Wednesday, October 23, 2013

full crazy

They say when you run a half marathon, you're just half crazy.  I guess that means that I have now achieved full crazy status since running my first 26.2 this past Sunday!
About 2:00 on Saturday, I headed to Columbus with this crew to pick up our race packets at the expo, get dinner, & then check into the hotel.  It was good to be with familiar & new friends because it kept me somewhat distracted.  I only briefly felt like having a full-blown meltdown right about the time of this picture because I was running late due to misplaced headphones, so I was slightly freaking out.  We finally found some headphones that would work (thankfully since they were Kade's & he found them in a pocket of shorts that had already gone through the wash...good grief, they were in 10,000 knots, but they worked!).  Otherwise, it was a pretty good eve of the race aside from the fleeting moments where I would think, "Oh my gosh, I'm running a marathon tomorrow" & the butterflies would kick in yet again. 
I was awake at 4:30 a.m., even though the alarm was set for 5.  The temperature read 39 degrees, but feels like 35 degrees.  I began to second guess my race day outfit, but had no choice but to stay with the original plan of running in shorts because I didn't pack running tights anyway.  I'm glad I listened when the veterans suggested that you wear an old sweatshirt & gloves that you can toss as you get warmed up.  Very glad.  (And later I was glad that I was in shorts because the day was cool, but perfect running weather.)
Once downtown, I just tried to soak in the excitement & find a place shielded from the wind while waiting to enter my starting corral.  It was really something to be in the midst of so many people who were also waiting to reap the reward of so many months of training.
I'm glad I had a friend (Allison) to wait with in the corral.  Otherwise, I probably would have freaked some poor soul out with nervous chatter!
 By the time our corral had moved forward to be launched on this 26.2 mile journey, I was just ready.  I decided, though, that someone had a fairly twisted sense of humor when they decided that a good motivational song to send us off with was "Highway to Hell".  Not funny, peeps.
With the experience of 2 half marathons fairly fresh in my mind, I wanted to learn from some mistakes I made in those races.  One of the big ones was starting out too fast, which is so easy to do when your adrenaline is pumping.  I settled into what felt comfortable, & set out to do another thing different than in past races...ENJOY it!!  I have always been one to run alone, put the headset in, & zone, but thanks to new running friends, I have learned to take in my surroundings better.  I knew at some point I would need the headset, but I started without it.  I can honestly say that I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed the first 15 or so miles of the race.  The course was beautiful, following city streets into beautiful neighborhoods, some of the motivational signs were hilarious, there were awesome fans all along the course as well as bands & DJs, & best of all, each mile had a child champion for inspiration, which is why I began this journey in the first place.
At Mile 15, I got to see my Child Champion inspiration, Kylie, as well as my husband, who has been such an encouragement. 


It was also awesome to hit that point because some of the new friends I met the day before had finished running the half marathon & hustled up to Mile 15 to cheer everyone running the full on.

I can't really pinpoint why, but about mile 18 I was feeling a little bitter.  I could feel my pace slowing down, my legs started feeling pretty tight, & I felt like we were going uphill for what seemed like forever (which was actually 2 miles).  I'm assuming that was my "hitting the wall", but by 20, I started digging into all the things people had been telling me:  Trust your training, run with heart, etc.  About mile 24, I remember suddenly feeling like, "Ok, I'm really doing this."  I knew Joe would be there waiting for me, which also spurred me on.  For whatever reason, Joe was waiting for me right about mile 26 instead of at the actual finish, which really helped me dig deep & turn that corner to finish up the final .2.

Once I rounded the corner & saw the words "FINISH" up ahead, I think my body just went into automatic.  Between the spectators cheering & the emotion welling up in me...there really just aren't words.

I finished in 5 hours 1 minute.  If I'm honest, that little bit over 5 drives me nuts because I had wanted to finish under 5 hours.  However, there are things I did that slowed me down that I would do all over again like high-fiving patient champions & their families, talking to some runners along the way, & really trying to enjoy the experience.  But I've already decided I want to run another one to get under 5. ;o)

Me with My #1 Fan

Thank you, Kylie, for inspiring me to have the courage to do something hard & wonderful.  Your life is a beautiful blessing!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

tomorrow is the day

In less than 24 hours, I will be running the streets of Columbus.  Truth be told, the feelings I have about this 26.2 are reminiscent of birthing a baby.  The date has been on the calendar for months, but now that "the day" is near, I feel the urge to do some serious back-peddling!  While I am so excited, know that I've put the time in, & daydream about *that* moment of finishing, I am anxious about the unknowns.  How long is it actually going to take?  At what point will it start to hurt?  How much will it hurt?  Do I have the grit to push past the hurt & keep going?
Trust your training, "they" say.  My training began 16 weeks ago, a couple weeks past when most started, but I was still rehabbing from a nasty hamstring injury, & this is when I got the go-ahead from my doctor.  But I found this 16-week plan that closely resembled one of the trusted 18-week plans, so I printed it out & hung it on the fridge.
My 2 oldest daughters sent me these 2 inspirational quotes this week.  They are perfect reminders that I do need to trust my training, but not just the physical training.  My training log shows the physical training miles I put in, but I need to remember that it also represents the mental training & prayers said.  It takes some type of will & heart to pull myself out of bed between 3:30 am-5:00 am, depending on the training of the day, to run X number of miles, most before the sun ever came up.
So, come tomorrow, I will pray for the confidence to run this race before me, knowing that I put in the work, trying to embrace & savor the moments.  If I should waiver, I will pray to refocus on thankfulness to God for all that He has taught me leading up to this day & ask Him to once again renew my courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

celebrating hope

It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that this amazing little girl turned 3 years old this past Friday.

Each of the little girls has a middle name honoring the unique paths that the Lord led us on to becoming a part of their precious lives.

When I think about 3 years ago at this time, we knew she had been born, but that was all we knew.  We didn't know her face, we didn't know her touch, we didn't know her cry, & we didn't even know for certain if we would be her parents. 

 It was such an uncertain, emotional time, but what we clung to was Hope. Hope in God's plans for our family & for this little girl, trusting in whatever direction things would go.

What a humbling moment to learn that a little girl miles away would indeed become our daughter.

Every day with this daughter of mine is a reminder & a challenge to choose hope.  In days of uncertainty or times when things are just not going the way we envisioned, we have a choice.  We can choose to allow temporary circumstances to define us, or we can choose to have hope in the plans He has for us.

Kendi Hope, thank you for reminding Mommy every single day of how trusting & hoping in God's plans for my life & our family is where the greatest blessings can be found.  You are so loved & treasured as one of those blessings!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

excitement over missing shoes {a Kemeri update}

It's been awhile since I've given an update on Kemeri Abigail's progress since coming home.  Can you believe she's been home a year and a half now?  Me neither!
Kemeri has experienced becoming a daughter, sister, granddaughter, & friend, a major surgery, many doctor appointments, lots (& lots) of firsts, & starting preschool.
One of Kemeri's favorite things to do is play dress-up.  Constantly.  She has even started venturing into Kaya's drawers when the normal dress-up clothes selection becomes boring.  It's no wonder all I do is laundry!  She also loves doing her hair & mine (this does not hurt my feelings!).  It is amazing to see what she CAN do with her little hand, which includes putting a rubberband in her own hair as well as mine.  As a matter of fact, this morning she proudly came out with her hair in a ponytail for preschool, complete with a headband, so you better believe I let her sport her original look to preschool.  Here is yet another of her original looks:
She adores spending time with extended family.
She also adores her siblings, but Kendi is more than that...they are best friends.  I'm not just saying that because it's what I had hoped for them.  It is even more than what I had hoped for.  They play together all the time.  Recently, Kemmy had to "take a break" because she was having some attitude issues.  After a few minutes, Kendi came to me and said, "Mom, can Kemeri just say she's sorry?" Somebody was looking to bust her buddy out of solitairy.
The way they play pretend is so cute, & considering that Kemeri had very little experience with play in her orphanage setting, it makes me smile all the more.  One thing they dreamed up all on their own is what they call "Mama/Shelby".  One of them is the mommy & the other is Shelby (I guess they just like this name??).  Many times I hear, "Mommy!", & when I answer, they promptly inform me I am NOT a part of their game.  My bad.  And they wear each other out.
Kemeri has come a long, long way in a lot of areas.  Once we got through the initial medical stuff, we realized she was delayed in many areas.  We began in the early intervention program, & once she turned 3, she received an IEP (individulized education plan) & started preschool, where she receives therapies in speech as well as fine/gross motor skills.  In all of these areas, speech has probably been the biggest hurdle.  Words do not come easily, & when they do, it's typically one or two at a time, so imagine my elation yesterday when I heard, "Mommy, I can't find my shoes!"  A WHOLE sentence, plain as day!!!  I can't say that I've ever been so happy about missing shoes!  Her teacher even made a special trip to the car today to tell me that they are seeing such progress in her communication at school.  I am so happy for her since this has been a point of frustration for her (I mean, seriously, when you're 3 years old, you have lots of opinions that need expressing!).
Her attachment has been good.  As with any attachment journey, there are different bumps in the road.  Thankfully, hers have been relatively minor, but for a long time she struggled with me being gone, especially at bedtime.  She still struggles with this at times (& when I say struggle, I mean full-out meltdown), but I have found that if I tell her I am leaving but will be back, she seems to handle it much better.  I think the area we have seen the most growth is in her relationship with Daddy.  She has gotten so she asks specifically for Joe during the day, & has started taking initiative with affection (hugs & "I love you, Daddy").
Kemeri, Kendi, & friend, Colby
It's hard to believe Kemeri will be turning 4 years old in six short months.  I'm looking forward to seeing her continue to blossom & watch her determined little self conquer obstacles.

Monday, October 7, 2013

an apple a day. . .

Well, we might be eating an apple a day after our trip to the apple orchard!  This is one of my most favorite things about the Fall...visiting one of the beautiful area farms.  No pumpkins on this day, but we picked a bushel of apples, took a hayride, & saw some animals in the barn.

It just wouldn't be a trip to the apple orchard without pitch & catch with apples! Crazies!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

just sayin' hi

Since I'm just sitting here with Daisy Mae, thought I'd share a few pics of life's happenings.  I think Daisy insists on hanging out with me because she knows I'm not feeling the greatest.  The good news is that I successfully completed my final 20-mile training run this past Sunday & have begun the taper phase of my marathon training.  The bad news is that I evidently have a displaced rib that makes my side feel like somebody took a baseball bat to it.  So, Daisy is concerned (as is Ella, who is at my feet on the floor) as I sit here icing.
Joe took Kaya & K'Tyo to a home football game recently, & they got pics with the varsity cheer coach, who just happens to be their sister. :)
And these two...I love, love, love my camera phone at these moments.  The best thing about this scene is that it's all their idea.  They readily share hugs & hold hands all on their own.
Seriously, is there anything better than running in wide open spaces?  Ella & I just enjoyed strolling behind.
Kearsten continues to settle into life in her new community, which now includes her new buddy, Rooney.  I'm so happy they have found each other...he had a super rough start to life, & she has always wanted a rescue dog.  Yay!
This was another sweet moment this past week.  While Kemmy was at preschool, Kendi was a sweet helper as Mommy got a haircut.  Since it was lunch time when we were finished, we ran through the drive thru to get some lunch.  Kendi said, "Mommy, can we eat outside in the sunshine?"  I am thankful that these kiddos remind me to slow down & enjoy simple, impromptu things like picnics in the sunshine.
Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week...I hope to share some pictures from our outing to the apple orchard soon!