Jackson Wyatt: 26 Months

I feel like I have an extremely bipolar feeling towards toddlerhood. There are times when you literally have me laughing out loud because you are so hilarious and other times I feel like pulling my hair out because you’re so defiantly independent. For the most part, I love this age.

You are your own little person with your own ideas and demands wishes. Yesterday was a random summer like day smack dab in the middle of our gorgeous fall. With temperatures at a high of 80 degrees you were wearing your tiny gray shorts and gray tshirt with the American flag, daddy’s favorite. As we got ready to head out to the zoo, you sat down on the front steps to put on your shoes. “Boops” you declared as you reached for your fur lined winter boots. I smiled and asked if you needed help. You’re wickedly good at putting on your shoes yourself but you accepted my help and out the door you sprinted, winter boots, short shorts and all.

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You’ve started putting together three and four word sentences but most are using words I think only daddy and I can understand. You tend to speak Jacksonese unless you’re saying “oh shit”, the only phrase you seem to pronounciate in it’s entirety. Oops. You’ve recently picked up on the word big so that now everything is “a BIG tractor. A BIG truck. A BIG house.” I’m trying to help you differentiate between big and little but you’re not having it. Your favorite trucks are mail trucks and you’re still deeply infatuated with tractors.

This past month when we were at the race expo for my half marathon there was the Geico gecko walking around in costume. You were amazed. You kept asking me “what’s that” which you ask about every thing lately. I told you it was an animal, like a lizard and you innocently asked me if you could give him a hug. You bent in half and crouch/marched over to his leg, gave him a hug and ran back to me. These are the days I’m going to remember all my life. This sweet, loving, innocence.

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You are still head over heels in love with baby brother but now that he can crawl you’ve become a little dictator. When he shuffles his way over to your toys to gnaw on the side of a train track or back of your wooden puzzle truck you run offer, grab it from his grasp and scream “No!” The other weekend when we were in NY Andrew was chewing on the side of a diaper wipe case. You ran over, grabbed it and said “No Andrew!” And wagged your little finger at him. He looked up at you curiously and you walked away. When he went off to find another chew toy you came back with the same wipes and pointed to them saying “no Andrew!” You’ve also discovered your new favorite game called Keep Andrew Awake. Whenever he starts to doze off in the car you scream “Hey!” To wake him up. Or you yell his name at him. If I ask you to stop you yell no at me. It’s your favorite word lately and the root of my problems with this toddler stage. You’re so fiercely independent that you’ll often stomp your little foot down and scream “no!” at me if I ask you to do something or stop doing something. You think it’s hilarious.

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You have an undying love for Asian soup. But it must be clear and lacking any nutrients. Miso? Yes! Wonton? Absolutely. Anything else? NO!! You’ve started to enjoy oatmeal again which I load up with pb for some healthy fats, chia seeds, raisins and cinnamon. You call it “soup” and happily decorate your shirt with it slurp it down. You love apples, enjoy tangerines, bananas, pears and berries. You like broccoli, green beans and edamame but still refuse to eat any meat unless it’s Wendys chicken nuggets. Not mcdonalds, no homemade. Only wendys. You have your mamas sweet tooth though we rarely give you sweets. This month you had a lot of birthday parties where you quickly caught on to the “cake”.

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You are the energizer bunny in human form. You have boundless energy. You can hike 2 miles, walking the entire way on your own, jumping off rocks and careening down embankments and still have energy at the end. We can walk around the zoo for 3 hours straight without stopping and you’ll still return to the car with energy enough to run circles in the parking lot. You know one speed and that is FAST. I’ve already begun looking for kids races for you. We’ve been spending every waking moment outside trying to soak up the fresh air and ability to explore before winter sets in. I’m terrified of the bad winter they’re predicting and how we’ll survive being caged in. Especially now that you’ve discovered how to climb over the baby gate and literally disassemble the other one. You’re unstoppable.

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There are times I look at you and wonder how in the world you’re so big already and other times I’m reminded that you’re still so very small.  You’re over half my size but you still have so much to learn about the world and sometimes those tantrums you throw are simply your way of figuring it all out. I’ve tried to become more patient and understanding, to step back and take a deep breath and ask myself “Does this really matter.”

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You are incredibly helpful and love to help daddy take out the trash by running after him, opening the door and putting your fingers all over the trash cans. You’ll eagerly run to get me a diaper, the dustpan when I’m sweeping or a towel when brother throws up. Without asking, you’ll help feed brother his bottle if he drops it, or even one of your small legos. Your favorite “chore” is to feed the dog. You’d keep scooping out food for her forever if I let you and have a blast decorating the floor with dog food kernels. You also like to watch her food float and expand in her water bowl which is always fun.

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You still love showering and will ask for a “shower shower” constantly. I think you’re a nudist at heart. You constantly run out of the shower, soaking wet and sliding everywhere, screaming like a banshee trying to find your brother. You love to swim and wouldn’t take off the float we brought to NY with us, but kept wearing it, unlocking the hotel room door and begging for “wawa”. You’re a fish.

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My love for you is fierce and I’m always amazed at what a sponge you’ve become, from words and sentences to just basic things. Your newest phrase is to say “bye bye, seeyasoon” when you leave a room, “oh sorry” when I walk by you and you think you’re in the way and “bye bye, thank yew!” when we cross the street (to thank the cars who stopped to let us cross). In other words, you’re amazing.

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Family Hike & Pumpkin Carving

I put away the electronics on Saturday to really soak up the day. Bry ended up working a job in the morning so the boys and I met up with grandma for brunch. It was fun catching up with her and extra nice to not have to cook. After brunch we headed home to change, quick nap for Andrew and then headed across the street for a second birthday party for one of Jackson’s friends. Jackson crashed hard when we got home after pushing his naptime back 3 hours. He slept until almost 4 and woke up in a grumpy mood. We attempted a short family walk in the woods that led to many meltdowns and ended up throwing in the towel. We ended the night with Chinese food, a redbox and half a cheesecake.

Sunday morning I woke up with an itch to clean up the house. As is typical after a vacation, there were clothes, suitcases, bags, things everywhere. We had 6 loads of clean laundry to fold and another 5 to wash. I spent the morning flying around sweeping, stiffening, folding, washing and drying. Bry took over baby duty and when Andrew went down for his first nap he headed out to dunkin donuts with Jackson to get breakfast.

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A bacon egg and cheese on a whole wheat bagel

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and a pumpkin donut.

It was delicious. After we ate we headed out to the trails for a long family hike. The weather was perfect and the trees are absolutely gorgeous.

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I call him “The Blur”

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The trails are covered in red, oranges and yellows of fallen leaves. There’s crispness in the air.

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I love this time of year.

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We covered 5.3 miles in 2 hours and successfully killed off the big baby.

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The little one was wide awake at the end.

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We headed home for lunch and pumpkin carving.

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We spent the afternoon decorating and carving our pumpkins. Jackson loved scooping out the guts to make pumpkin “soup”.

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Andrew supervised.

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We finished around dinner time and ended up having a snack plate of cheese, ham, crackers, salsa and chips wih pumpkin beer. Jackson loves snack plates and ate almost all the cheese.

After bedtime we watched “Sextape” with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal. It was meh. Devouring copious amounts of Halloween candy helped make it better. And then he weekend was over.

Weekend in Corning, NY

Last Fall we woke up one Saturday morning with an itch to go on a road trip. It was October and the leaves were changing, there was crispness in the air and for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to see what Autumn in New England is all about. We ended up taking a 3 day spontaneous roadtrip to Rhode Island that remains, to this day, one of my favorite trips we’ve ever had.

This year when an opportunity for an extended weekend presented itself, we jumped at the idea to head up North again. With the timing and knowing we didn’t want to spend too much time in a car with two kids, we decided to head to Corning, NY near the Finger Lakes. After I finished my half marathon last weekend, we headed back to our car and off on a “four” hour road trip to upstate NY. Granted, 4 hours is according to Google Maps and doesn’t account for two kids two and under. We stopped a few times on the way to stretch our legs and for diaper changes.

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The entire drive was absolutely breathtaking with endless changing trees and spectacular colors in every direction. The pictures really don’t do it justice.

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We stopped at Chick fil A for lunch to refuel since I’d just run a half marathon. Both kids spent the first half of the trip sleeping. We managed to time it perfectly with naps. We finally pulled into our hotel around 5:30pm, sufficiently exhausted and ready for some food. We ended up checking in, then heading to Walmart to get some Tylenol for Andrew who was still sporting a fever and grabbed Subway for dinner. It was just as mediocre as we remembered but with two exhausted kids, it was worth it not to have to corral them in a restaurant. We were all in bed with the lights out by 8pm.

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Sunday morning we woke up early and explored the hotel grounds for awhile. We ate breakfast at the hotel then headed out to Watkins Glen State Park.

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The park is known for the Gorge which is absolutely insane!

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There are over 800 steps to get down to the actual gorge and massive waterfalls.

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We walked around the park for a bit, released some toddler energy and then headed North a bit further to the base of the Finger Lakes.

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We stopped on Castle Grisch which is a winery located on a hill overlooking the water. The views are incredible and the people are extremely friendly. Bryan and I did a wine tasting while Jackson chucked goldfish all over the floor and we took turns cleaning them up and feeding Andrew with one hand while tasting wine with the other. There were two exceptionally good wines, a white and a dry red. We bought a bottle of each, ordered some Reubens from the café next door and high tailed it out of there. We ended up eating out sandwiches in the car with the gorgeous views in front of us.

The sandwiches were delicious! When we finished we headed back to the hotel. We all changed into swimsuits and headed down to the hotel pool. Andrew had never been swimming before and absolutely loved it. He was splashing and kicking like crazy, cooing loudly the entire time. Jackson loves to swim and would jump off the side of the pool into daddy’s arms (with much prying–he has a healthy respect for the water, thankfully). He spent 10 more minutes floating around in an inflatable raft before both boys lips were chattering and we declared it time to head back.

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We showered and changed then headed out in search for some food. Jackson had protested naptime all day and the effects were one seriously exhausted toddler. We decided it was another night of carryout. We picked up some Chinese food at a local place and ate it back in our room. It was subpar but the soup was absolutely delicious. We had some wine and Reeses peanut butter cups for dessert. By 7:30 we were all fast asleep.

Monday morning we drove through downtown and saw all the trees lit up with Christmas lights. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We got back to the hotel in time for breakfast. After breakfast I took Drew back to our room for a nap while I cleaned up and got our bags packed and Bry took Jackson down to swim one last time. Jax loved it. He walked around the hotel room asking to go to the “wawa” while wearing the floatie. We packed the car and headed home, the four hour drive took us 7 hours with a stop at Skeeter’s BBQ for lunch with more incredible views overlooking the Susquehanna River. We got home and went for a family walk, ordered in pizza and stumbled to our beds for a deep night of sleep.

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It was a great, albeit short, family getaway. Not as relaxing as getaways once were but even more appreciated since we get to share these new experiences and create memories with the two greatest kids on earth. I’m already wishing for the next one!

Soaking Up Sunshine

The past two days have been absolutely beautiful here. Albeit windy, the temperatures have been in he mid to high 60s, sunny with changing leaves everywhere you look. We’re in that perfect in between season where it’s not sweltering hot and not freezing cold. Naturally, we’ve taken every advantage we could to soak up every moment outside.

Thursday I had a podiatrist appointment to see what was going on my two of my toes. After my half they both felt like they’d lost the toenails, only they hadn’t. I won’t go into detail but apparently they sustained a lot of trauma from the rolling hills of The course. I had custom orthotics made to help with the shifting of my feet and prevent further problems. Andrew helped supervise after Jackson started using his hand as a tether and then smacked him in the side of his head with his toy truck. Brotherly love.

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The neatest part of the visit was the fact that you could see the Washington Monument from the window! Unfortunately you couldn’t really capture it in a picture.

We spent the afternoon hiking on a nearby trail. It’s one of my favorites because the trail is wide and somewhat cleared enough that Jackson can easily hike it on his own with little worry.

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I needed the fresh air and all the restorative powers it seems to hold and I’m lucky enough to have two easy going kids who seem to enjoy and thrive in the outdoors as much as I do.

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Friday I was determined to attempt a run. I set out for 5 miles but at 2.5 I felt like I was going to puke. It was reminiscent of morning sickness (nope, not pregnant). I think it was something I ate. I decided to walk back to the park to let Jackson play and then we walked home, taking our time to check out the beautiful trees.

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After naps I finally got around to vacuuming out our car which was covered with decomposing apples, rogue gold fish, miscellaneous crumbs and a single grape that attempted to become a raisin in the cup holder. Disgusting.

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It feels and looks much better now.

I debated going to Target to get caramel to make homemade caramel apples this weekend while pumpkin carving but the beautiful weather beaconed. With the help of google we found a nearby nature center and drove over.

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We spent an hour and a half exploring the trails around the center. It made be one of our new favorites.

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Jackson’s latest obsession is finding sticks and pushing them in front of him as he walks, making a vacuuming noise or putting them under his armpit and marching along.

20141024_152413He also has an obsession with telling you to go “night night” then screaming “HEY!” as loudly as possible to wake you up. Or by hitting you with a stick. Or uses the time your eyes are closed to do whatever it is he’s not supposed to be doing. He thinks it’s hilarious.

Daddy called us just as we finished and were checking out the actual nature center that had snakes, turtles and fish. We picked him up from work and spent the evening devouring pot roast, cheesecake and watching transformers 3.

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Life can be crazy and hectic. Most of the time the days fly by and I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. Bedtime rolls around and I have a hard time remembering where the day went. But when I choose to step back from the to do lists and opt for time really slowing down and enjoying my kids, I feel rejuvenated, relaxed and fulfilled.

Baltimore Half Marathon: Recap

Saturday morning I ran my second half marathon, the Baltimore Running Festival Half. I spent the past 6 months (since I was 3 weeks PP with Drew) training and felt confident in my training. I had reached a running strength, both mentally and physically, that exceeded my expectations. Based on my last long run of 11mi I thought a sub-2 was in the bag, so long as I didn’t die or break anything along the way.

The week before the race both boys were sick. Congestion, hacking coughs, snot out to wazoo, and fevers to boot. Sleep was pretty non-existent. I tried like hell not to get sick too but felt the itchy throat, the body aches and painful lungs begin on Thursday.

Race day started an hour earlier due to the Orioles making it to the ALCS. I woke up at 2:50am, 10 minutes before my alarm and with only 3 hours of sleep. This wasn’t a good start. I rolled off the couch where I’d slept to avoid middle of the night wake ups from Andrew (Bry took over for the night), made some coffee and pumped. I spent the next hour relaxing, wearing my calf sleeves with my legs elevated on the couch, reading a book on my iPad. I’d done this the past few weeks before long runs and it made the runs go much better than the extra hour of sleep.

At 4am I woke up Bryan so he could have some breakfast. At the 5K race I’d eaten 3 hours before the race began and felt my glucose stores crash during the run. I decided to hold off eating as long as I could before the half began. I went to the table to sit with Bry while he ate and found 2 shirts, one for each of our boys that Bry had hand decorated to say “Run Mom Run”. I literally started crying. This man I married. There are no words.

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We spent the next hour getting everything ready for the race and for our trip to NY since we were leaving right afterward. At 5am I ate a PB sandwich with cinnamon and then went to wake up the boys. They were dead asleep when I got them and yet within a minute they were both up and happy, excited to see what our adventure was. They’re amazing, easy going kids. We finished packing the car and by 5:30am we were out the door, right on time.

We made it to the off-ramp for the parking garage and hit stand still traffic. The race started at 8:45am and the clock was ticking by and we were barely moving an inch every 5 minutes. Finally at about 7am Bry dropped me off on a side road and I started following a couple in race shirts, hoping they knew where they were going. I walked about a mile to the inner harbor where the half started. I peed and then watched the sunrise over the harbor. It was absolutely gorgeous. At 7:30am Bry called me to say he’d just parked and was on Pratt St. which was right where I was. About 10 minutes later I saw a handsome man in flannel pushing a familiar looking double stroller. I loved unexpectedly seeing my boys right before the start. At 8am I got in line to pee again since I made the mistake of not going right before the start of our first half and had to stop at a port a potty 1 mile in. I didn’t’ want to have to do the same thing again. Then I lined up with Wave 2 and before I knew it we were counting down.

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I started running and as soon as I passed over the start line I saw Bry with Jackson on his shoulders. I called out to them and blew them a kiss. Then I got serious. The first mile I spent an absurd amount of energy weaving in and out of people, trying to get into a comfortable pace. Before we even got to the mile marker, the hills began.

I had looked at the course map multiple times before race morning and even studied the elevation map. Apparently I suck at reading maps. I thought the course looked fairly flat and my only contender would be a pretty wicked hill from miles 4-6. At least, that’s what the elevation map said. So during training I spent the last 4 long runs on Capital Crescent Trail running the first half of my runs at a mild decline with 2 large hills/overpasses/bridges and the second half at a steady incline with the same 2 hills. I figured if I could do 5 miles of straight incline in the latter half of my long runs, I was all set for a 2 mile hill during the race. It never occurred to me that there was a reason every one I encountered race morning asked if I had seen the course.

The entire race was rolling hills, which I’d failed to train for. Many of them we’d crest just to turn the corner and begin another incline. Each hill I kept telling myself this was “the” hill at mile 6 I thought was the only hill, and all I had to do was climb it and it was all downhill from there. Liar, liar. At mile 3 my legs were already beginning to call uncle. My quads were burning. I reached mile 5 maintain a 8:45 pace and then we reached an out and back section. I wanted to be done/ I was over the hills and to make matters worse we were facing some serious headwind. Miles 6-8 were a loop around a really beautiful lake. I appreciated the flatter section but it felt like we were running on a track and mentally, I was dying. I kept pushing through and abandoned hope of getting my sub-2. These hills were no joke. At mile 9 I ran out of fuel. I’d successfully downed all my gu chomps in an attempt to get through the  never ending hills and my water bottle was dry. I threw it to the side fo the road and kept chugging along.

I stopped at a water stop at mile 10, successfully managed to get about 3 drops of water in my mouth and kept going. I knew there was a fuel station at mile 11 I just wanted to get to. And then I saw it. The bridge.

Mile 11 was at the base of a concrete bridge. I took a deep breath and just told myself to keep going. I didn’t care if I was maintain a 20 minute/mile, I would not walk. But as I kept climbing my right knee started to ache. Not in a mild way but in a  “I’m about to blow out” way. I told myself if my knee still ached at the top of the hill, I’d walk. No race was worth blowing out my knee but thankfully once I reached the top, it felt fine. I got another cup of water at mile 11.5 and managed to get 10 drops of water before I abandoned hope and headed for the finish line.

The last 2 miles were a blur. I was on autopilot and really have no idea how my body kept moving at that point/ I finally saw the finish line and as everyone else seemed to get a burst of energy, I responded by slowing down. My body literally decided that was enough. We saw it, that counted. But I forced it to keep moving forward, no matter how slow and cross the finish line.

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I crossed it at 1:57:33 and 13.31 miles according to my Garmin and an official time of 1:57:27.

I did it. I got my sub-2, despite the hills, the lack of sleep, the exhaustion, my chest throbbing, the desire to quit 10 miles earlier and the loss of 2 toenails. And into the arms of the three greatest guys in the world <3

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*A note about the Baltimore Running Festival: Unlike the Rock n Roll Half which is the only other half I’ve run, the course support was impeccable. There was plenty of water and Gatorade at every aid station and numerous volunteers there to hand it out. Some were even in the center of the course so you could grab a cup from either side (I managed to always get to the stations right after they’d handed off cups and picked up my own but it wasn’t a big deal). At RnR the last 3-4 stops had NO ONE there and were already out of water. It sucked. BRF had so many amazing volunteers and the community came out with crazy amounts of support along the entire course. There were always cheering spectators, some handing out food and beer and a few blasting music which was uplifting. The course itself wasn’t terrible. I didn’t do my due diligence with looking at the elevations in detail and being prepared for the hills. They sucked. A lot. So much so that the back of our medals even have the motto “It’s just a hill…get over it”. The signage to get to the half marathon was nonexistent. When you’ve just encountered standstill traffic, you’ve had to pee for 45 minutes straight and you can’t find a single sign to point you to where you need to go, it sucks. Also, there were only 12 port-o-potties at the start. 12. For over 8,000 runners. As you can imagine the lines were incredibly long but the bathrooms themselves were extremely clean, so that was nice. I loved the course start at the inner harbor and that the middle 2 miles you got to run by the lake. Overall, I’d recommend the course but not for someone looking to PR. And I’d definitely recommend training for the hills.*

That One Time I Won a 5k: Recap

Let’s rewind. A few weeks ago a couple of my friends invited me to run a local 5k with them. I was hesitant at first since the race fell the week before my half marathon. I didn’t want to sway from my training or get injured but I’d never run a 5k and reading about the race’s cause really spoke to me, so I threw caution to the wind and registered.

*The race was organized by the family of two young men who were killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street. They were local men who were my age at the time of their death. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been crossing the street in broad daylight, on a crosswalk, with both kids and someone has flown by in their haste to get somewhere, completely oblivious to me and the double stroller 2 feet from their front bumper. It’s a very real threat for pedestrians.*

Race morning I was up to the sound of Andrew wiggling in his pack n play at 3:45am. We’d just been up 3 hour earlier to feed so I laid there listening for a bit to see if he’d settle himself. He eventually did but the longer I waited the more awake I felt. I decided to get up and take my time getting ready instead of trying to go back to bed which I knew I’d be restless doing on race morning.

I made some coffee, pumped and laid on the couch reading. It was really relaxing, which is rare these days. At about 5:30 I made 2 pieces of Trader Joes sprouted bread with crunchy pb and had it with some water. Around 6 Bry came in with Andrew. That kid is the cutest. He looks around curiously, looking especially tiny in daddy’s big arms and when he sees my face he smiles and almost falls over he gets so excited. He melts me.

I spent the next hour and a half helping Bry with the boys and getting dressed. I wore my usual go-to long run outfit: old navy shorts, reebox tank, champion sports bra and my new brooks ghost 7s. It was 50 degrees and raining still so I threw on my brooks running jacket at the last minute. Because my hair is so short I’ve been wearing it in tiny pigtails with my favorite janji running headband <—- (amazing organization) and lots of bobby pins. I filled a smart water bottle with 2 scoops of ultima replenisher and 1/3 scoop of spark and headed out.

The race was really small. The only other races I’ve run we’re both 20,000+ people. This one had 138 runners. It’d been raining all night and while it was still raining it wasn’t nearly as heavy. I met up with my friends. We chatted, waiting for the start while I drank half my bottle of water. At 8:25 we walked over to the start line. I decided to keep my jacket on, namely because I didn’t want to walk back to my car through the rain. Even with it my teeth were chattering at we stood waiting. My biggest fear was tripping because the ground was so wet and slippery from the rain.

At 8:30 on the dot, the countdown began and we were off. I started towards the front but there were 5 women ahead of me. My game plan was to just run comfortably but not push myself too hard because of my half. I kept a decent clip and started passing a few people. Before I knew it I was the third female. My goal then became to finish top 3rd female overall. I kept running and my spibelt began riding up, pulling my tank top with it. I’d never had this problem through all my long runs but was glad it was happening on the 5k and not the half. I only wore it because I needed a place to carry my keys and hadn’t planned to run in my jacket.

I spent a lot of the first mile adjusting the belt. By 1/4mi in I’d passed all the females in front of me and heard spectators on the course yelling “First female!!! Go first woman!!!” I couldn’t believe that was me!! I kept chugging along.

The course is a loop, which is the only downside of it. You have to make two turnarounds and end up passing the finish line twice before the end. Mentally, it’s hard to do but because of the loop you pass other people on the course quite often which makes the spectatorship seem double. I passed the finish line for the first time, grabbed some water from a spectator which I ended up pouring 90% of down my shirt (but it was raining anyway) and headed up the long, endless hill. I run the trail next to the course quite often but the elevations on it are much different. Because the race course is run on the road, it’s elevation changes are less frequent and abrupt which was a nice surprise. The last segment to the final turn around is at about 2.5 miles and the largest hill to climb. I felt myself really starting to fade and was thankful for the cold that made my legs numb.

I made the final turnaround at what felt like a snail’s crawl and kicked up the pace since the end is more of a downhill. I saw the 2nd female and vowed to keep going and not let her pass me, no matter what. This was my first and most likely only chance to ever come in first female at a race. I couldn’t give up now! But I wanted to. My body was begging me to just walk. That little voice in my head started telling me to just stop, it’d be so easy. But I didn’t give in. I kept telling myself I could do it. I just had to keep it up for less than a mile. Less than 10 minutes. If I kept going I’d be so proud, my boys would be so proud! The faster I ran, the quicker I got back home to them. It was what I needed to keep pushing through.

I worked hard this training cycle and gave it my all. I ran through so many sleepless nights and endless feedings, the constant desire to take just one more rest day and the ache of pushing a double stroller for the majority of it. But I pushed through and it paid off.

I passed my friends right at the end who told me just what I needed to hear as I was wishing I had some sugar, had eaten more recently, something cause my energy was fading fast. “You’ve got this. The next girl is way back there.” I smiled and kept going. As I passed the last group of spectators they cheered loudly and I saw the clock on the finish line about a hundred yards ahead. It read 23:**. I was in disbelief and knew I could come in sub-24 if I pushed it. I pumped my arms in fast succession and my legs obediently followed (Thank you, legs). And just like that I finished my first 5k, first female overall in 23:52 at an average pace of 7:35.

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I never knew I could run that fast. It was the fastest mile average I’ve ever run for even a mile straight. It made me realize I am stronger than I think and that all I need in order to succeed is belief in myself. Positive motivation got me to that finish line and I am proud of how far I’ve come as a runner, even in my mental ability to push myself.

I was numb and cold at the end. I felt like I was in a daze as I walked back to the start line where the post race festivities were, and more importantly the food! I cheered on my girlfriends as they came in to the finish, each finishing strong and one even PRing.

I won a $75 gift card which was awesome!, got pictures taken with the Hulk, Minnie Mouse and Big Bird and realized I could never run another 5k again because there’s no way I could compete with my first. Then I soggily walked back to my car, drenched and freezing and hoping I wouldn’t get sick before my half in 6 days, cranked up the heat and drove home to my little family.

It was a great day and a great experience full of so many surprises. I’m proud of myself and my abilities, of my training and hard work and excited to see what race day will bring at my 2nd half marathon. Here I come!

Weekend Recap

If you can’t tell by the fact that I’m just now finally getting around to posting a recap of last weekend, ya know…on Friday, we’ve been pretty darn busy around here. Both boys are currently sporting fevers, hacking coughs and gushers of snot. Poor kids. Andrew’s nose is so tiny that even one booger means he can’t breathe so sleep has been fairly nonexistent. Which means this mama is running on empty. Tomorrow is my half marathon! Holy wow. And in terrific last minute, true Parks Family planning, we’re heading out to New England right after I cross the finish line for a long weekend by the Finger Lakes. So to recap: we’re waking up our sickly children at 3am tomorrow to pack the car full of everything we need for not only a race but 3 day getaway, driving to the race, I’m running a half marathon while Bry figures out how to keep both boys alive amidst a large crowd, then jumping in a car for a 4 hour drive, sweaty and cramping. Yup. Sounds smart to me too.

Anyway, this past weekend was great! I had my first 5k race on Saturday morning. I’d never run a 5k before but a couple of my girlfriends were registered and convinced me to join. It was for a great cause and I figured, why not? We woke up to pouring down rain and temperatures in the 50’s. Bry decided to stay home with the boys while I went to run. I have a race recap coming at you next week but the long story short is that somehow, against all odds, I ended up winning my first 5k (#1 overall female). How in the world my legs managed to keep an average 7:35 pace is beyond me. I’m pretty sure it was the fact that they were numb.

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After a shower and briefly shoving my face full of food we headed out to a friend’s 2nd birthday party. The kids had a blast and passed out as soon as we got home. After naps for everyone we decided to drive up to my old alma mater and explore campus. It was still cold and dreary but a college campus is the perfect arena for an overactive toddler.

IMG_20141011_172057 20141011_174006Sunday we decided to forego Sunday Morning Pancakes in exchange for DONUT Sunday.

20141012_075830 20141012_075857We walked around the National Zoo for a bit after breakfast. In the afternoon we headed back to campus and stopped at Jason’s Deli for lunch. This was followed by 4 bowls of their delicious chocolate pudding. So so good.

20141012_130243We walked around campus for a few hours after lunch, exploring some more.

20141012_144534 IMG_20141012_144618 IMG_20141012_144730 IMG_20141012_145717We went home to some warm chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot, cuddled up to Transformers (we’re rewatching the first 3 so we can rent the 4th), then woke up to another Monday.