Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Last year at this time I was working at a college helping the faculty get settled into a new school year, Chris and I were traveling to different cities to see baseball games or to visit friends, we going out every weekend to see movies or concerts, or to run races or to see things we hadn't seen before. It wasn't always the most exciting life to lead, but it kept us entertained and it felt like we were more interesting people for it. Now we spend our time closer to home, not wanting to disrupt Kate's routine or to haul her many necessary things around unless it's for something really worth it. We still get out occasionally, taking Kate to a football game or to the bowling alley or shopping so that people can tell us how adorable she is and can admire her almost as much as we do, but for the most part, we're much more homecentric than we used to be. And this is just fine. It's oddly compelling to see the progress she's making in small things, like picking up objects and putting them into her mouth, or sitting up for long stretches without falling over, or laughing her beautiful body shaking laugh when I make funny faces at her. Who knew that she would be so entertaining (besides every other mother out there on the planet)? I'm absolutely certain that no one else, except possibly Chris, finds her behavior as interesting as I do, so I have very little to talk about when we actually do make it out of the house to where the people are congregating these days. But that's okay, I was never much of a talker anyway.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
My world had undergone a huge change over the last three and a half months and it's all Kate's fault. It's a great change, but change nevertheless. I've had to work on putting together a new daily routine because I'm a creature of habit and I need some continuity in my life. So Kate and I have worked really hard on her napping and eating to get her to the point where I can predict what she's going to be doing for the day and work around it. I'm not getting much done, but I feel a lot better about myself when I can say that at least I knew that I wouldn't be getting anything done because I planned it that way. And she too seems to be benefiting from the organization I've added to our lives. She now gets to sleep during my runs on the treadmill instead of getting angry that she has to sit in her bouncy chair, crying and making me stop my workout to calm her down. She now knows that we will be having an afternoon nap on the couch and seems to have a favorite position, me teetering on the edge enough that I could fall off at any moment (but of course I have to be that close to the edge so that she can stretch out her arm if need be without waking up). All in all, we're doing well learning how to adjust to this new life that we both have. I should probably mention that she's so cute that this whole schedule was thought up and approved by her without my input at all.
I realized that I never posted about running the Boston Marathon, which is kind of a huge oversight because I had been posting about it for so long. So here goes. It was an incredible weekend! I think that a lot of what made it so special was that I got to share a lot of it with my family who came along to cheer me along during the run. Chris and Kate and my parents and two sisters and brother in-law and Chris' parents were all there. My family had never been to Boston before so we took them to do all the touristy things which was so much fun. We went to Lexington and Concord and did the Freedom Trail and took them to the North Side to get cannoli from Mike's Pastry Shop and saw a game at Fenway. They also came with Mary and me when we went to the Marathon Expo to pick up our packets and numbers. It was so fun to be a part of the group of people who had all worked for the same thing I had. We walked around with our Marathon gear and noticed all the other people in the city who were doing the same thing and I felt a sense of kinship with them. The actual marathon was an experience. Mary and I got up early to catch the bus out to the Athletes Village where the runners waited until it was their turn to line up and start running. When it was our turn, we joined a huge group of people and walked for about a mile from the village to the start line, and there were already a ton of spectators lined up cheering us on, before we had even started running. The actual course was a little more challenging than the one I had used to qualify, so we ran a bit slower and Mary slowed down around mile 15 and told me to leave her, so I ran the last 11 miles by myself, but it was still great to just run along that historic course, to see all the people who came out to cheer on the runners, even if they didn't have anyone in particular to cheer on. A lot of the athletes put their name on their shirts so that strangers can cheer for them. Mary and I didn't do that, but people still found a way to cheer for us, calling us the pink ladies or calling out the last few digits of my number. And I got to see my family twice along the course. I stopped to kiss my daughter and it energized me to see them. And there was no greater feeling than crossing the finish line. I was pretty exhausted after that run, more so than many of the other marathons I had run, so it felt really good to stop, to collect my medal and go to find my family. And even after the race, I had that exhilarating feeling that I had done something great. My family wanted me to wear my medal around, which many of the runners do. I don't like to draw attention to myself that way, but I did it at the airport because they were letting people who had finished the race skip to the front of the security line and not wait and also board the plane first. That was a nice little perk. I may never run that race again, so I'm so happy that I was able to do it at least once, to have that experience.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
My daughter. These are words that give me a secret thrill every time I say them. After our long wait, there’s almost a relief, a release at being able to use them, as though all the uncertainty, misery and hopelessness we felt as we struggled with our infertility are washed away a little every time we refer to Kate. And we use them all the time. My daughter came into our lives on March 17th. My daughter is one of the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen. My daughter isn’t sleeping at night but the happiness at having her makes it a pleasure to feel sleep deprived. My daughter is dozing on my lap right now and I have been watching her thinking how lucky I am. Will I ever get tired of using those words, when she’s a teenager and thinks we’re idiots, rebels and causes us anxiety? When she makes mistakes? When she leaves us to start her own journey? No.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
My quest to run the Boston marathon began in November, 2011. I ran my first marathon, the Mesquite Tri States Marathon in 3:50:02 and thought that maybe qualifying was within reach. It seems silly now, looking back that I thought that cutting 15 minutes off my time would be easy, but the Mesquite Marathon is a pretty difficult course. The first 13 miles are a lovely downhill stretch of road that isn’t too steep, but just the right decline in elevation that you don’t realize how fast you are going. The last 13 miles, however, are brutal. There are some pretty steep inclines for long stretches and then some flat areas, but very little downhill that allows one to catch one’s breath. For the first 13 miles of my first marathon, I was on pace to qualify for Boston, but the last 13 slowed me down enough that I was averaging more than a minute per mile slower than I needed to go. But I thought if I could find a nice downhill course that didn’t have any monster hills at the end, I might just be able to qualify. So the training began. I was deterred for about 6 months with some injuries, which I’ve already written about, but got back up on the horse and in April of 2013 ran my second marathon. The Salt Lake Marathon doesn’t qualify as a nice downhill course and I wanted to run with Chris the whole time, and at that point he was quite a bit slower than I, so we finished in a time of 4:00:36. It was a practice marathon and I actually felt pretty good at the end of it, even though it had rained on us for 13 miles and I was soaked and freezing when we finally hit the finish line. I planned to make the Utah Valley Marathon my first actual attempt at qualifying for Boston, but I also signed up for the Big Cottonwood Marathon as a backup just in case I didn’t make it. The Utah Valley runs down Provo canyon and ends in the heart of Provo, the course is nice and downhill until the last 5 miles when it flattens out and goes uphill just slightly. I thought it would be the race, and I felt good up until I got out of the canyon and hit the flat and slightly uphill portion and then I faded quite a bit. My time ended up being 3:35:16, just 17 seconds slower than I needed to be, less than one second per mile too slow. I finished and saw my time and wanted to cry. It’s hard to work that hard for something and then miss out on it by so little (my blog post at the time was a bit melodramatic, I only quoted a poem and let it go at that). I felt that I had done all I could do and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to run that fast again, let alone shave any amount of time off. But I was still signed up for the Big Cottonwood and I had a little more than 3 months to try to get faster. I trained, but not as hard as I should have because of other commitments, vacations, heat. I wasn’t feeling confident going into the Marathon in September. Besides that, I was going to have to cut off more than 16 seconds if I wanted to get into Boston, so many people want to run Boston in 2014 because of the bombings last year, not to mention that registration opened for the fastest runners before the Big Cottonwood marathon was even run. I was going to have to cut off quite a bit of time and if by some miracle I was able to beat the qualifying time by more than 5 minutes, I was going to have to leave the finish line and go home and register immediately. So the odds were not looking good for me. Somehow, the combination of rest between marathons, the course, which was a lovely steep downhill for the first 17 miles with flat stretches and a few uphills for the last nine, the temperature and the really nice people I met on the course who talked to me and encouraged me including Chris’ dad all combined to help me to run my fastest marathon ever, 3:28:33 which is 6 ½ minutes faster than I needed to run. I was ecstatic! I was able to go home and register right away, though I didn’t know if I was accepted for another week. So after 4 marathons, 3 years of training, some setbacks and disappointments, I am running the Boston Marathon in April. It promises to be quite an experience.