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.