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! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

God is good!

Lately our long runs have been on rough dirt roads with some monster hills, so this weekend my parents and I decided to take it a bit easier and run at Buck Creek. Buck Creek is a park that has a paved road that winds around the lake and just happens to be be almost exactly one mile. This is the only place in Protem where you can run without gigantic hills. I was a little worried that the one-mile loops would get boring but I was glad to be trying something new. 
Mom, Dad, and I met around 9 a.m. It was a little bit drizzly outside and the temp was in the 40's  - perfect for running. 
The first mile felt pretty good and the view is just breathtaking. I had downloaded an audio book on my iPod to try out. Usually my dad runs with me and talks the whole time, which keeps my mind occupied. On runs when I let him take off (he is quite a bit faster than me) I listen to music on my iPod. But, like I said, I like trying new things and Mom had been listening to audio books on her long runs and liked it, so I was planning on listening to a book while I ran. Well, somewhere during the second mile I started feeling bad. I had to make several stops at the bathroom the next few miles and was just feeling really off and the doubts started creeping in. I was only 5 or 6 miles in and I started thinking I am not going to be able to do this. Was I getting sick? I had the chills and was sweating and just felt bad all together.
Then the really dumb thoughts started – I'm not going to be able to run a full marathon. I'm going to have to tell everyone who donated their money and all of the people who have supported me that I am going to have to drop down to the half marathon.  I honestly wanted to curl up in a ball, cry, and give up.
Finally, I told myself, Oh well, it is what it is today. Somehow I am going to have to get these miles done. I decided to ditch the audio book because my mind was wandering way too much for me to get into the story. I cranked up my Casting Crowns (a Christian band that I love) and that's when I gave it all over to God. I started praying for David Murphy, who was running 100 miles that day to raise money to fight cancer, and Jon Wilson, who was running in his first 50-mile race. What I was doing was just a 14-mile training run. They were in a race, and I wanted them to feel their best and have a good time.
Then I started praying for my Aunt Tammie and her husband Ron, who recently had two strokes and was paralyzed on his right side. I had just visited Ron the day before and when I walked in the room he said, "Hey kid, did you run here?" Sometimes he can't remember stuff, so the fact that he thought of me as a runner, and remembered that I was training for this marathon made me smile.
I was listening to the song "Glorious Day" which is about getting to meet Jesus and what a glorious day it will be. I looked around at the beautiful lake and all of a sudden I felt a breeze of wind flowing around my lower back, and it felt like God had his arm around my back pushing me forward. A huge rush of emotion came over me and the tears started flowing. I had seriously never felt God's presence like that before. All of a sudden I felt amazing - strong and light and fast. I start singing the praise and worship songs out loud. I was running and singing and wasn't out of breath. I continued to praise God the rest of my run and felt so great I had to keep fighting back the tears, because that did make it a little hard to breathe and then that fact would make me laugh. I'm sure I looked like a total idiot, but we all know that's a good thing, right?
What I thought was going to be the worst run of my life.. one I didn't think I was going to be able to finish… turned out to be the best run of my life... one I will never forget. 

Please keep my little cousin Cara in your prayers. She has a stuffy nose right now.  A stuffy nose is a little thing that most of us wouldn't worry about, but it's a big deal to Cara and her parents. Due to her counts being so elevated, they are worried about an infection or a relapse.  They go back to the clinic Wednesday for another draw of her blood work.  We are hoping and praying it was just an infection and there is not a relapse.  She just finished round two of the steroids.  The steroids make Cara irritable and very tired because she doesn't sleep well at night.  The steroids also make her very hungry. 
Thank you so much to those who have donated or shared my blog. If you would like to donate to help Cara's family with traveling expenses to and from St. Jude Children's Hospital please click on the donate button on the right side of this blog. Thanks again.