Saturday, December 31, 2016

1000 miles, DONE!

I did it! I did it!!

I keep track of all my running miles, and a couple months back I realized that I could hit 1,000 if I put my mind to it. So I created a schedule and stuck with it, inching closer every week.

Then the week before Christmas, Mom lovingly gave me her bronchitis, and I was down for the count. Instead of pushing through, I chose to set aside my goal and get a couple days of solid rest, hoping to rally for Christmas and all its fun. It worked, and I felt pretty good for the festivities.

BUT... I still had about 35 miles to run. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but with Christmas obligations and out-of-town visitors (Hi, Jill and Maroof!), I didn't know if I could squeeze it in.

Well, today I laced up my new running shoes and hit the pavement for my final miles of the 2017:
And with the last 4+ miles:

Santa Mickey was there to greet me as I finished in a light rain/snow: 
Looking back, 2013 was the year I trained for and ran three marathons. I easily surpassed 1,000 that year. Then 2014 was my Achilles injury and lower mileage. This year's marathon kicked up my miles, helping get me over the hump.

We'll see what 2017 brings :)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Nos. 53 and 54

I saved a couple books to read over winter break.

No. 53 was Murder in Ordinary Time by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie:
I've read her work before, and it's fun! The main character is a nun who lives in San Francisco and solves murders.

No. 54 was A Christmas Wish by Joseph Pittman:
I think this was on the free table at work, and I snagged it because it had snow on the front :)

The story was cute - a man raising his deceased fiancee's 8-year-old daughter. The writing wasn't very good, especially the little girl's dialog. Still, a nice story for Christmas reading :)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was pregnant. 

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." 

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

Luke 2:1-20 The Message

Monday, December 19, 2016

Peaceful protest and witnessing history

My first morning of winter break was spent exercising my right to assemble. 

The Electoral College met today to cast votes for the president. Across the country, demonstrators gathered at state houses to protest Trump's election. In Oregon, our seven delegates were pledged to Clinton. Still, we met to make our voices heard: We are united in opposition to Trump and all he stands for.

We arrived on the Capitol steps about 9 a.m. We stood in solidarity for more than an hour, the crowd growing steadily throughout.
 Lots of media:
We chanted and sang and heard from several speakers. It was awesome.
By the end, several hundred joined. 
About 10:15 a.m., Mom and I went inside the Capitol and snagged seats in the front row of the Senate Gallery to watch the proceedings. 
 Standing room only:
Waiting for the 11 a.m. vote: 
Here come the electors: 
Swearing in: 
Actually voting: 
Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins read the results: seven votes for Clinton and seven votes for Kaine: 
During the roll call, Elector Frank Dixon, Oregon Democratic Party Chair, made a statement calling for investigation in to Russian involvement in our election. The gallery erupted in cheers.

Of course, Mom was live streaming:
After, the electors gathered for photos and media interviews: 
I am so honored to be part of this historical event!

Nos. 51 and 52

No. 51 was Diane Mott Davidson's Tough Cookie. Another fun culinary mystery.
And No. 52 was David Baldacci's Memory Man:
Memory Man was the first in Baldacci's Amos Decker series - on audio. I'm waiting for the next one... LONG line in front of me. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Marathon pics from Mom

Mom took some pics at our October marathon. Check 'em out:

Warm and cozy:
Mom - where's my head??
Outside Montgomery Park, Mom and Dad were waiting with a dry towel!
People around us said they were jealous! Best support team ever :)
The hill before Eryn's knee gave up:
Right on target pace for now:
Look how cloudy it was!
The whole fam was waiting at the end of the bridge - including Ma and Pa!
Poor Eryn was freezing!
Chugging along in dry clothes:
Here comes the finish!
We did it!
(full race report here)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas dinner with Grandpa

We had a great time last night, celebrating Christmas with Grandpa and some of the McKee side of the family.

Every year, Friendsview Retirement Center's memory-care area hosts a holiday meal for its residents and their families. We've attended the past few years, but this time, a bunch more family was able to join us!

Grandpa's doing so well - and so happy to be surrounded by family :) He'll be 97 in May!
After stuffing ourselves with amazing food, we had to get a family photo by the giant tree:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

No. 50

No. 50 was David Baldacci's King and Maxwell:
This is the final book in his King-and-Maxwell series. I again listened to this one on audio while driving and doing chores.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sisters run 26.2 miles

Did you hear? Eryn and I ran Portland Marathon in October!!!!!!!!

Like many runners, Eryn had for a long time "run a marathon" on her bucket list. She even started training a couple times, but her temperamental back had other plans, so the idea was wait listed. After lots of PT and strengthening, she decided this was the year!

After injury, she was basically starting from scratch, training with The Beginner's Guide: 
After months and months of training, it was time to run!

Saturday was packet pickup. But first, a stop for breakfast. Nerves took away Eryn's appetite, so we force fed her - MUST FUEL!
Personalized bibs are the best!
Free apples :)
After the expo, we stopped at Value Village and picked out these amazing robes for throw-away clothes. (Racers wear them to stay warm before the start and then strip and toss them right before the starting line. Then organizers collect the clothes and donate to the homeless. Win-win!) We couldn't resist the matchy-matchy :)
Race morning! It was drizzly, so we donned Dollar Tree ponchos over our toasty-warm robes:
Of course, Mom and Dad were there to cheer!
It wasn't super cold, and the rain let up as our starting time neared. So we handed our robes to Mom and Dad and parted ways. Now we wait...
Go time!
And, we're off!
Our No. 1 goal was finishing upright. Our No. 2 goal was 6 hours. Unfortunately, some illness and back pain caused Eryn to miss a couple key training weeks as we approached our peak mileage (20 miles). That meant that we squeezed in more longer runs in a shorter time, and Eryn ended up a bit over trained... manifesting in a very angry right IT band.

So, going in to the race, we planned to run as long as her IT band permitted, then walk as much as we had to.

A few miles in - still looking strong and feeling good!
Usually downhill feels great, but testy IT bands don't like it so much:
While we ran 26.2 miles around Portland, Mom, Dad and Brad followed us, cheering, taking pictures and handing off water and gear as needed. It's awesome to have a support team during a long race!
Eryn was starting to hurt on the Naito Parkway out-and-back. We took a few extra walks but kept going.
We were right on target for our 6-hour goal, but we knew her knee wasn't going to last. 

These photos look dry, but let me tell you, it was such a wet day. The industrial part on Naito was soaking - and straight into the wind. I kept trying to run in front of Eryn to block the cold.
The next time we saw Brad, I grabbed my jacket and gloves. And it's a good thing, because soon after, Eryn's knee called it quits.

We were killing it on pace until we got to the downhill section just past Montgomery Park. We walked it, knowing the IT band wouldn't like it. But when we started to run again, Eryn said she just couldn't. We were at exactly the halfway point - 13 miles.

SO... we walked, in the stormiest part of the day, straight in to the wind - all the way out Highway 30 to the St. Johns Bridge. Honestly, it was pretty brutal. We ran very short bits but mostly walked. I was OK with my jacket, but poor Eryn was freezing. And because the low clouds obscured the bridge, we had the extra mental challenge of not knowing how far we were going. I blocked the wind as much as possible.

When we finally reached the bridge, we actually ran up - because the up didn't hurt, and because we needed to get the blood flowing to keep from freezing!

As we crested the span and came down the other side, we spotted Mom, Dad, Brad and (surprise!) our grandparents. In all our years running, they've never seen us race, so it was super, duper cool to see them out there - especially given the crappy weather :)

Knowing the forecast, and knowing that we'd likely be walking a lot, we'd both packed extra clothes and rain jackets. Brad had my bag of goodies, and I stripped down in the middle of the street and put on a dry shirt. It felt amazing to be dry under my jacket.

Mom had Eryn's clothes a bit farther down the route, so I caught up and helped her get changed.

Then we were back on the course!
Running when we could:
I think I was singing here - obviously with hand motions :)
Coming to greet my personal photographer:
Making the best of it...
The Willamette Boulevard portion is very flat. Then came Greeley - a BIG downhill. We walked slow, slow, slow to keep away the pain. It was the longest mile of our lives :)

We chatted away the miles, enjoying the experience. I have to say, Eryn's attitude was excellent! She kept positive the whole time - and never once yelled at me (we both expected it would happen at some point!)

We rounded the corner off Naito, and I told her I would not allow her to walk the finish. I told her she'd be mad at me now, but she'd be mad at herself later if she didn't run across the line.

So we ran slowly up Salmon - to the loud cheers of family and strangers!
She was hurting bad, but she kept going:
Go, Eryn, go!!
The Portland Marathon finish line is very secure, so we rounded the corner and disappeared from their sight. Eryn hesitated for a minute, as her knee was screaming. But she picked it up, ran up the block, crossed the finish line and became a marathoner!!!!!!!!!!

We finished in 6:54. We ran a wonderful half marathon and then walked a second one - woohoo!!

Because it was getting late, the crowds were sparse. But there were still plenty of medals, jackets, food, roses, baby trees and T-shirts left for finishers. Portland has the best finish line!

We sat on the curb for a bit, collected our goodies and then hit the potties before emerging from the finish area to our adoring fans :)
Best support team ever!
Congrats, Eryn, on becoming a marathoner!!! Let me know when you're ready for No. 2 :)