Monday, September 15, 2008

Side Effects of Kindergarten

This is what happens in the afternoon after a busy morning at Kindergarten. You might just want to curl up with your favorite blanket and take a nap.....most days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Time to Build an Ark

It started raining on Friday. Just a light sprinkle. I actually went for a little run after dropping the kids off at school. It was nice and refreshing. After I got home it started raining a bit harder, and harder and then it was pouring. It rained and rained and rained. When we woke up on Saturday morning the ground had already had enough. Even though the rain wasn't coming down hard anymore there still was no place for the new moisture to go. And thus the problems began. We noticed that water was beginning to pool in our backyard. We checked out our front yard and realized we had a situation! The water was completely covering our cul-de-sac and came up in our yard well past the sidewalk. AND IT WAS STILL RAINING!

Parker decided to rescue his soccer goal before it floated down-stream.

This is the view from our house up to the main street. It looked like a lake!

This is the view from our neighbors yard.

While we were fortunate enough not to have water leaking into our basement, that was not the case for everyone on our street. Our neighbors had an issue with rain water filling up their basement window wells causing water to leak into their basement. We spent about an hour and a half dipping buckets of water out of the window wells and depositing the water onto their lawn. It kept the situation at bay, but if you stopped it filled right back up. At one point I feared that we might be doing this all day, and then Reid showed up with a PUMP! He stuck it in the well and voila! all the water was pumped out in a matter of minutes. I'm glad he showed up but was secretly wishing he had made an appearance an hour earlier!

Here were are, looking like drowned rats! But, the basements stayed DRY!

After the boys got the window wells under control, our attention shifted to that of our children. Here you will see water running into our neighbors side yard looking for the french drain. Too bad it didn't realize that the drain had no where to drain to. Everything was so saturated and full that there was no place for the water to go. So what did it do? It created a swimming pool!

The kids got on their swimming suits and blew up the rafts! They had a great time!

Luckily the water levels went down by the end of the day. We had quite a parade of city vehicles on our street working to get this situation under control. Hopefully they will find the root of the problem and can fix it so that this doesn't happen the next time we get a big rain. Although the kids are likely to be disappointed, our basements will appreciate it!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Shoes

Meet the Saucony Hurricanes--my new running shoes.

Only they don't really seem new! See, they're my second pair of the same shoe. I bought my first pair in May and I have officially worn them out. I ran hundreds of miles in them. Lately I noticed that my arches were hurting while running. I also felt that the arches seemed much higher than when I bought them. That was strange because I never owned a pair of shoes that grew taller arches.

Can you tell which ones are new and which ones have been with me for hundreds of miles?

Upon closer investigation I realized that the arches in my shoes hadn't grown, but instead I had worn the outsides of the heels completely out. This made the outsides slant down making it feel as though the arches were tall.

So, since it's getting close to the race, I decided I'd better go ahead and replace my old friends and get a new pair just like 'em so I can get them nice and broken in before the big day. I wonder how many miles they will go?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Two weeks after the Sweet 16 disaster I was scheduled to run 18 miles.....on the same course. Have any idea how bad that can psyche you out? It's hard enough to run 18 miles anyway, but a bad attitude can certainly make it worse. I have spent the two weeks following the "Stinky 16" telling myself that it was all about the weather. "Really, I'm prepared to run 18 miles. I can do it. It won't be 92 with 70% humidity on the lakefront again. I love to run. This is good for me. I can do this. This is nothing compared to cancer treatments. Just be glad you can run at all!" Quite a mantra, eh?

Well, it worked! I ran EIGHTEEN MILES and even felt GREAT afterwards!!!

My week didn't actually start off that great. Parker had come down with a cold/sinus issue and it seemed like the whole family picked it up right away. I felt so lousy on Monday and Tuesday that I didn't even think about running. Ok, well, I thought about it, but they weren't pleasant thoughts! On Thursday I woke up to find that my husband didn't go to work. His throat hurt too badly. Can I just say that he's probably missed work only 2 times since we've been married because of sickness? Darn it! We were all sick. I made an appointment for him and thought, "what the heck, I'll make one for me, too!"

My doctor decided that I either had a virus that an antibiotic wouldn't fix or walking pneumonia. It seems to me that there is a lot of play in-between those two things so I pushed for the drugs pulling the ol', "I'm running 18 miles on Saturday and I need to be healthy" bit. It worked. I left with a script for a Z-pack. My husband didn't fare as well. He got a pat on the back and was told to buy some over the counter meds to manage the symptoms. I told him he should've tried the running 18 miles thing.....

Although I still wasn't sure WHAT was wrong with me, I knew one thing for certain.....running would not make me feel better. So I sat, on my rear, all week. I had no idea what was going to happen when I attempted to run 18 miles on Saturday, but I knew I wasn't going to miss it. Running somewhat sick with a large group of people is WAAAAY better than running days later, a bit healthier ALONE! So off I went to run.

The first thing I did was find my stopwatch, aka Isaac. I had determined to run 8 minutes and walk 1 1/2 minutes from the start. And, off we went--Isaac, Jim and Jen. At first my lungs know....from my walking pneumonia and all. But then I settled into a rhythm and realized that it was just the cold air that I was breathing. (It was around 58-60 degrees when we started out and was maybe 68 when we finished. I think the humidity was somewhere around ZERO!) Maybe it was only a virus after all. The pneumonia sounded a lot more serious. It's one thing to run 18 miles, but to run 18 miles with walking pneumonia, well, we need a new adjective for that!

But seriously, all in all for feeling lousy all week and NOT RUNNING OR EXERCISING ONE TIME since the 12-miler the Saturday before, I felt pretty good. I'm sure the 4 motrin I took pre-run assisted this!!

It was hard to stop after that first 8 minutes, but I kept reminding myself that it would pay off in the end. We went through this cycle and found that the first hour just slipped right by....and we all felt great. We weren't in a big hurry, but we kept a steady pace. If we needed to stop for water, we stopped for water, but we didn't linger long.....not like on the 16-miler. And we didn't even stop at every water stop. It was a fantastic run.

I felt great until about mile 14, and then my legs really began to ache--my knees especially. I fought through another mile but then it became increasing hard to do the 8 minutes of running without any stopping! There were 2 or 3 segments that I could go only 6 or 6 1/2 minutes without the walk break. Jim stayed with me although I think he could have continued running. Isaac had hit "the wall" at about mile 14 and he ended up lagging way behind. I guess the few segments of shortened running helped, because on the last two sets I was able to run the full 8 minutes, all the while increasing my pace. I always like to finish a run strong! A just like that, the 18-miler was finished. Even with walking we averaged under a 10-minute mile pace! And as a side-note, we finished before a pair of other runners that started out with us but surged on as we took our first walk-break. They told me afterwards that they ran the whole thing and didn't walk once--except at the water and bathroom breaks. I agree, this is impressive, but if I can keep up with them....and even finish a few minutes before them with the walk breaks, then I'm all about the walk breaks! This spurred me on in the latter miles....I know I can do anything for just 8 minutes!

After the 16-miler there were massage tables set up and Athletico supplied people to stretch us out. I looked very hard and did not see any tables this week. Bummer. I ran two miles farther and no stretching? I was on my own. Not an easy task, and I definitely didn't do as good a job. Also, after the 16-miler I had a massage. Didn't happen after the 18-miler. I hadn't scheduled an appointment, and after I got home Parker had a soccer game. I thought I'd just let it slide since the run went so much better. BAD DECISION! I paid for that all week! Massage after long run=less sore muscles. Remember that!

I was very tired after I got home on Saturday mostly because I got up at 5 am to get all the way downtown for a 7 am start. My head started hurting a bit so I thought a nap would be helpful. I slept only 30 minutes or so and woke up with my head pounding! Rats. I went to Parker's game despite my headache. Another bad decision. I was caught somewhere between a horrible sinus headache and a migraine. Fearing that the walking pneumonia was "all in my head" I realized that I had probably been suffering from a sinus infection that was severely angry with me for plodding on the pavement for just inside of three hours. And it took it's revenge. I can no longer say that I have never thrown up from a headache! I went to bed at 6:30 pm and didn't get up until after 7 the next morning....headache gone!

I didn't attempt to run again until Tuesday evening. I was scheduled to run only 20 minutes, and my left knee hurt with every step. Here it is Thursday evening and I haven't run since. Maybe I'll go for a run in the morning. I think my sinuses are under control and I have a knee brace that I've been wearing for long runs. Looks like I'll have to incorporate it into my short runs as well. It's funny to me that my now short runs used to be my long runs!

So, what was different between the 16 and the 18? I've thought about this a lot. The only things that were different were: 1) I remembered to take 4 motrin before the 18 2) taking the whole week off from running before the 18 3) adopting the walk/run 4) the temperature and humidity. This is what I think about the differences: 1) Even 4 motrin didn't kill the pain come mile 14 2) I took the week off but I was sick! 3) the run walk no doubt helped me feel better and finish strong 4) THE HUMIDITY! There's no nice way to say it....the humidity sucks! And it made EVERYONE have a stinky run. Everyone struggled with the 16, and most finished the 18 without a hitch. I'm praying for nice weather on October 19!

Now I have a 12-miler to look forward to on Saturday at the Prairie Path, and then I will be back at the lakefront for the 20-miler. This will be my longest training run before the marathon. We will begin to taper our training until the event. I KNOW I will be ready! I LOVE TO RUN!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sweet 16 Aftermath

The aftermath of the sweet 16 was not nearly as bad as the event itself. Thanks to my wonderful massage (kudos to you, Nancy!), I was hardly sore from the 16 mile disastrous run. The next week went just fine and I followed my training schedule perfectly.

Saturday I met my group out at Waterfall Glen to run just 12 miles. Shoot. That's nothin'! And the run proved great! I ran the first 8 miles literally without stopping. I noticed something odd, though. One of the people that I usually run with, Isaac, had decided after the disastrous 16 mile long run that he needed to adopt a run/walk strategy if he was going to make it through the long distance runs. Up until this point we had all just been, well, running. So, when we started off on our 12 mile trek, Isaac set his watch and stopped after the first 8 minutes to speed walk for a minute and a half. Well, I wasn't stopping! My heart rate wasn't even up yet and we hadn't even rounded the first mile! So I kept going....and so did the rest of our little group.

I slowed down at the first water stop to take off my shirt (luckily I was wearing a tank top underneath!) and Isaac blew past me. No biggie. But I spent the rest of the first 8 miles trying to catch up to him! He stopped for a water break at mile 8, and that is the ONLY reason I finally caught him. At this point I had run 8 miles non-stop at a pretty decent clip and had just completed the hilly part of the course. Running 8 minutes and walking 1 1/2 minutes sounded quite enticing....especially since Isaac was keeping his pace ahead of I joined in.

The last 4 miles went by very quickly, and with all of the energy I saved during my little walk-breaks I was able to run in the last portion at about an 8 minute mile. Not bad considering I just completed 12 miles. And, we finished before the rest of our group. I am now sold on the run-walk theory....especially in the aftermath of the Sweet 16. And, changing my strategy gives me the opportunity to say that the 18-miler will be different...even if everything else remains the same.