Wednesday, October 29, 2008

speed workouts

Wednesday nights, here I come! Tonight I headed back to the track (indoor now) for a speed workout. I went to all of one of these before the Indy half. I'm now committed to going at least every other week, maybe every week for a while if possible. Speed workouts are hard, but great training. Plus, our coaches are two of my favorite people.

Today marked another milestone too--I recommitted to the Team to run the Disney Marathon. The new countdown is until January 11, 2009!! In large part I was able to recommit due to your support. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who responded to my call for support last week for donations. I met the minimum that I needed to continue training, and surpassed it even! Thank you so much. I'm kicking the fundraising campaign into high gear from here on out. I've started contacting local organizations, businesses, and planning events to raise funds. I will keep you posted on my progress. Again, thank you so much to everyone who has helped!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

a quick scrapbooking update/question

So I started working on my niece's baby album this past weekend. This is the first time I've worked with a 12x12 post-hinge album. Much to my delight and surprise, I discovered that the "pages" (hemmed in by built-in page protectors) are a true 12x12 size. I don't have to cut 1/2" off of my background sheets! From what I can tell, the biggest upside to the post-bound album is the true size page. Personally, I've always used page protectors, but I can see that it's a con in the sense that it makes it harder to use pockets on pages. Do any of you have much experience with post-bound albums? If so, what do you think of them? Do you prefer post or strap-hinge albums?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Indianapolis Half-Marathon 2008 & Elliot's baptism

This past weekend was a huge one for our little family. This might get long--I want to write it all down and never forget it. Any of it.

The Indianapolis Half-Marathon (13.1 miles)

On Friday afternoon Brendan, Meg, Elliot and I packed up and headed to Indy to pick up our race packets for the half-marathon. After picking up the packets and having a pasta dinner, we headed to the hospital to see my friend Jenn and pick up the key to her apartment. I was glad we got to see her that night for a few minutes. Back at her place that night Meg and I prepared for the race. Elliot seemed a little freaked out about sleeping in a new place, but he calmed down quickly and slept.

On Saturday morning we got up and headed to the race sight about an hour before the start. I spent a large portion of our spare time in line at the port-a-potties. The people in line behind me discussed all sorts of things, my favorite of which was a segment that began with a middle aged man saying, "You know, sometimes I look at women wearing sports bras and think to myself that looks like a good idea. More than once I've considered wearing one. I think they might help, you know?" No, really, I had no idea what that would help for him. Really.

We crossed the start line about 8:35 am. The weather was perfect. The course was nice, though odd in places. Early in the race we were graced by a man in a velour shirt covering a Meatloaf song. We passed him again around mile 11 as he presented the worst cover of a Johnny Cash song I've ever heard. He provided us with some good laughs. Other highlights: after spending some time looking for mile marker 4 we looked up and saw mile marker 5. Score! The portion of the race through the woods was also really nice. It included some serious hills (well, for girls accustomed to running in Illinois) and nice views. Also, we saw our cheering section a few times. Here is a picture of Brendan and Elliot waiting for us to pass them.

We kept a reasonably constant pace, Meg tells me. The race felt pretty good. I didn't feel like I was struggling like I did at our first race. Like any long run, we had periods of faster and slower running. Our training definitely paid off. We ate at a perfect point in the race. Just when I started to feel sluggish my beans kicked in. We also knew not to get carried away early in the race, but to pick a pace we could sustain. I started getting tired around mile 11, but by then we were so close that it wasn't hard to keep up our pace and keep going. At mile 12 we picked up the pace, then at about 100 meters out we started a sprint to the finish. We finished in 2:08:26--three and a half minutes faster than our last race. Woohooo!!! Here is a picture of us approaching the finish line (we're the two people just behind the blue strip). And, true confession, even though training was spotty (no Monday workouts and no speed workouts to speak of), started slow (remember the pain expressed in my posts in July), Elliot isn't even 5 months old, and we said our goal was just to finish, I've been kicking myself since mile 12 for not running this race faster. Secretly, I really want to break that 2 hour mark. And we will. Eventually.

My friend Kate also ran the race. Here's a picture of her on the course (in the middle with her arms up). Her husband, who is also a good friend of ours, was also there to support her. I wish we had taken pictures of all of us! My mother-in-law was also there. She drove all the way from Maryland just to see the race and hang out with us. It was a great day. Also below is a picture of me with my baby post-race. I really wanted a picture with Elliot post-race. I want to always be able to look back at this and show him that I did something I loved and he was part of it. I also want to always be able to look back and know that I did this when he was not quite 5 months old. That's something I'm proud of.

After the race we ate a little bit, then headed back to my friend Jenn's to hang out with her for a little while. Again, I wish I'd thought to take a picture! It was great to hang out with her and introduce her to Elliot a bit more. She's good people. We've promised to make more of a point of getting together, which I'm looking forward to.

After hanging out with Jenn we headed back to Champaign. We spent the evening at home with our parents, then later with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece, when they arrived after their drive from Detroit.

Elliot's baptism
Sunday was a HUGE day in Elliot's life. He was baptized! Below is a picture of us with our fabulous Pastor Donna and Elliot's sponsors/Godparents. I want to thank M & J for sponsoring Elliot. We feel incredibly blessed to have a community of faith and such friends supporting us in the Christian upbringing of our son. Not only are they good friends of ours, but are also a family that we respect for their values and deeds to say the least. We are so blessed! We were also thrilled to celebrate this day with our friends that could come to the worship service.

The weekend was also crammed with prime photo opps for the grandparents. Here is Grandpa Paulson with Elliot. As if this weekend weren't sweet enough after all of this, but I also got to meet my niece, Nadia Simone Paulson. She is a tiny little bunch of wonderful! I can't decide which of these pictures I like best, so I'm going to go overboard and include them all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just a few days until the race!

Wow, do I have a lot to update. Saturday a week and a half ago (10/4) we did our 12 mile run. It went really well. It was cool outside when we started, which was nice. Since my legs were cool I didn't notice the muscle tightness that typically comes with the first few miles of a long run. We kept a pretty quick (for us) pace and felt good at the end of it. After that run I felt even more prepared and excited for the race! The following Wednesday I went to track practice, which was fun. I haven't been going as often as I would like, so I really appreciated the chance to go. Also, it was nice to see the fall team before the Chicago Marathon. Meg and I ran about 35 minutes last Friday. We started out a little bit slow, but got up to our normal pace after a while.

And happened. Friday night I got up from feeding Elliot and had incredible pain along the right side of my back. It hurt to walk, to twist at all, to do much of anything. I know this sounds sad, but I think I wrenched it somehow during one of the 100 times a day I pick up his car seat. Saturday morning I was still having acute pain when I moved the wrong way. I still got up at 6am though and got dressed (in jeans and a t-shirt) to go to practice, at least to cheer for everyone else. When Meg pulled up to my house at 6:45 and saw my attire we decided that breakfast at the pancake house would be a better use of our time. I still had pain on Sunday, and Monday and running just don't mix. Today I finally got to the gym for some light cross-training. My lower back is still tight, but nothing hurts any more. It scares me that I missed that last long-ish run before the race, but I have to trust that we're prepared.

That said, I am SO EXCITED about this weekend. Brendan and Elliot are coming along. My mother-in-law is going to try to meet up with us at the race. I may get to see my friend Jenn. My friend Kate is also running the race and her husband is coming for moral support. It should be a really good time. Plus, this weekend is Elliot's baptism! So we'll have other family in town for that.

On the fundraising front, I'm up to $870 I think. I need $1000 by 10/29. I'm going to start writing letters to local businesses and associations and pestering my friends and family.

Other odds and ends: apparently I have fall allergies. I'm going to the doctor in the morning to hopefully get some allergy medicine. This has to stop. In happier news, I finally finished my wedding scrapbook! I love it and am so pleased to have it to look back through. Now, it's onwards to my niece's baby album, then a Christmas stocking for Elliot. Finally, I've had some nice things happen professionally in the last few weeks. After a difficult period in the PhD process, these signs of encouragement are welcome!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The perfect 10-miler

This past Saturday we hit the 10-mile mark in preparation for the Indy half. It was the best 10 mile run ever. The weather was perfect and we felt good. Leading up to that run I was a little bit nervous, but afterwards I'm just excited about the race. So much so that I finally registered! So, two and a half weeks to go. Wooohooo!!!

Someone asked how fundraising is going, so I thought I'd add a bit about that. I ended up selling another $100 worth of stuff from my yard sale. I have a bake sale next week and another one the week after. So I'm up to about $750 and still counting.

And in Elliot news, he was 14.0 lb. at his 4-month check-up. He's doing the things he's supposed to be doing and he's doing well. His baptism is the weekend of the race. We're really looking forward to it. Our families are planning to come out for it. We're also thrilled to have some great sponsors for Elliot. :)