Sunday, April 28, 2019

Golden Driller Half Marathon

After my disappointing performance at the Aquarium Run, I really wanted to run another half-marathon in the spring to prove to myself that I could do it. I had been pondering running the Golden Driller 10k 3 weeks after the Aquarium Run so I could go after a 10k PR. I knew I'd lose some speed and fitness waiting that long after the race, but I felt confident I could still pull off a 10k PR. I decided instead of running the 10k, I'd run the half-marathon. I signed up pretty soon after the Aquarium Run. A week after the race I ran a 4 mile tempo not feeling quite recovered yet and finished with an average pace of 7:05. I decided I'd be happy with finishing the race in 7:05 pace if I could finish strong and feel good about my race. Two weeks out from the race I was feeling off and wondered if signing up for the race on a whim had been a mistake. I hadn't really taken time to think it over and just signed up right away once I realized it would work logistically. Then the week of the race I felt really strong and started getting excited for the race.
My main goal was to finish the race strong and regain my confidence, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking a PR might still be possible. For some reason 6:55 pace kept sticking in my head. I felt like if I went out conservatively in 7:00 pace and then picked it up to 6:50 pace on the way back I could average 6:55 pace and run a PR. I felt strongly that was possible but I didn't want to put pressure on myself. I wanted to really focus on a conservative start and finishing strong. The week of the race I checked the forecast at race time. It kept showing 16 mph winds and that put a bit of a damper on my thoughts of running a PR. It was also supposed to be 62 degrees at the race start and the high for the day was in the mid-80's so it would heat up fast! My mind kept going back to the fall of 2015 when I felt like I was in shape to run under 1:40 and ran a 1:41 at Prairie Fire. Then I came back at the Route 66, finishing about 5 minutes faster in a high 1:35. I kept thinking it was possible I'd have the same thing happen here. If I ran 5 minutes faster than the Aquarium Run that would be a high 1:29. But I also knew I was running after a super long taper and tried not to let myself use that experience in 2015 to get my hopes up.

I set an Uber up to pick me up between 6:15 and 6:30 so I could make it to the race start well before the 7:00 start time. I set my alarm for 6:00 but I woke up at 5:15 so excited for the race I couldn't fall back to sleep. I went ahead and got up. I had plenty of time to eat my Clif bar, drink my Nuun, and get dressed. I also knew I'd have some time to finish getting my nutrition in on the drive to the race. I was ready early so I decided to do some pre-run yoga from Yoga by Adriene on YouTube. It was just a 7 minute video which put me ready for my Uber right when it arrived. We decided it wasn't worth me running with my phone so I left it in a bag by the door for Ty to bring me when he came to pick me up. He'd talked about bringing the kids out around 8:30 to see me finish but I wasn't sure whether they'd actually make it to the finish area in time or not. Since I didn't have my phone we decided I should take my mace just to be safe. I was a little worried because I memorized the license plate number before putting my phone away and it wasn't the right car. I didn't want to get in but the guy looked like the one shown on the app and he had an explanation as to why it wasn't the right car. I had my mace so I went ahead and rode with him and it ended up being fine.

I finished eating on the drive and threw away my water bottle when we got there. It was a little bit chilly just standing around in my tank and shorts. I wished I had worn a long sleeved shirt to drop at the start, especially because the wind was so strong and chilly. I actually thought about running a warm up because I was so cold. Since I've never run a warm up before a half and I was running this one as a bonus half after a long training cycle I decided not to push it by adding extra mileage. I found a bush down by the river to stash my mace in and was pretty confident no one would find it and take it. I was right as it was still there when I was finished and went over to get it. Then I found a place to do my calf stretches out of the wind so I kept from getting too cold. My stomach was feeling a bit off and my Clif bar didn't seem to be sitting very well in my stomach. I was a little worried about how it would feel once I got going. I headed over to the race start with about 5 minutes to go before 7:00. They said the race would start at 7:00 sharp and it did which was perfect. At the start line I saw a woman who I had seen doing a warm up and drills before the race. She looked fast and I noticed her eyeing me and checking my bib to see if I was in the half or full marathon. I enjoyed that because I always feel like I am a bit on the heavy side to be a fast runner so I felt good that she picked me out as her main competition.
I guess being 4th overall and running a faster pace for my half than the marathoners, I should have started up farther.
When we took off I was surprised by how slow the race went out. I guess because there were likely some marathoners up front but it took me a little bit to get down under 8:00 pace. If I ever run this race again, I'd start up closer to the start line. It sprinkled a little off and on in the first miles of the race and it was cloudy which helped keep it from feeling too warm. I thought we were going out toward the bridge on Southwest Boulevard and would cross to the other side of the river on the bridge. I was disappointed to see we were going under the bridge on the old train bridges turned into a running trail. That kept us from running up a hill to the bridge but it meant we ran in the Bermuda Triangle of Riverside where my Garmin loses satellites so my mile split is always off going through there and I lose anywhere from 0.05-0.1 on my distance. I went through the first mile marker on the course before my watch beeped for the first mile which didn't surprise me after running through the Bermuda Triangle. When my watch beeped for the first mile, it showed my split was 7:18. I figured that was likely due to the loss of satellite connection but I also told myself if all I had was 7:18 pace today, I'd be okay with that. The woman I'd seen at the start had a decent gap on me and I was tempted to try to close it but I kept telling myself, "run smart and be patient." After that first mile we turned with the wind at our face. It didn't seem as bad as it had been at the Aquarium Run which may have been because we were running out into the wind instead of coming back into the wind!
I felt really strong even running into the wind and I started to feel like it was going to be my day even though it was pretty early on. I could feel that the wind wasn't effecting me as much as it should have been. I went through the 2nd mile in 6:51 which was faster than I had planned on but I didn't worry about it. I figured that mile might have registered fast since my first one had likely been slow due to Garmin malfunction. Plus I felt like I was just cruising and I figured if I was going to have a good day, there was no sense in holding back too much and wasting it. It was a little scary to listen to my body and run what felt like the right pace when doing so at the Aquarium Run had ended so badly! We hit the first water stop around in there and I grabbed water. I made sure to take water at every stop since it was so warm and I'm still not quite used to the heat yet. I had my sunglasses on my head so I could put them on later when the sun came up and the wind almost blew them off a few times because it was so strong! Mile 3 was 6:53 and then we had an uphill in the Gathering Place. I felt strong going up it and could see that I was closing the gap on the woman ahead of me a little bit. She looked like she was running conservatively on the way out as well. She'd tucked in behind the man ahead of her and was allowing him to block wind for her as we ran into the wind. I was a little jealous she had someone to run with as I didn't. I'd passed all the men around me and was running alone.

Mile 4 was 6:52 and I was excited with how easy that pace was feeling. I went through mile 5 in 6:55 and was pleased knowing I could likely pick up the pace on the way back with the wind at my back. I went through mile 6 in 6:56 and saw the guy leading the race come back by so I knew we were close to the turn around. I was having a little bit of a mental pep talk with myself that I started to feel a little rough around mile 6 of the Aquarium Run and since I was feeling so good at 6 miles here, even running into the wind, that hopefully I wouldn't fall apart again. I switched my Garmin over to the next screen so I could see my overall time and overall pace at the 10k mark. I went through the 10k in 43:15 and knew I was off pace for a sub-1:30 but was pretty sure I was on pace for a PR. I ate my Gu a little before the turn around and it went down fine. It actually seemed to calm my stomach a little. When we hit the turn around I looked and was at 45:40. I told myself if I could run 44:20 or under for the return trip I could run under 1:30. My Garmin showed I had run 6:59 pace on the way out which was exactly what I had hoped for in my wildest dreams hopes before the race. I started attempting to calculate what I pace I needed to average on the way back but then realized I was calculating for a 10k and not for 6.55 miles. I was able to pick the pace up when I turned back for the return trip but then could feel that my legs were tired from running into the wind which made the return trip a little harder. The woman ahead of me had seen me behind her at the turn around and really took off. I was maybe 45 seconds or so behind her at the turn around. Within a mile or so of  the turn around I caught and passed the guy she'd been drafting behind on the way out.

Mile 7 was 6:51 and then mile 8 was 6:41. Around the 8 mile mark the sun finally came out and I was so glad it had been cloudy up until then. I really started to feel the heat and I felt like the sun started to effect me. By the time I finished, my face was bright red! I hadn't looked at my watch other than to see my mile splits and check my overall time at the 10k point so I decided to keep my watch flipped over to overall time and pace. Mile 9 was 6:44 pace and I told myself when I got to mile 10 and had a 5k left I'd check to see what I needed to run the last 5k in to run under 1:30. We had the hill at the Gathering Place to go up again and it got me a bit this time. I struggled to get up and over it and could see the woman ahead of me really pulling away on the downhill. After the turn around when she took off I knew I wouldn't be able to catch her but it was fun to have her close enough that I could focus on her. She started pulling away enough that I couldn't see her as well. Once she really gapped me it was much harder to keep pushing without anyone to run with. Mile 9 was when I really wished I had Jeremy to run with again. I really missed him at this race and that's when I missed him the most! I went through mile 10 in 6:53 and knew if I could run the last 10k in 21:00 or under I'd be able to run under 1:30. At first I felt 6:45 pace was doable but once I went through mile 11 in 6:52, I knew it was not going to happen, especially considering I would have to run into the wind for the last mile. I started to feel a bit rough during mile 12 but nothing compared to what I've experienced in the past at Route 66 in 2016 and the Aquarium Run last year in 2018. I had hoped to run my last mile the fastest for the Strava Last Mile event but I knew with the Bermuda Triangle and the wind, that was a tall order. Once I knew sub-1:30 wasn't going to happen, it was hard to keep pushing. I told myself to go for under 1:31. Mile 12 was 7:03. There was a water stop with a mile and a half or 2 miles in the race and I was hot so I went ahead and took water. It was a bad pass so it all spilled and I had to reach back and grab some Nuun. I normally only drink water during races but I wasn't worried about taking Nuun since it doesn't sit on your stomach like Gatorade does and I had no trouble with it.

When we turned back into the wind, it was really demoralizing. It felt like the wind had picked up during the race but it also may have been that I was tired so the wind felt worse. I was coming up on 10k runners who were making it to the turn around and I felt like I wasn't blowing by them as quickly as I should have been. When I made it to the last half mile I started picturing running that section of the course during the Race Into the New Year and how I had really rocked the finish. This area of the race was where I struggled the most with running all alone. There were also no spectators out on the course and I didn't realize that was making the race harder until I came up on the finish and got a huge 2nd wind when people started cheering for me. Mile 13 was 7:21 but that was also likely not really my mile split since I lost satellite connection during that mile. I felt like I had slowed down and was concerned I wasn't going to finish in under 1:31. When I turned the corner to the finish the clock was at 1:30:30 so I knew I was going to break 1:31. I heard my friend Audrey cheering for me and I felt a huge rush of emotion over what a victory this was, especially with how scary it was to come back to race after the Aquarium Run's fall apart finish. I gave her a big smile and started pumping my fist. I knew that would slow me down, but I didn't care. I finished the last portion of the race in 6:20 pace and finished in an official time of 1:30:41. I heard someone yell my name and looked up to see Ty approaching. Carter and Elise came running over to see me right after I was handed my medal. I was pleased that even with my last mile I ran a negative split. My first half of the race was 45:40 and my second half was 45:01.

Audrey took a picture of the family together after I had Ty take a picture of me with her. I had finished 4th out of 291 overall, 2nd out of 182 females, and 1st out of 20 in my age group. My average pace was 6:55 pace which I thought was crazy since that's what I secretly hoped to run and felt like was attainable for me. I had been a little worried that I'd lose too much since I tapered for 2 weeks for the Aquarium Run and then followed that up with 3 weeks of low mileage and mostly easy running afterward. I definitely think if I could have put together a solid race at the Aquarium Run, my PR would have been much bigger, but I was pleased to have the chance to still get a PR out of this training cycle! I also think without the wind I could've maintained 6:50 pace or possibly under. I'm so glad I had this big confidence boost to show me I did have a big PR in me! I was so happy with this race, especially sneaking it in so long after my goal race and taper. I hadn't run a hard workout in 6 weeks by the time I stepped up to the starting line of this race. Carter and Ty were headed to a boy scout campout which had been rescheduled due to rain and needed to leave around 9:00. So I picked up my award early and we headed home. They dropped me and Elise off and then drove to the state park for their campout. I'm so thankful Ty is so supportive and understood how much I needed this race. Even though it wasn't convenient he went out of his way to make it work for me. He never complained or tried to persuade me not to do it. When I suggested it, he immediately said I should do it. If it hadn't been for his support I don't know that I would have been brave enough to put myself out there again after what happened in the Aquarium Run! That meant just as much as the PR does! It was also a confidence boost when I mentioned to my dad that I'd be happy to finish the race in 7:05 pace and he said I'd run faster. Even with my big blow up, he still believed in me!
Me and Audrey.
Me and the kids with the Golden Driller statue replica.

Audrey took live photos so on my phone Elise's hair is whipping around in the picture. So. much. wind!
Best support system ever!
Although I would have loved to put together an awesome race at the Aquarium Run, I'm thankful for this experience. It taught me that no matter how well prepared and tapered you are for a race, things can go wrong on race day with no clear explanation as to why. It also made obvious what an amazing support system I have through my family. When I was trying to figure out how to run this race with Ty and Carter going to the campout, my mom immediately said they would come watch Elise for me so I could run if they didn't have anything going on that weekend. When they realized they did have plans, Thomas was willing to spend the night at our house to be there when Elise woke up. Thankfully with the 7am start time and Ty not needing to leave until 9am, it worked where no one had to cover for me! I am so lucky to have the amazing, supportive family that I do. They just get it. It means so much to me that they saw everything I put into this season and were willing to make sacrifices so I could see that work through. No one wants to end a season of hard work, great tempos, and faster than ever speed workouts and 5ks with a blah goal race to show for it. I'm so glad I was able to pull together a good race on Saturday and reap the benefits of all that hard work and even more thankful I have a family who will go to great lengths to help me achieve my goals. Now I just have to decide if I want to add a flat half-marathon to my schedule in the fall to try to chip those last 42 seconds off my time, or if I want to only run the Route 66 knowing with 400 ft of elevation gain those last few seconds will likely remain. Decisions, decisions!

So pleased for this PR!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Funny Stuff the Kids Say

Elise: I saw you sleeping with goblin eyes the other day.
Me: Goblin eyes?
Elise: Yes, mommy goblin eyes.

In a public restroom Elise yelled, "Mommy, my pee is quiet!"

Carter: I might be sick, my tummy hurts and I'm really tired.
Elise: My tummy is sick from somebody farting.

Elise was on the phone with Oma and told her, "When Opa comes home you should hide from him because when daddy comes home I hide."

Elise says lion beans for lima beans. She also calls girls, sisters.

When I opened the car door Elise said, "I think I'm allergic to the sun because I bless youed when you opened the door!"

"My legs don't have so much gas so I can't walk there." -Elise

"I'm going to have 3 babies when I grow up and I'm going to name them Harper, Rainbow, and Nicky." -Elise

Elise: What's a shelter?
Me: It's something you can go inside to be protected from the outside elements like rain, wind, heat, and cold.
Elise: A house is a shelter and a hotel is a really big shelter.
Me: Yes (thinking she totally gets it, awesome!)
Elise: You didn't say a tomato.
Me: Well, I don't think that would work as a shelter for a person, maybe a worm. (Thinking, nevermind she totally didn't get it.)
Elise: No, not the food tomato!
Me: Oh, a tornado! (Realizing she did get it and was saying shelter would protect you from a tornado.)

Carter on the way to school, "Can you turn the hot air so it's not blowing directly into my eyes? It is blowing water out of my eyes."

After her birthday Elise said, "I'm a different number," to pretty much everyone she saw including strangers.

She also said, "I don't have to nap anymore because I'm a new number!"

Ty to Elise after she farted: Did you poop in your pants?
Elise looking confused: I don't feel poop in my pants!

Carter in the car on the way home from school, "Can you turn the hot air all the way on? My knees are going to turn into ice pops!"

Me after Elise handed me a baby and a bottle: Do I need to feed the baby the bottle?
Elise: Or you can feed it out of your belly button. Because that's where mommies feed babies milk from.

Elise's first day in the 4 year old classroom at Sunday School she came back with my name on her art work. I asked her why she had them write Liz on her paper. I was assuming it was because she made it for me. She said, "I was a new number in a new room so I didn't know what to say, so I said Liz." I guess when you turn a different age your name might change too, haha!

"I wish I could grow more tonsils so I can have a tonsil day again. That was the best day ever." -Carter

Elise: Remember when that kitty was doing tricks?
Me: I'm not sure, were you the kitty?
Elise: No! It was the kitty at Uncie J's house!

Carter: I see a robin over there.
Elise: There's a robber?

Now Elise calls robins, robber birds.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

Elise in her birthday outfit from Gigi and Papa.
Playing before school.

Ty had Good Friday off so we got to meet Carter for lunch at school.

Elise climbing the tree on our way home from the library.

Opa ready to play croquet at Thomas' birthday party.
Elise with all her earrings.
Fun at the Easter Fair at our church.

Easter service at church.
Elise didn't want to be in the picture because she wanted Opa to hold her.

The only picture we got with the 4 of us.

Carter digging for dinosaur bones he got in his Easter basket.

I was getting ready to do yoga and Elise needed help with something. When I came back I found this.
Elise was sleepy and wanted to lay in lap.
My sweeties napping!
Ty taking a break from weight lifting to give Elise a back massage.

Elise playing with the dentist toys in my classroom before school.

Carter wanted to go watch Elise at gymnastics and told me, "I didn't know it would be this fun watching sissy!"

Monday, April 22, 2019

Winter Reading

I'm super behind on getting this posted. I made a list of the books we loved but didn't have the time to write about all of them, so I'm going to do my best to remember what we loved about each book! Read last year's winter reading list here, 2017's here, 2016 here, 2015 here, and 2014 here.

Winter Reading Favorites
  • May I Please Have a Cookie? by Jennifer E. Morris- My mom picked this book up at a book sale or garage sale and has it for the kids at her house. Elise loves it and when we visit we read it over and over. She likes all the creative ways the boy tries to get the cookies and she also likes how the solution was so simple all along. It's pretty repetitive and she likes to read along with us which I always love.
  • Let's Go for a Drive by Mo Willems- The kids have always loved Elephant and Piggie and this book quickly became a favorite for Elise. She picked it to read so many times in a row that Carter started getting tired of it. One picture she especially loved showed a trail behind Piggie which she was convinced was a toot. It was pretty funny! 
      Elise pointing out Piggie's toot.
  • Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett- A parent of one of my students sells Usborne books and I wanted to buy a book for each of the kids for Christmas. I chose Dragon Post for Carter because it reminded me of The Jolly Postman book we read when I was a kid. I loved that there were envelopes on different pages with letters you could pull out and read. The kids loved this book so much we read it at least once a day for weeks after we got it. They had certain letters they especially loved and wanted to pull out of the envelopes. They did a good job taking turns pulling letters out and Carter figured out that if he let Elise pull out the first letter, it would work out to where he got to pull out the letter that had been bitten by a lion. Elise never figured that out so everyone was happy!
Reading one of the letters from the book.
  • A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon- Elise was gifted this book for Christmas from my aunt and uncle. We had read it before and I even own the book, but once it was her book she was obsessed with it. We read it at least once a day as well. The kids both wanted to try lima beans after reading the book so that was a plus!
  • Lifesize by Kane Miller- When I picked out books for the kids from Usborne I chose this one for Elise because it reminded me of Steve Jenkins books. I adore him and I love how he is able to make sizes and measurements come to life for kids. We had a blast reading this book and the kids loved how they could hold different animal parts up to their bodies. This book was amazing and will be a great tool for my classroom when learning about measurement and zoo animals.

  • Chester by Melanie Watt- I love the Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt and had read the Chester books also by her but was never very impressed. Elise picked this one out at the library and I wasn't super enthused. Reading the book with her and seeing it through her eyes made me love it. She laughed each time we read it and after multiple readings even read along with me. Her favorite part was when he talks like a cave cat and says "Ooga Chugga Ooga Chugga!" She'd have me read that page over and over. 
  • Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka- When I saw this book I grabbed it right away. We love A Ball for Daisy and I was excited to see what came next for Daisy. A Ball for Daisy was also a favorite book in my class and the kids were always asking me to read it to them. I'd exchange the names in the book for names of kids in the class and they loved that. It's a great book for modeling for kids how they can read the pictures in a book and they loved that each time I read the book I'd add different and more details. Carter and Elise loved that Daisy gets lost by chasing a squirrel and the noises I made for Daisy were their favorite! My students loved this book as well. 
  • Goodnight Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies- In this book a bear is continuously bothered by his friend the duck. Carter thought it was absolutely hysterical and loved that I gave the bear a voice similar to the one I give Eeyore. 
  • Potty Power! by Eunice Moyle and Sabrina Moyle- This book was slightly ridiculous but Elise loved it. Any kind of poop, toot, or bathroom humor is great in her eyes!
  • Kindergarrrten Bus by Mike Ornstein- When we read this one I wished I'd come across it at the beginning of the school year. It was so great! I loved that the pirate was afraid to do something without his parrot who was a comfort to him. It was a great reminder to kids that adults get scared and nervous sometimes too and it's okay to be scared about something new. Carter loved that I read the book with a pirate voice and I read this one enough times that my throat was sore.