Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ready or not.....here we come!

Saturday will be a fun day! I am doing a half marathon with a few of my friends who are racing their first half marathon race!

Melissa-I met her in 2009 after we both had just had our babies (my third, her second). Her oldest and my daughter were in gymnastics together. We hit it off quick and became fast friends. Last year, Melissa lost over 80 pounds running and has done a few 5K races and 10K races. She decided in May to do this flat trail half marathon.

Kim-I pledged my sorority with Kim in 1997. Kim has had 2 boys and manages to work full time as a guidance counselor while running and doing an occasional 5K. She decided this summer to do this half marathon with us as well!

Another one of our friends from college, Melanie, just decided to run this race a few weeks ago as well. She has 2 daughters and her husband works long hours, so she has had trouble juggling the training schedule.

All 3 of my friends will do great!

I told Melissa I would run with her the whole time. We plan to stay at a 10:30 pace so we can finish between 2:15-2:20. 

I am treating this as a training run since I am doing another half marathon in October with my husband.

We are just keeping our eye on the forecast. We have had very hot weather this summer and hope that it is in the 50s or 60s!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pittsburgh Triathlon Photos

I'm loving the pictures that were available today on the website! :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Loooong run and fall goals!

This was definitely the group I ran with today! We went out planning to run 10 miles, which we succeeded in doing, but it was so hot and humid!

Melissa, Anne, and I planned to run 10 miles. Anne is doing the Rock and Roll Philly half in September. I met a girl, Sharon, on Run Like a Mother: The book's Facebook page. She saw my post and saw I was friends with her sister on Facebook. Sharon's nephew was on the same hockey team as my son last year. Sharon lives in San Diego and was visiting her sister for 2 weeks and wanted someone to run with. So she joined us for about 6 of our 10 miles.

It was a rough run. It was almost 80 degrees and very humid. Our average pace was super-slow for Anne and I 10:38/mile. We were happy just to get the 10 miles in.

My friend, Melissa, is running her first half Sept 8th and I am running it with her. I am treating it as a training run because I am doing a half October 20th and that will be more for a race to improve my time. Melissa has come so far. She has lost about 80 lbs in the past 2 years and has been running and doing power pump. Her progress is amazing! I want to run this with her because sometimes those last few miles are so hard and it is nice to have someone to finish it with!

My Fall Goals:

Sept 8-Half marathon with Melissa
Sept 30-Great Race 10K
October 20-Half marathon with my husband (although he is faster!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mixed Emotions!

If I would have written this on Saturday after the Pittsburgh Triathlon, it would have been pretty depressing and disgruntled. Now, two days later, I am feeling more positive. Reading this quote also helped:

At 3:09am, thunder woke me up. My alarm was supposed to go off at 3:11am. So I decided to get up and shower to wake me up. By 3:55am we were on the road and ready to head to Pittsburgh. We picked up my friend Jen on the way so her husband and son didn't have to get up so early and could make it down to Pittsburgh to see her finish.

We got our transition areas ready.

Tim's first transition area is ready!

My area is ready!

We were all ready to go. Tim got in the Allegheny River at 6:45 am. My wave didn't start till 7am. Our coach, Sue, reminded us several times to start out slow.

Jen and I before the race

Tim and I are ready!

I watched Tim get in the river and he was off with all the others with orange caps.

At 7am, my group was off. I felt good and swam at a slow and steady pace. I ended up way to the right of the buoys, which ended up on my left, and had to cut back. I finished my swim around 17 minutes, which I thought I would be. I am not a very fast swimmer but I swam the entire time and didn't have to turn onto my back.

I got to transition and quickly got on my bike, which always gives me anxiety.

The first 6 miles were pretty much a steady incline upward. I was very slow, as I expected but I didn't realize how tough it would get by mile 5.  The last 6 miles were downhill which scared me as well. Once I was going 14 mph, I would get so nervous, I would brake. I saw a woman crash because a guy passed her on her right and I stopped to be sure she was okay. She was just shaken up. So I went on my way. I need to learn to go fast and not be so scared. Once I passed 1 hour on the bike, I knew my goal of coming in under 2 hours was crushed. I ended up 1 hour 10 min on the bike!

I saw Tim as I made it in to the transition area. He already had his medal. I pretty much wanted to start crying then because I knew I was really behind, even though he started 15 min before me. I got my baseball cap and was off. My run went well. I only stopped once for Gatorade since I really never stopped to drink anything. My 5K was about 29 min.

I crossed the finish line at 2 hours and 20 seconds. 

I was pretty disappointed with my time. Especially when I looked online at the scores and I was last in the age group I was placed in. Even though I am 34, I was in the 35-39 group because I will be 35 this year. If I was in the 30-34 age group, there were a few women that would have finished after me.

I was happy to have my triathlon group, The Mighty Tri Girls and Total Chaos, cheering for me as I finished my 5K. They are such a supportive group and our coach, Sue, is just so amazing.

My husband was 1 hour 25 minutes. He did amazing. I was so proud of him!

So back to the original quote that "....slow progress is progress." I have to remember 15 months ago, I could not ride a bike. I was still meeting Sue behind the Sheraton for her to hold on to my seat and run beside me, holding me up. I barely knew how to do a swim stroke or breathe correctly while swimming. I have come so far in the past 15 months, plus I have 3 children and work part-time. 

So I will not quit, although Saturday afternoon, I said I wanted to quit doing triathlons. 

I will keep working hard to get better on the bike and get faster swimming.

I hope to do another all-women triathlon next summer. I really enjoyed the atmosphere much better than the triathlon with men involved. It was much more supportive and friendly.

Progress.......I have come so far.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Post-vacation struggle....

We went on vacation last week. I gained 2 pounds (I thought it would be more with all the pina coladas at the pool. They are loaded with calories but so good). My husband gained more but he won't tell me how much. I ran twice while we were at the beach. One day I ran/walked with my oldest for about 15 min then ran about 1.5 miles myself on the beach after I took him back to the room. The other time I ran 3 miles on the treadmill because my husband saw a bobcat going into the vegetation on the beach near our room. He didn't want me running on the beach with the risk of getting attacked by a bobcat!

So after our amazing vacation, we are home and trying to get back on track with my training schedule.

Upcoming-I have the Pittsburgh Triathlon at the end of July and a half marathon in Pittsburgh in early September. I am running the one in September with my friend Melissa. It will be her first half marathon!

I am trying to do one open water swim per week, one bike ride, and whatever running that our triathlon coach, Sue, tells us to do. Usually 3 runs including one brick (bike and run).

I got the 2 pounds back down by cramming in exercise Wed-Sat this week!

Wed-3 mile run, abs in the morning and swim/run brick with my triathlon group in the evening
Thurs-Body Pump!
Fri-3 mile run and abs
Sat-7.5 mile bike ride

So now I can be happy my weight is back down and enjoy the weekend........

Vacation 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Unexpected PR!

The Memorial Race my husband was the race director for ended up a great success! At least 300 runners and walkers took place to raise money for the veterans.

Besides it being a success for the charity they were donating to, it was a personal success.

I did not go into the race with any major goals once I saw that the temperature was supposed to reach 90 degrees that day. I was hoping to finish under 28 since I never had for a 5K, but had hit around 27:50 in previous longer races. My mind was playing a mental game with me!

I got there early, met up with some friends from college with some photos, and was ready to start!

Sorority sisters :)

It was about 78 degrees at the start, but I was convinced I wanted to stay about 8:50 for the first 1.5 miles because a hill came about mile 2. So I did and didn't pay much attention the last mile and crossed at 26:27 on my Garmin and 26:38 officially. I started my Garmin at the starting mat, not at the horn but I think the timing service started our times at the horn. 

Anyway I was pleasantly surprised and as my husband announced the awards.....

he even sounded a bit surprised when he said "In 3rd place for 30-34, my wife!"

So a great race put on by my husband and his Rotary club and a PR and a 3rd place award for me!! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's up next for summer?!

Now that the runner's high has left and I ended up getting some strange virus the past entire weekend with a fever between 101-102, swollen glands, sore throat, and now an odd rash on my face and my back and abdomen, I hope to be healed soon and move on!! I am on Prednisone and Ammox now. I missed my Saturday and Monday workout which I hate doing because I feel like I can hear myself gaining weight!

I am back on track and went to hot vinyasa yoga yesterday which was AMAZING as usual and got a great swim in this morning.

Next up........Memorial Day 5K, 5 mile race in June, and the Pittsburgh Tri in July. I am also going to do a half marathon in September with a friend who is doing her first half. I am also hoping to do the Great Race 10K in September as well in Pittsburgh.

It is odd to switch up my schedule after training for the half marathon for 12 weeks. Now to add in more swimming (which I have been trying to do once a week pretty much all through the winter) and to get back on my bike! I hope to go to Body Pump one morning a week and do yoga one morning a week and scale back one of my running days to concentrate on my weaknesses-swimming and biking.

Two weeks of school left for the kids and I won't have to rush home from the gym to help my husband get the lunches in the book bags and get them on the bus. No more packing lunches every night, no more homework every night.

Bring it on summer!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Runner of Steel!

We are now 3rd time finishers of the Pittsburgh Marathon! In 2010, we did the relay, and the past two years we did the half marathon.

It all started after I had our 3rd baby and I needed to lose my baby weight and I got my husband and his brothers on board to do the relay. We needed a 5th member and I asked one of my closest friends, Anne, if she would be our 5th. Since then, we have spent a majority of our Saturday mornings running together. After the chaos of the relay, we all decided to the half marathon from now on.

My husband and I decided to stay overnight this year and went down Saturday afternoon to Pittsburgh.

When we checked it, it was a pleasant surprise to find that we were upgraded to a king suite for no charge! 

We went to the Expo and each bought a shirt......mostly because we didn't get our race shirts. They were all out of Small and Medium Women and Large Men. They gave out the wrong shirts to the volunteers the prior day. We should be getting them in the mail in 4-6 weeks! We were disappointed that we didn't get our shirts.

After the expo, we decided to eat at The Original Fish Market for dinner. They had an all-you-can eat pasta bar. We were up to our room by 7PM to rent a movie ($17.99 for a movie?!) which was actually very good-Safe House with Ryan Reynolds and Denzel. I was asleep by 9:30PM.

Our alarm went off at 5:30am. We walked down to the starting line at 6:45am. It was so nice to sleep in. The past years we had to leave our house around 4am to head to town before they starting shutting the streets down.

I was getting texts left and right from family and friends. Anne was running in Corral B which I was assigned to as well. But Anne was hoping to break 2 hours and I knew I wasn't ready to do 9 minute miles for 13 miles, so I told my other friend Chrissy that I would run with her. Chrissy's PR was 2:11 and she was hoping to finish about 2:05. My goal for this race was also 2:05, although my PR was 2:07, anything less than that would be fine with me.

I wasn't able to meet up with Anne. I found Chrissy and wished Tim good luck. 

Chrissy and I were all ready to go after hearing the great Ryan Clark cheer us on and tell us to start!

Chrissy and I-ready for 13.1

Mile 1-6

We headed through town and through the Strip District, which smelled sooooo good! I just wanted to eat at all my favorite places down there. We were doing really well. We felt great and were staying around a 9:16 mile the whole time. We got water at mile 4, and I was really feeling like we could do a 2:05 or even less!

At mile 6, Chrissy said she needed a breather and told me to go ahead. I felt so bad, but I kept going and was ready to head to the West End Village.

When I crossed the 6 mile mark, I was at 57 minutes! I was feeling good about my pace.

Mile 7-8

I headed through the West End Village. The crowd support there is AMAZING!

I still was feeling great at this point.

Mile 8-10

Heading down Carson Street, it got very hot! It had to be about 8:45 am at this point. It was probably about 75 degrees by now and the sun was beating down. There was no shade here. I ate 2 Chomps and stopped to drink some Gatorade and walked through that water stop.

As we got into the root of the South Side, it was super hot and I wasn't feeling great. My hip and right knee were in some pain. I stopped to stretch my quad, which did help.

We split off from the full marathoners and headed over the Birmingham Bridge. I was feeling very bad at this point and kept telling myself, just 2 more miles!!

Mile 11-12

Then I saw the hill......there was a long hill with a slow grade that never seemed to end. I had to walk a little up this hill, as did most of the people around me. There was absolutely no shade here. It was probably 80 degrees by now-no clouds in sight!!

The downhill was nice. I was now hitting around a 9 min mile to make up for what I lost. I was praying I could come in under 2:07 at this point.

Mile 13-13.1

I was trying to run as fast as I could. People were SPRINTING past me. I was about an 8:50-9:16 pace at this point but felt as if I was slowly jogging. The crowd support here was great.

As I crossed the finish line, so did the winner of the full marathon! I could hear Ryan Clark announcing the winner. My official time was 2:06:59. I squeaked in one second under 2:07!!

Tim and I

I saw my husband ahead. He waited for me so we could get our finisher photo together. He finished 1:52. He was a little disappointed. He wanted to finish 1:45 but I can't even imagine getting either of those times!!

Aunt Nancy and Uncle Tom

We got to see Tim's wonderful aunt and uncle who were passing out chips. It was so great to see family volunteering! There would not be a race without the volunteers!  The food at the finish line was organized much better this year. There was plenty of water, bananas, Eat and Park Smiley cookies, fruit, chips, bagels, etc. They told me Anne finished a few minutes ahead of me. I was hoping she broke 2 hours.

Much to her sadness, Anne finished at 2:03! She said we should have run together since it was only a 3 minute difference!

Anne and I

Tim's oldest brother, Ben, improved his time from 2:30 to 2:12. He has lost almost 50 lbs since January with Weight Watchers. Tim's youngest brother came in about 3 hours. Tim's cousin, Sam, did his first half-marathon and finished about 2:45. (his parents were the ones passing out the chips)

Despite the heat, we had a great weekend and really enjoyed ourselves and were happy with our times. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ready or not-here I come!

There are ten days remaining until I complete my 4th half marathon! 

Three years ago, when I was pregnant with my third child, I never thought I could run around the block, let alone, run four half marathons! 

I ran one season of track when I was in 8th or 9th grade and pretty much hated it. My mom made me finish out the season because she never let me quit any activity that I had already started. 

But now I don't know where I would be without running and my running/triathlon/exercise friends! It is so nice to have friends who also like getting fit. It's fun to run on a Saturday morning with a group of ladies and see several people throughout town and on the trail running as well and everyone is training for the same race or races. 

So as I get ready to run the City of Bridges for the 3rd time, I am thankful that I made a life change to get fit. 

No matter what happens next weekend (although I would be very happy coming in under 2 hours and 7 min which I did last fall), I will be happy and thankful to be running the Pittsburgh Marathon with so many old and new friends all around me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

RIP My beautiful Jules

Juliana Addie Night
January 28, 2002-March 4, 2012

Last Sunday, March 4, 2012, our little Jules lost her battle with kidney failure. In December, we were told that it could be a few weeks to a few years. We didn't get any ultrasounds to see the damage. Our vet did not recommend it since there is no cure. We changed her food and added some medication to try to stabilize her numbers. But her last week, she began refusing all food. She would eat bacon for a day or two, then quit. She would eat macaroni and cheese for one meal and refuse it the next. Her final weekend, she stopped eating altogether. My husband was away at the State Racquetball Tournament and wanted to come home Saturday night but I told him to stay-there was nothing more he could do for her being here. She would drink water the last weekend and then throw up the water. She couldn't keep anything down.

My husband ended up becoming the State Champion of his division that he entered and rushed home from State College after the tournament. My mom and I had given Jules some fluid under the skin (kind of like an IV of fluid) three times that weekend. I wanted her to stay alive until my husband got back.

By the time Sunday night rolled around, Jules was just laying and her eyes were drooping and she looked like she was so tired, she couldn't keep them open. She hadn't eaten in over a day and couldn't even hold down water. Thank god my mom and I gave her the fluids through the IV to keep her alive so my husband could see her again and be there for the end.

When my husband got home, she wagged her tail and lifted her head at his voice. That was the most energy I saw from her that day. When he looked at her, he knew that we had to have her put to sleep. We couldn't watch her suffer anymore.

We told the kids to say goodbye to her in case she didn't do well at the vet. We didn't want to tell them that she was being put to sleep. We didn't want them to blame us for her death. My mom came over to watch the kids.

Jules last day with us

My husband and I drove to an emergency vet. We called ahead of time because I didn't want them to try to talk us into trying any other means. We had tried everything already and it wasn't working. I couldn't watch my first baby suffer any more.

I told my husband I wanted us to be with her until the end. I didn't want her to be alone during this time. We stayed with her until the very end. When her eyes finally closed, she looked like she was at peace finally. She hadn't been sleeping very soundly the last two days because she would get sick so often. I saw her face as she looked ten years ago. I kissed her nose one last time and hugged her.

It was a hard few days for me. It was very difficult to tell my children. The older two still ask a lot of questions but they don't seem so sad anymore about it. I still get very sad at times like when everyone is sleeping and it is very quiet, she was usually with me. But I am feeling much better and know now that we made the right decision.

I will always miss Jules. I picked up her ashes yesterday and we are burying them under her favorite tree that she used to lay under.

Most of all I am so thankful for the wonderful ten years that she gave me and our family. She was the most wonderful dog that I ever could have hoped for......and more.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Good Life

"Oh this has gotta be the good life. This has gotta be the good life.
This could really be a good life, good life."

I don't think it is a coincidence that I heard this song on the radio several times this weekend. I am feeling very blessed. I'm not sure if it is the fact that I have been going to hot yoga on a routine once a week and carrying over the positive aspects into my daily life. Or maybe I am just looking at 2012 with a positive outlook.

We had such a great weekend. Friday night, the older two children had friends ride the bus home after school and had such a great afternoon/evening with their friends. Saturday, I got a 5 mile run in on the treadmill early in the morning as I watched Glee on the iPad (why haven't I watched Glee before?! It is brilliant!) We went to Pittsburgh for my son's first hockey game of the weekend, in which they only lost 1 out of the 3 games they played. Then we ate lunch at the original Atria's in Mt. Lebanon and decided on a whim to go to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. We had an amazing time. It was perfect for all ages.

Sunday was the second hockey game of the weekend, and the team was unstoppable winning all 5 games. My son got an amazing goal in the 4th game. The team only allowed 4 goals in all 5 games and had about 20 goals but we lost track since they don't keep an official score in the 8 and under groups.

All three of my kids amaze me every day. Oh yes they do drive me nuts at times, and I get frustrated but I absolutely love all 3 of my kids and the ages they are at right now! I wish I could just suspend time!!

So for now I have been trying to look at all my experiences with a positive spin.........and it has been working so far!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New year, new gadgets!

I'm so excited about using my new gadgets this year. It is always so hard to get up when it is still dark outside and so cold. The new gadgets really help with my motivation here in January.

My loving husband got me a Garmin 305 for Xmas!! I love it. I only have gotten to run outside with it about 5 times since Christmas because it has been cold and snowy the days I planned to go outside and when I run during the week, it is still dark outside so I go on the treadmill.

I also bought myself a lap counter for swimming. I totally lose track of what I am doing when I am swimming and don't remember how many laps I have swam. My triathlon coach suggested getting a lap counter.

It is a little stop watch that goes around my finger so every lap my thumb just hits my finger and it counts my laps!

I was so excited to use it this morning at the pool. I realized I need to get in the pool more often though because the time I swam for a 1/2 mile was a lot slower than last fall!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Holidays are over!!

I'm glad to say the holidays are over.

I love the magic of Christmas. I really do. I love thinking of new places for our Elf to go (most of the time). I love Christmas shopping. I love seeing the magic in my children's eyes. I love counting down the days with the kids. But it is stressful and we had a pretty crazy December.

First, at the end of December an elderly woman went through a red light to t-bone my car in my driver's side. Then she proceeding to back up, wait for the light to turn green, and leave the scene of the accident. Thank god her husband has a conscience and he made her turn herself in an hour later at city hall. She also then lied to her insurance company and said my light was red and hers was green. Thank god for the man in the Coke truck behind her who chased her through town after she hit me until he couldn't keep up and for the woman who stopped and gave me her phone number as a witness.

Next, my daughter ended up with a virus called Henoch-Schonstein Purpura. Her immune system malfunctioned and attacked her blood vessels and her ankles swelled and she got a horrible rash and swelling on her legs. She couldn't walk for almost 2 days. Thank god she is okay now and just has to get weekly urine tests for a few months to be sure her kidneys weren't affected.

Oh and then my husband was hit by another idiot. She was trying to turn left while not using the turning lane that my husband was in. He was not very happy, especially since his car is brand new.

Our final blow was our 9 year old lab Jules had been getting skinny and acting funny. I took her to the vet last week and she is starting to have kidney failure. We switched her food to Purina Kidney Function and changed her entire diet and she has some medications to take. This week she seems like a different dog and is acting like her old self again! She has a re-check on the bloodwork next week but I am very optimistic we still will have a few more years with our little girl!

So, although I am usually very positive and have a smile on my face most of the time, the last few weeks have been trying.

2012 is here and I am ready for positive things again!!

My daughter is now a Girl Scout, my son's hockey team is doing well and he loves it, Tim and I are training for the Pittsburgh half marathon, and our baby is starting to grow up and talk more and (hopefully) get potty trained!!

Smile on my face and I'm ready for positive things!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New for 2012


Well, I haven't blogged for months!

Since my last blog, I have done a half marathon in October and got a PR, The Great Race 10K in September and got a PR, and a 5K on Thanksgiving.

September 2011-Great Race 10K

I knew I would PR this 10K. My last one was 1 hour 3 minutes in 50+ mph winds.

My husband and I ran this together (well not actually together). There were 14,000 people in this one. It was awesome. Mostly downhill, a few hills at beginning and one around mile 5.

I finished in 58:20 and was happy with the result.

October 15, 2011-Buffalo Creek Half Marathon

I hurt my ankle about a week prior so I only ran maybe 2 miles before this half marathon. I had no idea how it was going to go. It was on a gorgeous trail that was pretty much flat with only one hill about mile 12. I felt great until about 8 miles. I was thinking I would finish around 2 hours 2 minutes by then! Then my knee and ankle hurt so much! I had to walk at some points and felt like quitting because I was in so much pain.

I ended up finishing at 2 hours 7 minutes, still a PR but was in so much pain. As soon as I saw my husband (who had a PR with 1 hour 49 minutes) I just had tears in my eyes from my pain!

I didn't run for about 10 days after. I knew I was going to do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving but wasn't sure how it would go.

I ended up getting sick a week before the Turkey Trot and wasn't sure how I would do with "Heart Attack Hill" which is in the 3rd mile of the 5k.

My friend Chrissy and I ran the course the Saturday before Thanksgiving and finished in 31 minutes. I coughed the whole way up the hill. I wasn't sure how it would go on Thursday.

Turkey Trot 2011 5k

I went out fast (for me!) about a 8:30 mile. I was about 17 minutes at mile 2. So I knew I could finish under 30 minutes even if I walked the last mile! I did start to walk up the hill and Chrissy came behind me and gave me a friendly punch in the back to remind me that I was almost done. That was enough to get me to run the rest of the course!

I finished at 28:10, although I thought it would be about 27:58 or so since I started a little farther back before I ran over the starting pad. Some other friends, including my husband, thought the time listed online was from the gun going off, not from when our chips went over the pad. Oh well!