Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bringing the Spunk Back

Bruce is back to his rambunctious self. He was feeling better mid-week and very active this weekend. We went to a 2-year-old's birthday party yesterday where Bruce ate a piece of chocolate cake and ignored all the other kids by playing with the birthday girl's brother's trucks the entire time. Photos include 1) Bruce chilling in his PJs, 2) Bruce in his native habitat playing with his "choo-choos", and 3) Bruce helping me gather the trash to take outside.
I'm feeling better and better from the marathon. Thursday was the first day that I felt like it was worth getting out of bed to run. Unfortunately I had bad experience running on Saturday. I ran early and by myself because I had a dental appointment at 8 and a bunch of GBTC teammates were going running at 8:30. Sometime during the last quarter-mile of my run some guy started following me in his car. I didn't notice him until I was already on my front steps pulling my key off my shoelaces. I looked behind me and there he was staring from an open window in his car about 20 ft from me on the street. Once I caught sight of him, he started moving slowly. I started jogging around to the back of the house and he sped up real fast, did a U-turn at the end of my street, and came back. I poked my head out from behind my house to see if he was there. Yep. So I bolted inside and up the stairs, locking doors behind me. I ran to the front window and he was gone by the time I got there. I went to the police station and told them my story, but I didn't have much info (no make, model, license number - dangit, it all happened in about 20 seconds). They asked me stupid questions (no, I never wear an iPod while running) and gave me a whistle. Yea.
I told a few neighbors what to look for and I will be driving to my running partner's house in the mornings rather than running the ten minutes to meet her. And maybe even carrying the whistle. I hate carrying stuff when I run. But this experience was a reminder that there are still creepy dudes out even early on a Saturday morning.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Colorful Barf

Bruce was not himself yesterday. He was clingy, quiet, and even avoided his trains and trucks for awhile. I took him to the park and he stared at a dog and wouldn't go down the slide. After lunch, he threw up. Not another GI virus!
He showed some signs of improvement last night and even kept down some rice and beans. So this morning when he asked for Lucky Charms I got him a small bowl of dry cereal. I thought he was over it: maybe it was food poisoning or a one-time ralph? Apparently not. Ten minutes later there was some very colorful barf on the table.
He did better the rest of the day and tomorrow morning I'll probably give him Lucky Charms again - with my fingers crossed.
Random pictures include 1) Bruce coloring. He loves to trace his hands. 2) The Boston Marathon finisher's medal. 3) Scott and Bruce napping on the couch. They're so cute, I just can't get enough. Which is good because I live with them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cookies and Tantrums

Yesterday Bruce was kindof monstrous. He threw a tantrum at the library and we had to leave. He melted down at the grocery store. We didn't stay long. On days like this, we unwind by making cookies. He always enjoys dumping in the flour and eating the chocolate chips. So he never has a tantrum. And I enjoy eating cookies. So everyone is happy by the time we're done. I'm not sure about the whole throw tantrum-get cookies strategy, but I get a break. Whew. Afterwards, Bruce always helps with dishes. He rinses, I wash, he rinses again. The other picture is of Scott and Bruce this morning. I have a new camera to play with and they posed for me. They look more and more alike!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Boston Marathon Monday

The marathon is over! I'm still not sure what to think of it all. As Scott put it: "It's like the day after Christmas and you didn't get everything you wanted."

A bunch of family flew into town for the race - and one of my brothers even drove 10 hours to come watch! We squished 10 people into my apartment on air mattresses, the couch, the futon, and the floor. The house got thrashed, but we had a great time. While all the adults had fun, the babies made mischief. Bruce threw my parents' rental car paperwork into the toilet, and then a marker lid. Thankfully Scott did all the fishing.

On Marathon Monday, we got up early and went downtown to catch our buses. My bro, Dave, also ran and was shooting for 2:45. I wanted 2:47. I'd decided awhile ago that we wouldn't run together though because I wanted to run in the elite start (how many chances will I get at that?!). I did get very spoiled with the "elite treatment." Everyone else rode schoolbuses to the start, but I rode on a tour bus. There was a holding area inside a church gym with bagels, water, fruit, and PowerBars for us. And indoor toilets - that was the best part.

Everyone sat around and stressed over what to wear for an hour and a half. It was raining off and on outside. Ten minutes before the start, the officials handed out plastic ponchos and led us out there. We crossed a graveyard and went in a gate to the starting line. There was a line of officials that called themselves the "human chain." They stood about a hundred meters from the start and kept us corraled in. I did a few striders and apparently got on TV while doing this. During the race a bunch of people yelled that they saw me on TV at the starting line.

Two minutes before the race, I shed the poncho and took my place on the line. Rita Jeptoo was right next to me; she won last year's Boston Marathon. I poked her in the shoulder and wished her luck. She returned a "good luck."

The gun went off and the race began. That was the last I saw of Rita. I never even saw Deena. She must have been on the other side of the start line. The first few miles were really quick, but they are so downhill that it's hard to do anything else. A girl next to me around mile 4 asked me what I planned on running. I told her 2:47. "Me too," she said. But then she dropped back and I never saw her again. At the 10k, I saw a girl drop out. She just jogged to the side of the course.

It was sprinkling on and off at the beginning. The temperature was fine. The wind was fine one minute, then blustery the next. Around the 10k, I got caught in "no man's land." I couldn't catch the girl ahead of me; she was picking up speed and already 70 meters ahead. The girls behind me were slowing down and far behind. There was no one to block the wind.

I ran alone for miles and miles and miles. I past the half-marathon mark in 1:22 - just one minute off my PR. I knew it was an ambitious pace, but I'd taken a "do or die" approach to the pace. I really wanted that 2:47 despite the weather and figured I'd might as well go for it because I don't know when my next shot will be. Up to the half, I was doing. Beyond that, it was a long slow death. I can't really pinpoint one place where I hit the wall. But after mile 20, my goal was to finish rather than hit a certain time.

Scott, Bruce, Dad, Mom, Dan, Sarah x 2, Eldon, and half of my church congregation was at mile 19. I saw them, but didn't have enough spunk to run across the road and give out high-fives or anything. After the race, I learned that Dave had stopped and given his wife and son kisses before going on.

The last few miles are downhill, but they felt horrible. It only got windier and windier the closer I got to Copley Square so I felt like I was being blown backwards despite the downhill. Somehow I made it to Boylston Street and saw the finish line. It looked so far away. It was so far away. But somehow I got there in 2:56:15 in 37th place for women and 28th in the U.S. Marathon National Championships (that excludes foreign runners). There was a woman that finished 12 seconds ahead of me that won $10,000 because she was the first master's runner. When I saw that, I wished I was 40 years old. Can't wait.

I was led to the "elite recovery area" in the Copley Fairmont Hotel. It was a big conference room with bagels, fruit, water, and other such race food, a few cots, a bunch of chairs, and a few massage tables. I was moving pretty slow. One of my GBTC teammates was volunteering there and grabbed my bag of clothes and helped me and my cramping legs to the bathroom. I took the big handicapped stall and changed every item of clothing on me. My lips were blue and I was showing signs of hypothermia (I anticipated this; last year in perfect weather I got hypothermia, so there's almost no avoiding it), but after changing, eating a bagel, and chugging two bottles of Gatorade I felt much better.

I called Scott, who told me Dave was shipped off to the medical tent. I went and an official told me I had to be escorted in. I looked around and saw Dave, and told the guy that I could see him. He said he wasn't looking. So I walked in and went up to Dave. A nurse was helping him walk around. They were about done. His lips were still blue, but he was in good spirits. He ran a 2:46:32 - just the time I wanted to run! "That's what you get for not running with me," he said.

We left the tent, collected some food, and found Scott. He had parked illegally somewhere downtown, but our car wasn't towed or ticketed so away we went. When we got home, we crashed for a few hours. After a few hours of sleep, showers, laundry, etc., we went to a Brazilian restaurant for dinner. Dave served his mission in Rio de Janeiro, so he appreciated the authentic rice, beans, and meat. I'm a big fan of the Brazilian rice and beans too: that was the only thing I craved when I was pregnant with Bruce.

One of my old BYU teammates, Kristen, came over Monday night with her friend. We stayed up chatting for awhile. Then they slept on a mattress on my kitchen floor. Everyone trickled out in the morning. Dave and Sarah left first. Mom and Dad went next. Kristen and her friend were the last out. Unfortunately, there was a mixup with the shoes. Mom thought Kristen's shoes were Dave's and that he had forgotten them, so she took them. Shoeless Kristen had to squish her feet into a spare pair of men's racing shoes that I had laying around. It was quite funny, and it shows only a glimpse of the chaos that happened at my place this weekend.

All in all, the marathon was a good experience. It wasn't the time I wanted. And I trained much harder than what showed in that race. But I got some elite pampering, got to poke Rita and wish her luck, and run through the legendary streets of Boston. Despite running by my lonesome self, the Wellesley Scream was still exhilirating, there were still lots of cheers ("Great hair!" was the most common followed by "I saw you on TV this morning!"), and I'm still planning on running the Boston Marathon again someday - only faster!

(photos by Ellen Patton)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Freaking Out!

The marathon is in a few days and I'm starting to freak out. I got a stuffy nose yesterday and I'm getting a sinus headache today. Hooray. I shoved Zicam up my nose and sucked on zinc losenges. And helped myself to some orange juice today. Nothing is working yet.

Right about now is when I start having dreams about missing the start, cramping up on mile two, getting hypothermic on mile ten, and feeling shot the last few miles. I guess those are more accurately called "nightmares" than dreams.

I've been watching the weather forecast every day. Last week the forecast called for 54 degrees, clouds and sunshine on Marathon Monday. Perfect. A few days ago a chance of showers was added and the temperature cooled a bit. Today the forecast is for mid-40s, heavy rain at times, and a 20 mph headwind. The wind is the worst because Boston is run all in one direction: east toward the ocean. Windy windy windy.

My goals may have to be realigned with the weather. On a perfect day, I would want to run sub-2:47 (Olympic Trials qualifying time). On a good day, I would want to run sub-2:49 (Greater Boston Track Club women's marathon record). On a decent day, I would want to run sub-2:52 (my PR). Any other day, I guess I'd probably just want to finish without completely ralphing my guts out. Any guesses on what kind of day it will be?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter 2007

Happy Easter! We had an egg hunt with some friends today. Bruce found five eggs and put them in his bucket, then sat on the ground content as ever and just shook the eggs. After listening to the jelly beans shake for a bit, he cracked one open and helped himself. Success.

Bruce isn't quite dressing himself yet, but this week he did put together this lovely outfit. He had on the orange argyle sweater (thanks Karyn) and then added the red and blue plaid flannel later in the day (thanks Janis!). The bunny ears we found in the closet the other day; I was in charge of last year's church egg hunt.

Bruce picked up a few good words this week including "sorry" (sah-wee) and "library" (wab-wa-wee). He now apologizes when he throws his food, then does it again and again.

I went to a vegan cupcake party last night with a bunch of ladies from my track team. My running partner was the host and she made all these really amazing cupcakes. They were gorgeous: stacked strawberries, piped icing, arranged nicely. And all vegan! I had four cupcakes and I would have had more but the upcoming marathon was on my mind ("How many seconds does each cupcake add to my total running time?"). I ended up having such a good time that I didn't realize how late it was until four hours later. Scott had stayed home while Bruce slept; poor guy worked on simulations all night.

I have my marathon number: F81. There are 89 women in the elite start, and I'm near the caboose. I feel good and I'm just tapering and shining up my shoes now.