Sunday, April 29, 2012

Natalie's Birthday Run - A success!

First, I want to thank all of you who have donated so generously to my fundraising for St Jude Children's Hospital.  I am really hoping to reach $750 by the time I run the Indy Mini on May 5th, so if you can donate I would greatly appreciate it.  And, if you have the ability to do so, please share my fundraising page with your friends and family.  Every dollar helps! 

Second, sorry its taken me a few days to get this up, but I wanted to share the photos I received from Natalie's birthday run!   (If you submitted a picture and I missed you, please let me know so that I can make sure we get a picture mailed out to you.)

Last, but not least for tonight... a photo of me and the kiddos with our Birthday Run Bibs, I had my own run of 6 miles, but then Natalie and I ran about .4 miles together, and Daniel ran around the house to join in the fun!

My weekend was rather uneventful, I got a 6.2 mile run in on Saturday - I was hoping for 7-8 but decided not to push it with my foot bothering me.  I have the half coming up this weekend.  I think I will stick mostly to cross training this weekend in an effort to hopefully heal up whatever is causing the problem.   Most of the time though, was spent just enjoying time with the family.  Today I had a fun photo shoot, more details on that later!

I hope you are all doing well... what was your favorite part of the weekend?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Family Memories

So, this is supposed to be a running/healthy living blog... I promise, I will try to get back on topic after today.  

Let it be known that my family is not photogenic, we have had many a bad family photo taken but I was hopeful that the session we had planned for Alabama while I was there to run Oak Barrel would be a better experience.  Leading up to the session, our photographer Lauren Sanderson had been super kind and helpful and I loved what I saw on her website.  Of course, there is always the question of how it will translate to my family.  Either way, we were thinking positive.

Still, when we got the preview we were excited:

(c) Lauren Sanderson Photography - pardon quality, I pulled this off facebook and it doesn't truly show how crisp these photos are! 
 Then, a few days later, she posted another photo preview as she was editing our photos, I started to get even more excited, I couldn't stop staring at this photo.

(c) Lauren Sanderson 

Someone who had known me only an hour or so managed to capture a part of my daughter's personality that no one ever had!   At this point, I was pretty sure that we would love what we got from Lauren.  I couldn't wait to get the CD of our images.  Finally, they arrived and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that they blew our minds.   Here are a "few" of my favorites... I may eventually link to the whole album if I can figure out how to do that! 
(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

(c) Lauren Sanderson

Sorry, I guess that was more than a few, but it is SO hard to pick favorites.  There are tons more that I love that I didn't share.  For anyone who may be in the market for a photographer in the Huntsville, Alabama area I HIGHLY recommend Lauren Sanderson Photography.  She is AMAZING and offers a superb value especially if you are the type of person who ends up buying too many photos because you love them all.  She offers a great combo deal on her sessions and CDs of her prints.  By doing this she allows you to print what you need when you need it, which is great!  Not to mention, she is super nice and fun to work with!  

We are so grateful to her for capturing memories for our family that we will treasure for a lifetime.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

226 days to go

I am officially launching my fundraising efforts for St Jude!  I have mentioned it before (including in my last post), but now everything is officially set up!  The fundraising commitment I signed up for is $2,500, but I would personally like to raise at least $2,620 ($100 per mile, of course!).

I would personally love your support as I train to run my first marathon (226 days away - gulp), but more importantly, the money that I raise will help provide treatment and fund further research on childhood cancer.  As I am running 26.2 miles, I would challenge you to donate $26.20 (a dollar per mile).   However, I know times are tight and every dollar counts.  Check out my donation page here.

If raising money to help treat and potentially cure cancer some day wasn't enough, I am also doing a few different giveaways that you can potentially qualify for when you donate...

~~Opportunity 1~~  As a part of my daughter's birthday run... if you run the virutal race and submit a picture and donate at least $5 you will be eligible for a $25 prize package that will be awarded at the end of the month. (Please see the link for complete details)

~~Opportunity 2~~ When I reach my first milestone,  $500 (1/5 of my fundraising total), one lucky donor will be will randomly selected to receive a $42 gift certificate for Running Skirts.

I have already had a few people commit to doing Natalie's birthday run, and I am SO excited... if you missed my last post regarding making her birthday wish come true, check it out... Natalie's Birthday Wish.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Help me Make Her Dream Come True

This weekend Natalie ran her second race (the first was a one mile run last September), and she was super excited about the fact that she got her OWN race bib.  A few weeks ago Skirt Sports was running a great sale so I scored Natalie a running outfit and then I decided that every little girl needs her very own running shoes so we bought those too.  She was one well dressed little girl for her race!  It seems like the combination of her own running outfit and her first race bib lit the "running fire" within her (at least temporarily).

After her race, she decided that she wanted to do a "birthday run."  So, what's a Mommy with a blog to do?  I decided I would set up a virtual, very unorganized, and last minute race for my favorite little girl!  So, my bloggy buddies - I have a favor to ask of all of you.  Natalie's birthday is on Saturday, my big girl will be turning FIVE (where has the time gone?) and I would LOVE it if you could run your mileage in honor of her!  And, in return Natalie will draw a picture for each person who shares a photo of themselves before/after/during their run.

I am not very crafty, but I made a cheesy race bib.  I asked her to draw a picture, and she drew the heart on the bib - hearts are her favorite thing to draw right now.  Of course, I asked her to write the "Happy Birthday" on it but I think she did a fantastic job.  

One thing I love about running is that it has opened up the world of raising money for charity to me, and therefore my children.  Prior to running I didn't feel like I had anything to offer so to speak, I felt like I would fail if I tried so I just avoided it.  When I decided I was going to run my first marathon in Memphis this December as a Hero for St Jude, I discussed it with Natalie and told her all about how I was raising money for sick kids.  I didn't expect her to really get it - but she wanted to help.  She went on a scavenger hunt that night looking for any spare change she could find to put in the piggy bank to donate.  I was touched, when did my little girl grow up and become so selfless?  

I share this story because today I took the plunge and signed up to run my first marathon for St Jude as a Hero - a commitment to not only run 26.2 miles, but also a commitment to raise $2500.   Personally though, I would like to raise at least $2,620 - $100 for each mile that I will be running.  I haven't been able to set up a fundraising page yet, but I would love your support on this endeavor.  I will share the link as soon as I get it up.  

Because of my daughter's desire to help the cause, I do plan to do a special giveaway for those who both participate in the virtual run as well as donate to the fundraiser by April 30.  Obviously, the giveaway will be delayed due to the delay in getting the fundraising site up, but I wanted to tie it in with this run.  The prize is yet to be determined, but will have a value of at least $25! 
 The details of the "Birthday Run"
 - The virtual run can be a run and/or walk of ANY distance, time does NOT matter
 - Natalie would LOVE to see photos of you wearing your bib (feel free to fill in your name or blog address) - you can either link them here, or email them to Natalie at harningn at gmail dot com
 - If you share a photo of you with your bib, Natalie will draw a picture and it will be mailed to you as soon as we can confirm your address.
To participate in the giveaway: 
 - complete the "birthday run" 
 - make a donation of at least $5 to St Jude (once I get the site up!) by April 30, 2012
 - winners will be announced on my blog on May 3, 2012

If you know any friends who run and/or walk, please share this with them, I would love to make my little girl's wish of a "Birthday Run" come true. 

*Disclaimer: If the fundraising site is not set up by April 23, I will extend the deadline to donate to 7 days from the date of set up and winners will be announced on my blog no more than 3 days after the donation deadline!

**Disclaimer 2:  This is my first attempt at trying to organize something like this, so please let me know if I missed something.

ETA:  Finally got my fundraising site log-in info, its not totally customized yet, but I can accept donations now!  Thanks in advance for any donations you may make! Every dollar helps, please donate if you can... visit my donation page.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oak Barrel Half Marathon Recap

I am a bit late getting this up since I was enjoying a vacation with my family.  Even though Oak Barrel was my fourth half marathon, it was by far the toughest I have run to date.  Being that I live in Northern Indiana, I am used to running on very flat terrain.  Oak Barrel was advertised as having "rolling hills" with one "character building hill" and one more quick, but challenging hill at mile 6.  They weren't kidding!  I don't have an elevation chart because I am stupid and left my garmin running so its all screwed up, but, I found this on a fellow runner's blog.
 Now, I planned for Whiskey Hill, I really did.  I may not have TRAINED for it, but I did plan for it.  When I drove the course on Tuesday before the race, I wanted to cry - I didn't expect so many rolling hills.  The site says they are there, but MAN... its ALOT for this Indiana girl!  I made a rookie mistake and read that the elevation gain was 407 feet during the race, but from what I can tell, thats the elevation gained from max to min elevation during the race.  Based on the chart above, the elevation gained was actually more than 1000 feet.  I asked on facebook and the one response I got was 1,113 feet.  So, I am guessing the total elevation increase is SOMEWHERE around 1000 feet?  The most I had gained to date in a run this long was around 350 feet if I am remembering correctly.  All this to say, I didn't have a great race... the hills killed me and I DEFINITELY need to work on hill training!

Before you go any further, you should go check out Suzanne's recap from the race, she took some great pictures along the course, including some photos of Whiskey Hill!

I don't have a mile by mile recap of the race in me, so I will do bullet points:

~ Suzanne finding me just prior to the race and running the first 2 miles or so with me - this kept me from going out too strong the first few miles and took my mind off how nervous I was.  I could get used to having someone to run with!
~ The course was beautiful, very scenic and always something to look at
~ I made it most of the way up Whiskey Hill without walking
~ Completing the first 5 miles (including Whiskey Hill) in less than 49 minutes
~ My foot issue wasn't too bad - only a few minor twinges
~ The course support was awesome, gatorade and water, oranges at two places.  There was someone on a 4 wheeler offering to take coats that were tied around waists, even though this was a small race I saw more race  support than at larger races.  There was a decent amount of spectators on the course as well. Great post race offerings.
~ Awesome race swag: long sleeve tech shirt, hat, backpack, and a wood "medal" made from a whiskey barrel
~ The feeling of passing people on the way to the finish even when I am dead, my body still has a kick left, I ran a sub 6:30 (fluctuated from 5:30 to 6:30) from the corner to the finish line.
~ Finishing in under 2:30 (my unspoken goal for this race)
~ A guy named Monte who was at the race and put his photos on smugmug for purchase - he actually got a few good photos of me!

~ Failing to realize how much elevation change I should be prepared for.
~ Completing the first 5 miles (including Whiskey Hill) in less than 49 minutes *yes, this is a bad thing, it meant I didn't conserve enough energy for the rest of the course
~ At some point I mentally checked out, around mile 6-7 I was in tears wanting to quit, I texted my mom and told her I was struggling, once I stopped to walk it was hard to run again
~ My stomach acted up again which meant no fueling on the course, I should have taken 2-3 packets of fuel, instead I drank water and some gatorade
~ Feel like I was dehydrated going into the race, I drank everything I had, took water on course, and was still dying of thirst at the finish line
~ Brightroom sucked it up on the photos, only one of me was tagged, I did find one more going through the lost and found but both are terrible.   I always buy race photos, this time.. NOT EVEN TEMPTED! :-/
~ Missed my "dream goal" of 2:10 - and honestly if it weren't for my stomach I probably would have made it. Between the lack of fuel and having to walk to control cramps, I figure that was at least 10 minutes!

The bottom line:  I swore I would never do this race again, but I am already trying to figure out how I can get back and show that course that its not stronger than me!  If you get a chance, DEFINITELY run this race - its the best I have run to date!

Not very proud of them, but here are my splits (more for my future reference than anything).

Avg Pace

Last but not least, some photos from the race...

Me, pre-race
Suzanne and I at the start, we are in the middle of the picture
1.5-2 miles into the race, running with Suzanne
Coming up the highway towards the Square in Lynchburg - almost done! I passed the guy you can barely see in the yellow before the finish line!
Looking around the corner towards the finish line
Kicking it to the finish!
Yes, I was dying.. 
Suzanne and I post race
Medal and custom engraved bottle of Jack Daniels
My race swag, minus the backpack (my parents bought me the engraved bottle of JD, THANKS!)

ETA:  These two race photos I just got... the start line photo is probably one of my best race photos ever!