Monday, October 26, 2015

Maine Event

We drove about five hours up to Gouldsboro, Maine after the marathon. My legs were tight and sore especially after a long drive, but I was ready for vacation! Our vacation doubled as a reunion; Scott's parents and three of his siblings and their spouses met us in Maine. Only his youngest brother, Mark, was not there (he is serving a mission in California right now!). We booked a house that could fit all of us and was right on the water. The house was beautiful and the view was even better...
This is the view from the back deck: pink granite shores of the Schoodic Peninsula. There was a small pebble beach suitable for putting in kayaks (pictured below, with Oliver chucking rocks into the ocean), so we rented kayaks for the week and put them to good use.
 So many rocks to throw.
 This is Lana and her husband, also named Scott.
 This is my Scott, who went out in a kayak every single morning - even when Hurricane Joaquin sent some big waves all the way to Maine.
 Phoebe kept begging to go, so Scott took her out once. After this, Oliver also begged so much that Scott took him out too. It didn't last long though: a big wave came in just as they were paddling out from the beach, the kayak flipped, and Oliver decided he didn't want to do that again. Of all the things that happened on vacation, he cites this the most. He has told several people, "Boat, drop, wet," which is his way of saying, "I fell off the boat and got wet!"
 This is the view of the house from the pebble beach.
 We did our share of relaxing.
 But we didn't overdo the relaxation: here we are hiking the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park. There are a bunch of metal ladders and rungs to cling to, but still lots of climbing over boulders which my tired legs didn't appreciate.
 It was worth the climb though.
 We made it to the top of Champlain Mountain... we celebrated... (this would be Leslie and Marc)
 ...and snapped sibling photos. Scott with his three sisters: Leslie, Nancy, and Lana.
 We hiked from the mountaintop to Sand Beach, where Scott's parents were watching the kids. It was chilly, but not enough to keep Bruce from swimming or Oliver from taking his pants off.
 He loved inching toward the water, then running away when the waves came in. He did this for hours.
 We have been to Acadia National Park before, but we had not been to the portion of it on the Schoodic Peninsula. It was closer to where we stayed, so we went to Schoodic Point in the national park a few times. The waves were huge here!
 And there were plenty of cool tide pools for the kids to explore.
 OK, the adults too.
 We hiked onto Little Moose Island, which is only an island when the tide is in.
 When the tide is out, you can cross this sloppy tide pool. It was full of really cool creatures though; Bruce found a few crabs and sea urchins.
 One day we rented bikes and biked from Northeast Harbor to the Jordan Pond House, mostly on carriage trails. Nancy's husband, Jared, pulled a trailer with their baby Ethan and Oliver inside. At first, they tried to poke each other's eyes out. By the end, they were buddies.
 Phoebe biked with Grandma the whole time and went pretty slow, but was so proud that she had biked about five miles. It was a hilly five miles too!
 We returned the bikes to the rental place in Northeast Harbor (side note: the bike rental place was also a laundromat owned by a super-nice guy named Steve who drove me and the babies up to the carriage trailhead so we didn't have to pull the trailer up a big hill!), and entertained the babies at a playful storefront while everyone else finished the ride and loaded up on fish and chips. We ate so much amazing food: we got lobsters, clam chowder, and my new favorite - fried pickles.
 On our final full day, we hiked Mount Dorr and Mount Cadillac - the tallest mountain on the eastern seaboard - before hiking down to Bubble Pond. We really lucked out with the weather this week. It only rained one day and it wasn't that bad. The rest of the week was sunny and in the 50s. Awesome.
 This is Scott checking out the view of Eagle Lake.
We hiked down to Bubble Pond, where you can see the foliage. It was beautiful, but I think it may have gotten even better when we left.
All in all, our vacation was amazing. The only bummer was on the last night of the trip: Baby Ethan put his hands on the hot glass of a fireplace and burned his hands very badly. Ethan, Nancy and Jared, and a support crew spent a few hours at the hospital that night getting him bandaged up. It was a small hospital in Ellsworth, so they didn't have the right doctors needed for the job. They flew back to Philadelphia the next morning and checked into a burn center there; Ethan is now home from the hospital after more than a week there, but will have bandages and surgeries over the next few months. Poor little guy!

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Hampshire Marathon Recap

 A few months ago I decided to shoot for a fall marathon to see if I still had it in me. My last marathon was Boston 2014 and I felt really burned out after that, so I did shorter races for awhile and switched clubs and coaches. I picked a fall marathon - mostly based on scheduling and convenience. I wanted a marathon within driving distance on a free Saturday. That narrowed the options to one: the New Hampshire Marathon on October 3. I put it on my calendar and started training. One of the perks about being part of the BAA Running Club is that they have great coaches and a well-designed marathon training plan. I followed their plan, modifying it a bit here and there to add hills and work in a few races. I increased my mileage, ran several long runs over 20 miles, and ran hills as much as I could. After I signed up for the marathon, I read about the course and was genuinely scared. It starts with several miles straight uphill, then goes over rolling hills for awhile, then goes downhill for the last few miles. This sounded like a disaster since it's flat around where I live. There are a few hills, but they aren't huge and they are avoidable. I decided to not avoid them, and made it a point to start my runs on Beacon Hill most mornings. One of my long runs I started by doing repeats on Beacon Hill before running out to Newton and running the rolling hills and then subsequent downhill of the Boston Marathon course back into the city. All this is to say I trained very specifically for this course. But I still wasn't sure it was enough. When people asked me what my goal was for this race, I'd say, "Somewhere between 3:10-3:40, maybe more."

On Friday night, we drove up to New Hampshire and stayed with my BYU cross country teammate Ember. She lives close to the course and had even run it before, so she gave me some tips and spoiled my family with a pasta dinner and a slumber party. She made a huge breakfast on Saturday morning. I was nervous but managed to eat a little bit of a bagel, and thankfully the kids did their part in consuming breakfast. We packed up and headed to the starting line. It was partly cloudy and in the high 40s at the start. It warmed up into the 50s during the race, but was really great marathon weather.

The course was open to traffic, so Scott and the kids decided to drive around and cheer me on. Above that would be Phoebe and Oliver near the start. The New Hampshire Marathon is not a big race. Because it is known as a slow and hilly course, anyone that wants to run a fast time (for instance, if trying for a Boston-qualifying time) goes to another marathon: Twin Cities, Hartford, St. George, New York, Chicago are all within a few weeks of each other and are much flatter and faster. There were about 250 marathoners and another handful of 10K runners. We started together in Bristol and the 10K runners turned somewhere after the second mile. The first few miles were straight uphill so I went out very conservative - 7:30, 7:24, 7:20. After the 10K runners turned, I didn't see any women ahead of me.
 I saw Scott and the kids around mile 3. There was a fire station there and they managed to get a tour and sit in the trucks. And cheer me on, of course. I was still heading uphill - 7:28, 7:11, 7:22, 7:19, 7:22, 7:12. I ran with another runner for a mile or two, then he fell behind and I plodded on, keeping the next group of runners in sight.

It took me a few miles, but I finally caught up to these two guys. This is around mile 10, a.k.a. Devil's Hill. This was probably the worst climb of the race; it was steep and the road curved around so every time I thought I was at the top I turned the corner and there was more. 7:50 for this mile - my slowest split of the course. I grabbed a box of raisins at the top from Bruce and kept running, munching on a raisin every few minutes. A few more ups and downs - 7:15, 7:25, 7:41. Mile 13 was a long hill up a country road that led to a turnaround point. I ran with those two guys up until the turnaround. I checked my watch, which had me at about 1:40, and felt pretty good so decided to leave that group behind and venture off into no-man's-land.
 This picture is somewhere in mile 14 or 15. I was enjoying the downhill - 7:19, 6:32. I had Scott bring my phone and headphones because I was actually considering listening to music (which I never do on normal runs since it's almost always dark and creepy), but never got bored enough to demand it when I ran by. I still felt great! I clicked off a few more miles of rolling hills - 7:25, 7:20, 7:34, 7:28.
 This is somewhere around mile 20. The course ran by the western edge of Newfound Lake and was amazingly gorgeous here. The views of the lake and surrounding mountains were spectacular, the clouds and sun even looked amazing, and the foliage was just about at its peak. Add in Bruce's high-five and I was still feeling pretty good - 6:59, 7:12, 7:17, 7:31.
 I passed a few guys who clearly went out too fast. I felt bad for them; I've totally been there to that land of stabbing quad pain when downhills feel awful. 7:33, 7:28, 7:14.
And here was the final 2/10ths of a mile! I managed to pick up the pace and make it to the finish line without feeling completely dead! 3:12:59 for the win! I must admit that winning a marathon was on my lifetime bucket list, so I am happy to check this off. Not my PR, but I felt like it was really solid for this course.

I crossed the finish with blue lips and cold hands, so I went straight to the locker room and got a hot shower and dry clothes. I bundled up with a coat and hand-warmers, which worked quite well. There was a small awards ceremony where I collected my prize ($300 and a medal), then we piled into the car and headed onto our next adventure: Acadia!

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Catching up with the Raymonds

I am so behind in blogging so this is going to be brief photo-dump style. From my phone, even better. Above photo is of Phoebe scootering through the park, enjoying the last few moments of summer.
The kids didn't start school until after Labor Day, so we enjoyed the heat and free time.
Since we were gone for so long, we visited our favorite local firefighters with treats and artwork.
We saw a play at the park. The kids say so long mostly because we had an enormous amount of popcorn.
We went raspberry picking. 
We went rock climbing.
Phoebe is quite the little climber.

Bruce is also pretty good.
Oliver isn't into it yet. He put the crash pad to good use though.
I ran the Cape Ann 25k race on Labor Day. It was a long hilly course, so I thought it would be good preparation for my hilly fall marathon. I went out hard and ran a faster pace than I should have, then tanked toward the end. The last two miles were painful, but I finished in second place. That week was my highest mileage week for marathon training, so instead of resting afterward I ran a few days where I split my mileage and ran twice a day to recover. I finished out the week with a hilly 22-miler. Ahhhh, marathon training is awesome. After the race, we tried to go to the beach. The parking lots were full and they were crowded, so we went apple picking instead. 
Labor Day was also Scott's birthday, so we celebrated with cheesecake (adorned with the handpicked raspberries from earlier) and presents.
The kids started school on September 8. Bruce was excited to see his friends. Phoebe was excited to be back in kindergarten with the same teachers (last year she was a junior kindergartener). Oliver was not as excited for the start of school. He sure loves his siblings.
Our neighborhood has an awesome block party every year. Phoebe looks forward to riding the same horses. So here she is. She waited all year for this, so she says.
Our 'hood also had a touch-a-truck event. Oliver was in heaven.

A week after the race and 22-miler, I ran a very low-key BYU alumni 5k race. I ran the 4.5 miles there, ran some more, won the 5k, and ran home. The photo above was the view that morning over the Charles River. I love running.
After my run was over, I took the kids to a town family day complete with clowns, rides, and food. 
And kites too!
This is Phoebe playing after school with her best friend. They have a "monkey bar school" where Phoebe teaches her friends some monkey bar skills. They are proud of their calluses.
We went to a Red Sox game because we got tickets through the school. 
The Red Sox aren't having their best year, so we stayed just long enough to have the Fenway Park experience. And then went home and to bed!
We went to the Children's Museum. Phoebe says we have to get the most out of our membership and I agree.
Scott and I went to the Top of the Hub restaurant. It's on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower. Someone gave us a gift certificate so we put it to good use! We must have looked cozy at one point because the waiter asked us if it was a special occasion. "A free night," I said. And an awesome babysitter, my neighbor Rebecca.
The view was spectacular. 
We went for a hike on Mount Watatic. 
Summit! (It is not that big.)
I organized another blood drive. This photo is from when I first arrived at the church and was waiting for the Red Cross. My intention was to take a picture later when things were bustling to get a before and after shot, but alas I was so busy I forgot about it later. My kids love blood drives because they get to sit at the snack table and eat junk food for several hours until Scott gets off work. Mmmmm.
Phoebe was sick for a few days and was really unhappy about missing school. We tried to re-enact the awesomeness of kindergarten at home. Props to her teachers. That is a hard job.
On October 3, I ran the New Hampshire Marathon! We drove up the night before and stayed with Ember Smith Stokes, one of my former cross country teammates at BYU. She has three adorable daughters and a century-old
house; it was so good to see her. I miss my team! I'll write more about the marathon soon; it deserves its own post. 

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