Marathon Expedition

Yesterday was a bucket list achievement for me. Running a full marathon. I somewhat regretted not running the Honolulu marathon with the Stroller Warrior ladies, but due to Xterra and a stress fracture, it just didn’t happen. BUT, a marathon on home soil was much more sweet.

TRAINING RECAP:
5 months ago, I started the Hanson’s Training Method, on suggestion by my bestie Sandra, who was coming to run the marathon and hoping to shave an hour plus off her previous time. If you haven’t heard of this method, it’s based on cumulative fatigue to get you through those last miles. More on those end miles to follow.

Day one of training I twisted my ankle and rolled my foot, so I spent FIVE weeks riding my stationary bike instead. After several weeks on the Hanson’s method, it proved to be too much running for my tenuous shin (previous stress fracture), so week 10 of 18 I switched to Hal Higdon’s beginner training. Logging roughly 40miles a week in the meaty part of the training; I started to remember why I disliked training so much…..

But I made it through training and the last two week taper. My family and coworkers were troopers to endure my crusty moods.

THE RUN:
The Redding Marathon has a relay component, which runs the same course and distance in three legs. For my expedition, we knew Vance would run the relay as the middle leg. It’s the leg he ran last year and the hardest hills of the course. The other two legs were up for grabs and we queried many, even thinking we’d likely not find other legs and I would just run that portion solo. But as Vance keeps telling me, I don’t need friends here, I have SISTERS! (four of them) and family. True to form it was a family team and in the end, the perfect mix for the expedition. I am so grateful for each of them.

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As a tangent story, our bus driver decided to pull over at the scenic stop before the dam, much to the dismay and snarky comments of the runners on board. The bus driver mumbled something and only a few (non locals) including said driver got out to take a photo or VIDEO (yep, the driver again). As the passengers were getting anxious of being late to the start, the bus driver gets back in and clearly states how this is a very unique time. The sky is so clear you can see three peaks and water actually being released since we’ve had so much rain. Best comment by the passengers: “Well, you didn’t sell it like that before, now we all want to get out”. Haha. And Bus 2 rolled on. Photo by Sandra

Leg 1: Shasta Dam to Keswick Boat Launch 9.2? 9.8? miles. We never figured out the actual distance and Elise said we lured her in saying it would be 8 miles and then progressively added mileage each time we discussed it. Ha! Crazy like a McNulty.
My sister Elise was a perfect fit for the first leg. She kept me from starting too fast, which I enviably always do in races. She was a great pacer and trooped through all my chatter. At mile 6 we split and I had a very hard time finding my pace for the next mile, after a “brief” run into the tall grass on the side of the trail.

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Starting line selfie. Sandra, Elise and me

Leg 2: Keswick to Turkey Trot 9.8 miles
Hubby’s leg. The hills. I finally answered my question: would I rather run straight up hill for a shorter distance or up a long gradual hill. LONG GRADUAL HILL.* At least in a long distance run situation because you can at least keep running, not stopping to walk. Hubby was perfect. Keeping me on pace and also reminding me it’s okay to walk and get my heart rate down. He mentioned after the event how surprisingly fresh I was after my first leg – It’s all about that pace! Hubby debated doing the last two legs for a small while, but when we got near the third leg exchange, he was more than happy (my impression) to see Jeannine and Don.

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Hubby and the boys

*side note – a long gradual hill may result in a rear end cramp. Ouch!!! this is when stopping to stretch mid race is so important.

In the middle of this leg and again in leg 3, the marathon utilizes a single aid station. It was a fantastic station with pink wigged ladies, music playing and silly signs. The Redding Marathon is a well oiled machine.

Leg 3: Turkey Trot to end 7 miles
The aid station right before the switch held a special surprise for me. The realtor who sold us our land many moons ago, and friend was there with a sign for me. It actually brought me tears. It was so unexpected and kind. Thank you Kristin!!

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Don & Jeannine

My cousin’s hubby agreed to do the final leg, after several closer family members turned it down. He was an obvious choice, being a runner and running 1,000 miles this past year!, but he’d be driving up from Chico, after staying up until Midnight… None the less, he agreed and I am so thankful he did. He was a perfect end marathon pacer. I told him he didn’t have to stay with me, but in reality, It would’ve been a very hard finish for me, without him there. After mile 23 I was mentally done. Crabby patty mood set in and I was beat. At mile 24 I just wanted to walk. Loud breaths and sighs. When I saw the finish line near mile 26, I wanted to sit down and be done. But Don kept me going with funny stories, jokes and a “we’re going to get this done” attitude. His call for the final half mile kept me pressing on.

And the finish: I haven’t really mentioned it much, outside of the last two weeks, to many that I was doing the full marathon because it was so touch and go with my leg during training. Even my dad and work partner had no idea I was running the full thing. Haha!! I was caught by surprise with the family faces there to to cheer me on through the finish. What a magical moment.

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I don’t even remember putting up the shakas. It’s my Hawaii hangover. Too good to shake.

My mom and older sister were there, bearing cupcakes!!! and champagne. My fellow mother runner and cousin Jeanine, my in-laws stayed after keeping my boys overnight and brought them to see me finish (I hope this is burned into their memory banks so they remember it when I’m long past running) my supportive hubby and SANDRA!!

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Sandra, this lovely lady I am proud to call her a friend. She flew from Japan to run the marathon, with her two minis in tow, and was able to in fact shave an HOUR off her previous marathon time. She is pretty amazing. We have logged countless running miles during our time on Hawaii together and it was very special to have her there as I crossed the finish on my first marathon.

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The whole gang, minus Elise who has a 10 month old to tend to.

Thank you to everyone who supported me, pushed me, paced me, encouraged me and cheered me on both virtually and physically. It helped more than you know. I am truly blessed.

**Video link in blue under photo**

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Love the bling! Follow this link to a video clip. My official finish time: 4:57:22, under my goal time of 5hours. Woohoo!!

The Year in Review

I’ve attempted to write this Year in Review several times, but it always seemed to come out with a negative vibe, but alas, it is the New Year! 2017 and pretty soon, it’ll be two years and I”ll have completely moved to a different phase soon. Four months late, but here goes:

A LOT has changed, since we’ve switched to civilian life and this will likely be one of the last posts where I mention the difference, since there’s no going back to the military for us. When you move with the military (generally and from my personal perspective) you know where you will receive your medical care, at 100% coverage, you know where you will buy groceries, without tax, finding a dentist that takes military dental is as easy as a couple mouse clicks and you’ll meet families just like you.

This year, we’ve realized Standard Retiree insurance is NOT going to cover it, there are many levels of dental care provided by Delta Dental, which I had to unfortunately navigate after accidentally seeing a PPO not a Preferred Dentist. What??!!! Grocery store vetting has been a challenging and costly adventure, yet we’ve been so blessed with family and friends willing to share their free-ganic groceries with us. Tuna, Pickles, Squash, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Liqueur, Jam, Honey, Fruit, Crab, Pork, Nuts, EGGS!! (May we never forget the bounty of eggs we have received this Summer.) I’m sure there are more that I can’t remember. It has been a miraculous year of good eats.

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Bread, Pork and Beer. This year we joined the world of Sourdough Bread making, eating home grown meat and brewing our own beer. The last will not likey be repeated any time soon as ready to purchase beer is actually less expensive and less time consuming. It was a fun science experiment and marriage test, but we’re moving on.

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I went nuts with the ice cream maker this year. I stopped counting at 15 different flavors. The boys’ favorite….cookie dough and vanilla. I also managed to make a reasonably accurate It’s It.

Now friends. Hmm. That’s been an interesting challenge for the boys and myself. Hubby is fine with no friends….only semi joking.  Brendon is currently missing his Bestie from last year’s school now that we’ve moved them to yet another new school. (See previous blog post.) And John, despite his attempts at escaping school each morning, we’ve heard he has a best friend at school. Strangely bearing the same name as his Father’s dearest longtime friend. They are so similar! Me, well, what can we say about me? I have my family here, which includes four sisters and their families, my military besties who hear all about the highs and lows of my life through online chat sessions, and I am constantly joking with hubby I’m going to post a photo of my boss’ wife with a tag line that reads: The Making of a Bestie, but I’m trying not to suffocate it at the outset.

We have been sicker as a family than any other time in our married life. Even me!! I know, the apocalypse must be near! I’d like to blame this partly on above mentioned lacking medical care access/coverage by the general population, but who can say the real reason. On bright note, we sold our burden of a house in North Carolina; delightful to receive a tax bill last week and know it belongs to someone else! Oh yeah!!

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Some Instagram favorites. Cracking crab, courtesy of the Vines. Our trip to the coast. Easter and learning about dairy cows with Ms.Roxanne.

Where is this going?! If you’re still hanging in there with this blog post, I’m sure you’re about to ask this very question. Well, let me tell you. My dearest Hubby has retired, again. He quit his job after one of my epic mommy tantrums (I may or may not have received a traffic light camera ticket the same day) this past Summer. It was on the heels of his request to go part time for several months being unfulfilled and I was getting a wee bit stressed out trying to manage my work, side projects, the house and have the boys home full time.

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Mantime. Yes, we purchased a Flowbee…it works pretty well, but with a hairdresser sister close by, it’s hard to stick with the Flowbee full time. With Vance managing dinners, we’ve become subjects to his historic favorites. Stew and Chili dogs; usually with a non meat option on the side for me.

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Two great boy moments of the year: Brendon surprising me with cleaning the bathroom and one of our weehoo rides.

We’re currently looking to relocate again, in closer proximity to the boys’ school and hubby isn’t sure he wants to go back to work outside the home, EVER. We’ve joked for many years about him wanting to be a house hubby and turns out it is a reality at the moment. The only problem being, if we want to build our forever house, he’ll likely need a steady stream of outside the home income for a few years; we’ll cross the bridge in 2017. 

As for how it’s going at home with Dad running the roost. Well, let’s just say, Day One was the real low of stay at home Dad life. It was bedtime and said dad was chasing the boys to their room at bedtime, calling them “little sh*ts”. They were running for cover and I was enjoying the scene. It’s only Monday morning Mr.Mom. He’s finding out that “kids in school all day” and “free time” of a stay at home parent is not what it seems. There are floors to clean, laundry to fold, homework to supervise, meals to cook and taxi duties. Dare I say, the boys are thriving and Vance is really HAPPY for the first time in a very, very, long time, circa 2001.

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We were able to get away to Sonoma this past year. A much needed vacation without our minis.

My Job – Going back to work has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I realize how much I do love architecture and working, but being away from my little family so much has been a real shift, along with a steady decrease in time for my sewing. And I only work part time! Imagine if I worked all day. Work is going really well; we are steady with projects (dare I say busy?!) and we turned in what I’ve deemed a local record – 5 projects on the final day of the year for permit review. In lieu of a proper post about my work, I’ll say, Tom Hartman, one of my ASU professors, was right. It’s always best to work with friends. You already like/trust one another and in the midst of chaos and deadline they won’t leave you high and dry. Working with Jason (aka Shakey) has fit that bill perfectly. It’s been a crazy amazing year of work, with only a few days of frustration between the two of us.

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Shakey and myself receiving Small Business of the year. Just kidding. ha! It’s the photo from our class reunion a few years ago…no other Roadrunners made an appearance; foreshadowing? (middle) Getting my dad into the Realm mix. And last but not least me, at the end of the work day. I always look like I’ve been through the ringer.

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My favorite photo of the year. May all our dandelion wishes come true in 2017!