Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marathon Weekend Recap: Day 2

First, sorry its taken me a few days to get this up.  My daughter came home from school sick with double ear-infections yesterday and taking care of her has kept me pretty busy.   And again, I apologize in advance for rambling, this is very detailed because I want to remember the details of the weekend!

Day two, or Friday for future reference, was set to be a pretty laid back day.  My mom and sister were set to arrive from Alabama that morning.  My sister was going to stay with Tommy and the kids in the hotel and mom and I were going to go for a tour of St Jude.  After parking at the convention center, Mom and I walked across the street to the Marriott to wait for the tour bus to take us over.    

Mom and I with the box of cards - showing a sample 
Of course, we weren't empty handed, we were toting nearly 300 card for the kids of St Jude!  A month or so before I left for the marathon I decided I wanted to do something a bit more personal for the kids of St Jude.  After discussing it with my mom, the crazy idea was born.  She read somewhere that there were around 80-90 inpatient children and they see nearly 200 patients a day.  Our goal was to make cards for one day.  I managed to make 87 cards with the help of my daughter (she did 15 or so with my help).  Thanks to my mom's help (she made nearly 100), the help of several friends, and my daughter's girl scout troop we were able to surpass that goal.   

The tour of the hospital was emotional for my mom and I.  Having lost Tammie to a brain tumor we both found ourselves thinking "if only this had been around when Tammie was sick."  They have gone to great extremes to make the hospital a non-sterile looking environment.  From beautiful murals on the walls and fun decorative floors to patient artwork and photos around the hospital.  We heard all about the things they do at the hospital to make the kids feel more comfortable and at home.  I think we could have had a better tour guide but overall a very meaningful thing to get to be within the walls of a hospital that is making such great advances in the fight against childhood cancer.   I am going to share a few photos now, I may do another post I finish the race recap with some more of the photos.  

Santa house display - so neat!murals on walls (showed all seasons) and  floor decor
After the hospital tour, Mom and I walked around the St. Jude campus looking at the statues and other "landmarks."  We also visited the gift shop to pick up a few items for my mom and I got another ornament!  (Will try to share a photo of the ornaments in my next post... too late tonight to go dig them out)

Instead of waiting for the bus we decided to walk back to the convention center (it was a short walk).  On the walk I showed my mom where her hotel was located and we decided to keep walking to my hotel.  Along the way we were on the search for a place to eat lunch.  We found a local place called Sam's Burgers and More that had baked potatoes so after much discussion we decided we would walk back down there to eat.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to my hotel and back down to the restaurant they only had one baked potato left and I ordered it for my sister not realizing it was the last one.  Whoops - so I ended up walking over to subway and getting a sub to eat instead (big no, no and NOT on my pre-race diet).  I did keep it pretty minimal but there was cheese on it which I typically avoid, but I couldn't just do the chicken and bread.

After lunch, we checked my Mom and sister into their hotel and left everyone there while she and I ran to Kroger to get munchies and drinks for the kids.   By the time we got back it was time for Tommy and I to get ready for the pasta party.  While getting ready I realized I had misplaced the pasta party tickets.  Luckily - after talking to some people we were able to get in without the tickets.

the only picture I took at the pasta party - whoops
The Heroes pasta party was a nice way to get ready for the race the next day.  I wish I was more outgoing as I felt sort of out of place sitting at a table with people I didn't know.  I didn't talk to anyone really because I lack that confidence, but the best part was hearing the speech given by Ingram's dad.  During my fundraising, I remember seeing Ingram's sister Madison at the top of the fundraising board nearly every time I logged in.  I was amazed that a little girl could raise so much money.  Come to find out, her sister was also fundraising.  These two girls, both still KIDS managed to raise over $200,000 - I am in awe of them!  I had read the family's story and such, but hearing Ingram's dad speak touched my heart.  After the pasta party, I had to stop back by my mom's hotel room to give my kids a huge hug.  I needed them to know that I loved them.  I needed to wrap my arms around them and thank God for the gift he has given me.

The only downside to the pasta party is that I had a very hard time eating.  I typically eat pasta with marinara sauce the night before a race, nothing else.  Unfortunately, the pasta options all had dairy or cream or some other ingredient I shouldn't have.  So, I had to "wing it" with a half a chicken breast, a bread stick, and a bag of pretzels.  While eating my food, I was praying it wouldn't negatively affect me the next day.  It was a bit defeating to see how many runners could eat whatever they wanted without concern for how it would affect their running - I hate my sensitive tummy!   They did have a nice plate of cookies on every table too, but again... I was good and avoided them!

All in all, Friday was a good day.  I might have done a bit more walking around than I normally would before a race, and perhaps not taken in enough water.  I did do my best to stick to my dietary restrictions but I knew I hadn't done a perfect job.  After giving my kids goodnight kisses (they stayed with my mom and sister to give me the best rest possible before the race), Tommy and I headed back to our hotel.  I took time to lay out everything I needed for the race, but was in bed pretty early.

Up next... race day.

In case you missed it, you can check out day one here... 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Marathon Weekend Trip Recap: Day 1 of 4

I figure its about time I try to start putting my thoughts on the marathon down on paper before they all disappear and I am left with nothing to document.  I still haven't totally processed the whole experience, but I am going to start with my pre-race experiences and hope everything catches up with me as I go!

Warning, I ramble... A LOT.  Sorry.

We left Indiana EARLY Thursday morning, about 4 am and hit the road for Memphis.  Our travels took us through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and finally Tennessee.  The last few hours of our trip were through a pretty deserted area (at least for us, we are used to driving down highways and having gas/food options at nearly every exit).  The trip was rather uneventful and we made great time.

We stopped in Blythesville, Arkansas for lunch.   I had decided we would get cold cuts and make sandwiches hoping to stick as close as possible to my dietary plan to ensure my stomach cooperated for the marathon.  Fast food is NOT part of that plan, though it would have been easier.  We stopped at Wal-Mart where I was rewarded with the slowest, crappiest customer service ever - and the lunch meat was terrible.  I ate what I could, but because of this I ended up eating more tortilla chips than I intended. (side note: I like the Tostitos Artisan Recipe fire roasted chipotle chips, but Meijer's black bean and salsa ones are SO much better!)

I hate bridges, but was relieved to see this one - less than 10 minutes left!
We knew we were ahead of schedule so we called our hotel to ask if we could check in early - luckily they said they had rooms available so we were able to save money by not paying for parking at the convention center - SCORE!  After checking into our room we got things organized and headed to the expo - as we left though we realized our door wasn't locking correctly!  After playing with it for about 5 minutes Tommy was able to get our room secured.  Downstairs we asked to be pointed in the direction of the expo - they said we should take the trolley because it wasn't walkable.

After over 10 hours in the car, the last thing I wanted to do was sit on my butt in a trolley!  I decided to risk it and we headed out on foot.  After getting turned around and walking an extra half mile or so, we finally made it to the expo.  I am still trying to figure out why the route wasn't walkable - we walked it at least 6-8 times that weekend and saw many people doing the same!  Anyway, inside I found my bib number and picked up my bib and race shirt then we hit up the St Jude merchandise area.  I ended up buying myself an ornament, Daniel an ornament, a 26.2 bumper sticker, and a teddy bear for Natalie.  I was super bummed that they didn't have a marathon weekend logo sweatshirt.  They had St Jude ones but I wanted one with mention of the marathon too.
Ignore the goofy pose and slippers! 

The expo itself wasn't all that great. There were a couple booths I stopped to look at, but nothing I couldn't say no to.  Many of the exhibitors weren't set up yet.  I did get my fist peek at the medal and talked with the pace team.  The best part of course was the heroes area.  You walked down the red carpet and could get photos taken in a photo booth.  They were also passing out pasta samples (I skipped them) and you could pick up your pasta party tickets, vip lounge stuff, exchange singlet sizes, pick up items to cheer on heroes/runners as well as an area to drop off last minute donations.

We did donate $5 to a charity group and two puzzles to the kids at St Jude.  (They had dollar store type items set up and you could buy them for your kids and the money goes to charity, or you could donate the toys to the hospital)  Since my kids have so many toys already, we had Natalie pick out two puzzles - she loved knowing she was giving a gift to someone else!

After that, we headed back to our hotel where we ordered dinner from the TGIF that was just downstairs.  We knew the kids weren't up to eating out after the long day in the car.  Hubby had Korean tacos of some sort and I had Kung Pao Chicken - again, not the greatest choice, but the best given my options!  After filling our bellies, we fell asleep pretty early.  Me and two kids in a double bed - I knew it would be a long night!

Enough rambling for now.. up next in tomorrow's post - Friday excitement and race prep!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Never Satisfied.

I think I am broken... I am never satisfied, never fully able to be proud of something that I accomplished.  I am always comparing myself to others and wondering why I am not good enough to do what they do.

I just raised over $3,000 for St Jude Children's Research Hospital... my response?
     "But I want to raise more... so-and-so raised $$, what do they do better than me?"

I just finished a full marathon... my response?
     "But I didn't really run it, anyone can walk 26.2 miles (yes, I know this is flawed logic).   So-and-so ran it in x:xx and I know I should be able to do the about the same.  What do they do that I don't?  Why are they successful and I wasn't?"

Granted, I know finishing this marathon was a HUGE accomplishment.  I know raising money for St Jude makes a big difference.  At the end of the day I felt no pride when I crossed that finish line, I was numb from the disappointment of the last 3 hours.

I have to pull myself out of this stupor because its not good for my mental well being or my physical well being (I eat when I am depressed and have gained 5-10 pounds)....

A race recap is coming, I just want to take a few days to process it so its hopefully not such a downer!