Apr 28, 2014

I ran again.... and I didn't die.

April 19, 1995 -

I was in 5th grade.  The time was 9:02am.. we were standing to do the pledge of allegience when the school shook a bit.  Nothing more than feeling like someone had knocked over a desk or pushed a book to the floor.  Little did I know that just 6.0 miles down the road was a horrible act of violence on my home city.  That morning 168 people lost their lives, including children from the on-site daycare center.  It was my first rememberance of a terroist attack and I remember just watching and listening to the news in awe.  I had no idea how it could have happened, nor how those family members were feeling trying to find and contact their loved ones.

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Half Marathon has been taking place for 14 years.  I was never a runner, but I enjoyed watching the race on the news.  Some of my best friends were runners and have volunteered as well as ran in the half marathon.  Once I started running, I knew it was time for me to do this very special race.  It was going to just be me and Andrea and we were going to remember and pay our respects to all of those people who lost their lives.

Andrea and I left Dallas Saturday morning at 5:45am with the three kids in tow.  It was going to be a very busy weekend with the Expo, Olivia's Oklahoma Birthday, and the race!

That night we laid out our runner girls with a little help from this sweet boy.

My attitude for this race was to just enjoy it.  After my last half I knew I wanted to take pictures, sing louder, dance more, talk with my sister, and just enjoy the experience.  It was hard to forget about my time and let it go, but I'm so glad I did.

After a 2 hour rain/lightening delay, we were ready to get started!  It was 8:30am before we crossed the finish line.  The ground was wet and it was so gloomy and humid.  We both knew by mile 1 that this was not going to be an easy race.  Our bodies were tired and the humidity was outrageous.  Not to mention this bridge within the first mile..

I took lots of pictures!

Our first awesome picture was the State Capitol.

Must take pictures with person in a chicken costume!

This was one of about 15 comical signs in a row to keep us energized.

Andrea's sign!

Around mile 4 the sun came out.  On any normal day, this would be perfect... but during a run that is already challenging with humidity, this was NOT fun!  It was so, so hot.  (Remember, our last half was 45-50 degrees...)

I tried Gu this race and I believe I liked it better than my Cliff Bloks.  I felt like it gave me a bigger boost of energy quicker and seemed to last a bit longer.  These next two pictures are after my first surge of Gu.  I was literally dancing in the street.  I had Pandora playing, but not through my earphones.  So, when someone heard a fun song, they'd just dance or run with me... it was great!
I tried to get both of us, it didn't work.

Second try was a failure too.
This course had so many fun spectators.  People passing out liquor, people running with beer, huge dogs on leashes, kids cheering people one.... oh, and a guy in a yellow suit with a beer and a cigar.  Duh.

Next up was Gorilla Hill.  Gorilla Hill is a famous hill in the Memorial Run.  I didn't even feel it was the steepest hill we encountered, but it was probably the longest.  There were people dancing in banana suits and banana peels all over the street (i.e., we were too slow for the bananas.. they'd already been passed out.).
I made Andrea run up the entire hill.  She didn't think she could, but she DID!
Definitely took this one for Rex!
People even passed out Reeses!

The water stops were plentiful, the orange slices were refreshing, the Gu was an added bonus... the OKC Marathon definitely knows how to do relief/water stops!  It definitely kept us going!  Andrea even snagged a wet sponge which she proceeded to give herself a mini-sponge bath mid run.

By mile 8, we were done jogging/running... it was straight on walking.  We'd jog a bit, with a lot more walking.  It was hot, we were tired, and the hills were still coming.  But, we definitely enjoyed ourselves.  Andrea kept telling me to go on ahead, but I figured since I didn't have my GPS on, there was no reason to go without her!  Started together, finished together!

This was taken once we saw the finish line in sight!  It was a miracle!

The finish line did not dissapoint!  There were apples, bananas, oranges, pretzels, cookies of all kinds, ice packs, water, chocolate milk, Carl's Jr. burgers, and I'm sure so much more!  By this point our bodies were famished, our legs aching, and we were just tired.

Olivia's grandmother, Karen, brought Olivia and Astoria to see us cross the finish line.  It was so sweet to see their huge smiles as we went running past them.  It helped our endurance and our hearts.  We run because we can.  We run because we want our daughters to see us as strong, determined, and dedicated women.  We were blessed to have them see us finish what we started just over 3 hours before.

The medal is beautiful. 

The memorial is even prettier.  If you've never been, I encourage you to go.
That afternoon we took a short nap, packed up the van, and went with the family to Ihop.  It was the best food we've ever tasted... well, okay, the best after a 3 hour half marathon with a 3 hour drive to still complete.
Andrea earned her running stripes!
My husband stayed in Dallas, but was very proud to hear we had finished.
I'm so proud of myself and my sister.  Never, ever in our lives would we have imagined we'd be runners.  With two half marathons under our belt and the upcoming Dallas summer... I think we are ready to cut back the mileage and enjoy our weekend sleep.  Thank you for all of your encouraging words, prayers, and thoughts... they pushed us through!

Apr 9, 2014

Chia Seed Pudding Reviews

So, until about a month ago, I'd never tried a chia seed.  Chias were those planter things that grew green grassy hair.  But, never fear, they are actually real and apparently pretty healthy!

I am always looking for new breakfast foods that are fast and easy to eat in the car.  5am club happens 3 days a week for me and I don't go home after the gym.  So, I'm usually eating in the car on the way to work.  I was browsing Pinterest and found several chia pudding recipes.  I wasn't convinced, so I picked out three to try.
*You can use any milk that you prefer.  The recipes called for almond milk, but I'm more of a coconut milk fan myself.  I'm learning to like the almond/coconut mixture by Blue Diamond
The creating is super fun and pretty!
Trial 1:
This recipe called for 1 banana, 3 tbls. chia seeds, 1/4 c. coconut milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla.
This was our least favorite.  I liked that it packed a whole banana in there, but it was way too thick.  The chia seeds create a gelatin type texture, so placing those in the thick blended banana was a bit much.

Trial 1

Trial 2:
This recipe used 1/2 c. coconut milk. 2 tbls. chia seeds, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tbls. honey.
We LOVED the taste of this one, but I drank more than I spooned.  I was excited the taste was on point though, because just adding another tbls of chia would probably help the liquidness.

Trial 2
Trial 3:
This recipe used 3 tbls. chia seeds, 2 tbls. honey, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1/3 c. coconut milk.
Nailed it.  This was one great. Almost, too sweet.
And forgot to take a picture of it.

So, my own thoughts:  I found what works for us... 3 tbls. chia seeds, 1/3 c. coconut milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 tbls. honey or agave.  It is DELICIOUS!

Unfortunately, I've been out of chia for the past two weeks, so we have gone back to overnight oats.

1/2 c. Almond/Coconut Milk, 1/3 c. quick oats, 1 tablespoon sugar free jam/jelly/preserves of your choice.  Right now we are using Raspberry.  This recipe is delicious and quick and easy.  I make 4 in the evening and then we have breakfast for the next two days (2 of us eat these).  I use the same small mason jars as in the pictures above.  Tis recipe is also great with fresh fruit as well.  (I've thought about adding chia to this, but I'm afraid it would become way too gelatinous/thick.)

Happy Breakfast!

And because we are cute... (more on this giraffe in my next post.. )

Mar 24, 2014

That one time I ran 13.1 miles and I wasn't being chased!

So unless you've been living under a rock (or are a new follower), I signed up for a half marathon back in December once my December one was canceled due to a lovely layer of ice in the Dallas metro area.  I had put in the mileage and I knew I was ready.  (Also in December I had ran my own unofficial half marathon to just prove to myself that I could do it.)

Around January my sister decided she would also start wogging, with a bit more jogging.  She was putting in the same mileage as me and I was so proud of her every time she got faster or increased her distance.  She is a trooper.  She then made the dum...err...smart choice like me and signed up for the March half marathon with me!

Every Sunday we'd put in our mileage around White Rock Lake.  Fortunately, she only let me talk her out of running one day and besides, all the water fountains were turned off!

March 22, 2014 - We boarded the DART rail early on Saturday to go pick up our race packets.  I was super excited to go to the Expo and see what swag I could pick up!  And besides me being classified as a male and them handing me the wrong race bib, all went well!

Me and my sister, Andrea
That night I was so excited to get everything laid out and ready for the early hour of race day!  I found it extremely helpful to lay out my 'Runner Girl' to make sure she was well outfitted!
Shirt: Ruffles with Love
I had my visor because there was a chance of rain, my shirt, my compression pants, my socks, my Asics, my earphones, my 2:30 pacing bracelet, 4 pieces of gum, 8 Clif Shot Bloks, my armband, and my running pack (fanny pack?!).  I have not been running with my shuffle lately because I've been energized by hearing my time, pace, and splits.  I miss the good music though.  Pandora has been okay, but it is not the same.

The alarm was set for 5:00 am and it was time for some sleep!  One last check of the weather still showed possible rain, but the chances were getting slimmer... thank goodness!

After a swig of NyQuil, I slept like a champ.  The alarm went off and I was ready to go!!  I ate a scrambled egg and one slice of bread with almond butter.  I didn't want to each much more than I was used to in fear of having 'the runners poop'.  C'mon... you know it is a REAL thing!

Andrea and I loaded the train at 6:14 am headed to downtown Dallas.  We got there about 6: 45am which turned out to be a really good time.  It gave us time to go to the restroom and sit, stretch, and people watch for awhile.  Before we knew it, it was time to get into our corrals.

I had decided at the Expo that I would pace with the 2:30 Running Club.  I was panicked because I couldn't find them in Corral 10 where they were supposed to be.  I looked and looked.  Finally, I decided I knew what I needed to do and that was stay below an 11:12 mile in order to finish in my goal of 2:30.  So, I ran without the pace team the whole way.

For my next marathon, I will take a lot more pictures.  I'll keep my phone in my hand to capture all the excitement, the thousands of people, the hilarious signs, costumes, and dances people were doing.  The atmosphere was just indescribable.  Just when you thought it was getting boring, someone with an awesome sign would appear along the course.  

Some of my favorite signs:
"Four months ago you thought this was a good idea."
"Run faster, I just tooted." A little boy in a wagon was holding this one.
"My Mom is faster than your Mom."
"Don't worry, you're not last."
"Run faster, people are chasing you!"
"3 more miles until beer!"
A girl hanging out on a couch with curlers, a robe, and a painted face mask, "You got up early on a Sunday to do THIS?"

Seriously, it was the best.  We started in downtown Dallas and ran to Fair Park.  It went through downtown, weaved around Katy Trail and the American Airlines center, through Highland Park, over Hwy 75, up Mockingbird Lane, down Skillman, and finally onto Haskell into Fair Park.  One thing we didn't really train for?  Hills.  Hills.  Hills. Hills.  I knew it was going to be bad when I'd look up ahead and see the back of everyone's shirts.  I didn't want to see that.  I only wanted to see their heads.  But when I could see everyone's backs, I knew there was a gigantic hill coming.  The hills did not disappoint.  I just knew if I kept running UP the hill... I'd get there faster.

Miles 1-5 flew by.  Once I got to mile 6, I realized I had beat my fastest 6 miles/10k to date and that kept me going as well.  I was averaging between a 10:40-11:07 mile.  Once again, I knew to stay below that 11:12 mile to make my personal goal.

Mile 8 I stopped at the medic tent to get vaseline.  My sports bra was rubbing my side raw.  That is my only battle wound from the entire race.

Mile 10.5 I was feeling well enough to take a video which I happily posted to Instagram and Facebook. 

Mile 11 I was ready to die.  I knew the end was so close which I think made it worse... I was losing momentum and was just ready to be done.

Mile 12 I knew I had less than a mile to go.  I took my phone out of my armband so that I could stop it at just the right time to mark my mileage.  The entire race my Map My Run was just a little ahead the actual marathon clocks.

Mile 13.1 had finally come.  I could see the finish line.  I could see all the happy faces.  I could see all the kids waiting on their parents.  I was done!  I had made it!  I ran the ENTIRE race.  I stopped at the water stations so I wouldn't slip or choke, but other than that... the entire 13.1 miles were spent with actual running.  I couldn't believe it.

I stopped my Map My Run and just ran with total pride, enjoyment, and accomplishment.  I had finished.  I had completed my first half marathon.  I had completed it 7 minutes under my goal... by myself!!!

Go Pokes!

Giving high fives

Coming to that glorious finish line!

I couldn't be more proud to run and finish our first half marathon together!
After finishing I gobbled down a banana, a small bagel, a bag of pretzels, a chocolate milk, and a small Jimmy John's sandwich.  I was famished!

Andrea finished at 2:53 with a dead phone.  So glad she had signed up for the Runner Tracking or we wouldn't have known for awhile!  So proud of her!

My official stats:

And now I have 34 more days until my next one.  That's right, the Oklahoma City Memorial race is next.  And I'm sure I haven't even began to see hills yet...

It is not a competition except with yourself!
Thank you ALL so much for your motivation, kind words, and uplifting thoughts.  I love you all!


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