saddling up.

courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.  - john wayne.

i was insecure about my physical training going into the austin run but mentally i was comfortable. i've decided two things can make a run significantly more difficult, no matter how much i've trained; the weather and the course. i've never had the impression that running a marathon would be easy. but i seem to forget how emotional they are. i forget the pain and depression and soak in the pride and sense of accomplishment. i know that many people run marathons and they are much faster than i am. i am not going for speed but it is hard to get a slower time than anticipated. while running, the lowest of low feeling is having to stop and walk. physically having to walk and watch others pass and eventually disappear. my negative attitude emerges and i hate myself for walking and force myself to start going again. i remind myself to suck it up - that if i don't push myself, no one will. each and every run i learn more about myself and the willpower i have developed. i want success. i want to feel success. i want to feel satisfied and complete. and proud.

at one point during the run a woman said to me she was depressed with her time. that she had run the marathon last year and had a much better time. she said the course was more difficult and that her knee hurt. my reply, without hesitation, was "no one gives a sht what time you cross, but you". she laughed and whole-heartedly agreed. the thing about that statement is i only believe it half the time. the other half i still fear that people will judge me for not being fast. basing their approval on time, not survival. i try not to be insecure but i am. i think it is only natural when you put so much of yourself into something.

i think i've set a negative tone that i'm not intending. i love to run. i am so glad i went on this trip. i am proud what i accomplished. i pushed my self to the point of tears and came across the finish line smiling. i conquered this run despite my fears and the challenging terrain. this is the first run i've ever taken my phone along for the ride and i'm so glad i did. and this is the first time i've ever called someone during a run! truth be told, i've seen those people and thought what are they doing?? i don't know what they were wanting but i was seeking encouragement. jenn and i parted ways about mile 12 and i found myself lonely. and hurting. we went shopping the day before and my feet were sore from the start. i was hoping that the pain would go away but it just continued to increase as the miles persisted. i was told at a water stop around mile 17 that the course was downhill from here. i was looking forward to this point all day...until mile 18 came and i could see no decline. i could see no relief in sight. my feet hurt and all i could see were inclines. incline after incline. it broke me. i called mr. h at mile 18 crying. crying crocodile tears. i was crying bc i was slow. my feet hurt. i wasn't trained. i wasn't running to satisfy my needs and i still had over eight miles to go. we gave me encouragement and assured me i could do it. i pushed on and started sending pictures and texts throughout my journey. i started getting encouraging texts and the miles were shrinking. i would finish. i saw more and more people at the aid stations waiting to be driven back to the finish line but i never thought i would have the guts to quit. to go and sit there while others gave everything to finish. if people thought i was crazy for crying at 18, they would have thought i was a lunatic sitting at an aid station bawling like a baby. i'm not a quitter. i didn't drive, okay ride, to austin to quit.

the miles came and i kept running (it was more like jogging at this point) and i just pushed through. i tried to ignore my pain and know that i could stop as soon as i crossed the finish line. by mile 25 i started to find comfort in the fact that i was close. this run would end and i would make it. i would pray and i would find comfort in knowing that i had completed something far more physically challenging than i thought possible. was ignorance bliss? absolutely. if we had driven the course, i would have been scared to death of all the hills. i don't know if i would have signed up to put myself through h*ll but i'm glad i did. doesn't that sound crazy?

after i crossed the finish line and got my hot banana and gross gatorade recovery drink, i tried to find some place to sit in the shade. i was sunburned and tired. my body ached and i wanted to hug someone. anyone. i didn't. if i had, i would have been a big, crying baby and a pile of mush. i called my husband crying. i told him it was so hard. that i wanted to be at home and i don't know why i would put myself in that position. people - i am not a crier. i'm really not. this was just an emotional struggle for me. as i was crying, i knew that i would run another. i knew this would not be my last marathon. i knew i wanted to feel the runner's high again and i would, in fact, run the full marathon in okc on may 1st. i know this may sound nuts but after the hurt went away, my pride set in. i am so proud of myself. i am so proud of the ramsey girls and what we did last sunday. i'm not ready to give up. i've got eight weeks to become a stronger, non-crying, runner for my next chance. next time i hope to be more like lightning mcqueen and less like mater. i may cry but i hope it is tears of joy, not tears of pain and fear.

as hard as i am on myself, i know that few people attempt a full marathon and i should take pride in knowing that i've done three since november. pride in dedication and determination. and i am proud (so proud) of this last run but yet i don't know if i feel satisfied. i gave everything i had but i'm ready to give more. feel more happy thoughts and less negative ones. i suppose the more you run, the greater chance you have of catching a bad run - if you're a runner, you know about a bad run. they just happen. it sucks but the good definitely comes with the bad. the aching body, sore muscles and missing toenails. maybe i should take up a new hobby. like cooking or knitting. both sound good but i'm not ready to give up yet.

of the sold out 6,000 marathon runners, twenty percent did not finish. i was not one of those people. i did not give up. and by gawd, i gave my all and then some. i ran across the finish line and i proudly received my medal and finisher shirt. i didn't even see lance (the event was sponsored by his livestrong organization) but i know that he only ran the half marathon. yep, for one day i out ran lance armstrong. to me, that is something to be proud of.

please excuse the grossness. i just finished 26.2 miles.



i used my iphone to capture the "buzz behind the start line" that i've talked about. below you can feel the buzz from austin too.

approximately 20,000 people gathered to run the full marathon, half marathon and livestrong 5k by 7:00 am in front of the capitol building.

this is best with sound.

after i uploaded this, i just realized that highway to hell was the song playing in the background. foreshadowing? i'm not sure but i was so concerned about trying to hold the phone, find jennifer and not trip that i didn't even hear it. i'll blame it on my buzz.


three things.

1. i made it home sore safe from austin. i am healthy and amazingly did not even get a blister. it was hard. i'm glad i'm home.

2. i finished. i ran across the finish line. i got my medal.

3. james was asleep by the time i got home. i set up my iphone with facetime and my computer with skype but didn't get the chance to talk with james. i missed him so much. yesterday on his daily report, mr. h told me it said he was extra snugly and they thought it was cute. in my mind, he missed his mama and i would be there to give him all the snuggles he could stand. i couldn't wait to get home to him and my hubby. mr. h knew i couldn't wait so didn't give him a bath or start the bedtime routine so that i could see him awake but when i got home this is the image i came home to.

my heart shattered.

i picked him up and he barely opened his eyes, saw me, gave me a big hug and went back to sleep. that was the best hug i've ever had. well, not really but it ranks up there. definite top 10 hug.

and well, this picture isn't from last night. this is the picture i took on james' first play date. yep, he slept threw it. it was so embarrassing! but this is exactly how he looked last night. minus the red chair. he was in his blue toy story chair but still had on his shoes and all. i cannot wait to snuggle him tonight! i still miss him so much.

i am exhausted and will blog about the run tomorrow and the next couple of days. but i just want to say thank you to all who have supported me and have given me encouragement through the whole training process. i cannot express my gratitude enough. i truly love each and every one of you.

i could not have gotten this heavy medal without you.


** i know i usually blog about james but my next several posts will be about austin and the run. i like to read and blog about james but i want to document my experiences too. i want to have them for memories and i want to attempt to share how i feel to those who care. so, bare with me - i have fun pictures and videos heading your way. thank you. **


what more could i need?

i made it. i'm in austin. i've got my running shoes, my mac, a lawyer and a chiropractor. what more could i need? nothing. besides james. but i am having a fun girls trip. the marathon is tomorrow. while i'm expectantly nervous, i'm more excited. i'm excited for the buzz before the finish line and the last surge of adrenalin when i will see the finish line after 26 miles. i'm getting goosebumps as i type right now!

during the white rock marathon, i don't remember what songs i listened to and when they played. i remember i started to soulshine and ended with cee-lo. obviously i'm ready for the finish line feeling again.

it will come soon enough. until then, i'll leave you with a song that still makes me smile and brings back an awesome memory.



if you're wondering, i took james' valentine pictures this year. last year i didn't and i regretted it so this year i made the time. i thought about a prop and made it happen. go me! but let me say one thing - most of the time i just take pictures to capture memories of james. i just take my camera along and hope i can get some good snaps to document our fun adventure or what-have-you. on the valentine card, you can tell it is staged. or i hope you could. this takes planning and thought. that is why i don't take these kind of photos often. i don't have any cute back drops or anything so i get tired of using my chocolate brown, dinning room walls but unfortunately this is the room with the best natural light and open space. well, it has open space when i move out the dinning room table and chairs. you see where i'm going? this takes effort and planning and light. since i work this means i need to use a sunny weekend day and i must pay attention to the shadows and hope that when all is right that james is in a good mood and ready for some pictures. phew! this makes me tired just thinking about it. or you think i sound lazy. i'm going with the first one though.

so, i planned to take james' pictures for his valentine cards on january 16th. early. i know! but by the time i made them from scratch, ordered them online, got them mailed to me and then found time address them and mail them out, it takes time. truth be told, i bought the sucker on the 15th and so if i found time on sunday i would have what i needed and wouldn't curse myself for being to lazy to drive and search for a lollipop. on sunday, around 11 i noticed that the light was good so i moved out the table and chairs and recruited the hubs to give james a bath and just put his patigonia pants on him. i found a stool, combed james' hair and unwrapped the sucker. the photoshoot started at 11:27 and ended just shy of 11:31. yep, that was quick. it didn't take long for james to shatter the sucker on the ground, proceed to shuffle it everywhere and get covered in sticky sucker crumbs. after we denied him the joy of licking the pieces off the floor, we had a meltdown and all were covered in pink, sticky sucker. joy. mr. h said something like, "wow. that was quick. did you get anything?" i thought, man i don't know. i hope so.

i uploaded my images and snapped exactly 20 images. i know this may sound like a lot to some of you but to those who have children and try to pose and prop, you know this isn't a very big selection. especially if you're shooting moving children. i found two images that i was happy with and therefore decided to make a two-sided card.

i thought it would be fun to share some of the outtakes. i want you to know how hard i had to work to make this simple card happen and how most of the images just didn't make the cut.


there are some award winners, right? every time i think this will be easy, i am proved wrong. apparently giving my 18 month old a sucker and wanting him to pose and smile was more challenging than i had hoped. the trick to getting the perfect image is to take lots of photos. and pray that you'll be satisfied with a couple of images. luckily, james pulled through and i got the snaps i wanted. thank you baby james. and mr. h for you help and patience with me. i love you both for your camera cooperation. it makes me one happy momma.


february 14th.

valentine's days are celebrated at our house but not necessarily in the most romantic fashion. the hubs and i like it that way. our first valentine's day mr. h got me a camelbak and i got him the bamboo longboard he'd been drooling over. no, i would not have purchased myself a water pack but i love it. it's perfect when biking and hiking and i've used is occasionally while running. mr. h used to ride his board all the time but it's been taking a break since james was born. it will come back out. i know it will.
anyway, this year was no different - except for james future bride was born! we are so excited. she is so precious and perfect. so, directly after work we took the two to meet. well, not really. in all honesty, i just wanted to snuggle the little baby. love. it almost makes me want to have another. for now, i'll go and snuggle my friends' little ones and get my baby fill until i'm ready.
before the special delivery, we had talked about doing dinner but knew that all the restaurants would be packed and we don't like to wait. some may call it impatient, we just call it hungry. so, we knew we wouldn't fight the valentine's day crowd but talked about taking our little valentine out to do something he would enjoy. there are only a couple of local places designed to entertain little kids so our options were limited.

yep, we spent our valentine's meal out at incredible pizza. james had so much fun and we got to spend some quality family time. can't get much better than that, right? well, except for the hubs got me a keurig! yes, the little coffee maker i've been dreaming of is all mine. i'm so excited! i was too exhausted last night to set it up but i am making it an official counter decoration tonight. he is so sweet. he knows me very well.

as for james, this is what i got him:

yep, some good ol' cheesy poofs and new colors.

he'll love them both.

for not having set valentine's day plans, i think it turned out pretty good. no wait, it was perfect.


valentine poker run.

this morning i woke up to do a five mile poker run. the roads and trails have snow but they are passable. they're worth running outside versus the treadmill. hands down. when my alarm went off, it was dark in my room, cold outside and i dreaded getting out of bed. as always, i'm so glad i did.

i crawled out of bed and got ready. after the hard part, i was excited to put on my socks and shoes and get to the trail. 
these are my new favorite running socks. fun huh? at first they felt weird but in a good way. i also thought the gray made me look like a senior citizen. although i'm over it, i still think they look funny and they feel great.

 i took this iphone sceen shot on my way out the door.

if you're reading and wonder what the heck a poker run is, wait no more, i'm going to tell you. before the run start you get your bib and one card. mine was an eight of clubs. then when the run starts, you run the course and pick up cards along the way. today we got cards about miles 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5. these cards are given out random and you just grab them as you stroll by. you pick up your last card at the finish line and there is your fifth card to complete your poker hand.

this was mine: 
they give out prizes to the best hands first and it trickles down. obviously the better the hand, the better pick of prize. unfortunately, two eights isn't a good hand. i didn't wait around to get my prize. i was towards the bottom last year and got a small tube of chafe cream. sweet. but first prize is a 50 dollar gift card to runners world and then they have some awesome shirts, hats, gloves, gu and other random running gear. i should have waited but starbucks was calling my name.

it was nice to have a short run today. i got to come home and play with my baby.  
who has found every book and half of his toys and brought them into the living room. move over chucky cheese, we've got our own game room on boston.

i had a good, strong run today. it felt so nice to get out. massive amounts of snow make it hard to enjoy running outside. i'm glad it's melting. i'm glad the weather is going to be nice this week. thank you mr. groundhog. i appreciate the early spring and cannot wait.


sour face.

my new favorite drink is lemon water. not fake lemon water but a water topped off with a splash of real lemon juice. apparently james likes it too. he makes the same funny face after every drink but he keeps coming back for more. honestly, i don't mind until i get some random floaties or something i don't have a word for in my drink. until then, i'm nice and i share. cheers!

please excuse my loud voice in the background. it's embarrassing. jeez.


two to you.

happy anniversary, mr. h. i love you.

all images by andrea murphy, as if you didn't know.