The Good Life Halfsy {Race Recap}

Throwback Thursday post to my last race of the season and my last race before surgery.

I was hopeful that I could beat my existing half PR set last year at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. As Josh and I talked about the race, he offered to pace me. While I took his offer with a grain of salt, I figured why not take him up on his offer. The worst that could happen is I annoy him or he annoys me and we part ways. I knew I should be able to run at least as fast as I ran the Twin Cities 10 Miler a month ago as the course was basically the opposite of what I’d be running in the Halfsy.

Sunday morning I woke up and did my pre-race thing. We kind of lounged around the house since the starting line was just a few miles from Josh’s parent’s house and the race didn’t start until 8:30 am. Both Jim and Nancy, as well as my sister-in-law volunteered to do traffic control for the race, so at about 8, we all got in the van and made our way to the start.

The starting line was well organized with huge pace flags lining the shoot. We snapped a quick selfie and lined up just ahead of the 1:40 pacer. Josh confidently told me that I could run under a 1:40 and I’d be upset if with myself if I didn’t at least try. I said ok and right on time, we crossed the starting line.

The start was a little odd, winding around a high school then out onto 70th Street. We saw all three Van Kirk’s in the first mile which was fun. We had some pretty good rolling hills in the first few miles, but nothing too challenging. I wasn’t looking at my watch, running by feel and talking with Josh a bit. When we passed the three mile mark, he pulled me back a little bit. I was feeling great. The temperature was in the mid-30s which is my ideal running weather. As we ran down 70th and into Holmes Lake Park, I knew there was a fairly significant downhill around the 5th mile. Josh told me that we were going to take advantage of the downhill and run the next mile at 7:15. Um, what?

The downhill felt nice and we covered that mile in 7:14. I was able to recover from the faster speed easily once the course flattened out again. Around mile seven I took my gel. It was a little early for me but I wasn’t carrying my own water and I remembered the next water stop wasn’t until around mile nine. A short while later we could see the capital building. There was a large crowd cheering us on as we ran by the halfsy point of the Halfsy.

We turned onto a really nicely maintained trail that I often ran portions of with Nancy. There were a few more small rolling hills. Everyone once in a while we’d pick up the pace, then pull it back. I looked at my watch and saw our average pace was sub 7:30 min/mile. I was running this race faster than the 10 miler by about 10 seconds/mile.

When we left the trail, the course got pretty industrial. It was not the most scenic but we were closing in. I was getting tired and the biggest hill of the race was coming at mile 13. Between miles 11 and 12, Josh pushed me to run a 7:20 for a quarter mile. I begrudgingly did it but told him I was done. I was going to try to sprint to the finish but I had to save some energy for the hill.

As we turned a corner out of a residential area, I saw the LINCOLN bridge and the hill I was going to have to climb to get up and over it to the finish line. Ugh. What sadist thought that was a good idea? I did my best to just chug up it. Once at the top I was struggling to keep my breathing steady. Working my arms, I started to make my descent to the finish line. Josh pushed me to pass people as I tried to sprint through the finish.

As I crossed the finish line I lifted my arms above my head and a huge smile crossed my face. I set a 3 minute, 33 second personal record. I think sometimes Josh has more faith in how fast I am than I do.

Official finish: 1:37:37     Avg. Pace: 7:26 min/mile

I was 11th out of 515 my age group (30-34), 57 out of 2919 women and 259 out of 4505 overall. That put me in the top 2% of my category and gender, as well as, top 5% of all the runners at the race. I was pretty excited!

This race was really well organized. Other than that hill at mile 13, the course was PR friendly and really well marked. There were plenty of volunteers at the water stops and at the finish line. Bonus, the lines for the post-race massage were so short, both Josh and I got to have one after only a five minute wait. We got really nice long sleeve tech shirts and the medals were nice. I definitely do this race again if it worked out for us to be in Lincoln.

This race helped me get excited for my upcoming marathon training cycle. I haven’t lost my speed and there will be more personal records to come.

 

A Ski Date

Dates. What are those again? We’ve almost forgotten around here. One of the things we said we’d do when we were parents was have a date night at least once a month. Then reality set in. Between my desire to spend as much time with the babies when I wasn’t working and limited babysitting options, months flew by without a single date night. We suddenly spent more time being mommy and daddy and less time being Jess and Josh.

Case in point, Josh and I had our first date night since Anderson was born while we were up in the mountains over Christmas. Yep he was nearly five months old already (so behind on his update). Our last date night before that….six months prior.

This year it’s going to be different. At least we’re trying to make it different. Last week Josh suggested that we take advantage of the MLK holiday by dropping the kids off at daycare and heading to the mountains for the day. I momentarily felt guilty but realized that me and Josh being happy is good for the kids. How could spending a day together not be great for everyone?

Yesterday morning we packed ourselves and the kids up, got them settled at daycare by a bit after 7am and set off to Winter Park. We were amazed at the lack of traffic as we cruised right up. We arrived, put on our gear, picked up our season passes (thanks again Amber!) and were on the lift by 10.

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It was a perfect day to ski. It was sunny, tiny breeze up on the top of the mountain and warm.

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We did a handful or so of runs before it was lunch time and time to pump. We happily sat across from each other laughing and talking, free from distractions other than the sound of my pump (Of course after I had pumped at the table while we ate in the food court, I discovered a hidden Mother’s Room down in the back of the restrooms in the basement.)

We packed back up and headed up for a few more runs.

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We planned to be at the car about 2:15 to leave to get the kids, but at 1:50 we found ourselves at the top of the mountain surrounded by runs that did not go to the bottom. Unfortunately for us we had to look at this horrible view as we tried to figure out how to get to the runs we needed to go down.

Winter park

We took one more lift and got to a run that would take us down. We ran a little bit later than planned but still made it to daycare to pick up the kids before dinner time.

The day was just what we needed – a day just to be Jess and Josh again. It was so much fun! I can’t wait until this weekend when we get to get all dressed up for a hospital gala. Two dates in one week…awesome!

What are you favorite dates?

Happy Birthday to Josh

Josh was feeling a little meh about his birthday this year. We thought that we should do something to make him feel a little extra special for his birthday. Last week I took Ella to the Dollar Store. I told her she could pick anything she wanted to give to Daddy for his birthday. She had so much fun picking things out to give him. With everything costing only a dollar, I was happy to oblige. Here’s what she picked out in addition to the hats and banner.

Gifts from Ella

Gifts were just a part of the celebration. Anderson and I met Josh for some delicious Thai food for lunch to break up his work day. When we got home it was down to business.

birthday setup Mommy and Anderson

I finished up Josh’s birthday cake and made Moussaka, which he had requested for dinner.

When he got home Ella ran up gave him a huge hug and yelled happy birthday! Immediately he was directed to put on the birthday hat she picked out for him because we were having a birthday party.

Daddy and kids

After dinner we all sang Happy Birthday and ate cake before Josh opened his gifts.

A birthday success!

blowing out candles

Happy 32nd Birthday Lovie!

Five Years Later

I remember watching the sunset over the ocean from the balcony of our bungalow in Belize and talking about what we thought we’d be doing in five years.

I remember saying that my goal was to be able to fit into my wedding dress. Shortsighted much? We had no idea where we’d really be a few years later. We thought maybe we’d have some kids, maybe we’d travel a bit, move to another state or country.

Here we are, five years later.

We haven’t made a big move and there is no way I could zip up my wedding dress right now. We have however, traveled and have two beautiful, healthy babies.

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We’ve had some sad times, some mad times, some frustrating times, but more times that have been filled with love and happiness than I could have imagined on that balcony.

I still look forward to Josh coming home at the end of the day, miss him when we have to travel apart, and am 100% sure I picked the right man to spend my life with. These past five years have been pretty amazing and I’m so blessed.

I love you Josh. Happy 5th Anniversary!