Saturday, June 04, 2016

Had To Travel Internationally To Get My Time Goal

I finally got my half marathon time below two hours - woohoo! About a month after the OKC marathon, I had the opportunity to travel to Canada for a conference (I'll blog about my summer academic travels soon).

I had to represent in Canada!
The Calgary marathon just so happened to be the same weekend I would be in town for the conference. My co-presenter needed to get a training run in that weekend (he has an upcoming marathon) and told me about the half marathon race. The timing worked out great!

Myron and I ran in Oxford, too.
It was a perfect running weather day.
The race was large (I think a couple thousand were in the half marathon event), but not as large as OKC Memorial. The route was a good race path: relatively flat, a few hills, and narrow so it was crowded the entire time. The route weaved around the downtown area and by a river. 

The timing is a bit off; my chip time was 1:59:09.

We started with a pace rabbit and the 2:00 group. This pace rabbit was excellent. He would yell out encouraging advice when we were approaching the hill or update us with, "Hey, we're about 40 seconds ahead so we're just gonna slow down and cruise for a few miles." Entertaining and accurate. We fell behind the group maybe around mile ten. This half was usual for me in the sense that around mile 10, I start to get pretty tired. The last few miles were rough, but it was helpful to be running with a friend that was encouraging me to hang in there and try to make my time.  After crossing the finish line, the pace rabbit came and found us and congratulated us for finishing the race. 
So you know how race pics aren't usually great? Mine are always pretty awful. This race though took the cake. I will NOT be ordering them. I look really rough during the race, and my finish line crossing one looked like I was about to die. 
Shortly after I crossed, I did have to sit down and eat a bunch of food. 
I spent everything in me it seemed.

The one thing I am noticing with each race is that I'm stronger. I'm less sore after each consecutive race. This time I didn't even limp! The training is working, and I'm looking forward to another race this summer!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What May Looks Like

After surviving finals week, I'm already in summer mode by the time commencement begins.
Midnight and the parking lot is still full during Dead Week.
My faculty award from the students this year made me laugh. Can you tell I taught Pchem this year?
May is when my summer starts, but the boys are still in school. I start working part-time keeping H a couple days extra a week.
The boys pretending to be "doctors."

May brings sunshine (mostly) and more time for active fun...

....posing by the first lilly, and picking up brothers at school.

After a month of sprinting to finish up the semester, I think I notice the everyday good things a little more. Like brother and sister drawing together...

....and enjoying the fort that H got her brothers to build for her.

We ate lunch together in the fort.

We celebrated a winning soccer season...

...and took care of a doctor appointment.

I love to see L Child drawing. Even more so?
I loved getting a glimpse of how his brain works.
If you ever get to talk to him about his drawing process, you should.
I get to catch up with friends (but I usually just take pics of their cute kids).

I drag H to grocery shop during her nap time. 

But no worries, she perks up and draws.

And the best part so far? I got to meet my beautiful new niece Logynn Whitley.

The boys were just as taken with her as they were with H almost three years ago.

And I also discovered that H is a baby hog. 
She would exclaim, "She's wiggly!" 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

*Almost* Faster than 2 Hours

I got to run in the OKC Memorial Half Marathon again this past April. After six half marathons, I'm still trying to get under 2 hours. This race was close: 2:00:35. This was my fourth time doing this course, and I still loved it. The Gorilla Hill portion was the best I had experienced. There were so many spectators cheering; it really got the adrenaline going.

Indulgent selfie at the start line since I wasn't
with anybody I knew 
I hung with these pacers until about mile 8 or 9

I've written before about my running journey, and for the most part, my training has continued much the same. After training for races in late fall and in the spring, I know I prefer to NOT train over the winter. We had a mild winter here, and I still fought with the cold and being sick. I had to miss a half in January because I got the flu. I probably will never sign up for a winter race again.

I didn't keep to a strict training schedule for OKC like I did for Tulsa. By that, I mean, I didn't always do weekly speed and hill runs. Though I got faster in this race, I think I do better if I have more of a weekly training plan that meets goals of mileage, speed, and endurance.

This race also reminded me that as a runner, I just work with what I've got. It was a rough day for the OKC Memorial race in terms of the humidity and wind. I drank more along the course than I usually do. The heat was affecting me; it was probably the warmest and most humid I had ran in since September. I had two Gu's along the way, and they seemed to help, but I'm pretty sure my electrolytes dropped. About 15 minutes after my race, I was walking to meet Josh and the kids. Both of my calves cramped up, and I was on my tiptoes yelling. Josh was close enough when I dropped my stuff and yelled, and he caught me. He and some kind stranger got me on the ground and helped me work the cramps out. So painful. I limped for about 4 days, and it wasn't for another 3 days that my legs were pain-free.

I sent this pic to my cousin Annie after she texted me that she was tracking me.
We ran the half together 4 years ago.

After I could stand upright again we snapped this pic downtown.
A week later I'm running with a smile on my face because the weather here has been awesome (cool-for-May-in-Oklahoma and sunny) and my legs feel really good. I have another half marathon coming up at the end of the month in Calgary, and I'm hoping to do one in England later this summer.
And I'll make it official by putting it on my blog: I've got my eye on a full marathon in October in Wichita. Good time of the year in terms of the weather, and the course is relatively flat. I'm excited about this next challenge.

I think one of the best things I've come to appreciate as a runner are fellow runners. Whether it's talking about running or training together, that's been an encouraging piece of my running story.

Some of the Wilshire Runners
Here's to a summer of good running!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Life of H

H is developing her own personality, and at times, it's quite large. I guess with two older, loud brothers, she has to be noticed somehow. Or at least thinks she needs to be noticed almost constantly.

I told her to smile for the picture.
This is what she did instead.

While the drama gets too high at times, she is a joy to watch. Whether she is singing or dancing or telling me about the latest event in her life, I'm trying to soak up the moments. 

"Latest event in her life" would include her retelling her favorite times. 

"Remember, I hugged a monkey!"

Earlier this month, I took all three kids to Spring Sing, the annual student-run production of musical numbers. The boys usually enjoy it, but they are ready to leave by intermission. H on the other hand? LOVED it. Every minute. Perched on Stephanie's lap most of the show, after each number (video introduction, host/hostess performance, or group number), she would say something to the effect of, "I like that one!" 

After three hours of dancing and songs, she exclaims, "I want to watch it again!"

After witnessing her love of Spring Sing and interest in one group of Good and Bad Witches from Wizard of Oz, we watched The Wizard of Oz at our last family movie night.

She only got up once when we took a break to make popcorn. 
She was mesmerized and has watched it about a million times since.

If you are sitting with her, she will tell you what's about to happen: "The tornado is coming!" 
or "There's the Witch!"

During appropriate times, she gets up to skip around the living room and sing, 
"We're off to see the Wizard!"

During the scary part at the Witch's castle, you can hear her talking to herself, "They're wearing costumes. I wear costumes" as if to remind herself it's just pretend.

My favorite parts of watching the movie with her though are when (1) Dorothy slaps Lion's nose when he goes after Toto. "You don't hit people!"

and (2) The Wicked Witch of the West is melting. "Well, you don't be mean to people."

I'll rock her world one day when can watch Wicked 
and see that maybe we should sympathize with the Witch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Break Science

So Liam's request for Spring Break was that we do some science experiments. To say I was happy about that is an understatement.  We took the afternoon to have some fun. 

I love his mind-blown expression.

We started off with making rain clouds.

They mixed colors of different types of paint next. They practiced making hypotheses and testing them. Liam kept saying, "It's not working!" anytime he falsified his hypothesis.

After some chromatography, I took a break and announced, "Free Science Experimentation Time."

That just means, Make a Mess!

My favorite part was when Casen said, "I'm very curious about this..." then proceeded with his experiment.

Our last experiment was seeing how water temperature affected Alka Seltzer tablets dissolution.

While the boys enjoyed dissolving tablets, they REALLY enjoyed using the thermometers. Seeing the alcohol rise rapidly in hot water was the highlight of their afternoon. 
Thank you digital thermometers.

We made quite the mess, but clean-up didn't take too long with three pairs of hands working. All in all, our Spring Break Science Afternoon was a success!

Maybe next Spring Break, H can join us!