September 24, 2011


Early this past summer, I was on my way home from work, and it was probably around 7:30am or so. I noticed a line of corn knocked over, like a car had veered off the road into the field. Sure enough, as I got further on, there were a couple emergency vehicles and an SUV in this little valley between cornfields. I figured someone lost control over their car, and went off the road. Since the SUV was upright and appeared undamaged, the lights weren't flasing on the emergency vehicles, and no one appeared to be moving too quickly, I assumed everyone was just fine. Turns out a mother and nurse was on her way to work that morning, had a heart attack and had died there in the field. That straight line where her SUV went through the corn is still very visible. Someone placed a cross at the place where she entered the field. Every day I drive home, I see that path and I wonder if her family drives that direction. How painful of a reminder that path through the corn must be. As harvest season is upon us, I wonder, when the farmer harvests that field, will it be a relief to see that sad reminder of her last few moments? Or will it be painful, to see that the scar left on the field is gone, even though the scar on their hearts left by her absence remains?

September 21, 2011

One Year Ago...

At 3:47 am, I met my handsome little Caleb face to face! What a ride it was getting him here! I reread my birth story and I can see the anxiety and frustration in my "voice". I am much more at peace with how things went than I was a year ago. Happy Birthday little guy! It's been a wonderful first year!!

September 16, 2011

T-3 weeks!!!

The marathon is coming up in 3 weeks!! AACK!!! I'm starting to freak out more and more as M-day gets closer. I gave up on the idea of a 20 mile run before the big day. Yesterday I did get in a 17.4 mile run and I did it in 3:25, so I feel better. And I'm not really too sore today, surprisingly. Yeah, my calves are a little tight and my hips are a little stiff, but not bad at all. After my half marathon, I was pretty sore for a few days, so I expected more ache after 17 miles. Guess that's a good sign! My average mile pace was 12.5 minutes, so it's much better than what I expected. The pace team I'll be running with runs a 13some minute mile, so seeing my average mile pace was just a tad faster felt good. I will say that the last mile or so of the run, I was hurting a bit. My quads were on fire and my feet were starting to protest. I wasn't out of breath or anything, in fact I could have had a conversation with someone, but my muscles were unhappy. That does concern me a bit because I will still have 9 more miles to go. I'm hoping that a slightly slower pace and the adrenaline of running my first marathon will help carry me through, although I know at probably mile 19-20, I'll hit the wall and it will be a battle to finish. Next week starts my tapering...part of me wants to try another long run of at least 16 miles, but I I know I need to be kind to my body and let it recover completely before running 26.2. I'm still waiting on my packet to come in the mail that I have to take with me to the health and wellness expo so I can get my number and chip. Once I have that, the only thing left to do will be to figure out what shirt to wear. Oh, yes, I've heard that the marathon shirt is important. I'm still tossing a few ideas around in my head, but haven't decided what to do yet. I still have a little bit of time left. When I run, I run alone...and the only things to see are corn and bean fields. Ok, so know that we're in harvest season, I see the occasional harvester, and I'll have you know I run faster than a combine harvesting corn! Anyway, so my runs are boring, lonely and lack scenery. Marathon day I'll be running the streets of downtown Chicago. How amazing will that be?! Plus there will be thousands of people there cheering me on. I think that will help the miles go by much quicker than they do when I run on my own. That's my hope anyway.

September 7, 2011

About a Month Left until M-Day

It's been a busy few weeks around here. School is in full swing, big kids are busy with football and cheerleading, and I'm trying my darndest to get out and run. The marathon I am running is coming up in 1 month and 2 days. I am so not ready for it. I still can't believe I'm really going to run 26.2 miles, willingly. I've been reading up on training and other people's first marathon experiences. I don't know if the stories help or are making the fear worse! A common theme is people are sore for a week after running, can't walk down stairs, and are ready to throw in the towel and quit as they enter the devil's territory at mile 20. Most people train for months for a marathon, getting in a few 20 milers ahead of time. The longest I've run is 14 miles. I've gotten in several 10-14 mile runs, but no 20 milers. And I'm not sure I'll get one in. This really isn't how I wanted to train for my first marathon. I wanted to feel more ready. My goal is to run at least two 16 milers beforehand. The biggest problem I have is finding the time to do these long runs. I'm not fast at all, so I need a block of 4 hours or so if I want to get in a 16 mile run. I did 14 miles in 2:50. That's a lot of time to block out of a day when you work full time, have kids in activities and the sun starts setting earlier and earlier. I do have a plan. My main goal is just to finish it in under 6:30 because that is the cut-off time to be an "official" finisher. I'm not worried I can't do the distance, I know I can do the 26 miles, I'm just worried I can't do the miles fast enough. If I'm going to run the damn thing, I sure as hell want to be an official finisher! I'll be signing up with a pace team of 5:45...that way I'll start out slow, have someone to pace me, and if need be, I can slow down a bit and have some time to play with to come in under 6:30. Holy cow, I could be running for more than 6 hours! Most people who run marathons probably have a goal to come in under 4 hours. I can't even imagine being able to run that fast for that long at this point. There are times I think that I must have some kind of mental illness because I'm going to run it, despite the lack of adequate training in my mind, and after reading the stories of how miserable people feel during and after the race. But there is also something else common in marathon stories - that sense of accomplishment. The feeling that people get when they cross the finish line, that they did something most people never will. A marathon is a purely personal, solo victory. There isn't a team to help you if you start to slow down and run out of steam. No one can train your mind and body to run for hours. No one can run it for you. I can only imagine what it will feel like when I finally cross that finish line, knowing that I accomplished something I thought I never would. After 4 kids, with the youngest being only 12 months, I will have completed my first (and maybe last) marathon. Who knows, maybe this will be the first of several marathons. Guess we'll have to see.