Set Backs

So, I have pneumonia. Um yeah, this is not good. While I definitely felt as if something was not right, I would have never imagined that it would have been something as serious as pneumonia. I did feel slightly vindicated since I felt like a wimp during my last couple of runs before I was diagnosed, but that self satisfaction was quickly quashed when I realize how stupid that it probably was to be running in the first place.

Besides not being able to run for over a week, the side effects of the medicine are quite unpleasant – dizziness, tremors, dry mouth – yuck! I’ve never been a sickly person and I hate taking medicine, so this has been a pretty rough couple of weeks.

I’m currently just looking forward to feeling better and to getting back in full swing. I’m going to take it easy the first week back, but I’m getting a little nervous with just over two months to go until the marathon. We have some really long runs scheduled for the end of November and early December – I hope I’m ready for them.

The Pumpkin Patch: Then and Now

In what’s become an annual tradition, we took Parker to the Pumpkin Patch this weekend. He was running around trying to lift all of the pumpkins and I could not for the life of me get him to actually look at the camera. I realized that it was the exact same thing last year. Well, except for the running around part since he wasn’t walking yet. However, both years, he was caught up in the pumpkin frenzy and had no time or patience for photographs.

When we got home and I downloaded the pictures, I compared them to the ones we took last year. Here are last years pics.

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And here are this years photos:

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I’ve come to several conclusions:

1. Parker is just as cute, if not cuter.
2. One year makes a huge difference in terms of growing from a baby into a little boy.
3. I now have a much better camera.
4. Thank God I’m no longer nursing!

Happy Trails

Yesterday, we went with Parker’s school to the Happy Trails ranch and man did the kids have fun. As soon as we got there, the kids went straight into the stables to feed the horses.

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Speaking of the horses, there were some beauties there.

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And this guy thought that my lens was edible.

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After the children fed the horses, they watched a barn cat and two standard poodles perform tricks. This is when I realized that our animals are seriously under-performing. Except for Nona of course. She is the law in these parts.

Anyway, back to Happy Trails. Next the kids got to actually ride the horses. Whoa was that a good time for Parker. (For some of the other kids, not so much. There was a lot of crying and emphatic head-shaking from the less adventurous children.)

First, Parker rode the brown horse and from the second I put him up there, he was having a great time.

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So great, in fact, that he cried when he had to get off of the horse to give the other children a turn. So, he waited in line to ride the other horse. By this time, he was an experienced pro. Just look at that confident expression on his face.

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After the horse experience, the Irishman’s first comment was, “I guess this means that we’re going to have to buy him a horse.” Um, I hope he was joking!

The next adventure was the hayride pulled by a tractor. Parker apparently thought that he was the driver.

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Once we got it straightened out that it was a manual transmission and he’s only capable of driving an automatic at the moment, we both sat in the back. It was such a perfect day. Mid-70s and sunny – just gorgeous outside.

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Yup, we had a great time at the ranch. I’m looking into some local horseback riding farms so that we can take him again soon to ride.

Battered Feet

One thing I didn’t take into consideration when I started this marathon journey is the toll that it would take on my feet. I used to have lovely manicured feet. I would get regular pedicures and always had brightly colored toenails that were seasonably fashionable. Yup, I used to have feminine, well maintained little feet, but that is definitely a thing of the past.

Now, my feet are an utter mess. My toes are calloused and bruised, I just lost my first toenail (YIKES!) and they just appear battered in general. Definitely a sorry sight. (Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the picture.)

It seems like I should care that they’re in such a state, but surprisingly, it doesn’t really bother me. I feel like it’s just a right of passage. My own version of battle wounds gained during this crazy journey. When I get back from a run, I examine my feet with a detached focus looking for anything that could potentially slow me down because really, that is all I care about these days.

My single drive is that I need to keep going no matter what. It’s like running through an obstacle course with illness, trips and work as the hurdles that I need to move beyond. I get frustrated when life gets in the way of my mileage and I’m trying to do everything I can to stay healthy and injury-free for the next 2.5 months. We’re so close now that every week counts.

Same Routine, Different Place

I’ve been trying to keep my same mileage schedule while we’ve been down south for the week (in spite of my very annoying cold). So as planned, I got up on Tuesday morning and ran my intervals. While I normally do my tempo run on Thursdays, my brother informed me that he was coming into town, so I put it off until this morning so we could run together.

As an aside, Parker has not been sleeping at all since we’ve been down here. He picked up my cold and his cough has been keeping him up all night. Needless to say, when my brother sent me a text message at the crack of down telling me to “wake up!” I seriously contemplated breaking my own leg so that I could get some more sleep. (Yes, my brother is staying in the next room over, but since we both have iPhones, the iSnob way to communicate is to text each other even when you’re virtually in the same room.)

As luck would have it, the paparazzi were waiting for us outside.

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Just kidding, that would be my early bird father who followed us outside to get photographic evidence of our early departure. I had barely rubbed the sleep from my eyes at this point and wasn’t too keen on getting a picture snapped, but I was too tired to protest.

In this picture, you can just see the sun thinking about rising. It was early and I was tired, but we were up and dressed so it was time to hit the road.

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It was my brother’s day for a long run, so he ended up doing just shy of 10 miles. For my tempo run, I did 7 miles at a pace much faster than what I’m used to. He’s a faster runner than I am and I am still feeling the effects of this cold, so 7 was about my limit for this morning.

The good news is that my legs feel perfect. Six hours later, it doesn’t even feel like I ran at all so my muscles are definitely where they need to be at this stage in the game. My lung capacity was a different story. I hate being sick because it felt like I was wheezing the entire time. Definitely not cool.

I’ll probably get in another run either tomorrow morning or Sunday before I’m back on my regular schedule next week.

Flashback

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I went today to the Swimming Hall of Fame to get in my swim workout. What a weird experience that was. I first walked through that entrance 24 years ago for my first formal workout at the age of six. While I followed my coach to a different swim club seven years later, FLST remained my home team.

Like most places from my youth, the Hall of Fame complex seemed much smaller than I remembered. As I made my way to the locker room, I couldn’t help but think how many times I walked that path as a gangly girl, exhausted and exhilarated from a back breaking workout. The nostalgia really struck me when I walked into the locker room and realized that not a single thing had changed. As I looked over to the changing area, I could almost hear my friends and I laughing and talking about some boy or an upcoming race as we got ready for the carpool home. I smiled at the memory and went over to my old locker to get changed for my workout.

Walking out to the practice pool, I very much felt like I was a stranger there. I felt an urge to tell someone that I had once belonged, but kept the knowledge to myself. I do, however, now understand why old high school football stars feel the need to tell anyone who will listen about their glory days. When you once belonged to something big and something great, it’s hard to feel like it’s completely behind you. There’s a certain compulsion to stay relevant.

Still feeling like I was in a flashback, I hopped into the pool and started my workout. With chagrin, I noticed that both the pool and I were beginning to show our age. The once solid black lines on the bottom of the pool were fading and peeling around the edges and I was a good 20 seconds slower per 100 yards, but it felt really good swimming laps in a familiar pool.

Strangely enough, each pool has a different feel to it. Some feel cold and distant while others are cheerful and energizing. This pool? Well, this pool was like an old friend or a favorite sweater. Completely comfortable and always welcoming.