my happy place

We spent a short time at the beach on Sunday morning with the dogs. We got to walk around, stretch our tired muscles, and the pups got some exercise before the drive home. Toby is still afraid of the waves, but Brian taught him to jump over them. He was so cute.. A little wave would come, and he'd jump! I wish we had a video. :) 

Charleston Marathon!

I don't even know where to begin with this post... Running a marathon was by far my biggest accomplishment. I still can't believe I actually did it. It feels like a dream! For the past six months, this race has been on my mind. It had it's highs and lows, but I made it. We made it, and I am so glad it's over! 

The race started at 8:00 am. It was chilly, but the sun was out. Perfect running conditions! 

We started out running through The Battery and up King Street which was my favorite part. Here we are around mile six feeling great!
Around mile 10, I separated from Ginna and Christen. I wanted to stay with them, but needed to keep going at my own pace. I was feeling great, enjoying the beautiful Charleston scenery until around mile 13... I had stomach cramps and lower back pain that forced me to slow down. It was so painful at times that I wondered if it felt anything like being in labor! I pushed through, focused on Harry Potter (I was listening to the third book during this run), and kept focusing on the finish line. 

The greatest thing happened at mile 16. I was just running along, when all of a sudden, I saw a group of familiar looking people! It was Dorothy, Marshall, Lucy, Carrie and Andrew! They were all there cheering! I couldn't believe it!! I saw them before they saw me! I gave a few quick hugs and went on my way. That was exactly what I needed. I couldn't stop smiling after that and had chills through out my body that took my mind off the run completely. Brian, Jimmy, Toby and Poncho were at mile 18. Toby saw me before the guys did! He started wagging his tail faster and faster the closer I got. Look at that sweet face. 
It was so fun to see them. I saw everyone again around mile 22, and then it was on to the finish line! Those last four miles were the hardest. I switched to music for the last two miles to give me a boost. I was done with Harry. I kept visualizing what two miles looks like on my typical runs in our neighborhood, telling myself that it was no big deal at all. It was SO hard though!! A woman on the side of the road shouted out that there were only two more turns until the finish line, and that was exactly what I needed to hear. My pandora station started playing Rihanna's song "take a bow," and I started to tear up as I listened to the lines "and it's over now..." It was almost over! I had been running for HOURS! As I crossed the finish line, I started to CRY. My mom was on the phone with Dorothy, and they were all taking pictures and giving hugs. Hooray!! It was over! 

 I wanted that hydration belt OFF! Brian held all of my stuff. :)
A little while later, Ginna and Christen crossed the finish line!!
The dogs looked so cute in their shirts. They got so much attention! 
And they gave Toby a medal! A guy stopped to ask me if he actually ran the race. :) 
I wish I had stopped to take a picture of everyone cheering during the actual race, but here they are at the end!
I'm not going to say that I'll never run another one, but I think it's safe to say that I'm not addicted... Maybe after my body recovers, I'll feel differently about it. Part of me wants to run another to improve my time, but we shall see... Thanks for all your encouragement, prayers, and support!! It's OVER! :) 

Happy New Year!

We headed to Raleigh on Saturday to spend New Year's Eve with the Neel's and the Gregory's! We had been looking forward to this trip for several reasons... We wanted Toby and Poncho to meet Jeff and Ginna's new pup, Leia, we wanted to conquer the biggest run in our marathon training together, we wanted to celebrate Christen's birthday, and we wanted to celebrate New Year's Eve with our dear friends! 

When we arrived, the first stop was the dog park. It was freezing and it had just rained, so the dogs got extra muddy. 
 Look at how dirty Leia is! She had to be hosed off...
Sunday morning, we woke up and headed to the American Tobacco Trail, and began our 22.2 mile run. It was cold. It was hard. It was a little hilly. It was LONG. But WE MADE IT!!! We ran the entire time. It had it ups and downs, but we conquered it together. None of us could believe that we had just run that many miles. Wow. Never in my life did I think I could do this. Three weeks until the marathon! 
After our run, we were pretty much shot. We lounged around for the rest of the day, watched some Happy Endings, and ordered pizza. The next morning was Christen's birthday! Ginna made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then the girls went to get manis/pedis while the guys watched the pups.
We spent some of the afternoon making the pups bow ties for New Year's Eve. Look how cute they are! 
 Sleepy pups on the couch!
Ginna had a beautiful festive table. We all dressed up, had a fabulous dinner, and our own party at their apartment.

We even had a photo shoot complete with props. :) We had so much fun!! The guys were good sports.  

This was my favorite New Year's Eve ever. Cheers to 2013!