Friday, December 13, 2013

Before and After

When we bought this house we knew we would want to do a few things to make it fit our family.  Some projects will have to wait, but one we just finished!  Well, it is nearly finished.

This is a picture of the area between Addy and Morgan's bedrooms upstairs, how it looked when we bought the house.  Addy's room is to the left and Morgan's is behind to the right, and straight ahead is the laundry room.  A nice area, but pretty noisy to be a playroom or study since it has wood floors and is open to the rest of the house.  So we decided to make it Lucas's bedroom instead.



The closet still needs to be finished and the door needs a doorknob but otherwise it's done and to us it looks like it was always part of the house!

At the far end of the hallway upstairs is the laundry room.  The opening straight ahead used to be a door to an open staircase that led to the garage.  We moved that door to the top of the stairs to close it off and made it more of a hallway from the laundry room to the bonus room over the garage.

This is a before picture of the bonus room before we moved in (with the previous owner's things).  Hard to tell from the picture but the color was UGLY.

So we painted the bonus room a greenish-blueish-grayish color and changed the lights to recessed lighting.  We still have major organizing to do in there, but I think we are going to enjoy that room much more!

Lucas was having fun with the chalkboard wall :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New York City Marathon 2013

I have not updated this blog in months (OK, nearly a year) and this entry has nothing to do with Riley or Rett Syndrome or really anyone other than me but I wanted to write it down, and the next marathon I run WILL be for Riley and the fight against Rett Syndrome!

This past Sunday, November 3rd, I ran the NYC Marathon.  What an amazing experience!

A goal – sub-4:30
B goal – to PR (previous PR 5:04:39)
C goal – to finish

NYC was my second marathon, my first one was Chicago in 2010.  Training went well this time, I followed Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I plan and got all my training runs in.  I felt ready.  My only issue was my feet.  They were tired and sore during my runs and as my training progressed my feet got tired sooner into my runs. After my 8 mile run a week before the marathon the bottom of my left foot hurt on and off, even when walking.  I was worried it would be an issue during the marathon so I took it easy that week and hoped for the best.

Mitch and I arrived in NYC Friday evening, after our flight was delayed a few hours.  Par for the course when flying, I guess.  Our taxi driver took us over the Queensboro bridge which I'd be running over in a couple days and from the car it didn't look so bad, although I figured I'd feel differently after running 15 miles first.

Friday night we met friends out at an Italian restaurant called La Masseria (delicious!) and then headed to the Broadway show Rock of Ages.  Loved it!!  Afterwards we headed back to our hotel to check out the Minus 5 Ice Bar - an entire bar made of ice!  Even the cups we drank from were ice.  They gave you a parka and gloves to help with the cold.  It was pretty cool, although I don't think I'd ever want to work there!  I was thinking it might be a good place to go to ice up my sore muscles after the race.

Saturday was expo day!

After that, walking around NYC a little, grabbing a slice of pizza (it's New York, how could we not?) and then dinner out in Little Italy with friends.

Race day morning I got up and went to Starbucks for a coffee and bagel, which I ate with almond butter I had brought.  Got ready,
took the (very crowded) subway to the ferry, took the ferry to Staten Island.  All went pretty smooth despite the massive amount of people and I was just thankful I got seats on both the subway and the ferry.  I wasn't really nervous all this time, just excited!  The line for the buses to the start looked pretty long so I waited in a long line for the bathroom first since I didn’t know if I’d be able to wait until I got to the start.  It was freezing and windy!!  In line I heard 2 women talking and one said that your mind will try tell your body to stop well before your body is ready to stop so just remember not to listen to it.  This little piece of advice would come in handy after mile 20 during the race.

I finally made it to the bus, thankfully got a seat and just enjoyed how warm the bus was.   The ride took a little longer than I expected but I told myself not to stress, it wasn't worth wasting energy over.  I was starting to feel a little hungry so I ate half a Clif bar I had brought with me.  I made it to the start village at 10:15 but unfortunately my wave closed at 10:10, 5 minutes earlier than I thought it would, so I had to start in Wave 4.  I was bummed at first but decided it wasn’t a big deal and just went with it.  Several other people missed Wave 3 too, so I wasn’t alone!

My original plan was to stay near the 4:30 pacer but since I had to start in Wave 4 and was near the 5:00 pacer instead, I stood in front of him and made it my goal to never see the guy again.   I had also wanted to take a gel right before the start but I didn’t have water with me, only Gatorade, so I drank a few gulps of that instead.  It was sunny and not windy waiting for the start so I ditched my leggings and 4 extra shirts and was down to my t-shirt and skirt.  I carried my iPhone and headphones with me but ended up not listening to my music at all.  The bands and the crowds were plenty to listen to the entire way!

10:55am and we were off!  My pacing goal was to go slow the first 2 miles over the Verrazano bridge, nothing faster than 10:30 miles.  I thought I would have no trouble since I was starting with a slower group but lots of people ran by me.  I was surprised and questioned if I was pacing right, but just ran my own race and tried not to worry about anyone else.  My Garmin was all messed up on the bridge so I didn’t know what pace I was running.  At times it said I was running an 18-something mile (um, I think I was running?) and other times it said I was running a 4-something mile (yeah, I don’t think so).  It was SO windy on the bridge I couldn’t get a feel for how fast or slow I was running and it was SO cold I just wanted it to be over.  Garmin said I ran the first mile in 12:13 and 2nd mile in 9:07 but I’m not sure that’s accurate.  In any case I averaged about 10 minute miles the first 5K which was a little faster than I meant to go.

After the Verrazano bridge I just tried to enjoy the relatively flat miles and the crowds, holding onto just over a 10 minute per mile pace.  I looked for my friend’s sister, who was supposed to be at mile 5 or 6 holding a sign with my name on it, though I never did see her.  I carried my Gatorade the first 12 miles and took sips from it every mile except for the miles I took gels.  I took gels at miles 5, 10, 14.5, 18.5 and 22.5 and drank Gatorade at every water stop in between and it seemed to work well.  I ran through most of the water stops during the first half but then I spilled Gatorade all over myself and got some up my nose, and then choked on another so I decided I could start walking while I drank.  The walking was really brief though.

I crossed the first half in 2:12:51 and was bummed at how tired my feet already were.  I thought if I could hang onto my pace I could still finish around 4:30.  My knees were kind of hurting and I thought what the heck?  My knees haven't bothered me throughout my whole training, why are they hurting now?  My foot felt fine though so I was happy about that.  I was starting to pass more and more people, and when we came up on the Queensboro bridge at mile 15 I felt really strong going up and passed a lot of people.  I didn’t look at my pace and just tried to maintain an easy effort.  After the bridge I made one stop at a porta potty since there was no line, and then I set off down 1st Ave looking for Mitch.  The crowds were phenomenal!  I finally saw him at mile 17 and it was SO good to see someone I knew!  I stopped and gave him a hug and a kiss and then kept on going.

The run down 1st Ave got to be long and I was getting tired, but I kept telling myself that this was a warmup for the marathon that starts at mile 20.  I could feel a knot in my calf and I briefly stopped to massage it and just prayed it didn’t seize up on me.  My feet were screaming.  According to Garmin I started slowing down around mile 19 to about a 10:30 pace.  I pretended I was going to see Mitch again a couple miles up to try to give myself something to look forward to.  Having 7 miles left to go seemed way too long.  I started playing the mind game where I’d look at my watch and think “if I walked the rest of the way what would be my time”.   People were walking everywhere and I was weaving my way around them to get by.  Water stops were especially congested.  I tried to tell myself I was having fun even though I was in pain.

Look at me!  I'm having fun!

Miles 20, 21, 22 were 10:36, 10:35, 10:33.  I grabbed a cup of Gatorade around mile 23, walking while I drank it, and my knee protested when I started running again so I told myself no more walking.  Just a 5K left, I could finish it.  I thought of how fortunate I was that I could run at all.  I thought of 9/11, I thought of Sandy Hook, I thought of Boston.  I thought of my kids and I knew they were tracking me and I wanted them to see me running even though my feet hurt and my lower legs felt like they were going numb.  I told myself this is what I’ve been working towards the last 2 years.  I may never run the NYC Marathon again, I wanted to enjoy it.  Miles 23, 24, 25 were 10:14, 10:21, 10:25.  Central park was beautiful, people were cheering everywhere and they were cheering for me!   My name was Jessica, my name was Tina, my name was Dave, my name was whatever they were shouting.  Leaves were falling down all around me and it was gorgeous.  

 Half a mile to go I see the 4:30 pacer.  I had no idea when he crossed the start line so our start times probably didn’t match up and I wasn’t going to break 4:30 even if I stayed with him but I made it my mission to catch him and pass him.  I started running as fast as I could, I felt like I was sprinting.  Mile 26 was 9:50.  I’m nudging and elbowing my way through all the walkers and slower runners and there’s 400 yards to go.  I pass the 4:30 pacer.  We’re going uphill but I feel good and I’m smiling, 300 yards, then 200, then 100 and then it’s over!  My last half mile I ran at 9:27 pace, though it felt like I was running much faster.

My finish time was 4:32:04.  A personal record by over 30 minutes a strong finish, I could not ask for much more.  Afterwards I was moving around OK, though slowly and a bit stiff.  Thanks to no humidity and Lululemon I have no chafing and only one small blister on my toe where I always get blisters.  My quads aren’t sore at all and I can walk downstairs pretty normally which is a big change from Chicago where I could only walk downstairs backwards.

As a side note, from looking at my race pictures I apparently run like I’m giving everyone the “thumbs up”.

After the race I met Mitch and his friend, had a celebratory beer and then went on my very first rickshaw ride where I was quite sure we were going to die.  Our "driver" was crazy!  Mitch and his friend were loving it, but I was going to be pissed if I ran the NYCM only to die in a rickshaw accident an hour later.  Sorry for the blurry picture, hard to take a good selfie when you're being pedaled around!

Monday morning Mitch wanted to go out to breakfast which happened to be in the same building where they were doing free medal engraving so I definitely took advantage of that!

I'm feeling a little lost since it's over now.  The last couple of years running the NYCM has been my goal and I'm not sure where to go from here.  I guess we will just learn how to get through the Minnesota winter and then set our sights on another race to run for Rett Syndrome!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2013

Last Sunday Mitch and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon with Team Girl Power 2 Cure!

We arrived late Thursday night (or rather early Friday morning) after a significant flight delay due to our plane getting struck by lightening.  We hoped that was not the start of a bad weekend!

Friday morning we got up and headed to the expo first thing.  The weather in Orlando was beautiful!  Downtown Disney was right across the street from our hotel, and we took our time walking to the buses which took us to the race expo.

The expo was crowded and a little frustrating, but we managed to pick up our race packets and a few other items!  Then back to Downtown Disney for lunch.  After that we headed back to our hotel for some time by the pool.  Ahhh

Friday night we had dinner with Team GP2C.  It was great to see everyone!  After dinner we headed back to Downtown Disney to the Irish Pub to listen to some music and enjoy the nice night.

Saturday we decided to head to a mall and do a little shopping since we don't get to do kid-free shopping very often.  We had dinner at PF Changs with plenty of rice for some good carb loading.  Apparently when you tell people you are running a half marathon they want to give you things because we got two free dishes in addition to the ones we ordered.  We probably ate a little more than we needed to but it was all delicious!  Then it was back to the hotel to get our race outfits ready and head to bed to try to get a little sleep before our early morning!

Sunday - race day!  My alarm was set for 2:30, but I woke up on my own at 2:26.  Wow, that's early!  Our bus was picking us up at 3:45 and I wanted to have plenty of time to drink a cup of coffee, eat a bagel and get dressed.  Our bus got stuck in traffic trying to get to the race so we were running late and I wondered if I was going to make it to my corral (A) by the start time.  We saw the GP2C tent on our way too the start line so we dropped our bags off there and then headed to our corrals.  We made it with 5-10 minutes to spare.  Whew!

I started in corral A and Mitch was in C because they don't allow men in corrals A or B.  I thought about moving back to start with him but I'm glad I didn't because he said it was so crowded he didn't think we would have been able to stay together anyway.

Blurry picture of the fireworks going off at the wheelchair start

5:35am and I was off!  It was warm - about 70˚ - and very humid, weather I wasn't used to running in at this time of the year.  I was sweating right away so I took it easy that first mile.  My original goal was to finish in  under 2 hours but I didn't think I'd be able to do that with the weather, so I was just trying to enjoy myself.
 Even though I was in the first corral there were still lots of slower runners in front of me, but I tried  not to stress about getting around them just yet.  After the first mile I wanted to pick up the pace a little so I started running in the grass to get around some people.  After the first few miles I felt like I was finally able to run at my own pace.  I stopped at every water stop and drank powerade to try to stay hydrated since it was so warm, but other than that I ran the whole way.

I really did have fun running the race.  I didn't listen to music at all the first 10 miles, and just enjoyed the music and characters along the course.  Around mile 10 I was ready to be done though so I put in my headphones for about a mile and a half, but then took them out as I got closer to the finish line.  The last mile seemed to go on forever, but finally I could see the finish line so I picked up the pace and then I was done!

My finish time was 1:59:52 - just made it under 2 hours!
Mitch finished in 1:58:37.  Not bad considering he was injured and didn't train as much as  he would have liked!

The best part was that we exceeded our fundraising goal, and Mitch got to wear his tutu again!  :)

All in all, another successful Run for Riley!

Next year we would love to get a Team Riley to come with us!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

where I run

I like seeing where other people run.  I loved living in Minneapolis for the trail system, and I love going back there every summer to run on those trails again!

This is the trail that goes through my neighborhood.  It's not very long - about 2 1/3 miles - but I almost always run it down and back for shorter runs, or end on it for longer runs.  I love feeling like I'm running through the woods!

Speaking of running - in exactly 3 weeks Mitch and I will be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon with Girl Power 2 Cure.  I can't wait!  Not only will we get together with a bunch of other people who are affected by Rett Syndrome, but we get to run a race in honor of our daughter.  

We are awfully close to our fundraising goal.  If anyone can help us out with the last bit we would be so grateful!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First half marathon of 2013, done!  And a nice big personal record for both of us!  

On Saturday, January 5th Mitch and I ran the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon.  Two years ago we were both part of marathon relay teams and really enjoyed the race so we wanted to run it again.  The course is a hilly one, winding through downtown Jackson as well as a couple neighborhoods.

My goal this year was to run a half marathon in 2 hours or just under.  I wasn't really sure I could do it in the Mississippi Blues, though, because of the hills.  I tried to run on hills as much as I could in training but my neighborhood, where I do most of my running, isn't as hilly as downtown Jackson.  I figured if I didn't break 2 hours in this half marathon I could try again next month at Disney Princess which is a much flatter course.  Either way I was excited to be running!

The race started at 7:00am, after listening to the Star Spangled Banner played by electric guitar. Awesome!  Mitch and I lined up near a 2 hour half marathon pacer since that was our goal.  All 3000 runners started together so the first mile or so was pretty crowded.  At times I felt like it was a struggle to keep up with the 2 hour pacer.  At mile 3 the marathoners went one way and us half marathoners went another so the course thinned out a bit.  I was feeling good and inched ahead of the 2 hour pacer, and Mitch was feeling even better and ran ahead.  I told him to go on, since I wanted to maintain a 9 minute/mile pace and not go much faster and get tired out later on.

The next couple miles must have been mostly downhill because I kept picking up the pace and was feeling great.  I told myself to get back to a 9 minute pace until mile 10 and then see how I was feeling.  At mile 5 I took half an energy gel with water.  Around mile 6 the hills got worse so I was slowing down but holding steady at just above 9 minute miles.  At mile 7 I took the other half of my energy gel.  After that I stuck to gatorade at about every other water stop and it felt like it was enough.  I walked through the water stops at but otherwise kept on running.

Sometime after mile 9 I saw Mitch up ahead so I made it my goal to catch up to him.  I was passing people and breathing harder and hoping it wouldn't come back to bite me in the end.  Finally a little after mile 11 I caught him!  He was struggling and his calves were hurting (darn minimalist shoes) but we stayed together after that.

When we had 1 mile left to go I looked at my watch and it said I was at 1:49 something.  I was pumped because I knew that even if I slowed way down that last mile I was going to make my 2 hour goal!  The adrenaline kicked in and on the final ascent to the finish line I took off, as much as one can take off running uphill.

Erin's official time:  1:57:43
Mitch : 1:58:06

We both made it under 2 hours with a couple minutes to spare, woot!

And we got this cool looking medal too

Next up Disney Princess Half Marathon!  Now we need to figure out what our goals for that race will be, besides getting Mitch in a tutu.  :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

highlights from Christmas

We didn't do a whole lot over Christmas break, to be honest.  Grandma and Grandpa came, as well as Uncle Bryan and Andrea.  We mostly hung out at home, which is OK!

The girls had Christmas parties at school

We played outside a lot and enjoyed the weather on the nice days

We hung out inside on the not so nice days

 On Christmas Eve we went to church (well, some of us did)

We had a nice dinner

We had a funny looking dog at our house

And of course we opened presents!

And there you have it!