Monday, November 18, 2013


I ran the Richmond Marathon 9 years ago (November 13, 2004), and I was so excited when it began because it was my life goal to run a full marathon.  Of course I was "young and dumb" and thought that I could Boston Qualify in my first ever marathon and turn around and run the Boston Marathon a year and a half later... I started out running way too fast, and didn't listen to my body when my knees began to really hurt about halfway through.  I also didn't take anything except water the whole time.  I completely fell apart at mile 18 - hit the "wall" and hit it HARD.  I tried to walk/run/hobble to about mile 20 where they had some power gel and powerade and then I got was able to run again a little but I would have honestly dropped out if I'd seen a race official at that point.  I didn't, so I kept going and hobbled in at 4:17.  When I finished, I felt horrible, and just jumped in the car and drove home and vowed to never, ever run another marathon ever again.

That was 9 years ago.  Before life became crazy with two little kids and coaching and Steve interviewing all over the country. 

I am so grateful to the people I have met in the Mebane Running Club.  They helped me to find ways to keep running even in the craziest of times, and reignited the passion for running inside me (which I apparently was just reserving for the athletes I was coaching).  I began to get up at 4:30am to be on the road running by 5:00am, and would finish just when the rest of my family was getting up.  I began to see how much fun it was to enter a race as part of a group again, and that was when the idea formed for some of us to run a marathon together.  If not for the MRC, I'd have never done it.

And now for the recount of my Richmond Marathon November 16, 2013...
I was so nervous/excited/scared at the start of the marathon I seriously cried for the first 2 miles of the race - although nobody could tell because it was raining!  Then I got into the groove and really enjoyed using my new Garmin watch - but I still didn't trust it completely since it was the first time I really got to use it.  Here are my splits according to my watch (keep in mind that I stopped the watch when I used the bathroom at mile 12 and after I threw up at mile 18 so the overall time on my Garmin was 4:03, not the 4:11 official time).

8:42, 8:35, 8:31, 8:27, 8:25, 8:29, 8:05 (BIG downhill here), 8:39, 8:28, 8:34, 9:00, 9:12, 9:12, 9:12, 9:10, 9:21, 9:32, 9:34, 10:24, 9:59, 9:41, 11:23 (stopped for a water refill here and didn't stop my watch and the people at the aid station weren't ready for me), 9:51, 10:12, 9:55, 8:53

I think you can look at the splits and realize I started too fast and slowed down quite a bit, but that doesn't tell the whole story.  This story was much different from my first marathon!  I was actually smiling at the end!
At the beginning my plan was to be in between the 3:45 pace group and the 4:00 pace group and to run consistent 8:45 minutes per mile for as long as I could.  Well, I ran the first mile almost perfect, but the 3:45 pace group was right next to me, so I made the mistake of thinking I should just run with them the whole way.  Plus, the pacers were FUN.  They were making jokes and telling stories and I thought it would be worth it to run behind them the whole way just for the commentary.   After the first 4 or 5 miles, the hills began - but the pacers let everyone in the group know what was coming up, and that was great. Still, they advertise this marathon as FLAT and it is NOT flat.  It has some decent hills.  I was doing fine until the 7th mile (see that 8:05 - WHOA!), where there was a pretty good downhill, but I knew the course was about to begin the slow gradual uphills that would last until about mile12.  I had to slow it down, so I tried and let the pace group leave me in the 8th and 9th miles, but I still couldn't get my legs to slow down until about mile 11.  That was when I began to really need a bathroom.  So I stopped at the mile 12 water stop, refilled my water bottle, had to wait for a port-o-potty (grrr....), came out, stretched, restarted my watch and kept going.  At this point both my knees were hurting, and my legs were starting to feel tired, but I was never really alone because there were people all around me.  Still, I was missing my training buddies who helped pull me through many long miles - if I could have just started a conversation with someone those miles from about 12-16 wouldn't have felt so long.

The support along the course was amazing!  I had just pushed past the last "Spectator Party Zone" when out of no where, right in between miles 18 & 19, I needed to "toss my cookies".  With my horrible stomach acid problems, I knew this was a possibility, but never in a run have I had it come up on me this fast.  I got over, did  the job, realized my watch was still going so I stopped it, walked a few steps, took down some water and a Gu, then began running again very slowly.  After a couple of minutes, the nausea subsided and I was able to keep going at a decent pace (here 10:00 mile pace seriously feels like 9:00 mile pace when you are getting close to the 20 mile marker and know you still have 6 miles to go).

At mile 22 I ran up on the water stop yelling refill with my water bottle top open, but to my dismay, I saw that the workers were not at all ready, so I had to stop and get it refilled.  OMG... stopping at this point hurt worse than running!!!  All the muscles in my legs began to cramp up so I stretched them out and then began running with a vow of not stopping again until the race was over.  I focused on a girl in a green tank top just ahead of me and I seriously followed that green tank top all the way to the end.  The downhill at the end REALLY hurt, but I was so happy to see the finish line I just kept it going.  When I crossed the line, I remember smiling (much different from 9 years ago).  I didn't even care if my time was 4:30 or 5:00.  I did it, and I didn't feel horrible, so I was happy!

It's only been 2 days, and (shhhhh... don't tell my husband...) I'm ready to pick out my next one.  :) 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

This photo captures Jake's personality perfectly.  :) 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What the Life of a Teacher is Really Like

I am amazed how in the dark people are about what it is like to actually be a teacher.  I've seen comments related to the Chicago teacher strike that truly enrage me.  I taught math at a high school in NC for 6 years.  At the end of 6 years, my pay was $33,000 a year.  I had been shot at (yes, I was in the hallway when a former student came and started shooting at our students during lunch), broken up 2 fights in my classroom, had a student sobbing in my arms because her mother, a drug addict, had died of a drug overdose that morning, had to tell a classroom of students that one of their fellow classmates had been found dead that morning, etc... yet I still had to teach the curriculum, get more than 80% of my classes to pass their proficiency tests, have at least 3 evaluations per semester, answer all parent emails and phone calls within 24 hours, and more. 

I would wake up at 6am, grade papers while I ate my breakfast, drive to school, prepare the room for the lessons that day, attend a math department meeting before class started, teach all day (graded papers/called parents during lunch breaks), often covered other classes during my planning period because there are never enough substitutes, and I also coached so as soon as the bell rang, I would run out to practice.  Many days I didn't leave the school until after 9pm.  I would go home, eat dinner while working on lesson plans and work on school-related material until midnight.  I would get up and do it all over again. 

Yeah, we get summer break.  My summer vacation was spent working on re-doing lessons and attending workshops and classes to get enough CEUs (education credits) to get re-licensed (which is required every 5 years).  I had no life for 6 years other than teaching.  I loved it and hated it.

Then I had a family.  I tried for 6 months to continue teaching, but I couldn't take care of my daughter and family the way I needed to do while teaching.

That is what a good teacher should do.  But the good teachers are leaving, just like me, because of how the country views us.  We are asked to do more and more and more for less pay and with no respect.  It's downright nasty.  It's the same with servicemen and police officers and firefighters.  All the people who should be the most respected, and the highest paid because of what they go through to help everyone else - and yet, they are not.  What is this country doing???  What is wrong with society?  What happened to the days when we helped our neighbors and families?

I still hope there are people like me out there, fighting for the good of the cause, and I know that when my children grow older that I will go back to teaching because I still want to help more children succeed, even when they think they can't.  I'd like to inspire someone to be more than they can be.  That's what the American dream used to be, and it still can be if we just respect one another instead of fighting one another.

I hope the next time you see a teacher who inspired or helped you, that you thank them instead of blaming them for our country's problems.  We are just trying to help the next generation become better.  That's what we all should be doing.

Friday, March 30, 2012

One LONG week...

Well, it's been a while since I've posted.  What can I say?  Life gets crazy and I have forgotten to stop and think about things lately.

This week started on Saturday (I know, that is usually when the week ends, but mine started here).  I was at Jordan High School standing in the pouring rain watching athletes racing hard in the miserable weather on Saturday, and then we took a weather delay after some thunder and lightning came rolling in.  Eventually, the meet was called off and we all went home.  When I got home, the weather was actually nice in Mebane (where I live), so I went for a run of about 6-7 miles.  I was feeling good, but when I got home, I suddenly had severe abdominal pain and nausea.  I could pinpoint it to my right side and right away Steve & I thought the same thing - appendicitis!  So we had Grandma & Papa come watch the kids and we rushed to Urgent Care. 

From there we were sent to the ER for further imaging - either appendicitis or ovarian torsion.  I began to actually feel better on the way to the ER (isn't that how these things go?), but we still went to get everything checked out.  After several ultrasounds and a CT scan, the doctors found that I had a large ovarian cyst (4.5 cm) on my right ovary, and the weight probably caused the ovary to twist on itself from the running, causing intense pain.  The good thing was that it had untwisted itself at that point, so I didn't need to go through surgery.  They suggested a follow-up with my OB-GYN.  We got home a little after 2am Sunday morning.

Jake woke me up at 6am Sunday morning.  Fun times.  I spent the day trying to spring clean the house.  I started in Jake's room and never finished.

Wednesday I went to Walmart for groceries.  Ella tells me she doesn't feel well, so we head straight home instead of the park (as I had planned).  When we get home and I get Jake down for a nap, Ella starts complaining that her eye hurts.  It has lots of green eye boogers coming out of it, and she's running a fever, so I call the pediatrician.  No available appointments for that day, so I have to take her to Urgent Care.  I drop the spirit pack at practice, let the coaches know what's going on, and leave.  Long story short - Ella has pink eye.  Fun times, I tell you.

Thursday I have my follow-up appointment in the afternoon.  The cyst is still the same size, and I am scheduled for a re-check in 6 weeks.  I basically have 3 options for how this cyst will turn out:
1) the cyst will burst, and it will be incredibly painful, but the body will heal itself and everything should go back to normal
2) the cyst will NOT burst, but it may cause an ovarian torsion, which will be incredibly painful, I could lose my ovary, and it will require surgery to fix
3) the cyst will NOT burst, I don't have an ovarian torsion, and it's still the same size at the 6 week check up, so I get scheduled for surgery to remove the cyst.

So in 2 out of 3 options, I have surgery.  I'm actually really hoping for #1, but really praying against #2 at this point.  I'm also restricted in my running activities because that can cause the torsion.  I was just getting back into a good running routine.  I'm going to go out of my mind!!!  ARGHHHHH!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

November Photos

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toys For Tots
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 2011

Strawberries and peas from our garden!