Posted by: rl4man | March 30, 2015

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Work

So we had a departmental meeting scheduled today. I thought it was going to be the director, my co-worker Jenn, and me. So the office manager comes in, too. Surprised, but not worried. Until she proceeds to rip us up one side and down the other about a project that we had gotten out late. We knew it was a problem and it wasn’t going to happen again. But no, she had to go over and over and over it to let us know what a serious problem it was. We knew we made a mistake, although part of the problem was with the printer and post office. It was a fluke that won’t happen again. There’s nothing to be done about it now. We got through that but then she had to talk to us about our “flexible hours” as part-time employees and how the full-timers were feeling like we were getting special treatment. No one ever said anything before. We didn’t know it was a problem. Now we know. We’ll be more regular and communicative. Ugh. I wanted to give notice right then and there. Not the way I wanted to start out the week.

I went back to my desk very upset but had to finish up another project. I wrote a few notes about how I was feeling as they came to me. I’ve lost my title, position, hours and pay, insurance, respect, and now my office. It’s hard. Really hard. And I have the aneurysm situation on top of it. And now we have an impending change in executive directors which causes its own kind of crazy. It’s been a stressful year, to say the least.

A little bit before I was going to leave, the office manager comes in to let me know that if I have anything to say, anything I want to express, to let her know. She doesn’t appreciate how my co-worker is talking to other employees behind her back. So I took a breath and bared my soul. It was good to get it all out in the open, but she still tried to defend herself which I didn’t need to her to do. I know she’s in a tough spot. I know it’s difficult to balance all the different personalities and issues in a small office like ours. And I don’t blame her for my problems. I just needed her to know where I was coming from. But after all that’s happened I really don’t want to stay. I just want to quit. I’m tired. I want to just be a mom. But we need the money. So here I stay. For now. We need to go over our budget to figure out how much I really need to make. Perhaps I can find something else with less stress and less baggage. I need to pray about it.

The one thing that made the day happy was that my brand new INKnBURN running clothes came today. I spent a small fortune on one pair of pants and two tops, but they are so worth it and made me smile. I can’t wait to run in them. And it was warm enough to take a walk tonight.

walk

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Posted by: rl4man | March 28, 2015

I’m Back

I’m back after a long hiatus. Life just got too overwhelming. But then I set up a new blog for my mom’s poetry (Mending) and thought maybe I should go back to mine.

I’m not even sure where to start. The boys are growing and doing well, we are slowly healing from the loss of my mother-in-law, although I believe we will never fully recover. My beloved step-father has passed away in November 2014 after 14 amazing years of marriage to my mom. In short, life has had it’s incredibly difficult times in the last couple years, but there has been good.

I am still running. I’ve run a lot of races, placed a few times in my age group (even got champagne flutes at the last two Midnight Specials!). I managed to top 1000 miles in 2013 and 2014. This year, maybe not. I have been training with the Dave’s Running group for the Toledo Glass City Half Marathon coming up soon in April, but haven’t registered yet. The reason why…

Since I am now near the age my dad was when he passed away from a ruptured brain aneurysm, my mom pushed me (and I didn’t resist) to get a MRA scan done of my brain to see if there was anything that needed to be addressed. I had it done in August 2014 and a suspicious area was found. So I was referred on to a neurologist who ordered a CTA which was done in November. This confirmed a likely small aneurysm, so I was referred yet again to a neurosurgeon. He said I needed a angiogram for a definitive diagnosis and passed me on to UTMC (because that’s the only place my insurance would cover) where I had that done at the end of January 2015.

They found not one, but two small aneurysms, side by side, one 3.3 mm and the other about 1.5 mm. Very small, but with my family history, I am at a higher risk of rupture. My best and pretty much only option for treatment is the placement of a Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) which is basically a stent that will cover the openings of both aneuryms, and allow them to occlude and reabsorb into the artery wall. It is a permanent fix which will pretty much cure my condition. It also done through a catheter, much like the angiogram, so my head doesn’t have to be opened up and recovery is relatively quick. Great news! But then the doctor says a new delivery system for the PED, Pipeline Flex, has just been approved and will make placement much easier and more accurate. Sounds good, right? But it’s not due to be delivered to the hospital until early April. So we wait to find out when it will come to schedule the surgery.

So no late April half marathon, right? Except that I contact the doctor’s office last week and am told that the medical company’s rep now says late April. We are going on a big vacation (first and only with the boys since they were tiny) in June and I don’t really want to be flying with a new device in my head that may cause headaches and fatigue for several weeks. So I’m looking to have it done after vacation in late June, I hope. So now the marathon is back on. Maybe. Because there’s a slight chance I could have it done the weekend of the race. So what do I do? I ran a long run today on the treadmill (it’s still too cold out there–I’m a wimp lately!), 12 miles, and felt great, so I think I could pull off a strong race in a few weeks.

Well, that’s the update. Small ticking time bomb in my head. Doc says it’s no danger for rupture anytime soon, but who knows. I could be in that 3% of the unlucky ones who pop. I’m really not worried, but the thought is still in the back of my head. (Pun intended! Ha!)

And I’m upset I can’t use these yet. I had them made and they were just delivered yesterday:

BrainMugBrainShirt

Posted by: rl4man | January 23, 2013

No Excuse

It’s been way too long and way too much has happened. The last 7 months have been the hardest of our lives. I will attempt to update in bits and pieces, but here it is in the smallest nutshell possible.

My mother-in-law passed away in June. It’s been a struggle as the whole family adjusts to life without our center, particularly my father-in-law.

Kevin started a new and very stressful job in December which has caused our family no end of upheaval as we adapt to new schedules and responsibilities. It’s stressful for Kevin because he has a huge learning curve. And we’d like to get the house ready to sell so we can downsize and move closer to school and Kevin’s job.

We all went through a 5-week illness–cold, cough, bronchitis, etc–in staggered intervals starting around Thanksgiving with our youngest and just ending with Kevin now in mid-January.

On the running front, I was doing pretty well, set a few more PR’s in 5k and 1/2 marathon, but then the sickness hit and last week the front roller on my treadmill decided to bite the dust in the middle of a cold snap. The part is coming tomorrow, so I’m hoping by this weekend, I’ll be up and literally running again. I really, really want to hit a 25:00 5k this year.

I’m not sure how many details of races I can remember, but if I get the motivation to, I’ll post a few recaps in the next few days/weeks/months… whatever.

I’m not signed up for anything yet this year, however I’m toying with the Get Luckey 5k in February and the Toledo 1/2 or 5k in April. Of course there are my regulars, the North Baltimore 5k in July, the balloon fest 5k in August, the Findlay 1/2 in October, the Run4Haiti and Turkey Trot in November, and the Midnight Special in December. OK, I guess I have too many “regular” races. LOL! We’ll see what happens.

Posted by: rl4man | April 23, 2012

Glass City Half Marathon and How NOT to Taper

I ran the Glass City Half Marathon in Toledo yesterday morning. I did well. Unexpectedly well. I got a 3-minute PR with a 2:10:31 finish with a 9:57/mile average pace. My A goal was 2:11 at a 10:00 pace. I felt strong almost the whole way and only 2 miles were over 10:00.

Taper week issues actually started the Friday before when Jessie was sent home sick with a fever. We thought he just had a cold, but he wasn’t feeling well and they took his temperature at school. He had a very runny nose and started coughing. I just knew I was going to get it. Sure enough, by bedtime, I had a tickle in my throat. Saturday, I had an 8-miler to do but was starting to feel a bit rough. I figured I might feel worse on Sunday, so I went out and had a good solid run. My throat hurt, but I felt otherwise ok. Jessie was a lethargic, fever-ridden, pathetic patient who vomited on the couch right after I pulled the container out from under his face. Ugh! As the day went on, I felt worse and worse. By Sunday, I was sick with what we finally conceded was the flu. It wasn’t super severe, but enough to keep me down most of the day. I had the aches, fever, chills, coughing and headache going on. Sunday evening I felt better, but by Monday morning, I was back to bed as soon as the boys were ready for school. Jessie seemed ok, so we sent him to school, but they called at 11:30 saying he’d vomited. So I dragged my sweating, feverish body out of bed, took a quick shower so I wouldn’t be too disgusting, and picked him up. We stayed home on Tuesday too. Each day we started feeling a bit better. I went back to work on Wednesday since Kevin didn’t have to work and could stay with Jessie. I was really dragging, though, and had no appetite. Thursday Jessie was finally well enough to go back to school. The whole week I kept wanting to take a trial run, but just couldn’t. And my cycle started on Tuesday which I thought was a good thing since that gave me what I thought was plenty of time for it to ease up by race morning. But it was crazy heavy (sorry, TMI!) and didn’t slow down until Saturday. Weird. Finally on Friday I got a short 3-miler in on the treadmill and felt ok, but definitely not back to 100% energy. I also had a bout with abdominal cramps and explosive diarrhea that afternoon, which then turned into constipation. Saturday we went up to the expo to pick up my race packet. We ate at a pizza buffet for lunch and I was able to eat pretty well, but the rest of the day I had a terrible headache. And the cough was still there. Not sure I would be able to run the entire race, I set my alarm and went to bed early. I felt like anything that could go wrong before a race had gone wrong.

Race morning: I missed my alarm, stupid thing was too quiet, but still woke up right at 4:30 am, wide awake. I got out of bed and assessed how I felt. Great! I actually felt great! Except for the coughing. So I went ahead and got ready and made it out the door by 5:10. I could feel a headache brewing, but I didn’t want to take any medication too early so it wouldn’t wear off before the race was over. I got to the University and found a parking spot, took a couple ibuprofen, and then just waited in the car until 6:40. I didn’t feel like hanging out in the building with a bunch of strangers. Not knowing how fast I could actually run, I went all the way to the back to the 10:00 pace sign. It’s still a little demoralizing that my pace is the slowest one marked. There were plenty of walkers, but they don’t have pace signs. Anyway, we waited for the start. It was cool, right near 40 with a slight breeze. Finally we started off. It took 3 minutes to cross the line, but the crowd didn’t thin out for a long time. My first mile came in at 10:39 because of the congestion. I was not happy with that and felt like I was trying to make up for that lost time the whole rest of the race. Actually, I had to do a lot of weaving around other runners most of the race. I guess that’s what happens when you’re not way in the back of the pack. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think this is Wildwood. I saw the photographer and smiled, a little too big, I think. Oh, well.

After that first mile, I was able to pick up my pace and was surprised to be feeling pretty good at a sub-10:00 pace. There was one other mile at 10:05, but everything else was sub-10:00. I just kept going. I figured I’d take advantage of feeling good since I didn’t know when my energy might just run out. I tried to take a drink of water and a Sport Bean (picked up a couple free packs at the expo, yay!) every half mile. I didn’t always feel the need, but I took it fairly regularly. It really helps the miles go by taking something that often and it’s my theory that it keeps a more steady stream of glucose going rather than consuming a handful at longer intervals. I remembered one hill around the 6 mile mark that I had to fight up last year. This year, I powered right up that hill and just kept going.

Running next to the train track in the last couple miles by UT.

Wildwood had a lot of down hills that I didn’t remember, but were very welcome. I was really excited when I caught up and passed the 4:30 marathon pace group around mile 5. At that point I wasn’t sure a PR was possible, but I knew I’d do better than last year at least. When I finally hit the bike trail with about 4 miles to go, I knew I could do it. I was still feeling strong and just kept the effort up. It got harder after mile 11 and my body wanted to slow down, but I didn’t let it. I knew I could push it for just 2 more miles.

2 miles to go.

I rounded the corner around Savage Hall and just gave a little more. The clock said 2:14 when I crossed the line and my Garmin read 10:30:49, so I knew I had done it. Really, I didn’t think it was possible.

The finish line. The clock says 2:14:00.

I felt good and walked out of the stadium, grabbed my glass mug, got a cookie and a piece of pizza, then headed back to the car. My lower GI started feeling a bit funny on the way home, but fortunately it didn’t get really unhappy until I got home. Most of the afternoon was spent running to the bathroom only to not be able to go. By that evening I was feeling a bit better. Today I feel fine. There’s still chest congestion, but everything else feels good and I can almost sing again. And I have a nice, shiny, new PR. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up, the Cleveland half marathon with Kathryn. I. Can’t. Wait! It’s going to be a blast. And surely I can’t get that incredibly sick before another race, right?

Posted by: rl4man | April 23, 2012

Springtime Update

I’ve been meaning to write here and time has just slipped by. Then it got so overwhelming and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. But finally… well, here I am.

First of all, things have not been good with Kevin’s mom. She started back on chemo, but they took out one med and after three treatments, her cancer count continued to rise and the scan showed tumor growth, but fortunately no metastasis. She has continued to struggle with severe pain, but finally after some adjustments to her pain patch, morphine and other meds, they seem to have got it under control somewhat. She has lost way too much weight. Two weeks ago they put her back on the full combo of chemo meds and she had a terrible reaction, but after the first week she started feeling better again, much like the pattern before Christmas. She is back down in Columbus today for the next treatment and we are praying she gets through this one better. We do not know if the nanoknife is even a possibility any more. We don’t want her to suffer like this, but yet we’re not ready for her to give up. She has expressed many times that she’s not sure how much longer she can do it. We are all aching, knowing that our time is so limited with her.

Now for the good news. The 5k I organized was wonderful! We ended up with 71 registrations (68 paid) and 60 finishers. Everything went off without a hitch. Kristi came up to spend a couple nights and she helped me with everything and kept my head screwed on straight. She never fails to come to my rescue. All the ladies seemed to enjoy the event, the weather cooperated (a bit cool in the low 50’s and some wind, but sunny and no rain), and we raised about $500 for the CGWM retreat scholarship fund. There were a few anxious moments and some communication lapses, but everything worked out in the end and it was so much fun. Here are a few pictures:

Me all official as the race director.

Linda Davis, our lead bicyclist for the speedy ladies in the front.

The volunteer kids running their race.

I got special medals for the kids.

Carmen Miller does a fantastic rendition of The National Anthem. Just beautiful.

And the ladies are off!

The Schlumbohm girls doing their directional duties on the course.

Kathryn coming in toward the finish line. She did a great job with motivational C25K emails and making some door prizes.

I wish I had time to go into all the details, but I just don’t really want to put the time into it right now and some of the details are fuzzy now since it’s been over a month. Suffice it to say, it was a great race and I’d love to do it again sometime. Next post, the Glass City Half Marathon.

Posted by: rl4man | January 11, 2012

Deliquent Post

I’ve got several races to cover and a lot of life in between. I’ve just been a little bit lazy about posting lately. Let’s see, we left off somewhere around the end of October.

My next race was the Run4Haiti on November 19. It was a well organized race for the first year and they had a good turnout at around 150 participants. The t-shirt wasn’t all that great, but not any worse than other small races I’ve run. And they at least did have a shirt.

Plus there was food and a nice warm place to wait at the 1st Pres. Church in Findlay. They had a kids’ fun run around the parking lot and the boys both ran that. They even gave out medals.

The kids lining up for their race

The temperature wasn’t bad at around 40 degrees and fair. This was a 4-miler and my goal was to come in with sub-10:00 miles. I made that goal coming in at 38:44 at an average 9:41/mile pace. I was actually second in my age group out of 7 and overall 62 out of 145 finishers. I was pleased with that.

Possibly the best picture of me running ever. Taken at the Run4Haiti.

The following week, I ran the Women’s Resource Center Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. My goal was a sub-28:00 5k and I just barely missed that, although if you look at the official results, I came in at 27:59. In reality, they mixed up the times and I’m pretty sure I got the next time at 28:11. My Garmin read right around the 28:15 mark. Anyway, I did place 6th in my age group out of 19 and 133 out of 358 finishers. The weather was pretty nice again–cool, but dry.

Pretty nice tech shirt from the turkey trot

We had a nice Thanksgiving breakfast at Kevin’s folks and then headed down to Columbus to have Thanksgiving with my family since the Foremans weren’t getting together that day (even though it was “their year” according to our calendar).

Kevin’s mom started up a new round of chemo with the OSU James Cancer Clinic and Dr. Bloomston. This time with Folfirinox which was just approved for use earlier in the year. We had high hopes for this protocol and her CA-19 numbers dropped drastically while on this medication. She was off the chemo over Christmas and we had a wonderful holiday together. She was acting just about like her old self and she put on over 10 pounds. She was scheduled for surgery on January 4th to have the tumor resected and part of her pancreas removed.

We celebrated Christmas with my family the week before at my mom’s. It was a nice time as always.

I again ran the Midnight Special 5k on New Year’s Eve up in Whitehouse, OH. I was hoping to have some company this year, but no one came through who said they were interested. I had fun anyway. The weather for this one was perfect, dry and right around 40. My goal, again, was to get a true sub-28:00 time and I finally did–my official time (chip timed) was 27:37, 10th out of 17 for my AG and 167th out of 329 overall. To place in this race, I’ll need to be able to run a 25:00 5k. Guess what my goal is for this year? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a bit discouraged that I wasn’t able to bring my time down more than that from last year, which has been my PR until now at 28:15. I only managed to shave 38 seconds off my time. I know I can do better with a little work.

Nice women's cut tech shirt, medal and blinking necklace from the Midnight Special

Following New Year’s, Joan went in for surgery. Unfortunately, the tumor was wrapped around blood vessels leading to other organs and they were unable to remove any of it. They just closed her back up. This was our greatest fear and it had come true. We were stunned and shocked and in despair for a day or so, but then we were able to start thinking and planning again. The doctor believes the new chemo did have an effect and kept the cancer from spreading, however he thinks the dosage was perhaps not high enough. The plan right now is to wait until February for her to heal up and then restart the chemo and do that until her body says it can’t take any more. Then radiation will be used to help shrink the tumor and perhaps make it able to be removed. Joan, however, does not want to undergo such an extensive surgery as the recovery period is quite grueling. But we’ll cross that bridge when and if we get to it.

Yesterday, I came across a procedure called the NanoKnife that sounds very promising for her situation. It can be used to kill inoperable tumors without damaging surround healthy soft tissue. Kevin emailed Dr. Bloomston who responded right away, knows the doctor in Kentucky who is an expert in this procedure and is willing to set up an appointment. Kevin and I are pretty excited about it and praying that she will be a good candidate for it, especially since it is a minimally invasive technique.

I am in the middle of planning the CGWM spring retreat 5k and starting to freak out just a little bit. I have all sorts of things in process, but very little actually nailed down and done except for the award medals. I’m excited about it, though, and if the fall races in Findlay that I attended are any indication, I could have up to 100 ladies show up.

For my personal race calendar, I am already signed up for the Toledo 1/2 marathon on April 22nd, the Cleveland 1/2 (with Kathryn, yay!) on May 20th, and the Findlay 1/2 marathon on October 7th. I’m still contemplating the Columbus 1/2 again in October, but maybe I really don’t need to run that one again. Maybe if someone will run it with me… Also, the Bowling Green 1/2 is in September, but I can decide on that one at the last minute.

My running goals for the year: run a 25:00 5k and a 2:10 half marathon. With a little hard work, I think I can get there.

Posted by: rl4man | October 28, 2011

Two More Halves Under the Belt

Wow, I just haven’t made time to post my last two race reports. They’ve been good, too. Since it’s been so long, I guess I’ll make them brief.

Swag from Findlay's RWB 26.2

My third half marathon of the year was Findlay’s Red White & Blue 26.2 (seems funny to call a half marathon by that name). The weather ended up being near perfect. It was in the 40’s pretty much the entire time, sunny, and just started getting breezy toward the end. I was a bit overdressed with my jacket on. I would have been more comfortable without it. The race was much improved from last year, although there still weren’t any spectators along the course. The water station volunteers were great. I ran a good time and it was nice to come in to the finish to an announcer and actual live people there. The medal was great–large, heavy, substantial. So much better than last year’s pathetic medal. I happily added that to my collection.

I ran strong until about mile 10. I stopped to text Kevin that I was about half an hour from the finish and then had a hard time starting back up. I managed to come in at 2:19:16 and it was goal to be under 2:20, so I was very happy with that. Average pace was 10:37. I was disappointed that Kevin didn’t manage to get the boys to the finish until right after I crossed the line. They missed it.

But at least everything was still hopping inside the lodge instead of being empty like last year. I’m hoping they kept things set up for the full marathon finishers that came in at the end, but I couldn’t stay to find out as we had to get to church.

Two weeks later, was the Columbus half marathon. We came down on Friday night so we could celebrate Jessie’s 6th birthday (no way is my baby six!!!) at Momma and Jack’s house.

Cakepops to take to school.

Jessie and his birthday cake.

 

Saturday, we took the boys to the Red Nose Run that the Columbus Marathon put on. The boys did great, had so much fun and each got t-shirts and a neat molded rubber medal that they were excited about.

Micah flying past.

Jessie actually passing other kids and smiling the whole way.

Showing off their medals.

Kevin and I dropped the boys off at Momma’s so we could go downtown to the expo to pick up my race packet. It was a little overwhelming and crowded. We browsed briefly then wandered around the North Market a little bit since I hadn’t ever been there before. We didn’t find anything to eat, so we headed back towards my mom’s. We saw the Claddagh Irish Pub at Polaris, so we decided to try it out. I ended up with mushroom ravioli in a cream sauce that I wasn’t sure was a good idea, but it sounded good. And it was. We went back to my mom’s, Kevin got the boys and left for home and I headed over to Kristi’s house.

Sunday morning, Kristi and I got up early, she had bought me Panera bagels so I ate half of one, drank some water, and we headed to the race start. Oh, (TMI warning) my cycle decided to start with a vengeance somewhere between 4 and 5. So I popped a couple ibuprofen hoping to ward off the impending cramps. We got close to the starting area and Kristi let me off about 6:45 while she went to park her car in a pre-paid reserved garage close to the finish line. It was cool–40’s and rose into the 50’s during the race, so again, very nice running weather. I learned from my last race and only wore a long sleeved shirt with a short sleeved shirt over it, no jacket. Somehow Kristi and I never saw each other during the race (it would have helped if I’d checked my text messages before mile 7.5! Sorry, Kristi!). While I waited, a couple got married on stage and I talked to a guy in my corral for a little bit. I was not feeling confident or prepared at all. The previous week I got one run in since I was busy getting stuff done for Jessie’s birthday. I took another couple ibuprofen about 7:00 to make sure they got in my system in time. The race started promptly at 7:30 but it took 6 minutes for me to actually cross the starting line. The course was nice, running through Bexley, German Village and up High St. There were a few minor inclines, but nothing too intimidating. I thought I’d try to hang on to a pace somewhere between 10:00 and 10:30 as long as I could. I was surprised that I was holding that pace pretty well the entire first half. I was tiring a little around mile 8, but still feeling pretty strong, so I just kept it up. Miles 9 and 10 came and went and I still felt good. At mile 11, I realized I had a good shot at making a sub 2:15 and started really pushing myself. There was a little downhill, but then an uphill for mile 11.5. So not cool! The finish was downhill on brick which could have been a little treacherous had it been wet, but it was fine and made it easy to pick up a bit of speed. As I approached the finish line, they announced the full marathon winner was coming up so I reached for that line before he got there. I think I “beat” him by about 5 seconds–at least I didn’t get lapped. My official time was 2:13:39 with an average pace of 10:12. Amazing! I would have never predicted a PR that day and not by that much. I’m starting to think maybe a sub-2:00 half is in me someday. Thanks go to Kristi, as always, for being the best running support I have. At least this time she didn’t have to babysit for the boys.

The one picture Kristi got of me just after the finish line.

Columbus goodies

Medal close-up

I’ve been trying to work on speed for upcoming 5k’s this fall. My goal is to run a sub-25:00 on the treadmill. I’ve done sub-26:00 about three times now. I’m still chasing that sub-28:00 5k race PR. I’ll get it this year yet, I’m sure. Then I’ll keep working at shaving time off. I know I have a limit somewhere in this 40+-year-old body, but I’m hoping I haven’t found it yet.

The boys ran cross country this year with the school. They improved a lot over the season and Jessie seems to have grown to actually enjoy running. He’s so small it’s hard for him to run fast, but he’s happy if he doesn’t come in last place. Micah is always somewhere in the middle of the pack. The last meet they had, they each got participant medals which was nice. Ribbons are ok, but medals are awesome! (Hey, I feel the same way, so I can’t blame them!)

On family news, my mother-in-law is in the middle of her aggressive chemo treatment. Two treatments down and two more to go (one of those today). It’s been up and down and it’s been rough, but she’s hanging in there. She got a good report on her blood work this past week and more information on her enzyme meds that should help her eat better. She had to go out and buy a wig this week as her hair is really thinning. I think that was hard for her, but she feels better about being out in public with it. Jack, my father-in-law, was so sweet when she asked if he’d be seen with her in the wig. He said, “I’d be seen with you if you were bald. I don’t care.” He may not be the most demonstrative guy out there, but he loves that woman with all his heart. I hate seeing them suffer so much. She’ll have another scan at the end of November to see if the chemo has shrunk the cancer enough for surgery. And if all goes as hoped, she’ll have her entire pancreas out. We’re praying all is working as it should and holding out hope that all this will buy her much more time with us–many good, quality years.

Yesterday was trick or treat night. Kevin and I don’t care for it, but his folks enjoy it, so we dress the boys up and take them over. Since this was the year of Angry Birds, I made all four of us costumes. They turned out pretty cute, but don’t look too closely. You can only be so professional with scissors and a glue gun. We have “Trunk or Treat” at the church on Saturday, so we get to use the costumes twice. I wouldn’t have made them for Kevin and me if we didn’t have that as well.

That’s the update. Can’t believe October is almost over. I’m already feeling the Christmas pressure. Oh, my! Here we go again!

Posted by: rl4man | September 16, 2011

Better Late Than Never 1/2 Marathon Race Report

OK, so it’s been just about 2 weeks since I ran the Soaring Eagle Runs Half Marathon in Bowling Green. At first I thought I got a PR, but then in looking back at my actual times, I was over the Toledo half time by 17 seconds. Oh so close! And I could have done it. My final Garmin time was 2:27:40. I’m going with that as my official time since they only used clock time at this race.

I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do this race knowing from past results that it’s a fast field. But it was a good benchmark for my upcoming fall races, so I finally bit the bullet and registered online the Monday of race week. So the week leading up to the event, I kept checking the weather forecast. It kept getting warmer and warmer. The day of the race ended up being beautiful for anything other than a 1/2 marathon. Starting in the upper 60’s, it climbed into the lower 80’s by the end.

The day before the race, I drove the course after I picked the boys up from school. Wow! Does 13.1 miles seem like a long distance! I was a little nervous to say the least. I hadn’t run more than 12 miles (and that with a break in the middle) since my last half marathon in April. I was glad I did, though since I knew where I was going the next day. We went to pick up the race packet and I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice tech shirt inside.

This race provided a lot for such a small price.

The next morning, I got there about a half hour early, parked, and then followed people into the BG fairgrounds and found the registration area. Kevin and the boys were staying home since it was so close and I know they would have been bored and hot–not a good combination for those guys, for sure! I watched the kids’ race and then just waited, trying not feel out of place until they started assembling everyone for the start out on the road. The starting horn went off and I got going at a nice, fairly easy pace. The first 6 miles were great. I was glad the beginning was on the completely unsheltered country roads. I kept most miles under 11:00, only one at 11:00, but as the sun got warmer and warmer, I started to struggle. By mile 8 I was really tiring. Miles 9-13 were so hard and my pace was slowing into the 12:00’s. I made the last turn into the fair grounds where we had to run around the track. It was so cruel to run in the blazing sun on a hot track about 3/4 of a mile around. I finally gave up and walked. Why when I was so close? I just couldn’t do it. But at the last 1/4 mile, I picked it up again and managed the sub-2:28 finish. I bet I could have PR’d if I hadn’t walked that little bit!

Micah took a picture of me when I got home.

I managed not to be last in my AG, but was still 13th out of 14. I was 136th out of 162 finishers and 29 people actually came in behind me. So it wasn’t completely embarrassing. Plus it was nice to still have lots of people hanging around for us slowpokes to cross the finish line. I suppose that’s the difference between a full marathon and a half–not as long to wait for the back of the pack.

One fun moment was when the lady was looking me up to record my finish position and time. She was glancing over a list and couldn’t find my name. I had to tell her to look in the 40-44 AG. She was looking in the 20’s! Of course I had sunglasses on, but it still made me feel good. ๐Ÿ™‚

The medal was very nice, the Panera bagels and fruit (watermelon never tasted so good!) at the finish were good, the route was well-marked and mainly flat, and they had nice course support. Over all, a great, small, inexpensive ($28 for a week-of registration with no online processing fee!) half marathon that I may do again.

Next up: The Red, White & Blue 26.2 half marathon in two more weeks on Oct. 2. (So shouldn’t it be called the Red, White & Blue 13.1? I know, it doesn’t have the same “ring” to it!) My goal for this, if the weather cooperates, is to go for an 11:00 minute pace and finish in 2:24–and actually still have people at the finish line. I want to leave some room for possible improvement for the Columbus half marathon two weeks later. I managed to run 14 miles last week at an 11:32/mile pace average without completely wiping myself out. I guess that’s what cooler temps do for you. I’m trying not to push too hard on the long runs per studies that show long runs should be taken SLOWLY. This weekend I’m going for 15 miles. I figure these over-runs will train my body to think 13.1 miles is nothing and let me sustain a faster pace for longer. Makes sense, right? Right! (I’m starting to crave another marathon–maybe in 2013. Not sure 2012 would be a good idea.)

Posted by: rl4man | August 15, 2011

Up, Up & Away 5k Version 2011

Saturday morning dawned somewhat overcast and a slight bit cool. Perfect for a race! I got up about 6:00 so I could take my time getting ready and out the door by 6:45. (They changed to time to an hour earlier this year which was a good thing.) I was doing this race completely solo–letting Kevin sleep in with the boys and so he wouldn’t be tasked with wrangling them while they waited on me to finish. (Although they would have enjoyed watching the balloons fly this year and it wasn’t so hot.) On the way into town, I stopped to get a newspaper and a few gallons of gas. I got to the balloon festival and race site by 7:20, so I had a few minutes to sit in the car to wait. I found a parking place quite a bit closer than last year since I knew where the gathering area was. I read a bit of the paper and then headed over to the registration area around 7:45. I couldn’t find my running sunglasses and finally located them on the floor in the back seat… in two pieces! How that happened I have no idea. So I was stuck with my regular driving sunglasses which slip down my nose when I’m sweaty. But at least I had those since the sun was starting to come out.

I saw my friend, Cassie, when I got closer to the registration table and since she didn’t have anyone with her at the time, we hung out together until it was time to start. Since the race is held in conjunction with the annual Findlay balloon festival, it was so neat to see the balloons flying overhead, taking off and landing. We got the signal to go to the starting line which is a little walk from the registration area and headed over there. We lined up in the middle somewhere around the 9:00 and 8:30 pace area and chatted until suddenly we heard the horn signalling that the race was starting. It took a few seconds to get to the starting line, I pushed my Garmin button, and we were off. Cassie pulled away from me fairly quickly, but I didn’t want to start too fast and burn up like I did at the race two weeks before. I was feeling good at a 1/2 mile, but by the mile mark was breathing heavier. Mile two was starting to be a struggle, although I finally caught and passed Cassie. I really had to push myself the last mile. A good distraction was seeing all the balloons fly overhead. They were really coming in during the middle. I knew I was doing better than the last race, but I also knew I wasn’t going to break 28:00, however 29:00 wasn’t out of the picture yet. As we headed back around the field, the sun was coming out and starting to get warm. I crossed the bridge and the rest was a short downhill to the finish line. I remembered to stop my Garmin and glanced at the clock and saw I was just under 29:00. Not bad for me! My Garmin read just about 28:39 which compared to last year was just about 4 minutes faster.

Later that day, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the race director with all my stats. This is what it said:

Rachel, congratulations on finishing the Up, Up and Away 5K
on August 13, 2011!ย ย  There were 487 finishers.

Your overall place was 251 and you
finished 4 out of 16 in the Female 40 to 44 age
group.

Your time of 28:54 gave you a pace
ofย  9:19 per mile.

Bib # 1103

I was very surprised I was 4th place (out of more than 4) in my age group.

Overall, it was a very good race, well run with a nice tech shirt this year. Two things I wish they had, 1) why don’t they have chip timing in a race this large–almost 500 runners? and 2) I wish they had medals. But you can’t have everything. Chip timing would be nice though. I also don’t have any pictures, so hopefully they will post pictures on their website like they did last year and I’ll post mine here if they do.

Best picture of several from the Up, Up & Away photographers.

I’m contemplating a 1/2 marathon in Bowling Green on September 4th (so I’ve been ramping up my long run mileage just in case I do) and then I have my October 1/2 marathons already lined up. Findlay will actually have a turkey trot this year on Thanksgiving Day, so I will be running that. And of course there’s the Midnight Special 5k New Year’s Eve race (my dental hygienist and her friend said they’d be interested in that–Yay! If I don’ t have to wait all by myself this year). There may be a few other 5k’s in the fall, but those are my “for sure” races. I’m still working on my speed and hoping to get closer to a sub-28:00 5k soon. Kevin will be home in the evenings starting next week, so I’m hoping to be getting more “road” time in which I believe is crucial to me getting faster outside. The treadmill just isn’t the same. It seems my treadmill times translate to about 1 minute faster than my outside times. I got a broken up 12-miler in yesterday which was a struggle. 10k (6.2 miles) outside and then another 6 miles on the treadmill. I had lots of interruptions once I got inside though. It was still a tough one and just barely managed to keep my overall pace under 11:00. I’m hoping for an 11:00 average pace for my next half.

So there you have it. One more 5k done.

Posted by: rl4man | August 1, 2011

Not a PR, but an AG award!

OK, so maybe that ‘s a little misleading. I did get second in my age group at my 1 year racing anniversary 5k, but there were only 2 of us in the 40-49 group. But I’ll still take the lovely little plaque they gave out. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was the Jack Patterson Memorial 5k in North Baltimore which was part of the Summerfest they hold the last Saturday in July. It didn’t start until 9:00 and it was already warm. I knew this one might be a struggle. I ran into my dental hygienist and her friend right before it started and it was nice to have someone to talk to before the race. It came time to line up at the start and I noticed someone I knew in my age group and knew that my 1st place was gone since she’s a speedster. I was still hopeful for 2nd place though as I didn’t see anyone else who looked to be my age.

So we started off. I went out pretty fast, knowing I couldn’t hold the pace, but I wanted to give myself a little cushion. The first mile was out of town and then up a country road, past the quarry. There was intermittent shade so it wasn’t too bad. I was tiring pretty quickly, though, in the heat and humidity. The second mile went up another country road with no shade and a slight incline about half way through. I really started to struggle there and my pace slowed considerably. The turn back toward town marked the start of the third mile and fortunately had a few small declines so I was able to pick up the pace a little bit to make up some lost time. I made it to the finish line in 32nd place out of 44. Not too great, but still faster than last year. My Garmin said 29:20.29. At least it was under 30:00.ย  I really feel like I gave it my best shot. I checked the results posting and I did indeed get 2nd place since there were no others 40-49. I was surprised actually at how small the race was. Last year there were about 60 runners. But I was glad to go up and claim my award during the ceremony.

While I was running, the boys had entered Rosie in the pet show over behind the library. They were thrilled and so excited that she won 1st place in the “Other” category of pets. They got a ribbon, a free ice cream cone at the Daily Queen (yes, that’s right, “Daily”), a free movie pass, and a free pet nail trim at the local pet groomers. Not bad for a free contest.

We went back into town around 9:00 to get the boys a treat and then go see the fireworks. They were pretty good for a small town, but we were right up underneath them and it got pretty loud. Plus, the mosquitoes were horrible so we stayed in the car and it was pretty hot. But the boys enjoyed it. They were pretty cranky on Sunday, though, since they got to bed so late.

My mother-in-law continues to struggle with her treatments. She’s having trouble eating enough and still has abdominal pain that she has to take percocet for. Fortunately, this week is a break week from chemo, so hopefully she’ll be able to rebuild her strength for the final three treatments. Then it’s on to radiation. I pray that she can tolerate everything well enough to complete it all. We just want this cancer gone and the whole ordeal behind us. We’re still praying that this will cure her. We know there’s a possibility that it won’t, but we’re not giving up hope.

I’ve been struggling with my running lately, mostly because I haven’t been able to get in as many runs as I want to each week for one reason or the other. There’s just so much going on. But most of the mid-week stuff should be over with now and Kevin will be returning to a daytime work schedule in two weeks, so I’ll have more “free” time in the afternoons and evenings. My pace has plateaued for the last couple months and I’m hoping to be able to start working on increasing it again. I have a couple more 5k’s coming up, maybe one this weekend and one for sure on Aug. 13 at the hot air balloon festival. Then I’ll be concentrating on half marathon season for the fall. I have two I’m already registered for in October and perhaps one in September in BG. It’s cheap (only $28) and very close by. The only problem is it’s the same day as the Kalb family reunion.

The boys will be going to Bowling Green Christian Academy this year. I’m not sure what changed Kevin’s mind about homeschooling, but I was relieved when he said we could try it. We weren’t sure how we were going to afford it, but then we got part of our deposit back on the house we were going to build 2 years ago to the tune of $2,000, my mom forgave the remaining $2,000 we owe her for the car we bought from them, plus she and Jack are going to give us $1,000 to help. What a blessing! We were getting a little behind on some bills due to unforeseen expenses (electricity bill adjustment, car repairs, etc.). This will entail extra driving, but our work schedules seem to work out perfectly for one of us to drop them off and one to pick them up. And since we’ll be heading north twice a day, we’re taking our house of the market for the time being.

There’s lots more I could say–lots of activities going on this summer (Cedar Point day, visit with college roommates, lake visit with the Huffs), but I’ll close out for now.

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