Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful...

   ...that Brendan is so easy to please. He forgot his lunch yesterday, and by the time he called and I got to the school, his lunchtime was almost over. Rather than make him run late (or run the risk of not being able to eat), I just checked him out of school for a bit, picked up Mr. C, and we went to the Tortilla Factory. Bren was so excited and happy. In fact, we have now been crowned as the "Best, Most Awesome and Epic Parents Ever!". I think I need to get that in writing. ;)

   ...for a quiet and long weekend ahead. We don't have anything pressing - just hanging out at the pool, and at home together. We have been so busy and I am looking forward to some down time with the family.

   ...that Brendan and Katie have had the past two years at the same school. Next week will be the last week they'll ever spend in the same school, which makes me very sad. But I am just so grateful that Brendan has been there for Katie's first two years. It was so comforting for me (and for Katie) to know Brendan was close by.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ten on Tuesday!

Ten things going on right now:
1.  Brendan had his final Elementary School band concert yesterday. We are doing too many "lasts" with him right now. Junior High begins in August and I am wishing for the days when he was two and just wanted to be with us all the time.

2.  Katie has her Bridging Ceremony from Daisies to Brownies tonight. I remember when she began Daisies and wanted to know the color of her vest. When I told her it was blue, she asked if it was "Cinderella Blue" or "Snow White Blue".

3.  Summer officially begins in 10 days! I LIVE for summers with the kidlets. We used to have more unscheduled time, but I'm getting used to having a schedule in the summertime now. They are both doing tennis lessons, Brendan is also in Junior Golf again, and Katie will attend CCD (Religious Ed) in June (first time without her brother) - she is getting ready for her First Holy Communion. Plus LOTS of time at the pool.

4.  Mr. C enjoyed his first golf tournament of the summer on Sunday. He played in a one-man scramble. He said it was a lot of fun. He thought he came in 2nd, but a couple other guys came in after he did, so he ended up in 4th place in his flight.

5.  My new golf bag arrived yesterday. I plan on being out on the course a lot more this summer. Doesn't life get easier when your kids become old enough to enjoy the same activities you enjoy?

6.  Marc came home for Mother's Day - and he brought his girlfriend with him! Shannon is a lovely girl, inside and out. It was a wonderful gift to have them take the time to come all this way to see me.

7.  Sean began a new work schedule. He likes being able to spend more time with Landry. Chloe and Landry moved to Ogden a couple of months ago, which has been an adjustment for all of them. They seem to be doing great though.

8.  Lots and lots of grilling! This is a two-fold joy for me: a) I don't have to do the cooking, and b) The mess is outside, not in the kitchen.

9.  The pool opens this weekend! The kids are so excited!

10. We are planning a weekend in Denver with the kidlets to celebrate the end of school. On the agenda: Katie's 1st Rockies game!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recital!

Katie's dance recital was Friday night. She did an amazing job! Here are some pics of the event.

 Katie is the shortest one. 
Unfortunately she is going to take after her mamma that way.


 Starting off the number!


 Big finish!

Roses from Daddy. 


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Comparing Two Half-Marathons

We did the Santa Barbara International Marathon & Half (SBIM) in November, then ran the Colorado Marathon & Half (CO) on Sunday. Since the SBIM was our first race, we really had nothing to compare it to until now. I found things I liked in both races and wanted to share our thoughts.

Registration: The registration process was similar for both races, so we didn't notice much difference in either one.

Pre-Race Expo: The SBIM Expo was bigger, but mainly because several other local races had purchased booth space to advertise their upcoming events. The CO Expo was great though - The Brooks Shoe Running Experience Bus even made the trip. The workers at both Expos were incredibly helpful and friendly.

Race Shirt:  I had heard several complaints about the race shirt from the SBIM, but having no other race experience, I wasn't sure what they had been expecting. After getting my shirt from the CO, I understood the complaints. The SBIM shirt was mesh-like and had printing on the front. This isn't an issue for women because we wear sports bras underneath, but Mr. C got rubbed raw during a run while wearing his SBIM shirt. The paint chaffs the skin and he nearly ended up with the dreaded "Red 11" on the front of his shirt. ;)  The CO shirts were wonderful! They were running shirts, but were made from a soft, wicking fabric. We both liked them much better.

Race Chip - The SBIM chip was tied to our shoes. This was fine, but the CO chip was built into our race bib. This was far easier, and didn't require us to stop to turn our chip in at the end of the race like at the SBIM.

Race Bib - The SBIM had our names printed on our race bibs. This enabled onlookers to yell for the runners by name. It was really a nice touch. The CO didn't do this, so people just yelled for you by your number. It wasn't quite the same.

Shuttle Service:  This is where the CO race shines. We drove to the designated parking garage, then caught the passenger coach bus up to the start of the race. It ran smoothly and efficiently. Also, they had placed large grocery bags filled with cut-up bagels near the buses so everyone could grab something to eat while waiting. The SBIM shuttle was good and the people were very friendly, but it wasn't well-organized or advertised. We had stayed at the host hotel, and even THEY didn't know anything about the shuttle to the start. We finally managed to get the info, and got on the correct bus, but several other racers just gave up and called a taxi.

Race Start: We really liked how the SBIM managed the start of the race. They did a staggered-start according to your running pace (under 8 min. miles / 8-11 min. miles / 11+ min. miles). They also had a speaker system and you could hear the announcer much better than the CO. We really appreciated the announcer asking us to raise our hand if it was our first Half-Marathon. When people around us saw we were newbies, they were very supportive and encouraging. The CO couldn't really do a sound system because were were up a mountain with no electricity. The megaphone wasn't really sufficient though. They also didn't stagger the start, they just told us to go and our chips triggered when we crossed the start line.

Race Course:  Both courses were beautiful. The SBIM ends with a gorgeous view of the ocean. The Course also has bands and onlookers lined up throughout the entire course. It made the day fun. Because the CO race began up in the canyon, there was no crowd whatsoever until mile 4.5. There were occasional groups of people cheering, especially at the Jr. High in La Porte and at the finish, but nothing like in Santa Barbara. However, the finish line in the CO was superior - it was on the street, just entering the walking mall in Old Town.

Medal: The CO medal was absolutely awesome. It is a beautiful piece of art and looks substantial and well-made. The SBIM medal was ok, but doesn't even come close to comparing to the CO medal.

Race Results: We received an email from the CO within the day with our official time results. The SBIM took a bit longer.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Colorado Half-Marathon

We finished our second Half-Marathon yesterday. Mr. C was amazing, as usual. His PR was 2:04:29 in Santa Barbara. He wanted to not only break that, his ultimate goal was to finish in under two hours. He smashed it! His official time was 1:48:36! He was so pumped! He came in 15th in his age bracket, and 129th overall!

Later in the week, I will do a comparison between The Santa Barbara International Marathon & Half, and the Colorado Marathon & Half. Today I'll just give you a description of our experience with this race.

I had been sick with a bad cold the week before the race and, lucky me, woke up with bronchitis on Saturday. We checked into the hotel in Ft. Collins, had lunch, drove the race route, went to the race expo to pick up our packets, grabbed pasta for dinner, then I went back to the hotel and slathered myself in mentholatum, took some meds, and went to bed to rest while Mr. C went to visit Uncle Don. 

The alarm went off at 4:25 so we got up, got ready, grabbed a bagel and a banana, then headed to catch the shuttle.

Here we are pre-race.  The course began in Poudre Canyon. We had to catch the shuttle at 5:30 am, so it was really cold when we arrived. There were 1,315 runners entered in the Half, and it seemed that 90% of them were huddled together in the welcome tent trying to ward off the cold temps.

 

The race began at 7 am sharp, and was mostly downhill, with the exception of one hill. There was no electricity, and thus no sound system up in the mountains. There was just a guy with a megaphone telling us it was time to start. They also didn't stagger the starts by pace-time. Everyone just started running or walking, then took off when they crossed the starting line. Since I am a walker, rather than a runner, (and because I was pretty sick still), I quickly fell behind the pack. The entire pack. As in: I was the last one of the half-marathoners coming down the hill. I didn't care though. I wanted to maintain my training pace, and stick with my game-plan (which had been adjusted due to the bronchitis to "I just want to cross the finish line this time - no expectations of time, or place in the pack".


The course was quite beautiful. The Poudre Canyon is lovely and the river ran along the course the entire way through the canyon. We then ran (walked) along pastures and fields. It was really peaceful and quiet. It was at the bottom of the canyon when I passed a few of the other Halfers, and also when the Marathoners began to catch up to us.

There were a few cheering sections along this section of the route. Some of them had some pretty funny signs. About half-way through the course, I checked the time and realized my split-time was GREAT. I was on pace to beat my PR by quite a bit.

 

We kept along the county road until we came to the Jr. High in La Porte, where we hit the greenway. This section had occasional sections of cheering fans, as well, but for the most part it was really quiet. When we began to enter the Ft. Collins area, we passed an electrical plan of some kind. This is the one section of the race where I actually RAN, rather than walked or jogged. This is also the area where I encountered a very LARGE SNAKE!!!! Those of you who know me well, know that I can't even see a snake on TV without crawling up the back of the couch. They terrify me. So, I'm sure you can imagine how I looked when we all came upon a snake that was curled up in the dirt right next to the path. Luckily, someone in front of me pointed it out to me way in advance. I quickly zipped to the opposite side of the path and ran past it. (shudder)

Just before we joined the greenway, my feet began to get sore. My toe injury was starting to act up, and I could feel some blisters forming. The further along the route, the worse I felt. But, just like last time, quitting was not an option for me. Even if I was crawling across the finish, I was going to cross it. The pain was getting worse by the minute, but I kept seeing the mile markers and knew the end was coming up. My pace had slowed so much because I couldn't walk very well. I could feel blisters that had formed on the pads of my feet, as well as on the inside edge of my heels (from the new shoes I had to get a week previous). Just when I started wondering if I was, indeed, going to have to start crawling, I looked up and guess who I saw:


He had become worried because I hadn't shown up yet. He knew I was on a good pace earlier, and became concerned when I hadn't finished and it was nearly the 4-hour mark. He came to cheer me on, and to walk in the last section of the route with me. I was so happy to see him I nearly broke down and cried. My feet were so sore, which had caused my gait to change (to protect the blisters), so by this point my hips, ankles, and knees were aching from walking awkwardly. But Mr. C came and clapped, and told me that the finish was within a half-mile. He stayed with me until the block of the finish line, when he ran ahead so he could watch me cross. I was so happy and relieved that I was finally done. The announcer shouted my name and city and everyone was cheering. It was incredible. I ended up at 1310 out of 1312. 1315 had started the race, but three people didn't finish. My official finish time was 4:10:55. Considering everything (the headcold, bronchitis, my toe injury, brand new shoes, etc.), I was pleased with the time. Because almost all of the halfers had finished earlier, the lady had to have me stop so she could go get the correct medal (she was holding only Marathon medals at this point).



A photographer snapped my picture wearing it, and I went and hugged my husband. He took me to get some fruit and some water, then to the beer garden. He enjoyed a cold, refreshing Shock Top. I took two sips of mine, but it just didn't taste good. I was so tired, and sore.



I told Mr. C how bad my feet hurt, so he had me sit on a bench while he ran to get the FJ and picked me up. We went to the hotel and he was horrified when I removed my shoes. I had a blister that was larger than a half-dollar on the side of my left heel, and a slightly smaller one on my right heel. The ball of my right foot had a blister that covered roughly 90% of the pad of my foot, and my left foot had a smaller one in the same area. He got some moleskin out and tried to doctor it up a bit, but it didn't really do much good. We showered and left for lunch, then drove home.

We are both a bit sore today, but not as bad as we were in Santa Barbara. We knew what to expect. Although, I had to deal with more health issues this time. I've done this twice now, and I honestly don't know if I have a desire to do it again. Although, I think it is like childbirth - right after delivery, you swear you will never go through it again, but within a few months you forget the pain and can't remember how bad it really was.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Keeping It All In Focus


We got a letter from the school nurse on Saturday. Katie had failed not one, but TWO, eye exams at school. Seeing how the Mr. was nearly blind before his LASIK procedure, we knew that we had an issue. ("Seeing" - get it? - Heh).

I called Monday morning and was able to schedule an appointment for Katie on Wednesday morning. I took her in and she does, indeed, need glasses. Not just readers. Glasses for all the time. Every day. She is nearsighted and has astigmatism, plus some muscle problems that cause her eyes to wander out at times. The doctor indicated that 1/3 of the time, the muscle issue improves, 1/3 of the time it stays the same, and 1/3 of the time it gets worse. If it gets worse, we will have to take her to Denver for surgical evaluation.

Katie took it all like the trooper that she is - happy and with a great attitude. She tried on about 1,587 pairs of glasses before selecting her favorites:


Laura Ashley frames that are black on the outside, and hot pink on the inside. They also have little flowers with diamonds on the sides. She looks so grown up.

Mr. C is pretty upset. He feels bad that she got his eyes. He feels bad that his sweet baby girl has to wear glasses for the rest of her life. And he feels bad that she may need surgery. I reminded him that we need to keep things in perspective: It isn't life-threatening. She is a happy healthy girl. Glasses are NOTHING in the scheme of things. We need to remember to keep it all in focus and know that even if she does need surgery, this is minor compared to what so many other parents face.

Besides, I think she looks awfully cute and VERY smart.