Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lessons Learned

Throughout my marathon experience I learned several valuable lessons. Here a few that stood out:
* There is such a thing as over-hydration. I sweat like crazy, and everyone warned me about getting dehydrated. I've heard many first-time marathoners talk about getting cramps because of having a bad hydration/nutrition plan. Nashville's high on Saturday was in the 80’s with 60 percent humidity. My biggest goal was to not get dehydrated. I had a 16-oz. hand-held bottle which I filled up with Gatorade or water at every aid station. This was a very well-ran marathon, so that meant I was drinking that much every two miles! I was having to use the porta potty constantly because I would drink the whole bottle before I got to the next aid station. I knew I was drinking way more than enough because of the frequent bathroom breaks, but I didn't want my legs to start cramping up. Other than having to stop a lot, I felt great. There were 31,000 runners with 25,000 doing the half and 5,000 doing the full. The first half I would have to stand in line for 5-10 minutes just to go to the bathroom! After the halfers went their own way, I rarely had to stand in line, so that was nice. I really think over-hydrating took almost 30 minutes off my time. I did feel really good the whole time, though
Just because you are training for a marathon doesn’t mean you can eat whatever or however much you want. You can eat A LOT during marathon training. Every long run Dad and I would talk about what we were going to eat when we got home. I rewarded myself with eating whatever I wanted. Running made me hungry all the time. I always thought I would get skinny from running, but I gained 11 pounds! That is a lot for a girl my height, and Noooo, all you sweet friends of mine, it was not all muscle! Thanks for trying to tell me that, but I know how much and what I was eating. Pizza and baked goods do not make muscle. I do love food and did enjoy myself, but I'm sure I would have done better and it would have been a little easier if I wouldn’t have packed on the pounds.
My husband is amazing! This isn’t really something I learned because I’ve known it since the day I got my first letter from him while he was stationed in California in the Marines. He has been so supportive of me during this whole marathon journey. He would watch our little 4-year-old son while I would go out on my training runs. If I ever doubted myself he would say, “Jenny, you are doing great. You’ve come a long way, you don’t want to quit now.” He didn’t once complain while I was buying all of the running gear I just had to have. And best of all – he prayed for me.

• Sunscreen is a must! The worst part of my marathon recovery was my blistering nose. My face hurt when I laid on my pillow. I thought about putting sunscreen on, but knowing how badly I sweat, I was worried it would just drip into my eyes and burn.  I rarely burn so I thought nothing about deciding against wearing it. Bad idea! Being in the direct 80-degree sun for six hours made for some horrible tan lines and an excruciating sunburn. My nose was still peeling two weeks after the race.
• Run the very best race you can run. My main focus on this marathon was just to enjoy myself and soak up the whole experience. I was in no hurry for this journey to end and took my time along the course. Looking back, I wish I would have tried to get the best time I could since it might possibly be the only marathon I ever do. My 6-hour time is a little disappointing. I ran my 20-mile training run in under 4 hours so I feel like I could have done a lot better.
• Schedule races in the fall or winter. Through my training and marathon I discovered I would much rather run in freezing cold weather than smoking hot weather. Also, after running this race, we found out that this marathon is ranked in the top 10 hardest marathons. I guess it's because of the long hills, so it probably would have been smarter to do a flatter, easier race for my first marathon.
• There are many amazing and generous people in this world. $963 was raise for my cousin Cara's family. I was blown away with everyone's generosity.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I ran a marathon!

After months of training and planning, I ran the St. Jude Nashville marathon Saturday. It’s still hard for me to believe I completed 26.2 miles. The whole experience – amazing and life-changing in so many ways – was made extra special because I got to share it with some wonderful people who were also running their first marathon. And all of us were running in honor of Cara Hawxby, my 7-year-old cousin, who will be undergoing treatments for leukemia at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for the next two and half years.

L to R: Rachel Brown, Tyne Rose, Molly Ledbetter, Kelly Humphries. Back: Nick Prososki, Tim Prososki, Gene Britt. Middle: Serena Prososki, Penny Britt, me, Norene Prososki (mom). Front: Shauna Rose Price, Heather Heide (Cara's mom), Sherry Alexander. 
 Back in October, Mom and I made the decision to go through this marathon journey together. We planned on doing our training runs together, but she pulled a muscle in November that took her out of running for awhile. I really didn’t want to train by myself, so my dad said he would do it with me! He is a lot faster than me, but he stuck right by me through every training run - no matter how slow. While we were running the marathon I tried to tell him how thankful I was to him for doing this with me, but it was hard to get the words out without crying. Once I finally choked out the words, he said. “Any dad should be honored and privileged to do this with their daughter.” He had a little catch in his voice, so I think he was about to cry, too.

My mom and dad, and me at about 5: 30 a.m. getting ready for my husband Zack to drive us to the starting line. Mom was going to run her first half marathon and Dad and I were going to run our first full marathon. I had just spray painted Dad’s awesome mowhawk. I’m tellin ya that man can pull off anything. We both decided to sport pink hair in honor of Cara.

Speaking of crying - I had no idea how emotional this day would be. So many times, I was overwhelmed with how thankful I was to be there. So many times, I felt like God was right there with us. There’s a verse in the Bible that is especially meaningful to me and our family – Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. It was my Poppo Delmar’s favorite verse; he took joy and comfort in those words when ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) caused his muscles to stop working. It’s engraved on his tombstone.
In one of the first letters I got from my husband, Zack, long before we ever met, while he was in the Marines, he told me it was his favorite verse and it helped get him through tough times in boot camp. (It was a little sign from God that Zack was indeed the man put on this earth for me.)
Days before the marathon I had asked a fellow IRC member to pray for me because I was nervous about my first marathon and she simply replied with “YOU GOT THIS!! You will “soar on wings like eagles.”
Within the first few miles of our marathon, we ran by a woman encouraging her friend, saying in a strong, commanding voice, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength and mount up with wings as eagles!” Then she shouted, “Amen!” Dad and I, with tears streaming down our faces, shouted “Amen!” right back to her.
After the race, Penny Britt, who also ran her first marathon that day, brought up that same verse and told us of all the times throughout the day and the week prior that it had encouraged her, not knowing that we had almost the same story. There were many blessings throughout this journey. Just the fact that all of us made it to the start and finish line is huge. Mom got a horribly sharp pain in her foot .2 miles into the race, we all prayed and it went away and she had an awesome race. God is Great!

I loved everything about this experience - especially the people! The roads were lined with spectators. Some handed out oranges, apples, ice cubes; some sprayed us with the water hose; some held funny and encouraging signs. But my favorite had to be the all the kids standing there with their little hands sticking out for high fives. I think I may have added half a mile onto my distance just trying to get over to high five all of the kids.
All of that support from strangers is amazing, but when Dad and I saw the Rose family and the Britt girls –our friends from home ‑ it was a high point of the marathon. It really helped keep me going. It made me think of everyone from our small town and all of my friends who I knew were thinking about me and who were praying for me, and it was overwhelming.
There were 31,000 people running in Nashville and so many of them were an inspiration for me. In front of me a woman with a prosthetic leg was running in the marathon. Shauna Rose Price, one of my fellow Cara runners, said she saw a blind man who was running with the aid of two sticks. A soldier in full camo uniform and boots with a huge backpack was right next to us running in memory of soldiers who had died in combat.
Even at the end of the marathon, in those final miles, with aching muscles and the sun frying blisters on my nose, I turned to Dad and said, “How awesome is this!”
Crossing the finish line was surreal. I don’t know if it was being so tired or from being in the direct sunlight for 6 hours but I really don’t remember everything crystal clear. I’m not sure which friend I hugged first but I do remember how happy I was to see their good looking faces.  I saw Heather, Cara’s mom, waiting for me. As soon as we saw each other, we both started crying. She was saying thank you to me for doing the run for Cara, but I want to thank her for letting me. I was the one who was blessed.
I still have to tell myself every day, "I ran a marathon!" It still doesn't seem real. I just feel so blessed that God not only got me through the training injury free but I honestly enjoyed it. The memories I made with my Dad on this journey are irreplaceable. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

A note from Cara's Mom, Heather

After 16 weeks of training and fundraising and hundreds of miles logged on the road, Team Cara ran in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon Saturday. The marathon was an unforgettable experience in many ways for all of us, but the coolest part was knowing we were running for Cara. It was an emotional and wonderful day. I'm still getting my thoughts together about completing my first marathon, but in the meantime
here's a note from Cara's mom, Heather, that she wanted me to share with you.

Hello to all who have been following this "Run for Cara" journey. 

I write following the weekend that we spent in Nashville running to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  It was a very emotional weekend for me since my sweet daughter, Cara, is currently being treated at this amazing facility.  Until Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) hit this special girl in my life, I had no idea how amazing of a facility this is.  St. Jude not only is researching to make my daughter cancer free, but all the other children who follow her in treatment.  They do this at no cost to the patient.  In other words, momma’s insurance pays what they deem reasonable, and St. Jude never asks for any additional money from momma and daddy.  Personally, I didn’t know such a place existed until Oct. 3, 2011.  So any chance I get, I tell anyone who will listen about the amazing place where my daughter is being treated.

In addition to writing how St. Jude has personally touched my life, I'm also writing to tell how each person who wore the “I Refuse To Give In” shirt touched my life.  I had the opportunity to watch many of the people on “Team Cara” cross the finish line of one of the most grueling (but fun) experiences of their life.  And all of them were doing it in honor of my daughter.  I cannot put into words how awesome it was to watch that experience.  I hope that I get the opportunity to see these individuals pick up their running shoes and join me in a race in the near future.  I feel really blessed to have so many people supporting my family through this journey of getting Cara cancer free.

I want to thank Jenny for creating our shirts and spreading the word about this journey.  I could not believe how many people showed up in their cool, pink shirts and ran for such a great cause this weekend. 

Thank you again for continuing to keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.  We are currently in week 16 of 120 weeks of treatment.  Cara continues to get a chemo pill every night as well as getting chemo administered via her port every week.  We continue to travel to Memphis about once a month so that she can get a spinal tap of chemo.  She continues to keep fighting the fight.   Some days she, as well as the rest of the family, do better at keeping up the spirits and not letting cancer keep us down.  Cara recently suckered mommy and daddy into getting her a new dog, a Yorkshire Terrier, and that has seemed to brighten the mood of our little girl.  Please let us know if you are in the area and if Cara’s counts are up, we would love to have you stop by for a visit. 

Cara, Garrett, Wendell, and Heather

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shirts Are In!

Wahoooo! We are in taper week. This weekend we got to test out our Running For Cara shirts for the first time on a 12-miler. Boy, did we ever put them though a test! It had to have been at least 90 percent humidity when we woke for our run Saturday morning, but the shirts felt great! They are super cool, thin and breathable. Thanks to everyone who ordered them! I can't express how awesome it feels knowing so many people will be sporting these shirts with my sweet, brave cousin Cara's photo on the back. Here is a picture of how they turned out. I will have them at the Ozark County Times so those of you who ordered them can pick them up anytime. They are $17. 

This is not the best picture, but it was very early in the morning, and we were honestly not pumped about having our picture taken. We wanted to get our 12 miles knocked out.
All three of us – mom, dad, and I – had a rough time on this 12-mile run. I don't know if it was the humidity, if we were still worn out from our 20-miler last week, or what the deal was. You know it's a rough run though when you say "Let's just try to keep it under a 14-minute-mile pace." Yikes. Haha. Around mile four, we spotted this guy in the road though, which sure gave us a little pep in our step.

On closer examination, we found him belly up and dead. Dad flipped him over so I could get a better picture of him. One mile later we came up on this little copperhead all coiled up and very much alive. Ahhh.
Dad kept chunking rocks at it, just ticking the thing off. Finally, I asked Dad exactly what he was trying to do and he said he was trying to kill it. I told him that there was no way he was going to kill it by throwing rocks at it. So he found the longest stick he could and flung it out in the woods. My husband Zack told me we should have stomped on it, but I thought it looked too thick be very easy to kill that way. Needless to say we kept our eyes peeled the rest of our run. By the time we were done, it looked like we had jumped in the lake in our clothes we sweat so much. I hope it isn't humid like this the day of the marathon, but even if it is, we will kill it! I am so excited. I can't believe this Saturday we have the Relay for Life 5K, and then the next weekend is the marathon! Anyone who wants information about the 5K just ask. You can sign up the day of the race which is on the square in Gainesville Missouri. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

20 miles! What?

I can’t believe I just ran 20 miles! I honestly thought I would have to walk A LOT  when I saw first saw the marathon training plan called for running 20 miles. I couldn't begin to imagine running that distance.  
Dad and I had a goal to not kill any time on this run so we could get a good estimate about how we might possibly do on our April 28th marathon. When thinking back on our previous long runs I recall wasting some time here and there – stopping to eat Honey Stingers, standing around at the turn-around points or switching out water, taking pictures etc.  Dad and I both agreed we were going to try to always be moving forward. We did have to stop to go to the bathroom, of course, but this time we didn’t wait around on each other. The person who took the longest just had to catch up to the other person. (I believe this is  David Murphy, Jon Wilson and Charley Hogue's definition of a tempo run). We also hurried when changing out water. We walked and even kept up a jog while eating our Honey Stingers and taking drinks this time.
We both decided to run our toughest training course in Protem – Eagle Ridge Road. It is a dirt road that goes all the way to the lake. Within the first couple miles there is a huge, long, grueling hill that Dad calls Mount Everest. After that it stays pretty flat with some smaller hills here and there. It is a really beautiful run and we rarely ever meet a car. On the way back the hill (mountain) is really steep and very hard to get up. We are hoping that training on this tough course will give us an extra edge at the marathon.  Here is the elevation chart for the marathon course which has been said to be very hilly. Whoever has said this must not be from the Ozarks. Of course, I may change my tune after I actually run it.

Here is the elevation chart from my run today. 

You can see where we had to conquer our massive hill several times today. I can honestly say I felt great the whole run. The only thing that really bothered me much at all was the top of my left ankle/shin. I would have to stop and stretch it and it would get better. It mainly bothers me when I lengthen my stride while going faster. It barely hurts enough to even mention, but that was really the only thing that bothered me much at all, which I think is a huge blessing.  
Dad and I kept talking about how amazing it is to see what our bodies can do. If you would have asked either of us even a couple weeks ago if we would be running at the end of a 20-mile run, we would have laughed and said we will probably be walking or crawling by that point. Here we were running, talking, and feeling pretty great toward the end of 20 miles! Today I was just amazed at little improvements. For instance, I would make myself run up a hill and my legs would feel super wiped out and dead, but it would only take a few steps of walking, taking a drink of water and they were ready to go again. It is just so amazing how quickly the body can recover.
I hope I don’t jinx myself with this blog, but I really am in shock that I am able to do this! My mom is training for the half marathon and she was only maybe a quarter mile behind us when she finished her 10 miles. When she first started exercising she would walk this road and had to stop three times while just walking up Mount Everest. You should have seen her today. She is a great example that hard work pays off.  I am just so proud of everyone and how far they have come. I am excited to not only see me and my family finish this marathon but also all of my friends who have been going through this training with me. They have worked so hard to get where we are now. Dad and I finished this 20 miles in 3 hours and 59 minutes which is an average 11:56 pace. Our previous average pace on our last two long runs were 13:25 then 12:46. Both were 18-mile runs, so we were beyond thrilled.
After our run we all showered up and went to the Dinner Bell, a small little diner here in Protem, and had the lunch special, which was a one-pound beef enchilada, rice, and beans. Oh my gosh, so delicious. After that, I took an amazing hour-long nap, then sat in the hot tub and had some of my mom’s famous peanut butter cookies. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was so fun to think at the end of the night.. Holy smokes, I ran 20 miles this morning!
The Running for Cara shirts I ordered will be in Tuesday. I can’t wait to pick them up and get them handed out to all those who ordered them. I'll post a picture here on my blog as soon as I get them. Thank you so much everyone for your thoughts, prayers and donations along this journey. There is still plenty of time to donate just click the top right donate button to help Cara’s family with traveling expenses for Cara’s treatments.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

This past Saturday I woke up at 5:42 a.m. to get ready for the first-ever Idiots Running Club Skunk Run to be held on trails in Mark Twain National Forest near Nottinghill. My marathon training plan called for 16 miles, and I was honestly worried I might not be able to get all of these in. The last time I ran this trail area I tripped almost the whole time with one bad crash (you can see previous post to view wound picture). We ran 11 miles last time, and my body was hurting all over and I could barely pick up my feet. Going in to this run, my first priority was to NOT get injured, especially with the marathon only being six weeks away! The second priority was to get my 16 miles in and have some fun.
It felt awesome outside, cool and humid with a chance of thunderstorms.
Mom, Dad, and I got our shirts, signed in, and pinned on our bibs and we took off. There were three different loops to run: the Turnip Loop, which was about an 10 mile loop (that's the loop I did last time), the Cujo Loop which is about five-miles loop and the Baldwin Cemetery Loop which was about three miles. (David Murphy and Jon Wilson named the loops - maybe they will blog about how they came up with the names one day.) Dad and I decided to do the Turnip Loop first and go from there. As we were running, we realized it was getting warmer. I started sweating instantly which isn't really out of the norm for me. Dad started to sweat and he said, "Well if I'm starting to sweat you must be drenched by now." Somewhere around that point we decided it might be smart to get as many of our miles done in the morning as possible in case it got really hot that afternoon. We both felt great on the run. The difference in how we felt between this time and last time was amazing. One thing we've changed on our long runs is we've started eating these energy snacks called Honey Stingers. When I was telling Jon Wilson about how achy I was getting on my long runs he suggested I drink more and eat something. I never feel like eating while running and if you have read my previous posts you know I am not a fan of gu. Dad and I both really like the Honey Stingers, they are like big fruit snacks and they chew up really easily. We have both noticed a huge difference in our long runs since we started eating these and drinking more. We ran a couple miles then would walk and eat a Honey Stinger and drink some water. David Murphy ran with us for a little while which was inspiring.. the dude has ran 100 miles in less than 24 hours... TWICE! We are a little slower than David so he took off, Dad and I were in awe of how fast he went!
On our way back to the tent, we ran by a cooler and I thought about grabbing a bottle of water, but felt like we were getting close to the aid station tent so decided not to mess with it... big mistake. We somehow missed the turnoff for the trail that would take us to the tent and we ran to the highway and boy, was I thirsty! We ran into a kid named Nathan who was from Nixa. He was just starting out running and had already finished the Turnip Loop. I told him I thought he was a natural.
It turned out to be a little blessing that we missed that turnoff to the tent, because on our way to the highway, we heard a really loud noise up in the trees and we looked up and a huge turkey flew right over our heads. Sweet!
Oh my goodness, I just have to say I have enjoyed running with my dad so much. He is so entertaining. I am always laughing and smiling. We had a blast on the trails. He told me some hilarious childhood stories and then, out of nowhere, he would start singing these crazy old country songs. Some of the titles were "Don't Squeeze My Sharman," "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," "Oh Lord, It's Hard To Be Humble" (this one was my favorite and had me rolling with laughter). My husband's grandma got diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago and passed away last week. It was very sudden, and it really made me appreciate my time with my family even more than I already do. Once we got back to the tent, we each had a few peanut butter cookies my mom had made, refilled our drinks and headed back out to finish up our miles. 

Next we headed to the Cujo Loop, we had to walk more of this one, not because of tired legs, but because it started pouring rain and there were a lot of slick rocks. Right before it started raining Dad said, "I think we are gonna get wet." I looked down at my soaked shirt and said, "Get wet? I'm already soaked! I can't find a dry spot on my shirt to wipe off my sweat!" 
It felt amazing running in the warm rain. The thunder was getting really loud and the sky was getting darker and darker.  We stopped to get some water, and Dad said a prayer to keep everyone who was out there safe. It worked, God is good. The rain eased up to a light drizzle, and the temperature cooled off a bit.
Everywhere we looked it was so beautiful. The redbud trees had bloomed, pine trees lined the trails, and it was just breathtaking. Dad and I couldn't stop talking about how incredibly different we felt this time compared to the last time we ran these trails. Last time we thought we were going to die and this time we were talking and having so much fun. I guess all of this training is really paying off! After the Cujo Loop, we needed another couple miles and wanted to make sure we got to check out all of the trails so we headed for the Baldwin Cemetery loop. I think this was my favorite loop. The trail was shady and smooth and thick with pine needles. At the turn-around point, there's little cemetery in the woods, with several graves marked with standing flat unmarked stones - all except one. One marker was engraved, but the words were so old, all we could read was the year - 1897. David did an internet search with his phone and found out that the grave was for Roy Lane, infant son of J.M. and G.E. Lane, born and died Jan. 1, 1897.
We got our 16 miles in, and I swear, if I wasn't so worried about twisting an ankle before the marathon I would have went out for more. We met up with Mom and walked a couple more miles with her in the rain and talked about how much we all enjoyed our day and about how far we have come. I am so proud of all of us. After all that running, we were happy to come to the aid station and find Jon Wilson grilling the most deicious-smelling burgers and hotdogs. There were Oreos, S'mores, fruit, chips and lots of stuff. Oh my gosh, everything tasted like a bite of heaven. 

Please don't judge our appearance from this photo. Yikes.
Jon presented us with our awesome medals that the GHS Art Club designed and made for the Skunk Run, and we headed home. Still to this day, we can't stop talking about what a great time we all had. 
God created this beautiful place for us to live. We all need get outdoors more often and enjoy His creation.

Ready to order shirts!!

Here are proofs of what our tech shirts are going to look like for the marathon.  
So far I have 23 orders for them. If I get 25 shirt orders the cost goes from $23 a shirt to $16 a shirt so let me know if anyone would like to order one. They are going to be bright pink, Cara's favorite color. I am hoping to get them all ordered by Friday. They said it will take a couple weeks to get them in. I can't believe there are only six weeks until the marathon. This Saturday, I go 18 miles which will be my farthest yet. I can't wait to see how it goes! The following week I am going to California for a baby shower for my friend Tiffany, who is pregnant with twins. I am curious to see how I do on my training while being on vacation. Luckily, my long run is only 12 miles that weekend. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Halfway there!

I haven't blogged in a few weeks so I thought I better give a quick update on how my marathon training is going and how my sweet little cancer fighter is doing. Since my last blog I have gotten another 16 mile, 10 mile, and yet another 16 mile long run in the books.
Feb 11th was my first 16 mile run. It just happened that we had our friend's 2 year old birthday party to go to that day in Nixa which is about an hour and half drive from our house and started at 11am. The night before my parents (my running buddies) and I were talking about what we wanted to do. Our original plan was to run around the lake like we had the weekend before but the weather man was calling for record lows of 10 degrees with negative temp wind chills.. yuck! Dad and I had been battling colds so we decided to run on our treadmills. This also got mom and dad out of waking up early because they didn't have plans that Saturday. So I picked out a couple movies, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Baby Mama, got all my bottles of Gatorade and water set up on a table right by my treadmill and was ready to go. It actually went really well! Channing Tatum really helped keep me motivated during the first couple hours. 
Oh my, he must be a runner haha. I would run 1.75 miles then walk .25 for the first 8 miles. The second half I ran 1 mile and walked for .25. It ended up taking me 3hours and 7 minutes. The walk breaks really helped my hip and body not start hurting near as early as usual. 
The next weekend was a 10 mile run. The weather was perfect so mom and dad met me at the lake. Since I walked so much the week before I wanted to try really hard to walk less this time around. I tried to keep my dad in my sights for awhile and then after that I just tried to make sure I didn't see him coming up from behind me :). My mom was riding the bike and it was fun to see her whiz by. I felt great on this run and kept up a good for me pace. 
This past weekend was another 16 miler. My husband Zack's grandma got diagnosed with cancer this past week so we wanted to go visit her in the hospital Saturday so I woke up at 5am ready to hit the pavement for my 16 miler when I looked outside and realized it was dark. Call me a chicken if you want but I wasn't about to go roaming the roads by myself in the dark. I googled "What time does the sun rise in Protem, MO" and sadly saw the answer was 6:50a.m.! At first I thought about just going back to bed and waking up later to do my run but I was already too awake for that and had eaten my pre-run breakfast (toast with peanut butter) so I decided to do 6 miles on the treadmill and then go outside once the sun was up.  I really enjoyed myself once I got outside. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful and I got to run all the way to the lake which ended up being exactly 5 miles from my front door. Here I am at the lake getting ready to run back to the house. Not the prettiest I've ever looked but I had just ran 11 miles. 
The marathon is only 9 weeks away! 
I know the sight of this will make David Murphy and Jon Wilson laugh. They are the presidents of the Idiots Running Club I belong to and they run ultra marathons and their training plan looks something like this: Run, drink some water, do some other stuff.  
I am hoping for a really good run this weekend since this past run was a little tough. I just want to thank everyone for being so encouraging through all of this. Anytime I voice any concerns everyone quickly says how proud they are of me and that I can do it. 
I also want to thank everyone for the donations. I got to visit with my cousin Cara a couple weekends ago before she was headed off to Memphis for more chemo treatments. She was in really good spirits and is one of the strongest people I know. I keep telling myself the minor discomfort I get from running several miles is nothing like what she is having to go through. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayer because they are working! She was supposed to be at St. Judes in Memphis for 3 weeks but took the treatment so well they let her go home after one week. What a blessing!