Monday, May 26, 2014

She's 12 now, and we are training for her second half

Sauvie Island…ahhhh, my favorite race!

When I first started running I was doing it because it made me feel powerful.  The longer the distance I could run, the more accomplished I felt!  Some lady in the gym on the treadmill next to me, back in 2011, unwittingly challenged me to do the Shamrock run in Portland.  So I did, and I developed a passionate dislike for that race.  Reason number one being the temperature.  My toes were like frozen sausages before the race even began.  At big event races such as the Shamrock, people tend to stand outside and pass out fliers for other races.  The flier that ended up in my hand was my ticket to a half marathon.  A few days later, I curiously looked up the website to the Sauvie Island Flat Half Marathon, there was a video (keep in mind it is March while I am watching this), in this video it was the brightest shiniest sunny day, the people were all smiles, the plates were overflowing with strawberry shortcake served by the islanders, and everyone was HAPPY!   So that is the birth of my first half marathon, every since I ran it in 2012, it has been my favorite, and if the training for the Vancouver Lake Half hadn't have been so freezing, that one would be a close second!

All that to say this, after Emily has watched me cross 4 finish lines (one with her), she decided she wants to run Sauvie Island.  I had a lot of reservations about letting her join in on my favorite race, but now that we have been training for 3 weeks, those reservations are slowly dissolving.  What's the difference you say?  Well, this time we are training in the morning, and she is unstoppable!  I don't know if it is because she is a few months older, or that she is more determined not to stop, if it is because she has already run a half before, or if it is a combination of all three.  So far she has run 6 miles without stopping to walk!  This makes me happy for so many reasons, but mainly because it is hard for this mamma to stop and start up again.  Run/walking is not my thing, and I think Emily is discovering how much easier it is for her to do it that way too.

We have changed up our route.  Yesterday we decided to go find the trail in the nearby state park.  The trail was not marked very well, and it breaks up here and there.  Finding the connections from the break up parts to the next part were a bit of a challenge, but once we got it figured out I asked Emily, "On a scale of 1-10, where would you place this run?"  She stated 9.5, I asked her the same about our city run, and she said 7.5.  I was very happy with her answer because this is a nice compromise for both of us.  My favorite run is the one by our house, but it is not the safest.

I am excited to see how this race comes together, I hope she enjoys it as much as I do.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Vancouver Lake Half Marathon Race Recap

Emily wanted me to wake her up at 6:30 this morning.  She wanted to have a shower and enough time to eat and get ready for the race, and our hotel room stay afterward.  I couldn't sleep much past 5 O'clock.  I had a couple of strange dreams, but other than that I slept well.  I asked Emily how she slept and she said "good".

By 8:00 am everyone in the house was awake, Emily and I were packed and ready to go.  I was worried about getting a decent parking spot at the lake, but we arrived there at 8:40 and got a really close spot.  The last thing we wanted to do after running 13.1 miles, was walk a mile to the van.  We got out of the car and looked for a restroom.  The bathrooms were closed, so we hiked over to the port-o-pottys.  Emily tried to use it, but said "I guess I don't have to go".  I was a little worried in my mind, but she made an honest effort, so I figured when it came to urgency then she would be able to use it.

We asked a couple of nice ladies to take some photos of us before the race.  I have learned in my first three half's that I should put my race bib somewhere other than my shirt.  This time I put it on my leg.  I was worried about Emily's leg being too small, but I was able to secure it to her leg too.  That is where it will go for every race from now on!  It did not get in the way at all!

It was about 30 degrees, so once the excitement of getting there wore off, and we were done trekking from the bathrooms back to the shelter we decided to go in the warm van wait for the last 10 minutes.

We headed up the hill to the start line at 9:50.  I could not get over how kind, welcoming, and personable the other racers were.  If someone was talking or saying something funny, it was okay to look over and laugh, or even chime in a little bit.  No one gave a look at me like I dropped to the earth straight from Mars.  Maybe that is another reason I love running so much.  It is the friendliest sport out there in my opinion. (I could be kind of partial).

As we stood in line, we called my husband and said our final words before the race.  Emily was very excited and, I think, for the first time, a little nervous.  All of the race participants counted down together.  There was no pushing or shoving, no one was freaking out to get going.  With only 475 racers, the crowd thinned out pretty quickly.

Miles 1 to 3 were pretty simple.  Emily was huffing along and then shortly after two miles she was asking if we had gotten to one mile yet.  I told her yes, and then finally let out that we had gotten just past two.  So we walked.  What I love is that when Emily takes a walk break, it is literally no more than 30 seconds.  There were port-a-potty's and a coat check at mile 3.  We shed our hats, gloves, and jackets.  We also decided to take a potty break.  We were emptied and ready for the next 10.1 miles.

Miles 3,4,and 5 were pretty similar, walking for a short bit at every mile.  Along the way people were saying good job, and giving Emily smiles and shouts of praise.  She got so much attention.   At mile 4 we had some candy, and walked for a little longer than 30 seconds.

Miles 5, 6, and 7 were superstar miles.  We stayed under 11 minute miles, and did not stop for breaks.  In fact right before 8, Emily mentioned to me how she hadn't stopped since mile 5.  At mile 8 she was ready to walk for a bit.  A few times along the course she said that she was having fun…so was I.

Miles 8 and 9
We were on our way out to the last turn around and these went pretty smooth as well.  Around mile 9 Emily was expressing how she was tired.  I told her that I was tired too, and that she should be tired.

Mile 10
This was a big mile for us because she told me at the beginning that she was going to run 10, and then 3.1 more.  Also I pointed out to her just after she passed the marker, that this was farther than she had ever run before!  We were getting excited, but very sore and tired.

Mile 11
Oh man, I thought mile 12 was NEVER going to come.  I began to run too fast I think.  Emily said "can we walk at 12?"  I told her "Of course."  Shortly after she asked me that, she wanted to stop.  That was fine for me!  She must have got scared that she wasn't going to be able to finish because she was so very sore and tired.  She said it was harder than she'd imagined.  So we pulled over to the side and stood for a minute.  All the patience I had struggled with during training made this easy.  I was not in a hurry, I was not even whining in my head about how I didn't want to be stopped.  In fact, what was going through my head was that my baby just ran 12 miles!  I told her if we have to walk the last mile point1, then that's what we would do!

Miles 12, and 13.1
"I am ready to walk", so we walked then began to run slowly.  We got a little farther and Emily could see that we were very close.  She looked at me and said "Let's do this mom!"  I said, "What?, run faster?", she said "Yep, but not super fast."  We ran and just before the finish line, there was her daddy calling out to her.  It was such a sweet moment.  We ran it in holding hands, and at the very last minute raising our hands up in the air.

This is the grand prize!  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Week 11

Wow, is this really the final week of training?  It is, and while I should be jumping up and down on my weary muscles and sore knees, I am realizing something.

I knew it was a big deal when I decided to train my 11 year old for a half marathon.  People at her school are congratulating her, and asking her about running. Her Science teacher even made her a card! Her family members are telling her how proud and how impressed they are.  Her sister is incredibly supportive of Emily's venture.  She willingly attends aftercare while we do our mid day runs, and doesn't get upset that Emily got a new pair of running shoes when she did not.  But if you set all that aside…

I am a mother doing something with my daughter that ranks pretty high up there on the effort scale.  This is something that if I had to constantly beg and cajole her to get going for every run, we would not have made it past week two.  I have had the privilege of seeing exactly how determined and strong this young lady is.  We have had our struggles on the course, but she has been willing for every run.  Yesterday as we were running I looked over at her.  Her head was tilted forward with determination, her form was near perfect.  I just looked at her and stared.  I could not stop.  Watching my little 4'7" baby run with such fortitude.  She did not seem annoyed that I was staring at her, but I explained that I was so proud, and it was really neat to see her running like this.  I explained that since I am training her, it is my right to stare, and be a part of this moment.

So as it comes to a close and the big goal is one week away, I am a little sad.  There is only one first time that a person trains for a half marathon.

Saturday: A reschedule in our future
 I got the bright idea to move our run back a day to Saturday.  I was thinking this would be perfect so I could get it out of the way and Sunday would be free for football, and whatever else we wanted to do. Unfortunately church was out because Haley had a fever for two days prior.   My mom came over to sit while Emily and I headed out for our run.  From the start everything was a mess.  My shoe was untied, so I stopped to tie it, then it was too tight so I said, "Let's stop here at this fire hydrant." to which Emily replied, "Why, do you have to pee?"  At first I didn't get that she made a joke, but once I did I had to laugh for a few minutes.  I told her that was so funny it had to make the blog.

Within the first mile Emily got a side ache.  Dun, Da, Dun, Dun, Duuuuuuuuun.  That was the end of the Saturday run.  She gave it an honest try to walk it out.  I gave it an honest try to hide my frustration.  I asked her if it felt better and she said no, then under my breath I said "Of course not", then she heard me and said "Of course not?, what's that supposed to mean?"  I felt like a big piece of dung at that moment.  I had to explain that I was not upset with her, but just that I had the feeling that Saturday's run would be a bust and that I had no business trying to move a big run like that up a whole day.  I also did my best to let her know that it was OKAY that we did not do this run.  We had gotten quite a ways with our walk, so we ended up with a 2.6 mile walk.  We talked about the fact that she may be getting sick like her sister, and tried to configure our back up plan.

I cannot tell you how much prayer has gone into the success of race day.  I believe God has let us come this far so that she can, and will finish.  I know I don't say much about Kurt (my husband) in this blog, but he is very much invested in this for her as well.  He is always reminding me not to get frustrated, and to remain patient.  He want's this to be a positive experience.  He said he would love to see her reach this goal, for HER.

Sunday: It went of with a couple hitches.
So we are back to the old shoes on long runs.  I do not honestly think the new shoes are causing side aches, however it does seem to take away some ailments.  Kurt and I decided she needs to break them in, so she has been wearing them during the day at school.  Our run started off really well.  We decided to do first, the part that we usually do at the end.  Then we got to about 3 miles and Emily was fighting dry eyes and a runny nose.  She kept complaining of her eyes being dry.  I seem to recall her doing this in the past as well.  It was difficult for me because I do not understand what it feels like to have that happen.  I have had itchy eyes before.  She spit some water onto her hands then rubbed her eyes.  That was the best we could do with no saline solution in my pocket.  When we reached 5 miles, she had to use the restroom, and I did too.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the port-a-potty being the only option during the race.  I guess there's always the bushes.  Thankfully the gym was on our loop path.  Once we got to the gym we had completed 6 miles.  After a very quick potty break we were back at it again.  Mile 7 Emily needed to stop and sit for a minute. Then she needed to walk for a while.  As we were walking, this woman ran by us in the opposite direction and I tried my best to smile  (it was a jealous smile) she made running look so easy.  Then I looked back down at my feet while we walked.  Emily looked at me, and I honestly think she picked up on my desire to begin running again.  She said "I am ready to run now."  We both smiled and started back up again.  It was pretty smooth sailing from there, with our usual walking breaks, and then some.  On our way I seen this very blue house, and said "Wow Emily, Look at that house!"  She looked over at it and said "Pretty!" I had to take a picture.

So sweet

We finished up our run and were ready for the grand prize we promised ourselves!A trip to the all you can eat pizza buffet.  She's 11, what does she care?

This is what I felt like when we were done

Tuesday:  Eventually the sickness will get you.
With the way the days had been going with Emily having a runny nose and sneezing since after the run, and Haley having been sick with a fever, I figured I better check with Emily to see if she felt up to a run.  I pulled her out of class so I could talk to her.  I asked her how she was and she said she had a huge head ache.  I took her to the nurse for a temp check, then took her home.  Her temp remained normal, but her head hurt for about 2 to 3 hours.  After some rest and Motrin she came downstairs feeling much better.  Neither of us ran.  I usually go out to the treadmill when Emily is not able to run, but I just wasn't feeling up to it.

Wednesday: 2 miles should be simple, right?
I knew we were not going to be doing this outside, and that it would be separate turns on the treadmill, but I was not able, or did not make much effort, to get out there before I picked Emily up from school.  Right when we got home I went out and did my run.  When I was done, I felt like someone beat me up, like I wanted to go lie down.  I think it was the threat of a looming cold.  I took Haley to art and when I got home Emily said she did not want to go to youth group because she had to finish her reading, and run.  I was too tired mentally to try to convince her otherwise.

Thursday: Dental appointment
So, this day is supposed to be the last training run, just one simple mile.  We even discussed the fact that we were going to run up and down our driveway once.  It was going to be fun because the last time I took her up and down the driveway was in the summer and we had to make several stops.  But then it happened.  I was eating frozen yogurt with some nuts and my tooth broke!  I had to schedule an emergency dental appointment.  I was there from 4:30 to 6:30, though thankful that I was able to get in the same day, and get the work done, I was not in the mood to do anything with half my face and part of my ear being numb.  I told Emily she did not have to run if she didn't want to.  We both skipped it.

Tomorrow, Sunday is the big race!  I have asked Emily if she is nervous, and every time she tells me no.  I try not to ask that too much, as I don't want her to think she should be.  I told her we will treat it like any other long run, just do it, have fun, and get it done so we can get our medals!  Today we go pick up our race packets.  It is cold this morning, and tomorrow is supposed to be similar.  According to the weather it is only going to be 35 degrees by the time the race starts.  Oh my.  We are talking frozen faces for sure.

I will do my best to recap and post the event by tomorrow evening!  Happy Saturday and Sunday all!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

week 10

Sunday: A blessing for sure
After diligently watching the weather report for the past week, I had it narrowed down to rain all morning, letting up at around 2pm.  All morning it rained, and it let up at 2pm!  I only have one regret, that we did not go to church, there really was no excuse.  I should have been more trusting.  Emily and I headed down to the flat route around town that we took last week, except this week I found a 4 mile round trip to do twice then head out on the straight away next to the highway for only a half mile.
I was getting some major butterflies on the way down to our run, I am not certain why, I guess just because I know how taxing it is on my body.  I also worry about Emily and how she will hold up.
We stopped in the gym and dropped off our stuff in a locker and got warmed up on the treadmill.  Emily wanted to ride on the bike, so once I adjusted the seat, she did that for a while.  We headed out and started for our first four mile round.  It was surprisingly fast and easier than I anticipated. We talked about a lot of stuff.  We like to dream about fun things to do, places to go.  Emily will tell me about funny things that happened at school, and I will tell her about what I am looking forward to. We did a lot less walking on this run, but it seemed like we got stopped at most of the lights.  We had candy around 4 miles, then again at 7.  We began getting tired around 6.5 and our feet were hurting, but we pushed through.  When we got done we went inside the gym and did our stretching.  We agreed that we should stretch like that every time, instead of being in a hurry and promising to do it when we get home.
It may be silly, but we thought it would be fun to get an action shot of us running ;)
I picked Emily up from school at 3 O'clock dull and we drove straight to the gym.  She changed into her running clothes and we did our warm up.  She chose the bike again this time.  We got all warmed up then headed out.  I successfully found a route that cut out the least favorite part of the run, but still gave us the 4 miles we needed.  It has been so long since we have run that route after school that I forgot how crazy it gets in the afternoon.  We had to run in front of several  school driveways, and make eye contact with a lot of drivers.  Once we got past that section it was a lot smoother.  We were running down one particular part of a road where we were technically in a parking lot (I guess that is what you would call it) and someone began to back up.  Emily was running in front of me because we had just come in from a narrow part of the road.  I seen a lady backing up and I said "EMILY WATCH OUT, EMILY!" She stopped and I grabbed her and moved her over to the side where we waited for the person to finish backing up.  We must have been in her blind spot the whole time because when she finally seen us, we startled her.  She was mortified.  I tried to reassure her that it was okay, because I understood.  Sometimes as a runner you have to realize that you come up on people pretty fast.  I am constantly watching for hazards as we run.  I think my senses are heightened now that I have my daughter with me.  We came across a couple of other runners and each time they gave a smile.  There was also a time where a man was walking the opposite direction and I made a point to say hi.  It was a great opportunity to explain to Emily that saying hello to the stranger can possibly save your life if there is threat of an attack, because they will be thrown off, and also you will not appear as a weak woman who is afraid to say anything, or put up a fight.  I know she won't be walking anywhere alone anytime soon, but I need to jump on any chance for a lesson.  It was an exhilarating 4 miles.

Wednesday: Average
This was a three mile quick average run.  No big events happened.

Thursday: Pulled Muscle
I picked up Emily from school and she said her leg hurt and asked if we could walk for a while.  I was thinking she meant walk then pick up for a run, she meant just head out and walk.  When I took her to the dressing room she was confused because she thought we were just going to walk, I was confused because I thought we were going to walk into a run.  The more she explained her pain to me, the more it became evident that she should rest her leg.  Now, weather or not it was actually a pulled muscle, I may never know (they don't teach us in school to diagnose medical problems), but I did know running, or even walking was out.  So we came home, I did the treadmill.  I would have rested with my darling, however, I had been eating enough to warrant a good run, and my day was racking up there as one of the worst.  A run made me feel better, and by Friday she was not limping.  I was happy for that!

We are going to run our 10 mile on Saturday (currently today as I write this)  instead of Sunday because of church and the football game.  I am not a big football watcher, but I do love a good championship game!  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week 9

I cannot believe how excited I am for this race.  A while back I made a Facebook post about how I looked at previous pictures of the race participants and they all looked very unhappy.  I decided to stress about that for a little while.  I also decided to stress about what the weather was going to be like.  Some one said to me "Are you sure Emily is going to be able to go the distance on race day?, and if not, do you have a plan?"  I decided to stress about that too.  Then one day (this Sunday) I decided to stop worrying about it, and into God's hands it goes, along with a heaping of prayer.

Sunday:  A truly sunshiny run.
Emily and I conjured up a running plan very similar to the run we did last Sunday.  We strapped on our back packs and began our warm up.  There was a little bit of procrastination happening on both our parts.  We were sort of dragging.  The first three miles were, and usually are, the toughest.   In keeping with our plan to walk every mile things were going smooth.  I looked down at my phone to check distance at about 4 miles and my battery was at 48% or something like that.  I knew I had better conserve.  At one point I thought it would be a great to take a video of us in action, running, for the blog.  Emily and I agreed it may be a better idea to save the battery.  Emily had a few moments where she needed to stop and stretch.  I have really improved on my patience, learning to stop and not get all freaked out about starting up again.  The day was so beautiful and we even saw someone we knew!  We got a honk from across the intersection, and I was later told by our piano teacher that he and his wife spotted us, we are almost famous :).

Tuesday: Cloudy with a chance of treadmill
Today is Tuesday and as I write this blog I am sitting in the dealership waiting for service on my vehicle.  I am thinking of our upcoming run.  The weather is temperate, and it is, currently, not raining. I asked Emily this morning if she wanted to run the school track, or if she would rather head out to our sunday run and do half of that.  She chose half the Sunday run (that is what I was hoping).  I will let you know how it went after we run it.
It did not rain most of the day.  The rain started around 2 pm.  Once I picked Emily up from school I asked her weather she would like to run at the gym, run outside, or take turns at home.  "The gym is too hot, I don't want to run in the rain."  I honestly do not think she liked the alternative, but we both took turns and ran at home.

Wednesday:  Rain
More sharing the treadmill.  It really is unfortunate that the gym is too warm.  I never remember it being a problem for me, but then I wasn't normally running outside, or in a room that is less than 60 degrees.

Thursday:  Can you guess?

So now what's on my mind?  Our nine mile run coming up tomorrow.  We had just mastered going to church first, then going for our run in the afternoon.  Now the rain is supposed to come later in the day. This is quite frustrating at best.  I know Emily will not want to run nine miles alone on the treadmill, and I am certain I do not.  So why do we not just run in the pouring rain?  Well, a few miles is one thing, but running shoes are made so they can breath well which makes for an easily soaked shoe in the right conditions.  That is nine miles of soggy wet, probably not good for our feet, uncomfortableness.  I am barely willing to push through it for the race, if necessary.

Arizona is calling my name...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 8

Sunday: A great run!
We started our day at church, it has been too long since we were there!  Afterward we headed to our favorite brunch spot, Sweet Tomatoes, ate lunch then headed over to Fit Right NW Running store to pick up some Shot Blocks for our up coming run.  While we were in there, Kurt and Emily made their way over to the shoe section.  I walked over and asked if they could test Emily's gait.  They did, and they had shoes that fit her!  Emily's daddy bought her a new pair of Brooks running shoes!  When Emily first started running, I looked for shoes for her, but they had told me they did not have children's sizes.  Lucky for us, she is a woman's 6.  Now I can rest a little easier about her growing feet.

Getting ready to head out for 7 miles with her new kicks!

A couple of days ago Emily woke up with a runny nose.  She has slept in the last couple of mornings and her nose has gone from running, to a few sporadic sniffles.  I was talking to my husband about her running eight miles, and he was concerned about her running while she was sick.  I told him I would keep a close eye on her progress and ask her how she felt about running when the day came.  

Sunday morning when Emily woke up I asked her how she felt and payed close attention to her all day.  She seemed to be well and in high spirits.  When it came time to run she said she could do six, but not eight.  I mapped us out a course and she told me that she would see how she felt after six and would do eight if she felt up to it.

The first part of our run was to be a 3 mile loop in town, then exit the loop and follow a straight road for 1.5 miles then turn around.  The first loop went so fast that we decided to repeat it for six miles.  By four miles Emily said she would try for seven, but was not wanting to do eight.  I was highly encouraging her to do at least seven because she had not done anything more than 6 all at once and I wanted her to feel the victory of defeating the challenge (she also needs to be prepped for 13.1).  Furthermore, I told her that I was confident that she could complete the task.  I also explained that once the miles get longer, the body becomes tired, and the mind will fight to quit.  This is the part that makes it something incredible, the part that makes what she is doing a unique experience.  It may not be easy, but it is exceptional.  

Earlier in the week I showed Emily this quote and asked her if it is how she feels, she said "yes".

We finished all seven miles and it was just getting dark.  As we walked into the parking lot where my van was and I seen all the restaurants in the square, I said "It would be fun to do a long run, then have dinner together.", She agreed then said, "Where would you want to eat?", I told her a restaurant, then jokingly said "Subway".  Emily looked at me and said, "I want a cookie from Subway, I just ran 7 miles, I think I deserve a Subway cookie".  I said "I think you are right", so I bought the little mamma a cookie :).  

<3 :)

Tuesday: Separate 4 for the books
Unfortunately, when there is no school I am inclined to take it to the tread mill and Emily and I must run it separately.  I wasn't even in the room with her during this one.  She ran while her dad and sister were out there with her.  I was busy preparing the breakfast for NYE, it is something I could have done earlier, but got so busy with other stuff I lost track of time.  I think sometimes that Emily looks at me like, "I wanted to do this with you mom, not just to run, but to be with you." and that is what I plan to do from here on out!  

Wednesday: New Years Day
We had stayed the night at my sisters house and spent the entire day there.  We did not get home until after 7pm.  A day of laziness and eating crappy food did not make for a running environment, plus I was going crazy searching for my bible reading schedule I still cannot find!  Wednesday we are going to run together outside.

Thursday: No run to report
This day Emily's hip was hurting.  I had a hunch it may be the new shoes.  She tried to make it happen, but the pain just would not go away.  The next day I had her wear the shoes around the house, and her foot began to hurt again.  We took the shoes back to the store and had a different person perform a gait analysis on her.  I am so glad we did because he saw something the other lady did not.  It was appearing as though Emily was over pronating, but when he looked closer at her landing he could see that the pronation was very slight, so the shoes she needed did not need such a large over-pronation correction area.  He did not have any of the shoes in the store that he wanted to recommend, so we have some on special order.  I am very happy with Fit Right NW and their attention to detail.