five favorites (08/03)

What better way is there to kick off a Monday than with some fun things we’ve been up to lately? I still find so much gratitude when I write these posts, so even if they’re only for myself, they are definitely worth the time.

ONE. We introduced the girls to tie dye! They have been looking forward to it all summer long, and I was just waiting for shirts to go on sale so we could use the kit I already had. Everyone chose a different design, and we helped put the dye on. Daddy did his shirt last, so there wasn’t much dye left. We let the girls go crazy with the remaining dye and make his shirt however they wanted. It turned out pretty cool!

Eve was not into taking this picture at all. It kind of cracks me up. Real life, you guys. Always my little monkey.We all matched for our family walk. These little moments are so precious. TWO. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella decided that they wanted to make playdough one afternoon. All I did was print the recipe, and they executed it all on their own! It’s amazing to see how much they have grown to be able to do.
This kept them busy for hours… and kept me sweeping up playdough for days. Haha.Sensory play is the best!
THREE. After the girls finished their virtual race series a couple months ago, we let them choose if they wanted the commemorative medal or a race t-shirt. They all chose medals, but it took quite a while to get them in the mail. They finally came at the end of last week, and it was like a mini-Christmas. I loved their giant smiles as they ran around wearing them. They definitely earned these! This is one of the most genuine Nella smiles I’ve captured.FOUR. Our church Primary put on a “drive-through ice cream” activity last week. It was so simple, but it meant so much to the girls to get out and do something special. The pandemic has still changed things for them, and they miss going out as a family. I was okay with this since it was outdoors and low-attendance. We are definitely out of practice with leaving the house, though- we completely forgot the diaper bag and wipes to clean everyone up afterward. Thankfully, we were able to borrow some (especially since Eve was completely covered in popsicle juice just moments after I took this picture)!FIVE. Family movie nights are the best. I think the girls’ favorite part is the popcorn, but I love snuggling up with freshly-bathed babies in soft pajamas. There’s nothing better.
They’ve recently discovered the Sophia the First TV series, so we borrowed the movie from the library to get the whole backstory. They loved it.

huckleberry jam 2019

Not quite ready to give up on racing after the Highlander Half Marathon, I signed up for an 8-miler just two weeks later.

I wanted to run this just for fun, but I was still experiencing some nervousness, which did not abate upon seeing some very serious-looking runners at the start line. It also started pouring just before the gun went off, so Michael and the girls waved goodbye to me from the car.

We were all on a paved trail, and so there wasn’t much room to maneuver around people in the beginning, which unfortunately meant that I went out way too fast and ended up maxing out my heart rate in the first two miles. Eight miles is a strange middle ground between a 10k and a half marathon, and I wasn’t sure exactly how to approach it. Trying to run it the same way I run the Monument Avenue 10k turned out not to be such a good method!

I have to be honest, it felt hard. I was tired through the whole thing, but I kept pushing as hard as I could.

The trail was scenic, and it was my first time doing the whole Huckleberry trail. I’d definitely say it was challenging with some hills. The rain let up for a little, and then came pouring down again around mile 5.7. I finished with an average pace of 8:44, so not too bad.

I ended up being 4th in my age group, 13th woman, and 50th overall, which was honestly better than I was expecting! Everyone got these engraved railroad ties as medals, in honor of the original railroad that used to run along the same trail starting in the early 1900s!

Michael is the real MVP. He is always there at the finish line, rain or shine, with an armful of babies. He’s the best!After this one, I was ready for a break from races for awhile. Here’s to running without a training schedule!

highlander half marathon 2019

I was still feeling so pumped after my half marathon in February that I just had to do another one, so two days later, I signed up for the Highlander Half Marathon at the end of April. I felt like maybe I was a little crazy to do it again so soon, but I was excited! I also wanted to see if I could break two hours again!

I’m so glad I went for it, because this race was AMAZING!!! It was definitely one of my all-time favorites. I was the best-prepared I’ve ever been for a half, since I was already used to the distance and just had to maintain it leading up to race day. Thirteen miles felt like an old familiar friend at this point.

The night before the race, I had my typical “pre-race jitters” and tried to get as much sleep as I could. Eve was up around 2:30 am and then at 5 am, so after I fed her at 5, I just got up and started the day. It’s a good thing, because we actually were able to leave right at 6:30 am to head to the Radford University Dedmon Center, where packet pickup was being held. The girls were sleepy, but they were pretty good sports about the whole thing. They snuggled up with their blankets and rested in the car.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare. I got my packet, tried to nurse Eve, although she wasn’t interested, especially with all her sisters goofing off around her, and then got my bib pinned on and ready to go to the start. The girls got dressed, and waited to cheer me on. They are just the sweetest, and I love how they are so proud of me.

It was a little chilly and just the slightest bit windy, enough so that I was shivering waiting to start. I contemplated taking my jacket, but I knew I’d warm up, and it’d just be annoying to carry it for so long. The President of the University fired the start gun at 8 am, and we were off!
I was making great paces, and I was definitely close to the beginning of the pack of runners for most of the race, which really surprised me. I was trying to stay around 8:45 min/mile or so, but I was coming closer to 8 minute miles for a good part of it. I kept passing the same few girls, and then they’d pass me, and repeat.

I felt like I found my groove between miles 3 and 4, and really fell into a great rhythm. This was my first point-to-point race, so I was a little nervous about not getting the adrenaline rush that I usually do when I turn around at the halfway point and know what to expect on the way back. I still had the rush around mile 7 or so, which was also when I realized I might be able to beat my last half marathon time. I kept doing my best, but I was getting tired because there were so many hills! Thankfully, there were some nice downhill slopes, too.

Carilion sponsored this race, and while I was running, they put on a helicopter demonstration for those who were waiting for runners. The girls even got to go inside, and they were so excited to tell me all about this later on!

There was also a little playground where they were waiting. I was glad they were having some fun while I was gone.

Once I made it to mile 10, I took comfort in just having a 5k left. We ended up on this trail through the forest at mile 12, which was the first time I couldn’t see anyone in front of me and worried I was lost when the route wasn’t clearly marked. I thought I was going to blow it on the last mile! Thankfully, I didn’t, and I realized that I could come in at 1:55, so I started going as fast as I could. Michael and the girls were there cheering me on as I came up to the finish line. I love hearing them yell for me!

I officially finished the half marathon in 1:55:01, which is a personal record! I was so excited and proud of myself for pushing hard and doing my best. We didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony, but I later found out that I placed first in my age group!

We took some pictures, and I grabbed some post-race food that I shared with the girls, including some yummy mini blueberry muffins.

Nellie actually wanted a picture with me, which is so unusual these days, so I had to take it!Evie was tired! She was a really great sport the whole time, though.

We caught the shuttle bus back to our car, and on the way home, we dropped Michael off so he could catch another bus to the airport. He was leaving for San Francisco just a few hours after the race!

We all took it easy the rest of the day, and enjoyed some glorious naps. Those post-race sleeps are some of the best!And now I might be a little sad it’s over!

monument avenue 10k recap (2019)

My fourth time racing Monument Avenue is in the books! It feels like I just started participating in races, but the years are flying by, and this was my 6th race overall.

The weather leading up to the race was looking dismal. I kept hoping the forecast would clear, but we were scheduled to have thunderstorms that morning. I obviously didn’t want to take my kids out there in a storm. We ended up leaving Nella and Kaelyn with my mom at her house, and only took Kaya, who was running the Kids’ Run, and Eve, in case she needed to nurse. We decided to head to the race and see how the weather was upon arrival.

I’m not so great at navigating Richmond, and we weren’t able to pre-purchase a parking garage pass, so we headed to one garage, but ended up turning around and heading to the garage my mom-in-law had parked in. We were cutting it close on time, and with changing garages, we ended up being late and running to the start of Kaya’s race. If Grandma Gina hadn’t been there, they would have closed the Kids’ Run start line and we would have missed it, but thankfully, they held it open for us.

Despite sprinting to the start, Kaya was still so fast and ran the whole thing at a 10:23 pace! I was so proud of my little girl, running as fast as she could, enjoying the cheers from spectators, and even giving some of them high fives!We got a little drizzled on, but there was no thunder!Her quads were a little sore for a day or so afterward. I know it was worth it for her, though. I love seeing her set a goal and achieve it!Michael deserves so much credit for going to all these races and helping with anything he can. Where’s the Runner Husband medal?I had about 20-25 minutes between Kaya’s race and my wave start time, so I got in line for the bathroom, and planned to meet Lelia before the start. The line moved a lot slower than I had hoped. As we were making our way to the start line, the announcer was calling out wave letters just before mine, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it. It’s easy to jump in a slower wave, but Lelia didn’t know where I was, and we each spent half the race trying to look for each other.

I started in Wave Q instead of N. Can you find me?
I was making good time. Thankfully, it was still only drizzling. It did seem like there were fewer people there, since I had the whole left side of the road open to me for most of the race. I think the potential thunderstorms might have deterred some people from coming at all.I was almost at the halfway turnaround point when Lelia finally spotted me and yelled to me from across the grass median. She finished strong!And this is me trying to wave to the girls while running…DONE!!! My official finish time was 51:34, which is a personal best for me! GIRL POWER!It’s so special to stand with Kaya after the race, and crazy to think that just 7 years ago, I’d go running with her in my belly!I’m still just beyond proud of this beautiful girl.Lelia and Bryce!! His shirt says, “Run like you’re being chased by a baby dinosaur!”Lelia was prepared and brought her previous medals to make the 20-year-anniversary triad. Yay!It felt weird having just two of our kids there. Eve passed out while she was waiting!Grandma Gina is always behind the scenes, holding babies and helping with whatever she can. I’m glad she could come! Lelia made these amazing homemade donuts for us to have afterward! We headed to a park to have a little time together. Mmmmm! Those chocolate ones were heavenly. We went back to my mom’s house, and spent some time with her. Kaya shocked and amazed her while playing hangman.We got to hang out with Buddy dog and get some Grandma cuddles.There was a lot more donut-eating, and I got to go on a walk with Lelia and Scout a little later in the day.On Sunday, before we left, Grandma Debbie surprised the girls with these plush Easter bunnies that used to be hers (given to her by my dad), before I was born! They look like new, and of course the girls loved them. I love that they have something that was special to her.Race weekends full of family time are my favorite.

the colonial williamsburg half marathon

Because I apparently like blogging things long after they happen, here’s a recap of the Colonial Williamsburg Half Marathon I did with Lelia back in February! It was such a great race, and I just can’t let it go without being documented.

Lelia and I had talked about running a half marathon together for years, but it just never seemed like the right time. After we spontaneously ran almost 8 miles on New Year’s Eve together, Lelia pensively said, “Hmmm, I wonder…”, and from there we decided we would finally do it. We made a training plan and cheered each other on each week as we checked off the miles. It was so fun to know my sister was a couple hundred miles away completing the same runs.

We also made matching shirts! We found various ideas online and combined a few of them to come up with this! “Sole Sisters!” forever! So many people yelled out to us and commented on our shirts throughout the race, which was really fun.We drove down to Michael’s parents’ house on Thursday night, since that would put us about 30 minutes away from the race location. We had a restful day on Friday, and then got up early on Saturday morning before the 8:30 am race start. I had better sleep than I expected to, since pre-race jitters always seem to get in the way, and Eve did alright and only woke up twice during the night.

We took the ferry over to Williamsburg, and arrived about an hour before start time, so I tried to nurse Eve while waiting for Lelia. Eve didn’t want anything to do with nursing, so I just had to hope she’d be happy while I was gone. Thankfully, she did great the entire time.

We got to the start line and waited to use the bathroom one last time. There were not a lot of porta-potties, and we were worried that we wouldn’t get through the long line before the race started. Another runner standing behind us told us about a random porta-potty far across the field and in a parking lot, so I had a nice warm-up jog over that way.

Michael took this picture as quickly as possible before we got into the start line. Lelia’s cousin Brandon raced, too (only way ahead of us)!

The race wound through Colonial Williamsburg for the first couple of miles, and I was wishing I could have shown my girls all the historical buildings. We ended up on a paved trail that cut through the forest, over a wooden bridge, and ended just next to Busch Gardens, where we turned around at mile 7.4. There were some small hills, but really nothing too challenging.

Lelia and I had dreamed of finishing in under two hours, although I was trying not to get my hopes too high and keep my goal realistic. When we saw the fast paces we were making in the first few miles, we said, “What are we doing?”, but we felt fine, so we just kept going and banked that time.

I knew the miles would fly on by with Lelia by my side, and I was right. We talked for most of it, and I might have also been singing Daniel Tiger’s “Close your eyes, and think of something happy” to keep us going. We kept calculating our pace and figuring that we would be able to make it in under 2 hours, although it was going to be close.

We had been worried about the weather leading up to the race. There was rain in the forecast, and it was supposed to be cold. On race morning, the radar gave me hope that the rain wouldn’t start until after we finished. It was also 49 degrees, which sounded absolutely amazing for February! I decided to wear my shorts and leave my rain jacket at home, thinking it’d be too hot. I’m not exactly sure when it started raining, but it quickly went from a drizzle to pouring down, and we were soaking wet. The temperature dropped 10 degrees, and by the end, I was wishing I had my jacket and gloves.

Lelia and I stuck together until the very end, around mile 12.6. Her hip was bothering her, and at that point, stopping or slowing down would hurt more for me than to just keep pushing forward. I pulled just a little ahead, and finally saw my family, standing out there in the rain, cheering for me as I crossed the line! My fingers were numb, and I couldn’t stop shivering, but I was so proud.Sub-2 sisters!!! We earned this! This was my first postpartum race! I’m amazed how much strength and endurance I gained in the seven months since I had Eve.The race website made these funny little digital certificates. I like that it has all my rankings on there though! Fifth for my age/gender group! Not bad! I just had to put the medal on Eve. It’s tradition for a postpartum comeback!Apparently, medals taste good.I’m so grateful for the ability to do this, and also the opportunity to finally run a half with Lelia! This was the first winter half marathon I had ever done, and it was great for personal growth. On to more races!

monument avenue 10k (2018)

I can’t believe this was a whole month ago already… it actually feels like a lot longer than that! We put another Monument Avenue in the books, and this might have just been my favorite one yet.

We drove down to stay with my parents on Friday night, and I woke up at 4:30 am on race morning. We didn’t need to leave home until around 7 am, but I’m always a little too excited to sleep before a race, so I got up and started getting things ready. I was less nervous than I usually am for these types of events, but I definitely still had some pre-race jitters.

Kaya had been talking about “running a kid race” for months, so I had signed her up for the Virginia529 Kids Run, which started about an hour and twenty minutes before my wave. We drove into Richmond, pinned our bibs on, loaded the two littlest girls in the stroller, and hustled from the parking garage to the start line.

At the last possible moment, we decided to register Michael as a “companion runner” for Kaya, since there were so many more people than I had even imagined, and I didn’t feel comfortable sending her out on her own (despite the security measures they have in place). I’m so glad they did this together.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take her to finish, but Kaya shocked us all by running the mile in about 13 minutes, which I think is really great for a 5.5-year old! The look of pure joy (and the hug she gave her dad) as she crossed the finish line was so memorable and sweet. Her excitement was contagious, and actually brought me to tears because of how much joy and pride I felt seeing my baby want to do something that I love doing. I also love knowing that she likes running because she knows it keeps her body healthy and strong.She smiled all day long! Did I mention how proud I am?She now has her medal hanging from her bunk bed!We had three of the four grandparents at the race this year! My mom had never been before, so she rode down with us, but seeing my in-laws was a complete surprise. They met up with us right before Kaya started, and I am so grateful for all the support and love these three (plus my Dad, who stayed home to watch the dogs), give us.I had enough time before my wave started to sunscreen up, use the bathroom, put on my pregnancy support belt and find Lelia! Do you see us in the starting corral?We started off in a slower wave, because when we signed up (back in December), we had predicted that by this point in my pregnancy, I wouldn’t be moving so fast. Surprisingly, I haven’t been as slow as I thought I’d be, so we ended up passing a lot of people, but we really got into a great rhythm.

Lelia and I are great running partners- we just match each other so well as far as pace and stride. Look how synced up we are here! This race was a little extra special, because at Christmastime, I told Lelia we were pregnant by saying that we’d have another “Monument baby” (Nella and Bryce both did this in utero!), and she was instantly willing to run with me. I was super grateful to have her as a buddy/bodyguard.I knew the miles with Lelia would just fly right on by, and they did! It was a gorgeous day, but a little warmer than I’m used to running as of late, so I definitely appreciated all the water stops, and Lelia pouring the rest of her drink down my back at one point. I started to feel tired around halfway through, but I honestly couldn’t believe the splits we were getting, so I didn’t want to slow down. We finished with an official time of 59:52, which put us at a 9:38 min/mile average. My goal going into this was an average pace between 10-10:15, so I was ecstatic!Sweaty hugs all around! We did it! I think I cry every time I see the finish line in a race.Finishers with our “Monument babies”! I can’t believe two years ago I ran this with Nella in my belly, last year Lelia did it with Bryce, and now our newest princess has done it, too. I hope they’ll all look back on these pictures one day and think it’s as cool as I do.27-week bump!When Lelia did this last year at 30 weeks pregnant, she had said she wished she had a sign on her back so that people wouldn’t get too close (this is a busy race, and some people are absolutely crazy when trying to pass you)! I printed out this little sign, laminated it, and brought it to wear on race day. I was so glad I did, because I felt like I had a little extra security with this on.Another one done!Of course, there had to be donuts afterward! We headed to “The Treat Shop” in Richmond for these.And because Kaelyn was at the race, but didn’t want to be in any pictures, here’s one of how she eats a donut. Frosting first!Adorable even when she’s a total mess…I’m so thankful for all the family time we got to have that weekend, as well as the love and support I feel from all of them. Completing a race wouldn’t mean half as much to me without having family waiting at the finish (or running alongside me)! This is it as far as racing goes until after the baby comes, but I’m already looking forward to a postpartum comeback!

race 13.1 roanoke recap (my first half marathon!)

On race morning, I woke up to the engulfing blackness of night that still exists at 4 A.M. I was excited, jittery, and just the slightest bit nervous for the day ahead. I picked up Nella so she could nurse, and Michael gently woke the older girls, managing to get them to use the bathroom and get buckled into their car seats while they were essentially still asleep.

We left home around 5 A.M. to make the hour or so drive up to Roanoke. We needed to be at least a little early so I could pick up my race packet! I ate half of a Kind bar on the way, but I was too anxious to have anything else but some water.

We were some of the first people to arrive, so there was no line to pick up my bib. I had plenty of time to use the bathroom, take a pre-race photo, and try to nurse Nella again before I had to leave her for the next couple of hours.
Around 6:45, we heard the national anthem, and then all half-marathoners were called to line up. The only other race I’ve run is the Monument Avenue 10k, which has an excessively large number of participants in comparison to this half marathon. Needless to say, I was surprised (and a little relieved) to see so few people lining up.

I tightened my shoelaces, the countdown began, and we were off! I got to wave to Michael and the girls on the way out!
I started out right behind the 2:00 Race Pacer, and I got a little ambitious and thought that maybe I would be able to stick by him through most of it. Thankfully, by mile 3, I wised up and decided that I needed to just do what felt good for me based on my training.

The course was a very flat trail, winding through some trees near a river. Around mile 4, I heard the guy behind me repeatedly asking race volunteers, “Is this the hill up here?” I knew there were going to be hills, but I really wasn’t worried about them, since I’m used to running in this area. I wasn’t sure what this other runner’s preoccupation with “the hill” was, but as soon as I saw it around mile 4.5, I knew.

It was the steepest hill I’ve ever run in my life! So many people immediately started walking, but I pushed on. Another runner girl cheered for me. Once I was past it, I was worried for the turnaround, because next time, I’d be trying to go down it.

The course was no longer flat after that point- we had one more large hill and then some slight inclines and declines all the way to the turnaround point at 6.8 miles. I was starting to feel the effects of only eating half of a granola bar before the race, so after circling through a tiny parking lot at the end of the route and getting back on the trail, I pulled out my fruit snacks and ate one at a time over the next couple of miles. I was drinking Gatorade out of my pack, as well as taking some at all but one of the aid stations. I was also surprised to see that so few runners had brought their own fuel belts, and although it was a perfect day for racing (overcast and not at all hot), I was glad to have mine.

In my training runs, running miles 1 through 6 would feel almost effortless. On race day, however, I felt like I was pushing my body the entire time, and I was just tired. Once I was at mile 7, I started playing number games with myself:

“I just have to run 3 more miles until I reach 10, and I can run 3 miles easily. Then I just have to make it 1.5 more miles to get to 11.5, and then it’s basically just one more mile until that finish-line adrenaline kicks in. No big deal; I’ve got this!” I know it sounds crazy, but when you’re pushing through the miles, somehow, that thought process is convincing.

At mile 11, just like in training, the muscles in my legs and feet started to burn. My respiration and heart rate felt just fine, but my legs were absolutely ready to be done. These last few miles definitely weren’t flying by, but I was managing okay.

At mile 12.5, I started to see the buildings where we had started out, and I heard the music at the finish line. I remembered how Lelia had encouraged me to give it my all for that last quarter of a mile, so I started to kick it into gear, despite how tired my legs were.

To my surprise, Michael and girls were waiting for me at mile 12.9! They were just standing there, chatting with a race volunteer, waiting for me to come over the bridge. I was so happy to see them, but Michael shouted, “Keep going!!!”, which was probably a good reminder, because I hadn’t thought I’d see them until it was time to stop. Michael started jogging with the stroller behind me.

I gave that last 0.2 all that I had, and when I crossed the finish line, I felt so much relief, and even some sadness to realize it was already over. 13!!! Nella was the only one of our kids still in a good mood, so she was willing to take a picture with me! The other girls were absolutely exhausted from being up so early, an I can’t say I blame them! Nella takes medal-wearing very seriously.
My average overall pace was 9:53 min/mile, and I finished just 29 seconds before my goal time. Overall, I’m really happy with how I did. And now, it’s safe to say I’ve caught the half-marathon bug. I’ve already been contemplating which race will be my next!

halfway to half-crazy (half marathon training update)

Someone’s always talking about some new life-changing diet or health fad that will improve your life by 1000% and make all your dreams come true… but you don’t need any of that stuff, trust me. I’ve discovered the real secret to success:

Want to test your willpower? Make your ab muscles sore without doing any crunches? End up with a smokin’-hot farmer’s tan? Sleep better at night? Have a good reason for healthy snacking? Beef up your calves so that it’s hard to get your skinny jeans over them? Have an excuse to go (running) shoe shopping?

Train for a half marathon!

I’ve got just under one month to go until my first-ever half marathon, and overall, I’m still feeling pumped up and excited for race day. After nearly 8.5 years of running, it’s been really fun to follow an official training plan and challenge myself in a different way each day. I know I’ll never be the fastest (and speed intervals completely crush me sometimes), but I’m having a good time trying new things.

I discovered that the amount of sleep I get makes a huge difference in my pace and how I feel during a run. Sometimes, when the baby is up in the middle of the night or it’s been an insanely busy week, I question why I ever thought doing this was a good idea, because being a parent just makes you so tired. But slow miles are better than no miles, even on little sleep.

And I can’t help but feel accomplished when I get out there and get it done, despite the wind or rain. If I even come close to finishing in two hours on race day, I will be ecstatic.Thankfully, my sister-in-law Lelia has already done this a few times, and she’s been able to give me some great advice along the way, including coming up with healthy post-run snacks, since I’m a pretty picky eater. Kind bars, string cheese, and almonds have all been my favorites after finishing a long run.

Once I hit about 6 miles or so, I usually start to feel like I could just keep on running forever (although once I finally stop, my legs are always a little achey, reminding me that running indefinitely isn’t an option quite yet). I’ve actually been surprised to find that my sorest muscles after a long run are my abs, which I usually notice when I wake up and try to roll out of bed the next morning.

I invested in a second pair of running shoes (Saucony Kinvara 7) after reading this study, which found that runners who don’t always use the same model of shoes have a 39% lower risk of injury. Plus, how can you go wrong with all this neon?

Here’s to a few more weeks of long runs before RACE DAY! 🙂

tour de cure (2017)

At the end of April, Michael completed his seventh Tour de Cure bike race! I almost can’t believe he’s been doing this for so long already, but I’m still just as proud of him as ever for helping to raise money for diabetes research.

This year, he did the 65-mile loop, and he got to ride along with Lelia’s mom, Mary!The girls and I ended up staying home again this year (I think we’ve only actually been to two of these races in the past five years, so we don’t really have the best track record)… I always want to go and be there to support him, but it is a long car ride for the kids, who were already unhappy about taking another “big” trip when we originally told them about it. We decided it would be so much easier for Michael to go on his own- he could drive there faster without having to make so many stops, and he’d be able to get a little more sleep the night before the race without having kids there to wake him up. We definitely missed him though.
Thankfully, he took pictures along the way for me!It was a super hot day (probably the warmest of 2017 thus far)! Michael wasn’t able to get much training done before this year’s race (he did only two rides in the weeks leading up to it), so I was a little worried about him in the heat. Thankfully, they have aid stations all along the way, and he was just fine.
He caught up with his mom just before the finish line! This year had the most participants from our family! Lelia’s mom posted this picture on Facebook and I had to share it here too. Michael, his Aunt Liesl, Grandma Gina, and Mary are all hardcore! While Daddy was gone, we enjoyed the warm weather by taking the kiddie pool out for the first time this season! (But seriously, when did Kaya’s legs get so long?!) She loves splashing down into the water, but hates getting any of it on her face. It makes for an interesting experience!Kaelyn didn’t like sliding, so she just played in the pool.

Michael came home late on Saturday night, so everyone was very happy to see him when they woke up on Sunday!

monument avenue 10k race recap (2017)

This was my second year running the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, and I had even more fun this year than last!

I convinced Karl to do this as his very first race, and I was so excited to be able to start together! Any reason to see my brother is a good one, especially now that he lives several hours away from us. Credit goes to my dad, who came to cheer us on, for these first couple of photos!
Karl and I started at the same time, but we didn’t stick together- I told him I’d see him at the finish line, and I took off! I started a little fast, but I decided to keep it up for as long as I could (and pass up some of the slower groups).Apparently, I also do really weird things with my fingers while I’m running…I took the first half a little too fast, and I really started to feel it around mile 3.5 or so. I slowed down, but still tried to stay within my goal pace of 9:00 min/mile. At the finish, I clocked in at 53:34, which was an average of 8:37 min/mile. While training here in the mountains, my best 6-miler averaged out to 9:14 min/mile, so shaving off that much time made me ecstatic!Last year, I was so nervous for this race, because I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, and dealing with a lot of nausea and fatigue. My only goals last year were to finish and keep the baby safe. This year, all I could think about was seeing my family and holding my sweet little Nella at the finish line. It’s amazing how much can change in just one year. Photo-bomb courtesy of Karl!Jeff and Lelia ran too, and we met up with them afterward! Lelia gets some serious credit for doing this at 30 weeks pregnant. Mom and Dad Irwin also came to see us finish, but they had to leave shortly after.
Of course, there had to be donuts afterward, so we picked some up and hung out at Jeff and Lelia’s place for a little while. These were delicious, but I’ve realized that almost anything tastes amazing after a run.Here’s to another race down, and more to come- I’ve got the fever now!