Saturday, June 27, 2009


Wowie. I've had a week to recover now and I'd like to reflect on what I've learned. If you are easily bored with more "I, Me, myself" talk, please stop reading now.

I've learned that I can finish things I've started, no matter how hard they are. I actually learned that after Tommy was born, but that was another story (even though a marathon story and a birth story ARE very similar in many ways! ;) Right, MPN?). I've learned that many people do not even KNOW anyone who's ever run a marathon and so when they find out YOU have, they immediately think you are some sort of expert and start quizzing you. It almost always goes something like this:

Newbie: Hey, I heard you run. I heard you even ran a MARATHON!

Me: Yeeeeaaaah, but not very WELL. And I don't even run very fast, it's more of a "jog", really.

Newb: Oh yeah, my doctor told me that it would be bad for my knees/bad for my joints/my kidneys would be stressed/my hips are out of alignment/at my age, it's bad to START running.

Me: Well, I am overweight, mother of 6 and I started very very slow. I ran a 5k and thought I'd accomplished my life's goal but then decided to run a half marathon, just to say I did it. Then my dopey sisters convinced me to try a marathon and I DID the training. It was very hard, but anything is possible once you put it on a schedule and make time for it, right?

Newb: Hmmm, I was thinking of running, maybe I could give it a shot. What kind of shoes do you buy?

Heh heh. That's how it starts, then they are HOOKED! I've loved how running is making me feel more fit, in control of my health, and makes my resting heart rate nice and SLOOOOWWWWWW. I've NOT loved: running in the cold/wind/rain/extreme heat, pain from overdoing it, the sad look on the kid's face when I tell them it will be a "longie", always worrying that I'm going to trip and fall on my face, how my legs feel in the first, three or four miles. But OH how great I feel when I see home coming close and I am DONE!!!

That makes it all worth it. The journey is okay, and it's good to get away, but home is where I want to always cross the "finish line".

So, you peeps say "you inspire me". I hope that's true! Some special people were MY inspiration so I need to give the props NOW! Noelle is a running rockstar. She is someone who's been a part of our lives since she first befriended Trine at work many years ago. She ran some incredible times in her first marathons before some back surgery sidelined her but she's still VERY active.

Karen will always be my go-to-running-guru. I may not EVER run near the miles she has gone or wants to go, but I love all of her advice and still remember her first "training schedule" she made for me before my very first attempt at a 5k. She encourages me and makes me feel super awesome all the time.

My sisters keep on running through many time issues and family matters. Without them, I wouldn't have any goals and I'd be even shlubbier than I already am.

Most importantly: My hubs, who hates it when I leave the house (because he looooooves me so much he wants to maaaaarry meeeeee), but always has it nice and clean when I come back. I couldn't ask for a more awesomely wonderful hubs than that?

Get up off the dang couch. Run. Walk. Torture yourself and hop on that elliptical or stairmaster for five minutes today. PUT DOWN THAT BAG OF CHIPS ALREADY! The road is calling! You don't even have to put makeup on!

Just don't forget your sunscreen.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What Was I Thinking? (*with updates)

(* I just realized, as I re-read this post this morning, that you will probably feel like YOU ran the marathon after reading it! Hahaha, now you don't have to go run one! Isn't that nice of me?)

Thursday night:
I've got to get this house cleaned up for Trina. She'll be here for the weekend with the kids and needs a clean slate. Plus, that way I'll know that it's not MY fault when the house is messy HAHAHA if I come home to a messy house on Sunday!

Butch needs some sort of vacation after this event. What can I do for him. Too tired to think of something so I'll have to revisit that one.

Will all the kids be safe while I'm gone? Will I remember to pray for the people I promised to pray for? Yes. I just have to believe in those things or this will all be for nothing. I have to make this be for SOMETHING.

Friday morning:
Are all the kids safe and where they should be? I hope I don't get sick on the ride up to Duluth. I'm getting a little sick on the ride up to Duluth. It was fun though! It was great to bond with Trine and have an exciting talk about what and how we would be feeling re:the race. We need to pray for Anna who is saying she has a bad head cold and will have to RUN tomorrow with that awfulness! Do we have every thing we need to make dinner tonight? Will we be able to have time to do the things we wanted to do (like see the talk by Dick Beardsley at 4 pm, watch Anna's Matt and her bff, Maggie race the 5k at 6pm) and still get to bed on time? Will we be able to sleep at all? Probably not. Nobody sleeps the night before a marathon. Too much to worry about...holycrap...did I remember to pack my SHOES? Haha just worries, I remembered everything. We watch Matt and Maggie come in from the 5k and they do GREAT. We are so proud of them! Dang, it's downright COLD! We are shivering and a fog is rolling in. It's hard to see even a couple hundred yards away. I hope it's this cool tomorrow!

Friday night:
I can't think about the race so I'll just practice the guitar. I've got a great audience. Miss Maggie is singing along and we are having a great time. Food was good for on the fly (darn boys burnt the chicken on the grill...ate it anyway). Hope I ate enough FIBER. We ALL hope we ate enough fiber! Hope we didn't eat TOO MUCH fiber! Can't sleep. Knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. How could tonight be any different than ANY night of any week? I will just lay here and try not to think about how quiet this house is, about how sore I'll be tomorrow at this time, about how I hope they don't have those loud frogs like we do in the pond outside my window, about how great it is that the weather report we last saw said that it will be 65 and partly sunny tomorrow! PERFECT weather for a run!

Saturday morning:
I'M UP! I'm ready! We are getting dressed but I don't know if I should put my shoes on until the verrrrry laaaaaast seeeeeeecond because DANG I'll be in those things most of this day! We are taking some pictures outside before we go and over in the woods Butch spies a deer! Is that some kind of good omen? I hope so. We are all feeling pretty good but there is the ride to Two Harbors and three girls who get easily carsick...
What if we have to go pee and the start is too close? What if we have to pee during the race? Wonder if we'll see anyone we know? There are THOUSANDS of people here! Whoa. We see Andy B., Trine's old buddy from school! He wishes us luck and we wish him the same. We all go into our zones (Trine at 3:50, Anna somewhere around 4:30 and me in the back forty hahaha. I'm juuuuust in front of the "Walkers" sign. Sigh. Oh well, I know my limits. I chat with some folks who don't mind the chat. They aren't bothering to stretch or anything. It seems like I'm not the only "firster" here today. What's that over ther...WHY CAN'T THOSE DUDES SEE THAT I CAN ACTUALLY SEE THEIR JUNK WHEN THEY PEE BEHIND THOSE BUSHES? I am TRYING to avert my eyes but sheesh could you get any more gross, you guys? Those bushes are NOT opaque and do you even care? I don't think they care. People are ditching their sweatshirts ALREADY! Noelle sends a text (I am carrying my phone. I am used to it because I carry it for training, for safety so I figure that's does feel a little like I'm cheating for some stupid reason.). The text reads "83 percent humidity UGH!". Uh oh. This is NOT good. This is not according to plan. We did not train in any humidity. Wind. Yes. Extreme cold. Yes. Rain. Yes. Heat and humidity? N O
What's my plan? My plan is to scrap any plans. Just pretend it's a normal, training run and drink a little more than usual. Pray for the peeps and just GO.
I love those fighter jets and the loudspeaker playing the theme from "Top Gun" WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!
And, WE'RE OFF! It's 7:30 and most people are still sleeping in and I'm running a MARATHON! HOlYMOLY. I try not to but I can't help but text Trina to tell her we're starting. I take a picture of myself going through the starting line. It takes me a while to even get there after the gun goes off. Actually, I can't even HEAR the gun because I'm so far in the back of the line! I hear some peeps behind me talking to a very old man and asking him if he's "that guy" who ran 100 marathons or something like that. He is. They clap for him. I think, "way to go, old dude! I bet you'll BEAT me" hahaha.
It's pretty hot. No, it's REALLY hot. It will get cooler next to the lake, right, RIGHT?

Mile One:
Remember to pray. This one's for the hubs. I can't believe he's here. Wonder when I'll actually see him on the side. Wonder if I'll actually need the food in the bag they're carrying. It's REALLY hot. It's not really cooling off at all. Oh well, it usually takes me around 3-5 miles to get the legs working. Pace yourself, Laura. Pray for a while. It's hot.

Mile Two:
Oh, those balloons came up really fast! Yeah! Mile one gone! Okay, gotta pray for Trina now. Pray she's doing well with the little ones and everyone is safe and happy. Prayingprayingpraying...sheesh, it's pretty hot still. I think it's getting hotter. No, I'm getting hotter because I'm running. Keep praying. Oh, here come the balloons yay mile three already! Wow, I might have to start kicking it up a notch, because I'm doing so well already but I have to remember to pace myself yes pace myself pace pace pace pray pray pray.

Mile Three:
Wow, it's friggin hot. Okay, pray for Matty now. This mile is like Matty. It started out pretty tough, got easier around the middle, and now it's getting very hard at the end (pre-teen aaaack!) but it's totally doable. Even though it's veryveryvery hot now and I really could use a drink. I can tell because my throat is dry and my gum is getting sticky already ALREADY? Wait, I'm only on mile THREE? That never happens when I train!?
I'm in trouble.

The only time that's ever happened was during the 22 mile training run where we didn't drop water and I got dehydrated and almost passed ou...NO. That will NOT happen! YEAH! There's PLENTY of water here! Here it comes right there get some water in you now NOW. Noelle said "if you drink water you just mix a little of the replenisher stuff with water, take a little when you slow down a little, then dump the rest" yeah, I'll just do that. One thing though. I can't run after I drink THREE CUPS OF WATER. Why am I drinking so much dang water? Why do I still feel thirsty after I drank so much but my stomach is sloshing around and I can barely JOG now?

I'm in trouble.

Mile four:
This is just a regular run (pray pray pray for Weazy). I should just treat this like a regular run, right? It's VERY hot. That is true. But if I just treat it like a regular run I'll be just fine. I just passed the 4:30 balloons yay! I might even do better than I thought by one, whole hour! I COULD do better...I've certainly TRAINED to do better! Yes, I really can do bett...Oh, I'm super thirsty again though and I'll have to take some water at the next aid station. Oh man, I don't drink this much water when I train. This is getting really bad, I don't know when to stop or when to pass the water and wait until the next one. What if I don't get water but I need it, then I pass out halfway through the mile because I didn't drink? Man, it's just flippin hot. I can't cool off even though I'm stuffing icecube after icecube down the front of my shirt and splashing a whole cup of water on to my body and head at every stop. I am not drying off in between. That's significant, isn't it? Keep praying, you still have to pray for Weazy on this mile, right? Or wait, is it Bocker now? I don't remember if I passed the balloons for mile 5. If I pass the balloons, does that mean I've RAN for five miles? Or, does it mean that this IS the fifth mile? I've got to keep that straight.

Mile five, or six or both:
I'm losing touch of reality. There are so many bodies around me in varying states of sweat and the sounds are getting to me. The dragging of feet, the sliding of shuffling feet, the smell of the overdose of cologne, perfume, sweat, dirty hair, ugh. It's all probably ME I'm smelling. I'm a mess already. This sucks bad. Have to remember to pray for Weazy, Bocker, or whomever. Okay, it's gotta be Bocker but I'll pray for both of them, just in case.

Mile six, I think:
Waterwaterwater. I see a bathroom. I don't really have to go but I should. I've been drinking buckets of water and a person who drinks buckets of water SHOULD pee, for gosh sakes. I wait but don't mind the wait. That's good. I'm very controlled. I really don't care that I'll have to add about 5 minutes to my finishing time. I mentally pat myself on the back for being a good sport about it. Some guy comes out of the stall on the right and says, "It's kind of a mess in there."

Talk about understatement of the WHOLE DAY.
There's poo EVERYWHERE. It looks like someone took a poo gun and it exploded right as a crap bomb went off around the time a cow took a break from chewing it's cud and shat all of the contents of her stomach in the general direction of the exploding shit bomb.

Wow. I think and SAY to the lady next to me, "Ya know, maybe TODAY isn't the time to do the 'hover' maneuver. I think that today, a person could just suck it up and go ahead and SIT when they have to do something like that!!!".
She agrees.

We use the stall on the left and leave the stall on the right for the boys who only need to STAND and don't actually have to risk touching anything other than their sweaty selves. Ugh.

I step inside the biffy and it's 200 degrees AT LEAST in there. I gasp and try not to touch anything, or breathe. I realize that I can only manage a few drops and then my stomach falls to my feet as I know what that means.

There's really no coming back from dehydration, Laura. You gave it a good go. Today is not your day. Just finish this dang thing.

I go out and start running but I know it's just a matter of time before I can't anymore. Pray. You promised you would so do it. At least you can do that. I see the bridge, buildings and town of Duluth and that is my destination. Geez it's far away! Imagine if I have to WALK there?! NO. I WILL run there. It will only take a few more hours. Pretend it's just Albertville to Corcoran, you've done that before! You can do it again! Oh, wait, pretend it's Albertville, to Corcoran...twice. In one day.

Oh geez.

Everyone around me is breathing a sigh of relief because there is a slight, cold breeze around this corner. Oh, wait. It's gone. It WAS wonderful though. It keeps us going, hoping that the closer we get to the lake and Duluth, maybe we'll get more of it?

Mile 7,8,9ish:
I'm thinking very hard about my youngest three kids but the doubts and heat are getting to me. I'm trying to balance all the scales in my head at the same time. Do I push it and keep trying for my goal? Do I take it easy, knowing I'm already so parched and I will never recover or might even pass out or hurt myself? Am I needlessly worrying and should I just slow down on the water a little? The next water station comes up and I'm determined to just take a few, little sips but I end up drinking four cups of water, one cup of replenisher, and grabbing a cup of ice for the road.

I officially "give up" I start walking with the ice and give in to a moment of absolute, self pity. I start to inwardly cry for all the hard work that I believe is for naught. Something stops me. I tell myself "NO, you promised to pray for people. Remember WHO they are and why you are praying for them!!!" So, as the ice melts (so I can drink it...I'm already thirsty again). I remember that moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and SISTERS are next.


I see Butch and the boys and I try to eat half of a nutrition bar but that just depresses me. I almost feel like I haven't worked hard enough to deserve "lunch". They tell me that Anna is only about five minutes ahead of me and that Trine is about 20 minutes ahead of her and they are both suffering but Anna is really bad. (I found out later that she lost it and cried like crazy because her nose was really running and her cold was making it impossible to run with any kind of comfort). I keep going because I'm running again after the little break and I don't want to stop running because it's SO HARD to start running again after I stop to walk. Why is it HARDER to walk, but almost impossible to start running again? My muscles don't even REMEMBER how to do that dang 'walking' thing that my body is making me do.

Miles 11-16ish:
GUTTING through. Praying, walking, jogging, trying not to get distracted by evil thoughts about the annoying lady who is blahblahblahing about crap I don't even care about. Why does she have to be so loud on this road where everyone around her is panting, sweating, walk-jogging, to get to that place waaaaaaaay over there in that foggy distance? Doesn't she KNOW how long I've trained for this EVENT? I've half a mind to turn around and punch her lights out but I've no energy left.

Say the St. Michael prayer for the runners around you. You can't be the only one suffering like this. Pray nobody pushes too hard and actually dies. It could happen. St. Michael, protect us all.

I've forgotten the part about "just have fun!". I'm a double loser. Pray. Okay, I've officially "given up" for about the 5th time now. I see Elvis in white and Elvis in black and I need to get a picture to text to Trina at home. I might as well enjoy the goofiness around me instead of get frustrated with it. There are SO MANY GOOD FANS around and they are encouraging EVERYONE alllllldaaaayyyyyy. It might even be harder to be a fan than to run this thing! I take a picture with Elvis. I decide that I'm going to notice the nice things around me instead of that pavement four feet ahead of me. LOOK UP! Be glad you are not the lady who brought the whole belt full of heavy things to weigh her down. It looks HOT to carry all that stuff! I only need my phone, my gum, my lip stuff. People are handing out all the necessary things along the way (YAY SUNSCREEN! YAY ADVIL! HAHAHA VASELINE EW NO THAT'S JUST GROSS!). I need to remember to pray for the peeps. Praypraypray. Walkwalkwalk.

Mile 16 I think I don't remember: I see Butch sometime again and I tell him, "I know I can make it if I can just get to mile 18. He fans me with my "Go Laura!" sign and a nice lady fans me with a HUGEMONGOUS sign because she's all out of orange slices and I think she sees me eyeing the one she's saved for her daughter and I feel like I could grab a rind off the road and suck on it at that point. I NEED to stop. I want to stop oh how I do. What's the point of this thing again? I could just hop in the car with Butch and Matt (Anna's Matt) and drive off. It would be sooooo nice. Everyone would understand! Off I go, see ya suckers...yeah, right. Everyone would understand but I wouldn't. I would always feel like a huge bum if I didn't at least just TRY to finish. I'm not going to KILL myself, but I WILL finish! Mile 18mile18mile18...bye boys! See ya at 20!

I am tanked. There is a really skinny, older woman who is walking the same pace as me. She's super tanned and looks like "a runner". I chat with her a little and then a lot. She's got a son who lives in Africa who runs a mission for children of AIDS and they have 6 children. I find out also that her husband had spinal stenosis or something like that and we walk and walk. We talk about our training and our goals and she's pretty much in the same boat as I am and that makes me feel better. She mentions after mile 18 (yay! we made it!) that she's glad she has someone to talk to because she's not really feeling all that good. I really look at her and decide to slow down even more because she's not really LOOKING all that good. I ask her what she needs and she is quiet for a bit. We walk and chat some more until we hit the next water station and she perks up a bit and says "if you feel good, you should just go when you feel like running" and I say that when I see Butch at 20 miles, I might just do that.

Mile 20-24:
No Butch. It's okay, we're in town now and the fans are getting closer together and louder (but it sure seems like there aren't as many as last year...that must mean something). Still praying but it's getting hard to concentrate with obnoxious music all around but I promised.

I start jogging again but stop when I get to the water. WATERWATERWATER why do I have to drink so MUCH of it??? I am totally screwing myself every time because it SLOWS me down and I have to walk for about a half mile and it's SOOOO hard to start again after that!? UGH! I am frustrated, sore, my knee hurts (NEVER happened BEFORE) and my hands are swollen to twice their normal size. I alternate being hot and feverish and being cold and shivery with goosebumps and everything. I am angry because if my knee didn't hurt so bad, and if the humidity would die down a little, I could actually RUN the last, few miles. I really try but there's the dang bridge and there's NO WAY I'm running up that thing. Some time ago, the balloons passed me for 5:30 and I'm waiting to get passed up by the six hour balloons. I figured maybe they passed me when I went in for my second, futile bathroom break sometime in there? Whatever. I'm in town now. I'll just take it easy and jog when I can...or not.

Mile 25:
All along, I'm thinking about how it's "just ___ more miles" but this idiot guy says something like "It's only .2 more miles!" HA, I think and I say "you are a liar!" because I remember that jackass from LAST YEAR and I know where I am. It's ONE point two miles 'til the finish you jerk. How dare he get my hopes up like that? Especially now, so close to the end and me at the back of the line anyway???
oh yeah
PRAYPRAYPRAY that I don't have enough energy to go back after I've finished the race and poke that guy in the eye with a stolen fork from Grandma's restaurant.

I hear him protest that "I'm not lying...somethingsomethingwhateverwhatever" and a lady looks at me funny as if to say, "WHY would you call that guy a liar?" but then she looks ahead to how much more we have to run and she doesn't say anything. One mile after 25 sure is a lot harder to manage than one more mile after 12, I'd just like to state that one for the record.

Mile 26...point two:
I bump into a group of women who are wearing the gear belts with all the bells and whistles. I hear one of them say to the group, "lets just stop and walk for a bit then we'll jog strong around the next corner!" they all agree and I say, "Yeah, I'm in for that plan." We walk for a bit with me, feeling a little like the 5th wheel lame-o girl picked last for the kickball game and I mention something about should I have these goosebumps and should I actually be cold? One of the ladies grabs a gu packet and hands it to me saying something like "Oh, you must be (insert runner lingo for "you need some nutrition of some sort" here) do you want raspberry flavor?". WHATEVER lady. I take one just to be polite but then realize my mistake as it goes sliding down my throat and gums up the works. ACK! There are no water stations and I'm too polite at that point to ask her for a swig of whatever water she might have on her cumbersome, yet oh-so-handy, saddlebag laden belt. Yikes. We hit the next corner and I say something super dorky like "Yeah, lets do this thing!" (oh my Gosh, did I just say that? I MUST be going loopy!) so we jog really strong for about 2 blocks then fade like a bunch of losers when we realize just how far we are from the finish. We say to each other "The NEXT corner...for SURE!" and laugh at how stupid that sounds this late in the game. I let them jog away from me and figure I'm just going to have to end this "race" the same way I started...all alone.

HEY! There's MAGGIE! Right there on my left, screaming and shouting "LAURA!". I feel happy that I'm jogging and not walking because she's there cheering me on and that is so nice of her! I whip out my phone and film myself crossing the finish line for Trina and see Butch and Trine's Matt on the right. They say "good job" and fill me in on where Trine and Anna are. They are in the restaurant, trying to keep cool. Don't you know it's 91 degrees? I've waited SO LONG to go get some food and strawberries and all that good stuff...
I'm cold, and shivering, and thirsty, and tired, and wet.

Someone puts a heavy medal around my neck and I wait for the handing of the water and the wrapping of the mylar that I was so surprised by last year after the half marathon.

I cough...ahem, sir, could I please have some water? This kind man with a huge tub of Aquafina bottles hands me another CUP OF FREAKIN WARM WATER and I just about lose it. I don't even have the time to grab a bottle of that nice stuff so I ask him for more when he sees that I gulped the whole thing down in .2 seconds, didn't he realize that I would need another...
Oh whatever.

I go to pick up my T-shirt and think it's a nice shade of green but can't they see that I'm tired and where can I change my sopping, wet clothes?

I go pick up my race bag and practically collapse on the table where I dared to lean on it, waiting for the man to get my bag for me.

I forget that Butch told me to go to the "C-D" sign to meet him and Matt and I go to the changing tent. I give myself a wipey bath with my winnie the pooh wipey container that I had put in my racebag, change every stitch of my clothes, put my wet junk into my racebag and put the whole works into the really neato backpack-like thingy I bought at the expo the day before. That was a good idea to pack that thing in the racebag. ONE good idea for the day, anyway, right? Heh heh. I'm feeling a little perkier now that I'm out of my icky clothes. Some lady starts chatting with me from across the tent and I don't feel like chatting with a naked lady when I have this mixed blessing of a photographic memory so I won't get the sight of her nipples out of my mind forever so I gather up my stuff and see a black pair of shorts that are really sweet, but not mine. I snatch them (they were abandoned) and think "Yay, sweaty free shorts!". I figure they would be just fine after they were washed with all my icky stuff. Wow, I'm pretty much losing any kind of germophobia I may have had before all this, aren't I?

I hobble over to Grandma's restaurant and find Trine and Anna dazed and confused on the floor. They try to get up and we all try to make a plan of what to do next but none of us knows. We eventually (after Butch and Matt come and find me and yell at me for not meeting them at "C-D" hahaha) decide to just sit down and eat like normal people and we all re-hash what we just went through.

I ate a rueben sandwich in about 3 bites. Also, a plate full of french fries sopping with ketchup.

There. Whew. That was kind of hard to do. I can tell you more (especially if you ask me specific questions), but that was basically it. I left out a lot of the details of the people watching that I was doing and a lot of the emotional stuff I kind of stuffed to the background or was overcome by the prayer. It was a HUGE learning experience, that's for sure.

The end was so...anticlimactic, I guess. I was expecting it to be a little more like last year where I felt so GOOD after the race (...emotionally. I felt a lot worse, physically last year so I know the training worked well this year!) and people were so attentive. This year, I had to go up to some guy and say "Hey, I have the SHIVERS!" before he wrapped me in some mylar and said something like "There ya go! That oughtta do it!" and he acted like I had the plague or something. I didn't expect confetti, or fawning accolades, or anything but sheesh!

Alrighty, it's late and I gotta go to bed. It feels good to get the whole story out there, though. Your story will/would be different and mine would probably be too, if I ever tried this again. There can only be ONE "first marathon" though! This is probably the longest post I've ever posted. I'll try to post the pictures that go with the story tomorrow.

(*I can't believe I forgot to post my final time! As I came up to the finish line, I saw the clock read just under 6 hours so I thought my final goal could be to "beat" that six hour mark and that's when I tried to push one, last time.

My half marathon time was only slightly longer than it was last year, which is pretty good, considering how hot it was and how I was trying to go a LOT slower to pace myself for the whole thing. It was 2:34:12. Last year, it was 2:22:40 WITH an 8 minute bathroom break. My final chip time was 5:48:05. It took me seven minutes to even reach the start line so my overall time was 5:55:12. My pace for this race was 13:33/mile. My training pace was between 9-11 minutes per mile, depending on snow/wind/ice/length of run.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

One More Day

YIKES! AAAAACK! Wish me luck!

Follow the runners by going here.

I may bring my cell and "marathon blog" through Trina! Wouldn't that be fun? I can't make any guarantees though. I might be "in the zone" and not be able to do it. I should be able to talk while I'm running (since I did throughout training...ask anyone I've run with...those poor people.). As I've been told by many people, "If you can't talk, you're going too fast!".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wanna Know What I Think Is "Strange"?

When a 54 year old woman has weird surgery (nice try for a top lip...not so successful though) and acts like a 14 year old.

Good song, though.

Remind me of this when I get over 50 and start wearing mini-skirts, skinny jeans, and tank tops again, m'kay?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

26.2 Miles of Hail Marys

Countdown to race time! We race on Saturday. If you want to follow me during the race (you can actually see where I am!) online or on your phone, go to the Grandma's website and click on the Verizon tracker button up top. You can find out mine and my sisters' full names if you email me so you can keep track of all of us . I'll post my race number on my running blog (private) so you can see where I am and when on race day too. Katrina's goal is under 4 hours, I think. Anna's is 4.5, and mine is 5.5. We all trained the same but we know our limits and this is where we feel comfortable. I'm hoping to do a little better than 5.5 hours, but I know how hard it is at the end and how easy it is for me to get dehydrated, sore, uncomfortable, and how that could destroy any faster goal than that one. Last year, I lost Anna right at the beginning of the half (bathroom break before the one mile marker!) and had a great time trying to catch up to her. I kept focusing on a girl that MIGHT be her and then shooting for overtaking that girl. It really was a giggle, and I ended up being only five minutes behind her, so I hope to do something like that again. It felt so good to be PASSING so many people, rather than getting passed. I won't have to worry about stopping to pee, stopping to stretch, or re-tie my shoes and we can all go our own pace. I hope they just fly down the course and feel great doing it. I hope I don't run into them, as that might mean they aren't doing well or are hurt.

There are lots of "I"s and "Me"s in that paragraph up there. One hopes that one would not be so self-centered after this race. One would hope that one could concentrate more on the family and the house after this race. One thinks that maybe "one" is not a good substitute for "I" as it makes one look like they mean they are THE "One".

Never mind. I am so excited, and veryveryvery nervous for the race day. I can't wait until around the 8th mile when I'll be thinking "HOLY MOLY, I'M RUNNING A MARATHON! I FEEL GOOOOOOOD, AND I'M NOT DYING!"...then, when I reach around the 23rd mile, "HOLY MOLY, WHY THE HECK DID I THINK OF DOING THIS STUPID THING ANYWAY? I THINK I'M GONNA DIIIIIIIIE!". I'm pretty certain I'll be limping across the finish line. I've done the training for "intermediate" so you would think that I'd be oh-so-awesome by now and superpro. I'm so not. I'm still just a beginner. I'm pretty good at 8 miles and less but I get up there in the teens, I start to feel my weight, age, and blobbyness.

I might take a month break from running and try to lose some weight so it won't be so hard to run so many miles. I think then I will train for a "faster 10k" and try a few 10k races to see how that would go.

Oh, this is all assuming I'll still be alive after Saturday...wish me luck!

(Hail, Marys/prayers said at each mile...)
Mile #
1. For the hubs

My Children:

2. Trina
3. Matthew
4. Analise
5. Niklaus
6. Mariela
7. Thomas

8. Our parents and grandparents

9. Our sisters

10. Our brothers

11. Our nieces and nephews

12. A special friend and her new homeschooling adventures

13. Special friends

14. All my friends that are trying to get healthy

15. Michael Talley and all those suffering from cancer

16. Our priests

17. All of the other runners

18. All couples that are experiencing infertility

19. All unborn children

20. All of our soldiers and sailors

21. Our country

22. Paula and her family

23. Regina and her family

24. All those with housing problems

25. Families suffering from childhood cancers

26. Surgical recoveries

.2 Me

I figured I'd need it most for that last .2. Might be selfish but I'll be thanking God, plenty when/if I cross that finish line!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Come and Gone

I can't believe it's been four years since I started this thing.

I missed my official anniversary of the first post (May 27, '05).

I don't think this blog has evolved very much. I pretty much post whatever strikes me as funny, sad, interesting, or family related and I don't fancy it up with too much junk on the sidebars ever. Do I? Oh well, I like it and I hope I can do it forever. It's a great way to connect with your family and let your friends know what your family is up to.

There are certainly things that I've never posted about which I wish I could but that could hurt someone's feelings or identify them without permission. There are people I've forgotten to thank about certain things and people that I've not recognized that I maybe should have. I know I feel special when I'm named on someone's blog. I hope I haven't really hurt anyone with something I've said or not said. I hope you peeps speak up and tell me I'm full of junk when/if I do, but if you don't, then I'm sorry for being the type of person that doesn't recognize when I've made you mad/sad.

I should have some kind of contest to honor four years of blog service...hmmmm. Okay, got it...
Since the fourth anniversary gift (modern) is "appliance", I will buy a new, upright washer and dryer for...HAHAHAHAHA! Juuuuuust kidding! Whatever, like I have enough money to fix the dang door on my junky dryer, much less buy a new set for a few grand and GIVE it away?! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!

Ahem. Okay, I just had a garage sale and nobody bought the v-smile console and controller that the kids used exactly 4 times before we got the wii. It comes with two games, one of which is the action games one with the dance pad. It works and, like I said, it's just like brand new. I'll mail it out to the person who wins this contest:

You need to be able to answer these questions about my blog posts. The rules are that you can't look back for the details. You have to have read my blog for the whole time, or have read back because you were just fascinated with my blog and wanted MORE from the very first time you read it. God is watching you, so don't cheat. Also, you can't be my sister. Or my husband. Or any one of my offspring (since you are the kids that don't play with that v-smile thingy anyways) You guys can play and answer questions for bragging rights, though. The first person to answer the most questions right by next Friday, wins.

1. I started a blog sensation in 2004 and met most of the friends I have now through that crazy thing. I started it by posting a picture of myself in high school. People were linking to me like crazy and posting their own, related pictures for fun. I found dozens of new blogs I hadn't known about in that time and it was great fun. I've only referenced it once or twice since then. I entitled the whole incident, "The Great ____ ____". Fill in the blanks.

2. When I first started to try to lose weight after Mari was born, I took a "before" picture of myself at a concert with my sis, Anna. Who did we see in concert? (Hint: small town on a Saturday cheating on google)

3. I once noted which I thought was the 'worst book ever'. Which book was it? (Hint: It was made into a very popular, romantic movie a couple of years ago...which I also hated...Starring an actor with the initials R.G...who is one of the worst male actors ever.)

4. We went on a field trip a couple of times to a city in MN. We took a picture both times of the kids in front of a totem pole, totem pole-style. Name the town and the museum where we took that picture.

5. Which of the twelve apostles do I most identify with and name as my patron?

6. How do I title posts that call for an urgent prayer request?

7. Which post is your favorite of all time here on the blog? (you can cheat and now look back in the archives if you want.

I realize that these are hard ones for the casual reader. I am aiming for the die-hard, look in the archives just for laughs, gollygee that Laura is one of my favorite people in the whole world-type of fans out there who've obsessively read my blog and therefore deserve the wonderful prize.

Thank you for reading my blog/being my friends/humoring me into thinking I'm even remotely interesting/putting up with my B.S. all these years.

Love ya!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Books That Made My Fingers Sore* And a Movie That Made Me Giggle

I read Tears Of God by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
It was one of the books I agreed to review for The Catholic Company. Here's the description from that site:

"Fr. Benedict Groeschel, best-selling author and beloved spiritual teacher, writer, and psychologist, wrote this latest book for all those who have suffered great sorrow or catastrophe in their lives and for those close to such persons, who share their deep suffering. Sorrow comes into the life of every person, but only into the lives of some people comes catastrophe. These are disasters that occur either suddenly or with terrible effects, like the death of a child. They can be natural disasters like hurricanes, or they can be horrific accidents or tragedies caused by people's evil acts. They can also arise from wars and situations of great tension."

I admit, I don't have a huge issue with worrying about "Oh why did this awful thing happen to meeeeeee?" but I know a lot of people who do, so I thought I'd get Fr. Groeschel's take on that whole deal. I liked his simple approach. He doesn't offer a million excuses as he explains how God's mercy works. I thought he might have a few too many teenyweeny, little, political jabs here and there that I didn't exactly agree with (I recognize them when my hackles go up as I'm reading), but I just took those details with a grain, realizing that that's the world he lives in and that's just fine. I turned them around in my mind a little, thinking that maybe I was just being sensitive. Sometimes, you know "the truth hurts"? But, upon further reflection, I don't think so. I just think that he is a religious man with a lot of good insight into the bad things that happen and the good God who helps us through those bad times, no matter how bad. It is a simple message, but sometimes, that is the kind that has the most impact.

I liked it. I do recommend it. I don't read that sort of book very often, you know, the sort of "religious, self-help book" but I could handle this one without getting bored or frustrated with it telling me a bunch of junk I already know. It's a very slim volume with a lot of compassion and truth in it. Check it out.

It also prepared me somewhat for the next book I read:
(which I didn't review specifically for The Catholic Company, but it is available at this link from them. I got it at my mom's house. My aunt had read it and borrowed it to my mom to read.)
I'm probably one of the few women in America who hadn't yet read the book...

Left To Tell
It is a true story.
I finished it in one day.

I don't think I can do justice to her story by telling you how I felt while reading it, but I'll try.

I felt cold and warm, all at the same time, while reading this book. Cold, from thinking about the worst that humanity can do to itself, and warmed by the love of God and the BEST that humanity can find to do for itself. Oh, just read it and you'll see what I mean. I can only say that I never knew anything about the Rwandan Genocide before I read it. I love world history. This thing happened in MY time, and I never knew ANY of it.

Read the book. PLEASE. This kind of thing has happened so many times before and could happen again in the blink of an eye. What will you do when/if it does? Prevent it from happening again. Learn about forgiveness and faith. READ THE BOOK.

Another "Catholic, self-help" book I've read lately (I know! I'm totally on a roll here! You should SEE my gross fingernails!) is called Daughters Forever, Sons Forever by Linda Kracht. I got it from Karen who opened a Catholic book store in the old convent/parish center in St. Michael. She wanted to know what I thought so here goes...

Normally, I am pretty critical of any kind of Theology of the Body stuff but this woman has really done her research. I would recommend this book for anyone, (with special instructions for the non-Catholic parent...being sensitive to the fact that these are universal truths, but that the protestant parent might not know anything about Catholic culture and might shy away from the terminology a bit). I also would like to publicly state, for the record, one of my wishes:

Whomever is in charge of raising our children, should Butch and I die while they are still young...This is the book you should read to understand our philosophy in how we wish them to be raised. It touches on the very sensitive things about being a teenager LONG BEFORE the whole "troubled teens" even take place!

I would love to quote from the book but I find everything so pertinent and good that I am just going to say that you should read this one, too. Not even especially if you have young children! This would be a good one for grandparents and any other person who knows some young person. How are they going to know this stuff unless we TELL them? I know a lot of adults who don't know this stuff, for Pete's sake!

Okeydokey, then. On to the movie review. I already commented on it on facebook but EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THE MOVIE "UP". There, I said it. I laughed very hard and cried a lot too. It had some of my favorite things in it....Old guys, silly little kids, and construction workers. Just trust me on this one and go see it asap. I wouldn't recommend it in 3D. It would take away from the beautiful work of art that I believe this movie is! Maybe save the 3D glasses for the second viewing?

*In case you didn't know, I bite my fingernails while I read. I don't know I'm doing it until I'm done reading and my fingers hurt. It's totally gross, I know...but I found out that not having any nails, and having calluses on my fingertips from years of biting really prepared me for playing the guitar!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Prayers for Grandma *Update with Concern

(in comments from Trine):

Update for you: I just got a call from one of Matt's sisters. Not to alarm anyone but Joyce does have a low grade fever which could or could not mean some type of infection, though they don't know where. It could be something as "minor" as a bladder infection. Either way, these days in recovery are going to be tough and she is not 'out of the woods' yet. The other word we got was that she may potentially need a pacemaker. Her heart rate appears to be slowing too much when they slow down the temporary external pacing. They are bringing in a specialist. She says she doesn't have any pain and considering that her breast bone is in two pieces currently being held together by staples and her heart was just operated on, I'd say she's pretty heavily on pain meds. Therefore, she isn't really remembering much when people visit but she is doing okay.

In other words, thanks for the prayers so far and if you could spare a few more that would be great!

I'm going to tell you a little story and end with a prayer request. Skip to the end if you've heard this one already:

My hubsie used to run with a weird crowd of peeps back in the high school days. They were mostly jocks and party guys who's parents had some dough, and lived the good life. He did have this one, odd feller friend named Matt. Matt was the youngest of ten farm children and had tons of fun raising his pigs and working on the farm. Matt was mostly cared for and tried to escape from his older sisters (and did a fair job at it) throughout his youth. He had a hard, but interesting life out on many acres of beautiful land. Rolling hills, peaceful pastures, swampy backwoods were his life. To get "into town" for football or wrestling practice, he had been known to drive the farm truck before he had his official license. See, farm kids could drive work vehicles (under age 16) around town if it was "official farm business". So, to get out of any potential troubles in that regard, he would throw a few hay bales in the bed, just in case. Him and Butch have all kinds of goofy stories about their adventures on the farm. Some of them involving beer and uneven lines in the fields...but that's a story for another day.

Matt's parents were very special to Butch. He almost looked to them as other parents and loved them very much. Matt's dad passed away a few years ago but I can't really talk about that without getting very sad. All I can say is that I miss his grin and his ginormous hands until I see Matt's hands and Bubby's grin.

Matt's mom, Joyce is an angel on earth. She is simple, wonderful, sweet, and loving. She's also very wise in many ways. I could go on and on but one thing that could illustrate the impression she has had on Butch is that I pretty much had to pass muster with Joyce before our relationship could continue (I met her only a few weeks after I had met Butch!). I knew it was a "test" when I met them. It's a good thing I came from a farm family environment because I felt right at home with that nutty bunch! I think back to that first meeting and how she hugged me the moment we met...I could never imagine that we could be REAL FAMILY someday and that Joyce and I would share genes with some of the most loved children in the world!

Trine sent me this email today:

As most of you know, Joyce (Matt's mom) went in for a routine check-up last week and the dr. found what he thought was a 'minor' blockage in one of her coronary arteries, so she was slated to get a stent put in early this week. Well, yesterday they found that she had at least 3 maybe 4 arteries with serious blockage thereby requiring open heart surgery. Her surgery is scheduled for 11am today. She is at Abbott. She is feeling really good (didn't have any symptoms or signs that she recognized anyway) and some of Matt's siblings were there until late last night and all 10 will be there today before and after the surgery. The surgery is said to last at least 4 hours. I don't know any other details but I will update you as we hear news.

Please say a little prayer that God is watching over Joyce and her doctors and keeps her safe. I don't know about you but I would be DANG scared knowing I had to have this procedure. But she's one tough cookie and I'm sure she'll be fine for her surprise 80th birthday party coming up in July!

She IS a tough cookie and has survived a few other major surgeries and uncomfortable procedures (Matt was 13 pounds for pete's sake!) but please, take the time to pray for her today! She might be tickled to know that people from all over the world prayed for her during this scary time!

Thank you!

*We just received word that everything went well. She had to have a triple bypass and as far as I know, no other procedures. She is heading to the ICU soon.

I just spoke with Matt and I'm going to be leaving work to head to Abbott shortly.

Thanks for your concern and prayers!


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My Superduper New Running Insignia

Whaddya think?

It was drawn up, custom made, and exclusively copyrighted by my artist-in-residence, Trina.

You can't have it, it's mine, all mine.

Don't even THINK about stealing it without permission.

You are soooo jealous, aren't you? You soooo wish YOU had an artist-in-residence like I do! You SHOULD be!

Me and the sistas will be sporting this look in the race. What words should we have with it? Something like "Team Sporty Sistas"? How about just "The Sistas"? Or, do you think it should have an "h" like I spell it "The Crazy Sistahs"?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Minnesota Nice!

There is a teeny-tiny window of niceness in spring. It comes after the rains and bloomings and before the nasty bugs. It's not as great as the autumn, but it's very wonderful after a snowy, cold winter and it's what keeps us living here after years and years of being punished by the harsh winters!

I haven't had a ton of time to post anything but we've been super busy, as usual. We have done some landscaping, put up a porch swing, re-arranged things around the front yard and porch, built two gardens (thanks to my bro-in-law, Matt, my hero, I love you, Matt and Butch who whipped them up in about an hour!), planted flowers and gardens, went to the Capitol and the Cathedral with Paula and her kids, went to the tax rally a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm trying to gut the house and purge it of all things unnecessary (for the city-wide garage poor, poor garage!). We have a bunch of re-do things to do around here. I'll take some good before and after photos. Follow Trina's blog for more updates, she's better at getting things posted fast than I am!

We visited our favorite spot for May Flowers (in the woods by where I grew up). Mari picked me a big bunch of them.

Mari got a hold of the camera and took a few pictures of things at the baseball game. We had to do something to keep her amused. Baseball is NOT her favorite pastime.

I took this shot of Matt to illustrate how ginormous he is in comparison to the other kids on his team. It's rare, when he's with his peers, that he is NOT the tallest one in the bunch. He and Bocker both were assigned the number 13, isn't that a funny coincidence?

We filled the sandbox with fresh sand but I have since moved it from the front porch (where the sand would make it's way right into the house) to the back yard where the gardens are. It makes a great container for Tommy while I am watering the garden and dreaming of the day when it provides wonderful herbs and veggies for the family...? We'll see!

I thought this was a funny picture of the van in front of the Cathedral. I think I'll title it "Pile In!" or maybe "Catholic Clown Car".

The whole reason for our field trip to St. Paul was to visit the replicas of the state capitol and cathedral in Legos. We got so much more than we bargained for! We got in on a bill signing with the governor! Paula's rep happened to be at the capitol that very morning to be there for the (ceremonial) signing of her first piece of passed legislation and she was so excited! We toured around the building for a while and even got a private tour of the Senate floor (thank you, senate information office dude!) then we met in the hallway with a whole bunch of my favorite people...old guys and soldiers! OLD SOLDIERS EVEN! DOUBLE BONUS! Apparently, it was some kind of veteran's funding bill thingy...whatever, I was in hog heaven, I tell you! The kids were really angels all day (especially in comparison to the unruly, loud, obnoxious groups of school kids who were there that day)...until the bill signing. Uh oh.

I already felt a little awkward horning in on their special day, but RIGHT when the governor came in to speak and pose for pictures, THAT'S when Mari and Bocker decided they'd had enough of acting niceynicey and started whining "I want to go home!" and "He's touching me!" and "AAAACK!" (that was Tommy, still in the backpack, realizing that his voice echoes nicely in that high ceilinged room!). We were in the far back of the crowd, and were hardly noticed, but if I had superpowers, my kids would be fried by the doom rays that were shooting out of my eyeballs at them. Oh well, we bolted from the room, ASAP but the bigger kids got to shake hands with the governor and Paula's kids got a picture with him!
OH, and there was a sign at the Cathedral that clearly stated "Do Not Touch". It was not an interactive sculpture. Do you think that would stop Matty from going into Lego Zen Mode and trying to fix something he saw was broken on the model? We had to stop him before he morphed the Cathedral into some sort of weaponized, death star, galactic, robot monster, with wheels, and detachable fighter jets.

I'm captioning this last one:

"Yeah, Right!"