Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lisa's Final Blog

Wow!  I still can't believe I finished a MARATHON!  26.2 miles, are you kidding me?  I was told that less than 1% of the population has ran a marathon!  That is crazy!  The emotions I had before, during, and after were all over the charts!

First let me go back a few weeks prior to this huge event in my life!  I told the girls I would NEVER, EVER run a marathon in my life!!!!  They begged, pleaded and even tried to bribe me into doing this run!  I held my ground......until Stormie sent out an E-mail!  That E-mail changed my whole outlook on doing a marathon!

She was running for a cause and that cause was to raise money for the PPMD Organization to help find a CURE for muscular dystrophy,  which as you all know is very near and dear to her heart!  I got to thinking about HER reasons for doing this marathon,  and for MY reasons for NOT doing this marathon!  Stormie's were all selfless and mine were all selfish!  Her's were to help find a cure for MD, to stop this dreaded disease that takes over the muscles of so many folks, young and old!  Mine were, why would I want to run 26.2 miles?  My muscles would be so sore, my feet would hurt, and oh my goodness...I might get a blister or two!  Really?  The pain that I would endure would go away after a few days, and the blisters would heal and I would be fine!  I have two perfectly good legs (although they my be old legs) to be able to make that treck, where so many with MD only wish they could walk, run, jump & play!

So...with a little push from Mitzi, I agreed to do The Cowtown Marathon with the other MM's!  That was about 3 weeks before the run!  I know, crazy right?  Not a lot of training!   The furthest I had ever ran was 13.1 miles, and that was a year and a half ago!  But Mitzi & I crunched the number's and figured if we ran the first half, walking through the water stops and ran/walked the 2nd half we could get it done before they closed the race course at 7.5 hours!  We did just that....but our time exceeded our goals!  We finished in 5 hours and 34 minutes!  Talk about 2 excited girls!

We had tears, laughter and even anger throughout the journey!  But we always kept in our mind the REASON we were doing this!  His name is ETHAN!  Right before the start gun went off we gathered together for a prayer and I don't think there was a dry eye in the group!  Even after the prayer I had a tiny voice in my head telling me to "get out, don't do it, run & hide"!  But then I had Mitzi telling me...."We got this"!  And off we went to the cheers of about 23 family and friends that made the trip to Ft. Worth just to watch us run!

Running through the streets of Ft. Worth, seeing so many volunteers and spectators with great signs and words of encouragement was amazing!  I saw a sign as we were hitting the home stretch that said RUN LISA RUN!  Sure made me smile!  I think the 2 best signs were, "Wellington Runners Do It For Donuts". (Which most of you know the background on that!)  And right about mile 26, "You Are No Longer A Runner, You Are A Marathoner"!  I still find that hard to believe!

The route was crazy!  Lots of hills!  YIKES!  The one that scared us all to death was about a mile long, between mile 8 & 9!  WHEW!  About half way up Mitzi told me that we were going to make that hill our B#@*h!  And for those of you that don't know Mitzi, she doesn't cuss much at all!  That was funny!  And let me tell you once we made it to the top and I caught my breath,  I could laugh about it!  Darn hill!

We ran through the stock yards, downtown Ft. Worth, the campus of TCU, where the sorority girls were sitting out on there front porch, in there robes, drinking coffee cheering us on!  We ran through beautiful neighborhoods where folks were out in their yards, some handing out candy, muffins, fruit and encouragement!  Oh, I can't forget the guys who were handing out ice cold beer about mile 24!  And yes we had a drink!  We needed the carbs!  LOL!  We ran through beautiful parks and along the river too!

About mile 14.5 my body was letting me know that it was NOT happy about all if the running!  If it weren't for my running partner, Gu Chomps, Cliff Bars, Ibuprofen,  and seeing our family and friends along the route to cheer us on, I'm not so sure I would of made it!

Here is where the anger came into play!  I just wanted to be DONE!  I just kept repeating, finish, finish, finish, over and over again!  And Mitzi kept saying, stride it out, stride it out, over and over again!  I told her if I heard her say that one more time I was going to punch her!  LOL!  I love you Mitzi!  Not sure what mile it was, after mile 20, Maria joined us for more encouragement along the way!  Thank Goodness she was there to keep me from beating up Mitzi!  LOL!   Dawn showed up about mile 24 too!  Thank you girls!  That was awesome!  Those last few miles were brutal!  Then about mile 26 I lost it!  I was sobbing and had that ugly face you get when you cry!  I kept thinking just suck it up...when you turn the corner everyone will see that ugly cry face!  So I got it together and Mitzi & I ran the last .2 miles with smiles on our faces, giving our family and friends high fives before we crossed the finish line together!

Amazing!  Just Amazing!  I will never regret running a Marathon with the most amazing  friends a girl could have!  JB, Alison,  Stormie & Mitzi,  I love you all!  And I am so proud to have gone through this journey with you girls!  Now ......don't ever ask me to run a marathon with you again!   CABO, HERE WE COME!

Mitzi's Final Blog - Totally Amazing…Amazingly Awesome!!!

As you know, Lisa and I were at the beginning of the blog and quietly slipped out.  With both of us having Plantar Fasciitis, and I having bone spurs and still sleeping in splints every night, we knew if we trained for this marathon, it would more than likely put us at not running at all (my foot specialist stated it was in my best interest to not do a marathon).  However, I never gave up on wanting to do it. I remember having a discussion with Ann Shinliver regarding training and long runs when preparing for a marathon.  She said you didn't necessarily need them.  I was all for her advice!  Why hurt over and over again when you could just run it and only hurt once?  Well, every time I asked Lisa, she would immediately say, “No, I don’t want to do it.”  After asking her several times I thought I’d try some others in our running group, knowing I couldn't keep up with JB, Alison, and Stormie and under no circumstance was I going to have them slow down their pace for me.  Not saying these girls are slower than the others, but we have been training together for a half marathon and I knew what pace they were keeping.  I asked Carmen, DeAun, Cassie, Melissa, and got a “No!” from them, even though I know they all could run one!

Then one day, approximately three weeks before the marathon, Stormie emailed us about the marathon and raising money for PPMD in honor of Ethan.  I knew I could help her raise money, but I WANTED TO RUN FOR ETHAN!  I sent Lisa a text message telling her I felt like I was letting Stormie down. She replied with a why?.  I asked her if she’d read Stormie’s email.  She called me shortly thereafter and said, “FINE, I’ll do it!”  I didn’t know what to say.  I was SHOCKED, EXCITED, AND THEN NERVOUS!!  I went to her house that evening and together we checked out the Cowtown Marathon website.  Knowing we could run at least 13 miles, we calculated how much time we’d have if we had to walk the last 13 and be done by the time they closed the course, which was at 7 ½ hours.  The next time we ran, we joined our girls in training for the last 6 miles of their 20 mile run.  When they left, Lisa and I timed ourselves walking a fast paced mile.  Took that number and determined we could finish in that time frame.  Then we had a question for our leader, JB.  We needed to figure out how they were registered, as a team or individual.  I sent her a text message telling her we were working on signs and wondered if they had registered as a team.  She said, “No, we had to have five members and we were short two!”  Ouch!!!  Once again, I felt horrible.  A week later (two weeks before the marathon), Lisa and I told the girls we were joining them in the run.  They were totally surprised and shocked and Lisa and I were then even more nervous, knowing we couldn’t back out now.  So, Lisa and I signed up, putting an estimated finish time of 6 ½ hrs (a number higher then we wanted to finish at), but our true goal was to finish under 6 hrs.  I was sure hoping my training of 203 miles versus their 435 would get me through this run.

The days prior the run, I found myself doubting I could do this over and over again.  Running is such a mental game for me.  I was always fine if I knew a few days in advance how many miles we would be doing.  This way I could plant it in my head and I was okay with it.  So, I told myself, if I can plan to run 12 and do it, why can’t I plan to run 26.2 and do that as well.  I convinced myself that was what I needed to do and I believe it helped.  Then I had my support group.  Oh my, what a difference that makes!  Days prior to leaving for the run, we were given goodie bags full of items we would need to accomplish this feat, well wishes and words of encouragement thru facebook, email, and texting.  Family, friends, and Wellington runners are wonderful to have on your side!

Right before race time, we saw several of our supporters who were so encouraging.  Then we joined hands for a prayer and we were off!

Mile 1:  Went very quickly as you overlooked a massive body of people running down the street.  You always get caught up in the pace of others and JB heard me say I could tell I would soon be getting a side ache.  Running faster than my usual pace and with no wind in my face, I’m bound to get one.

Mile 2:  Sure enough, not stopping when I should have, I ended up with a piercing side ache.  After walking 3 blocks and turning in a different direction, it soon went away and thankfully, never came back.

Mile 6:  Could feel the pain starting in my right knee.  Yip, runner’s knee!  I can’t tell you if the pain ever went away or if I just got use to it.

Mile 9:  Lisa and I had made it up the hill of mile eight.  I was telling Lisa how proud I would be to finish this run under 6 hours when this girl next to me says, “You should already be proud of yourselves”.  It literally brought tears to my eyes.  I looked at Lisa and said, “That sounded like JB talking to us”.

Mile 14:  Lisa started feeling more pain in this mile from the constant use of the same muscles so we started walking a little more, but still kept a good pace.  Between 14 and 20, we continued the run walk strategy.  As we neared a corner we saw some of our support group.  As we got closer, Ethan pushed himself up off of the curb to give us a high-five as we jogged by.  This gave us a boost of energy and reminded us again as to why we were there.  I kept reminding Lisa that if we kept our “practice” walking pace, we would still meet our goal.  I kept encouraging her, and she stayed strong and kept moving forward.  I’d give her a gentle squeeze across the shoulders or a high-five to let her know how proud I was of her.  She wanted me to go on without her, but NO WAY was that going to happen! 

Mile 20:  Yeah, it’s Anna and Maria here to cheer us on!  Even better, Maria joins us for our last six miles.  It was so nice to have her along and I quickly let her take over encouraging Lisa to finish hard.  At one point between mile 20 and 24, I went to give Lisa a hug and she snaps at me, “DON’T TOUCH ME!!!!”.  It was at that point Maria asked if we would be friends after this.  Lisa wasn’t sure and made the comment she wanted to ride home with Maria.  I THINK she was kidding, but I’m not 100% sure (we did ride home together, in case you were wondering).

Mile 24:  Here comes Dawn!  Dawn was working on getting her 13 miles in for the day so as Lisa, Maria, and I walked and jogged, Dawn ran back and forth.  It wasn’t bothering me at all, but I wondered what some of the other runners were thinking with this gal running around, going the wrong direction, this late in the race.  It was nice having her and Maria with us.  Two strong runners, full of energy and advice!  What more could two marathon want-a-be’s ask for? 

Mile 25:  We were just nearing mile 25 and I was SO anxious to get to the finish line.  I started jogging around and backwards when I said, “Lisa, I really think it feels better to run then walk” and a girl in a group running next to us says, “I don’t know what world you’re in, but you’re not in the same one I’m in”.  Made me laugh!!  As we got within a half mile of the finish line, we saw Clay and Caden and I was so ready to run it all the way in, but Lisa wasn’t quite ready.  But once we turned that last corner and saw the balloons and arch over the finish line, we were off!  I was SO EXCITED!!  We gave some high fives and crossed that line SIDE BY SIDE with a final time of 5:34!  We had beaten our goal by 26 minutes and we were thrilled!  What a tremendous experience, I truly enjoyed!  I was so proud of Lisa for enduring the pain and not giving up.  She did a great job and if she wouldn’t have done it with me, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to RUN FOR ETHAN.  Thank you, Lisa! 

I couldn’t believe how beautiful the weather was for us.  I was never cold and never broke a sweat.  Although some might have said it was windy, I always like a breeze when I’m running. 

Lisa and I had come up with the idea of using the 26 letters of the alphabet to help us get through each mile, but we didn’t end up using it.  Stormie had made each of us pace bracelets that included 26 names or encouraging words.  Lisa and I would share our words and then visit along the way.

Another thing I like to do on my half marathons and this marathon, is count my miles downward instead of up.  My first goal was to hit 20, and then I was so excited to get into the teens.  At mile 13 I felt great!  Couldn’t believe how different I felt compared to my last half marathon.  Next it was mile 12.  If we made it to mile 12, counting downward still, we will have run further than we ever had before.  Then came 9, we were in the single digits.  Yes!!!  All the way counting down I kept getting more and more excited, knowing we were going to do this and I felt fine.  I was so pumped!!  I’m sure Lisa got tired of me asking her how we were doing on time, but I so wanted to beat our goal.  At mile 6, Maria joined us.  Yay!!  She took over encouraging Lisa so I didn’t end up dead J  Thanks, Maria!!  Mile 2, Dawn joined us and mile 1 I felt like I could have ran the whole way in, even though I’m sure I couldn’t have.  It was such an amazing feeling.  The whole route (with the exception of all the hills) was so enjoyable.  There were so many people along the streets cheering us on.  It was awesome!

I can’t thank our massive fan club enough for being with us during this amazing day in Fort Worth.  Your support, whether you were there cheering us on in your “Team Higgie” shirts and with your signs, following us via text messaging in Kansas, or had us in thought and prayer, you were very much appreciated.  Maria, Anna, and Dawn, you ladies are awesome!  Thank you so much for running along side of us and giving us that push to finish the best we could.  I’m forever grateful!!

The Day After:  I could definitely tell I had exercised my muscles, but didn't feel too bad.  Had some pain in my right knee and heel and one toe on my left foot.  My legs ached walking up and down my work stairs just enough to remind me why I did this marathon.  I was thankful I could feel that pain in my leg muscles!

Thanks to these supporters/well wishers and please forgive me if I’ve left anyone out: Ethan, Rob, Brayden, Sherry, Shawn, Maddie, Julie (aka Debbie J ), Sarah, Susie, Janet, Cheryl, Clay, Casha, Caden, Erin, Trudy, Ellis, Jamie, Preston, Maria, Anna, Dawn, Lori, Debbie, Timmy, Ryan, Carmen, DeAun, Melissa, Jeannette, Jenn, Jenny, Andy, Marcia, Mary, Lisa Z., Lisa R., Karen, Dr. Gill, Dr. Anders and all of the facebook fans

Also, thanks to Dr. Will for getting rid of my cold before race day!  I don’t think I could have done it without you. Many, many thanks to my friends and family who supported our fundraising for PPMD!  May God Bless You!! Alison, JB, Lisa, and Stormie, you girls are awesome!  I’m so proud to have been a part of “Team Higgie” and I pray they find a cure for our Little Ethan soon.  I love each and every one of you!!!
- Mitzi

Stormie's Final Blog - Wow...26.2

JB, Alison, Mitzi and Lisa made the trip to Fort Worth on Friday afternoon. My mom and the boys headed down early Saturday morning. We got into Fort Worth around noon and I joined up with the girls and we headed to the Expo to get our race Bibs. We then decided it was a good idea to drive the route. Well, it was a terrible idea! We were nervous as we could see this route would be hilly. Then we headed out to eat dinner with our 23 family members! It was a long day and in retrospect, I wish that I would’ve gone down on Friday with the girls.  I didn’t have much time to relax or rest on Saturday as we were on the go the whole day and I feel like this might have affected my ability on race day. But who knows?

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30 am with a feeling of excitement and nervousness. Thinking about it now, I actually still get butterflies! We had trained so hard and this was the day that we had worked so hard for. How would it go? Would we be ok? Did we train enough? I tend to overanalyze every detail and that day was no exception. I headed to meet up with the girls about 5:15 am at their hotel. We headed out to the shuttle about 6:00 (with cheers from our fans – JB’s awesome family!) and headed to the race site. As we headed for the start, we were looking for our family members and trying to find them in the sea of spectators. Then we saw a “Team Higgie” sign hovering over the crowd and we all smiled and headed that way. I get emotional thinking about that start. It was awesome to see our Fab 3 – Maria, Dawn and Anna. And we had just enough time before the start for a prayer. It was very emotional and we all grabbed hands and gave a squeeze and looked towards the start with tears in our eyes knowing that this would be an incredible journey. As the gun went off, all 5 of us hit the pavement running and it was an awesome feeling with all 5 of us together.

The first few miles flew by fast. I made wristbands for all of us that included our pace if we wanted to finish at a certain time and it also included a person or word that would help us get through the long miles. The first 5 miles were dedicated to each of us the Marathon Mamas. As we ran those first 5 miles, we thought about each other and ran for that person. About 3 miles in, we were surprised to see my family waiting at the corner for us. They had stopped to eat at a Braum’s and realized that the race was right outside, so as they enjoyed breakfast, they also got to cheer us on! One thing about Fort Worth streets is that they have these annoying bumpy reflectors in the roads that are yellow or white I guess so you can see if you’re on the correct side of the road. Well, JB was trying to avoid a parked car and hit a reflector with her shoe and fell to the ground hard. She scraped her knees and hands badly. I felt so bad for her, and she told us to run on and leave her... and we looked at her like she was crazy and said no way.  JB is one tough lady! She really is head strong and physically strong and she just worked it out and on we went.

I remember in these first few miles asking the girls, why do I feel tired? There was something missing and I couldn’t figure it out. But once I got in my groove it seemed to get better. Mile 8 we saw families again and were joined by Anna and then we had to tackle the giant 1mile hill. That was a big hill, but looking back, that hill was the least of our worries and we were so worried about that one! After this hill is the point where my left knee started to ache. This is the knee I wear a brace on as it tends to hurt often.

After we split from the half marathoners about 10 miles in, the field got much smaller. I remember at this point feeling tired again and realizing that I needed to plan my eating better. With Anna’s help, I tried to make sure I was eating more consistently. I remember struggling a lot around mile 14. Then we saw our families and I ran over and gave Ethan a big kiss and felt a little burst of energy. I tried to keep up with JB and Alison for most of the run and I did a much better job on this run than any of our longer runs in Wellington. To be honest from mile 14 (maybe even further back) I struggled. There were times when I couldn’t think clearly and times when I was being spoken to but couldn’t really acknowledge others. I’m not sure at what point Maria joined us, but she talked to me and was so upbeat but it must have been like talking to a wall for her. I even apologized ahead of time because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation. At mile 20, I barely remember Dawn joining us other than her just being there beside me. I remember thinking I wish I could see my boys, and at mile 23, there they were! Ethan had the biggest smile on his face and Brayden I think ran with us for a little bit? I think?

When I saw my family; I kind of gave up a bit at that point. Instead of them pushing me and giving me momentum to finish, it almost made me want to quit and be with them right then. But JB was not going to let that happen and thank God she was there for me! I think this was when I burst into tears and started crying. Then I remember mile 24 or so, some guys with a table set up and they were giving out beer and yes, I drank some beer!! And I do remember JB telling me “throw the beer down and let’s go”. JI then remember running out of the park and thinking maybe this is almost over…. Only to be met by another hill. In my head at that time, I thought, I am not running that hill, my knees hurt so badly and I’m tired and I’m walking. I think Dawn was talking to me and telling me not to walk, but I didn’t care. And then we got up the hill, I started running again, turn and another hill……I was walking that hill too. And JB was ahead of me and I remember her wind milling her arm at me and telling me let’s go! I didn’t care; I was walking to the top. Thankfully the end was near, Dawn told me, one more turn and we’re there. It was such a good feeling to see that finish line. I was in a zone and could not go any faster. JB literally grabbed my hand and pulled me and we all crossed the finish line together and it was over. I originally thought that maybe I would cry at the end, but I didn’t even have enough energy to do that. I was just happy to be done. There are some pictures that someone took of us at the end of the race where I’m smiling, but I really don’t remember it. I don’t think I fueled myself very well during the marathon and I think I should’ve played that smarter. But all in all we ran awesome and I’m so proud to have done this with these ladies. Alison and JB are the strongest women I know.

There is one way to decide if you’re really strong and that is to run a marathon.  You have to find a way to overcome your body telling you that there is no way it can go any further and beat those thoughts. You can physically be in great shape, but if you’re not mentally ready for that challenge, it will beat you. Having completed this marathon made me a little stronger and has shown me what true friends I have. No matter what, JB and Alison didn’t leave me and to be honest, they could’ve run a much faster time. But they didn’t. Looking back now, I feel selfish that I took a faster run away from them. I wish I would’ve got out of my head and just ran strong like those two. How frustrating they must have felt towards me! And I almost cried when I saw Lisa and Mitzi making their way down the finish line. Mitzi was jumping up and down and fist pumping and smiling and it was awesome! Those two ladies are amazing! They didn’t even train for the marathon and just did it. What an amazingly great weekend. Great friends, great family and an amazing will to just run. We all did this for Team Higgie and for my Ethan. I’m a very lucky girl. 
- Stormie

Alison's Final Blog - Wow.....It's over!

Wow.....It's over!

Let me first say that I had set a goal to run a marathon by the time I was forty.  When forty came and went, I kind of dismissed the idea because I thought it would just never happen.  When Stormie and I started talking about running a half, the urge came roaring back, and I was determined to do one.  Better late than never, huh?? 

February, 26th, 2012, a day we five women will not forget any time soon. The weekend started with JB, Lisa, Mitzi and I heading down to Fort Worth on Friday night so we could spend the night there, and have all day Saturday to enjoy the city. We ate at Cheesecake Factory then headed to the hotel for a good night's rest, or so we thought! Yours truly has suffered from panic attacks in the past, but I haven't had one for quite some time.  At around 2:30 AM, I had one!  I tried to get up out of bed quietly, to walk it off, but when I started to feel myself passing out, I knew I should say something to the girls so they would know why I was falling to the floor. I have never seen three women fly out of bed so quickly!! Mitzi grabbed a cold wash cloth to put on my forehead and called my name I think at least 20 times to make sure I was still coherent.  I finally was able to pick myself up off of the floor and climbed back in to bed.  I asked the girls to talk to me to keep my mind off of the attack, so they started singing George Strait songs to me ( I love George Strait). JB needed a little help, she was singing Amarillo sky instead of Amarillo by morning. That's okay, I appreciated the effort.  Mitzi even grabbed my hand and rubbed it for me at one point, because I told them that is what Clay would do for me to help me through it. Do I have great friends or what!?! Needless to say we didn't get a lot of sleep that night.

Stormie came in on Saturday, so we all went to the expo to grab our bibs and timing chips.  We were all really nervous.  Every time we would try to talk about the race, Lisa would make us stop.  We decided to drive the route, which was a big mistake! That is when we first learned that this marathon was full of hills....and I don't mean small ones.  I thought JB was going to pass out in the back seat.  Every time I looked at her she was shaking her head and saying cuss words.I believe she called Dawn and Anna a few choice names also for not warning us of these mountains we were about to climb.; We all knew that there was no way out, our family and friends were all there to watch, and we couldn't let them down.Sunday morning came early, as we all awoke at around 4:50. I couldn't believe what I was about to do.  I was terrified, but yet excited. I think I spent most of the morning in the bathroom.  But before I knew it, we were on the street ready for the gun to go off. Mitzi said a quick prayer for us, and seconds after, we were on our way.  It was so awesome to see Anna, Dawn, Maria, JB's family, my family and everybody else holding signs and wishing us luck.  We got off to a great start as we all felt really good. At mile 4 1/2, JB fell.  I couldn't believe it.  She fell, and fell hard! She could hardly get up, and I could tell she just wanted to break down and cry.  But she is such a trooper, after walking just a little bit, she shrugged it off and started running again. What a champion!!  When I sit and think about different parts of the race, it is hard for me because it all seems to run together.  I remember my family giving me cough drops at around mile 6, and I remember a huge gust of wind knocking JB and I back at about mile 14. I know Stormie started struggling at some point, but not sure when that was. She was hurting pretty badly but she never once said " I can't". She knew in her heart she was going to finish this race, and she did!  And then, I remember my husband, Clay, at mile 26 with the sign that said "we are no longer runners, we are marathoners!".  What a feeling that was!! The three of us ran across the finish line, hand in hand, like we had planned, and all I could think was "we finally did it!!!!" I really thought I would cry when I finished, but all I felt was pride.  And I was so glad that my mom and dad were there to witness it. Mitzi and Lisa didn't train like we did, so they made the decision to walk some of the race.  They did awesome!!!  When they came around the corner before the finish line, Mitzi was jumping up and down with excitement, and Lisa had tears rolling down her face.  I'm not sure if they were happy tears or tears from pain, but she was running across the finish line.  I can't believe they ran a marathon with only 3 weeks of training.  If that is not determination, I don't know what is.

I know in my heart that I could not have done this without the support of all of the Wellington runners!  Thank you so much for all of the words of wisdom, goodie bags, emails, texts, phone calls....everything.  I love you all more than you know!!  And a HUGE thank you to my family, for their patience and support during all of those training days. I know they got so tired of hearing me talk about running.  I love you!!

So now, we are finished with all of the training, and worrying, and analyzing.  We no longer plan all of our meals around what run we are doing that particular evening. We now get to go home after a day of work, and cook a meal for our family.  Hmmm....bitter sweet.  I kind of miss it already!
- Alison

JB's Final Blog

Friday, 2 days before the race:
Alison, Mitzi, Lisa and I started our race weekend off by heading to Ft. Worth on Friday.  The race wasn’t until Sunday but we thought what the heck – let’s make a weekend out of it J  We made it just out of South Haven before stopping.  Where do you stop just outside of South Haven?  Why the State Line Tavern of course!!  We stopped for a quick beverage, but they were closed.  Seriously – closed on a Friday afternoon at 3:00??  So we climbed back into the Tahoe and off we went.  Once we got close to Ft. Worth, we drove a few miles out of our way to grab dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  We will ALWAYS drive a few miles out of our way for that place – so yummy!!  We checked into the hotel and climbed into the elevator to head to our room.  We watched as the doors closed, waited a few minutes, watched as the doors opened again and realized we were still on the 1st floor – yep, we forgot to push the button to take us up to our room.  This is just another indication of “marathon on the brain” – that’s all we’ve concentrated on for the last few months.  We got a good laugh out of that.  We finally made it to the room for some much needed shut eye.    

Saturday, 1 day before the race
Saturday morning was spent sleeping in and enjoying coffee at Starbucks sitting outside in downtown Ft. Worth.  Ft. Worth has such a neat downtown area – we all would love to go back and really enjoy it!!  We met up with Stormie early afternoon and headed to the Expo to pick up our race packets.  We decided to drive some of the course after the Expo and check out the dreaded hill we were hearing so much about between mile 8 and 9.  And when I say between mile 8 and 9 – it’s actually the entire length of mile 8 and 9.  No kidding!!  I was all for driving the course but really regretted that decision afterwards.  Our running friends (Dawn, Anna, Jeannette, Sarah) who did this race last year failed to mention ALL the hills in Ft. Worth.  Just picture 9th street hill but 3 times as long or Lincoln street incline 3 times as long and I’m not exaggerating.  I was glad we trained with hills but was wishing we trained a little more on them.  And we were missing the KU game to get stressed out by the course – WHAT??  We hurried back to the hotel to at least watch some of the game before going to dinner.  ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!  After the game, we went to dinner with our families that made the trip to support us.  There were 23 of us – isn’t that awesome??  My sister even surprised me and flew in from Ohio to support us.  After enjoying a carb loaded dinner, we decided it was time to call it a night and get some sleep.  We had to get up at 4:45 Sunday morning so we definitely needed to get to bed. 

Sunday, RACE DAY
Rise and shine at 4:45 a.m.!!  While trying to decide what to wear for the race, I couldn’t help but remember what Dr. Anders told me – “don’t overdress, don’t dress for the weather at 7:00 a.m.”  I was so glad I listened to him as I would’ve regretted wearing what I was planning to wear.  We walked outside the hotel to catch the shuttle and were met with screaming fans – my family.  Yep – they were up early to see us off.  We caught the 6:00 a.m. shuttle and we were off.  After doing some last minute Mother Nature stops, we headed to the start line.  Our fans were already there waiting for us with their signs.  We didn’t have to wait outside too long before the gun went off and we were starting our 26.2 mile journey.  The 5 of us started out together and it felt like old times – love running with these girls!  Around mile 2, we split up and got into our comfort zones to run this race.  Alison, Stormie and I were feeling great and enjoyed seeing Stormie’s family at mile 3 – we didn’t know they would be there so that was a welcome sight!  When I saw Shawn at mile 5, I dropped off my gloves and jacket.  The weather had warmed up a little and it felt great!  Just after leaving mile 5, we were making a slight turn when I went down.  Yep – went down as in fell down.  Who falls at mile 5.5??  Geez!!  I still feel like an idiot.  My foot hit one of the rubber reflector things that stick up in the middle of the road and down I went…hard.  My hands and right knee took the brunt of it.  I said a few choice words then tried to walk it out.  I wasn’t sure if I could even finish and even said “I can’t do this” then caught myself and said “I can’t say can’t”!  That was one of our rules – we will not say can’t.  After what felt like forever, I started running again and felt ok.  Stormie quickly called Rob and told him I fell and I needed Kleenex, wet rags, Band-Aids – the works LOL!  When we saw him at mile 8 he was ready for me, but I was good by then and off we went.  Really - who falls at mile 5.5??  I can picture the image that Rob must’ve had in mind of me – face, hands, arms, legs all scratched up but to see me you wouldn’t know that I fell unless I showed you the palms of my hands.  I wasn’t going to share this story but Shawn tells me all the time “It’s all about the stories” and this one was too funny not to share.  Anna joined us at mile 8 just in time to climb the monster hill to mile 9.  She was such a welcome sight and full of energy to help us up that hill.  She ran with us until mile 16 (I think) then she handed off to Maria.  When Maria joined us, she ran with Stormie and I could hear her talking “so how do you feel”, “do you talk or not talk” – Alison and I just laughed!!  Maria was so excited!!  She ran with us to mile 20 where she gave the final leg to Dawn.  Yes, THAT Dawn that wouldn’t let me walk during our training on the 18 miler.  I remember thinking when I heard she was going to run the last 6 with us “what if I have to walk – she won’t let me”.  Again, it was great to have a fresh face and she did her job of helping us through those last brutal miles.  We saw our families at mile 23 and Shawn asked how I was feeling – all I could was shrug my shoulders.  I think I hit my wall just after that but it was short lived as when I hit mile 24 I knew I was almost done.  The last 2 miles were somewhat tough because they were the last 2 miles, but also because there were more hills.  Why do they do that?  When we rounded the corner and saw the Expo Center we knew we were about there.  Dawn said her goodbyes and let the 3 of us finish together.  We were met by screaming spectators.  It felt like they were all yelling for us!!  Stormie – do you remember me telling you “Stormie – they are cheering for us, come on!!”  I’ll never forget the feeling of turning the last corner and seeing the finish line.  I was scanning the crowd for our families and saw some of mine right before the finish.  We all 3 joined hands and finished together – tears and all!!  I completely forgot about how tired my legs were and how I was probably going to lose a toenail.  All I remember feeling is sure elation of what I had just accomplished with my MARATHON MAMA’S.  Getting all the congratulatory hugs from our families meant so much to us – especially Shawn who hugged me tight and told me how proud he was of me…awwwww – love him!  I want to thank our families and friends that made the trip to support us – Shawn, Janet, Susie, Cheryl, Sarah, Julie, Jamie, Preston, Rob, Brayden, Ethan, Sherry, Clay, Casha, Caden, Erin, Ellis, Trudy, Dawn, Anna and Maria – we love you!! 
Do I plan to do another one?  No…maybe??  Do I think everyone should do one?  ABSOLUTELY!!  It’s not easy, but if I can do it you can too.  Just remember – you don’t start out running long distances.  Give yourself an attainable goal and stick with it.  YOU CAN DO IT!

I’ll never forget this weekend full of so many emotions with my favorite girls.  We did this together and will laugh and relive it for a long time.  Love you all!

- JB

Friday, February 24, 2012

435 miles

Our training consisted of 435 miles of pounding the streets of Wellington in preparation for our marathon this weekend.  When you look at it that way, 26.2 miles doesn’t seem that bad, right?  We’re off to FINALLY run this race.  It seems like we’ve been preparing for it for a long time both mentally and physically - although I still think we are preparing for it mentally.  Stormie compared the marathon to giving birth. You’re excited and ready to get it over with, but really nervous and scared too.

Our running week consisted of 9 miles – 3, 4 and 2.  Wow – only 9 miles total.  What a switch from what we’ve been running.  I truly believe all of us are ready to do this.  We can feel all the support from our fellow runners and have loved getting all the last minute words of encouragement from everyone.  Especially Dr. Anders who says “don’t overdress” – something that 4 out of 5 of us do!  We’ll all be looking to Mitzi for this on race day as she seems to always dress the right way.  It’s just hard to put on shorts when it’s 40 outside – BRRRRR!

This is going to be a very emotional race for me and for all of us I think.  I never thought I would be running a full marathon and even said “I will never run a full”.  You know what they say about saying “never” – yep, it bit me.  When I start to get nervous and worried that I will struggle, I just tell myself that we are here to run this race for Team Higgie and our number one fan, Ethan.  What a joy it will be to hug him when we are done.  We will all wear our “Team Higgie” shirts with pride and do our best on Sunday and enjoy the ride – what a ride it’s been.
- JB

Editor’s note: I think I speak on behalf of all five of us in saying how wonderfully blessed we all feel. The support of people in our wonderful little town of Wellington has been overwhelming. The support of our families to endure the training, pain and complaining has been unwavering. The support of these wonderful group of women brought together with a love of exercise has been something that has changed all of our lives. We will be forever friends holding a common accomplishment together on the road and in life. Through everything, we have tried to remain positive, persistent and just run. Isn’t that what life really is about, just keep on going when it seems so hard?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to JB, Alison, Lisa, Mitzi and all of you that have donated to PPMD in Ethan’s honor. You don’t know how much it means to me and my family. To run a marathon is a feat in itself, but to put money in the hands of an organization that could hold the cards to my son and other young boys’ lives is something that can never be repaid. I can’t say it enough how grateful that I am to each of you.  My MM’s are the most amazing ladies I’ve ever known and you all know how great they are! JB, Alison, Lisa and Mitzi-I love you! 

Now, let’s run and make this marathon our BITCH! GO TEAM HIGGIE!

Quote for the day: “Just Do It!"
- Nike

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh My...

This was a very emotional week for me, as I didn’t feel ready for this BIG race we are about to run.  We started out the week with a 6 mile run on Tuesday.  JB, Stormie, and I were joined by Anna and John.  I can’t tell you how many dogs were on this route.  It seems like we were chased by a different one every block.  John and Anna ran on ahead of us, as we were feeling slow and sluggish.
  The next day was our 4 mile run.  JB and I ran by ourselves because the other 3 MM’s SKIPPED!!!  Mitzi informed me that their schedule wasn’t as tough as ours, but I don’t seem to recall a skip day on theirs.  Stormie had teacher conferences, so she was going to make this run up another day.  I recall asking her if she made it up, and I think the answer was no!!  J  Since JB and I were by ourselves, we decided to take a nice, easy, enjoyable stroll.  For some reason, once we started running, we just kept getting faster and faster.  We ended this run at a 9 minute pace…..ouch!!  We won’t be doing that on race day.
Our Thursday run was 3 miles.  JB and Stormie ran this together, and I was going to do this one on my own since Caden had a wrestling meet.  They are finding out as they are reading this blog right now, that I didn’t ever run it  ( I know I’m in trouble now after coming down hard on the others for skipping).  I dreamt about running 3 miles that night, so I think that should count. 
Our last long run before the big one was 8 on Saturday.  It was a cold, windy run.  The three of us and Lisa were the only ones to brave the weather.  It was a hard run for me, which is why I don’t feel ready.  At this point, everything on my body hurts.  It is so discouraging to know that you can run these distances, but your body makes it so hard for you. 
I think JB and Stormie are ready for this thing…..Stormie keeps a nice steady pace with her ear phones in, and every once in while you can hear her talking to herself to keep going.  JB is just plain strong.  She gets along great on the long runs.  She is the one that keeps the conversation going to keep me distracted.  I, on the other hand, am scared to death.  I am not at all confident that I can do it, but I will darn sure give it my best!!  See you all on race day! 
- Alison

Quote for the day: "Relish the bad training runs. Without them, it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones."
- Pat Teske

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tapering Off

After our longest run of 20 miles, we can now start the countdown to race day.  We start our tapering off this week with 5, 8, 4 and 12 miles.  It’s amazing that we find ourselves saying “only 12 miles” when we talk about our long run this week.  Seriously??  Only and 12 miles do not belong in the same sentence.
Monday, February 6th:  We were supposed to run our 5 miles on Tuesday, but a last minute check of the weather made us switch days.  I looked at the weather too late in day for Stormie to join us as she bowls on Monday nights so it was me and Alison.  We joined the group of girls training for their half and ran with them.  Melissa, Amy, Carmen, Mitzi, DeAun, Cassie and Andy – such a determined group of runners.  I told Alison that I wanted to take it nice and easy since we had just ran 20 miles the previous day.  She completely agreed, but let me know you something – I really don’t think she knows what nice and easy means.  She felt good while I didn’t start to feel good until about mile 3.5.  It always takes me a little longer to get in my groove and my legs were reminding me that they had worked hard the day before.  Stormie will do her 5 miles on the treadmill more than likely.  I promise to text her the whole time she’s running so it will feel like she’s running right beside me.  Don’t laugh – it really does help!
Tuesday, February 7th:  Yep – Stormie had to do the treadmill tonight due to the weather.  I did keep her company throughout her run just like I said I would.  I would send her random texts so it felt like I was there talking to her.  I was sitting at my son’s basketball game texting away J  I’m proud of her for getting out and going to the Fitness Center to jump on the treadmill.  It was a cold night and it would’ve been pretty easy to say forget it and spend the night at home where it’s warm.  Good job Stormie!!
Wednesday, February 8th:  It was a little chilly tonight for our 8 mile run and with overcast skies it sure doesn’t help the disposition.  But we got out and did our jobs – it was me, Stormie and Dawn.  Alison was busy at work so she joined us at mile 2.  Dawn did about 5 miles with us and as always, it’s nice to have others join in who like to talk.  I laugh at that statement because Dawn will tell you that she doesn’t like to talk during the runs, but we ask her all kinds of questions and ask for her advice so she’s forced to talk to us LOL!  It was a tough run for Alison and Stormie tonight.  Stormie’s legs were feeling the previous night’s run and Alison was feeling a little blah!  Sometimes life gets in the way of running but it sure feels good to get out and beat the stress out of our bodies. 
Thursday, February 9th:  Who knew it was supposed to snow today?  I sure didn’t!  With the snow comes the treadmill and with the treadmill comes a struggle.  I have my treadmill set up in the basement in front of the TV so that helps, but I would much rather be outside.  Stormie and I were on the treadmill at the same time – she was at the Fitness Center and I was at home.  We had fun texting each other while running.  It really does help the time go by faster.  We included Alison in our texts although she wasn’t running at the time – she was at Caden’s wrestling match laughing at all our back and forth texts.  Thank goodness we only had to do 4 miles tonight!
Sunday, February 12th:  We decided to change our run from Saturday to Sunday due to the weather.  We usually start at 9:00 a.m. and the temperature on Saturday at that time with the wind-chill was -4.  Good call on switching days although Sunday wasn’t much better.  At least it was 14 with the wind-chill.  We started at 12:30 and had a good group willing to fight the weather – myself, Alison, Lisa, Mitzi, Jenny, DeAun, Cassie, Andy, Carmen, Amy, Melissa.  Notice a name missing – yep, Stormie!  She’s still not 100% healthy and I think the cold weather scared her off J  (Editors Note: Stormie did run 4 miles on the treadmill. So technically she isn't a big loser :) This was the coldest running day we have endured – the wind was brutal and with overcast skies, we never warmed up.  But we all did it –11 and 12 miles.  This was Lisa and Mitzi’s first official training run – they did awesome!!    Jenny, Alison and I were even witness to a house fire.  We were running by and heard this man screaming “fire” over and over again.  He was lying on the ground screaming it and it took us a little while to figure out what he was saying.  I thought he was saying “liar” at first.  By the time, we got to his house we figured out what he was saying and were then trying to ask him if there was anyone else in the house.  His response “I don’t think so” – really??  How do you not know this?  Alison asked him what he meant by that and he screamed at her, yes screamed “I DON’T KNOW”.  We all felt extremely sorry for the guy because not only was his house on fire, but his prosthetic leg was inside.  That’s the reason he was lying on the ground.  The police arrived and one of them went into the house and grabbed the prosthetic leg – thank goodness it was right by the front door.  Just after the officer came out of the house, we all heard something pop and decided it was time to go.  We didn’t want the headline to read “3 runners caught in house fire”.  Kitchel – I thought of you during all of this.  You are always asking if we have any crazy stories during our runs and now we do.  My legs were really tired after this run.  I think the colder it is, the harder it is to run.  Your body has to work harder to keep warm and it seems like your body is tenser.  So then the doubting starts – I just did 20 miles the previous week and felt great and now after 12, I feel tired.  So many mental battles – I’m SO ready for this to be over so I can quit doubting myself.  I believe everyone out there who says running is more mental than physical – especially true when you are pushing yourself to do something you never thought you would do.  February 26th can’t get here soon enough.    
- JB

Quote for the Day: "We are different, in essence, from others. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.
- Emil Zatopek

Friday, February 10, 2012


Alison, Stormie and I were summoned to a meeting at Stormie’s house by Lisa and Mitzi.  We had no idea what was going on and all thought maybe we were in trouble – kind of like when you get called into the principal’s office.  Not that any of us know what that feels like J  Anyway, they informed us that they have decided to run the full marathon with us.  Yep – you heard right.  We tried and tried to talk them into doing it with us when we first started training but were met with big fat NO’s!!  Every time we asked, it was a resounding NO!!  When they first shared the news, Alison and Stormie let out a big scream and Alison jumped up off the couch!  I sat there in disbelief LOL!  I just couldn’t believe it.  They also informed us that we all have shirts and that we will be running for "Team Higgie" - running for Ethan. What a wonderful surprise! Below is a drawing from Ethan and his idea on our shirts :) 

We are super excited they have decided to join us as it was the 5 of us that started this journey of running together a few years ago – that’s why we call ourselves the “Marathon Mama’s” J

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Office

This whole running thing is beginning to feel like a job. We have to clock in, do the duty and clock out. We clock in at the storage sheds, run the necessary route, and head back to the cars to head home. We have our  boss (aka JB) who keeps us in line, we have the competitive co-worker (aka Alison) who consistently makes us feel like we need to do more and then there’s me... not sure what role I have in this “job” but I tend to think of myself as the one who makes it seem so wonderful and enlightening, but then craps out when it comes right down to it. You know that co-worker? Yep, that’s me. J And you know that BIG work project that is due soon…well, that BIG project is our marathon... And it’ only 4 weeks away!
Monday, January 30 - 5 miles
If I ever decide to run 14 miles on Sunday and think I can run 5 more miles on Monday and consider that a good idea, would someone please slap me? As Alison said “we would never run a half marathon on a Sunday and then come back and run the next day” So, this was a hard run for me. The miles and also the wind were difficult tonight. It was really warm also. All 3 of us overdressed. Running north was very hot! We ran the storage shed route and wouldn’t you know it we were stopped by a train. It was going fast, so we only had to do a block circle before we were able to cross. JB and Alison ran well this night. They were joined on Washington by John and continued to the sheds. There was a big group for the 5:30 run, which is always great to see!
Wednesday, February 1 - 10 miles
Funny how we used to consider 10 miles to be a long run, now it’s just like a normal weekly run.  It was over 60 degrees today, so we all had the opportunity to wear shorts! Yay! So, there was talk about us doing our 20 mile tonight since it was so nice out. Definitely didn’t have enough time to prepare mentally and also physically. And we could tell after our 10 miles we put in. There was a HUGE group of runners tonight; it was so exciting to see us filling up all the roads in Wellington! I think there were close to 20 runners tonight. It was so cool… And there were way too many for me to list off in this blog. It was such a gorgeous day to run that many took advantage of it. Run was a pretty typical run. We’ve been working on going through drink stops faster so that we’re not spending so much time. Our plan is to do the same at the marathon, so our goal is to train as close to the actual marathon timing as possible. Alison’s back is still giving her problems and her knee has been bothersome too. JB’s hamstring has also been hurting her a bit so she tried to tape it before the run and said she couldn’t really tell a difference. My knee still continues to hurt but it’s not too bad.
Thursday, February 2 - 5 miles
Once again, another great day for a run. We are still struggling with the feeling that this running is turning into something that we HAVE to do versus something we WANT to do. It will be nice to get that feeling back after this training. Alison has been diagnosed with tendonitis in her foot, so the doctor told her that she should rest before our 20 mile long run this week. So… she turned into Lance Armstrong and rode her bike beside JB and I J At one point, she started whistling on her bike as it was obviously not as hard as us pounding the pavement and JB sternly said “No Whistling”. Haha, she still wished she was running with us even though she couldn’t. We started slow, but JB and I ran the last 2 miles of this run fast. At one point, we were going 8:22 pace, which is unheard of for us. Not sure if we were just ready to be done or just felt good. Probably a little bit of both. Next up—20 miles! 
Sunday, February 5 – 20 miles
We had planned to run our long run on Saturday, but it was cold and windy and so we decided to wait and run on Sunday when the weather was to be nicer. We were thankful we waited because it was such a better day! Well, this is our final long run before we taper into the final stretch before the marathon. So, not sure what is worse: the anticipation of the long run or actually running the long run. There is such a lifestyle change that goes into training. You have to make sure you eat the right things, make sure you wear the right clothes, make sure you take the right stuff to fuel you on the run and make sure you just keep those legs going when they are screaming at you to stop!
We started at the Jr. High with me, JB, Alison, Kitchel, Trey, Dave and Dr. Anders was there. We only saw him for like 2 minutes and then he was off. Dave and Dr. Anders had run 15 miles before they even got to the Jr. High at a 7:45 pace! Wow. At 12 miles, DeAun, Cassie and Maria joined us. And as we ran into Carroll Glass, we realized that there were signs. Kim had made us signs and they were so cute and so inspiriting! I took a picture of it and it’s below. Then when we turned on Vandenberg to B Street, there was another one! We touched it as we ran by it. So thoughtful and we appreciate it so much! Love our fellow runners! Mitzi and Lisa joined us at 14 miles, we love when they run with us because we miss them so much! Dave decided to quit about 27 miles in on his run---wow! That's just crazy. But he did it. Kitchel and Trey dropped off at mile 16 and Cassie and DeAun went to C Street and back to Carroll Glass.  It’s not easy running these long miles. It takes so much out of you physically and mentally. When new runners join us along the route or drive by us and honk or yell things, it gives us such a burst of energy. Not energy as in we run faster, but energy where you feel like maybe you can actually do it. It really is something only you will know if you ever experience it. Shawn Becker joined us for the final 3 miles. Even though I personally couldn’t speak to him until we were at the water stop, we definitely enjoyed having him there too! JB was all smiles this run. She kept us in check with our water stops and felt really good. She is an inspiration because running just seems so easy for her. Alison was quiet for the last 4-6 miles. Her back is really hurting her. She is still ahead of all of us though, she is so strong mentally and physically both. I struggled a bit this run, but I always tend to struggle. But the most important thing is that I made it without walking. Our total time which included drink stops was 3 hours and 51 minutes. We have set our goal for 4 hours and 30 minutes for our marathon time and I feel like we may be able to do it. But if we are under 5 hours, that is good enough in my book.

We did it!!! We made our final long run and we are all still alive. It is such a mental game this running business. The power of positive thinking really helps you through those tough miles. Running seems to be over 90% mental and if you get down on yourself and think you can’t do it, and then you won’t. But if you feel like you can make it and think you can, you will. When I coach my middle school track and cross country athletes, one thing I teach them is that when it gets tough, you need to think of one word that you will say to yourself either out loud or in your mind that will help push you when it feels hard. I asked JB and Alison to come up with their words this morning and JB’s word was “believe”, Alison’s word was “determined” and my word was “strong”. I think that sums our running experience “believe, determined and strong” ---that’s what we are and our road on this journey to run our marathon. Now we taper and get ready to race! 

Quote for the Day: “Distance is one of the only things in life you can truly earn. Anyone can give you nine pies, but no one can give you nine miles. Nine miles you have to take. “
- Marc Parent

Awesome Signs 2-5-12 Love ya Kim!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just another week of running...

Well, we had to change this week's schedule again because Caden had a wrestling meet on Saturday, so we ran 5 Tuesday, 9 Wednesday, 14 Friday and 5 Sunday. Our Tuesday run was a lonely run, as it was only the three of us. It was neither a good run or a bad run, it was just a run. It seems like when we are this far into our training we just seem to drudge through some of the runs as if it were our job. We just show up and do what we need to do to get to our goal.

Wednesday was our 9 miler and it still surprises me how "easy" this distance seems now. I remember when we were training for our halves, the 9 mile run was an obstacle. Not it's just another "short" run that we do during the week to prepare for a long one. We had several join us on this run...Mitzi and Carmen also ran 9, Lisa ran 6.5, and I think Anna ran 5 and Dawn ran 7 or 8.

Then comes Friday - I remember telling JB that this 14 miler would feel good after the long 18 miler...WRONG!!! It was extremely windy and it didn't let up for the entire run. The 3 of us plus Jen and Jeannette started at the old Jr. High. Dawn, Anna and Jenny met us on Washington about a mile and a half in. At our 6 mile water stop, poor Stormie was having a very hard time breathing (still sick) so, after we all pleaded for her to stop and go home, she finally conceded. It was a good thing she did, we couldn't even talk to each other the rest of the way because it was so windy and we were just fighting every step of the way. I know I heard Dawn say that this was her toughest run to date, and it was one of my toughest. I have been trying hard to nurse my back, but that wind played havoc on it. I started hurting 6 miles in and hurt the rest of the time. Poor JB was trying to talk to me to keep my mind off of it, but I couldn't even answer her I was so close to tears. But, we finished the full 14 miles without walking, and I consider that a win no matter how ugly it was!

Sunday was such a beautiful day! The sun was shining, no wind and pretty warm for the end of January. As beautiful as it was, it didn't make the run any easier. JB and I both commented that our legs felt like lead. Stormie, on the other hand, showed up all smiles and informed us she was ready to hit the road and run 14 to make up for Friday! JB and I ran our 5 and left Stormie to run another 9 by herself. That was hard, as we are used to running together. We know how hard it is to run by yourself with no one there to talk to or keep pushing you. But she was dead set on getting her mileage in, and by gollie she did. She is very strong willed, and when she sets out to do something there is nothing stopping her!

At this point, I think we are all just ready to be finished training and run the darn race! If there was one close, I would run it tomorrow just to be done!! The emotional roller coaster that you go through is just as draining as the actual running. After the 18 mile run, I felt awesome, and was convinced that I could go the distance with out hesitancy. Then after the 14 miler, I have doubts again. I now know why only 1% of the population are crazy enough to complete a full marathon. What I don't know, is why I thought I should be one of them!! We have such a great group of runners, that give us support with every move we make. I know I speak for all 3 of us when I say we couldn't be doing this without all of them. We love you all!!!!!


Quote for the day: "Every person who ever achieved greatness crossed the bridge of self-doubt"
- unknown

Monday, January 23, 2012


This week was a BIG week for us.  We did 4 Tuesday, 9 Wednesday, 5 Thursday and 18 on Saturday.  This was a total of 36 miles for us this week – the most so far on our training. 

Tuesday, January 17-4 miles:  Wouldn’t you know it – yesterday the weather felt like spring and today its old man winter.  With that being said, we elected to run on the treadmill instead of fighting the wind and cold outside.  I shouldn’t complain too much because we have been extremely lucky with the weather this winter.  We all had great runs on the treadmill (if there is such a thing).  We feel very fortunate when we can get off the treadmill and feel good since all of us despise it!

Wednesday, January 18-9 miles:  YAY!!  I’m finally back to running with my peeps!  After running my last 3 runs on the treadmill, I was so excited to run with someone.  I was so giddy – felt like a little kid LOL!  It’s amazing how much easier it is if your mind is prepared for it.  Well, I wouldn’t say “easier”, just not as challenging.  Steve, Dawn and Stephen joined us for part of our run tonight.  Stephen is such a strong runner – he’s always a few blocks ahead of us.  Of course, it helps that he’s 18 – he’s got youth on his side J  Alison’s back continues to give her problems and hopefully a few more visits with Turpin will fix her up.  I’m thinking a massage at Healing Waters would do us all some good!!  Stormie wasn’t mentally prepared for this run so she struggled a little.  That’s where the “buddy” comes in handy – when one person isn’t feeling it, the other person is there to help pick you up.  Whether it’s running right beside you, talking to keep your mind off the running or making a pit stop with you – it’s much better to run with a buddy.  I don’t know how those runners do it alone.  I’m so thankful for my running partners.

Thursday, January 19-5 miles:  It was just me, Alison and Stormie on this run tonight.  While we know we’ll be doing the marathon by ourselves, we sure do miss our fellow runners on our training runs.  All of us felt “ok” during this run – not great, but not horrible either.  Sometimes the shorter runs are harder than the longer runs.  It seems like it takes us all about 3 miles before we feel like we’re in the groove of running.  Just want to say GREAT JOB to the girls training for a half who ran their longest run tonight of 8 miles – you girls did awesome and should be very proud of yourselves! 

Saturday, January 21-18 miles:  18 miles…I don’t even know where to begin.  Let’s start with the weather – the winter weather.  It was very, very cold but thankfully not too windy.  When we started at 9:00, it felt 4 degrees outside.  Really?  4 degrees??  I was completely stressed by the weather more so than running 18 miles.  Stormie made a mad dash to Wal-Mart to buy some last minute winter weather supplies – mittens, ski mask, hand warmers.  We were prepared and had multiple layers of clothing on.  We had a good group to start the run – Debbie, Andy, DeAun, Casha, Kitchel, Jeannette, Jen, Trey and the 3 of us.  While the girls ran between 4-7 with us, Trey stayed with us until mile 10ish.  We were joined at mile 7 by Dawn and Anna.  YAY – fresh faces J  Anna ran 5 miles while Dawn finished the route with us.  We were joined at mile 14 by Mitzi, Carmen, Cassie, Yvonne, Ryan, Cammy and John – once again it was GREAT having fresh faces especially for the last 4 grueling miles.  And when I say grueling…I mean grueling.  I just don’t know how runners do this – seriously???  18 miles???  My last 4 miles was tough but the last 1-2 was HORRIBLE!!  Why do I make these routes with hills at the ends?  Now mind you, they aren’t huge hills but the slightest inclines will kill your legs after you’ve already done 16 miles.  At one point, we turned the corner and I groaned because of the upcoming hill.  Dawn and Alison were with me and just smiled.  The last ½ mile was the worst for me.  I wanted to walk SO bad, but my running drill sergeants (Dawn, Alison) wouldn’t let me.  Dawn kept telling me I would feel worse if I stopped to walk and I tried really hard to convince her I thought I would feel better.  If it weren’t for them, I would’ve walked.  I’m not sure whether to say thank you or yell at them LOL!  They finally picked up their pace at the end and finished strong as I promised not to walk.  Ryan was there to finish with me.  When I finished, the tears came – tears of anguish, tears of anger.  I have never struggled that bad and it really upset me.  Of course, I didn’t cry for long because I couldn’t breathe LOL!  Oh and I also said rather loudly “That was *bad word* hard”.  I’ll spare you the word I said.  Now the doubting continues – how in the world can I do another 8.2 miles?  My legs were done – I mean done as in D – O – N – E  done!!  Alison and Dawn finished strong and Stormie was just behind me.  Alison felt good and could’ve gone on – really??  WOW – she continues to get stronger.  Stormie did awesome especially since she’s still not 100% healthy and she missed the 16 mile run.  She went from running 14 to 12 to 18 – she’s amazing!!  Oh how I wish I could write this blog and say I felt ready to run this marathon, but unfortunately I can’t.  We still have a few weeks of training left so hopefully I’ll be ready…YIKES!!! 

Quote for the day: "The power of people that believe in you and encourage you to chase your dreams is a tremendous gift"
- Unknown

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just keep on runnin'

I’M BAACCKK!! So excited to be back running this week! It’s amazing how you miss the pain that comes with running when you can’t do it J I also think we should’ve all invested stock into Kleenex last week because I went through 4 giant boxes!  Did you know that if you get the red ring around your nose from blowing it so much that you should put Neosporin on it? I had no idea, but it worked. Thanks Dr. Will!
This week, we have to fit in a 5 mile, 8 mile, 4 mile and a 12 mile long run. JB is leaving us and going to soak up the sun in Cancun this week, so we had to rearrange our schedule a bit.

Monday – 5 miles - this was a fast 5 mile run.  JB, Alison and I were joined by Lisa, Jamie and Jen.  What a blessing to be able to run in January on a 55 degree day! JB and Alison finished fast at around a 9:10 pace, followed by Jen (who did AWESOME!!) and myself and Jamie. Lisa finished a 2.5 mile run and she did awesome too! Good run.

Tuesday – 8 miles - With the upcoming colder weather, we considered running our 12 mile run this night, but thought we’d see how 8 miles felt first. Once again, we had amazing weather for our run. JB, Alison and I started at the old Jr. High building and were met by Jenny. On Washington, we were joined by Dawn, John and Anna. It’s always a blessing and a curse to see these faster runners. We are blessed to see them because we love them so much, but cursed because we know we are in for a faster run. Funny, we always talk about that, but we always keep up with them in some fashion. So… maybe we are faster than what we think? Although they probably slow down for us! Makes us feel accomplished either way. J After 8 miles, we decided going 8 was plenty far and we would hold off on 12 until Thursday. 

Thursday – 12 mile long run – Well, since it was freezing cold and blowing 30 mph, we decided to flip flop our runs so that we would do our 4 mile run tonight and then do the long run this weekend. Unless you’re superwoman aka JB who decided to run 12 miles on a treadmill!!! How the heck do you run for 2 hours on a treadmill? Only if you’re JB and you’re awesome! Wow… Alison and I did our 4 mile run on the treadmill and for me it was ridiculously hard. Alison said she felt good, and JB said it was brutal to run that far on a treadmill.  Feel like a giant hamster running in a wheel when we have to run on the treadmill with nothing to look at. It's so difficult! I guess treadmill running works on that mental strength that we'll need for that our 26 miles? Positivity!

Saturday – 12 mile long run – Gorgeous day to run this Saturday. We started at 9 am from the Jr. High. Myself, Alison, Kelli Barton, Jen and Jeannette began the route. Running down A street we ran into the 7 mile group and they were kicking butt!! So great to see so many running on Saturday mornings. Whether it's a few or 7 miles, good to get out and do it! High fives to Lisa, Carmen and Mitzi as they were finishing up their 7 miles. AWESOME! We were joined by Anna, Dawn and Jenny about 1 mile in. Kelli, Alison and I ran the full 12, the others ran 4-6 miles. We love to have people join in with us during our long runs as it gives us something to look forward to. Especially if we have new runners at the end of our long run, it helps the time/mileage go by much faster. We finished our 12 mile run in under 2 hours of total running time (we didn't include drink stops) Alison is still having back pain and trying to figure out how to make that better. Although Doc Gill says she needs to work on getting her butt muscles stronger :) Funny how certain muscles affect us in different ways? Kelli finished 12 with us and this was her longest run ever. She did awesome! And she helped motivate me at the end when I was dying. I did walk a few times this run. Wind was brutal, but I was OK with walking as I just felt like I had to at the time. Sometimes you just feel like you need to walk and it depends on how you feel mentally whether or not you beat yourself up about it. Sometimes when you give in to your mind telling you that you must walk, you kick yourself later. Other times, you accept what it is and move forward. Next week is our longest mileage week. We will be running a 4, 9, 5 and an 18 mile long run....AHHHHH!! Wish us luck :)

Quote for the Day:  "There's no magic to running far or climbing Everest. Endurance is mental strength. It's all about heart."
- Bear Grylls

Monday, January 9, 2012

In Sickness and In Health

This week was our 11th week of training, and it was an interesting one.  Stormie developed a severe sinus infection which kept her from running all week.  She actually started feeling sick last Saturday on our 15 mile run, and ran it sick!!  Stormie, you are awesome!  Our schedule showed a 4 mile run on Tuesday, an 8 mile on Wednesday, and another 4 miles on Thursday.  We changed it up a bit and did 4 on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and did our 8 miler on Thursday.  Our Tuesday, Wednesday runs were nice – Jeanette joined us on Tuesday, and Dawn, Steve, Steven and Lisa joined us on Wednesday.  We finished both of those at about a 9:22 pace.  On Thursday, JB and I were both bummed because we were the only two running.  We always like to have someone else with us so they can talk to us.  About a mile in to the run we saw Jenny running towards us, and I believe we both cussed because we knew we were about to run a lot faster!  (I know….we are never happy).  At around mile 3.5 we see Dawn coming our way, and again knew we were in deep trouble with Jenny and Dawn both running with us.  That run actually felt good to both JB and I, as we finished in a 9:18 pace and commented on how “easy” it was. 
Saturday, I woke up not wanting to run at all.  In fact, I seriously thought about throwing in the towel.  I knew I couldn’t disappoint my partners, so I decided to load up on breakfast and get mentally prepared.  This is probably the most scared I have been before a run, as I remembered how I felt last week after the 15 miler.  We started our run at 8:00 and there were 15 runners at the start line!!!  I love our group!!!!  Kitchel, Kelli, and Trey did the first 8 with us and then Jeanette and Jen did the last 8 with us.  We ran the first 12-13 miles at a consistent 9:30 pace, but then slowed at the end, and finished at a 9:42 pace.  It actually was a better run for me than the 15 miler.  I felt pretty strong at the end and not so sore.  JB, on the other hand struggled at the end, but finished right there beside me.  (She is so tough)   For some reason, I feel like I have made it over the hump, and can finish this crazy thing.  When you talk to me after the 18 miler, it could be a completely different story!  It is so funny how, with running, some days you feel like you can run for ever, and others you struggle from the first step.
Next week, will be a recover week with lower mileage, so that will feel good.  Stormie will also be back with us!!  We sooooo missed her.  Until next time…..     

Quote of the Day: "Some people think about making it happen and others make it happen."
- Unknown

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday treats and running

This week we had 3 miles on Tuesday, 7 on Wednesday, 4 on Thursday and 15 on Saturday.  Yep – 15!!  YIKES!!

Tuesday, December 27
Alison, Stormie and I met at Eisenhower for our 3 miles.  This run was a struggle for me.  It felt like we were sprinting the first mile, but when I looked at my watch we were going at a 9:30 pace.  It sure felt much faster to me.  I really overindulged through the Christmas holiday and I think my body was telling me about it.  When will we (I) learn that what we eat and drink directly affects our training??  Sure was hard to pass up the peanut butter balls and peanut clusters though.  Alison once again felt great and was off – she had to weave back and forth on the road so that Stormie and I could catch up with her.  Thank goodness Stormie was there with me to keep me going.  It’s amazing all the things that were going through my mind as to why I was struggling.  Of course I thought about all the candy that I had eaten and the beverages I enjoyed, but also I freaked out a little because I didn’t have my IPod.  Keep in mind that we haven’t been using our IPods, but I ALWAYS wear it just in case I need it.  Before the run I thought to myself, “it’s just 3 miles, don’t even take your IPod” – boy was I wishing I had it.  I won’t do that again.

Wednesday, December 28
Why?  Please tell me why!!  Why is one run so difficult and the next run manageable?  I really struggled during yesterday’s 3 mile run and was fine during tonight’s 7 mile run.  Of course, our pace during our run tonight was quite a bit slower than the 3 miles so maybe that was the reason.  I also feel like I don’t get into the groove of running until after about 3 miles so maybe that was the reason.  Or maybe it’s just all mental as most of the running battles are.  It’s quite a battle with yourself as you not only prepare for a run, but also do the run.  We rely on each other’s support when the battles become tough and hope that all 3 of us don’t struggle at once.  We’re starting to question our training schedule and are trying to decide if running 20 miles is enough.  Do we do 22 or even further or do we stick to the training schedule?  We’ve decided to call on our friends that have been through this and make our decision once we receive their input.  We’ve heard from almost everyone that’s done a full that the last 6 miles are brutal so maybe if we go 22 during training, the last 4 will only be the most brutal.  Are you kidding me – I’m thinking 26.2 miles will be brutal!

Thursday, December 29
MUSIC!!  We haven’t been using our IPods lately because we have been trying to talk more.  When you talk, it really does make the time go by faster and you don’t think about how your legs are tired.  We absolutely love it when we are joined by other runners (especially Kitchel) because we talk the entire run.  Although some don’t like to talk (Dawn) – we make them anyway. But…at mile 2.5 during the 4 mile run tonight, I decided to put my earphones in and crank up the music.  WOW – I have really missed my music.   I don’t put both earphones in, just in case Stormie or Alison talk.  I like to keep one ear open so I can hear them or hear oncoming cars LOL!  It’s just amazing to me what a little upbeat music will do to your run.  We all felt a little sluggish during this run and I think it’s because we had 3 straight days of running.  That’s what our training schedule calls for, but sometimes we have to change our days around.  This was the first time in a few weeks where we ran like this.  Alison was always a few steps ahead of me and Stormie and really kicked it in gear the last ¾ mile – she could see the end in sight and wanted to be done.  Let’s hope we all can finish that strong after running 26 miles and can pick it up the last .2 miles.   We’ve had a very strange week of running.  This is really the first time I can remember that we’ve all struggled so much.  Mine was more physical while Alison and Stormie have struggled mentally.  It’s really starting to become a reality what we are embarking upon.  We’ve asked for advice from our fellow marathon runners and we are glad we did.  Do we only (ONLY!!) run 20 miles as our training schedule says?  Do we try and run 22 just to help our mental issues?  Should we bump up our mileage starting now?  So many questions!!  We did receive some excellent advice from those who have done this before and some very encouraging and inspiring words.  I’m sure we’ll lean on them several more times during this journey.  If you think running a marathon is all about running, you are wrong.  You have to get your mind wrapped around it first, and then it’s just left, right, repeat…right Dave?

Saturday, December 31st:
Today was our long run – 15 miles.  This was our longest run EVER!  I’ve always tried to look at the long runs in 2 mile increments.  Our water stops are about every 2 miles so I just tell myself to make it to the next water stop.  We did the 7.5 mile route starting from the donut shop twice.  The first leg we were joined by Jeff and Kitchel. 9th street hill going to our last water stop.  I wanted to walk so badly and then I could hear Jeannette “you’re almost there – keep pumping your arms”.  I couldn’t stop then.  Or Kitchel talking Alison and I through mile 14 – couldn’t have made it up Lincoln Street or against the wind on C without Kitchel.
So now the doubting really starts to set in.  My knees were really hurting after this run – could I really run another 11.2 miles?  Not at this point!  Before this run, we were thinking (hoping) we could run the entire race and only walk through the water stops.  After this run, I’m thinking I’ll have to do some walking.  So does that make me a true marathon runner?  Will I be ok with myself if I walk some of it?  Does it really matter if I walk some?  It’s 26.2 for goodness sakes!!  I think this is where I should remind myself that if it was easy, everyone would do it.  It takes guts, courage, stamina and a little bit of insanity to run a marathon and we are going to do it!!  -- JB

Quote of the day: "We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
- Jesse Owens