Aunt Kellie

I’ve been holding my excitement in until my brother and sister spread their good news, but I’m finally blogging about their baby. Anticipated arrival at the end of September.

They told us in March with St. Patrick’s Day cookies. How fitting for this Irish bundle of joy!

20140415-152553.jpgThese two will be incredible parents! I look at certain people and can see their parenting instincts immediately. Maybe that maternal instinct is the reason Ashley is a pediatric nurse, but she was born to be a mother. Add understanding, patient, determined, and compassionate to the fact that she has the biggest heart and baby M. doesn’t know how lucky he/she is…yet! Tony will be the practical one who disciplines, and I’m secretly hoping it’s a girl who just melts his heart.

As we came home from an evening out with Tony and Ashley last week, John said, “Our Bill’s nights are going to come to and end, you know.” Since it’s probably not acceptable to bring baby M. out for Guinness, we’ll just be moving the party elsewhere come September. All cheers here! We already love baby M!

Crafting

20140413-144545.jpgFriday night brought Blue Moons and Guinness with friends and family. Saturday night included church and crafting. I laugh at myself and wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It’s all about balance!

When we moved into our house, school started the next week. With teaching and taking my own classes, I wasn’t left a lot of time to complete 20140413-144551.jpghome projects. However, I’m finally finding time to put a few personal touches around our house. The first project included taking a boring bulletin board and turning it into something with personality for our home office. I love all the dark wood in our house, and I wanted the bulletin board to match. I added a border, and wah-lah!

The second project is a display for my 20140413-145131.jpgrunning medals. After admiring my collection Sunday evening, I decided there is too much hard work represented in a race medal for it to sit in a drawer. After checking out etsy.com, I loved ideas but nothing was exactly what I wanted. This left John and I shopping at Menards and Michael’s yesterday to create my own. It is still drying in the garage, so you’ll have to wait for pictures…

 

“Official” Photos

You better believe I threw my arms in the air for a fun finish photo.

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20140410-181949.jpgMy legs are back to normal today. Jogging is tempting, but I think I’ll enjoy a few more days of rest. I’ve been enjoying lots of splurges I stayed away from while training including Summer Shandy and Cold Stone Ice Cream.

However, nothing compared to John’s surprise of roses and a cupcake from Take the Cake. It’s a been a week of good eats!

 

 

Go! St. Louis Marathon

image-4Yesterday I ran 26.2 miles. It’s hard to believe until I try to go up or down the stairs with zero flexibility from my thighs and calves. Aside from that and one angry blister, yesterday was honestly incredible! Yes, I enjoyed my marathon experience!

I did everything I could to make this marathon adventure positive. I didn’t let training consume my life. I listened to my body. I stopped to smell the roses. This course allowed me to use all of those elements to make the most of my 26.2 miles.

The alarm went off at 5:30, but I was awake and imagenervous long before. Once I entered my corral, my nerves were gone. I was excited but in complete trust of what the day would bring. I met up with another runner from school and we distracted each other until the start. Since we were a few corrals back, it took between 7-8 minutes to reach the actual start of the race. The race starts the wheelchair participants and elite athletes well before the rest of us. The scenery was St. Louis perfect. The arch was directly in front of us and the sun was rising as we began.

The first five miles took us downtown and through the brewery. It was a little tough to keep pace with 15,000 runners, but I loved it. This out and back loop allowed us to see the top photo-3marathoners run by us on the other side of the road.

After mile five, the “holy hill” arrived. I laughed out loud at the priest who was at the bottom throwing holy water on runners and blessing us before we entered. These hills were gradual for two miles, but they went by fairly fast with fresh legs and huge crowds.

Once we got to mile 10, the marathoners and half marathoners separated. 3,000 people out of the 15,000 were running the full marathon, so it got more lonely as the race divided. This is also the time when my right calve started to get too tight. I feared the result if I ignored it, so I slowed my pace while we ran the interstate to Forest Park. A few more hills continued to put pressure on my calve and I was thankful for every downhill. I reached the half marathon mark right at two hours. I had feared starting the marathon too fast, so this was perfect.

I took this photo during the marathon around mile 25. This is the incredible view I signed up for months ago.

I took this photo during the marathon around mile 25. This is the incredible view I signed up for months ago. #GoSTLmarathon

The next half of the race required me to make a decision. With a tight calve I knew I either needed to listen to my body and slow up on the hills or risk not finishing and plow through the pain. I listened to my body. I started taking Gatorade at every stop and even walked a few steep hills. I honestly can’t believe how many steep hills were on this course! When people told me it was a hilly course, I think I ignored them. Ignorance is bliss, right? Miles 22 and 24 included the steepest hills. It was cruel. image-2However, I took an approach to just run the mile I was in and enjoy it. I even took some photos at mile 25 as I got to the top of one hill and could see the arch and finish in the distance. This was my way of stopping to smell the roses.

I prayed a lot during the 26.2 miles and it was never prayers to get me through. They were always prayers of thanks. I was so thankful to be running that when a girl passed me with a t-shirt that read “Melanoma Research” on the back, I smiled. There is no question in my mind God sent her to me at mile 24. I feel so blessed I had the ability to complete something 0.5% of the U.S. population has done. The marathon in 2011 was an accomplishment I won’t forget, but yesterday’s marathon post surgery was a blessing I’ll carry with me forever.

Thank you for your prayers!

Restless Legs

919984_571317036235799_1489268271_oMost runners use a tapering method three weeks before a marathon. This includes 20 miles three weeks out and fewer miles each week after. It’s the week of the marathon, and I’m done running. My legs are restless and itching for the start line. Most people want an excuse to carb up and not exercise, but I’m having a hard time sleeping. My legs ache.  Research assures me this is normal because tissues are repairing and healing. I’m using my time to stretch these muscle cramps out.

It’s been a rough week with an eye infection, two doctor’s visits, and even my first sick day of the school year. Katie said it best, “Maybe God is telling you to rest!” I’m sure she’s right! My eye is clearing up, and I should be able to wear my contacts by Sunday if my medicine keeps doing its job.

All health concerns aside, my focus is race day. The weather looks cold (38 degrees for the start). I had planned to wear a tank top and capris to run, but it looks like I’ll be adding a few layers to that outfit. I won’t complain about the cold weather after running a marathon on a 100+ degree day.

Bring on the weekend! Bring on St. Louis! Bring on 26.2 miles!

Wheat Belly

11505008I read this book because I wanted to be more educated on a topic that gets more and more attention: wheat.

Whether people are suffering from celiac disease, headaches, obesity, acne, arthritis…etc., this book identifies the culprit as wheat. Simply put, it states if you “lose the wheat, you’ll lose the weight”.

The author, William Davis is a medical physician who points out various studies from universities (University of Iowa included) and his own patients who have eliminated wheat from their diet and lived a healthier life. Sometimes this means losing 30-40 lbs, no longer suffering from celiac issues, headaches, rashes…etc. He also supplies the research to show how wheat messes with our emotions and is just as addicting as caffeine.

Why is wheat such a problem? Davis suggests the wheat we are consuming is not like that of our ancestors thousands of years ago. This “new” wheat is less natural, extremely processed, and cheaper. So, what about whole wheat? Davis says whole wheat is just “less bad” than white flour. He compares this to consuming regular cigarettes to low-tar cigarets. Are you picking up on the dramatic vibe from this doctor?

Even so, in a time period where the amount of money dealing with obesity health consequences is soon to be more than education, this issue is real.

The book is full of personal success stories, so why wouldn’t I be 100% in on never eating wheat again? Simple: You can’t go back. Ever. The book is very clear that if you go completely wheat free even for a short time and you eat wheat, you’ll get sick. This is a good testament of how bad wheat might be for us altogether but avoiding it 100% is not an easy task. It’s not just bagels and donuts. Wheat is in my morning “Heart Healthy” Cheerios, the toast that fuels me for a double digit run, the crackers that compliment my chicken noodle soup…etc. I consider myself healthy, and I still eat wheat. Thankfully I don’t suffer from the issues many of the patients in the book did, but I also eat balanced meals. For people with these severe issues, examining wheat consumption is a great place to start. Personally, more than eliminating wheat from my diet, I’ll continue focusing on a balanced diet.