Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Family that Plays together

Here are some fun pics of the kids from the playground just before school started. Loads of fun!











Shane spinning Shorty!

Des lounging
Beautiful Sadies
My Amanda in her new glasses. How cute are they?
Maggie!!
Noah, who thinks the wheelchair doubles as a go-cart
Josh, Amanda, Ben and Shorty
BEN!!
Shane being a monkey :)
Josh testing his balance. He had a blast on this thing with the big kids. Amazingly there were no injuries.
Belane taking a break from spinning
Nate, not getting sick on "the kid blender"
Marcus climbing
Josh and Marcus playing football. The big kids joined it and it went from football to some sort of cross between football, wrestling and extreme fighting. Much fun was had by all. :)

Ryan was elusive at the play ground but here he is with his fifth place overall ribbon at a recent cross country meet. He is consistently placing in the top 1-2 runners for our school and top six overall at his meets! :)


Last winner!!!!

I used Random.org yesterday to choose the FINAL WINNER in my big fundraising giveaway for Team MEB and the NYC Marathon and the lucky final winner is

Suz from Cows and Lasers and Everything in Between!!!! 
Suz made THREE separate donations so I am super excited she is the final winner. :)
Send me an email at full house mom at g mail dot com and I will get your prizes to you! congrats!!!!!! 

A big, huge, humble THANK YOU to all of you who have donated and helped me raise money for Team MEB and kids in need in the U.S. and Eastern Africa, and to all of the awesome people and companies who have donated items for this giveaway. I only need to raise about $200 more to be at my goal of raising $3000 (and have about $300 pledged but not in yet so should be at my goal super soon). Yay! To donate you can click here. THANKS!!!

Only 38 days until the NYC Marathon!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why blog?

I was talking about blogging with a friend the other day and started thinking about WHY I blog.

It does take time, of which I don't have much extra of.

I don't make any money off of it.

I am not achieving (or striving to achieve) fame or recognition. 

But yet, I do get a lot out of blogging.

For one, I am a writer. I always have been. I don't mean that in the sense of,  "I am a talented writer," but in the sense of, "I process things best when I write them down."

I have always been better at writing (or typing) than talking. I share my feelings better when I write them down. I process my thoughts better when I write them down. I work things out and solve problems better on paper. I say what I want to say and what I mean to say when I write it down first. I remember things better when they are journaled. Writing is how I clear my head, organize my thoughts, make plans, sort my feelings, and express myself.

I blog about my family to remember things we've done and share them with family and friends.

I blog about adoption and HIV and special needs kids to try and educate others, fight stigma, advocate for kids in need, and share what I am passionate about.

And I blog about running because I love it. Running is my "me" space. It's the one thing I do in a day that is just for myself. It fills my emotional gas tank back up. It gives me physical energy. It increases my patience and adds balance to my life that leaves me a better mom, wife, adoption coordinator, and person.

I have had a lot of people say that I inspire them. If sharing my journey inspires others, that makes me incredibly happy. But I know that I am not the busiest person on the planet, that lots of other people have lost 75lbs and more, and that there are plenty of people out there who run faster and further than I do. So I am not blogging because I think my story is super amazing or that I am going to change the world.

One of the biggest benefits I have gotten from blogging is all of the connections I have made. I have met so many great people (both on line and in person) through this blog. It is a wonderful and powerful thing to connect to people that share a passion for something you are passionate about, and support you in it. It is fun to talk about workouts (good and bad) with people who understand what you are doing and have gone through similar experiences. It is great to share details of races with people who want to read them. It is awesome to get "good lucks" and "congrats" before a race. It rocks to tell people you qualified for Boston or to share a race time and have them know what that means and what kind of work went into it. There is no one better to get all kinds of running-related advise from than from other runners.There is no inspiration like what you get in hearing the stories of others dreaming big, pushing hard, overcoming challenges, achieving goals, and realizing dreams.

The running community is pretty dang awesome, and I enjoy being a part of it.

So that's why I blog. The need to write about things is part of who I am. I enjoy blogging, and it's how I journal my running journey and how I process it and share it with family, friends and others. And I blog because I love being a part of the running community, and truly am grateful for the friendship, support, knowledge, encouragement and comraderie that I get from it.

Do you blog? Why? :)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Opportunities

Happy Tuesday!  We are having a beautiful week here... low temps in the upper 30's, high temps in the low 70's. PERFECT RUNNING WEATHER. There are rumors for snow already though next week so I am going to enjoy this as long as it lasts! (We live in the Rocky Mountains at about 6200ft elevation. It snows early in the fall. It snows late in the spring. Sometimes it snows in the summer. It snows a lot).

I am feeling really good with my running. I did 14 miles on Sunday, six easy miles yesterday and a tough nine mile "ladder" run today. I warmed up a couple of miles, ran a half mile interval, had a rest interval, ran a 3/4 mile interval, had a rest interval, ran a mile interval, had a rest, and then went back down the "ladder" the same way. My mile interval was a 6:37 which I felt really good about and my last half mile interval was at a 6:28 pace. I have run faster times in speed workouts, but I am really proud of today's run because it was tough (didn't come easy as it does some days) and I did it anyway. :)

I did this run out on the roads, which meant I had hills, wind and traffic (triple bleck). I normally prefer running on the road to anything, but for speed intervals, I much prefer the track. I like being able to zone out and just focus on my breathing, leg turnover and pace. The workout was a lot harder not on the track or treadmill, plus, I felt a bit like a psycho running so fast on the road! :)

While I was running I kept thinking about how Patrick Makau (who if you missed it, won the Berlin Marathon this weekend and set a new World Record time of 2:03:38) had just run 26.2 miles at a 4:40 average pace, which was almost two minutes a mile faster than my speed work. CRAZY!!!!!

I have been thinking a lot about opportunities this week. Last week we were presented with two different opportunities that have had Josh and I thinking and talking a lot. Sometimes it is so hard to know what is an awesome opportunity that is smart to take and what is better to walk away from.

Obviously, since we got married very young after only dating for a very short time, have moved across the country, have traveled around the world, and have adopted nine kids, Josh and I are the kind of people who aren't scared off easily by the potential risks of the opportunities life presents us. And so far we have no regrets. So we will continue to make decisions the way we have together for the past 15+ years - thinking, talking, and praying together.

One of these potential opportunities is directly related to my running, so I will share more details here soon if it looks like we are going to move forward. :)

Well, my cranky toddler is NOT taking a nap as I hoped he would (his feeding pump alarm went off about a million times last night. Seriously, if he didn't need it to survive I would have frisbeed it out the back door), so I am going to go try and cheer him up.

Today is YOUR LAST CHANCE to get in on my big Team Meb Fundraising Giveaway for the NYC Marathon!!!

I have FOUR awesome prizes left that have not been won yet, and the last winner (that I will use Random.org to choose TOMORROW morning) will get all four remaining prizes.

The four remaining prizes are a Gotein prize pack, your choice of shirt from Tri it Wear (they have seriously awesome stuff), a box of Snickers Marathon Protein Bars, and a pack of two awesome books from mom, author, and runner, Mary Ostyn. That's a pretty great prize package!

All you have to do to enter is make a donation here (quickly, easily and securely online). If you have already made a donation then you are already entered. If you have already made a donation and donate again, you will receive lots of bonus entries. 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Winner Take All!

Ok, with the ING NYC Marathon just over six weeks away now, I am wrapping up my big fundraising giveaway! I have FOUR awesome prizes left that have not been won yet, and the last winner (that I will use Random.org to choose on Wednesday morning) will get all four remaining prizes.

The four remaining prizes are a Gotein prize pack, your choice of shirt from Tri it Wear (they have seriously awesome stuff), a box of Snickers Marathon Protein Bars, and a pack of two awesome books from mom, author, and runner, Mary Ostyn. That's a pretty great prize package!

All you have to do to enter is make a donation here (quickly, easily and securely online). If you have already made a donation then you are already entered. If you have already  made a donation and donate again, you will receive lots of bonus entries.

One more time - I am running the NYC Marathon as part of TEAM Meb. Meb Keflezighi is a U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon and won the NYC Marathon in 2009. He has many other impressive achievements in running and in life. His story is truly one of "the American Dream", and I love how Meb stands for family, being your best, faith, balance, friends, dedication, hard work, education and other values and morals I believe in.

The MEB Foundation stands for Health, Education, Fitness and Balance and helps youth have the opportunities they need to succeed in life by providing access to health, education and fitness to children in the U.S. and in Eastern Africa. As a mom of 12 and as one who works with kids in need, this is a cause near and dear to my heart.

A big, huge, humble THANK YOU to all of you who have donated and helped me raise money for Team MEB and kids in need in the U.S. and Eastern Africa, and to all of the awesome people and companies who have donated items for this giveaway. I only need to raise about $400 more to be at my goal of raising $3000. Yay! (To donate you can click here. THANKS!!!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Changes

Wow! Life has been crazy busy this week.

THANKS SO MUCH for all your kind comments about the race pics. I figured they would be horrible with the rain and all, but they are kind of fun and my favorite ever I think. To be honest, I took a good look at these pics and barely recognize myself. I have muscles like that? My body is shaped like that? I ran a 3:28 marathon? Where did my boobs go? (Not really kidding about that one!) My confidence has grown leaps and bounds along with my strength, but I still have those moments where I forget that I am not 210lbs anymore. A friend recently told me that I had the body of a runner and truly, it was one of the best compliments I have ever gotten.  Here are two more pics they added late to my race pics.

This was the one at mile 21 or so when the photographer thanked me and told me he never got smiles at mile 21. ;)

 Not sure when this one was taken, but you can tell how WET it was!!

I am really happy with how great I am feeling this week running. After the weekend I will be over 55 miles this week. I did a 10 mile tempo run this morning, with a 3 mile warm up, then five miles at tempo pace. Splits were 7:44 (uphill), 7:27 (uphill), 7:10, 7:17, 7:11, then a two mile cool down. Josh ran with me for most of it. He "missed" the middle mile and a half of the tempo part. His ITB has been bugging him which stinks.

I am really lucky I am not back on the injured list. I was running on Monday morning and a car tried to run me over. I took a quick, big step to the left to avoid the car, and the curb/road was very uneven and in the dark (and with the quick step) I rolled my ankle hard. I stopped for a minute, said a swear word and limped to the curb. Honestly, if I had had a cell phone I would have called for help and I was worried I wasn't going to be able to get home. It HURT. I walked for a minute, then tried running and it felt ok, so I made it the 3 miles home. When I got home it swelled up and bruised quickly and I iced it a ton. It never hurt to walk on it but sure did look bad.

On Tuesday morning it was still puffy but didn't hurt at all so I ran on it and it didn't bug me. Noah's PT came that morning (who is a runner) and he said as long as it didn't hurt to run I could, and to keep icing it. It never did hurt to run and the swelling is gone now (although I still have some pretty purple colors). I didn't feel it one bit on my 10 mile tempo run this morning. I am SO GRATEFUL this did not end up being an injury that sidelined me.

I have felt great since the marathon though and this was my fastest recovery yet. I had very minimal soreness and muscles all feel super good. I know recovery is different for everyone, but I have found that for me, slow easy miles make me feel better faster than just pure rest does. So I run every day after a marathon, starting with 3 slow, easy miles and building up as I feel good. I leave my Garmin home for the first days and just take it easy and enjoy. I use my foam roller twice a day and do lots of easy stretching/yoga poses. I ice sore spots. I lay around as much as possible. This works for me!

Ok, I am off to go listen to my oldest daughter sing the national anthem at a volleyball tournament. Happy Friday and Happy First Day of Fall everyone!

How about you? What recovery strategies have you found to best work for you?
Are you ever surprised by what you look like or how you have changed because of running?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Race pics

Race pics from the Top of Utah Marathon. :)
These are all coming into the finish line, except for the last one which is me and Alana after she finished.  :)









Monday, September 19, 2011

3:28 marathon recap


Recap time! (as usual - long and detailed)

The race weekend started just after noon on Friday when Alana came and picked me up and we hit the road!  We were both happy and excited but pretty calm overall. I had packed a lunch and ate it in the car and we had fun chatting about running, the race, and life in general.

We got into Logan and went to the hotel right away, where Terzah was waiting for us. She had driven in from Denver and it was so much fun to meet her in person.  We checked in to the hotel, did a little chatting and unpacking, and then I went with Alana to do some errands while Terzah rested a little.

At just after 5pm we met up at the Marriot, where the expo and pasta dinner was held.  The expo was on the small side but very nice and we got a few great samples. We got our bibs and packets, and we were all happy with the bright blue and green, long sleeved, women’s cut race shirts.  The pasta dinner was PERFECT. After my sick-fest in Pocatello I was determined to be super careful about what I ate and pasta, red sauce, and rolls were just what I wanted. They had two different types of pasta and three different sauces, along with rolls, salad, and cookies. It was all super yummy. This was the first time I ate at a pasta dinner before a race, and if they are all this good and fun, I am a fan. 

They had a prize wheel in the pasta dinner, and everyone with a bib number got to spin the wheel and get a prize. I got neon pink Zensah calf sleeves, Alana got a stadium seat, and Terzah won a Camelback!

We were back in our hotel room by 8pm or so, and after some last minute preparations (and of course more chit chat!) we were laying down and ready for sleep by about 9pm, with a plan of me getting up and into the bathroom first at about 3:30am, and us being down in the lobby to grab breakfast and catch the shuttle bus by 4:30am.

I slept pretty well, but poor Alana said she was tossing and turning all night with nerves. I woke up shortly before my alarm went off, and got ready. I had a little bit of pre-race jitters, but wasn’t terribly nervous. I was smiling, and enjoying the atmosphere, the company, and the experience. 

I had decided right after Pocatello that I was going to try not eating breakfast before this marathon. I never eat before my long runs (not even my 20 milers). I never eat before my half marathons or other races. I didn’t eat before my first leg of Ragnar this year. I had tried eating breakfast before marathons and after being as sick as I was in Pocatello I figured there was no better time to try something new. For some reason my body just doesn't like food before a run.  I also ate VERY carefully for the last couple of days before the race (avoided dairy and high fiber foods) and decided to switch back to Hammer Nutrition products. I went with the plan to take a Hammer gel every five miles during the race, drink my 22 ounce bottle of Hammer Perpetuem, and grab water a few times as needed from aid stations along the way.  (This worked PERFECTLY).

So Alana and Terzah had some breakfast (and the Comfort Inn, which wasn’t even the host hotel put out a really nice runner’s breakfast) and then we waited in the lobby for the shuttle bus. As the school bus pulled up it was hard not to notice that it was raining. A lot. But I am an eternal optimist, so I believed that it would soon blow over and we’d be fine by the time we ran (we had two and a half hours!)

After a short bus ride we got off at the park where the finish line would be hours and hours later, and we got on one in a long line of more buses for the ride up to the start. The rain had lightened up to just a drizzle and I was still hopeful. The ride up to the start was long but I didn’t mind it. I chatted with Alana, listened to pieces of conversations of runners around us, and rested. My jitters were there but in check. I knew I had a big challenge in front of me and I had that feeling that you get before you tackle something BIG that you know isn’t going to be easy. But I was feeling good.   

We got up to the top of the mountain and it was still pretty dark. We got off the bus around 6am and got right onto the portapotty lines. As we were waiting (and waiting) on line, it started to drizzle again. It picked up a little, and I pulled out an aluminum blanket that I got from the finish line at the Rock n Roll Vegas marathon and saved, and we stayed dry under that.  After getting our turns in the portapotties, we walked down to the starting area. We shed our warm clothes, loaded our gear bags and Terzah went and threw them into the open bus window that was collecting the bags. 

And then someone turned on the water. 

Rain started pouring down in SHEETS. You couldn’t hear or see there was so much rain. I ran for cover into the heated tent that they had set up… still somewhat hoping that this would blow over quickly. (At this point there was only 7 minutes until race start). I decided to stay in the tent, which was only 100 feet or so away from the starting line, for as long as possible. The rain kept coming down.  The gun went off two minutes later for the wheelchairs and handcycles and I had to wonder how on earth they would be able to go in that kind of rain. But they did!

I knew we only had five minutes until our start. I took off my throwaway hoodie, left on my throwaway gloves, and stood there shivering from the cold and the realization that I was about to be running in the cold rain. 

I had lost Alana and Terzah.  I normally like to get out there and line up sort of near the start of a race so I don’t get stuck in the back, but I just couldn’t make myself stand out in the rain. When the gun shot went off I took off right out of the tent, crossed the start line (just 24 seconds or so after the official start), and was on my way.

It was raining (although not the crazy hard pouring it had been) and it was cold. I was wearing a tank, shorts, and arm sleeves and my teeth were literally chattering even though I was running at a good pace. 

I seemed to get off at just the right time because I only had to pass people for the first couple of minutes and then I seemed to settle in with only minimal passing and getting passed. 

With the Top of Utah Marathon course being what it is (18 miles of downhill followed by 8.2 miles of flat and rolling hills), all of the pacers recommended positive splits. The key to running a race like this successfully though is finding the right balance between taking advantage of the downhill  to run your best race, and going out too fast and setting yourself up to hit the wall and have a super tough finish. My tentative plan was to run about 10-15 seconds faster than my goal pace of 7:49 during the 18 miles of downhill, and then run as fast as I could for the last 8.2 miles, giving myself a little bit of slow down time on the uphills. This also worked perfectly!

The rain dried up after a little bit and I was chilly but got into a good groove. I thought that if the skies stayed overcast and the rain stayed away, it could be PERFECT conditions. Yeah, that didn't happen. 
A few miles later the skies opened up again and it was just torrential downpours. Up until then I had been avoiding the big puddles and streams in the road to try and keep my feet from being totally soaked, but from then on there was no use. My feet were literally just sloshing and splashing IN my shoes. I was really worried that I would end up with horrible blisters since the race wasn't even half over yet. 

And then the hail started (for the first time). And then some crazy thunder and lightning. 

For a moment I told myself that I had just, two weeks earlier, ran a 3:32 marathon and qualified for Boston. I was already IN and registered for the Boston Marathon. The NYC marathon was just 7 weeks away. There was no reason to kill myself in crazy weather. BUT, the truth was, I felt too good not to give it my best effort. My stomach was on its very best behavior, my legs felt great, nothing hurt, I was keeping pace well, and I had no excuses not to give it all I had. So I did. :)

I do need to say that the 3:30 pace group stressed me out for a little bit, especially over the first few miles. I was wearing a pace band to run a 3:25 marathon (giving myself a couple of potty minutes to still get under 3:30), and I was ahead of my pace band by a little bit, and I was still BEHIND the 3:30 pace group. I knew they were going to go faster on the downhills and then slow down at the end of the course but I think they went out WAY too fast and since they finished with just about nobody with them from what I could tell (maybe I am wrong), I don't think their pacing plan was a good one. I ran behind them by just a little bit for a while, ran with one of the pacers (who I know) for miles 18-19, and then ran ahead of them from then until the end. 

Most people I talked to (of all different speeds) felt that the pace groups went out way too fast. I was really glad I decided to run my own race and not care what that pace group was doing.

Here are my splits
Miles 1-5
7:36, 7:34, 7:32, 7:39, 7:39 (took a gel)

Miles 6-10
7:48, 7:41, 7:28, 8:43 (this was pit stop number one), 7:40 (took a gel)

Miles 11-15
7:50, 7:46, 7:36, 7:27, 8:37 (this was pit stop number two) (took a gel)

Miles 16-20
7:48, 7:49, 7:50, 7:56 (uphill), 8:11(uphill) (took my last gel!)

Miles 21-26.2
7:52, 8:13 (uphill), 8:21 (uphill), 8:27 (uphill), 7:55, 7:55, and 7:25 (with a final kick of 6:30)

I have to say that the uphills really weren't very big hills. I think that on a flat course I wouldn't even have noticed them much. But, after 18 miles of downhill and at mile 19 of a marathon, you feel just about any amount of hill. Again though, these were not bad at all and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the hills were behind me.

I felt good the whole time. I was cold for a lot of it, and really, really REALLY wet, but felt good. There were several rounds of crazy downpours, thunder and lightning, and hail. I have never been so wet fully clothes EVER. I could not have been any more wet if you had pushed me in a pool and held me under. At round two or three of pouring rain and hail I was running with two guys, and I said, "The medals better be REALLY freaking big this year", and they both laughed. The sun came out for about a mile (somewhere around 22ish) and then it was overcast and rained again. At mile 21 there was some SUPER loud and close thunder and lightning which was really scary, but my main thought at that point was, "They better not even TRY to stop me now!" I was really worried they would stop the race!

But honestly, as bad as the weather was (and it was BAD), I would take rain, hail, freezing cold and sloshing shoes over heat any day. This was pretty miserable at times, but not miserable like I would have been if the weather had been super hot.

Even though I had to make two pit stops they were both super fast, and I never felt SICK. I wasn't running with cramps or feeling terrible. I wasn't nauseous and miserable while I was running. I wasn't sick and feeling awful after either. SO MUCH BETTER THAN TWO WEEKS AGO. Avoiding dairy and high fiber for a few days + No breakfast + Hammer Nutrition=happy Erin race-day stomach. I will not be messing with that formula.

And, I never hit the wall. I was able to stick to my race plan and execute it pretty dang near perfectly. I got tired around mile 22 (who doesn't?) but I was able to keep going and then felt myself getting stronger from mile 24 until the finish. I passed A LOT of people, guys and girls, in those last 4-5 miles, and I did not get passed by anyone. Not a single person. 

Something I want to remember - Just around mile 22-23 I passed a photographer and flashed him a smile, and he said, "I get almost no smiles at all at this point in the race!" :)

With about half of a mile to go there was a short but steep downhill, and two guys in front of me (one who had the 3:10 pacer bib on his back and was obviously not having a good day) both groaned and grabbed their quads (and one guy stopped and sat down even!) but my quads were happy. I passed two more girls who had been ahead of me the whole day, and then we turned the corner and the finish line was just ahead. There was a big crowd cheering and not many other runners coming in right with me. I sprinted as best as I could with the tiny bit of gas I had left and finished with BIG SMILES.

I finished in 3:28:15

6th in my age group of 154 (top 3%)
27th out of all 896 female runners (top 3% of all women!)
187th out of all 1884 runners (top 9% of all runners!)

Since I didn't place in Pocatello and it was a much smaller race I didn't have any hope of placing in this race, but I ended up just one spot out of the trophies! Dang! Fifth place would have gotten me a SWEET moose trophy. I guess I just need to run faster next time. :)

After a little stretching and some refueling (and some AWESOME texts from Josh and my Mom that made me teary-eyed and smile all at the same time) I got my gear bag and changed into some blissfully warm and dry clothes and shoes. I was amazed to find that my feet looked perfect... not a single blister. I will forever be a user and lover of 2Toms Sports Shield! Then I went back to the finish line and cheered in Terzah (who had a BIG PR) and Alana (who finished her first marathon in just under four hours!!!) After some walking around we got in line and enjoyed free massages and watching the finish line. I even got to see a guy get down on one knee and propose on the finish line! It was super awesome. :)

After a couple of sunny hours at the finish line the rain came back, and so we went back to the hotel, showered, and had a celebratory lunch at Cafe Rio's before the drive home.

Overall, I loved the Top of Utah Marathon. Ok, so I would have loved it a little more in better weather, but this course is really great. Everything ran smoothly, the medals are very cool (pics coming soon), the shirts are great, the expo and pasta dinner were really nice, and it was a wonderful weekend. My only real complaint is that their post-race food wasn't that impressive, although I don't know that anything would really impress me after Pocatello's awesome spread. :)

 Yay for achieving my goals in Utah! I got my sub- 3:30. I had a great race plan and executed it well. I found a nutrition plan that worked great. I ran super hard and didn't quit in tough conditions. I had a wonderful weekend with friends. I finished without any injuries and have been able to run (nice and easy) the last few days just fine.

Thanks to all of you who wished me good luck before and congratulated me after! It really means a great deal to me! :)

Less than 7 weeks now until the NYC Marathon!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New PR!

I did it! It rained. It poured. It hailed. It thundered. We saw lightning. It rained harder. It hailed some more. My teeth chattered while I ran at times. My feet literally were splashing and sloshing IN my shoes.

And yet, I felt awesome. My stomach was great (two super fast pit stops, only lost 2 minutes). I will share what I did differently with my nutrition in my race recap post coming soon.

I ran tough. I ran hard. I ran fast. I never gave up.

I finished in 3:28:15

6th in my age group of 154 (top 3%)

27th out of all 896 female runners (top 3%)

187th out of all 1884 runners (top 9%)

Yeah baby.

Alana and Terzah did awesome. It was a super fun trip.

Lots of details coming soon. Now I need some sleep. :)



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Calm and Peaceful

Once again, I am marathon ready! I have a short and easy three mile run in the morning (that I am hoping to do with Josh) and then I will be hitting the road around noon with my friend, Alana, for Logan, UT.

My Brooks running bag is packed and I am well-hydrated, adequately tapered, and as rested as a mom of 12 can get. A couple of days ago I was exploding with excitement. I am still very excited, but now I have a really calm and peaceful feeling about this weekend and this race. It's going to be good. It's going to be fun. I am going to enjoy it and smile a lot. I am going to run fast. :)

Yay for the Top of Utah Marathon!


I am bringing the lap top and have late check out at the hotel so we can go back and get showered before the drive home, so I will post a quick update as soon as I can after the race, and I will be updating on Twitter so if you don't follow me yet and want to, you can follow @seemomrunfar


The next time I post I will qualify to be a Marathon Maniac! :)

On to marathon mission 3:2x:xx

More soon!!

Another winner!

The winner in this week's drawing for my Team MEB Fundraising Giveaway is
KEVIN from 5K's and Cabernets

Congrats Kevin! Check out this post and then send me an email at full house mom @ g mail dot com and let me know which TWO prizes you would like. I still have available a Gotein prize pack, your choice of shirts from Tri It Wear, blue Flex Buds from h20 Audio, a pack of products from 2Toms, a box of Snickers Marathon protein bars, and two books from author Mary Ostyn.

A big, huge, humble THANK YOU to all of you who have donated and helped me raise money for Team MEB and kids in need in the U.S. and Eastern Africa. I only need to raise about $500 more to be at my goal of raising $3000. Yay! (To donate you can click here. THANKS!!!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Exploding with excitement

I am running another marathon in four days! My bib number for the Top of Utah Marathon is 2239. I am excited!!! I love racing. This weekend is going to be special because two dear friends are running their FIRST marathons (and I am so excited I get to be there for that!), I get to meet and hang out with Terzah who I love already (and hopefully see her BQ!!) and there will be lots of other running bloggers I hope to meet and friends there. Running is awesome and racing is a blast, and getting to do it with friends around just makes it that much better.

I wish Josh could be there, but the kids are pretty tired from this first two weeks of school and an early morning road trip just wouldn't be in their best interest. But I know they will be cheering me on from home and I will have more awesome texts from Josh to look forward to when I finish.

Speaking of Big Daddy.... he is sick. Scratchy throat, snotty nose, cranky mood. Four days before my race. As I said on Twitter this morning, I love that man with all my heart and soul, but if he gets me sick, he's toast. :)

I also found out this morning that my number for the NYC Marathon in November is 11533, and I am in the BLUE course, WAVE #1, Corral #11, 9:40 am start (first start). Woo hoo! Top of the bridge and earliest possible start. Yeah baby. That ROCKS.

AND, I get to register for the Boston Marathon tomorrow morning at 8am. I am pretty  much exploding with marathon excitement right now.

I feel ready for Top of Utah. I didn't really have a plan to recover/taper last week and just ran nice and easy as felt good, and I ended up running a lot (58 miles...whoops). My long run was only 11 miles though and I am definitely keeping things very light this week. My legs feel awesome. One hammy is a bit on the tight side but I don't feel it when I run, so I am stretching and rolling it lots and the PT hit it with the ultrasound today just to be on the safe side (I am so spoiled that a PT who happens to be a runner comes to my house once a week!) I haven't felt my Achilles at all in weeks, and I am SUPER happy about that.

My goal for Top of Utah is short and sweet - get under 3:30. On one hand the pressure is sort of off because I got my BQ in Pocatello, but I know I am ready to run a 3:30 if things come together right and that is what I want to do.

Here is my free finish line picture from Pocatello. :) And hey, if you are looking for a great fall marathon next year, it is only $40 to register for the Pocatello Marathon right now. You get a great, fast course (they were #9 in the country this year for Boston qualifiers), super nice swag, the nicest finish line food and area I have ever seen, a very big and nice medal, a very well organized rice, a free finish line photo, and you get to see me. :)


I am off to cheer on my 13 year old, Ryan, in his first cross country race of the year. He has made a ton of progress in the last year and loves to run, so I am way excited about that too. :)

Ok, anyone who joins in my "exploding marathon excitement" with a donation today to my Team MEB fundraising will get 26 extra entries into my fundraising giveaway. (Next winner drawn tomorrow)


CLICK HERE TO DONATE. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11

I got up this morning and ran 11 miles. My plan called for 10-12 miles, so it seemed fitting to run 11 miles on 9/11.

While I ran, I reflected and prayed a lot (which is typical for me on my Sunday runs). I thought a lot about the horror and heartbreak of this day, and at the same time of the strength of the American spirit. On this day 10 years ago we saw the very worst of what mankind can do, and yet we also saw some of the very best of mankind when firefighters, police officers and so many others showed amazing bravery, heroism, and selflessness in the face of fear, devastation, tragedy and death.

My run was harder than it should have been, but that seems appropriate for such a difficult day.

I am proud to be a native New Yorker. I am proud to be an American. I will never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

marathon advice

When I did my Q and A posts I got lots of marathon training questions that I am finally getting around to answering. Let me say that I am not a coach and since I have only run four marathons (soon to be five!) I am far from an expert, but I have successfully trained and gotten to all of my races healthy/injury free and have been able to consistently improve my times. I am a big believer though that the reason that there are so many different approaches to marathon training is because it is not "one size fits all" and that you have to find, through trial and error, what works for you.  So here is what works for me.

Any advice for training for a first marathon?  Books, etc. I should read?
Your first marathon is special! Enjoy the journey and recognize what an accomplishment it is. :)

I really enjoyed and found a lot of great/practical advice in Hal Higdon's book, Marathon: the Ultimate Training Guide. I also liked anything motivational (like Matty Long's "The Long Run").

My tips would be -
Trust in your training! If you pick a training plan, stick to it, and put the work (and miles!) in, you WILL be able to finish those long runs, and your first marathon. At the beginning of your training, looking at those long runs at the end of the training plan can be crazy scary, but the way that the mileage builds gradually really works.You can do it!

Don't stress about your time. If you haven't run a marathon before it is very hard to know what your marathon pace or goal pace should be. For your first marathon, concentrate on finishing, and treasuring the experience. Think of the marathon as your "victory lap" for all of the training you did. If you put unrealistic goals on yourself you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Plus, you are guaranteed a PR no matter what!

Experiment with fueling, clothing, shoes, etc. early on in the training, so by the time you get to your last long run before the marathon you can do a full "dress rehearsal" for race day. DON'T DO or TRY anything new on race day. Try out the gels, sports drink, outfit and everything else you want to run with. I promise that there are things you can wear with no problems for 10 miles that will rub you raw during 26.2, and that things you think are great on a medium length run that will drive you batty after 18 miles.

Don't underestimate taper (the 2-3 weeks of scaled back mileage and increased rest before race day). At that point the training is done, and you want to focus on staying loose, letting your legs heal/rest from all of the hard training, and going into your race as fresh and strong as possible.

Listen to your body. It is important to stick to your training plan, but it is more important to listen to your body. If you are really tired day in and day out (more so than usual!), try to get more rest. Make sure you are eating well and giving your body what it needs to be healthy and strong. If your training plan calls for a run and you are sick, stressed, hurt, or whatever, listen to your body and skip it or replace it. Keep your eye on the BIG PICTURE, as that is much more important than any single run.

I am about 20 pounds overweight and can't seem to lose it, even with all the running I do.  How did you eat to stay fueled for your runs, but not eat too much so that you could drop the extra pounds?


Even though you would expect to drop pounds like crazy with all the running you do training for a marathon, a lot of people find that they actually gain weight during marathon training. I have lost about 3-7 pounds during each marathon training cycle (without trying to lose weight, as I don't think that should be your focus during marathon training).

What works for me is just paying attention to what I put into my mouth, and planning my meals in advance. I know that when I get back from an 8 mile pace run I am going to be STARVING, so I plan what I am going to eat when I get back before I go, so I don't just walk in the door and make bad eating choices (which is so easy to do when you are starving!)  I "sort of" count calories... I know what I need in a day and I know about how much I take in a day (most days), and I plan my meals and snacks to be around that daily calorie goal. Most importantly, I focus on the fact that I am asking my body to do A LOT, and so I try to give it the best "fuel" possible to run on. I love food and enjoy eating, and have found lots of tasty but healthy things that I enjoy eating and are good for me.

I think the biggest reason people gain weight when they are marathon training is that they overestimate how many calories they are really burning, and feel entitled to eat a lot (and a lot of junk) because they are running a lot. If you go for a five mile run you  may feel like you have earned the right to eat whatever you want for the rest of the day, but the truth is one milkshake worth of calories completely balances out the calories burned in that five mile run.

I drink lots of water to stay well-hydrated, and for me it works well to eat three meals and two snacks during the day instead of three meals, and lunch is always my "bigger" meal of the day. I also make sure I always have lots of good healthy options to eat and snack on so that when I am hungry, I have easy/good choices.

I think about what I am going to eat before I eat it and ask myself if I am really hungry and if it is worth the calories. (This helps cut back on mindless snacking which really can add up).  But, I do treat myself sometimes too. Sometimes a treat is worth it! When I do eat something less than ideal, I have no guilt about it. Yesterday I had a lemon cookie the size of my head, and loved every crumb. I planned it into my daily calories and enjoyed the treat. It was worth the calories. :)

So it is possible to lose/maintain weight while you are training for a marathon (and the lighter you are technically the faster you will be), however I believe that while you are training for a marathon is not the best time to diet.

I would really like to get faster.  Should I even try to accomplish that while training for my first marathon?
How did you get so fast? :)
 I think that all runners of all levels have the ability to get faster, and I think that incorporating some speedwork into your marathon training can be fun and beneficial. If you have not done any speed training before I would start with just once a week. If you have done any sort of race or timed run you can use the McMillan calculator  to figure out target paces for different distances/work outs, or you can even just throw some fartleks in to your miles (short bursts of faster running... click on the link for more details).

I remember reading a quote that basically said if you wanted to run faster, you had to run faster. It seemed silly at first, but then it made sense to me. If I wanted to get faster than my usual 9:45-10:45 minute miles, then it was going to take doing something other than just always running 9:45-10:45 minute miles!!

I started with doing some short intervals workouts once a week. I found that I really enjoyed the speedwork. It was something different than my "usual" run and while it was hard to run fast, it was fun and satisfying. After a while I added in a second day of speedwork, where I did a tempo run or goal pace run. Since then I have consistently done speedwork 2-3 times a week and my times and paces have continued to drop steadily.

In my first race (a 5K in May 2009) I ran at a 10:29 average pace. I was thrilled with that!! My marathon pace now, just over two years later, is 7:49.  I plan on continuing with my speedwork and hoping to continue to improve my paces.

So, I am a believer that if you want to run faster, you have to run faster. And I think even a little bit of casual speedwork can benefit marathon training for just about anyone.

How did you incorporate hill training on the treadmill?  Do you have a preset program or did you increase the incline gradually?
 I live in the Rocky Mountains, so hill training is a part of pretty much any run I go on outside. I live at the top of a hill and the only way to get home is to run up hill. On the treadmill it is tempting to make things as easy as possible for yourself, but that doesn't pay off in the long run. I use this chart to figure out what incline to use on my regular runs on the treadmill, and for hill training on the treadmill I typically set the incline at steep elevations for short hill intervals, or less steep for longer intervals. I haven't used any of the set programs.

How often do you weight train?  Do you do a full body routine each time?
I don't work out with weights (although I probably should) but I do a strength training routine twice a week. I have been doing it since the beginning of the year and it does seem to have made a difference if my overall tone and fitness. I do squats, lunges, several different kicks, pushups, planks, v-sits, crunches, etc. They are all exercises I got from running magazines and I have added reps as I have gotten stronger and occasionally I add/change some of the exercises.

I also am a big fan of rolling and stretching. I use a foam roller religiously and really think it keeps my muscles happy. I roll after every run, and again at night on days that I had a hard run or if anything is sore or tight.

One last piece of advice for me for first time marathoners - keep a journal! It is really fun to look back at how many miles you have completed and how far you have come. It is also really useful to keep track of how many miles you have on your running shoes, what you may have done to cause an injury, to figure out if you are over-training or slacking, etc. I keep track online, but I also have a paper journal that I keep and I love looking through it.

Ok, what is your best piece of advice for someone training for their first marathon?

Happy weekend everybody! More soon. :)

Winners!!!!

I was so distracted/excited about my BQ that I forgot to announce the winner of the YMX Tribal Sea Running T and this week's winner in my Team MEB giveaway.

The lucky winner of this awesome shirt is-

Jennifer Leah of Miles, Muscles and Mommyhood!

Congrats! Send me an email at fullhouse mom at g mail dot com and I will send you the info on how to get your shirt!






and this week's winner in my Team MEB fundraising giveaway is-

TMB of RACING WITH BABES
 Congrats! Send me an email at fullhouse mom at g mail dot com and let me know which TWO prizes you want. :)



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

He is THE greatest

This is just a quick post to say that Josh is the greatest. Besides being my true love, soul mate, and best friend, he makes me laugh, is fun to be around, and supports me in all that I do. He never makes me feel guilty about my running or racing. He is an incredible father. I can't ever imagine being with someone else. I love him with all my heart. Our relationship is fun and flirty and I am so grateful for the love and support we give to each other.

Here is a look into how awesome Josh is. Here are the texts that Josh sent me after the Pocatello Marathon on Saturday morning.
(these are after I texted him that I had finished... knew I had BQ'ed and PR'ed but wasn't sure of my exact time)

- I've been awake since 6 and watching the clock. Praying. Watching. Praying.Watching. Praying.
- You're so awesome. I love you.
- I knew you would blow it up.
- Yes, let me know your time and place and the level of your awesomeness. I'll continue to mix the kids clothes up in the laundry room.

(After I sent him my time, etc.)
- Holy crap! Erin, that is incredible!
- I can feel your awesomeness coming through the phone.
- My blackberry is on fire. Too hot to handle.
- You are amazing. I love you too.
- i wish I was there to share this with you.
- Simply amazing.
- Cool down, roll, stretch, relax a little, soak it in.

- I can already tell... you are not going to take it easy at Top of Utah.
- Poor Alana.
- You won't be able to resist. (He knows me so so well!)
- But right now, really, really, enjoy this accomplishment. Really. Don't let it slip by too quickly. Enjoy this.
- This is the day you qualified for the Boston Marathon. September 3, 2011. :)
- I am super excited and I will celebrate here. I am a little emotional too. So proud of you.

Yeah, he really is the greatest. Love you Big Daddy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BQ race recap

Sorry to be slow getting this recap done. I actually needed a few days to process this race experience. For some reason I had a very delayed reaction as far as feeling truly excited about my accomplishment. It was yesterday morning when I finally FELT, "Holy cow! I qualified for Boston! By over 12 minutes!" and felt excited and even a little proud.

So as usual, here is my race recap with a million details. For those that don't want the million details, here is a quick, two-paragraph sum up.

The weather was great. The course is really, really good.The Pocatello Marathon gives some very nice swag. My legs felt awesome (never even noticed my achilles). My stomach was a total nightmare, and still isn't 100%. Ugh was I sick. I lost over 5 minutes in portapotties. I never gave up. While I did not meet my goal of being under 3:30 on the clock, I actually "ran" the race in 3:26-3:27, I qualified for Boston by over 12 minutes, and I shaved 25 minutes off my marathon PR from April. I could not be more proud of my time of 3:32:26 (my official time originally was 3:32:36 but was adjusted by 10 seconds. I'll take it!) because it DID NOT COME EASILY.  This race was hard fought.

I WILL be racing Top of Utah (not just running it for fun), on Sept. 17 (11 days!), as long as my legs continue to feel so great. While I am crazy proud of my results in Pocatello, I know I have a faster time in me under better (not violently ill) conditions, and I am ready to run it. Plus, the TOU course is great, and I am excited to race again.

Ok, now for the detailed version. :)

I left my house about 10:15am on Friday morning and got to Pocatello, Idaho just before 12:30pm. As soon as I got into the parking lot of the Red Lion, I met up with the wonderful Cari. She is amazing! She was so sweet and genuine and fun to be with. I am excited she doesn't live that far away. :) We went into the hotel, got my bib and swag and walked around the tiny expo for a minute. The Pocatello Marathon gives some really nice stuff to the runners. I got a great black duffel bag with neon green accents, a long sleeved tech shirt (feminine cut and nice fit!), some samples, and a bag of
potatoes.

duffel bag and shirt
 We decided to head to lunch and found an Applebee's, and shortly after we got our food, EMZ and Dawn arrived. It was great to meet them in person and we had a fun lunch, and then headed back over to the hotel/expo. The expo was tiny but I saw some runners I know and it was nice to chat. I thought that Emily and Dawn were going to be sharing a hotel room with me but there were some changes of plans/miscommunication so I ended up in a hotel room by myself.  In some ways it was really nice, in some ways it was kind of hard.


Yeah, I fit in Emily's armpit :)
On the plus side, I was able to lay my stuff out all over the room without worrying about anyone else, I was able to get up super early like I needed to without worrying about waking anyone up, I could hog the bathroom, and it was easy to go to bed nice and early because there was no one to chat with. On the flip side, the night before a race I have so much excitement and so many thoughts running through my head that it is nice to have someone to talk to and hang out with (plus I am just not a fan of being alone). It all worked out fine though.

I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon alone resting, getting my stuff ready for the morning, etc. and then I met back up with Emily and Dawn for dinner. Note to travelers - there are not a whole lot of dining options in Pocatello, especially if you want pasta! We ended up at Chili's which had very limited options for what I would want the night before a marathon (I ended up with salmon, rice and bread). It was really fun hanging out with Emily and Dawn. They are just as awesome as they seem on their blogs. :)

 I was back in my hotel room nice and early and was actually laying down in bed by 8:45pm. It was REALLY nice to be in town the day before a race so early and not having to be up late getting things ready. I talked to Josh on the phone, read for a little while, and then had the best night's sleep I think I've ever had before a race!

I set my alarm for 3:15am, and right after getting up I drank some Accelerade and ate a small bowl of oatmeal sweetened with honey (which is what I have done for all of my marathons). I got dressed and ready. I went back and forth about whether to wear my compression tights or shorts (I have always worn tights for my marathons) but ended up in shorts and didn't regret it. I was feeling excited and "ready", and not super nervous.

self portraits with a tiny camera are hard, but I wanted something from before the race!  

I left the hotel room and went out front to get on a bus to the start line, and walked right into Dawn and Emily. We got on the bus and were up at the start a short while later. It was still DARK and cold, and there were tons of stars. I even saw a shooting star which I took as good luck. :)

We did the usual - waited in line for a portapotty, stripped off warm clothes (it was chilly!), and checked our gear bags on the UPS truck, and the race started just a few minutes late and we were running by about 6:18am (I think).

The first 13 miles of this course are all downhill (in some spots pretty steep downhill) and then the second 13 miles or so is pretty flat, with a couple of short climbs and a couple of downhills (over the second half the overall elevation change is -150ft). I knew that negative splits weren't likely on a course like this, but my goal was NOT to go out too fast on the first downhill half, no matter how tempting it was. My goal pace was 7:50, and I told myself 10-15 seconds per mile faster was ok on the steepest downhills (and then a bit slower on the uphills later was ok) but nothing faster.

For those first few miles my stomach felt great and I had no clue what was in store for me. I was chilly but knew that the temps were perfect for racing and everything felt pretty dang good! I settled in to my pace, the little bit of nerves I had disappeared as they always do once I get to running, and I concentrated on my pace, my form, my breathing and everything around me. It was a very quiet race, without any spectators until the last miles. I felt strong. As usual I did not run with an IPOD. I don't think I'll ever race with music again. I really like focusing and concentrating on my running and everything around me and soaking in the experience.

My stats for the first five miles were:
7:40, 7:41, 7:44, 7:48, 7:34

Shortly before the end of that fifth mile my stomach started to rumble and I knew I needed a pit stop. I had been hoping to make it to the aid station at 8 miles before stopping, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was in and out quickly, and took my first Accel gel as I got back on the course. (I carried Accelerade in my handheld bottle and took an Accel gel at miles 5, 10, 15 and 20. I also took water at some of the aid stations).

I felt good, until my stomach started acting up again around mile 9. I was frustrated to have to stop again, but sometimes on my long runs I need two quick pitstops in the first 10-12 miles and then I can run forever without any more problems, so that is what I was hoping for. I was still feeling good overall.

My splits for the next 6-10 miles were
8:45 (pit stop number 1), 7:40, 7:48, 7:50, 8:59 (pit stop number 2)

I took my second Accel gel at mile 10 and was still feeling ok. My time was still where I wanted it to be and we were getting to the second half of the race which is usually when I feel the strongest and is the part I like the best.

At the half way point we went past where the half marathoners had just started. I am not sure what my exact half split was, but I was just about 1:42, which is exactly where I planned on being (shooting for close to even mile splits and hopefully only one or two quick pit stops in the first half and none in the second half).

In mile 14-15 I started to feel sick to my stomach. I tried to ignore it and run it out, but it was not going to be ignored. The cramps made it hard to run and my whole body felt pretty icky. I was hydrated well, it wasn't hot, and I was fueling well, so I have no idea what the culprit was. In the 15th mile I ended up making my third pit stop. SHEESH.

Splits for miles 11-15 were:
7:38, 7:41, 8:00, 7:37, 8:56 (third pitstop)

From this point on, it was a grunt. It was all hard work and my body just didn't feel very good. I knew I was slowing down a little but that my goals were still possible. It would have been really easy to give up after the third pitstop but I wasn't ready to quit and WANTED that BQ, PR and 3:30 BADLY. And if I wasn't going to achieve what I wanted, then I was going to give it my all trying.

Splits for miles 16-20 were
8:04, 7:55, 7:53, 7:51 and 7:58.

Mile 20-21 had a big uphill and it was the only time of the race that I felt HOT. It was sunny the whole time but pretty cool (I think mid 40's at the start and low 60's at the finish). At this point there were half marathoners and 10k runners/walkers on the course and I felt like I was the only one running up the hill. There was an icky headwind that made the hill that much harder.

I am proud to say that I never once walked during the entire race. I ran the whole thing.

I was worried that having half-marthoners, 10k runners and 5k runners/walkers all out on the course would make it really crowded and would involve a lot of weaving, but it wasn't bad at all. The only time I had to work to get around someone was the half marathon pace groups because they were in big groups. But most of the runners and walkers were very good about noticing when a marathoner was coming and cheering us on and getting out of the way.  The spectator crowds were thin and not very loud, but every little "good job" and "you look great" meant a lot at that point!

After the mile 22 mark, my stomach started really cramping again. AGAIN. I have never (ever) had to stop four times in a marathon or even in a long run. Usually after mile 10-12 I am good indefinitely. I was SO frustrated and so tired and felt so icky. And of course, after I stopped at the portapotty at mile 22+ of a marathon, every muscle in my legs wanted to CRAMP.  At that point the voice in my head saying "GIVE IT UP" was really loud. It was telling me I was not going to be able to run the last four miles after stopping, that my time was completely out the window after four pit stops, and that there was no reason to keep killing myself at that point. But I told that voice to SHUT UP.

I took off and went for it, knowing that with just over four miles left I had nothing to lose.  The end of the course was familiar from running the half last year, and the little bit I was able to do math at that point, I knew that if I ran strong, I would still definitely PR, I could still BQ by a decent amount,  and I could be pretty dang close to my goal of being just under 3:30. I still didn't feel great, but I found some inner strength and ran those last four miles strong.

My splits for miles 21-26.2 were
8:30 (this was the big hill), 8:22, 9:33 (pit stop number FOUR)
then 7:53, 8:05, 7:47, and the .2 was a 7:14 pace.

Just before I hit the finish line I heard Cari cheer for me (which was amazing) and I was SO happy to have reached the finish line and to have finished strong and not given up even though it was a hard race for me. I couldn't tell from the clock what my time was (it just had the time of day since there were four different races with four different start times finishing) and I had missed starting my Garmin until after the start of the second mile so I wasn't sure exactly what my finish time was, but I knew I was close to 3:30 and I knew I had the PR and BQ in the bag.
Cari snapped this as I ran by. This is just before the finish line and I was so excited to see her! The official race photos will be up tomorrow and I will post those too.
 I was happy and satisfied, but not super emotional, and I am not sure why. I should have been! It was kind of weird/sad not to have anyone cheer me on along the course or there at the finish to celebrate with, although I do love the runner/race atmosphere. I got my gear bag, changed into flip flops, stretched, put on a hoodie and contemplated eating something, although I still felt really sick to my stomach. They had an amazing spread... barbeque pork sandwiches and baked potatoes from Ruby Tuesday's, bagels, bread, fruit, water, chocolate milk, ice cream, etc., although I really did not want any of it.  After a while I had some chocolate milk and a piece of a bagel which helped some.

I went over to the kiosk they had to check my final results and got my time of 3:32:26. I texted Josh, Jenny, Dad, Pam and Alana, and then went looking for Emily and Dawn. Dawn was hoping to BQ and I wondered if I had missed them coming in, but it was a rough race for her too and they finished just after the four hour mark. She was disappointed and I felt kind of guilty and didn't want to celebrate and make her feel any worse.

I was still really cold so I went and sat in the sun (and picked at a banana and another half of a bagel) and watched a little of the award ceremony, and then took a bus back to the hotel to shower and pack up.

Normally at this point I would be STARVING, but my stomach was still just not happy at all. I met up with Emily and Dawn to say goodbye. Emily gave me the coolest "BQ present" ever. Check it out!

  I am not crafty at all and I was so impressed and touched that she actually made something for me. How thoughtful is that? I told you she is awesome. :)

I called Josh to tell him I was on my way and started driving. I was really tired, but after a quick stop for some lunch about half way through the ride, I got home safe and sound and enjoyed hanging out with the family for the rest of the day.

Josh and the kids were all excited and proud and they had fun checking out the medal. Josh really was very wonderful and excited about the whole thing and wishes he could have been there. Me too!

On Sunday we went to church and relaxed and then walked up to the playground and spent a fun night at the park together as a family. My legs were tired and a little sore but felt better than they had after any other of my other marathons. I was happy, but still wasn't feeling the excitement that I thought I should.

Then yesterday morning I got up and ran an easy six miles with Josh. (I know recovery is different for everyone... for me, I recover better and feel better with slow, easy miles compared to days totally off). A couple of miles into the run, all of a sudden I started feeling excited and proud about my accomplishment.  I kept thinking, "I qualified for Boston!" "I qualified for Boston by A LOT!" "I didn't quit when it would have been REALLY easy to quit!" "I fought hard!" "I had a huge PR!" "I kicked butt!"

I am not sure why it took almost 48 hours for the excitement and pride to set in, but it did. :)

And I still don't really know what caused my stomach distress. But it was bad. Really bad. The rest of Saturday I could barely eat. On Sunday I was still making frequent bathroom trips. Yesterday things still weren't normal. Today things finally (finally) seem to be on the mend. I do know that I don't ever, EVER, want Accelerade or Accel gel again. I don't know if that is what upset my stomach (I have used it before without issue on long runs and really liked it a lot) but just the THOUGHT of either of them makes me gag even now. Back to my Hammer products I go.

My final stats were
19th out of all 207 women finishers (top 9%)
7th in the women's 30-34 age group (top 21%)
83rd out of all 488 male and female marathon finishers (top 17%)

Amanda was happy that I beat a lot of boys. :)

I am so hoping that I get in to Boston. With my qualifying time I get to register with the second group (that has qualified by 10 minutes or more) so I think my chances are pretty good. I will know in a week!

But for right now I am concentrating on recovering and getting ready to run Top of Utah in 11 days. My legs feel pretty dang good. They are a little tight, but I am rolling and stretching and running nice and easy. For Top of Utah I am traveling and spending the weekend with Terzah (who I cannot WAIT to meet) and my good friend Alana who is running her first marathon, so it should be a very special and fun weekend. I am already excited.

THANK YOU to all of you who have sent emails, comments, tweets, etc. of encouragement, congrats and support. Most people don't really know what it means to qualify for the Boston Marathon or what goes into a 3:32 marathon. So thanks. It really does mean a lot.

More soon!