Monday, October 27, 2014

Kruger Farms

Last Sunday we took the boys out to one of our favorite places for pumpkins and fall fun: Kruger Farms.  We go out there regularly throughout the year for seasonal produce and just to enjoy the farm.  They have summer concerts that we go to at times as well.  This season, Sam has a project to do for school about farms, so this visit worked out nicely with that too.  It was a warm sunny day.  We started out at the corn maze.  The older boys love following a map, trying to find all of the spots to locate.  Simon enjoys following along.

Sam Studies the First Location

Daniel & Sam, Map Readers

Next we got on the hay ride for a ride out to the pumpkin fields.  While out there, the boys enjoyed walking around looking for just the right pumpkin.  We made our selections and headed back.

On the Hay Ride

Simon & Sam Atop the Lookout

Sam Found His Pumpkin
After we got our pumpkins, we went and enjoyed some candy apples and pumpkin pie, some corn on the cob and a slice of pizza.  It was a good thing we had a big snack, because it took us a really long time to get home.  Apparently the rest of Portland thought it was a good day to go to a farm too!  We had fun in spite of the traffic and are glad we went that day!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Portland Marathon 2014

Us, At the Finish
 Life has been so busy lately.  But I wanted to take a minute to write about my marathon experience.  A few years ago, I decided that running a marathon was something I wanted to accomplish.  After running my first 1/2 marathon in 2012, I wanted to someday push myself to run the full.  Well, that time came this last year.  I signed up for the Portland Marathon back in April, giving myself plenty of time to train for the October event.  I found a training schedule and started my training this past summer.  I felt good about my training, and I stuck with the schedule.

Such a Sweet Sign Daniel Made for Me
On October 5, the day for the marathon came.  I was nervous leading up to it, not know exactly what it would all feel like.  Many questions filled my mind.  Had I trained enough or adequately?  Had I fueled and hydrated correctly days leading up to the race?  How painful would it be to eek out those last miles?  I had only run 20 miles in my training.

The day was warm and sunny.  At 7:00 in the morning, when the race started, it was already 60 degrees.  While I was thankful it wasn't raining, I was a little nervous about the heat.  We started in packs, and my pack began a little less than 15 minutes after gun time.  I was excited to start.  The first few miles I felt great.  Around miles 8-9, I was still feeling pretty good.  We were running with half marathoners too, and they split off around mile 11.  When the marathoners broke away from the half marathoners, it did start to feel a little more serious.  I knew that I still had a ways to go.
The Boys and I
My parents had come over from Idaho to see me run.  Jeff was able to track my running route, so they agreed to meet me along the route.  So Jeff, the boys and my parents first met me around mile 12.  It was great to see them, and I got a boost of energy when I saw them. There were a lot of people cheering at that point.  But after mile 14, the spectators were sparse.  Here the route was along a very busy road.  The shoulder to run on was small.  So as a runner, I started to feel a little more on my own.  We headed out toward the St. John's Bridge, a bridge north of Portland.  Around mile 15-16 I started to feel it in my knees and hips.  This was how I had felt in my training, so although I was sore, it felt like a "normal" soreness.  I kept on going.  There was a little uphill to the bridge.  At the top of the bridge was a beautiful view of Portland.  I almost wanted to stop and take it all in.  But my desire to finish kept me going.

My family met me again about mile 20 or 21, I can't remember exactly.  And at this point, I was very tired.  They later told me they were a little worried about me after seeing me.  I quickly said hi.  They asked how I was doing.  I said, "I'm tired, but I'm going to finish".  I knew I could finish, but I also knew it would not be easy.  Up to about mile 20 I had been able to keep my running pace the same.  But after mile 20, my pace started to slow.  It was also getting warmer, and I was very tired.

My Parents and I
My family met me again around mile 23.  They said I looked a little more lively at this point, and they knew I would finish.  I felt it too.  I could see that the end was near.  I kept going, although more slowly now.  I even walked a bit in mile 24.  But when I got to mile 25, I started running again and tried to pick up my pace.  I started seeing spectators again, and I just wanted to finish.

The finish was very emotional for me.  I started to cry a little, more at the sheer emotion of having finished something that had not been easy for me, but I did it anyway.  I felt a sense of accomplishment.  I also felt so grateful to Jeff for helping and supporting me in this challenge.  For every long run I'd had to do in training, he'd had to watch the boys.  Also, after my long runs, I was often too tired to do much else for the rest of the day.  He stepped up and helped through it all.  I was thankful for him, and I know I couldn't have done this without him.
Jeff and I
I don't know if I'll ever do another marathon.  If I do, it will be a few years from now, when the boys can stay home alone by themselves while I do my training.  I don't feel a strong pull to do another one anytime soon, but maybe I will.  I still really enjoy running, but for now, I'll keep to the shorter distance races. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm Back...I think

I'm sorry I haven't been writing as much lately.  Things have been so busy lately.  Last month, I subbed for 2 1/2 weeks straight!  Then, the week after that, I went in to help administer some tests and then subbed again last Thursday and Friday.  So I literally worked for 3 1/2 weeks.  I was beginning to get a real feel for what going back full time would feel like.  And the funny thing is, I really enjoyed it!  I loved being in the classroom again, and I enjoyed getting to know the students.  The down side to this is that I get so behind with things that I normally do at home.  Jeff and I talk about what life would be like if I went back to work full time, and we both realize some things would have to change around here.  Managing housework, meals, errands would all take some reconsidering.  But now things are back to normal, and I am looking forward to a regular week.  I've missed hanging out with Simon, too.  While I was subbing, he went to preschool.  I was a little nervous about letting him go, but he loved it, and I was happy for him.  But I missed him terribly.  I'm not ready to let him go full time.  However, since he loved it so much, we have decided to let him go a couple of half days a week.  We hadn't planned on doing that this year, but things have a way of changing and taking on a life of their own.  I've just decided to roll with it.  And if that means I do or don't go back to work full time sometime, I'm okay with that too!

While I've been away...
...Simon hung out at school...

...Sam lost a tooth or two...
...and we've done some hikes!