Sunday, October 28, 2012

Football Weekend

They cheered hard for the Sooners but it didn't work out the way they had hoped. Sad day...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Painting

We did our first little fall craft tonight. Cole finger painted a pumpkin. :)

He doesn't have the longest attention span, so he would paint, then run around, paint a little more, run around.

He's what we ended up with!

Tulsa Run 2012

I was the only one in the family to do the Tulsa Run this morning. We didn't have anyone to watch Cole and Tony didn't care if he ran it or not, so I signed up earlier this week.

We found out that the race management changed this year along with pretty much everything about the race except the distance. The packet pick up was different and not very efficient according to Tony who went for me. It took him 45 min because everything was organized by bib number and no one knew this ahead of time. So you had to wait to find out the number, then wait in your number section, and wait for the shirts. Not good. And kind if set a bad impression for what to expect with the race.

The new course was fine, but just out and back where you used to run thru some cool areas of Tulsa. So kind of boring and the last mile was uphill while the rest was downhill or flat. Doesn't make for a fast finish, but it was ok.

The one thing that was better was the start. Pics below. It usually is a huge mass of people, but they actually had banners with pace times so people knew where to line up. I normally get stuck in the back but I was able to find the 7 min flag with no problem and few people there or ahead of me. It made for a much smoother and faster start than in the past. With 4500 runners, you need it.

The finish area had plenty of bathrooms (which the start and course did not - 1 on the course!) and water, fruit, bagel pieces, and candy. We didn't really see much of the after race area because it was cold and Cole was with Tony watching.

I ran my fastest time by 1 min, 1:06:03 (7:02 pace) for the 15k (9.3 miles). It was pretty chilly. I think 30s at the start. I wore long sleeves, capris, and gloves and some throw away clothes. I warmed up but not a ton. I was ready to head to the car when it was over! I am happy with how I ran and enjoyed the run but thought it could be better in some areas. The best part was seeing my cheering boys at the end!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

This was the 2nd year for us to take Cole out to Carmichael's Pumpkin Patch in Bixby.

Look how little Cole was last year!!!
On our way there, we stopped for breakfast at Krispy Kreme. Cole has had a donut before, but had never had or been to Krispy Kreme. He was pumped about his donut and ate the entire thing!
And it ended up like this! Way to go Mama for picking the donut with all the orange frosting!
We went to pick out pumpkins afterwards. Carmichael's has a great setup for kids. Tons of pumpkins and all different shapes, sizes, and colors, hay to climb on, animals to feed, pet, and ride. What else could you ask for? The weather was perfect too.
Cole wanted to push the wagon with the pumpkins, but it was a little too heavy for him!
All Cole wanted to do was "touch pumpkin"! We did get him to pose for a few pictures, but it wasn't easy!
Cole had a good time picking up the little pumpkins that were just his size. When we got in the car he cried for "pumpkin" because he wanted to hold one on our way home.
We had to check out some of the animals in the petting area. They had horses and camels to ride, a corn maze, and straw house thing that we didn't do, but Cole did like sticking his little finger out to touch the animals on the nose.
We also got a Mama & Cole and Daddy & Cole picture. It wasn't easy, but we got something! He was too distracted by all the pumpkins and having so much fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Race Day and Review: Chicago

This is how we started our morning of the Chicago Marathon. We took the 5:13 am train from the Lawrence station (10 min walk) and rode about 20 minutes to the Harrison stop downtown. We had to walk a few block to get to Charity Village and our Team World Vision Tent. Luckily there were several other World Vision runners on the train that we talked to and were able to follow to the tent. We didn't really know where we were going!

Once we got to the tent, it was awesome! It was warm and there were lots of bathrooms in the village. If you're not a runner, the porta potty line at a race is always out of control. So to not have to wait, that's a huge bonus! The temperature was in the low 40s, so we wore throw away clothes all the way up until the start of the race. Once we got to the tent, we put on bibs, wrote names on our WV jerseys, and had a little pep rally with all the other WV runners. They also had a bag check available, but we didn't bring anything with us since my Dad was coming later with Cole. Then we walked to the start around 6:30 am. I was wondering why we were leaving so early, but it was a good thing we did. It was quite a long walk and you had to find the correct entrances to your corrals.

Tony was in the B corral, I was in C, and my Mom was in E. We were also in the first wave which started at 7:30 am. The 2nd wave didn't start until 8:00 am. This was great because it only took us 2 minutes to get to the start and my Mom took 12 minutes. Which for the amount of people running, it's pretty amazing. Tony and I were planning on running together and starting in the C corral since C is slower than the B. Well, the volunteers at the entrance to the C corral wouldn't let us in together. So we had to go our separate ways and planned to meet at the front of C/back of B. It worked out that we were there early enough to find each other easily. Then the girls working the rope between corrals, just let Tony back to start with me.

Here were are happy and warm for now at the start.
We were surprised how not packed in the corrals were. You actually had room to move around and once we got close to the start time, everyone started moving up.
My Dad watched the start on TV and said it was really funny how once we started, all you could see were people's clothes being thrown all over the place and off to the sides. I swear there was a pile at least 3 feet tall along side the corral fences!

The race itself was really incredible. From the number of actual runners (~50,000) to the number of spectators (~1.7 million)! I had never seen so many people watching a race. And they were cheering for everyone! All the World Vision runners write their names on their jerseys because people will actually cheer for you by name. We heard "Go Tony & Beth" probably 5 times per mile at least. The crowds were super loud in some places too. There were bands, loudspeaker music, and lots of funny signs. Everyone really was into it and having so much fun. It made the miles go by a lot faster.

Usually races are crowded at the start and you start to thin out as the race goes on. This didn't happen here! There were lots of fast runners and runners at every pace out there. So we ran with a crowd pretty much the entire time. We were close to the 3:30 pace group too which always draws more people as well. The downside to this was water stops. You had to make sure you didn't get stuck in the middle if you actually wanted something. The water & Gatorade stops were pretty much every mile, so no matter what your plan was for hydrating, you could make it happen. They also had tons of volunteers passing out drinks and on both sides of the road.

I would say the crowd really is one of the huge draws to this race. It really was unlike anything I've ever seen or heard about. Plus everyone was so incredibly nice. Even at the finish, the people passing out food and drinks were congratulating you, asking if you were ok, and just excited to be there. Tony thought it was cool that Rahm Emanuel (mayor of Chicago) said "Great job Tony" at the finish line.

Tony was my official pacer to try to get my Boston Marathon time. I wasn't sure how fast I could really run, but the weather was perfect, the course is Tony told me I couldn't waste this opportunity. We were running about 7:55 minute miles up until the last 5 miles or so. I was starting to burn out, but we were ahead of pace, so we slowed down for a couple of miles, and picked up back up for the last mile. Our overall pace ended up being 8:03 and our time was 3:34:05, just about 1 minute under the Boston Qualifying time. I'm super excited to run so fast and to make one of the only exclusive type races out there. I won't be able to get into the 2013 race because registration is in September, so I will probably try for the 2014 entry.

My Dad and Cole were at two places along the course to watch. The 7 - 8 mile stretch was north of downtown, not far from our condo, so they went there and then drove down to the finish. They were able to hang out in the Charity Village area and watch one of the last stretches before the finish.
We brought our phone so we could meet up with him at the end. We bought an iFitness belt which I wore the entire marathon. It really didn't bother me and it didn't bounce around at all. One of the downsides of the race is the super long walk you have to make through the finish area. All you want to do is sit down since you've been running for 3 hours! I had to break down and sit down along the edge at one point. Tony thought I was being lame and wanted to keep going. He said me after a marathon is worth the price of admission. Funny, but rude!
We SLOWLY with SORE LEGS walked back to Charity Village. I swear it was at least a mile back there, and we met my Dad and Cole along the way. Our World Vision tent had pizza and drinks set up for everyone after the race. They were also announcing everyone as they came into the tent...calling our our times and exciting things like my Boston time, or a first marathon, or a birthday, etc. It was so much fun. We rested for a bit and then went out to see my Mom finish. She finished right at 5 hours and called us right when she was done and was just bawling. She'd worked so hard training and working through injuries. It was a huge accomplishment for her and we are so proud of her! She finished with a great time too! We'll see if she decides to do another one...if she has running fever now or not.

We hung out at the WV tent until the rest of our Golf Fore Africa teammates finished and visited for a little bit. We also got these extra medals from World Vision for being in the top 100 fundraisers for the race. Stacy really helped us out at the end and put us over the edge. All three of us met our $1350 goal, and even raised over $2000. All three of us raised between $2800 and $3800!
The medals were made from coins brought back from Rwanda, where our money will be going to do water projects and provide people there with clean water.

Some pretty amazing numbers from being a part of Team World Vision:
1,600 people ran and raised money for World Vision
As a team, Golf Fore Africa raised ~$46,000 dollars
As a whole, over $3 million was raised for water projects in Africa!
At least 65,000 people in Africa will have clean water because of it!

It really was an amazing thing to be a part of. We went to a World Vision dinner on Saturday night. Hearing people's personal experiences and stories with WV, seeing the truely powerful videos and images of what people go through to get water that is unhealthy, dirty, and making them sick, just puts everything in perspective and gives purpose to the fundraising, the running, all of it. We were so lucky to be a part of a World Vision team.

Chicago Trip

During our time in Chicago, we rented a 3 bedroom condo in Andersonville which is about 6-8 miles north of downtown Chicago. The complex was called the Andersonville Guesthouse. It was a really nice place. Had enough space, full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, parking space, and outdoor patio. It was a bit of a drive anywhere, but not because of distance, but because of traffic. Lakeshore Drive was the best way to get into downtown and that wasn't bad. The times we had to get to the freeway on the west side took the longest. It was also just a 10 minute walk to the train that goes right into downtown Chicago. So that was really convenient the day of the race. There were also lots of restaurants, Starbucks, etc.

Here are a few pictures from our stay. I didn't really get any good ones of the actual rooms, but they were nice. The master bath even had a steam shower = love after the marathon!
Cole always wanted to go outside on the patio. He called out "truck", "taxi", "car", "bus", "bike", or "airplane" - whatever was going by!
This is what Cole does when you tell him to relax and close his eyes. :)
The boys were watching football on Saturday night.
On Friday before we went to the race expo, we had to pick up my parents at the airport. We were able to stop at a Dunkin Donuts for coffee and donut holes. Delicious!
I'm not sure why we only made it there once, but we did go to Starbucks and another awesome breakfast place called the Bongo Room. Apparently this is like the breakfast place in Chicago. We went to the new location in Andersonville that just opened not too long ago. We were able to walk just a few block north of our condo to get there. We all had some kind of egg breakfast...scrambles, omelets, croissant sandwich, etc. But the waitress said we had to try a pancake since we hadn't been before...we said ok, we'll share one. Well it was a good thing we did because it was AMAZING! It was a pancake with pieces of pretzel and caramel and vanilla creme syrups on top. Oh my gosh! I think we licked the plate!

Other eats:
Friday lunch at Pleasant House Bakery. It was a super small local place with daily specials and local, fresh ingredients. There was a limited menu, so we all had fish & chips. Which, I have to say, were very good. Cole even had some too. We almost didn't stay, but were were hungry and decided to just go for it. We were happy we did.

Cole played with Nina on the bench while we were waiting.

Friday night dinner at Quartino. Tony and I went here when we were in Chicago in 2006. (It's been awhile!) They have Italian food in kind of a tapas style where you order several things for the table to share. My Dad wasn't a huge fan, but the rest of us liked it. It was kind of crowded, but we had a 6:00 reservation which worked out well for having a little one. There were also other kids there, so we didn't feel bad bringing Cole.

Sunday night reward dinner at Gino's East. Deep dish, Chicago style pizza is where it's at when you are starving from running for hours! We also got there before 6:00 and only had a few people in line in front of us. The pizza takes 45 minutes to cook, so we were ready with our order right away. We left stuffed and happy!

Monday lunch was at Portillo's hot dogs. We had to hit up all the Chicago style places and didn't think the Wiener Circle was "family friendly". We did run by there during the marathon though. Portillo's was really good. Tons of choices other than hot dogs too and very good chocolate cake for dessert. We found out that Cole doesn't really like hot dogs right now, but we ate tons of french fries that he wanted to "dip" every time.

We drove by Wrigley Field on our way to lunch.
We were surprised we didn't run by there until we drove through and saw all the construction they were doing on the roads around the stadium. Running wasn't going to be happening there!

Nina and Cole were chilly walking in downtown.

After lunch on Monday we went to the Shedd Aquarium. It's right on the water and has cool views of downtown Chicago.
We waited in line for a little while because it was a free day for Illinois residents. It was a beautiful day, so we didn't mind too much. We spent about 2 hours in the actual aquarium seeing the exhibits. Cole didn't last long in his stroller and wanted to be out looking at all the fish. He had a lot of fun, but wore us out chasing him all over the place! Good thing Nina and Pop Pop were there to help too.

We saw this huge shark swimming right above us!
Cole decided he needed to go "night night" in the middle of the aquarium.
Watching the dolphins swim. They were so fast!
We paid extra to see the Jellies exhibit. It was pretty neat, but crowded. Cole liked watching the little ones right at his level.
There was a little touch tank just Cole's size too. He was so cute. He would touch something and pull his hand out really fast like it scared him and just laugh and then go right back in.
Nina and Pop Pop let Cole pick out a stuffed pengiun to take home. Cole named him "Cole".

Two of my favorite pictures from the weekend:

Our family photo after the marathon expo. Cole actually looked at the camera and smiled!

Tony and I ready to "Own Chicago" in our 3rd marathon together!

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