You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, May 17, 2013

Harpers Ferry Half Marathon race report, 2013

I ran this race last year and what a different experience it was this year!

Like last year, Hank ran the 4 mile option, though it was closer to 4.4 miles this year. He didn't want to do his own race report but just wanted to say he had a fun run, and he was glad it didn't rain too hard.

I'll just cut to the chase and tell you I had a darn good time with this race. It was hard work for sure, but my mental state throughout the race was excellent. 

My plan was to use this as a training run. So that meant I would start off slow and ease up from there. I was looking to run 11ish or slower miles and to happily walk the brutal hills. I lined up at the back, starting chatting with the folks around me and talked pretty much the whole race with anyone nearby.  I'm sure there were folks who either dropped off or sped up because I was so chatty!

As diabolical as the course is, it really is a nice mix of trail and roads, and you can't beat the scenery in this area. We've had a lot rain lately and both the Potomac and Shenendoah rivers have been at/near flood stage. Harpers Ferry is at the confluence of these rivers so flooding would have been an issue for the race organizers. Thankfully they didn't have to worry about it. 

The first major uphill is from lower old town to upper old town. The picture below doesn't really do it justice because it's about a mile from top to bottom. There was a woman on her porch cheering for us, "Keep going! The hill really does have an end!"
It was on this hill last year that my brain fizzled and popped. This year I ran about half way up and then walked the rest. Got to the top and started running again. Happy!

I happily plodded along for the remainder of the course and crossed the finish in 2:27 and change...about 6 minutes faster than last year. How funny is that! I have to say I also felt sooo much better after this race, no weird foot issues or leg cramps. yay!

Now if I can hang on to this mindset and just roll with whatever my runs bring me, I'll be golden!

My thoughts on
Price: It was $60 to register the day before (my bad) which I think is a bit steep, but they let kids under 18 run the 4 mile for free and kids always run the 1 mile for free.
Course: Very challenging hills, nice mix of trails and road. Well marked. Lots of enthusiastic course marshalls and volunteers
Food on the course: The stations later in the course seemed to be just water (though I may have missed a Gatorade stop somewhere). I'm not a big drinker (unless it's wine), but it was warm and very humid out so a shot of Gatorade would have been nice. They also had Hammer gels which make me sick so I didn't partake.Because of my stomach issues, I almost always carry my own fuel so it wasn't an issue for me.
Atmosphere: Party time. It's fun to run with folks who love to run for fun. [say that 3 times fast].  Mark Cucuzzella and his staff from Two Rivers Treads are enthusiastic to say the least. What I really love is that the races they're a part of are fun for the whole family. They cheer very loudly when kids cross the finish line, and every kid gets a medal...who doesn't love that!
Post Race: The post race food was pizza and beer, oh and some apples, oranges and Gatorade too. I'm grudgingly gluten free so I ate 2 apples and drank a bunch of Gatorade. I found a Lara bar in the bottom of my bag so I ate that too. But the rest of my family was gorging themselves. Bill had to go to work so he had to pass on the beer.
Swag: Since I didn't pre-register I had to stop by the reg table after I ran to see if any shirts were left. Men's medium was the smallest size left. Sadness, but again not a big deal to me. The medal is a replica of John Brown's armory in Harpers Ferry so the history geek in me thinks that's pretty cool.

Fun race. Fun atmosphere. I definitely recommend it as a nice change from a boring ol' flat road race. ;)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Diary of a Bad Cat

Note: I didn't take any photos of this event because it all happened before I had my coffee so you're stuck with what I could find online.

Slater is Shane's cat (so he thinks - she prefers to think of herself as a free agent). And she is mischief to infinity.

We have cleaned up many, many murdered toilet paper rolls

But her latest adventure has taken her to a new low.

Bill's dog is old and poops in the house more often than I would like. So when I stepped into the hallway at 6:15 this morning and saw 2 brown masses, I immediately turned back to Bill, "your dog crapped in the hall again," and kept walking.

He came out to me holding one of the brown masses in his hand (ewwww!) and said I owed Blu an apology because Slater was the criminal this time.

It would seem Shane's little princess somehow snagged the driftwood from the fishbowl and dragged it from the boys' room to the hallway. She then grabbed the FISH (a plecostomus) and dragged him to the hallway.

The fish was still alive so Bill dumped both back into the bowl and we got a good laugh out of it. While Bill was in the shower, she did it AGAIN. This time dumping water all over the dresser. The fish survived again and wee have moved his bowl to the kitchen where we can better protect him.

She's a wily one, that Slater...

Monday, April 01, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

Even the casual observer will notice that my posting has been a bit lax lately. I can promise you that it's not because we're sitting around with nothing to do. Sometimes it's much easier to just load a picture onto Facebook with a caption and be done with it. But I hav to remind myself that the purpose of the blog is for the kids, and I don't let them on Facebook. :D

A couple of weekends ago Bill and Hank went camping with the Boy Scouts so I had Ella and Shane to entertain. I also had to get Jake to/from work on my own. Saturday morning he had to be there at 8 so we were up and out pretty early.

We picked up Ella's BFF Elizabeth and headed to a Cub Scout conservation project. Nothing like picking up some trash to get your day started!

Then we headed to Lowes where we attempted to build some very complicated Piranhakeet choppers (based on the Croods).
Next month we're going to Home Depot to build bird feeders... that's more my speed!

A quick lunch

Playdate at the park with some friends

Next we headed to Whole Foods in Gaithersburg where they were hoping to break the world record for number of hula hoopers in one place. Elizabeth and her sister take a Rock A Hula class so they can do all sorts of fun tricks with the hoops.

Ella, as with most things, is a natural and can hoop for hours (I can't even make one rotation!)

And my little booger butt looked like he was having a seizure out there. He had a blast until he got whacked in the face by another hula of the perils of being short, I suppose.
I don't think they had enough hoopers, but the kids definitely had a great time. And we went home and crashed on the couch after our crazy day!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hank is in training

He's only 10 - though he'll quickly remind us that he's a young adult (!!) - so it's pretty low key training, but he has a couple of goals he's working towards. He wants to hike the 15K option at the Ironmasters Challenge in a month.
He is also working on the Boy Scout hiking merit badge. The requirements for this are pretty steep so it will require hard work on his part. And we're all too happy to help him reach those goals.
So he and I looked at the calendar and made a little training plan with hikes of varying and increasing distances.
The good thing - he could probably easily hike 10 miles today because he's an active kid and we hike on a regular basis.
Not so good - we don't typically have him carry a pack and he struggles at pushing himself sometimes.
So yesterday I got out his pack and put in just a few things that he'll need to get used to carrying - first aid kit, small headlamp, extra socks, rain poncho, compass, and flint and steel. And I attached one water bottle. I forgot to weigh it, but it wasn't heavy at all... well, Shane added a bunch of snacks so maybe it was slightly heavy?
I decided to hike at Reno Monument on the AT because it's mostly flat and not very rocky. A little over a mile to the Rocky Run shelter, hang out and play, and then hike back for almost 3 miles. Excellent!
Two false starts for forgotten items and we were off. Not even half a mile in, Hank was ready to pass off the pack so I took it.
Spring is trying to arrive!

We got to Rocky Run and the kids had a few snack and played.
They have 2 shelters - the new built a few years ago

And the old one built by the CCC during the depression
Sweet hike, lots of fun.
Then the winds changed.
The kids were running up the hill to head back and Shane crashed, hard. He landed in a bunch of rocks on his hips and knees, and the blood-curdling scream that followed was probably heard for miles.

Thankfully, there was no blood, and no bones were poking out. He doesn't usually scream like that unless he has broken something so I was a tad concerned. I was well over a mile from the truck with a 50 pound kid who couldn't walk.

We still needed to stop at the dairy and Ella had an orthodontist appointment so we couldn't just sit around in hopes that he'd feel better soon.

We dumped half our water to lighten our load. I gave the remaining bottles to Ella to carry, and Hank got the pack. I put Shane on my back - thankfully his hips were ok and it was just his knee that hurt because I don't think I could have carried him on the front of me for very long.

It turned out he was fine...swollen and bruised, but fine.

The good that came out of this was that Hank had no choice but to carry the pack, and he did it. He was lagging in the last bit so he gave it to Ella... who looked like a cheerful little hobbit and skipped along with no trouble at all, but that's a post for another day...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bridging from Cub to Boy Scouts

sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up. He bridged from Cub Scouts into our local Boy Scout Troop. It's not too huge a change for him though since the scoutmaster is the wife of his track/cross country coach. We've known her for several years and it's a great group of boys. He's just excited for more opportunities to camp, hike and fish.

 They had a nice little ceremony where they received their neckerchief and shoulder loops.

Then they put my baby in a canoe and paddled him, in the dark (!!), across the pond to signify the transition from Cubs to Boys. He thought it was SaWeet! and really enjoyed it.

Then they stood around the new Boy Scouts and recited the Boy Scout Law and talked about what each point meant.
 He's excited! Their first campout is coming up soon and they have lots of fun things planned. Of course we've already marked our calendar for summer camp. But I'm not sure who's more excited about that...Hank or Bill!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cub Scout Swim Meet

Our Scouting District puts on a low key swim meet each year which is a lot of fun. And by low key I mean, everyone swims 1 length, there are no ropes/lanes, and it's not timed - first kid to touch the wall wins.
This is a great thing for my boys since they aren't exactly Michael Phelps, but they do enjoy swimming.
Warming up

Getting warm after warming up

Shane's goal was to not stop and touch the floor, and he did it! He swam the whole length without stopping.

I think I can, I think I can!

What he enjoyed most was the free swim before and after the meet, but he said he had a great time and wants to do it again next year. Yay Shane!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Forest of Needwood 5 Miler Race Report by Hank

I opted not to run this year - again. A good run during this race eludes me every time so I will be content to volunteer and cheer for everyone else!
Hank decided at the last minute that he wanted to run it. He's young, strong and healthy so I figured why not?
Here's his race report:
The race is a hard one, very tricky because of the hills, but I wanted to run it anyway.

The weather was cold, but it wasn't raining like everyone thought it would be. Mom made me wear a hat and gloves, and I got hot so I took them off towards the end.

The last big hill was the hardest. It's huge and it didn't feel like it would end, but I kept going.

Most of the grownups out there were really fast, but I was the youngest kid there so I got a medal for that.

I did my best and I had a lot of fun. I think my next race will be the Race for the Birds. It's a trail run which is cool even though I like roads better right now.


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