Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall fun

Every year our neighborhood has a pretty rocking block party complete with bounce houses, pony rides, face painting, food and activities. Phoebe fell in love with the ponies years ago and looks forward to riding Tigger and DoubleUp every fall.
 Guess who showed up at the block party this year? "My guys," as Phoebe calls them. Even though she sits in Engine 2 at least once a week, she still spent a fair amount of time buckled in.
 The day of the block party was quite hot, so Oliver and I hung out in the shade when possible. Oliver is 16 months now. We started a mother-baby music class a few weeks ago and he seems to like it. We are still working with Early Intervention and will be for at least another year. He has language delays - doesn't talk, doesn't seem to understand or follow simple directions - and a few sensory quirks. It's hard to know how concerned to be as some developmental delays clear up on their own, but it never hurts to be aware early on.
 A few weeks ago I won Red Sox tickets! I answered a trivia question from a real estate newsletter (from one of my former GBTC teammates who is a real estate agent) and won two tickets. Somehow we have lived in Boston for a decade now and haven't been to Fenway Park, so it was time. I took Bruce because he really wanted to go.
 My next-door neighbor is an usher at Fenway Park, so we met up with him and he gave us a little history of the stadium and showed us around a bit. He is from Trinidad, so on a 65-degree night he wore a heavy coat, winter hat, and gloves with hand-warmers in them!
 He took our picture for us, got Bruce a baseball at the end of the game, and got us awesome seats.
 We sat in our ticketed seats for awhile (pictured above while we did The Wave), then moved to our neighbor's section for a plusher view. We ate peanuts (Bruce ate the shell and all; I guess he had never seen a whole peanut?!) and Cracker Jacks, cheered the Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays (Red Soc dominated!), and had a great time. Bruce said, "This is the best day I've had in two decades." Yes, he is nine years old.
 Also a few weekends ago, Scott didn't have to work and wanted to take advantage of whatever nice weather was left of this year. He picked Bruce up from school early and drove to New Hampshire to go backpacking in the White Mountains.
 They hiked a few miles to a campground where they stayed for the night.
 They saw some beautiful views, ate lots of trail mix, and enjoyed some father-son time.

 When they hiked back to the car, Bruce ate almost an entire package of Oreos on the way home. Awesome.
Phoebe was crazy jealous that Bruce and Scott were having a fun trip without her, so she and I visited the fire station to try on turn-out gear and sit in the trucks. Again.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Team MARS at the Akron Marathon

 A few of my siblings signed up for the Akron Marathon and Half Marathon awhile ago and convinced me that I should come and run it. After this year's Boston Marathon, I swore off marathoning until I finish nursing Oliver. So I ran the half marathon instead: I could train and still have a life, didn't have to do ridiculously long time-consuming long runs, and could justify more speedwork. That's the plan for the next year anyway: get fast again. It would be nice to PR in the 5K before I get much older. Anyway, back to Akron.... I flew out with Oliver on Friday. Our travel plans were complicated by a fire at the air traffic control center in Chicago, which we were supposed to connect through. After a long day of delays, cancellations, and finally getting rerouted, we made it to Ohio. We came home to a pasta party that included my cross country coach from high school (awesome!) and went to bed. The race started early in the morning - 7 a.m. - so we were early to bed and early to rise.
 Dave (pictured at the top) sneaked me into the elite waiting area and corral by the start line. My bib number was a lot higher than everyone else's, but no one kicked me out. I didn't apply for elite status because I'm not feeling so elite lately, especially after my crappy 20K a few weeks ago. But it was nice to not have to elbow a thousand people in the first mile.
 I didn't actually run with my siblings during the race - we all ran different paces - but it was nice to know that Team Mars was running along the same course going up the same hills and feeling my same pain!

My goal was to run between 1:25-1:30, so I went out at a 6:30-something pace and held it for a few miles. I slowed down on a few hills, but picked the pace up over the last few miles and even caught a few women. I ran with another red-head for a few miles and we got some cheers for "the gingers." I got lots of cheers for the nubby hair and even a few "Go Emily Mars!" shouts. I finished in 1:27:23 for ninth place. At the finish line, I collected my medal and snack bag and wandered back out to the course where the rest of the family was. 
We cheered Janis to a 1:40 (8th in her age group!), then cheered for Marissa and Tevita and Latrisha in the half-marathon. The marathoners, Dave and Dan, started at the same time but split to finish the 26.2-mile course after the 11-mile mark. The half marathoners finished before it got too hot out, but the heat didn't help Dan or Dave. They weren't too pleased with their times, but I think everyone was happy to be done!
And here we are posing afterward: Tevita, Marissa, me, Dave, Latrisha, Janis, and Dan. TEAM MARS!

Getting back to Boston was almost as crazy as getting to Ohio. The Chicago airport was still dysfunctional, so my flight was cancelled and I was carted off to another airline to get back to Boston. I think the calmest part of my weekend was actually running the half-marathon. 

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekend update

Scott and Bruce went backpacking this weekend, so Oliver and Phoebe and I stayed home and had some fun on our own. Phoebe was quite jealous of the father-son trip, so to make it up for her we went to the fire station. 
The firefighters know her by name and like to indulge her because she gets so excited. She tried on some heavy turnout gear and said she would have no problems wearing the 30-pound air tank and carrying a 150-pound person down a ladder. 
Unfortunately Oliver got sick this weekend. He got RSV at the end of last winter and since then, all tiny colds turn into weeks of wheezing. We seem to be at the beginning of another bout of fever, runny nose, coughing, Vader-esque wheezing, and very interrupted sleep. 

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

School is in!

School is back in! We had a great summer, but we were all ready for school to start again. Bruce was ready to hang out with kids his age and talk Minecraft and Pokemon all day. Phoebe was excited to start junior kindergarten with Bruce's former teacher, who she idolizes. And I am ready for some one-on-one time with Oliver! (As well as some blogging and work while he sleeps.)
 We celebrated our last few days of summer in style. We headed for the White Mountains and went for a hike...
 ...requiring large amounts of chocolate-filled trail mix.
 We hiked to some waterfalls and Phoebe and Scott even went for a little dip in the frigid water.
 Bruce found this awesome tree growing atop a boulder.
On Labor Day, we headed to New Haven for the New Haven 20K. This race has been on my bucket list for awhile; it is the USATF 20K National Championships, so it is always very competitive. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative: it was hot and very humid. I felt like I was melting after the first 5K! I had a few really awful miles, but pulled it together in the end for a 1:28:13 - 31st female. I am not proud of that time, but no one ran the time they intended. Someone even said the winning time was the slowest in 30-something years! Next race up is the Akron Half Marathon and I am hoping it will be a little cooler so I can go a little faster!

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