Tuesday, November 18, 2008
James has less than a month left of the first semester at OCU! I'm so excited to get my husband back for a short time. All we have to do is make it through finals. Good luck honey!!!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Marcy (Gretchen's mom--in the yellow coat above) and the husbands cheered us on at 3 1/2 miles. Our pace was evening out to be a perfect 8:30 min/mile pace. We had just had the first water station. I grabbed the first cup I saw and started drinking before I realized it was Gatorade. Ugghhh! Don't get me wrong, I like Gatorade, but NOT during a run. I want clear, crisp, clean H2O. Something that actually quenches my thirst. For some reason, the first water station seemed to throw me off. My breathing was all messed up, my pace slowed, and after we passed the station, that is when we saw our families.
As soon as we passed our cheerleaders, I started feeling a bit of a stitch in my left side. Uh-oh. I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a side stitch during a run. This was bad news. I ignored it and it seemed to go away. But then about a mile later, it came back with a force. It went from an annoying stitch to a full blown cramp. This is when I started grunting as I exhaled. Gretchen turned and asked if I was okay. I couldn't talk. I just shook my head "no." With her cross-country background, she always has good tidbits of advice. She said to inhale twice, then breath out with a force. It worked. In a few minutes the cramp lessened back to an annoying stitch.
The course looped the first 3 1/2 miles, then went straight down a highway and back up to make 7 1/2 miles. This is when our cheerleaders met up with us again.
Close to 8 miles
The left sided cramp was now accompanied by a right side stitch. What is going on??? This race was supposed to be cake, and here I am struggling to run a distance I've run many times before. I had a good morale boost when my darling husband began running next to me (see the video below). He handed me an opened package of Gu (orange is really good, by the way), and a mini pop-top bottle of agua. He asked how I was doing. All I could say was "Cramp" "Cramp in side" "Hurting." I did manage a "Thank you" and "I love you."
The Hills are Alive
(This is a down hill section of the race. I wish we could have gotten a picture of one of the main hills!)
So really, the course was flat the first 8 miles...then the fun began. Once we got past the straight highway that paralleled the Arkansas River, we started going through neighborhoods. The one thing I heard about this course was "It's pretty hilly toward the end. Especially one particular hill." I took that to be a challenge, but now it seemed to be my worst enemy. As I'm struggling to keep running with my left cramp and my right stitch, we begin the first incline. Gretchen said "Don't look up, just look at your feet." I did as coach told me. This is when I felt those muscles I used when training with the jogging stroller. It actually felt pretty good. My leg muscles ached so bad that it distracted me from my abdominal cramping! The downhills were amazing!!! I felt like I was flying again. It was wonderful, feeling GOOD again as I ran. I thought it was just going to be small rolling hills from then on out because someone had informed me that there was only one large hill. Um, I'm not sure how she could have forgotten about this next hill. I blurted an obscenity as I looked ahead(I'm already breaking the sabbath, I was just adding to my list of things to repent about later). I then see some men that had passed us that were now walking. I had to tell myself that this is a mental game. When seeing others walk, it automatically makes me think, "This is too difficult, I need to walk as well. Especially with this side cramp." But some stubborn side of me screamed "RUN!" "DON'T STOP!" Then I saw a wonderful crowd of people cheering us on. At the top of the hill, there was a band rockin' out. It was just what I needed. We continued on our way. But so did the stupid side cramp. By this time, we were at about mile 10. I knew I'd see my sweet husband soon. I had to put my poker face back on.
This was as good as it got. A wave. No fake smile. Just a wave. I couldn't do anything else.
I wanted to tell Gretchen to go on ahead of me, but I had no extra breath to utter a single word. At one point, I looked up to find my fluorescent yellow focal point to see that she was just a few yards ahead (instead of a few 100 ft as she was before). She was slowing down, we were speeding up! We had 1/2 a mile to go. "I've done so many 1/2 miles before, I can make it." But this half mile was different. I was in total excruciating pain. I had now had a side cramp for close to 10 miles straight. I had also rubbed a blister on my right arch (with shoes I've worn on every run with no problems for the past 8 months), which was not even an issue at all in comparison to the cramping. I would have been in tears if I had any energy left to cry. But then I could hear the overhead speaker. I could hear the crowd at the finish line. The end was near! I couldn't WAIT to see that finish line. I started thinking to myself, with each step, "one forty-nine" (that was my dream goal time 1 hr 49 min). The last 1/4 mile, Gretchen said "This is it." I motioned for her to go ahead. She had this look about her...like a true athlete. Although tired, she was so focused on her goal. She lowered her head, picked up the pace, and SPRINTED to the finish line. As I kept my pace, I could see the finish line. But I knew I wasn't doing well because there were 2 blurry finish lines ahead of me. I was actually seeing double! I heard overhead the announcement that "Gretchen Bowman" had just crossed the finished line. I was so excited for her. Then, there it was! The chip mat! I stepped across it only to discover that it was 1 of 2 mats. I trudged on (I'm really curious what I looked like at that very moment! ha!) to the actual finish line. There it was! I did it! I did it! I ran 'til the end! A blurry version of Gretchen was ahead of me. She asked if I was okay. NO, I was not. I practically fainted on her. If she wasn't standing at that very spot, I would have been on the ground. As she caught me, a medic came to my rescue. He lead me to a chair. My heart was racing, my head was pounding, my respirations were rapid & labored and not slowing down. But all I could do was SMILE. I've never had an experience where I could be in such excruciating pain but be extremely exhilirated at the same exact time. This must be what natural childbirth is like (though birth is so much worse, of course). I wouldn't know because I had easy labors and great working epidurals with both children.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
My James and the James mini-me, AJ (aka Batman).
The hosts...Paul & Amanda were Jane Austin characters (Darcy and Elizabeth...I think).
(There's an inside joke to this one, I won't share...)
Monday, November 3, 2008
Check out that arm!!
Batman Yadon sure can throw!
Storybook forest was a big hit. It was so warm and the boys were in good moods (except in this picture. Aidan's laying on the ground, in his standard shy pose). We did the hayride first, while it was still light out. Then we hit the forest...they did a great job displaying the different nursery rhymes and classic stories. The boys were running from candy bowl to candy bowl. I think AJ's favorite part (besides sword-fighting with Yadon) was roasting hot dogs over the fire. He loves anything that has to do with food.
He likes to be one of the big boys. When they played games at Storybook Forest, he was standing in line with them. He loved the bean bag toss. He actually threw the bean bag through the hole! Mom is so proud!
Brooks' leg was hurting too bad to walk through the forest, so him and Ethan got a free ride in the stroller. It didn't last too long because they wanted to run around with the big boys.