Thursday, May 31, 2012

Feeling overwhelmed

I had another great day with Jennifer and Angela! Last night, Renee came over and met them (over wine, of course!). I'm glad that she was able to, because I really wanted her and Jessica to meet the people I've been talking about (and will be talking about for months to come).

This morning, after I got the kids off to school, I went over to my mom's and we chatted over coffee for a little bit. They suggested getting some footage of Jessica and I running together, since we trained for the marathon together. So Jessica came over and we all walked down the road to film.

We just did a few shots of Jessica and I running, and I talked a little bit about our training. A very simple day today ;) Then we headed out to lunch. I really wanted to take Jennifer and Angela to La Pita--since everyone who tries it LOVES it--so that's where we went. I got my usual, which you've seen on the blog a thousand times...

The chicken kabob with hummus, garlic sauce, rice, salad, and (of course) warm pitas. When I start to feel full, I always tell myself, "Just one more bite." But it's just so good that I can't help eating more and more! I ate almost everything on my plate today.

After lunch, Jennifer and Angela came with me to pick up the kids from the bus stop. Angela brought the camera to film some "everyday stuff" that I do, but my life is seriously SOOO boring. I feel bad that they don't have much to film. We chatted at my house for a little while and then it was time for the kids' baseball practice, so Jennifer and Angela came along.

I was feeling really guilty for being such a boring hostess, but Noah and Eli's practices were at two different schools, so my dad couldn't take over for today--I had to take Eli to practice while he stayed with Noah. Jennifer and Angela stayed at the practice for about 20 minutes and then left to go work with the footage they'd gotten over the past two days.

At baseball practice, Eli was extremely excited for his turn to bat. On Tuesday, he'd gotten three hits to the outfield, and he was really proud of that. Today, he was hoping to repeat that. When it was his turn, he hit the first ball just past the pitcher. The second one was really short, just a few yards in front of him. I could tell he was discouraged, and I saw him get really determined for his third hit.

He smoked the ball HARD--right into the pitcher's eye. It seriously hit him square in the eye, poor kid. He was crying, and ran over to his dad. All the parents were worried about the kid who was hit, and Eli wasn't really sure if he could be excited about his hit or not. I had him apologize to the boy, but I told him that he had a great hit.

When Eli was practicing, I got this really horrible feeling of being overwhelmed--it was like a blanket just draped over my shoulders, weighing me down. I'm feeling so guilty--like I'm neglecting everyone in my life. I feel like a bad wife, a bad mother, and a bad friend. I've barely seen Jerry lately, my parents have had to help out with watching my kids way too much recently, and I feel like I'm losing touch with my friends because all of this stuff going on with ME (my blog; Fitness magazine; The Ragnar Relay project and documentary; the marathon).

Renee is applying for a new job, and I was looking forward to hearing about it, but I forgot to ask her about it last night over wine, and I feel bad about that. I know that all of this is just my depression going through a bad spell right now, but I really hate this feeling. And of course, the lump in my throat is back. Jerry is off work tomorrow and Saturday, so I'm going to try and spend some quality time with him, as well as do something fun with the kids.

The kids have been really cute lately, which makes me feel even worse. Eli keeps asking me if he can get his ears pierced, hahaha. I didn't tell him no, but I really hope he changes his mind! I think I will buy him magnetic ones. ;)  My mom told me another funny thing he said--he asked my mom if penises have bones. I cracked up at that one. Tomorrow is their last day of school. I can't believe how fast they are growing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The interview

Today was a very exciting day! I was looking forward to it for the past couple of weeks. Jen and Angela, the producers of the documentary From Fat to Finish Line (about our Ragnar Relay team) came to visit. Jennifer is from New Jersey and Angela from L.A.

First, I woke up at 5:15 in order to get a run in before I had to get the kids ready for school. I really didn't want to get out of bed, but once I did, I was getting more excited by the minute for Jennifer and Angela to arrive. As soon as I stepped outside and started running, I felt amazing! The weather was perfect at 5:30 in the morning, and it was just getting light outside. I decided almost immediately that I would do four miles instead of three.

I think I was going a little too fast, though, because my knee was really hurting. I really need to get it looked at by a doctor before I start marathon training. I don't want to go through this all over again. At 3.4 miles, I could have gone a block and arrived home, or I could have circled the neighborhood to reach 4 miles. So I decided to go ahead and keep running until I hit 4.


 After my run, I quickly showered, blew my hair dry, and put on some make-up. After getting the kids off to school, I went to my mom's house to wait for Jennifer and Angela to arrive. I was so excited when they go there! Normally I'm super shy around people I've never met, but I truly feel like I knew them already because of our Ragnar Facebook page. We quickly fell into conversation.

We had lunch (my mom made a big salad spread) before doing the interview. Then we went outside to do the filming of the interview. I wasn't nervous at all, which actually surprises me. I was very irritated at my shirt, however--one of the spaces between buttons wouldn't stay shut!

Angela setting up the camera

Ready for the interview
I didn't rehearse any of the questions, because I wanted my responses to be natural. I stumbled over words a few times, but over all, I think I did okay. I answered some unique questions, ones that I didn't feel like I've answered over and over again, which was refreshing.

It probably took an hour or so to do the interview, maybe an hour and a half. Then we went inside and set up to do a quick interview of both Jerry and I...
Jerry was super nervous, which surprised me. Usually I'M the nervous one, and he's calm as can be, but not today. He even got choked up when he talked about how proud he was of me, and I've never seen him do that before!

We had some more conversation and it was already dinner time. My mom made spaghetti, so we had that, and then talked some more--I LOVE listening to Jennifer and Angela's stories about when they used to work at talk shows (they met when they worked for Montel Williams together). It's just very interesting. I only have a few moments to blog now, because they are coming to my house for wine tonight :)



I just have to share some good news as well. Rik called me last night and asked if I would want some company during the marathon! He is going to pace me to my goal. He lives in Wisconsin, so he and his wife are going to come here for the weekend of the race and he's going to run with me. I'm super excited about it. It will actually be the first time we'll meet face-to-face. Fun!



Okay, have to go get the wine glasses and snacks for tonight...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A new license

My friend Del (the owner of the Curves I used to work at from 2003-2005) called me a few days ago and asked if I would like to come in and work on Tuesday at 8:00. She said that her granddaughter was graduating from preschool, and she wanted to go watch that, so I would only be there for a few hours. I was excited about it, and said sure.

So this morning, I got up early to shower and get dressed before  sending the kids off to school. I even dried my hair and put on make-up (!!) something I rarely do ;) Just as I finished putting on my make-up, Del called to say that she got the date wrong on her granddaughter's graduation, so she didn't need me after all. I was kind of disappointed, but it worked out for the best because I had a lot to get done today.

I went to the post office to mail a baseball bat for Jerry. Jerry bought a bat at a garage sale for $5; and he just sold it for $120!! I wouldn't haven't given that bat a second glance if I had seen it first. After the post office, I went to the Secretary of State to apply for an enhanced driver's license (and enhanced license will get me into Canada and Mexico, and it's cheaper than an actual passport). There are few things that are more boring than waiting for your number to be called at the DMV. You can't even really "people watch" because everybody just sits and stares straight ahead.

I was bummed that I had to get a new photo taken for the enhanced license. I really liked the photo on my license, and the woman who took my application even said, "Oh, this is a good picture, too bad you have to have a new one". Bahaha! But she said my new one turned out as good as the old one, so we will see. I did remember to change my weight, thank goodness! Last time I was getting my license renewed, I was super excited to get a new photo and change my weight from my obese weight to my current weight of 133. In my excitement, I forgot to change my weight--so according to the DMV, I was still 250ish pounds! Anyway, she took my new photo and I should get my enhanced license in 2-3 weeks.

I stopped at the fruit and veggie market on the way home to get the stuff to make this recipe for a Smashed Chick Pea & Avocado Salad Sandwich. It took a while to make (have you ever peeled the skins from a whole can of chick peas?), but it was worth it. I was surprised how much I liked it!
After lunch, I got to work getting stuff cleaned up for tomorrow. I haven't mentioned this until now, but Jen from From Fat to Finish Line is coming to visit!! I've already talked about the documentary that her film company is making about our Ragnar Relay team; so her and another producer, Angela, are coming in tomorrow morning. They will be here until Friday night to do interviews and some filming for the documentary.

I'm mostly just excited to get to meet Jen in person! They are going to be staying at my parents' house (more comfortable and spacious than mine with my boys) and only 2/3 of a mile from my house. I'm not really sure what the plans are yet as far as the interviews. But of course I will write about it tomorrow night.



A couple people have asked me about whether I wore my hydration belt during the marathon. Yes, I did. That was the first time I had ever carried stuff with me during a race, but after the last half-marathon I did, I knew I wanted to have water with me at all times. I felt like I was going to die of thirst during that half-marathon, so by wearing my hydration belt, I had access to water (or Powerade) throughout the whole course.

I'm really glad that I wore it! I was able to fit 5 Gu's, a pack of Shot Bloks, my cell phone, and a water bottle. I refilled my water bottle with Powerade at a couple of different stations, and I sipped that throughout the course. I had already worn the hydration belt during most of my long runs, so I knew it wouldn't bother me... and it didn't.





Monday, May 28, 2012

If you give Katie a glass of wine...

...she is going to pour another.

I had a pretty uneventful weekend, but Saturday night, I did something I swore I would never do! My kids were staying the night at my parents' house, and Jerry was at work. I was trying to catch up on blog reading. It all started so innocently, with a single glass of wine...
But then I had another glass. And a third. Before I knew it, I was doing a Google search...
Why on earth would I need a passport, you might ask? Good question. There is actually an international race in October--the Detroit Free Press Marathon/Half-Marathon/5K. I sent Jerry a text to see if his work would pay for my registration (like they've been paying for a lot of local races lately)...
Ignore the boob comment. Of course he would go
and ruin my screenshot with a comment like that!
And just like that, I did it. I swore I would never do another marathon, and just six days after my first, I was registered for my second. What the hell was I thinking?!

I was already registered to run the fifth leg of a relay at that same marathon, so I had to find someone to take my leg for me--and Stephanie said that she would like to do it. I think she is the perfect person to take my spot! I'm a little bummed about not doing the relay, because I'm sure it would be so much FUN--but this is the only fall marathon that would have worked out for me (plus, Jerry's work is paying for the registration!)

I just really want to have a GOOD marathon experience. The first one was okay, and certainly could have been worse; but now that I know what to expect, I think I can have a much better experience. The only downside is that I won't have a training partner this time, but I will live (hopefully).

So anyway, I will be running 26.2 in Detroit (and Canada!) on October 21st. I promise not to be AS annoying with the marathon talk this time around ;) Training starts on June 18th--right around the corner. I am doing a different schedule this time around. I found this training schedule in a Women's Running magazine a while ago. The training is only three days per week--but all three days are higher quality workouts. This is impossible to read while it's this small, but I think if you click on it, it will be bigger (not that it's interesting to anyone but me!)
E=Easy run
PU=Pick Up (30 seconds of fast running)
T=Tempo (a "comfortably fast" pace)
ER=Easy Recovery
MP=Marathon Pace

I am actually going to make it a point to do cross training this time around. I am going to do strength training as well (using my new kettlebell) starting tomorrow. For cross training, I will probably either ride my bike or walk at a high incline on the dreadmill.

My goal going into this marathon is to finish under 5 hours. Last time, I was just doing it to finish, regardless of time. But I don't like that my pace was all over the place during training and the race itself. I'd like to stick to the training schedule and follow the recommended pace for each run, based on my current half-marathon time. According to the McMillan calculator, I should be able to run a full marathon in 4:20:00 ish. I'm not even going to aim for that!! I will be more than happy with anything under 5:00:00.

The best part about this race is that the average temp is between 44 and 57 degrees--PERFECT for running! I will be training through the summer though, which isn't going to be pleasant. I will probably have to do quite a few treadmill runs, because my kids will be home from school. And I know I shouldn't plan to fail, but IF I have bad knee problems like last time, or if the heat is just too difficult to train in, I can always switch to the half-marathon as a back-up plan.

I have to go to the Secretary of State tomorrow to apply for an enhanced driver's license (it's cheaper than a passport). I know so many of you said that I would do another marathon, and I swore up and down that I wouldn't. So go ahead and say you told me so! ;)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #14

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. Were you very accurate with your calorie counting?  I know counting calories will not be exact, but did you always do a give or take? Now that you have lost weight, do you feel that you can relax more about weight loss?

A. I am such a perfectionist that when I started losing weight, I was very precise with my measurements. I like to measure food by weighing it out in grams rather than portioning with measuring cups or spoons. While portioning my oatmeal, I would make sure it was exactly 40 grams--if it said 41, I would take a little out. I felt like it HAD to be precise, or else I was "cheating".

Now, however, I realize how silly that was! Eating 41 grams of oatmeal instead of 40 is not what made me fat. So I definitely got more relaxed after losing the weight. I never used to eat at parties while losing weight because I didn't prepare the food, so I had no idea exactly how many calories were in it. But now I realize that it's okay to guesstimate. I try to be accurate in eyeballing a portion of food, and I look up the calories--I know that it's not 100% precise, but it makes counting calories a lot less complicated. I think as long as you can trust yourself to be honest, then it's okay to not be be super precise about the accuracy. But if you tend to give yourself a little more than you are accounting for and convince yourself that it's the right portion, then maybe you should weigh it out ;)



Q. I remember reading on your blog in the past that before you lost weight your day centered around food and eating. I have that same problem. Even though I am following Weight Watchers and having success I still think of or plan my food for much of the day. At what point, if ever, did food not become central in your thoughts or day? Do you still struggle with food thoughts filling much of your time?

Jessica's before and after photos
A. This is something that Jessica and I talk about often. Jessica lost 80 pounds a few years ago--from counting calories and exercise, just like me. We both agree that food takes up a huge majority of our thoughts for the day--even after losing the weight. Before losing the weight, I was always thinking about what I wanted to eat next or what sounded good to eat. As I was losing weight, I was always planning out my meals in my head. And now that I'm maintaining, I am constantly thinking about and worry about gaining the weight back.

I really wish that I could just push food out of my mind for an entire day, but it's impossible. Losing the weight didn't make me quit thinking about food all the time, unfortunately. In a perfect world, I would be able to eat "normally" (intuitively, but without thinking about it that way) and I wouldn't give a single thought to food when I wasn't hungry. But I honestly can't even imagine what that would be like! I realize that obsessive thoughts about food aren't "normal", but I haven't figured out how to fix that yet.

Something that really drives me crazy is how I associate food with certain places. If I have to go to the mall, for example, I immediately think of Mrs. Fields and I start to obsess over what I can buy there. Or if Jerry suggests going to the movies, I immediately think of popcorn. Sometimes the kids want to go to the dollar store, and that makes me think of candy. So frustrating!



See? Exercise.
Q. What sort of exercise (if any) does Jerry do?? Does he run at all?

A. I've actually been asked this question quite a few times lately. I will let Jerry answer it...
"Do I exercise? No. Here are my reasons excuses for not exercising:

1) I don't have time.
2) It's really hard.
3) Have you SEEN Katie's toenails?!

I do play softball during the summer, but that is the only "real" exercise I do. I've tried out running a few times, because Katie is kind of inspiring (not sure if you've heard that before), but I really don't like it. I lost weight just from eating what Katie gave me to eat."

And now a question for all of you...

Does your spouse/significant other exercise with you? As Jerry just answered, mine does not. I'm kind of glad he's not a runner, because we would probably fight over who gets to do which races and who stays with the kids ;)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meet John


I would like to introduce you to Runner #12 on our Ragnar Relay team, John. I "met" John via SparkPeople.com. John is not only a member of Spark, but also the success story manager! As a SparkPeople success story, I was e-mailing him photos and questions for possible inclusion in the media. I didn't realize he was SANDIEGOJOHN, who was one of my Spark friends until months later.

"Knowing" him via his Spark page and e-mails, I decided to ask him to join our Ragnar team. I'm so glad that I did! He is so much fun, and I've learned a lot about him since forming our team. I'm sure Rik was happy to have another male on the team, also ;)



Hello, Everyone!

My name is John Hulsey, and like all the other runners on Katie's Ragnar Relay Team, I am thrilled to be part of this crazy adventure and grateful to have this chance to share a little bit about me with the amazing (and amazingly supportive) readers of Runs For Cookies.

I've shared my weight gain and loss story on my own blog, so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk specifically about my earlier experience with Ragnar.

I started running in December 2010. In April 2011, I heard about a relay race and was curious about it. I found it on the web, signed up on the site to read more about it, and logged off. Sure, it sounded fun, but I wasn't a runner good enough for that. No way.

Right away, I got an email from someone who asked, "You are looking for a team? We need a runner. Interested?"

Oh, jeez, what had I done?! Turns out, I thought I was filling out a profile about myself but I had actually checked the box that said, "I'm a runner looking for a team." And with the Ragnar Southern California coming up in a week, teams were desperate to find replacements for runners that had dropped out.

I apologized to the woman and explained that it was a mistake, I wasn't nearly good enough to run with a team, etc. She replied, "... and yet, there you are on the Ragnar site."

Back and forth we went for several emails. Long story short, she convinced me to join the team. And just like that, I did. A week later, I took a train to Los Angeles, spent the night with a friend, and the next morning stood on the sidewalk at 5am and waited for a white van to come pick me up. Crazy, right?

I had never run a relay. I had never run a Ragnar. And I didn't know a single team member. But I had no idea how amazing the running community is. And I definitely didn't know the spirit of the Ragnar.

From the beginning, the team said they were concerned with three things. One, that everyone had fun. Two, that everyone stay safe. Three, that everyone ran their best. And in that order. And they meant it.

My first leg was just under three miles and I was so nervous. "Just run," I kept telling myself. And I did. It wasn't my best run (it was hot and it was all uphill... ugh!), but I did it. And when I met up with the team, they weren't concerned with my time. They weren't concerned at all. They were just happy I had completed the leg and we were off to the next exchange.

My second leg was late in the evening, and I ran six miles under a brilliant (and nearly full) moon. The evening was cool but not cold, the course was uphill and then back down, and I felt confident. I waited in the chute, took the bracelet from my teammate, and I headed out. My pace was good, my body felt strong, and the first few miles were as expected. And then, just past mile four, the unexpected happened.

I was suddenly and completely overwhelmed by it all. There's no other way to explain it. My last thought was, "I can't believe I'm doing this. It's the middle of the night, I'm running six miles, and I'm going to make my team proud of me."

And then, tears. And not just a couple of tears, like when you watch the coffee commercial where the brother comes home from college and surprises his family. No, this was if-you-don't-know-better-you'd-think-my-dog-died tears. I was still running, definitely, but the tears just kept rolling down my face.

That was my moment, you see. I realized that I had truly changed my life. I was no longer that man just standing by while the days ticked off a calendar. To quote the site SparkPeople, I had truly made my life an adventure. And I knew in that moment that I would never be afraid of a challenge again.

When I came into the exchange, I had the biggest grin on my face. I had beaten my expected time, but that was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I felt like I had become a completely different person over those six miles. I started a man who "wasn't a runner," but I ended a man who was ready to try anything.

And after the Ragnar, I did just that. I ran a Tough Mudder, Bay to Breakers, the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon, and in October 2011, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. And I haven't stopped since.
For me, the Ragnar Relay is more than just a run. It's where I finally opened my eyes and saw the person I have become. It's not about being the fastest runner. It's not about winning the race. It's where all the hard work pays off. It's where all the training and healthy eating and early morning workouts and saying no to an extra dessert and all the other things that go into losing weight and building a healthy body show themselves to the world.

If you have a chance to run a Ragnar, do it. You will never regret giving yourself that moment to truly prove who you are.



You can check out John's blog for more about his story.

Friday, May 25, 2012

7 Days of Sex

I don't know what possessed me this morning, but I barely opened my eyes, saw that it was 6:15, and thought, "Oh good! I have time to get my run done BEFORE the kids to go school!" It's not like I had anything else going on today that I had to get it done early. And technically, I think I'm still allowed to call it a rest day, considering I ran a marathon on Sunday ;)

I hopped out of bed and threw on some running clothes. Jerry got home from work at 6:30, so I headed out right away. My plan was to run 3 miles easy. As soon as I stepped out the door, I was struck with the humidity. The air felt very thick. I almost turned around and went back inside, but I figured that I'd already dressed for it, and I might as well just do it.

I felt like I was running at my "normal" easy pace (prior to training for the marathon, my "easy pace" was about a 9:10/mi). After a mile, I looked at my Garmin and it said I was doing a 10:13/mi pace. That kind of bummed me out. I wasn't trying to go fast, but I wanted to see where my normal comfortable pace is now. Second mile was 10:23. I picked up my pace with a quarter mile to go, because I just wanted to be home. Third mile was 9:36. I was still .13 miles from home, so I kept running fast--my pace at that last clip was 7:41!

It made me curious what my one mile time would be. I've never all-out sprinted for a mile to see what my time is. I'm guessing maybe 7:45? That just seems crazy fast though. Maybe more like 8:00. I think I will run it on June 1st and then again on August 31st, and see if I improve. If my knee can handle it, I'd like to do speed work this summer. I'm hoping to hit my sub-26:00 5K goal this fall, so I can just push it out of my mind and never visit the 5K distance again.

I was soaked in sweat after that short little run--that's how humid it was. It was literally dripping off of my face. But it was nice to be done so early! I took a shower and got the kids ready for school, then ate breakfast in peace and quiet.

I took my tight, sheer yellow shirt to the post office to send back to Under Armour. I just didn't feel comfortable in it with the fabric being so sheer. I also had to mail in a jury duty response form. I'm nervous that they're going to pick me! I'd be a terrible juror. I got the form in the mail a few days ago, and it said I MUST fill it out and return it within 10 days--but it didn't even include a prepaid envelope! I never have stamps, because I don't mail anything anymore.

I have another toenail that isn't looking too good. The nail on the second toe on my left foot looks like it's raised up in a weird way. A lot of people have mentioned blisters underneath nails, and I'm wondering if that's what this is.



Jerry and I have been watching this show called "7 Days of Sex" on Lifetime. It features couples that are in a bit of a relationship rut, and they have to have sex for 7 days in a row (maybe that's where my brilliant 30-day idea came from??). The couples end up doing little date nights and stepping out of their comfort zones--and the sex part is really just a tiny percentage of the whole plan. It's been a pretty interesting show, and it made Jerry and I want to start doing "real" date nights.

Lately, whenever we have time to spend alone together, we end up watching our shows on TV or watching a movie. I think it would be fun to feel like we are dating again! So we're going to start working on that--taking turns planning things for us to do together that don't involve TV. We used to have such a fun relationship (and we still do, in some ways); we actually got comments from people all the time about how great our relationship is. But it seems we've fallen into a rut--so we should have fun getting out of it ;)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who needs toenails?!

I know I said I was going to take a whole week off of running, but I woke up feeling back to normal today. The kids had spent the night at my parents' house last night, so I got the urge to go for an early morning run. I decided that I would just do 2 miles--nice, slow, and easy.

As soon as I stepped outside, I felt the humidity--even at 7:30 in the morning! I was bummed. I miss the cool, crisp air that I was spoiled with all winter. I started running, and was surprised at how good I felt! My legs were a little stiff and sore, and my knee is still an issue, but I took it easy.

When I got a half-mile into the run, I heard, "Mama!" and I saw my boys at the bus stop with my dad. So I ran over to them and stopped for a few minutes to talk. Then I kept going and finished out the run. If I feel good tomorrow, I may go for 3 miles.
When I got home, I made my latest low-calorie breakfast... quick-cooking oats cooked in water with a teaspoon of brown sugar. Normally, I cook use old-fashioned oats and cook them in milk, but when I was at the hotel in Cleveland, I had to make do with the quick oats and water. I actually really liked it that way, so I've been making that the past few days. I only used 28 grams of oats (100 calories), plus a teaspoon of brown sugar (15 calories).
That, plus a glass of chocolate milk made for a very tasty breakfast!



So last night, I noticed something that I'd been hoping to avoid... one of my toenails is turning purple/black :(  I've been running for over two years now, and I've never had to deal with a toenail issue. But it's almost a right of passage to lose for runners to lose a toenail, so I guess it's overdue. I'm going to show you a picture, even though it's gross (I'll make it a small pic at least):
I just cringe at the thought of losing a toenail. Gross! But it's been hurting pretty badly ever since the marathon, and I can't put any pressure on it. I hope it's just bruised.

I took the boys to Noah's soccer practice after dinner, and as I was getting stuff out of the car, Eli stepped on my foot--RIGHT ON my big purple toenail. I actually saw stars for a second. 



Lately, I feel like I'm constantly on the computer--blogging, responding to e-mails, comments on Facebook, Twitter, working on my memoir... so much stuff! Reading blogs has been put on the back burner, and I figured this week would be a good time to catch up since I'm recovering from the race. I about had a heart attack when I saw my Google Reader this morning...
It originally had 608 unread items!! I felt extremely overwhelmed. I went through some of it today, but it's going to take me forever to catch up. I realized that I have no idea what is going on with any bloggers lately, because I haven't been reading. So if I missed something big, please let me know!



Make sure you enter the $500 Under Armour gift card giveaway from yesterday's post, if you haven't already! This is the second sweepstakes, so if you didn't enter yesterday, then you aren't entered for this time around. It doesn't hurt to try...



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Time for the blinders



I remember when I was losing weight, and someone asked me how I stay focused. I tried describing the feeling of determination, and I finally just said, "It's like putting the blinders on--you just pick a goal and put all of your focus on it!"

Easy to spot in bright yellow! ;)
Well, now that the marathon is over, it's time for my blinders once again. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, I am ready to commit to losing the last five pounds--and for some reason, these five are killer!

I haven't wanted to cut back too drastically on my calorie intake because of the marathon training, so my progress isn't exactly where I would have liked it to be as far as my weight. It's easy to justify eating too much junk after running 20 miles!

I have been working really hard on changing my habits, however--like I mentioned, the afternoon is prime binge-time for me, so I've been going for a walk every day after lunch to refocus and get away from the food ;) And I've kept my nightly snack to 300 calories, which has been difficult, but necessary...
This is my current-favorite 300-calorie snack: 28 g. of Skinny Pop Popcorn; 15 g. of Cinnabon cereal; 14 g. of peanut butter Cap'n Crunch; and 14 g. of Cocoa Puffs. It makes a huge bowl, probably 4-5 cups. I snack on it slowly and it lasts me a long time.

So with the walks in the afternoons, I am burning probably about 150 extra calories a day--not much, but it's definitely saving me calories by not binge eating at that time. I am also limiting my snacks at night to 300 calories. And now I am ready to kick it into high gear by consciously lowering my calorie intake on a daily basis. I do great with my meals, but I've been snacking way too much. So I will limit my snacks, and eat more slowly to feel satisfied faster.

As far as exercise, I got some new Under Armour clothes, which is making me excited to get back out and run! (By the way, I got a few compliments on my UA outfit that I finally decided on for the marathon--the capris were a hit!) I'm taking the next couple of days week off to rest my post-marathon legs, but I am actually looking forward to running again. I bought something completely out of my comfort zone--a pair of UA shorts! But they are longer shorts (7 inches), so it's working out ;)
No, that's not a smudge on the photo...
those are my pasty white legs.
They hit just above my knees, and they are compression fit, so they actually work out well for me! I really like the compression fit of the UA clothes because they hold all my loose skin in place rather than letting it flop all over (nice visual, I know). The compression fit also makes my legs look skinner, so that's always a bonus! ;) Trust me, that is the ONLY reason I like this photo of me:
Why yes, my post-op jaw is
twice the normal size--but my
legs sure do look skinny in
those compression tights! lol

Have any of you signed up for the UA What's Beautiful contest yet? The prizes alone are definitely worth it, but you could also use the site for the accountability of reaching your goal, like I am. There are tons of different goals you could come up with: Run a mile without stopping? Improve your 5K time? Lose 10 pounds? Run a half-marathon? All you have to do is pick a fitness related goal and put your blinders on! ;)

Under Armour is once again giving away a $500 gift card! You can enter into the drawing by leaving a comment in the form below, answering the question, "How do you empower your workout?" See the rules (and other ways to enter) below.

SWEEPSTAKES/GIVEAWAY RULES
Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in the form below telling me how you empower your workout.
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion, including exactly the following unique terms in your tweet message: “#whatsbeautiful” “#sweepstakes”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post. To comply with FTC Guidelines (see http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm), entrants’ blog posts must disclose that they are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
Entries from all participating blogs will be pooled for winner selection; only two entries per household.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 5/23-6/11.
Be sure to visit Under Armour's page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lazy bones and running goals

Race photos went up today... this is the only
one that I really like. I don't remember smiling! ;)
If it's even possible, I woke up achier than I was yesterday. I expected to be sore after the marathon, but wow--my body is not happy with me! I've done nothing but rest for two full days now, so I'm committing to getting back to walking in the afternoons after lunch. I think maybe moving around tomorrow will help loosen up my muscles so I don't gasp in pain every time I try to stand up.

Oh, If you got a blog post notification this morning, I apologize. It was supposed to go live tomorrow rather than today, so it will be back up in the morning. It's the second "What's Beautiful" post (out of three).

But anyway, I haven't done ANYTHING today. Jerry was off work, so he got the kids ready for school (which was a good thing, because I could barely move). I started to watch The Weight of the Nation, but I wasn't very interested in it. Usually I love watching shows like that. Maybe I'll give it another try when Jerry isn't home distracting me.

Last night, Jerry and I watched the series finale of House. I was VERY disappointed in it. I thought the hallucinations were dumb. And the ending was completely predictable. I loved House, and watched it from the beginning, but I was not impressed with the finale. I'm kind of bummed because two of my shows ended (permanently) recently... House and Desperate Housewives.

I'm starting to wonder what I'm going to do now. I know that my next "big goal" is to work at getting to my actual goal weight; but now that the marathon is done, I feel like I have so much free time! What did I used to do before I started training?

Of course I will go back to running after giving my body a week to recover, but I'm not going to be running 35+ miles per week anymore. My next race is in a month--I'm running the Solstice Run 10-Mile on June 23rd. I've never done a 10-Mile run before, so I'm guaranteed a PR ;) I'm not going to be running it hard, though--at the end of June, I imagine it's going to be extremely hot. I've already proven I'm a baby when it comes to running in the heat! But I like having a race to train for, so that it makes me feel like I have something to accomplish.

I'm not even going to follow a training schedule for the Solstice, because by the time I start running again, I'll only have three weeks until the race. I'll just do a long run of 10-12 miles once a week and then do 2-3 shorter runs. I'd actually like to continue that through the summer, because then I will stay in "half-shape"... meaning I could just register for a half-marathon on a whim and be in shape to run it.

I'm running Women Rock MN on September 1st. I imagine that will be a hot one too, but I'm really looking forward to it! Renee and I are going to fly out to my brother's house (he lives in St. Paul, which is where the race is) and stay there for a few days. We are going to make a fun little trip out of it. I think (I hope!) that my brother's ex-wife is going to do the race with us too. It's been a while since I've seen her. That's another race that I'll probably just run for fun.

I only have two big running goals left now that I've completed a marathon. The first is to run a sub-26:00 5K; and the second is to run a sub-2:00:00 half-marathon. Once I complete those, I will solely run for fun (if there is a such thing)! I was thinking I'd try for my half-marathon goal in Indy next year, but it doesn't look like anyone is interested in going (again). So instead, I was thinking of planning a trip to John's house in San Diego for a half-marathon (John is from my Ragnar team). If I use a buddy pass, and stay with John, the trip wouldn't be too expensive. And I know I would have a blast. I would just have to get over the guilt of leaving Jerry and the boys at home. ;)

Well, for not having anything to write about, this turned into a long post! I've got to get the kids ready for bed now. Hopefully tomorrow I will have something a little more interesting to write about!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A new toy

I had no idea that my legs could be so sore! WOW. I've been taking Motrin every 6-8 hours, but it's seriously hard to walk. I'm definitely taking a whole week off of running, possibly two weeks. It will be good to let my knee heal up, too.

When I woke up this morning, I was definitely in a better mood than I was yesterday regarding the marathon. I think some people misunderstood me when I said I wasn't feeling excited or proud... I didn't mean that I was mad at myself, or down about my time/pace, or anything like that. I just meant that I didn't really FEEL anything except for relief that it was over. I had worked myself up so much about it, and to have it finally be over was a nice feeling.

And besides, I don't think that my finish time was BAD at all! The only reason I felt slightly disappointed about it was because our training pace was faster than our marathon pace. For most people, it's the opposite. You train at a slower pace than you will run the race. But we trained in mostly ideal weather conditions, so we weren't really prepared for the heat.

Today, I am actually feeling excited about my accomplishment. I put my sticker on my car last night, and seeing it this morning made me smile. I think my biggest disappointment yesterday was crossing the finish line and NOT feeling the excitement and pride that so many people told me I would feel in that moment. As I crossed the finish line, the only thing I could think of was, "I can stop running now... YAY!" I guess it just took a while for that pride to kick in (and reading your comments certainly helped!!)

So as of today, yes--I am proud of myself for running a marathon yesterday! A few years ago, I never would have imagined, in a million years, that I would ever run a marathon. And yesterday, I did just that. I had a lot of obstacles--the heat, the humidity, my knee pain, the mental barriers--but I pushed through those. I still have no idea how I managed to push through, but I did! ;)

I still don't have any desire to do another full, however... but perhaps someday, after I forget the bad stuff about the first one, I will get that desire. Certainly not anytime soon!



I took a big leap today and bought an iPhone. I've never been big into cell phones, and I've always chosen simplicity over the bells and whistles. But my 3-year old phone fell and broke last week, and it was still working, but it kept coming apart. So I decided to upgrade to a smart phone.

Since my contract was up with Verizon, I could get the iPhone 4S for $200. Yes, that is still a lot of money--but I have had a cell phone for 12 years, and I have NEVER paid for one--I just took whatever Verizon was offering for free when my contract was up to renew.

Jerry has a Droid, but I chose to get an iPhone--not sure why, it just sounded good to me. I'm already in LOVE with it. The whole Siri thing is awesome--I've been talking to her all morning ;) I love that she can even type out my text messages for me, because getting used to a touch screen for typing is going to be hard.

I love that I don't have to type out my food log--I can just scan the bar code on my food and it adds it in there! That is a huge time saver. And it kind of makes tracking my food more fun.Which leads me to my next goal--reaching my goal weight.

Remember how I said I wanted to focus on reaching goal this summer? All through marathon training, I was slacking off with my diet a lot--so I have to reign it in and get focused again. And that means counting calories again until I feel more in control.

I didn't weigh myself when I got home from Cleveland, because I really don't want to know what running a marathon did to my weight--whether I'm retaining water or maybe dehydrated, I just don't want to know. I'll get on the scale Friday to see where I stand!



I found out today which issue of Fitness I will make an appearance in. You can find me in the June 26th issue of Fitness magazine, along with 11 other bloggers who were named Fitterati's. I will also be posting occasionally on Fitness.com, so I will always link to that when I do.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cleveland Marathon race report

If you're in a hurry, I will start by saying I finished. It's done. I never, ever have to do it again! :)

I woke up to the alarm clock today at 4:00 AM. I had JUST fallen asleep at around 3:00, so I barely slept a wink last night. I didn't want to wake the kids, so I went into the bathroom and made coffee pot oatmeal (just heated water from the coffee pot, poured over quick cooking oats and added a packet of sugar. Then I topped it with a big glob of peanut butter.
And I ate that with a fork. I had to get creative with breakfast at the hotel, because they didn't have a continental breakfast. I also had a cup of tea.

Got dressed in my black and yellow UA outfit, and read e-mails and stuff until it was time to go. And when I say go, I mean, GO--to the bathroom. That's VERY important to do before a race ;) So after I had to go, then it was time to go--downstairs and outside, where Jessica, Renee, and Andrea were going to pick me up. We actually didn't have to drive far before we had to park--maybe a half-mile. Then we walked to the Brown's stadium, where the starting line was.

After a few trips to the bathroom, and hanging around, we finally went to our corrals. It took a while to walk to the end, where we were going to start. Jessica wanted to start with the 4:40 pacer, who we met at the expo. I was nervous about going that fast, but there was no pressure to STAY with him, so we just started there.
I was SO NERVOUS. Like, about-to-vomit kind of nervous. When the race started, it took a few minutes to get to the starting line, and Jessica was getting farther ahead of me. As soon as we started running, I just felt "off". My legs were heavy, and I just had a bad feeling about the race. The first half-mile or so is all up hill. Jessica was getting farther ahead, and I knew I couldn't keep her pace. So I just kept reminding myself that I was running my own race, and if I had to do it alone, so be it. Here is the course map:

I was feeling discouraged already, and it was less than a mile into the marathon. When I got to the first water station, I walked through it, as planned, and then started running again, hoping to catch up with Jessica. I did see her for a few moments, but I could tell she was having a much better running day than I was, so I just let her go ahead. I fell back to a comfortable pace for me, and started thinking about what to do.

I was not happy--I couldn't remember why I was doing this race, why I even wanted to run a marathon, or any of that. My knee was already hurting pretty badly. So, I made the decision sometime around mile two or three that I was going to run the half-marathon instead. The half and full ran together until mile 12ish, so I figured I would just follow the signs for the half at that point. I would have quit right then if Jerry and the kids weren't waiting for me at mile 12.

Right as I made that decision, I felt much better. I even planned out what I was going to write on my blog about it, and I started thinking about how disappointed everyone would be; but I kept telling myself that I had to do what I wanted, not anyone else. I noticed a woman in front of me wearing a shirt that said on the back, "7 kids -80 pounds + 26.2 miles = priceless first marathon!" I thought that was really cute. She was wearing headphones, and normally I don't try to talk to people with headphones, but something made me say, "I love your shirt!" and then tell her that I was a fellow weight-loser. That was the beginning of about a 12-mile conversation.
Not sure what mile this was taken... Andrea took the picture
I learned her name was Tina, and we talked quite a bit--it was helping the time pass quickly, and for that I was really grateful! I was still planning on dropping out after 13.1 miles, but talking with her made the race bearable. It was EXTREMELY hot--I know a lot of you don't think 85 is hot, but they issued a "red flag". Which, according to the International Marathon Medical Directors Association, "This means that all runners should be aware that heat injury is possible. Those susceptible to heat are advised not to compete, and all runners are urged to slow their pace and hydrate adequately."

I was walking through all the water stations, and keeping a pretty slow pace of about 11:20 per mile. At each station, I would drink Powerade, and then pour a cup of water on my head and down my shirt. Pouring the water on me helped with the heat a lot. When I got to the 12-mile mark, I saw Jerry and the boys. I was so glad to see them! The boys were holding their signs, and I gave them hugs (and sobbed, of course).

I started running again, and was trying to decided quickly whether to leave the course for the half-marathon or go on for the full. I had called Rik (my Ragnar team captain) last night, and he was so confident in me and made me feel like I could actually do this--reminding me that it's all mental, and I really needed to think positively--so I thought about what he would say to me. He (of course) would tell me not to quit! And something about that, plus talking to Tina (she's next to me in that photo above), helped me to make the decision to stay on the course. 

Tina and I both mentioned at the 13.1 mile mark that we have a hard time after that point--that our energy and ability starts to deteriorate. We got kind of quiet and we were running on this DREADFUL part of the course. It was a really long strip of boring, full-sun road. At that point, it was hard for me to keep going. I started taking an occasional walk break (other than the water stations) to make my knee feel better. Somewhere after 15 miles, I lost Tina behind me somewhere, so I had to continue alone. 

I just kept running and taking short walk breaks. I saw a quite a few people who had collapsed and were receiving medical care. That made me nervous! I made sure to eat my Gu on time, and drink Powerade at every station. I kept my pace slow, and walked if I felt my heart or breathing get too high. At around mile 19, I saw a hot pink shirt waaaay in the distance in front of me--and I squinted to make out the purple shorts, and dark braided hair. It was Jessica! 

I started running as fast as I comfortably could at that point, because I really wanted to catch up with her. I was gaining on her, but it was taking a while, and I didn't know how long I could keep it up. She was out of shouting-reach. I saw a porta-potty up ahead of her, and hoped that she had to go (the odds were DEFINITELY in my favor, considering how much water she drank yesterday and this morning, haha). She did! She stopped at the porta-potty, so I slowed to a walk to catch my breath, and reached the porta-potty while she was in there. I stopped outside of it, and a man outside said, "Trust me, you don't want to go in there". I said, "I just saw my friend go in there--I'm going to wait for her!"

Then I heard Jessica say from inside, "KATIE?! Is that you?" When she came out, we hugged and we both started crying (yes, crying). We had just reached 20 miles in, and we met back up. We were both relieved to be able to finish together, because we both needed the support at that point. We agreed to stick together the rest of the way. Both of us were feeling the pain, so we ran and walked as we felt like it. We walked through the water stations, and I kept my routine of the Powerade and dumping of water on my head.

I think all the excess Powerade got to my stomach, because it started feeling very rumbly around mile 21. Like, I-need-a-bathroom-right-NOW kind of rumbly. Luckily, we didn't have to go far. That was the first time I'd EVER had to stop to go to the bathroom in the middle of a run. But my stomach felt better, so it was worth it. We could see the skyline of the city ahead, and I wanted to be there already so badly (that's where the finish line was).

We went through a crappy part of town, and I saw these guys fighting in a yard. There were three of them, and two of them were throwing punches at each other. One of the guys had a baby in a stroller next to him, and the other guy started picking up bricks from the ground, and throwing them at the guy with the baby. I couldn't believe it! The guy went after him, and I just turned my head and kept running, because I wanted to get the hell out of there.

About three miles from the finish, Renee and Andrea met up with us. I felt bad, because we were walking more than running at that point. My knee was hurting so bad it brought tears to my eyes with each step. I'm sure I was miserable company, but they stuck with us and actually ran/walked with us for the last few miles. I have to say, they were AMAZING to have there--Jessica and I had our own personal cheerleaders! I don't know of very many people who would do something like that for a friend, and I was so grateful to both of them.
Andrea with the sign she made (and she made a t-shirt with our names too)
 We did a lot of walking those last few miles, mainly on my part. My knee was hurting so badly! But then the 5:30 pacer passed us, so we decided to run in the last mile or so. I was in pain, but I kept going--and the last half mile was a slight downhill (not steep enough to cause more pain, but enough to not feel like so much work). The finish line felt like it took FOREVER to get to--probably because it was actually at mile 26.74 for me, rather than 26.2, according to my Garmin. (Jerry later told me that a lot of runners were complaining about how the course was so long, because their GPS watches were saying 26.7 ish)


When we finally saw the finish line, I was searching the crowd for Jerry and the boys, but didn't see them. Jessica and I grabbed hands and crossed the finish line. Then I saw Jerry in front of me, and I kind of collapsed into him, crying and saying, "My knee hurts! It was awful!"


I grabbed some pretzels, some dried fruit, water, and a banana, and started wolfing down the food. Then I stood in front of a couple of fans they had going with water spraying out. I started telling Jerry about Tina, when I said, "I hope that she finished... I want to go watch the finish line for her." And as soon as I turned around, she was there! She was just ahead of me, looking totally worn out, with her husband. I went up and hugged her and thanked her--if it wasn't for her, I'm sure I would have quit at 13.1. 


Then we took some pictures...
Jessica and me

With Renee, who is the friend who got us both into running... she's amazing!

With my boys

The bling... the guitar in the middle spins around. Pretty fun!
Noah and his sign

Eli and his sign (he worked on this for HOURS at the hotel last night)
I went and sat in the grass and waited for Jerry to go get the Jeep. My legs hurt SO BADLY. I was limping and barely able to move. Mainly because of my knee, but both legs are stiff. On the way home, we stopped (because BOTH boys had to go poop this time, of course); and because I wanted a Cinnabon ;)  Jerry ordered it, because I couldn't get out of the car, so he told the woman, "With extra frosting, because my wife loves frosting!" 


Here are my splits:
Mile 22 included my bathroom break ;) 24-26 was a lot of walking
And my Garmin summary:
The calories aren't right, because I forgot my heart rate monitor! :(
My official results:
The "place" on here isn't really correct--this was including ALL the
races (5K, 10K, half, and full). There were only 2628 finishers of the
full marathon--1,038 female finishers; 194 finishers in my division.
Not very impressive stats, I realize that. I was hoping I'd feel super accomplished when I was done, but for some reason, I don't feel proud, or happy, or excited about my results (yet). I just feel indifferent. And relieved that it's done. I never really had a time goal (although I would have liked to finish under 5 hours). I'm disappointed that I walked a lot at the end (I had only planned to walk the water stations), but I feel like I did the best I could in the circumstances. I am actually glad everything worked out the way it did--I am really happy to have met and run with Tina, and Jessica and I got to finish together. I'm "technically" a marathoner, so I can cross that off the bucket list.


But for everyone that keeps asking if I'll do another? No! Hahaha, I have a whole new appreciation for half-marathons. They are MUCH more fun, they aren't as hard on your body, and they don't take as much time to train for. I also have a whole new appreciation for marathoners--I now realize how hard a marathon is!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cleveland, Day 2

Oh, my nerves!

Less than 12 hours to the start of the marathon as I type this. I wish I could say that I was super excited, but the truth is, I'm terrified. I keep thinking, "What if I don't finish?" because everybody knows about this. I can't hide it if I don't finish. Everyone will know I failed.

Today was a really rough day. I was so tempted to just pack up and go home. My kids were driving me CRAZY with the fighting, and the whining, and the "I'm tired!" and "I'm hungry!" and "I don't want to go there!" and all that.

We took the kids to the Brown's stadium for the kids fun run at 11. My kids have never done a race before, and they were really nervous about it. I had to bribe them in order to get them to agree to the race. It was organized into age groups, which was nice--Eli ran with the 4-6 years olds (100 yards) and Noah ran with the 7-8 year olds (1/4 mile, one lap around the football field).
The 4-6 year olds at the starting line
 There was a LOT of waiting around, and people speaking, which I thought was ridiculous--kids don't have an attentions span for that! But finally, it was time to start. Eli's went first--there were tons of kids, and it was hard to see him. But once the gun sounded the clown counted down, it was easier to spot him. I was so proud of him!! He ran across the field like a champ, and Jerry was waiting at the other end for him.

Then it was Noah's turn. Again, a LOT of kids--but his age group was divided into boys and girls, so it was a little easier to spot him. I got choked up as I watched--he was one of the last kids (probably about 4-5 kids behind him), but he never broke stride or anything. He just kept going, and then he sprinted at the very end and passed a bunch of kids. I was surprised he had any energy left--usually kids will sprint from the start on their first race, and then have to walk it in. I kept reminding Noah to start slow ;)
With their medals after the race
 I can never deny that they are my children...
We run for COOKIES!!
Shortly after that, Eli started complaining that his rib was hurting, and Noah was complaining that his heel was hurting. They were both hungry, tired, and driving me crazy. That's when I started to lose it. I was pissed that they couldn't give me this ONE WEEKEND to be happy for me and let me be stress-free. I explained that running a marathon is a big deal to me, like a birthday is to them--and that they should treat me special, like I do on their birthdays. Noah was really good, but Eli was pouting and mad at me all afternoon.

We went to the expo before dinner.
Jessica and me
I picked up my packet, and then shopped around. We got a ton of free stuff! Jerry and each of the kids won a Starkist tuna t-shirt, and Starkist was handing out tons of packs of tuna. We ended up with all this:
Good thing I'm a fan of tuna. We also got a t-shirt for pledging to ride our bikes more often. I bought a few things, too. I got some Gu for tomorrow (I found the Chocolate Mint flavor I've been looking everywhere for), and two new stickers for my car. The one I have on there now says, "13.1 miles 'cause I'm only HALF-crazy". But that won't be relevant after tomorrow, so I am going to replace it with a regular old 13.1 sticker. And then I got a 26.2 one that says, "26.2 miles. Been there. Run that."
I really like the race shirts we got. The color is awesome!! And there is a cool guitar on the back...


 When I saw my bib, the whole thing got very real and scary. Like, I'm actually going to run a marathon tomorrow. Twenty-six point fucking two miles. Who DOES THAT?!
 My kids have lots of confidence in me :)  They made me these signs when they stayed the night at my parents' house on Thursday...
Eli sounded out "Katie", obviously;  that's a cookie, and water bottle, and me
holding a water bottle. And flowers. He said the blue thing in the middle was a
tear drop--not sure what that is about!

Noah, promoting Runs for Cookies ;)
I took the advice of Rik, the captain of my Ragnar team, and made a pre-marathon video. I mostly made this for myself, but I figured I would share it with all of you, so you can see how I'm feeling about this whole thing.
video
Here goes nothing....