Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

West Wing Reunion

I was such a huge West Wing fan. I loved the quick-timing, witty, intelligent dialogue between the characters. I loved the history lessons from President Bartlett. I liked CJ's style and found Josh endearing. I never understood Toby, but sympathized with him. And who didn't love Charlie? He was such a good addition in the later seasons.

When I came across this video of the West Wing's cast reunion, of course I clicked on it. And, in classic Sorkin style, I learned something new.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

South Dakota, Here We Come!

This trip and race were a little bit spontaneous. I was originally scheduled to run the Akron marathon, but realized that training for a marathon was a bit more daunting than my spare time would allow. Since I was already in half marathon shape, I figured, why not...let's run somewhere else and knock out another state!

Enter, South Dakota. And this family is psyched! My race will take me along Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse - two amazing sights here in the United States. And Greg, who is a HUGE fan of Kevin Costner, has signed up us for a Chuckwagon Feast for Sunday night (after the race). The sight of the Chuckwagon Feast is the same place that Dances with Wolves was filmed...and he's pretty darn happy!

So here's a few fun facts about South Dakota.

1. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are sculpted into Mount Rushmore the world's greatest mountain carving.

2. Jack McCall was tried, convicted and hanged two miles north of Yankton in 1877 for the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Yankton cemetery.

3. Tom Brokaw of NBC graduated from Yankton High School and the University of South Dakota.

4. The site of a rich gold strike in 1875, Deadwood retains its mining town atmosphere. While Deadwood is one of the most highly publicized mining towns of the trans-Mississippi West, much of its fame rests on the famous or infamous characters that passed through.

5. South Dakota is the home of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes, which make up the Sioux Nation.

6. The Crazy Horse mountain carving now in progress will be the world's largest sculpture (563' high, 641' long, carved in the round). It is the focal point of an educational and cultural memorial to and for the North American Indian.

7. Custer State Park is home to a herd of 1,500 free-roaming bison. Bison can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. Historically, the bison played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the "tatanka" for food, clothing and shelter.

8. Badlands National Park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.

9. The George S. Mickelson Trail is South Dakota's premier rails-to-trails project. This award winning tail stretches 114 miles from Deadwood to Edgemont.

10. The name "Black Hills" comes from the Lakota words Paha Sapa, which mean "hills that are black". Seen from a distance, these pine-covered hills, rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie, appear black.

Enjoy the weekend - and look for a race review posting and pictures!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Gave Myself Permission to Quit

I gave myself permission to quit marathon training and it was the absolute best decision.

Two weeks ago, at the end of a 17-mile long run, I found myself yet again in the grass outside Starbucks laying there in pain. My calves had tightened up so badly that I couldn't move any farther. Hell, I couldn't even walk inside to get me a bold cup of coffee to wait it out. Stretching was useless. And this was the third week in a row that this problem had wrecked me. I had ruled out all the usual suspects - hydration, nutrition, stretching. But alas, one issue had constantly surfaced - I was only running once a week and my fitness level simply couldn't improve with only one weekly run. I had spent the past four weeks not being able to push beyond 15-17 miles. How on earth was I going to finish 26.2 miles if 17 was crippling? And, worst of all, running was no longer fun...and had become work...painful, long and lacking in smiles.

I registered for the Akron marathon early in February before some major life-changing events had crept into my schedule. And before I knew it, the last weekend in September was sneaking up on me. Between an unexpected promotion requiring additional hours of work and taking away from my usual lunchtime run, family commitments, the heat, and a myriad of excuses (some with merit, some just whiny), I finally decided that running the marathon was not a smart choice and would only result in continued misery and/or injury. Once I made the decision to quit, I cannot even describe the weight that lifted from my shoulders and how liberating it felt. And that's when I had my first enjoyable run in MONTHS. I ran pain-free, smiling, and with a pretty decent spring in my step.

I won't be toeing the line September 29 in Akron, but that's ok. It's more than ok! Since I am in good shape and my long runs have been in the 15 mile range, I decided to go ahead and knock out a half marathon in a state that I haven't checked off yet. And besides, I enjoy the half marathon distance. I've never enjoyed the marathon distance, and sadly, always thought that you needed to add marathons to your accomplishments to be considered a real runner. Screw that! I've run 22 half marathons, numerous 10ks and countless 5ks - I am a real runner. But I'm also a wife, mother, worker bee...and somewhere, in between it all, there must be balance.

Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lots of Firsts in this House

Not only did Megan begin college, but the following week Bridget enjoyed her first day of Kindergarten. And she's been loving it ever since!

We also visited Megan for the first time since moving her in to college. I waited a WHOLE month to visit. And let me just tell you, it felt much longer. I love this picture of the two girls catching up.

And then last week, Bridget had her first soccer game with Coach Greg! She's in her stylish pink Umbro shorts and her purple game jersey! That's my little Barbie doll!