Thursday, November 20, 2014

Josie and Tessa's Meet! Videos!

Last weekend, we spent Saturday morning in Martinsville watching the girls' second gymnastic's meet. Tom and I missed their very first meet of the season so this was our first time watching them this season and first time watching Tessa period. Despite the 5:30AM wake up call, we were excited to see them in action!

Tessa is a Level 1 this year. So, she was up first!

Her second vault...


Beam (This one is really hard to see - she's in the pink in the back right corner of the gym)...

And, finally, floor...

I didn't get photos of Jack, but he was SO well behaved! He was happy to have the Kinnaman boys to pal around with during Tessa's meet. Then, he found a friend part way through and I was glad that he was entertained. Josie and dad were good spectators too.

It was really fun to watch her compete after four years of practices. Awards were given to each age division and Tessa won her division! We were so proud of her! 

She was pretty proud of herself too. 

Up next were the Level 2 girls. This is Josie's second season. (She started as a level 2 and Tessa started as a level 1.) I shared videos of her first meet in this post

One of her vaults...

And, bars...

Then, over to the beam. Dad got a great spot to video!

And, finally, over to the floor.

She did such a great job! So improved over last year! (Here's her first meet post.) Second place finish for this girl! And, in the 9-year-old division!

They've come a long way since their very first time showing off their skills! I forgot all about this post from 2011! Last night, Josie managed her first back handspring in practice too - something I never managed to do. :) 

Being a parent, you have proud moments and not-so-proud moments. This is definitely a proud moment. It's even more meaningful because of how proud they were of themselves. I think it's all finally clicking with them that working hard really does pay off and feel good. Another important lesson learned in youth sports! 

Great job girls! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Monumental Half Marathon - Race Recap!

One week ago, I ran my fourth half marathon of the year. As I shared in my 2014 Goals post, I had two running goals for this year. First, to run a half in under 1:50. That one didn't happen and I'm 100% OK with that. Second, to run 13.1 four times in races. The Indianapolis Monumental allowed me to do just that!

Here's why I'm 100% OK with not hitting the sub-1:50 goal.

1. There's always another race. (Not so with a goal of 4 in 2014.)

2. My training was sub-par - actually it was virtually non-existent after September - due to my trip to Uganda.

3. I proved to myself that I have more to give in future races.

I will start by saying this was a fantastic race. Well organized, great expo, appropriate aid stations, interesting course, crowd support and of course, a FLAT course. And, although it didn't happen for me, many PR's were set. The most unique are covered in this article. Highly recommend this as a fall race that should be on your list!

And, now, for the recap.

Friday was Halloween. And it was expo day. Jack and I made the trek into Indy to get bibs for a handful of people. Being the awesome wife that I am, I actually forgot to register Tom for this race. However, we knew someone who got injured and couldn't run so we were able to do a switch. I have to give major props to the race organizers here as they allowed me to switch the bib to Tom's name and age group for a small $20 fee. (Much better than the last minute entry fee!) I'm not sure too many races offer that and we were greatly appreciative! Now, I just need to buy him a shirt.

Even though I had a very short time at the expo, I stocked up. I picked up four race packets, four posters, a T-Shirt, 2 pair of disposable gloves, more GU packs, 2 hats and 2 sets of handwarmers. At this point, we knew it was going to be cold. Looking back, I'm so glad I was prepared!

On my way out, I saw a booth for Jeff Galloway. (For those non-runners, he is an Olympian and very well known in the running world for his injury-free training programs and column in Runner's World.) I noticed he was speaking later in the day, but didn't expect to see him at the actual booth. I felt a little starstruck and bought a few books for him to sign. And, of course, took a photo.

Seriously, that was enough motivation to get me to the starting line. 

I had been really dreading this race to be quite honest. A part of me was so disappointed that this was supposed to be THE race. The one where I cracked 1:50. And, I knew that wasn't happening. Aside from the Uganda trip and the lack of long runs, I managed to pull something in my back the week prior and had logged only a few runs since the Indianapolis (Half) Marathon. I was not feeling confident.

Really, before this moment, I was ready to throw in the towel and register for the Santa Hustle in December for my 4th race of the year. I needed an attitude adjustment and this was the ticket. 

We decided on a pre-Trick-or-Treat pasta dinner for Tom and I. Nothing fancy (AKA no photos), but it was very nice to have it over earlier in the evening. I also downed a few glasses of water. Hydration was not top of my mind like it usually is - I think because of the cool temps. 

Costumes and makeup and coats and we were ready! Seriously, it was one of the most miserable Trick-or-Treats that I remember! The kids were good sports though and managed a decent candy haul. (Tessa was the smart one - I suggested she go as a snowboarder.)

After a second dinner of chips and guac and some other snacks at the neighbor's, Tom and I turned in fairly early. I think we were in bed by 10. And, we both slept so well! In fact, we're lucky we woke up. Tom didn't set an alarm and I changed my Tuesday AM alarm so no alarm for us! 

Tom checked the weather while still in bed and said, "Sara, it's 32 degrees out there." I said, "Nothing has changed. That's what it said last night." That's all we said about that. I told him later that if either one of us would have pressed the issue, we wouldn't have gotten out of bed! 

The girls spent the night at the neighbors and we dropped Jack there too. At this point, we were running slightly behind schedule. If you know me, I don't like to be late. And, on-time is late. So, I was a bit stressed. The traffic jam going into the parking garage didn't help. Turns out we were all good and were able to meet our friends at the Marriott. No picture of the group, but here we are in our matching hats. 

We were able to hold tight inside until the last minute. I think we stayed there until about 5 minutes before the race started. We split up at some point and I found myself in the corral alone. This is a big race, especially since the full and half start together.

It was cold in the corrals, but lucky for me, it was a short wait. I made it to the start fairly fast and off we went! Even though I knew this wouldn't be a PR race for me, the race adrenaline had me flying high! The early miles just flew by and at a decent pace. I decided early on that my goal was under 2 hours, but for the first few miles, I was clocking an 8:40 pace so I went with it. I managed to hold that at least through the 10K mark. 

Here we are running toward one of the monuments on the course. Just a little crooked! 

Around mile 2, I realized I was overdressed. Honestly, I probably had on two layers too many. I told myself that I could take off a layer one mile after my feet unfroze. (That would mean my core was warm.) That was the worst part of the early race. My feet were like bricks they were so cold! My hands were good because I had gloves with hand warmers inside. I also tucked my phone in there for the whole race. 

I felt good. Really good. I started thinking I could get under 1:55 which would be impressive, considering my training. I came upon Hailey Danisewicz, an above-the-knee amputee running the full marathon. She went on to break the Women's Marathon Record for above-knee amputees. Of course, I didn't know that she was going to do that when I saw her, but was glad to catch the announcement and to have run beside her on the course! 

I found myself fairly emotional many times during the race. I had refocused my attention on the fact that, as long as I finished (which wasn't in doubt really), I would be fulfilling a year long goal. One that I had set a few years prior. One that would propel me into 2015 when I would be running 5. And, into 2020, when I would be running 10 at the age of 40. That kept me going. When the half broke from the full, I wanted to high five all of the runners continuing on for the full. What an accomplishment. 

Then, mile 8 and 9 came along. Somewhere in there was the slightest, and I mean slightest, of inclines. I slowed down. By mile 10, I was struggling. I remember telling myself that if I could pass 10 people, I could walk. That worked great until I passed 8 and then was far away from the next pack. Mile 10 was my slowest. I think this is always one of the hardest honestly. Three miles seems like forever and a day.  

I did a lot of body checks during those last three miles. What hurts? Nothing. How are your lungs? Fine. I was just out of gas. I'm sure it was due to the lack of long runs and hydration. The endurance just wasn't there. One foot in front of the other got me to the finish. 

Finally, we reached Monument Circle again. I remember from watching Tom last year that the faces on the runners turning that corner were priceless. The disappointment was so apparent on most runners turning that corner. I was one of those faces this time. You turn that corner and expect to see the finish line. Instead, you see a long road still ahead. Slightly discouraging. Another little, tiny walk break for me. 

Eventually, I saw the marathon marker of 26 miles which meant only .2 miles left. I kicked it in as much as I could. Tom was right there at the finish. I was glad because I almost collapsed. I have to say that I felt worse at that finish line than any other race. My stomach was turning and my legs felt pretty wobbly. I attribute that to lack of hydration and, of course, proper training. As I said on Instagram, I was literally leaning on him for support. One tired girl! 

We hobbled back to our car. Both of us were overdressed for the run and completely drenched in sweat. Which made us even colder after we were done. I took off my hat in the car and my hair was soaked! I didn't end up taking any layers off during the race because I was afraid my wet clothes would make me way too cold. I was right.

My time was only 6 seconds slower than the Indianapolis Half two weeks prior! How crazy is that?! I am more than pleased with my time of 1:57:15. To know that I can go out and run 13.1 at that pace with very little training is very encouraging. It means that I have a real chance of sub-1:50 with the right training, hydration and nutrition. That makes me feel really, really good. And, really, really excited. 

I came across this on the Runner's World Instagram feed a few days after this race. I've said this many times but to be honest, I really don't enjoy running. I do, however, enjoy the feelings that come from running. Setting and meeting long term goals, especially while struggling along the way, is such an exhilarating experience. It makes me happy. 

That all being said... 1:49:59... I'm coming for you. In 2015, you will be mine. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Indianapolis (Half) Marathon Race Recap

Half #3 is in the books for the year! 3/4 of the way through my goal! As I said in a Facebook update it turns out I CAN run a 1/2 on 4 weeks rest. But, only if I don't want to be able to walk the next day.

Here were my thoughts heading into the race. Positive thinking!

1. At least my legs would be rested.
2. This is "just" a training race.
3. I had my pick of running clothes for race day as everything was clean (because I hadn't run for so long). Turns out, that wasn't true and I was hand washing my favorite shorts Friday night!
4. My music would sound good because I hadn't heard it for so long.

Mom came in on Friday morning and we took the kids to Conner Prairie to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather! I took one picture. Of a cow.

Then, we went over to the expo to pick up our packets. This is a small expo but the girls managed to find some headbands they couldn't resist. Thank goodness for Gram! :) 

Tom was kind enough to cook us a yummy dinner of pasta and chicken and then we were off to bed. But, not before laying out our gear. "Time to make history" seemed a bit ambitious for me!

We got up earlier than usual. The girls had their first gymnastics meet of the season and we were all going to miss it. I am so thankful for my neighbor and friend, Steph, who took the girls and Jack for the morning. And, my other friends, Jason (I'll give him the shout out here since I missed him on Facebook) & Tiffany, for recording their performances and sending it to me. Can't wait to watch them compete next month! 

We took off around 7AM and rolled into the parking lot around 7:30. Brrrr. It was cold! I ended up running in my shorts (as always), a running t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt and my running jacket. I tied the jacket around my waist around mile 3. We paced the parking lot before the start and snapped a picture. 

Then we were off! Mile 1 seemed to fly by. Our watches went off for 1mile at about 8:19 but we didn't hit the 1 mile marker until about 8:40 when our watches said 1.05 miles. My goal was to run the first 8 miles at an easy pace of around 9:15 and the last 5 at my goal half pace of 8:15. So, 8:40 was a bit fast. I told mom that I would fall back if mile 2 came in under 9. It did. 8:43.

We split up here. I watched her blaze ahead. She's in the pink with the green jacket.

I stayed steady around 8:50 to 9 minute miles. 

3 - 9:09 (Decent sized hill here)
4 - 8:50
5 - 8:47
6 - 8:47
7 - 8:54
8 - 8:59

I've said it the last two years (2012 Recap and 2013 Recap), but this is such a pretty race. This photo doesn't do it justice. It seems to hit the sweet spot of the season of fall leaves. One of these days, we'll have a bright, blue sky too!

At this point, I was feeling good. Honestly, I could have stayed right there and probably made it through at around an 1:55. But, I had a plan and I was going to do my best to stick to it. 

So, I changed up the playlist and took off. This is an uncrowded race and it was a little uncomfortable to just "take off." (It's a small-ish race with less than 1500 half runners.) But, remember? I had a plan. So, mile 9 was 7:58 and my goal pace is 8:15. A tad too fast. I think I caught up to mom around mile 10 and a water station. I kept at it and did 8:24 for mile 10. Not shabby but obviously, I was slowing down. 

Have I mentioned the hills on this course? No? Well, there are hills. And, there is a BIG one during mile 11 and I think there was more than one. My pace slowed considerably. Mile 11 was a 9:41. Mile 12 was a little better at 9:13 and my last mile was 9:18. Back to my "easy" pace I was supposed to have at the beginning. I can't even tell you how much worse this felt than the first few miles. 

I was just out of gas. It's times like this that I think about what actually feels bad. My feet hurt for sure. But, other than that, my legs didn't hurt, my lungs were fine, but I didn't have much left. I was surprised my time was as good as it was during those miles. At some point, I realized that I could get a course PR. I broke 2 hours at this race in 2012. I had in my head it was 1:57:50 something. 

I finished at 1:57:09. My 2012 time was 1:57:40. Pretty close. 

At the end of the race, I was bushed. I'm pretty sure I felt worse than after the full. My legs were wobbly and I had to go to the bathroom so bad! This is the only race where I almost stopped at the Port-a-johns on the course. I blame the extra Powerade I had that morning! I wondered over to the bathroom while mom got our gear. I came out to this!

Age Group Award Winner! Mom ended up with a 1:55:08. That is awesome. 

This is a really tough course. With the exception of the crazy hill at the end of the Steamboat race, and honestly, the hills of the Dawes 5K, this is by far the toughest running I have done in a race.

All in all? A successful day for all! A course PR for both of us. Just a flat-out PR for mom. And, I realized I could power through a race on too much rest. {Spoiler Alert: I'm going to try that again this coming weekend.}

I rounded out the night like I had the two previous years - at the Rotary Steak and Bake. I did spend three hours on the couch though first. My Garmin Vivofit step counter did hit a new record - 35,519 steps for the day. 

I'm so glad mom and I got to do this together! Even though we didn't actually run very much together, it was quite the experience to share! How many girls can say they did something like this with their mom? I hope mine can too someday. Thanks mom!

Indianapolis Half - 10/19/2014 (My 9th Half!)
Time: 1:57:09
Pace: 8:57
Overall Place: 322/1432 
Division Place: 25/141 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Fall Afternoon

I'm once again dreadfully behind on the blog. I'm also dreadfully behind on laundry. The world will go on. I owe a race racap from last weekend and I need to finish my trip to Dubai. But, for now, you'll have to deal with pictures of the kids.

I was bound and determined to get some photos of the kids around the beautiful fall leaves before they turned brown and the skies turned gray. Well, I got a few. Nothing spectacular, but I got out there. And, their hair wasn't brushed, their outfits were far from perfect, but I was determined.

That's all I got out of the girls. They ran off to play. Somehow I kept Jack's attention.

Dad made Jack a "phone" out of a spare paver from the new patio.

This is a totally new face.

Then, Jack showed us how to do a skin the cat. In slow motion and in fast motion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Indianapolis (Half) Marathon This Weekend

I didn't add the exclamation point to the end of the post title. I have to say I'm probably the least excited about this race than any I've had to this point. I've undertrained (mainly due to the trip to Uganda which I wouldn't trade for anything) and honestly, I'm just not feeling my running mojo.

I missed three long runs (yikes!) but my longest was 11 miles which isn't too bad. It's just that it was three weeks ago. I've had two solid runs since coming home, but they're not long ones.

First run back on US soil...

Fall weather is the best running weather - just watch out for hidden sticks and walnuts.

Yes. Those are bugs on my neck and under my eyes. I also had some up under my hat. I wish it was because I was running so fast that I was taking them out left and right. Not so much. Just a run at twilight.

I know the excitement and butterflies will come. They always do. And, this is "just" a training run for my goal race on November 1st. My plan is to run 8 miles "easy" and 5.1 at "goal half marathon pace." I'm pretty sure I can do that. One step at a time right?

Plus, it can't be as hard as last year when I did the full. Perspective!

And, I realized that I have the most races ever out in front of me - 5! This weekend, November 1st, January in Texas, February in California and May back at the Indy Mini will round out 5 in just over 6 months.

Now that makes me a little more excited.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day Eleven - A New Continent - Rotary International VTT 2014 - Kampala, Uganda

{This is a series in posts about our trip to Uganda for the Riley/Rotary Vocational Training Team. To start at the beginning, go to this post. Check out the team blog at If you visit the team blog, please leave a comment! The team loves to hear your encouraging words!}

Our last morning waking up at the Golf Course Hotel! I noticed this morning that the breakfast at the hotel didn't have much left that was appetizing. The food was really great the whole week but after having every day, I was ready for a change I guess.

We went over to the hospital to say our final goodbyes! (A note here: Ugandans don't like to say goodbye so they just say, "Until next time!") I brought my "good" camera but I'm afraid the pictures turned out a little blurry. Hopefully, I got a few good ones.

Everyone was doing great! A few kids were going to be moved down to the step-down unit today and a there was a rumor that Barbra and Patience will get to go home soon!


Stephanie and Princess' mom

Dr. Turrentine checking out Patience

The girls with Becca, an ICU nurse

The girls with Trina who spent nights in the ICU

Barbra and her mom

Patience and her mom

The ICU team didn't leave until later in the evening and so they went to Buganda Road market. This time by boda boda. The three of us heading to Dubai went up to the room to pack. We left for the airport a few hours early. I took some pictures out of the taxi window.

But first, a look outside our hotel room window.

All along the roads are these little nursery/garden areas. 

More construction


As I've mentioned previously, the traffic here can be really bad so we left early. Luck was on our side though and we made it to the airport without traffic problems. Luggage checkin was a different story! Eventually, we made it through and to the gate with really very little time to spare.

The flight to Dubai was uneventful and I slept lot of the way. Once at the Dubai airport, I realized how different these two cultures actually are! It was obvious even in the airport! More about that tomorrow!