Thursday, November 27, 2008


From our house to yours wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!! (See... didn't I tell you Sophie is getting big!!!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

San Antonio - Part 3

Ok, I know that it has been a week since I last posted. Life has been very busy (in a very good way) and I just haven't had time to sit down at the computer. I have a few minutes this morning before I have to get started on our Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought I would finish my San Antonio posting.

We spent a good deal of our free time along the Riverwalk that San Antonio is famous for. Our hotel sat right on it, which made it easy to enjoy. If you have never been to San Antonio, I highly recommend it!

Steve and I stop for one of many photos that we took along the riverwalk. There are so many picturesque spots.

Mostly we just enjoyed walking along the river and doing some shoppping and trying to decide where we should eat our next meal!

We always enjoy trying new restaurants and new foods while we are traveling. We were especially looking forward to some good fajitas and guacamole down in San Antonio. We thought this looked like a promising place as we strolled along the riverwalk.

We ordered fresh guacamole and they came and made it right at our table. The boys were watching with special interest as they often make home made guacamole and wanted to take notes.

It was wonderful. Two ingredients he added that were really good were fresh orange and cilantro. Yum! I could have eaten this whole bowl by myself!!

We also visited the Alamo (of course!) San Antonio is rich in history.

We did some shopping as well. We found a few treasures to bring home, but mostly we just looked.

Sunday night (after the marathon) we went to 'Howl at the Moon' which both Steve and M had heard about. It is a dueling piano bar and the musicians were AMAZING!! It was a very fun show, for the most part. Occasionally it got a little to crude for our taste, but we still enjoyed it very much. We didn't stay real late as we were pretty beat!

We also took the trolley down to the Old Market and looked around there and had a meal at one of the restaurants Steve and I had eaten at during our previous trips to San Antonio. Yummy fajitas and soppapillas. We certainly did not lose any weight on this trip, despite running 26.2 miles!!! But we had a marvelous trip.

I will end with a few of the 'professional' shots that were taken while we ran the marathon. This is my very favorite. Isn't it a GREAT shot of Steve?

This one isn't as good of me, but it's not bad. I look like I'm moving in a forward motion, which is good!

One of us crossing the finish line! Yeah! We made it!

And finally, with our medals.

That about does it. Next post will be of puppies and people. (Sumo and Sophie and the kids!) Be prepared for how big Sophie has gotten. She no longer looks like a puppy. I think if you look at her long enough she will grow right in front of your eyes. (6 cups of food a day will do that, I think!!) Stay tuned.

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

San Antonio - Part 2

Well, it looks like San Antonio is going to take 3 posts to get it all in! I thought I would continue our TNT/Marathon experience today and then tell you about the other fun 'tourist' things we did in the last post.

I will start at the beginning of our trip. We left our house at 4:00 a.m. on Friday morning for the Cedar Rapids airport. Our flight left at 5:45. We had a very quick stop in Dallas and were in San Antonio TO our hotel by 10:00 a.m. Fortunately our rooms were ready and we were able to check in.

When we got into our room, we noticed the message light flashing on our phone. Strange. We called down and were told that there was a Fed-Ex package there for us. Hmmmm. The box was from my dear friends Renae and Cheryl and was filled with cheese/crackers/salami and apples and nuts and chocolate covered blueberries (the first to go) and a very wonderful note of encouragement! We ran in memory of Renae's mom, Barb and Cheryl's daughter, Lindsay, who were both very important people in our lives. Of course it made me cry!! Thank you, dear friends!

After a yummy lunch on the Riverwalk (more on that in my next post) Steve and I headed to the Alamadome to pick up our race packets and to go to the pre-race expo. There were tons of vendors set up with everything one might need or want for running or walking.

We had a good time at the expo and picked up some fun souvenir clothing items. (Gotta have that!!) Steve signed up for a course tour the next morning so he could get a feel for where we'd be running. They also gave a history of all the missions etc.. that we'd be passing during the race. Steve LOVES that kind of thing!!!

Saturday morning we got up early and met at Hemisfair Park for an all TNT pre-race training run that was sponsored by the Texas TNT chapter. Here are a few from our Iowa chapter that made it up and out of bed for the run.

After an inspiring talk from a TNT participant who is living with leukemia and will be walking the 1/2 marathon the next day, we did a short 2 mile run around the Alamadome and then met back up at the park for Panera bagels. Yum.

Another group shot of the Iowa group.. this time looking down at crazy Steve lying on the ground trying to get the Tower of the Americas in the picture. There is actually quite a funny story about this picture, but I would need Steve's permission to tell it, and I doubt he'd let me!

After a great day with the kids, Steve and I headed to the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott for the TNT pre-race pasta party. We met the Iowa team in the lobby and started hearing lots of noise and excitement coming from the floor above us. As we made our way up the excalator we found the source of the noise. All of the TNT support squad of coaches/mentors/etc.. from all of the different chapters were lined up cheering and clapping for us as we made our way into the ballroom. Wow!

It was quite the line of purple people! It was great to be with so many people who had been training for this race for a common purpose... to help find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. It was very moving. After a delicious pasta meal, they had several speakers who continued to motivate and encourage us. What an awesome experience!!!

Afterwards, the Iowa team met for some last minute 'night-before' instructions and to take a group photo. What a great group of people! We feel blessed to have been a part of this! We then headed back to our rooms in the hopes of getting to bed early and getting a good nights sleep. Tomorrow was the BIG DAY!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Race Day...

So, I thought I would start with Race Day as my first San Antonio post, and then fill you in on other trip highlights in my next post.

We woke up at 4:50 am and got dressed in our running gear and then several layers on top of that. The temperature outside was a chilly 32 degrees and we knew we had quite a bit of time to wait before we crossed the start line. When we opened the door, we were surprised to find it decorated by our TNT Chapter!

We met the team at 5:30 for a pre-race team photo (which I'll post at another time when it is emailed to me) and for some last minute advice from our coach. Here we our with our coach. Yes, he is dressed like Elvis!! What more appropriate attire for a Rock N Roll marathon??

We boarded the TNT charter bus and headed to the starting line. It was dark. It was cold. It was pretty exciting!! We rode up to the start line with 2 fellow team members from Iowa City. One was doing the half; the other one the full marathon like us. It was a first for both of them and they were very excited.

We lined up in corrals based on your expected time of finishing the race. We were in corral 23 (out of maybe 40). The race was started in waves, with a minute and a half between each corral. It was over 45 minutes from the starting gun before we even crossed the start line!! (The Kenyans were almost to the half way point by that time, FPS!) But with as many runners as there were, it was a GREAT way to start the race. It prevented having to just run in a solid pack of people for the first several miles. Our corral finally made it to the start line and we were off!!

Mile 8 was the first spot that we came across our personal cheering squad! The kids were there with shirts they had made and holding signs and cheering loudly. What fun to see them!

I think that they had a great time cheering not only for us, but for all of the runners (over 30,000 of them!!) And they were not the only ones who cheered for us! I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard 'Go Iowa!!'; 'Go TNT!' It was greatly encouraging!!

The kids surprised us and booked it to the mile 10 spot and were there again with their signs and shirts and smiling faces!!

The shirts they had on were great! M's shirt said 'My Inlaws are Rockstars!'. :) A's shirt said 'In Our Dreams We're Kenyans'. (On the back it said 'Ken ya keep up?') R's shirt had one of his famous rock star drawings on with our names, 26.2 etc..

After mile 10, the majority of the course went south of town and out of the populated area. It was beautiful, but started getting pretty long! The bands were a welcome diversion but came and went too fast. And then we hit MILE 20. At mile 20 the pain in my right knee was almost unbearable. Every step when I was running was so painful. At that point we were running 4 minutes and walking 1. I knew I wouldn't cross the finish line if we kept that up. It was a hard moment for me. I thought of the ribbons on my back and reminded myself of why we were doing this. For Lindsay, David, Barb and Jared and everyone who had supported us and I knew I had to keep going. We switched our running to a 2 minute run and then a 2 minute walk. It helped. But it wasn't until we hit mile marker 25 that I knew that I would really make it.

The kids were there at the finish line and had rallied a crowd to cheer 'Go Mom and Dad' as we made it the last .2 miles (uphill no less!) and across the finish line. I couldn't fight the tears of joy when we finally made it across the line, holding hands. We had done it. Despite all of the injuries and set backs and not getting in the training runs that we wanted, we had crossed the finish line. And not in a bad time... 5:32.

In the TNT tent afterwards Steve gives me a victory hug. Steve was a huge encouragement during the race and kept me going even through my 'grumpy' moments. Sometimes he was a bit too perky, but I know he was just trying to keep me going. Thank you, my love.

Will I do it again? NO! Not a full marathon. (And friends and family have been give strict orders to wap me upside the head if I even mention the thought of doing another one!!) I do hope to keep running and will certainly do more 1/2 marathons if the body permits. And I would DEFINITELY do another one with Team in Training. The experience has been incredible and I truly believe in what they are doing. I believe that someday there will be a cure for blood cancer. I believe in the work that LLS is doing in helping those who have been given the diagnosis of Leukemia or Lymphoma. They have come a long way towards a cure, but there is much work to be done. GO TEAM!

Until Next Time...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We Are Finished!!

Just a quick post to let you know that we have finished our race!!! We did it!! Thanks SO much for all of your prayers and encouragement (and support!) as we trained for and now run this marathon! It was great to have the kids here... they have been a great cheering squad! I will post more about our trip and the race over the next few days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week in Review

First off, I want to wish my mom a VERY Happy Birthday!!

Next I thought I would just do the week in review. (Hard to believe it's been over a week since my last post!!!) Sophie experienced her first snow this past week. There wasn't much of it, and it didn't last long, but she had fun!! I think she will LOVE it when we get enough to cover the ground and really have fun in!

The kids were around for a good part of the weekend which is always fun. We decided it was time for the great American deviled egg cook-off. Both A and his girlfriend make them and wanted to have a friendly little taste test contest. So we boiled up 18 eggs and they each had 9 to work with. A worked at the counter....

While CB worked at the kitchen table. She was at a slight disadvantage because all we had was Zinger pickle juice and she usually uses sweet pickle juice in her recipe. (Of course being a Zinger fan, I thought it was really an advantage.....)

The result was a plateful of delicious deviled eggs and us crowning them King and Queen of deviled eggs!

In the meantime, R & M curled up on the couch and M read while the rest of us watched the Vikings-Packers game. (Go Vikings!!!) The Vikings winning was certainly a nice touch to the day. (I think the Bears lost.... sorry Tim!) I believe that makes the Vikings tied for first in their division. Is that right?

I have been knitting some. Mostly working on some felted bowls for a neat event that my friend and neighbor is planning for the first weekend of December.

She is having a one day Holiday event in her home where a bunch of us who make gift items can display/demonstrate/sell to those looking for neat Christmas gifts or 'just because' gifts. It's going to be a fun day! My mom is coming for it with her wheat weaving and M will be there with her jewelry and K is going to be there helping me demonstrate Lefse making. (I've hid the address for privacy reasons since this is out on the web, but if you'd like to come, just email me and I'm happy to send you directions!!!)

In the meantime, Sophie stands with a toy in her mouth just hoping that someone will want to chase her and try to take it from her. That is her very favorite game!! She is now trained to the fence and is able to go outside on her own. She also now has run of the house and is doing quite well with that. I think the worst of the puppy stage is over!!

Well, only a few more days until the marathon!! Right now both Steve and I are feeling pretty good and ready for race day. Not sure how we will feel AFTER race day, but that's ok. We've got lots of time to recover. We found this sign on our last trip to Galena which pretty much sums things up for us. We've had a few parts wear out on us during this training alone!!! I'm not sure if I'll post again before the race, but will try to post something as soon as I can after the race. Thanks again for all of the support and encouragement. Now to just run strong.....

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still Moving

Well, my MRI came back with no significant changes from my back pain in 2005, so I have decided to keep on running. I can push through a bit of pain... Hard to believe that the marathon is a week from this Sunday. I will not deny that I am ready for it to be done!! Here is my race day singlet. It is going to be neat to see fellow team members all along the way and to be able to see where they are from. GO TEAM PURPLE!!

I thought I would share a couple of the Halloween costumes my kids did this year. I thought them very creative!! Here is M. She and R dressed all in black and were the Ipod dance people. Here she is in front of the Apple store in Des Moines.

R went so far as to paint his face black and spray paint his hair as well. They got some GREAT pictures that night! I think they were very creative with their costumes!!!

A used his costume from last year, which is also quite creative.... A toilet. He assured everyone that they were all unused parts!!

Sophie continues to grow. She will be 4 months old on Friday! Wow! Her fence training is going well. She is so smart! We will try her for short times tomorrow off of her leash with her collar on and she how she does. She is going to love the freedom of being outside during the day on her own.

Until Next Time......