelle told me it would ruin her race if I got impaled and couldn't continue. So I told her we'd have to check out the pile in the light to determine it's level of softness for jumping in. Then we proceeded to the potion of the trail where we ended up taking a wrong turn twice. The trail just led right into a wooded section, so we went. Then there was Michelle, stopping right in front of me with her arms out wide. I ran into her laughing because it looked like she had run into a bush. Apparently at this point the trail took a turn to the left and Michelle didn't notice, she just saw a drop off to the river ahead and didn't want me to fall. It was very funny though and I enjoyed imitating her for a while, just randomly stopping in front of her with my arms out wide.

My favorite part of the entire course was a section in the out and back of the main loop. We would cross this wood bridge and meander along the trail where the trees turned from mostly oaks, to mostly maples. The trail was covered, ankle high with gigantic yellow and brown leaves. It felt like running in snow, only much louder and crunchier, because it was so deep and you couldn't see what was underneath. This section just didn't last long enough for me and I was always surprised to see the turn around cones.

The 7 hours passed by quickly with many minutes filled with laughter. Michelle would imitate someone and we'd both crack up beyond control. After 20 miles it becomes hard to stop laughing! I'd imitate Michelle and we'd crack up laughing again. Then there was the 10 miles with Rob and Steve! Whew! It was a wonder we made it! Rob was as entertaining as ever and he needed our company. He'd say he was being nice and doing us a favor by keeping us company for our last tough 10 miles, but it was really us who saved him by giving him a fairly easy 1o miles in the middle of his 50! Love ya Rob, just had to set everything straight! During the second loop, when we passed the big pile of leaves, we decided the big one was safe for jumping in, but only on the last loop, in case of accidental impalement by hidden objects. I swore I would still run the last 1.5 miles if I did get impaled. So during the last loop I jumped right in, made some leaf angels,tossed some leaves and rolled around a bit before getting out. I had been worried that getting out would be tough after running 30 miles, but it wasn't. The pile was high enough that I wasn't actually on the ground, so getting out wasn't too bad! It was great fun too! What would a race called Autumn Leaves be without some rolling around in them? It made my day. Sorry, no photos.

After Michelle and I completed the 50k, we changed and ate and rested while we waited for Rob and Steve. After they came in again we went to Starbucks in nearby Newberg. We also got Rob some Doubleshots as we knew he would need the pick me up of some good caffeine. We arrived just in time to give Rob the coffee and hang out for their last loop. We hung out and chatted with other racers and volunteers and ate more food. The atmosphere at ultras is vastly different from traditional marathons. Some of the best camaraderie around.

When Rob and Steve came in we cheered and cheered! They ate some food and gathered their things and we were off. Back to my parent's house for a shower and to load up for home. A not so quick dinner at the packed California Pizza Kitchen with all the high school kids before the big homecoming dance ( Steve freaked some girls out here, telling them how nice they looked) and we were off, back to Puyallup. We dropped off Steve in Longview at his in-laws home and we made it back to my house at 11:30. I dropped off my things beside the door, changed my alarm clock and went to bed. Everyone was already asleep. I was thankful for the extra hour of sleep that daylight savings would bring.

I woke up and headed to church by 7:40am so I could stop at Starbucks before my volunteer nursery duty began at 8am. I got to play with the little ones for an hour and a half before I decided to head home instead of go to Sunday School. I forgot to bring advil. Not for my aching body, but for the abscessed tooth I have been fighting for the last couple of weeks. I opted for a stronger drug the dentist prescribed, which due to my fatigued state, totally knocked me out! I slept for a couple of hours. Besides a tight hamstring which I can only feel when I walk up my hilly driveway, I feel great. No painful spots, not really tight, my hips even feel good. I didn't try to run of course. I'll wait till Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't want to push it. The last time I ran two marathons in two weeks I ended up with a very bad case of ITB. I think I have been wise to take it slow and easy the last 6 months. I have been consistently using the run/walk method and have been stretching and strengthening. I will continue this as I want to get stronger, not let up.

To the future: I am seriously considering the Ghost of Seattle Marathon on the 24th as a birthday present to myself(birthday is the 25th). I didn't sign up for the Seattle Marathon and don't really want to for over $100.00. So this one will be smaller and cheaper. I like that! Besides, I bet there will be some good company out there to run with!

Grace and Peace to you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Long Awaited San Francisco (short) Report

Photo Version, Text coming as soon as life calms down! Oh, I forgot to add a link to my favorite race photo!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Well, my hips have had quite the week.

I was very sore on Monday after the 5 miler at the Portland Marathon and took both Monday and Tuesday off to recuperate. I decided I needed to run on Wednesday and ran an easy 5 at the Y indoor track. I again always run too fast at the track. It is hard to judge my pace when you have to go around 6 times to make a mile. I tried to lose count and go by time as I did not have my lap counter.

My hips paid for it as soon as I stopped running. I knew right away I was in trouble. It hurt to go down the stairs. I made sure I did all of my stretching and strengthening exercises before picking up the kids from the nursery and games room, but I hurt.

All I could do was take Advil and look forward to my appointment with my Doctor/therapist on Friday. It could not come too soon. Friday I left a bit early and arrived a bit early to my appointment and had to wait a bit. That was okay. I knew relief was on the way. Dr. Doyle is a chiropractic sports physician. I told her how things have been going. She had me lay on my side with my top leg hanging back and my top arm stretched out over my head. She used her Graston tools ( I call this torture therapy) from my ribs to my knee. It hurt really bad in places and I knew I'd be very bruised, but I knew it was going to help tremendously. Same for the other side. Then a little A.R.T or Active Release Therapy (which can also be torturous) and an adjustment of the hips and I was done. I could already fell the difference of not being so tight, and quite sore. The bruises were already forming.

Saturday I was quite tender, but I slept so much better and after a warm up period I felt pretty good on my run. The true test came after the run. I felt good still. That afternoon, during my daughter's gymnastics class I went and did some strength exercises for my glutes, quads, hams, lower back, and core. Still felt good.

Sunday came and I knew the therapy was working. I woke up feeling great. After church I went for a short run and felt great. Things are looking up in my hip world.

I have a massage scheduled for Monday and another Doctor/therapist session on Wednesday. Then it is off to San Francisco on Thursday night. I'll run a little this week, stretch and continue my strengthening exercises and take it easy during the marathon on Sunday. I think the worst part will be the long drive down and especially home on Monday. Keep us in your prayers!

I am looking forward to this trip and pray that all of the ladies will have a fantastic and safe time.

Grace and peace to you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Portland Adventure

So this weekend I was in Portland to run the 5 miler that coincided with the Portland Marathon. It was really hard not to register for the marathon during the expo. It was a fun weekend that included trips to and from Protland with my Y running buddies Michelle, Eric and Rick. What entertaining rides we had!

The 5 miler was really fun. I felt kinda dorky just doing the 5 miler, but Ireally did enjoy myself. Portland is my hometown, well, I grew up 15 minutes south of downtown, so it feels like home. I loved getting to watch the marathoners and even caught Michelle and Rick at their 5 mile point. I decided I'd stick to my own recovery regime of 5 minutes run 1 minute walk intervals. It was tough to do this for a five mile race, but I wanted to continue to give my ITB the breaks it was used to. I finished in 45:30. 11th in the 30-34 age group. It was too fast and my hips paid for it. I hurt the rest of the day. I had planned on at least 50 minutes but Igot caught up in the excitement andrace atmosphere. I did have fun and thats what counts.

I had a blast watching the marathoners finish with Sonja and Patch. So, no regrets for not registering for the marathon, yet anyway.

The reason I registered earlier for the 5 miler was due to the fact that I am Runnning the Nike Women's Marathon in San Fransisco on the 21st. The last time I ran two marathons in two weeks I ended up with super duper IT Band issues. It felt like a burning hot knife was sticking out the side of my knee. Funny, It didn't bother me until a week after the marathon though. Needless to say, I did not want the same thing to occur, so I opted for the 5 miler. I know it still sounds weird, but I wanted to be able to have fun in San Fransisco and then be able to run the Autumn Leaves 50k two weeks after the Nike. I realize this sounds wacko, but it makes sense to me. I am not going for a certain time at either, but if I would have run in Portland, I would have really wanted to best my time from last year and I know my IT and hips would have paid dearly for the run.

So, as I just said, my hips would pay. I am having pain after running and for the next day at the top front crest of my hips. I can tell it is muscular and not the joint. I am told to stretch my quads, hamstrings, and IT and to strengthen my glutes. I am using the big white foam roller which is quite painful as well as the Tiger Tail hand roller. Any more suggestions? I have been trying to cross train more, doing hour long spin classes and run slower. I find that the faster I try to run, the more my hips hurt. So, slow and steady for SF and Autumn Leaves.

Grace and peace to you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Year of Marathons

Two years ago this month (October 26, 2005), I had knee surgery to repair a torn left lateral meniscus. For one year I had to wear a Bregg knee brace, otherwise known as the "bionic leg." I ran with that thing and wondered if I would have to wear it forever. It was supposed to even out the compression of the compartments of the knee so that my knee would not collapse to the left side that was minus 40% of it's meniscus. My recovery goal was to run the 2006 Portland Marathon. My short term goal was the Capitol City Half in May of 2006. I met both goals and I did run the Portland Marathon with that dang brace and swore it off and haven't worn it since for running. I do wear it if I am say playing flag football with my school staff due to the side to side motion.

Anyway, with my knee recovered, I went on to run and run and run. I haven't kept a tally of the races I have completed along the side for no particular reason, but I guess I don't want to brag, or be a show off or whatever. I completed several middle distance races and did fairly well, I placed first in the Steilacoom Resolution run series this year and completed 5 marathons and one ultra. I wanted to do even more, but family duties and a new ITB injury benched me for a while.

Monday, October 1st was my one year anniversary of completing my first marathon and completing my post knee surgery goal. As I reflect on that accomplishment and look forward to the 5 miler at the Marathon this weekend and the Nike Women's Marathon in a few weeks, I am grateful and thankful for the recovery that has taken place and hopeful that my current injury will heal and leave me all the stronger.

It has been a long and trying road to recovery the last few months. Patience is difficult when there is so much you want to do. I found it tough to drive along country roads and not imagine myself running the same route. I felt jealous of those I did see, that I could not join them. It was hard to drive where my familiar running routes were knowing I could not always run them. As I was able to run more and more, it was difficult not to run at the same pace and to be at peace with using the run/walk method to lessen the stress on the ITB. Giving all up in prayer and learning to be patient and to follow the dr.'s orders has led to improvements. I am still getting there, but I feel like I can see the end. I know it will take more deliberate rest and time off, (or cross training ) and I think I can manage the discipline to get there.

Reflecting on my first marathon has taking me through a journey I never thought I'd take and one I cannot imagine living without. Running is so freeing, it provides an intense feeling of solitude and completeness, yet is so intertwined with the people with whom I share the experience. It is difficult to describe.

I run, and I talk and I listen. I take all of the words I hear and tuck them away. They change who I am and maybe I change who they are. I hear what the people say and I pray for them. It is how I offer what I have to others, a bit of me for them, a gift I can give. A moment of my day given to others.

Through running I find peace, through running I find quiet, through running I find companionship and a place to live, laugh, learn, grow and be challenged. Most of all this year I have found these things. Through struggling with my own injury and others', through experiencing the training and completion of not just one, but several marathons I learn the lessons of life's marathon. To just begin, to have a goal, to train, to learn from mistakes, to try new things to see what will work better, to change things that don't work, sometimes to start over, but most of all to persevere and that it cannot happen by myself.

This is the gift of my first marathon. Thank you to those of you who helped me get there. I appreciate you more than words can say.

Grace and peace to you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fully Recovered

Okay, so last Sunday was the 6 Summit adventure, with Michelle, Eric, Jamal, and Linda. You can read about it over on Eric or Michelle's blog. It was a fun 17 miles of up and down on trails. The last three miles were downhill. After a few other steep spots of trying to go slow and brake, Linda and I decided just to go and not try to brake so much. Well braking or not, my quads were quite sore for a few days.

3 to be exact. Monday- Wednesday it was difficult going down. Down stairs, down hill, squatting down, anything revolving around going down was tough. I did a bit of running on Tuesday and gave up for the bike instead. Thursday I was able to move without any grunting or other funny sounds while going downstairs so I went for another short run.

Michelle asked if I was up for a 10 miler on Saturday, she felt recovered from the trail run too. Of course I was, but I also knew I really needed a 20 miler. So I met Michelle, Rick, and Linda at 6:30am for a nice 10 miles. After coffee for about 45min. I went home and changed and ran another 10 miles. I have never split up mileage like that. I have heard some people say it doesn't matter if it is consecutive or not, that at least it was 20 miles in one day. I kinda feel like I cheated, like it has to be consecutive miles or it does not count (Rob, would you say something like that?). Well, I got it in and we will see if I ever split up miles like that again. It did seem to work for the time constraint I was in, so If I had to do it again, at least I know I can. we'll see how it goes after the marathon in a month. I would like to get some more long runs in and I may have to do it with split runs. I don't know if anyone else wants that many miles in the next couple of weeks. anyway....

I ran a super easy 3 miles this morning with my son along on his bike. It was what Michelle would call a "grind" run. It was tough and my legs felt heavy from the 20 miles yesterday. I felt super slow and like I was just plodding along. I was glad when it was over. The stretching afterwards felt great. I am not sore anywhere, but I discovered some new tight areas.
I was glad that my right IT band held up for the 20 miles. I was achy in the usual places, knees and hips, but nothing painful and today I feel fine.

I am looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow and then to get in 25-30 miles next week. Wish me luck!

Grace and Peace to you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Into The Groove

Annika's First Bus ride to School on first day of Kindergarten

I wasn't as hard as I thought to watch my youngest child begin school this week. She loves it. She looks forward to riding the bus to school and spending the morning with her teacher, Mrs. Garrett. They grow up so fast.

She also lost her first tooth this week. The tooth fairy brought a nice crisp one dollar bill! I t has been very exciting around our house!

Another big deal around here, is the Puyallup fair. The kids, get free tickets at school as do my husband and I as teachers. So we make at least one trip to the two week long fair. We really just go for the kids. I do love to spend several hours looking at all the exhibits, barns, hobbies, quilts etc... but the kids won't last and my husband grew up in the area and now would rather not go altogether.

It was a fun trip this year. The kids were great and we were there for about 3 hours. Michael, my almost 8 year old, loves to do the dunk tank. 5 balls for a dollar and on his 4th ball, he dunked the poor girl on the left side! He was thrilled. Daddy, the baseball coach was thrilled. It was great. After the rides we

worked off all the walking with Krusty Pups and scones.

It's a good thing that I'll be running 6 Summits tomorrow with Michelle and Eric to burn off all that Fair food! We even came home with a dozen fair scones! You just can't make them the same at home!

I am really looking forward to tomorrow's run, 17 mikes of hilly trails. Getting out into the woods of Tiger Mountain will be just the thing to start off the week and bring this week's running to a close. I am still struggling with a tight IT band, but it is less painful and only achy sometimes. I am having some issues with my left hip and the illiac crest. I continue Physical therapy and stretch, stretch, stretch.
I pray all is well with you!

Grace and Peace to you.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

short update

Tired. School started this week. Tired. Run. Tired. Achy IT Band. Ice. Did I say tired? Busy. Tired. Physical therapy. Tired and sleepy. Run. Spin class. Tired.
Theme for the week. Tired and sleepy. It is tough getting back into waking up at 5am and standing on your feet all day talking. I'll be in a rhythm by next week and fully adjusted.

Run Rob, Run. Rob is attempting the Plain 100 as I write. So send positive thoughts not to get lost and to fuel!

Grace and Peace to you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to the Grind

Before school teacher meetings began yesterday. The first day back is always interesting. Reuniting with co-workers you haven't seen since the end of June and catching up with others from around the district. It was a good day. Today was filled with department area professional development. The afternoon session was great, but the morning was a waste of time.

I am catching up on sleep lost while helping at an aid station for the Cascade Crest 100 endurance run. It was a blast to watch people who had just run 53 miles come into the station. I helped get soup and food, take garbage from runners, get drop bags, record who came in and who left and just talk with runner's crew members. It was very inspiring.

After the shift ended and we closed our station we went to sleep. It was 4:00am. I woke up at 7am and laid there till 8am. Eventually we cleaned up(in the pouring rain) and left for the finish. Several of us had planned on going for a run, but the weather and not wanting to be wet and cold for the remainder of the day kept us from taking that run.

The finish was fun. Even more inspiring to watch runners complete their 100 mile journey. Gets me thinking about doing a 50 miler. I'll tuck that into the dream files in my brain and see where it takes me.

I am doing PT now to help my IT relax and stretch out. I am supposed to run less days of the week and cross train. That means the 3 or 4 days I do get to run will all be longer runs from 7-10 miles or more in length. I overslept this morning and missed Michelle's Hill run +2 for 8 miles. I'll run 8-10 this evening. I am supposed to stay away from cambered roads which will be challenging. I plan to run through the park near my house on paved trails and do 5 figure 8 loops and around the sports complex twice. That will be 10 miles. That way I will stay on even surfaces. I'll try to make Michelle's shorter run in the morning, but we'll see. It may be another evening run for me!

On a side note, I found out a wonderful woman I have worked with for going on 6 years has an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her name is Brenda. Please pray for endurance and that her treatments will slow and eventually stop the spread of the cancer cells. She is such a dear and inspiring person. It is hard o see her so sick. I know God will use her and teach her and others many things through this experience. Thanks.

Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Danskin update

Well, it was raining the entire drive up and for set-up in the transition area. Luckily I know to bring garbage bags for everything and to cover my seat and handlebars the day before to keep them somewhat dry.

It stopped raining for the start of the swim (at least my wave and those right before and after). I think it just began to rain as I began the bike section. Anyway, the swim went well and I finished in 16 minutes.

For the bike, it was wet already, and so I had already decided that I would take it easy on this portion. There are so many people in this triathlon and a huge number of them are first timers, you never know what can happen. I was a bit ticked when the volunteers were getting people to get off their bikes at one point to go up a steep section onto the I-90 bridge. I just wanted to stand up and go. I hopped off and ran my bike up, going around as many people as I could, just to keep moving quickly. Once on the bridge, I found my cadence and keep to it, adjusting gears as needed. Once inside the tunnel it was quite warm. I had decided to wear a vest for added warmth on the bridge. I got to the turnaround and headed back. Once through the tunnel again, I found it to be pouring heavy rain and slowed up on the downhill portion and picked it back up on the flat. I could see a few people with aide who had fallen. Again, the volunteers were trying to get people to walk their bikes down off the bridge. I stayed on, just pushed along with one foot on the ground and took off once passed a gal who had crashed trying to get back on her bike. Another gal crashed trying to get off her bike once at the transition area. I made it around her and ran back to my rack. I couldn't get my bike on the rack due to the closeness of bikes, so I just stuck it in between the bikes. I bought a neat black race belt skirt at the expo and was eager to try it out. It is a wrap-style that lets you attach your number right to it. I liked it, though it did twist and my number did not stay in front. It velcros and buckles like a regular race belt. I thought it might be hard with both, but I was able to fasten it well while I was running. I left the vest on and my bike gloves. I didn't want to waste time taking them off.

The run was good. I again found myself passing lots of people and decided to stick close to the center cones and just go into the other lane to go around until there were people on the other side. I noticed early on another woman who was able to keep a good pace. This is kinda rare, as it seems so many people walk or just go really slow. She must have been trying to stick with me because I slowed down a bit. I was having some interesting tightness in my left shin, like when you walk too fast uphill and your shins begin to hurt. I was trying to point my toe when I picked up my foot to stretch it out without stopping. She came up beside me and told me to pick it back up. I did, I lost her though for a while, I think she stopped for water at the last aide station. I powered it up the killer steep hill close to the finish and at the finish chute she came up behind and said "Alright, let's finish this, let's go!" and we sprinted in about 100 yards and finished together. It was neat, because I am usually the one to do this! I thanked her for pushing me and she was lost in the sea of thousands of people at the finish. My upper hamstring didn't really like that last push! It is tight now and I will be stretching it all evening.

So, I finished in 1:36:14. Not a PR, but I wasn't going for one. I finished last year in 1:29. So, not too bad for taking it easy in the rain. I was in the top 100 for my age group of 350., 99th to be exact and 689 of 3496 overall. I'll take it! Now I'll rest!

Grace and peace to you.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Danskin Weekend

I took it a bit slower this week and plan to only run 25 miles( including the 5k in the tri). I did manage to get two practice swims in this week. It would have been good to get another one in, but it is so hard to give up scheduled runs.

Last year I did the Danskin Triathlon in Seattle and thought I would never do it again. Way too big, 7,000 women many of whom it is their first triathlon. The main problem was the expo and bike racking on Saturday. I had to drive forever to get there, park in BFE and then wait in huge lines, then drive not too far away to the bike racking transition area, but it took 1 1/2 hours in traffic to get there. I then had to park 1/2 mile away and ride my bike to the transition area and squeeze it on a rack in a sea of 7,000 other bikes. It took me about 6 hours round trip. I swore, never again.

But then Sunday came. Yes, there were thousands of people there, but the cheesy camaraderie was great. The event itself is very well supported and I had a PR. So, Come February 26th, I registered( this event closes in literally 2 hours).

I was dreading the expo and when an email came to attend a women's financial seminar before the expo and the attendees would get an early bird entry into the expo to pick up their packets, I signed up. It was well worth sitting through the seminar, it was good info. My husband and I already have a financial advisor, so I just ate the free food and listened. Then when it was over we headed down to pick up our packets. I was out of there just as they were letting people into the expo. There were thousands of people waiting in line to get in. I was thankful to be out of there!
Then it was off to the park to rack my bike. It was 9:45 and the transition area wasn't supposed to open till 11am. I thought I'd just wait, but when I got there, they were letting people in. Sweet! I was out of there by 10:30am!! There was a bit of traffic on the way home, but by 11:30, I was done for the day and ready to just double check my bag for tomorrow and to set my alarm for 4:50am.

I still plan on a just for fun race, no time goals. It might be pouring down rain. That's okay, I've done events in the rain before, just is a bit slower. It will be fun no matter what. I'll let y'all know how things turn out with an update tomorrow afternoon.
Till then,
Grace and peace to you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Catching Up

Since I have been home from DC, I feel like all I have been doing is catching up. Catching up on laundry, cleaning, emails, blogs, unpacking, running, and family time. Everything is moving so fast. I can barely catch up!

There is now officially three weeks until kids arrive at school, two weeks until I have to go back for meetings, and one week until an optional meeting. It's been a good summer, but as usual, way too fast!

I just want to sit on a quiet beach with my husband, sip margaritas and reread the entire Harry Potter series.

I was happy to run 30 miles this week, but my hips are entirely way to tight. My IT band has gone from stabbing pain to just utter and complete tightness when I am not running. All I do is stretch! I will slow down a bit this week and go for 25 miles, maybe ab it less. I will be doing the Danskin Triathlon this weekend.

It will be fun as tri's always are, but let me just say that I will not have a PR. I have not yet stepped into a pool for swim training and the event is 6 days away. I do plan to swim tonight and a couple more times this week, just to practice my stroke. All in all, I just want to have fun and not go for a certain time. I always want to do more triathlons when I am done, so we will see if I do indeed register for a few others this fall to end the season. It was only two summers ago that I completed 7 triathlons in one summer. I have not tried that since the marathon bug bit.

So, I hope all is well with you out there in the blogosphere. Oh, a new thing I wanted to pass on from my C-SPAN conference for all of you folks who like to You Tube or watch other video sites. If you like to download video a new, easy and FAST way to do it is to use the new Real Player 11 Beta. Just download it free from the Real Player site and anytime there is video a download option will pop up. just click it and it will download simultaneously to your hard drive. Or you can choose portions , make a library etc.. it is very cool and FREE! Check it out!

Grace and Peace to you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Running Hot

I returned very early this morning from Washington DC where it was 100 degrees plus humidity for what felt like 110. It is wonderful to return to75 degrees and minute humidity. I like going outside without breaking out in sweat.

Myself and Brian Lamb

The C-SPAN conference was amazing. We started out with greetings and a message from Brian Lamb, founder and CEO of C-SPAN and host of the fabulous show Q&A. Let me just say what a great person Mr. Lamb is, I was truly impressed. We learned so many useful ways to incorporate C-SPAN into education of civics, government, history and many other core subjects. Using the video they provide truly helps bring the people of politics and government alive for young people who have little concept of things they deem so far away from their own world. C-SPAN in the classroom truly can help me bring the adult reality of active participation in government into the techno-savvy world of today's teenager. And that is precisely my job. To bring my reality into their reality. Young people will have no interest if I try to bring them into my reality. It just doesn't work. With the world of technology at my fingertips and the 3 TV stations, radio station, and 14 websites, C-SPAN offers an endless list of resources just a click away.

That first evening, we were invited to take part in a press conference C-SPAN was holding to announce an upcoming series on Presidential Libraries. The series of 12 shows will look at never before seen or rare artifacts, video and documents from the 12 presidential libraries that are a part of the National Archives System. IT was neat to be a part of this press conference. Before the festivities, I had my photo with Allen Weinstein, the National Archivist.

Myself and Allen Weinstein.

As you can see it was a fancy affair, cocktails included! After the Press conference we had dinner. The entire evening was hosted by Johnny's Half Shell, a famous Washington hot spot. After dinner, we were treated to the hilarious stories of C-SPAN's Political Editor, Steve Scully. He currently finished being the journalist coordinator for construction of the new press room at the White House. So all of those press conferences by Tony Snow, White house press secretary are in the room in which Steve coordinated the design and construction. He told many stories of covering different administrations and events. It was a great evening.

Here is a shot of the two of us, Steve Scully and I.

Needless to say, I was feeling like I was rubbing elbows with many influential people!

This is a photo of my wonderful and very funny table-mates for the conference. They are, left to right, Dru Bescoe, Tipp City, OH, Becky Griffith, Newland, NC, Jenny Appel (me) Puyallup, WA, Brian Sirmans, Lakeland, GA, and Mary McCullah, Plantation, FL. There were 25 of us in all, from all over the USA, only two from the West coast though, mostly from the East of the Mississippi. It was a fantastic two days of learning and collaboration I will cherish and do my best to use everyday in my classroom. An amazing opportunity. All you educators out there should check out and see for yourselves (as well as the 13 other web pages C-SPAN hosts).

As for running in DC, well, it was hot and humid! Friday, Sunday and Tuesday I ran at 6am and it was almost 80 degrees already each day. Friday was a 5 mile run around The Mall. Here are some of the sites I had along the run (the photos were not taken while running, to much sweat to carry a camera and a waterbottle, but are taken along the same route).....

The Capitol, Senate side closest.

The Washington Monument, from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial, yes, I ran up the steps!

The Korean War memorial, which was much more impressive while I was there alone with no one else there early in the morning. I would say the same thing about the other memorials, the less people, the more awesome and intense.

The Lincoln Memorial, by far my favorite, I am a Lincoln fan.

Abraham Lincoln, inside the Lincoln Memorial.

This is a photo of the Jefferson Memorial, across the Tidal basin. On Tuesday, I ran down to the Lincoln Memorial and then around the tidal basin trails and up into the Jefferson memorial.

The front of the Jefferson Memorial.

Inside the Jefferson Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial

The new WWII Memorial.

Some details of the Memorial.

The Smithsonian Red Castle(This is only part of the castle), The Archives, The Supreme Court and the Library of Congress are also buildings I ran past.

For those of you who know Michelle,I took this photo for her. These are the blisters I received the during the first day's run and endured the rest of my stay. By the way, I called Michelle from the museum of Natural history on Sunday morning just to ask her for blister advice, to drain or not to drain. I chose not to drain until I got home!
So, I think the combination of heat, humidity and sweating more than usual caused these blisters. I am not usually prone to blisters like this. But I endured! My week ending on August 5th contained 24 miles. I wanted between 20 and 25! I ran 5 miles around the Mall on Friday, 8.5 on Sunday, running around the Mall, across the Memorial bridge to the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery and back and 7.5 on Tuesday, running around the mall and the Tidal basin and back ( so a good start for this week!). I would say DC is a great place to run with so many cool things to see.
I was able to see and visit so many awe inspiring places on my visit. I started with the Russell Senate building and a trip to Senator Patty Murray's office for tickets to the Senate and House Galleries. A couple of fellow conference attendees were with me and one of them asked if they could take us on the Senate subway into the Capitol, they did! This is the train-like subway that the Senators (and House members) take from their offices into the Capitol without having to go out into public and cross the streets. That was cool. We sat in the Senate chamber, but they were on a recess, so we got to see pages sitting around and other aides coming in and out. The line for the House was very long because they were in session after the Republicans walked out the night before! We ran into Senator Spector (R-PA) as we were leaving the Chamber. And quite literally, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) ran into us! We were standing in a hall, outside the restrooms waiting for the men's to be done cleaning so my new friend Seth could use them. Apparently we were standing (a little too close) in front of a meeting room door and out came Rep. Murtha and another man. I stepped back in time, but poor Seth got the door in his back! We stood there for a few more minutes and Rep. Murtha came back. This time Seth asked for a photo. I'll post it when Seth emails it to me. We had a group shot.
The next day I went for a walk to the Eastern Market, the longest running public market east of the Mississippi, it has been running continuously since 1890ish (or so I was told by a vender). It was a neat mix of farmers, craft persons and flea market. On my way back I went to the Library of Congress and the House office building, the Rayburn Building. Sunday I went to the Museum of Natural History. Very cool museum. I wandered around for a couple of hours before catching the Metro subway out to RFK (Robert F. Kennedy) Stadium for a Washington Nationals baseball game. They were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. Nats won 6-3. Great game! Monday I took the Tourmobile. $25.00 for a open window narrated tour bus that goes around to all the monuments and Arlington national cemetery and you can get off and on as you like. This is the only bus that will take you on a tour of Arlington national Cemetery. Again, I have done this before almost 20 years ago. I stopped at the major monuments as well as took time to tour both the National Archives, that houses the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, the Magna Carta and many many more important national documents and the Air and Space Museum. Tuesday I went to the National Art gallery West and East Galleries before catching the MARC commuter train to Baltimore Washington International Airport. It was a wonderful trip. There are so many more places to visit that I would love to see. Next up is the Spy museum, Shows at the Kennedy center, Portrait galleries and so much more.

Another highlight of my trip was getting to have dinner with Amy, Tim and Kyle who are transplanted Y run club members. We had a good time on Friday night out in Pentagon City. Thanks you guys for bringing me back to my hotel afterwards! It was a great trip! That's all for now

Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Running Again

Since I have been back, and caught up on sleep ( those red eye flights are a killer. Especially when you take them two days apart, it seems you never quite adjust!) I have been able to concentrate on running again.

I have decided to take it slow, but try to get my miles built up again. My right IT is no longer sending stabbing knife-like pain into my knee, but is fairly tight. As my Orthopedic Dr. said" you could play a tune on your IT!" I have been continuing with the anti-inflammatory treatment, icing, stretching and massage. It seems to be helping.

After sleeping in on Tuesday morning till 9am, (we didn't get to bed until 3am) I ran 3 miles. I am keeping with the run/walk for a while to be safe. Wednesday turned out to be a hectic day and I was unable to get out for a run. Thursday I headed out early to the track to get in a couple of miles before others arrived. I wanted to run at least 5 miles and a typical Thursday night run only yields 3 or 4. I ended up with 6.12 miles. Friday I ran 4 miles and Saturday I ran 5.70. 19 miles total. I really wanted 20 miles, but I couldn't see myself going out and only running 1 mile today so I'll add it onto next weeks goal. I did walk a lot at the mall though. I am happy to get that many miles in.

It seems so long since I have been able to run with any consistency. Injury and life have happened and it is okay. My body needed the rest. Now, I want to feel fit and in shape again. It is amazing how fast it seems to slip away. For instance, on Saturday I ran with Rick and another woman from the club. They graciously agreed to take my self-imposed walk breaks. Although as we neared the end of our run, I was tired. My quads felt really tired. I could still keep a conversation going without huffing and puffing, so in that respect, things were feeling good. I was pooped all day though. It really has been a while since I have had a 20 mile week.

This week will prove interesting. I will run 5 miles on Monday, 6ish or so Tuesday, as I plan to run with Michelle and whomever else joins the run. Then I am headed to Washington, D.C. for 6 days. I applied for and received, an all expenses paid trip to the C-SPAN educators conference on Campaign 2008 held at their headquarters, 3 blocks from the Capitol building! I am very excited to see how I can incorporate all of the amazing things C-SPAN has to offer into my history and Law classes. It should be quite an experience. Then I am staying after for a few days to site see. It has been almost 20 years since I visited D.C. and I know now I will appreciate it so much more. Since I teach about so many of the events and happenings there, i will just soak it all in to take back to the classroom with me. I will also visit and maybe run with a relocated Y runner, Amy. I am looking forward to running around The Mall and other landmarks! Hopefully I will be able to get 20-25 miles in this week too and start on 25-30 for the next!

I have to get them in because my next marathon is the Nike Women's in San Francisco and I feel like I am starting from zero! I want to ramp up without aggravating the IT, so I need to be super careful.

Let me know if you have any favorite spots I must see, or restaurants I must go to while in D.C. I do plan to sit in the House and Senate chambers, visit the Smithsonian museums, The national Archives, Visit the monuments, the new WWII memorial, Go to a Washington Nationals baseball game Sunday afternoon and anything else that is recommended or that I can get to!

Pray for safe travels and a fantastic time!

Grace and peace to you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Celebration of Life

The last week has been a whirlwind. I returned from the R2P relay on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning was ready for a week of volunteering at our church's Vacation Bible School.
On Wednesday morning, my Grandmother passed away. She was 89 years old and had Parkinson's.

My Dad called from Portland at 7:40am. He was having a very difficult time and so my Mom had to get on the phone. He managed to tell me that Grandma (his mother) had passed away. She passed away at 6:30am Pacific time. We knew it was coming, but it is still a shock.
I was thankful to being headed to church. When my first volunteer duties were over, I found a quiet place to reflect. I had just finished leading songs and felt some of the lyrics to be exactly what I needed. "Praise to the Lord, my God and King, His love endures forever. For He is good, he is above all things, His love endures forever. Forever He is faithful, Forever He is Strong, Forever He is with us, Forever, Forever."

Forever He is with us, Forever He is strong. These words are so encouraging. As a Christian, God is forever with me, strong, no matter the circumstance. He is able to provide enough grace to cover me, no matter the situation.

My Dad called again, later in the day with all of the plans he and my uncle had made so far. My parents live outside of Portland, OR. My Uncle lives outside of Houston, TX. and my grandparents live in McKenzie, Tennessee, 2 hours from either Memphis or Nashville.
I went upstairs and spent nearly 3.5 hours trying to find cheap flights, car rental, hotel and childcare for the kids. I was able to find very reasonable priced tickets without using a bereavement fare.

So, my husband and I were to fly out at 10:00pm Friday from Seattle and arrive in Memphis, with one stop in Detroit, by 7:30am Saturday. When we arrived at the airport, the leg from Detroit to Memphis had been cancelled. The new route was unacceptable as it put us into Memphis at 12:45pm. Not good with a 2 hour drive from there and the first family visitation beginning at 3pm. So I had the airline worker search for alternatives. After several tries, we agreed to a later flight and arriving in Memphis at 8:45am. At least they were nice enough to provide us with first class seats from Minneapolis to Memphis.
Once in Memphis, we met my brother who had left Seattle earlier on Friday and had spent the night in Memphis, at the car rental place and we were off to find a bookstore. My husband and I were not going to miss out on purchasing our Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the day it came out. My brother also wanted a copy. I had found a close by bookstore online before we left and printed out the directions.

After purchasing a copy of both the hardback and audio books, we were off to McKenzie. My brother followed along in his car and we made the trek while listening to Harry Potter.
Upon arrival at the retirement home in which my grandparents live, we met up with my cousins that Paul and I had just visited on our trip to Houston two weeks ago. It was good to see them again, we just had wished it was different circumstances. After a while, Paul and I went to our hotel to shower and change for the first Visitation. Oh, but not after my Dad came in with some of the BEST Tennessee pulled pork BBQ you have ever eaten. My family has always known how to eat and this was always a tradition when family gets together in McKenzie.
When we arrived at the funeral home for the visitation, I did not know if my grandfather, who is 94, had decided to have an open casket. They did for family only. I did not want to remember my grandmother that way and chose to enter a while after family members had entered. When I did enter, the casket was still open, but the angle was such that Grandma just looked peaceful. I sat with my parents and brothers and we talked about how peaceful she looked and how she was no longer trapped inside a body that did not allow her to be who she truly longed to be. Then the funeral director played a slide show of photos my Dad and Uncle had put together of Grandma and Grandpa.

My emotions really came to the surface here. As I saw many photographs I had never before seen. Photos of my grandma as a little girl, at school and getting married at her home. My grandparents celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on June 16th this year. Wow.
Later, after the casket was closed and many other extended family members and friends came to visit with my grandpa and the rest of the family I took time to look at the many scrapbooks and items my Dad and Uncle had gathered for people to remember Grandma by. My brothers and cousins were able to remember so many wonderful summers spent in McKenzie at our grandparents' home. In the kitchen helping grandma snap beans, bake a cake, or eat until we were stuffed. Outside with grandpa digging up potatoes or peanuts( goobers as grandpa always called them) Sticking black eyed peas through Grandpa's homemade sheller, riding the lawnmower, swinging on the big swing or porch swings that hung from the huge grand old oak tree in the front yard or just catching lightning bugs in the evening. It was always a marvelous and wondrous time at grandma and grandpa's house. There was always an adventure.
I also took the opportunity to sit with grandpa near the casket as he greeted people who had come to the visitation.

Between visitors, I was able to talk with grandpa and let him know the many things that I had learned from he and grandma over the years. I let him know that it was from them that I learned to appreciate family and to let them know how much they mean to you. That i need to express my gratitude to my family. I learned from my grandparents what a Christian marriage looks like and how to be selfless in that marriage. I let my grandpa know that he and grandma were a shining example that my parents were able to follow and that I hope to be able to follow in my marriage also. I told him that He and grandma were my mentors when it came to being unselfish and compassionate, in helping others and perservering. I let him know that the lessons he and grandma conveyed in every letter or email they ever sent(which I have always kept every piece of correspondence) was to go to church and be an active member and participant in Christian life and the life of the church which they too were amazing examples, to work hard in everything you do, to always give 100%. I let him know that his life was a testament to this... having lived through the depression and hard other hard economic times you had to earn everything. My grandparents definitely ingrained this value into their children and grandchildren. I told him he taught me to save money and to spend wisely. He and grandma always expressed how important education was( they too, were both teachers) and how valuable of a tool it truly is. They always expressed to us in letters and i person, how important Christian spouses are and how happy they have been that all their married grandchildren have been so good to find such "fine spouses."

As i sat there with my Grandpa, I t was hard to tell him everything I wanted to. Hard to express all of the things that he and Grandma had given to me and the rest of my family and the gratitude I have for them. I didn't know if I was going to be able to speak at the funeral as my Dad had wished. If I didn't, I knew I had already said the things I could to my Grandpa.
The next day, Sunday, would be a whole new challenge. All the grandkids were to be pall bearers. I have never done that before and didn't know if I could manage it emotionally. I did, but it was hard. I was able to speak and say some of the things I mentioned here. I spoke first and it took me a while. I was very choked up and emotional. I cried and was probably hard to understand. But I said the most important things I had learned from my Grandma. My brother and cousins also spoke of the things they learned or most cherished about our grandma.

I think my Uncle summed it up best at the end of the service when he said that his mom, my grandma, was not in that box anymore. That was just a used up body, a bunch of bones that she wanted out of anyway. Ernestine, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, and friend was with her savior Jesus Christ, free of her illness and laughing and that she had chosen that she would spend eternity in heaven as a small child. She lived her life waiting on God, following Christ's example, going where He led, sharing His love and compassion, teaching others and mentoring others to do the same. My Uncle concluded with,"and there is nothing more she would want than to see you there with her someday."

It was a beautiful celebration of my Grandmother's life and the legacy she provided for her family and community, for anyone she met. I hope something of her here has touched you too.

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rainier To Pacific Relay

What's become an annual tradition for myself and the Y run club is as unpredictable as the weather! For our third relay, I was for the third time in the 2nd van. I was apprehensive about this as I really had wanted to be in the first van due to the timing. It was more of a regular schedule. But this year, with the addition of a twelfth leg and a 9am start time, these timing issues worked themselves out for both vans.

Some of our beautiful van decoration!

Just home from a trip to Texas to visit family and rest to hopefully heal up my knee issues, I was also apprehensive about running. A pre-relay run on Thursday improved my hopes for a pain free relay. I was able to run 4.65 miles with a run/walk painfree. I felt ready to go

Eric, Michelle, Rob and Steve picked me up and we were ready to head up to meet Van #1 at the first van exchange. We were lucky enough to meet up with Annette and Kristina, both from the blogosphere. We had a nice relaxing wait in the warm sunshine and cool shade before our exchange. We spent the time decorating the van and preparing our gear for our legs.

At about 1:30-2:00pm we were off. George K, in the first van had created a time chart with every one's paces and ETA's. Rob was assigned a 6:30 pace and he was determined to meet it! I believe he did too! I was assigned a pace closer to my normal pace of about 8:30, but I knew I didn't want to run that fast with my knee. I had already decided I was going to try and keep a 10:00 minute pace while running and the just power walk on my walk breaks.

The bloggers!

Rob handed off to me and I took off. My Garmin hadn't really set because i turned it on in The Yeti (our Expedition). So i turned it off and had to let it find the satellite while I was running. I had to guess at how long I had been running in order to take my walk break. After the first break, I had the satellite and could track my distance and pace. The plan was to run a half mile and walk 2 minutes. I realized I was running way under the 10:00 minutes I wanted and tried to slow down. It was difficult. My run felt really good. I was so happy to be running. The hardest parts were the hills. I haven't run much since the Tacoma City Marathon because of my knee and sprained ankle. I didn't want to overdo it. The temperature was also a challenge. Somewhere in the mid 80's. It felt HOT!

Steve cools down before his first leg into Yelm where he beats the van to the exchange.

Michelle cools off on her leg, with George C from van 1 cheering in the background.

Emily from Van 1, Me, and Rick all matchy matchy. Perils of all of us participating in the same events!

After Michelle's run, we headed to dinner in a rural area at a place called "The Red Barn." Here the waitress thought Michelle was crazy for asking if the had veggie burgers, and where most of Van #2 ordered normal hamburgers and Rob, our larger than life, out of this world, fearless trailblazer, ordered the "Mound" bacon cheeseburger Deluxe!



Watching Rob eat this burger was quite an experience!

I'll let you ask him about it!

After our beautiful meal, we decided to digest in Elma, where there is a high school that lets you sleep in their wrestling room, or in your vehicle etc... Problem was, it was like 6:30pm! We tried to rest, lay down and just talk, but it was too difficult to sleep. Here was the only major issue we had with the relay. The supposed layover. We debated among ourselves about taking it, and decided we must. We are people with integrity. So we did. First though, we had to take Rob to his first leg, then come back to the school for the 1 hour layover, then it would be my leg. Rob's dinner was trying to get the best of him, so we had to encourage him a little to be his old self. Along his leg, Michelle and I were his cheerleaders with bright green glowsticks as our pompoms. Rob came in even faster than his first leg, the Mound didn't get him after all!

After the layover, Rob ran my leg with me. He wanted more miles and the company was great. After all, I did have to run past a cemetery at 12:30am! I bumped up my run/walk ratio to .60 mile,two minute walk. It was hard to keep track while talking and paying attention to the dark road. I did kick what felt like a railroad tie along the road and just catch myself from falling flat on my face. I was glad Rob was there. If I was hurt, my van had already passed me. The next runner would have found me! This leg felt great. Rob and I ran slow. I kept my 10:00minute pace. We just talked and kept it easy. Lots of people passed us though. People who's teams did not take their layover.

The night legs went well and were fun. The night air wakes you up and refreshes you. Again, we had a snafoo with the Steve/Michelle hand off. Somehow, we missed Steve run past us. We thought it was because we were all looking for his waterbottle, but he said that he said hey to Eric as he ran past him. So, we went to look if he missed the tune and was running on the freeway. We didn't think this could happen, so we went to the exchange and there he was waiting for us! We don't know how we missed him the little speed demon! By the time Rick had run his leg, it was near 3:30am and I was getting very sleepy. We headed to the next van exchange and tried to sleep for a couple of hours. I had planned to sleep outside, but decided to stay in the van. I left my earplugs above the van in the box and had to manage without them. That is difficult as I listened to Rick snore in the back, and Michelle's stomach right behind me! Her stomach was growing at me I swear! I think I managed about an hour and a half. Every time a van would pull in, I'd wake up and make sure they didn't run over Rob, Eric and Steve who were outside. This didn't help my sleeping. When it was 6am and time to roll, I had to drink a Starbucks doubleshot and a mocha frappacino just to wake up!
It worked! The coffee was just what I needed to get going. We decided that Steve and I would trade legs for our third run. Mine was labeled hard and his was easy. I had run his leg before and I knew it was easier than what I was supposed to run. Even though the "hard" label should have been a "moderate." So that's what we did.

Rob started out with a 2 mile uphill and then down and handed of to Eric again. At that time, Rob was done and broke out his favorite running food, Raspberry filled powdered donuts.

Contemplating and worshipping the jelly donut, and then stuffing face with the jelly donut!

Somewhere during this time, Steve and Rick were providing aide to Eric and Rob decided he would also provide aide to Eric, in the form of a raspberry filled jelly donut..... here is the hand off

and here, a mile or so down the road is the frightening aftermath! Try to click on and enlarge this photo for the full effect! I am sure Eric scared away some of the competition with this one and gained us a few extra minutes!

I ran after Eric and had a great final leg. I felt good and decided to change my run/walk plan yet again. I did 1 mile run and 1 minute walks and would go back to the original if I needed to. I felt good and decided to run at a faster pace too. It felt like old times. I tagged Michelle this time and I did not beat her to the exchange! She had a record breaking run and you should visit her blog to read all about it! Rick brought us in with his first time run on the beach. Rob gave him a pep talk and told him if he ran in 45 minutes we could beat 24 hours! Rick did not let us down!

Rick ran well and we came in under 24 hours! We were very happy! Another mix up with our first van and they missed us at the finish. We'll have to get together for a group shot of all of us and then I'll post a complete group. For now, here we are under the finish line in Ocean Shores, Wa.
We had a fantastic time along the course and after the finish. We spent the night at Rob's family beach house and watched some old school running movies for inspiration. We ate and ate and ate. In the morning we went for a run on the beach. I'll leave you with this dancing starfish, a tribute to Rob. Maybe someday he'll tell you about it, maybe someday he'll share his dance. Then again, maybe it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. :)
Thanks Van #2 for a spectacular time. Van #1, you are not too shabby yourselves!

Grace and peace to you.