Monday, July 26, 2010

But HOORAH I finished my first half marathon!

LOL. I really should be ecstatic about it right? I did accomplish what I set out to do at the beginning of the race.
All week I worried about 90+ degrees and high humidity. It seriously was making me sick to my stomach the days leading up to the race. Then it changed to storms, scattered thunderstorms maybe ending in the am. At 2:30 am the storms woke me up so I listened to the rumble through my area and wondered if they would end before the race started. As I left for the race it was not raining but the clouds were rolling in.

The race was about an hour away from my house and as I white knuckled it in my husbands beloved suv on the expressway I prayed I would make it to the race spot and that if it was indeed canceled that there was some place good for breakfast nearby. 

After getting my bib and goody bag my coach and I waited out in her car with her hubby until race time. We were already soaked from going from the parking area to the pick up area, so back to the starting line we went and the rain was indeed letting up. The temperature at the start of the race was actually pretty cool with a light mist in the air. Actually pretty nice running conditions considering what we've been running in on our long training runs up until then. 

I wish I could say I am a go with the flow type of person but I'm not really. I need a plan, a well thought out plan especially for a race. Now it would be pretty hard to get lost on a 5k or an 8k. But a half marathon weaving in and out of an industrial park area and forest preserve area well there was a lot of room for errors as we have seen. So after getting turned around the 1st time, 2nd time, 3rd time, 4th time, 5th time I pretty much was very, very frustrated. My energy, my mood was depleting and I felt defeated. Like seriously this is my first half marathon and it's a clusterfuck? come on. By mile 7 I just wanted to finish. 

The last 5 miles were a push to the finish. I actually got excited at the point of mile 8 where we saw other racers coming towards us who were at mile 12.5!! It's close. The finish it's close. I was in pain though. Not really pain in my foot from my plantar fascitiis but more so of the honking blister that developed on my right foot. So every step I took my body ached just a little bit more. At mile 12.5 I had a bit of a meltdown because I was just so f'ing over this race. I just wanted to be done. I wanted it over. 

We had done a 1min run/1min walk like our normal training runs since it was a training run. If we hadn't been lost and turned around we probably could have increased our run time but it just got to hard at the end for me. I was frustrated, I ached, I wanted to shoot the race officials for a piss poor production. I thanked God for the change in weather though because if it had been in the 90's and high humidity I clearly would have been a goner especially without any support on the course besides my coach Tammie and our new friend Lauran from Texas.

As we neared the point we ran by 3x already that day we knew we were in the home stretch, the finish line was close. We ran in the last .25 mile. Under the tunnel I could see the finish line and I took off. I always do that when I see a finish line. I sprint like there are zombie's chasing me. Why I can't do that the whole race who knows. I should try it though. I finally made it through the finish line!! Woo Hoo! If they were going to turn around and tell me they were out of medals I would have made the front page news for murder. They did have medals still and I received my first half marathon medal!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Three P's of a Race...

Piss Poor Production.

The three P's of a race that you should avoid at all costs.

With yesterday's early am thunderstorm's that rolled through our area and wrecked havoc  the race could have been canceled. Instead it was delayed by a half hour. The only way we found this out was by asking at check in because the people at check in weren't giving that information out freely. The check in was a mess because there were no signs telling people where to line up for their specific race: 5k, 10K, half marathon or inline skating race. Count them 4 events going on in ONE area.

None of the volunteers for the race were identifiable as someone with the race organization. No matching shirts or hats saying they were with the race. Maybe that wouldn't be a big deal if the volunteers and spectators weren't blending together on the roadway.  There were spectators just hanging out in the roadway blocking the course so when trying to figure out where to go was a huge cluster. The course direction markers were small and all looked the same for each event. Having volunteers that were identifiable would have been good if the volunteers actually had knowledge of the course. We had asked numerous people who said they were with the race what direction to go in only to be turned around. One man even showed us a map and said if you can figure it out good luck. Say what?

So with getting lost on the course a couple of times and trying to figure out the signage, the course people who told us to get off the road because the inline skaters were doing their thing, the empty water stations, no race officials coming up behind us checking on people or the route (NEVER saw anyone in 13.1 miles!!), to a poor girl who had to hitch a ride back to the start line from a passerby because of the lack of support from the race organizers I can clearly say this was a PISS POOR PRODUCTION. After thinking about this the fact that there was NOT a single race official on the course anywhere to make sure people were ok was truly irresponsible of the race officials.

They get one big plus in their favor. The fact that even after it took us so long to finish (in the allotted 3.5 hours) that there was still food and cold water at the end was the only plus I can give them. I've been to 5k's that have run out and all they could say was "sorry."

I can understand if this was a first year event but it was not. This year was year 3 of this production but after looking closely at the results for the first 2 years it does not show half marathon running results. So maybe this was something they decided to add on for this year. Whatever they do I hope they think long and hard about that decision.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I finished!

This is going to be short because I will have a LONG review of this "race" in the next couple of days.

How the sky looked as I left my house.

How the sky looked 10 mins away from the race. 

Race was postponed a half hour due to weather. To say that the staff of this event were um clueless would be an understatement. We basically called this an adventure race because of trying to find our way thru this maze. There was a 5k, 10k, half marathon and an inline skating event ALL on the same course. It was just way to much going on for it not to be better organized.

In the end this is the group of  "Three Musketeers". The lady on the left is Tammie my coach, the middle is Lauren a nice lady from Texas who ran with us and got lost with us the whole way. She's done 11 half marathons alone this year and just started running this year! And then me!

Finally with my well earned freaking medal!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Round up of give aways!

I hope to have compiled a few of the blogging world's giveaways.
Road ID giveaway over at 2010 Journey in Running that ends on 7/24.

Gone for a Run giveaway over at Barefoot Angie Blogspot that ends on 7/27.
Ryders sunglasses giveaway over at Sheri is Running Through Life that ends on 7/29.

Marcia over at Running off at the Mouth has two give aways going on. One is for her BIG fundraising drive ( until 7/31) and the other one is a gift card for CSN stores. that ends on 7/28.

I Run like a Girl giveaway over at I'm a sleeper baker that ends on 8/1.

I know there are more out there but these are just a few I've come upon. Good luck!

And wish me luck tomorrow for a good first half marathon experience and that the scattered thunderstorms that are predicted bypass our area. It's going to be another scorcher with high humidity so just a little bit of extra hang in there's will be welcome too! Thanks and I'll report back as soon as I can!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Musings

1. I need the sleep fairy to come to my house and sprinkle sleep dust on my two girls. Wake ups at 2 am for stuck legs in a crib or 4 am just for the heck of it are not fun. Little sleep this weekend led to...

2. A very whiny 4 mile short run yesterday. The humidity was not great although it was mostly overcast. My heart rate was high just shortly after starting the run. Well of course the first run part of our run/walk routine was up a hill but yeah that could be why my heart rate was 170+!!

3. We switched a long run weekend with a short run weekend so we could, well mostly because of me, can participate in my first half marathon next Saturday. Fitness for America Sports Festival will be my first half marathon. I already started to worry about the weather last week when it was in the 90's. Things started to look better last night and this morning. But this afternoon I am seeing thunderstorms for Saturday. < OM > breathe. relax.

4. I am heading to a boating trip with the ski club I belong to called The Wild Bunch in a few weekends. We do on occasion call ourselves The Mild Bunch since 90% of us have gotten married and had kids in the last few years. Unfortunately we couldn't get a sitter for our little girls so it will just be me and no hubby. :( This makes me really sad since we never have time to ourselves especially adding in this extra training for the marathon.

 5. I ordered a new pair of sandals today:
I've gotten tired of flip flops or really it's a "I really shouldn't wear flip flops" and I figured I haven't bought myself new sandals in over 2 years so I thought it was time. Hope these are winners!

6. The last week or so we have been moving my youngest to a milk free diet or aka casein free. We are hoping a move like this will help with some of her issues such as speech and sensory. This mostly is an eye opener process since reading every.single.label is frustrating as can be. Plus like Almond Milk should be considered like GOLD for the price you pay for a half gallon. oy. 

7.My fundraising efforts for The American Heart Association have slowed down a bit but if you are inclined to donate any amount to my cause you can go to my donation page. I appreciate any amount that is donated to such a great cause! Thank you!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot Hot Hot.

I should not complain.
I have a nice little air conditioned house.
It is not always this hot in Illinois. Last year I don't think we even had a few days above 90 degrees and this year we've had 9+ already.
When it's 10 below this winter I'll think about this day and wish I was back here.
I went outside to check on our little pool for the kids and I thought I was going to pass out while I stood there eating my Weight Watchers English Toffee Crunch Bar. Which I eat during the day outside so my 4 year year  old doesn't bust me.
The heat index in our area yesterday was 104.
I told my husband that I thought it was best if I did not run the 5k we were suppose to do. I already didn't do well at the Freedom 4 when it was like in the 80's so early in the morning and thought this would be worse.
He said he didn't blame me and said to call off the sitter but he was still going because he had 2 coworkers who were going with him to do their first real 5K.
So off he went with his 2 coworkers and I put the kids to bed.
When he returned later he looked like this:

He got a finishers medal!!

He told me it was crowded with people, that the bugs were biting (not him but everyone else) and he saw Carl   at the race! Everyone knew Carl ( I seriously have to look up this Carl guy!) and was cheering for him. Carl even finished before my husbands 2 friends from work.
He said Carl wasn't doing to hot because he had some type of catheter thing hooked up under his shorts or something.
Which made me sad and in awe of this guy.
Here it was a 104 heat index and this guy had a catheter hooked up to his you know what and he STILL ran a 5k. 
What was I doing? Sitting at home in the air. BLAH.
After he told me all this I just kept dwelling on the fact that I wussed out.
I dwelled on it so much that I woke up at 2:30 am and couldn't fall back asleep. 
At 3:00 am I said screw it and got up and put my running clothes on and hopped on the treadmill. 
I put in 5.24 miles (though it's suppose to be a 7 mile day) before my legs felt like lead and my shin's felt like shit. 
I know I can run the full 7 miles. I just hate my treadmill now. 
I do my long run's on a trail. 
The treadmills at the gym are nice and bouncy.
This treadmill got me going in the beginning. I would wake up with my little one and nurse her at 4 am and then change into my clothes to run and get my 3 miles in before the kids woke up a couple times a week.
Now it's the DREADMILL for me. 
Maybe I need better scenery to look at besides a shelving unit and some old DVD players. * hint * hint * wink * wink *
But maybe just maybe I just need to "Suck it up Buttercup" and get out in the heat and run.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

25 things about me...if I can think of 25 things...

1. I had purple and fuschia hair in high school.
2. I went to an all girls Catholic high school, the nuns at my high school were NOT happy about that. lol.
3. I got the itch to run after reading The Non-Runners Marathon Guide for Women: Get off your butt and on with your training by Dawn Dais. I am pretty sure I read this when I was pregnant with my first daughter but didn't start running til 2.5 years later.
4. My Aunt, my Godmother thinks my daughters Paige and Avery are named after a character on Knot's Landing (Paige) and Murphy Brown's (son was named Avery). Not really but those names did stick with me!
5. I have a speech impediment that only comes out with Os and Ls.
6. I met my husband on the internet.
7. I worked in a nuclear power plant for 6 years. The last three as a mechanic.
8. I miss my Mom every day.
9. I have a cackle. Not a laugh but a cackle. One of my friends when first meeting me asked me if it was real. It is indeed real.
10. I don't know how to swim. So I won't be starting any triathlon training anytime soon.
11. I LOVE country music. I grew up listening to rock and punk music but now mainly listen to country.
12. I ran my first 11.9 miles last Sunday. My longest training run yet! Woot! Woot!
13. I have two vertebrae that are cocked in two different directions between my shoulder blades. The cause of many random back issues.
14. My husband tells me I am his "kind of crazy". That's sweet right? lol.
15. My favorite ice cream is Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar crunch.
16. Last November I hit 50 lbs lost by doing Weight Watchers.
17. But now I had gained back about 14 lbs of that. Sigh. It will leave permanently one day.
18. I belong to a ski club and my nick name is Bomb Rat which translates to Bruises On My Butt.
19. When I was a kid I won a movie poster of Grease 2  . Most people think it's a horrible sequel but I have the soundtrack and "Coool Rider" makes me smile.
20. I hate that I am slow when I run. I dread the pick up bus for the marathon.
21. I am competing in my first half marathon next Saturday. I am getting more nervous by the day.
22. Some days I am a blonde, sometimes I am a brunette.
23. My husband and I are running our first 5k together tomorrow night. I can't wait!
24. I love Taco Bell. Which is not a good thing.
25. I need to love myself more.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marvelous Monday

Marvelous Monday is back! Today I am introducing you to a triathlete named Barb who I am sure you will be inspired by just as much as I am. Barb was recently featured in the May 2010 Chicago Athlete  magazine.

1. Introduce yourself to the BWMFA readers:
Married to fellow marathoner and triathlete Mike for 6 years this August
Advertising Exec, but most days I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

2. Can you give a brief history of your running life? When you started
etc, and why?

I ran track for two years in high school, mostly doing 100's, 400's, relays and hurdles. Then in college the extent of my running career was after boys and beer (oh, those were the days!). Most people find it amusing when I tell them I started running again because I jumped out of a plane.

For our first wedding anniversary in 2005, we celebrated by going skydiving and it was one of the most crazy, incredible and indescribable feelings I had experienced to date. I tried to think of a way I could achieve the same feeling with my feet firmly planted on the ground and I somehow got it in my brain that all I had to do was run a marathon.

And so I did.

It wasn't fast (painfully slow, in fact). And it certainly wasn't pretty. But the feeling of crossing the finish line far surpassed the rush I got from skydiving. As a result, I never really stopped running. I think there must be some truth to this exercise-induced endorphin theory.

3. Do you consider it continually training or just going out on a run, bike or swim?
More often than not, I've got a race on the horizon. It could be a 5k or a long course triathlon. It just depends on the day. So you could say that for the past 5 years I've been in a constant state of training. I'm lucky to be married to someone who "gets" it when I have to be up at 4:30 in the morning to go ride 80 miles with a 10k run on the back end.

4. What was your last big race?
Ironman Arizona in November 2009. I should have gone into hibernation afterward, but started running again 3 days later.

5. What advice can you give newbie runners?
You have to be willing in order to succeed. We are all capable of far more than we think or give ourselves credit for. As athletes, we often fear--and therefore avoid--the very thing that we need to work on
most. Be willing to be fearless, throw it all out there and see what happens. Nobody got better at running by taking the easy way out. You can always push more, give more and get faster...but only if you're willing to drive yourself to that point. So learn to love the sound of your own footfalls and heavy breathing during a hard speed workout. Figure out how to fight the demons in your head that tell you to slow down as your heart rate crawls up into zone 5. Because at the end of the day, you're the only person who can tell you that you can't do something...and you don't have to listen.

And one more thing. It's not about how fast you are. Forward motion is a pace.

6. What is your best race story?
Hands down was my first marathon--PF Chang's Rock 'n Roll Marathon in Phoenix. The day started with me vomiting from nerves at the start line and having to sign a waiver for the medical team to continue after endless protests stating I shouldn't race. I had Mike and my dad in tow (he drove down from Palm Desert where he was on vacation with my mom didn't come as they had additional guests in town), and the pair of them showed up on the course every 4-5 miles. I'll never forget the world of hurt that would meet me at mile 19. The bloody blisters at the end of the race. Or my mom surprising me on the side of the road at mile 24 with all of her girlfriends dressed up in crazy wigs, screaming my name with cowbells and signs. They drove 4
hours each way to see me for a combined total of 20 minutes. It made all the sweat and tears of the day worth it to have my parents and my husband see me cross the finish line of my first major race.

7. How has running affected your life in general?
When I started to run, I never anticipated the profound positive impact it would have on my life. In the beginning, I hated running. It was simply something I forced myself to do because I felt like I should and knew I needed to get in the miles in order to make it to the start line of that first marathon. It wasn't until I'd been
consistently running for close to 18 months that I actually started to enjoy it. I can't imagine my life without running.

8. Running gear you can't live without?
While there are far too many awesome gadgets and apparel pieces that I love and use on a regular basis to mention...the one thing I can't live without is ice. If I don't get an ice bath in after a long, hard workout...I'm asking for a world of hurt. It's a bit masochistic, but critical to recovery.

9. Do you have a blog?
I have two, actually. My adventure in Running & Triathlon: And I have the privilege to write about Awesome Stuff for the Trib's ChicagoNow community:

10. What are your plans for your training future?
Right now I feel like I'm at a bit of a crossroads with training. I'm slated to race long-course triathlon in a few weeks, but I actually haven't registered despite having been training for the past 4 months. It's partly because of some slight burn out going on (this whole constant state of training for 5 years is catching up to me) and part injured shoulder as I've been dealing with some rotator cuff issues that make swimming freestyle and staying in aeroposition on the bike a painful challenge. Plus I've been focusing on going long for the past however many years that I'm re-evaluating my plans for the season and I'm considering shifting gears and focusing on going short and building more speed with my "A race" being a half marathon on my birthday in September. Just a few weeks ago I posted my fastest mile since high school (a 7:47) and that felt really good. I know I have a lot more to give to the sport in terms of my personal performance, but sometimes in order to get there you have to step back and allow yourself the mental reprieve and opportunity to "reset."

 Barb and her husband Mike after she finished the 2009 Ironman in Arizona last year.

Thanks for sharing with us Barb!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Virtual Tastefully Simple Party for The American Heart Association

My friend Elsa is graciously hosting a "Virtual" Tastefully Simple party to help me raise money for the American Heart Association. I am raising money for the AHA for the Chicago Marathon in honor of my Mom who died from complications from heart surgery. If you are not familiar with Tastefully Simple  it is best described as delicious gourmet food you can prepare at home.  My friend is hosting a virtual Tastefully Simple until July 15th (but could extend it!)  After all the orders are processed Elsa will donate 20% of her earnings to my cause! All items will ship to your home so you don't have to worry about picking them up or having extra shipment charges.

Go to

Select the items you want

During the Check-Out process select to apply their order towards a party

Search for Michel Martin

Complete the Check-Out process

I thank you for all of your support!!


Saturday morning round up of give aways!

Lots and lots of great giveaways this week!

Kelly over at Run Fast Mommy has a great Ryders sunglasses giveaway that ends on 7/12.

Erica over at I Run Because... I Can is featuring a SpiBelt giveaway that ends on 7/16.

Tricia over at Endurance Isn't Only Physical  has a Sweaty Bands  hair band giveaway  that ends on 7/16.

Marlene over at Marlene On The Run  has a CEP Socks   giveaway. I so covet compression socks! I just don't covet the $$. This giveaway ends on 7/16.

Tonia over at Racing With Babes has a review and a giveaway of another compression sock called Zensah and it ends on 7/17.

Marcia is running the Chicago Marathon in October (same as me!) and she is raising money for the Lupus Foundation in honor of her neighbor who has Lupus. She is continuing her fund raising drive with a big give away for those who donate and follow her blog. You can enter it here on her blog Running Off at the Mouth
until 7/31. I also wanted to give a big THANKS! to Marcia to making a donation in support of me to The American Heart Association today. Thank you once again Marcia!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why I am running the 2010 Chicago Marathon for The American Heart Association


This is the last picture of my Mom and me. It was taken in April 2003.
She died a few short months later.

She was only 61 when she passed away.

In 2003 she started having a series of surgeries starting with a Carotid Surgery, she then had a heart attack and then Triple Bypass Surgery. All of these in a matter of 3 months. She never fully recovered from the bypass surgery. She came home for Christmas because she desperately wanted to see my little nephew, her first grandchild. She went back into the hospital on Christmas day. The last few days were spent intubated so she couldn't speak, laugh, eat or barely smile. She relied on a wipe board to talk to us and hand gestures. She still had a sense of humor about her when she signaled with one hand the universal sign for crazy when talking about my Dad's brother. lol. That's probably my last favorite memory of her.

Nine days after her 40th wedding anniversary with my father she passed away on January 6th 2004. I held her hand and told her it was alright to go. I told her we would take care of Dad. I told her to go be with Grandma and to go have a beer with Arlene. I remember everything so vividly from that day. My Dad standing at the edge of the bed hugging my Aunt MaryAnn my Mom's sister, my husband (fiance at the time) standing behind me holding me. They called her time of death 2:33pm. She had been on machines for the last few days but it was still breathing for her. That was so odd, just watching it go up and down. She had coded two times before this and her body began to shut down and it finally, finally gave out.

She wasn't the only one in our family to have these heart issues, her mother, her brother and her cousin and many others. Everyone in my family has been touched in one way or another by heart disease. I was only 31 years old when I had to say Good Bye to my Mom and I don't want my two little girls to have to bury me when they are just starting to live their lives. I want to be there for them when they are having their families. I want to set a good example of living a good healthy life for them to follow. I want to help prevent other young women from loosing a loved one to heart disease or stroke. 

I made the commitment to run the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon last year. Last year I ran the Midwest Heart Community Foundations Heart for Life 5k and whole heartedly wanted to do it again this year but put together a team of friends or family to run or walk it. I was very disappointed to find out in early January that the MHCF was not doing the 5k due to the economy. So I turned my focus to the marathon. 
My required goal to raise is $1,500. I have until October to complete this goal. I know there are so many worthwhile foundations asking for money these days. What I am asking you is to support me in reaching my goal of running in honor of my Mother and other members of my family who have passed away from heart disease.

Please support me by making a donation to  The American Heart Association.

With lots of love,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Orthotics and my new shoes!

After what I felt was a dismal performance on Sunday at the Freedom 4 run I went to the gym to get some alone time on a treadmill. I never run backtoback days and thought that would hinder me but it didn't. It felt good to run on the treadmill, in the air conditioning, with my water bottle handy but not in hand. My form was open and loose not tense like it was the day before. So an extra 3 miles there. Yay me! 

I picked up the new orthotics on Tuesday and promptly left the Dr's office and drove right over to the shoe store to get fitted for new shoes. Sales guy asked me how long I had the orthotics and I said "10 mins" he's like "you are not messing around are you?" Ugh NO. After some measurements taken I do in fact have feet that are not the same. One measures an 8, the other 8.5 wide. Nice huh? I've been buying a size 9 for like EVER as an adult and he said I was basically compensating for the width by the length.

So next it was time to try on some shoes. I wanted to go back to Mizuno's. But they felt weird. Even after trying on a 9.5 they still felt uncomfortable due to some material at the top of the toe that was rubbing oddly. I finally settled on a pair of Sauconys in a size 10. Seriously a 10? blah.  The 9.5 felt fine on the right, too tight on the left. I know some people like pink but alas I am not one of them. These suckers are HOT pink. And now that I look them up on the website I'm peeved I didn't ask if they came in other colors!! Boo!

When I walked in the door that afternoon my husband said they were ugly. I told him his Vibrams were so I guess we are even now. I wore them for a couple of hours that day to start to break them in and they felt good.

Yesterday in the am I headed out to the gym to do some treadmill time again in the morning. It's been like in 90's this week here and me + running + heat = not good. I actually ran 3 miles in them by doing 2mins run/1min walk. I think the most I ran was about 5 mins or so. They feel ok, just getting used to them will take awhile I suppose. The shoes are very comfortable. I was telling my cardio trainer about them and how ugly they are and she was like "ohh I like them" oops! lol.

Last night I headed back to the gym to take a free pilates reformer class they were offering. A few things about this. The gym is a totally different world at night. It's a meat market and I can honestly say it gave me the heebie jeebies.  If I had a wall of mirrors in my house I would NEVER eat. Like EVER. They do not do anything for your self esteem. Well unless you are thin. If you are not then it's like a fun house mirror. You pick out every little thing that you see that is "wrong" in your eyes. The body image issue I've been dealing with is something I'll talk about in a future post.

About the class though I did enjoy it. There were a few moves that had me nervous due to my back problems. I was worried I was going to hit that point of no return where I throw out my back but I didn't. Thank God! The problem with the class is that it's $$$ of course like I knew it would be. At least I know what it is like and if I ever hit the lotto or find it somewhere else for less money I might just very well sign up for it.

I also scooped out a gym in town that is closer to our house and right down the road from where my youngest will be going to a Parents Day Out program in the fall. I liked it. It has the basics, it was small, people knew each other's names. They had a daycare that was nice and big and they offered classes as well. They even looked like they had a big weight area for people like my husband who don't want to have necks and want to yell when they lift weights. It might just be a win win situation for us. He gets to have no neck and I get classes and maybe some personal training since it's half the price my current place charges. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Great Western Freedom 4

A couple of weeks ago my friend Nicole asked me if I would come out and do a race on the 4th of July with her. This would be her first race and as I looked at my schedule for training it fell on a low mileage training week and it fit perfectly for me.  The race was called the Great Western Freedom 4 and it benefitted the Lazarus House a local shelter in town.  This race was also special because it was my first race that my little one's were at to see me do. The girls were up just a few minutes before we left the house since the race was about an hour away from our house. Needless to say the youngest held on to her blankie the whole ride up to the race.

It was another HOT day today. I am pretty sure at around the starting time the temperatures were already over 80 degrees. I finally found my groove after mile 1.  I have found it very hard to feel good about running when 1) it's scorching hot, and 2) I haven't warmed up for what feels like a good amount of time. I am not one to sprint out of the starting line and do well and I don't know many people that are like that either. I say that because of all the races I go to and seeing ALL the people who are running beforehand. The mostly  young boys who end up shirtless and who were lapping me at mile 1. lol.

Remember Carl ? Carl did a 5 miler race that I did a few weeks back. I heard that familiar "plod plod plod plod" at the starting line and thought "oh you are kidding right?" Then I heard people saying "Hey Carl!" OMG it was him! Awesome!

Miles 2 and 3 were in the shade and I felt like I was doing pretty good with my time at that point. A guy at the 5k marker said the time was 40:44. I was like "ok that's not great but I can still have a good time if I hustle." HA! One my way back I was able to chat up Carl and tell him I saw him at the previous race a few weeks back. He told me "You go girl!" I can't wait to see Carl again!

Another runner told our group of runners that the last mile was uncovered and it would be the worst due to the sun beating down on us. She was NOT kidding! It was indeed the worst. Ugh. As much as I wanted to push myself knowing my husband and girls were waiting for me at the finish line I just felt if I did push it I might very well push myself to passing out. I even carried water and GU Chomps with me on this little 4 mile run today and I'm so glad I did. My final chip time was 55 mins. My goofy Nike+ did not start today (damn user error) so I couldn't see what my actual minutes per mile were.  The time was not great but I finished! And how did my friend do on her first race? AWESOME! Her time was 38:36. Pretty sweet for her first race. Great job Nicole!

Already sweating. Check out the USA hat, made in China. Not kidding.

My little early birds.

And we're off!

Nicole heading to the finish line waving to her son and husband.

Almost there!

Great job Nicole!

Bringing up the rear!

Finally the Finish Line! 

It's Carl!
On his way to taking first place in his division! 
Stefanie, Nicole and me after wards. 
Yes we planned the patriotic colors. I am looking pretty Campbell Soup kid like in that pic. Plus maybe someone should have told me to take my sunglasses off!

After I've had some time to decompress and think things over I've decided to ditch the hand held bottle and go for a fuel belt. I asked my husband how I looked running today and his opinion, " stiff, tense and closed off and not listening to my body." I've always wondered how my form is and I wonder if I am overcompensating for my foot, the heat or just afraid of getting hurt somewhere else. I think when I carry the hand held bottle I clench my hands when I run and I'm not very "free and loose". Now I don't want to be running all  Phoebe like in Friends but still I need some more movement with my arms or something.
I had taped up my foot today and it felt good during the run. A couple of hours later at home it was kinda of achey but not too bad. I get my orthotics this week and will be high tailing it to the running store that day to get my new shoes. 
I wore new socks today along with a pair of new shorts today. The socks were Balega and I liked them. The shorts were from Fila that I picked up from Kohl's yesterday and I was pretty pleased with them. They didn't ride up at all!  Both of those new things could have been a disaster today but it worked out. 
I don't know besides hydrating myself very well what else I can do about the dealing with the heat. I normally wear a visor and didn't today because of my "look" but won't do that again.  No hats unless they are the special breathable ones. 
The whole Nike+ and my Nano is kinda of a bust these days since my Nano hasn't been working right since I dropped it a couple weeks back. Oops. I really can't ask for a new one of those since it was an anniversary gift last year and my husband just asked on the way back from the race how much more am I going to spend on running. Ha. ha. He'll learn he just started barefoot running.

 My girls did liven up after awhile while waiting with their Daddy.
Eating her cheerios.

Big smiles for Daddy!
Have a great 4th of July everyone! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Being a parent of special needs children...

Our oldest daughter Paige has a global developmental delay that is primary based on her speech delay that is caused by Apraxia. She spent year 2 of life having 4 different therapists coming to our house and giving therapy to her. She currently attends an early childhood preschool run through our school district where she thrives. During the summer she's attended therapy at the school district for speech so she wouldn't have a set back in the fall. One of my best friends Ruta says that today you wouldn't even know that Paige has had all that therapy because of how she is today.

So for year 2 of Paige's life our youngest Avery had just come in the world a few months earlier. I had had a high risk pregnancy with her. At my 16 week appointment I tested 1/131 for open spinal bifida which required this advanced maternal age mom to either subject herself to an amniocentesis or a Level II ultrasound. We opted for the Level II ultrasound since it was not invasive. At our first Level II the DR and us were relieved to see that everything along her spine looked fine. There was a catch though. My amniotic fluid was measuring on the high side. This is called  Polyhydramnios which can cause congenital defects, intestinal blockage, neurological problems, preterm labor and still birth. Everything else seemed fine. It was just the high fluid that fluctuated at every appointment from the specialist to my regular OB's office. At one point my husband and I really thought the specialist wanted a new boat since I felt fine and looked fine. lol. He kept saying I would likely go into labor early and had me come in for precautionary steroid shots for her lungs in case I did go into labor.

Memorial Day of 2008 I had just sat down to eat lunch and my husband was just painting the new babies room when I felt what must be a contraction. I was still not due for another 3.5 weeks. Ha ha, maybe the Dr didn't need a new boat after all. Before midnight that night we welcomed in the world our youngest and most strong willed child Avery.

As the first year progressed I noticed some issues with Avery that she wasn't progressing like her sister had. She wasn't able to roll on one side, she wouldn't grab with her hands and she looked like she was getting a flat spot on her head from not having the ability to roll in more than one direction. So she was able to get the same therapy through the state that her sister was getting and actually graduated from that therapy after only a few months.

Our pediatrician had brought up that as a sibling of a child who has a developmental delay such as our oldest that our youngest most likely will have her own issues. We were keeping a close eye on Avery's development because of our oldest. We wanted to nip things in the bud before they got to far away from us to handle. Around her 20 month well being visit we brought up the issue of her vocabulary  not being where it should be at. Basically she wasn't making an effort to make sounds or imitate us. The pediatrician advised us after conducting his own developmental exam on her that she should go back into the state system to get therapy services.

This time around we did not have to wait long for services to start and they started within days or weeks for most of them. With our oldest we had to wait MONTHS to get a speech therapist. This time around maybe we waited a few weeks and we got one who had 2 openings a week to see her so we wouldn't have to have 2 different therapists. This time around for occupational therapy we have a weekly visit to a clinic where she plays in a gym that is like this:

This facility is amazing for a child with sensory issues. Until going here we had no idea the level of sensory issues that Avery had. Avery get's frustrated very easily. While here in a compression vest she is able to sit and focus on a task for at least 15 minutes whereas before she wouldn't even try. Her favorite things are the big blue swing and the ball pit in the back under the slide. It completely calms her down while she is in there. I wish we had known about this place when our oldest was receiving services because she would have loved it as well.

This time around I knew what to do from the get go. There is no checklist of things to get tested in the Early Intervention system but from my experience I knew I wanted her hearing tested from the start and not wait til she was almost out of the system (like we had for our oldest because nobody told us to do these things!) Her hearing test showed that after having 3 ear infections in as little as a few weeks that she most likely had fluid in her ears. Ding! Ding! Could this be the reason her speech was delayed? She had ear tubes put in in April .

Almost within a couple of days our little quiet girl became quite vocal. Not true words right away but she suddenly could respond to us telling her, "NO!" although her response usually was a look of "what?" lol. Since having the tubes and starting speech therapy we have been amazed by the spontaneous words that do come out of her mouth at times. She one time asked her speech therapist very clearly, "what are you doing?" My mouth dropped as did her therapists and his student that day. They both heard it and acknowledged it. We know she has the words, just getting them out of her is the process we are working on.

In a few months we will be taking her to the Erikson Institute in downtown Chicago for a medical diagnostic assessment for an official evaluation as to what type of delays and future we are looking at for her. I have a feeling that her issues fall more on the autism spectrum. We recognize that her issues are more sensory and she really needs outlets for these things. We shall only see.

Taking Avery to social settings can be quite difficult at times. At a recent birthday party she was fixated with playing with a tub of ice water used as a cooler for pop cans and juice boxes. It wouldn't have been so bad if 1) she wasn't dropping the cans of pop on the floor (sorry!) or 2) trying to get in the tubs of water. Redirecting her without having a meltdown is hard. It's especially hard when people don't understand what you are going through. In stores or restaurants (impossible with her) people just look at you like why can't you control your child. Well that's not necessarily it and people don't know that or can't comprehend that. My child is not the way she is because of anything that we did or did not do. It's overwhelming on the days when she has therapy and you see how she can change so much with the addition of wearing a weighted vest or compression vest. You wonder if you have the fucked up genes or does your husband or is it both of you put together that resulted in 2 delayed children. sigh.

So the next time you see a child out in public that can't communicate his or her needs or is just flat out not happy with the world that day step back for a minute and think before you roll your eyes or make a face or want to tell that parent off. You don't know what they are going through and the only thing they need from a stranger is a few words of encouragement that things will get better. My oldest daughter is proof of that and we hope the same for her sister.