Saturday, November 27, 2010

Next Up!

Thanksgiving is over, and as much as I love Turkey Day, I have been eagerly waiting for the next holiday looming in the background.


And I can't think of a better way to start off the season than by sharing my wish list. I want to make a disclaimer that this list is not final and is subject to change as I see fit :)

I've been eye-ing this Garmin ever since I have been training for the Tulsa 1/2. My current Nike+Ipod attachment is a little fickle and I am ready for a definite upgrade!
Speaking of 1/2 Marathons, this awesome and sleek medal display would be a perfect place to hang my accomplishments. Plus, it will motivate me to keep the collection growing!
If you know me, you know most of my wardrobe is straight from the Ann Taylor Loft closet. It is an easy go-to for all things apparel! Basically, it is impossible not to get something I LOVE!

Also, I've really been wanting some Toms Shoes. They scream 'Alex', and I can't believe I don't own a pair yet.
As cold weather approaches, I realize that I have NO winter running gear. Running tights are a MUST HAVE as degrees begin to drop below 50. Burrrr! (Side note: all other winter running gear are on the wish-list as well.)

Call me a nerd, but I love Sims! I played it years ago and was immediately addicted. If I get this, I will do nothing else with my time for months. Just a warning.

And last but not least, a beautiful digital SLR. This is a much needed gift and my entire family knows this is hands-down at the top of my wish-list. It's so pretty!

Now off you go to buy me these gifts. Thank you very much.

What is at the top of your wish list.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Journey of Route 66

I did it. I finished the Route 66 Half Marathon. Not only did I finish, but I set a PR of 2:28. Not only did I set a PR, but I did it injured and without running for 4 weeks prior.

I have no clue where it came from. I had no idea I had it in me.

Here is my attempt to re-cap my shocking performance:

If you haven't heard, October 24th I had a major IT band flare up, which kept me from my running shoes for 25 horrible days. As race day approached, I soon realized it was unrealistic to run the whole thing. During my running-hiatus, I couldn't run 1 mile without pain, so there was no way I could run 13.1. Despite this, I knew I couldn't drop out. I was determined to get across the finish line; whether that meant walking or crawling, I was going to cross it.

The night before, I laid out my day's gear. Nervous and excited for the morning to come.

Here's Jessi and I all bundled up before the race. We quickly shed our layers because the temperature was a nice, but breezy, 55-ish degrees.

To be honest, I 100% expected to begin running, but knew my knee would flare up by mile 1. Knowing Jessi had trained long and hard, this would be the point where we would split up, as she was going for a PR. And I would be faced with the 12 miles of walking alone. Sad and alone.

But mile 1 came and went. Mile 1.5 came with Jessi looking over asking how I felt. Surprising, I felt pretty good. From then on, Jessi required reassurance of my condition every half mile. And every time she questioned my current state, I was astonished by my positive response.

As we passed mile 3, I knew I could make it to mile 5 with Jessi, where I knew our boys would be waiting for us. Knowing I was going to find my husband cheering for me made the 2 miles fly by. Before I knew it, we spotted Josh and Jacob with cameras in hand.

I could tell Josh was surprised I was still running; I had told him that I would be walking the whole way. He suspiciously looked at me and asked how I felt. I eased his mind by telling him I felt great, confirming the statement with a double thumbs up!

The next few miles flew by. Between adorable dogs, marching bands, and cute old priests I was entertained...and I hadn't even turned my music on yet! Then we saw the boys at mile 7, which was a nice surprise because we didn't think we would see them until the 11 mile mark.

At this point, I was beyond thrilled to have ran this far. If I had to crawl the rest of the way to the finish line, it would have been more than I hoped for. Was it too good to be true? In the back of my mind, I knew my knee would hit me like a ton of bricks and force me to a halt.

And at around 8.5 I thought I was coming to that point. I had been eating Gu Chomps every 10 minutes, trying to keep my energy up but the wind was fierce, my knees were killing me and my hips were tight. Jessi could tell I was in pain and suggested we walk. We walked for a few minutes, just long enough to lengthen our stride and stretch our muscles, but quickly picked up our pace again. If I could run this far, I could run 5 more!

If I thought mile 8 was hard, miles 10-13 were worse. At mile 10, I saw the most haunting experience of my life. ENTs were administering CPR to a man on the side of the road. Seeing the forceful chest compressions was like something on television. This seriously affected me in a way I didn't expect. I work in a hospital for goodness sake! But seeing a young, healthy man like that scared me...and still does. The scene is forever ingrained in my memory.**

Miles 11-13 were a horrible out-and-back and were the longest miles of my life. I could barely move my legs and my stride was super tight. We paused for a brief moment around 12 to stretch and hit the road strong to finish this dag-gum race! Jessi kept yelling out our time as I was counting down the steps in my head. Turning up my music, I push hard. Harder than I realized what was in me.

And we finished the race.

Emotion overcame me as I crossed the finished line. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. I had no intention of running this race, much less beating my previous time. I have to believe it was possible because of:

1) The cheering supporters and their funny signs (ex: Chafe now, brag forever. Seize the road...the city did shut it down for you. Don't suck!)
2.) Knowing my hubby was just around the corner. Josh, thank you for waking up at an un-godly hour without a complaint. Thank you for your worrying eyes yet unyielding encouragement and support. Thank you for never doubting my ability to finish.
3) Having Jessi by my side the whole way (well, except for the last 10 seconds where she dug deep and sprinted at a ridiculous pace). There is something about having someone running with you who will encourage you to go further than you can imagine and support you when you can't go another step . There is no way I could have ran this without you.

Besides the pride and inner-strength we got for finishing this race, we got something else just as awesome: Our spinning medals! We were pumped about how super cool they were.

And of course the finishers food and beer!

Oh, and I have to show you the boys' sign. They didn't go with the boring "Go (enter name here)!" They pride themselves on creativity. Yes, those are kindergarten-style birds and fireworks.

And there ladies and gentleman, is my magical and amazing race recap. Stay tuned for the St. Jude's Memphis 1/2 Marathon in 2 weeks!

**I later discover that this man, 27 years old, died while participating in the half-marathon. May God provide strength for his family. My saddened heart goes out to them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

For Better or Worse

This is my husband's look of frustration. His look for when things out of his control go wrong...and he had every reason for this expression the past few days.

Monday morning my car tank was bone-dry empty (it had been that way for a whole week!) so I took his car to work instead. As a result, Josh spent half his day pushing a dead car and hitching rides to the gas station and back. Oops

THEN on Wednesday evening, after spending an hour grocery shopping. Josh asked for the keys as I frantically searched my pockets. I had left them in my purse...which I had left in the car. It wouldn't have been so terribly bad if that was the only key. After an hour of attempting to break in ourselves, we finally paid $35 to a locksmith.

Needless to say, Josh was a little frustrated with me. But he was a super trooper and we were able to laugh it all off.

And don't worry, he still loves me...I asked.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Season Greetings!

The Thanksgiving and Christmas season are my favorite times of year, mainly due to my family. I am blessed to be close (both relationally and demographically) to my immediate and extended family, and every year we take advantage of this: brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins... yea it's a party.

This year, I am more excited than ever. 'Why' you ask? Because it is my FIRST CHRISTMAS AS A CLARK! This will be the year where Josh and I start our very own holiday traditions: when do we put up the Xmas tree? what will our holiday feast consist of? what holiday movies will we watch? will we open a present on Christmas Eve? Oh! The list goes on and on...

But first up on the 'Traditions List' is the wonderful Christmas card. When I got engaged, one of the first things I realized was "OH, Josh! Next Christmas we can send out a Christmas card from the Clarks...ya know, cause I'll be a Clark too!" (Yea, that's what I called the 'I-just-got-engaged-and-am-excited-about-everything' phase.)

I am hopping on the band-wagon and joining bloggers from all around (see Jessi's and Stephanie's favs!) by using Shutterfly to get things started. I have never personally used Shutterfly but I have seen their quality prints and I am beyond excited to use them to make my very first X-mas cards. The only problem is that there are too many fun and adorable choices and I CAN'T DECIDE!

Seriously, I can't decide! Oh, the woes of Christmas traditions...

***Love Shutterfly as much as I do? If you're a blogger, you can get 50 free cards for this holiday season! Click here for their promotion!***

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Recovery, Ect.

It has been 11 days since my IT band fiasco. 11 miserable days of icing, stretching, and no running. Oh, I have attempted to run. Twice. Neither one being successful. The latest one was today and after 10 minutes of a run/walk trial, I forced myself to stop. I didn't want to do push myself like last time and end up hobbling around the hospital for 2 days. Defeated, I curled up in my husband's lap and had a good cry. Twice. It makes it bitter-sweet that my amazing running buddy checked off an awesome solo-10 miler today. It has definitely been a pity-party at the Clark abode. Guest list: Me.

With the race 2 weeks away, I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. Worst-case scenario, I suppose I can always walk 13.1 miles. Right?

Since the running hiatus, I have devoted myself to some strength training and yoga this week. It's been kinda nice waking up to sore triceps and abs.

On another note, Josh and I visited our beautiful library today (seriously, it's huge) and we both picked up some fun reads. A suggestion from one of my favorite Healthy Living bloggers, Caitlin, I choose to tackle In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollen.

Pollen's simple message being "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." Can it really be that simple? I'll let you know!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I See You

Can You See Me?

Can you see my eyes are slanted...
Or do you look in to my soul?

Can you see my ears are smaller...
Or do you hear my words "I love you" ?

Can you see my tongue is bigger...
Or do you say "I Love you too"?

Can you see my nose is flatter...
Or do you smell the flower I give you?

Can you see my teeth are a little crocked...
Or do you see my wide white smile?

Can you see my speech is different...
Or do you listen when I talk?

Can you see the line across my palm...
Or do you feel me when I touch?

Can you see I'm a little shorter...
Or do you notice I stand so tall?

Can you see me as a different pal...
Or do you know I just want friends?

Can you see these as a part of me...
Or do you know I was meant to be?

Can you see that I am different...
Or do you see the inner me?

Don't always look toward the outside...
Or you will miss the inside of me.

I can see the real you.
Can you see the real me?

-Dedicated to all the "Me's"-
Renee Farrow