Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Marine Corps Marathon

I am going to skip over the formality of why I haven't written. Life. I think that can sum it up perfectly.

I did want to write about my experience at the Marine Corps Marathon this past weekend. I had never been to Washington, D.C. before the race so I was excited to see new sights, and take in the People's Marathon.

I flew on Friday, and went to the expo after checking in to the hotel. It was smooth process to pick up my bib and shirt. It wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but it was nice to look at the different booths.

After dinner we checked out the White House at night.

Saturday I didn't want to walk too much so we kept it pretty easy by sleeping in, and then heading to the Mall. We visited the Air and Space Museum (of course),

My brother loves Star Trek so I took a picture for him.
The rest of the day was spent resting and contemplating the race. 

Sunday was the day. I was up at 4:30 for an 8am start thanks to the Metro issues. I am glad I left when I did because I heard it was pretty crowded about an hour after I left. I walked right on the shuttle and was whisked to the Runner's Village. The weather was not the best. I never have good luck in the weather department. I was hoping for cooler weather since it was D.C. and the end of October. However the forecasted high for that day was 80. 80! I was pretty worried about the heat bothering me. I trained in the heat here in Florida, but I was never out there in full afternoon sunshine. I had a time goal for the race, but decided to not worry about it when I saw the temperature. Also, I was worried about the hills. Florida is flat. Very flat. The first 3 miles of the race is up, and then the end is hilly. I wasn't sure how I would respond to the hills. 

That is the elevation map for the race
I wanted to go out slow and speed up for the second half. Unfortunately I went out fast. I thought I would be able to maintain it, but I eventually died around mile 21. Considering I only had one 20 mile training run I was pretty pleased I lasted that long with the conditions. I took one break to fix my sock that was rubbing on my toe and caused a blister. I also had one bathroom stop that cost me a few minutes. I noticed at the end that I wasn't really sweating and I knew I was in trouble. I started dousing cups of water on me at the water stops which I would regret later. I really wanted to quit, but knew that if I switched to walking it would take forever to finish, and I was done. I just put my head down and kept going because I needed to finish. I crossed the line 19 minutes after my time goal, but it was a 13 minute PR so I will take it. I was proud that I conquered the hills, the weather, and my brain. 

I had some medical issues when I finished. I made it halfway out of the chute when I vomited. Another runner took care of me since the medics were busy with more serious cases. I saw a lot of people on stretchers. After a few minutes of resting and some liquids I was ready to head back to the hotel. When I finally made it back to the hotel I realized that I chafed everywhere. My chest, arms, back, side of my body, my forearm, and my knees all were chafed. It was horrible. I am guessing when I dumped the water on me, it caused friction. 

My side

My back

My chest

Monday we decided to head back to the Mall and the Capitol. We took a tour of the Library of Congress, and then of the Capitol. We also visited a lot of the memorials on the Mall. The steps in the buildings killed me. I was moving pretty slow on Monday. I loved seeing all the monuments even if I was in pain.

I was very impressed by Washington, D,C and I would love to visit the city again. There is so much to do, and I definitely couldn't visit it all in the short time I was there. As for the race, if you ever get a chance to run it, do it. It was amazing. The Marines are great. The crowd support was unbelievable. There was only one real stretch that wasn't lined with people and that was a bridge. Even the Pentagon parking lot had people cheering. You run past so many of the famous sites of the city. Between mile 10 and 11, they have the Blue Mile where they have pictures of fallen service members, and then family members holding flags. I almost cried running through this part. So many faces that left this world too soon made you realize that running 26 miles isn't that big of a deal. I wish I had taken pictures during the race. I didn't want to keep messing with my phone so I left it in the armband. It has been my favorite race so far. It is a lottery which typically opens mid to late March. I never want to run a marathon again (except I have that pesky Goofy race in January). However, if I choose to run a fifth marathon in the future, this one would be at the top of my list. Oh, and I would train for the hills next time. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lazy summer days

I keep neglecting this little blog. With summer here, it is hard to do anything while the girls are awake. If I sit down I become a jungle gym for Meeghan. The summer has been a typical one. We are camping when we can. We spent a weekend at Cocoa Beach so we could check out Kennedy Space Center. It was pretty neat to see. E has always wanted to be an astronaut, and so he was pretty happy to see the shuttle. We camped at Patrick AFB, and our spot was along the river. It was really pretty to look out the window and watch the water. We are gearing up for a trip back to Kansas City. We are going to take the RV so we can camp along the way, and then camp while we are there. Usually we stay at my brother's house, but I always feel bad doing it. When we stay with them it is 8 people living in a house that is built for a family of 4. We are losing our free lodging, but this should give us some space and allow my brother's family to keep theirs. I am not looking forward to the drive. 17 hours of driving over 2 1/2 days (one way). The girls get antsy on a 20 minute drive around town.

I have also started marathon training. This time I am going full throttle. The Navy sent E out of town during the holiday weekend, and of course this was the first long run of the training plan. I sucked it up and ran 8 miles while pushing the girls in the stroller. It sucked. I was looking to get the miles on my legs, and I wasn't too worried about time. The heat doesn't help either. It is still in the upper 80s at 8 o'clock at night. I am looking to buy a treadmill for the days where getting outside is not feasible. 17 weeks until the race. This time I will hit my goal time.

Another thing has taken up my time is I have become an ombudsman for E's squadron. It is a voluntary position, but it comes with a lot of commitments. I haven't gone through training yet so I feel a bit lost about the job. Essentially, I am the line of communication between family members and the triad of the squadron (the people in charge). It is only for a year, and luckily most of that year falls during home cycle when nobody really needs us. Deployments bring about more questions and concerns.

The girls fell asleep during my shorter run Sunday night

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Playing Catch Up...Again

Once again I have neglected this space. I blame the kids. Again.

Speaking of the kids, they are definitely keeping me busy. Hannah is in girl scouts and soccer which means a lot of running around for her. She is about to finish kindergarten, and she is ready for first grade. We are still waiting for the gifted program testing to see where she will be placed for first grade. She lost her first tooth last month. She had been waiting to lose a tooth since the second day of kindergarten.

She also learned how to ride her bike without training wheels and how to tie her shoes. I can't take credit for those because E tackled those after he came home. 

Meeghan is the same old Meeghan. She is still a quiet mouse at school and a nonstop talker at home. She is still pretty tiny, but the terrible threes have hit. Many meltdowns and power struggles lately. 

I haven't been doing much lately. Basically I try to survive the days without eating all the chocolate in the house. Hopefully I will have a review of the Disney Star Wars Dark Side Half coming soon. Oh, I also registered for the Goofy Challenge at Disney in January. I will run the half on Saturday and then the full on Sunday. I told myself no more marathons after Marine Corps, and E said no more marathons period. Somehow we talked each other into, and now we are both running it. 

The last big thing is we bought an RV. We went to look one afternoon, and somehow we walked out of there the owners of one. We have wanted one for years, but financially it was never a good decision. Now that we are more stable, we decided to look again. I never thought we would buy one this quickly. It is a little travel trailer. It isn't huge. Our minivan can't pull anything too large, but I think it is a good start. If we like it, we may upgrade in a few years. 
Yes, I am already looking for lights and fun curtains to decorate it. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stitch Fix

I am slowly crawling out from the hole that is the flu. I figured I could write a quick post about the Stitch Fix I received a month ago. (I know I am a slacker.) I apologize in advance for the crappy pictures. It turns out the only place I have a full length mirror is in my dark closet. Please ignore the mess in my closet. It has been cleaned since these pictures.

Pieces 1 and 2:

I liked the fit and feel of the capris, but the white scared me. I am pretty clumsy. Add to that the dogs and kids, and I felt like they would be ruined pretty quickly. The blue top was very soft, but I felt like it showed my pooch too much. Plus with the lacy shoulders I couldn't decide if I could wear a regular bra with it. Is it okay to show bra straps now?

Piece 3:

I really liked this top. I felt it hid my pooch without being too frumpy.

Piece 4:

I loved the color of this top, but I didn't like how it looked on me. I felt it was too low cut. (I used to wear stuff that showed a lot more. I guess I am old now!)

Piece 5:

I liked this top because it covered everything, and it was a bit different than other pieces of my wardrobe. I didn't feel too frumpy in it either.

So in the end I kept 3 and 5. I was torn on the blue shirt, but in the end I sent it back. I am excited to see what the next box will have. I went with the every other month subscription so hopefully in about a month I will have more clothes to share. (I didn't realize how bad these pictures are. I will try a new way next time.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Third times a charm?

With all the excitement of the end of the deployment, I haven't really had time to reflect on what happened shortly before E came home. I entered the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon not really expecting to have my name drawn. Let's face it. The odds aren't great (although this one has better odds than others. I am looking at you NYC.) Anyway, drawing day came and I started to read that charges were showing on bank accounts. I decided to check even though it was only the first wave. I was pretty shocked when I saw a pending charge from MCM. Shocked. I couldn't believe that I actually won a lottery. So now I have 6 months to train for my third marathon. I am pretty scared after the last one. However, I knew after the last one that I needed one more shot at this distance. One more chance to prove to myself that I can do it without my body hating me. I need to find hills here in flat Florida to train for hills. And I need to find some new fuel for my runs so I don't end up sick again. I think I can do it. The other bad part is I have some random foot injury. The pain comes and goes. When I have it, I can barely put weight on it. I have my last race of the season Sunday (Star Wars Half at Disney World). I am going to take that one easy, and then heal so I can tackle this marathon. 

Also, I have never been to Washington, D.C. Any suggestions on restaurants or must see? I will only have a few days. E is going with me, and he pretty much just wants to spend every day at the Air and Space Museum. 

Friday, April 8, 2016


The time has come and E is finally home! He has been home for a few days, and it has been so nice. The only bad part was his plane landed in the middle of the night. I had to drag the girls out of bed at 2 am, but it was totally worth it. He was given a few days off before he has to go back to work, and we are just hanging out enjoying being a family again. It is still a little weird having him home since I used to him being gone, but I know that will fade.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Other Half of My Story

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the running portion of my life. Now I will fill you in on the rest of my life. I was contemplating quitting school because I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. Also, I was shocked by how much I would have to spend on a nanny for the two semesters I would be in practicum. At the beginning of February I decided to pull the trigger and withdraw from classes. It may not have been the smartest move, and I definitely didn't feel 100% sure about the decision, but I think it has been a good one. I was already falling behind because I was having trouble finding the time to study, and then when I did have the time I was falling asleep or thinking of all the other things I needed to do. Honestly, the idea of going back to work scares me. I haven't worked since 2011, and I kind of like my freedom. The extra money would be nice, but I am not sure how much extra money there would be after child care costs. I can't count on E being around to help out because the needs of the Navy are first. He can't stay home if the girls are sick. Hell, he can barely stay home if he is sick. Every day I feel better about my decision.

As for other stuff, E is still deployed. I swear this is the longest deployment ever. I don't remember the year long Army deployments feeling this long. Thankfully, the end is almost here. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and every day it shines brighter. Hannah's attitude is still pretty bad, and I am trying to ride it out until E is home to see if that makes a difference. If it doesn't, we may be visiting a professional. I need help, and I don't know what to do anymore with her behavior. In the good news department, she will be tested for the gifted child program at her school. The girl is too dang smart for me now. She figured out that the characters at Disney are just people in costumes since their eyes and mouths don't move. I guess Santa is next. Meeghan is Meeghan. She is getting a pretty nasty attitude, but she is in the terrible 3s and she has a good teacher in Hannah. She is pretty proud because she learned how to put on her shoes. She is so excited to show E when he comes home. She still doesn't talk much at school, but I know she loves it there. She asks to stay late every day.

Just because a post should have a picture, here is one from Sunday when we visited the Magic Kingdom. (I am loving the Memory Maker feature of Meeghan's annual pass. I do not love the price increase though.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Marathon #2 in the books!

So I guess I have become more of a once a month post kind of person. I blame my kids for causing me to be so exhausted at the end of the day that all I want to do is eat chocolate and then go to bed.

I have many things to write about, but I will have to divide it up into two posts. This one I am going to focus on the running part of my life because it is easier.

Sunday I completed my second marathon. If any of you want to run an awesome race, come to Jacksonville and run 26.2 with Donna. They have a half, a full, and a 5K throughout the weekend. I believe next year they are adding a 10K for the 10 year anniversary. It is a race that was started by a breast cancer survivor to raise money for breast cancer research. She is joined by Mayo Clinic where many women are treated for breast cancer. Part of the race is usually on the beach, but this year they moved it off the beach. I was sad I wouldn't run with the ocean at my side, but glad I wouldn't have to deal with the sand and salt. I couldn't get over how all the neighborhoods on the course came together to cheer on the runners. There were decorations, music, food, water, block parties, funny signs, and just a ton of people out. It was basically a 26 mile long party. I wish my phone was more accessible while I run so I could take pictures. There were only a few spots where it was quiet and no spectators. Some sections were so loud I couldn't even hear my music. The entry fee is a bit higher than other races, but all the proceeds go to the foundation. Seriously, if you are looking for a fantastic half or full, run this race.

Now, onto how I did. My training sucked for this race. Just plain sucked. Between school and a virus that knocked me out most of December, I was happy to get to 18 miles 5 weeks before the race. I knew that it was probably going to be ugly at the end, but I was hoping adrenaline would help. The first 15 miles of the race were great. I was hanging with the pace group (ahead at one point which would turn out to be a bad idea), and I was feeling good. At some point during mile 16 my stomach started to hurt, and not in a I need to go to the bathroom way. It felt like a knife was in my stomach. Some kids were handing out bananas so I grabbed one hoping it would help. It helped a bit. It was at this point I lost the pace group because my stomach and lack of training were slowing me down. I make it mile 20 and I am taking pretty long walk breaks at this point to settle my stomach. I stopped at the med tent where they told me I needed more salt. They handed me some chips, a cup of water, and a barf bag. They sad they could call the sag wagon and I politely declined saying I was so close I would walk the entire thing just to finish. I continued on with trying to run only to feel awful so then I would walk. Finally around mile 21.5 I vomited. I did feel better, but still weird. I decided to stop running and just walk the rest. I was still feeling pretty weird and shaky, but decided the run the last mile to finish the race. I missed my goal time by a lot. I mean a lot. I was okay with it, though, because I finished. Technically it was a PR which is always good.

I am guessing I was dehydrated because on Monday my legs felt great, but my body felt like crap. I didn't stop to pee once during the race, and not much was there after. I think I went twice the rest of the day. I took Gatorade every other stop, and water I took at every stop. My legs felt great for lack of training. I know that if I can figure out this nutrition problem I could probably bring in a time I want. I said I was finished with marathons after this one, but I really want another shot. I want to figure out if my body just hates this distance or if I am not feeding it correctly.

The only picture I have right now is the one I took of myself on the bus. However, if I buy my finish line picture I will share it. My face depicted exactly how I felt. Here is my only picture:

Speaking of running, I really want to run a Ragnar Relay one day. If anyone else is interested, let me know. Seriously. I want to form a team, but I am having trouble finding people who want to do it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I am still here! (Kind of)

I had to abandon my tiny corner of the internet thanks to school and life. I feel like school has taken over every aspect of my life, and I have to squeeze everything in the little spare time I have. I have done a crappy job of balancing everything. I don't study as much as I should because I get tired of it. The girls take the rest of my energy. I have been having problems with Hannah lately, and it is to the point I am considering professional help. She has been physical and full of attitude. She tells me she is mad at me all the time. She wants to know when I am finished with homework so she can spend time with me again. I feel guilty. E is still deployed although we do have light at the end of the tunnel. I have come very close to quitting school. I have no passion for it. I did fine last semester, but I really should have studied more. I am great last minute studier, but I didn't really retain the knowledge. I should be studying now, but I can't even force myself to open a text book. I know if I go to E and say I want to quit, he will be angry. I would be quitting something once again. Life would be so much easier if I didn't have to worry about school. I could actually do stuff with the girls. I could go to things at their schools. This program is hard. It is very challenging, and I know I am not putting into what it is required. I also have no clue if I even want to work when I am finished. I know I complained about staying home, but I really would be sad if I couldn't attend the special lunches and programs at school. I always had my mom attend the special things at school. I want my daughters to have the same experience especially since they are missing out on having their dad around all the time. I know part of it, too, is just fatigue. This deployment has felt like an eternity. I am so ready for it to be over. E wants to go on a family vacation when he comes home, but oh wait school won't allow it for me. I guess he can go with the girls.

There have been a lot of positives the last few months. Hannah has been chosen to be tested for a gifted child program. She went through a period where she wanted to be homeschooled because she was bored. She was crying and begging me not to send her to school, but things are better now. I told her first grade would be better because they would have more options and programs to challenge her. Meeghan is slowly coming out of her shell. She is starting to talk to her teachers which is progress. She has changed so much since E left. I have redecorated (or really decorated) the house. My mother-in-law painted the office, my bedroom, and the guest room for me. I bought a new bed. The girls wan to change their room so I am using that as incentive for them to sleep in their room since they were sleeping on an air mattress in my room. Running was bad in December thanks to some horrible cold virus that stuck around for 3 weeks. However, this month has been great. I have run two halves, and both of those times were much faster than previous races. I have started using intervals while running longer distances. It was the only way I could even run a mile in December so I had no choice when I had a half on January 3rd. There is no way I would have been able to run the entire race. I run for 4 minutes and walk for 30 seconds. It is just enough of  walk break that I am running miles at the end of a race faster than I ever have. I have a marathon in 2 weeks that I am not completely prepared for. I have only made it to 18 miles. Both attempts at 20 fell short thanks to stupid reasons. I can switch to the half if I need to, but I think I am going to go for the full. It may be the stupidest thing I have done, but at least I will try. I also volunteered for the first time at the Disney World Marathon. I was handing out powerade just before mile 23. The faces and sounds people make at that point are pretty funny. Also, it was pretty amazing to see the behind the scenes stuff for a race. My shift started at 4:30am and we packed up around 1pm. It was a long day, but a good one.

That is all I have for now. I hope it won't be another 3 months before I visit here again. If it is, just assume I am buried in textbooks and powerpoints!