marathon #8: fort4fitness

On Saturday I ran my eighth marathon, my first since the fall of 2012 (post-Leo).  It was hard – harder than I remembered them being – but I came out with a new PR of 4:21:21.  I initially hoped to go under 4:20, but with how I felt and how I had to fight the last few miles, I am really happy with the time I got.


So let’s back up.

I started running again – consistently – this past spring when Molly (finally) started sleeping through the night.  I had thought about doing a half marathon but wasn’t sure which one to do or if I wanted to put the money into it… and then Kimberly  generously registered me for the Fort4Fitness half marathon!  Around the same time my friend here in town started training for her first marathon and I said I would be happy to run with her anytime.  I jumped in on her long runs and found myself going 12, 15, and then 18 miles easily.  I felt really good.  I started to wonder if maybe a marathon wasn’t such an impossibility after all.  I checked and I could easily switch my Fort4Fitness half registration for the full, so I did.  I ran 22 miles by myself one Sunday morning and felt fantastic.  I realized when I finished that if I had kept that pace for the whole marathon I would PR.  That felt crazy to me and also really exciting.

Race morning I got up and got my stuff together, coated myself with coconut oil to prevent chafing, poured coffee in a large mug, and hopped in the car.  I drove down to Fort Wayne and met up with Kimberly, who had graciously picked up my packet for me the night before.  We went to the bathroom and talked and I tried not to be nervous.  It felt really strange to be running a race again after all this time!  We got in the corrals and I saw my friend Richele, who was there to run the 10K.  It definitely helped to see her, too, and to feel her excitement for me.

The first 10 miles I felt really good.  I don’t think I went out too fast but I did feel like my energy started to flag a bit.  Miles 10-20 I held steady and just did the work.  Miles 20-26 were hard – I really had to dig in to keep going and to keep moving.  I knew going sub 4:20 was looking dicey and at mile 23 I knew that I really needed to push hard if I wanted to PR (previous best 4:22:06).  The finish is in the baseball stadium and you run around the bases, which is fun.  I went hard and finished really well, which felt good.

I know there are some things I could do differently in the future – most notably a longer training cycle and better fueling (fortunately Kimberly gave me a GU race morning which I took at mile 20 – otherwise I would have not been carrying enough fuel on my own).  But for being my first marathon back in four years and for a PR I am so incredibly happy and proud of what I achieved.

I watched Kimberly finish her race (4:23 and a PR for her on a run she intended to do slow and as a training run!) and then I drove home.  In true mom-fashion I washed my face with a wet wipe in the car, then stopped at Aldi before I got home so I could grocery shop (I put on a long sleeve shirt over my running clothes so maybe the smell was masked a bit?  Let’s hope?).  Then I came home and cleaned up the kitchen and showered and took the kids for a walk and made dinner… post-marathon looks a lot different with three kids!  I also slept 10 hours last night, which felt amaaaaazing.

The day of the race I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it was and how much work it took.  And one day later I’m already eyeing another marathon in November, debating if maybe I should give it one more go this year.

On an unrelated note, I just paid $18 to renew my domain again for the year, so who knows, maybe I’ll return to marathons and blogging.  If I did, what sort of things would you come here to read about?

on running

For the last year or more I’ve wondered if I’m still a runner.  I haven’t run very much and when I have it’s felt pretty awful.  I didn’t enjoy it and it felt too difficult, both mentally and physically.  I thought maybe I just wasn’t the runner I used to be, that maybe something had shifted in me and I needed to find something else.  But recently Molly has started sleeping through the night the majority of the time (insert a happy dance, jazz hands, and all the heart-eye emojis here) and I’ve been running in the mornings again.  It started with intervals – running 3 or 4 minutes, then walking for 1, and repeat.  Then I switched to just ditching the intervals and running and one morning as I cruised through the miles I realized I’m enjoying this.  Turns out when I’m not feeling as bone-deep tired, I really do still love running.  I love the quiet mornings.  I love the alone time and the breathing and pushing my legs and my lungs.  I like feeling sweaty and that burst of energy that comes from tiring yourself out a bit.  I’m looking forward to my morning runs again and enjoying the work.  It feels a bit like getting some of myself back again.

vacation reads


We were on vacation last week at Kelleys Island – a small island in the middle of Lake Erie, near Cedar Point.  We enjoyed golf carting around the island, throwing rocks in the water, hiking, and more.  It was really great.  There’s little to no cell service on the island, so it’s a great way to disconnect as well.  As always, I got quite a bit of reading done!  Here are the books I read while I was away.  Bonus: I would recommend each of them!

  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
  • Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines
  • Back When We Were Grown-ups by Anne Tyler
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Falling Free by Shannan Martin (Shannan is a dear friend to me and this book is truly amazing – funny, thought-provoking, honest, and just beautiful.  It’s challenging but not preachy and it’s a very true representation of who Shannan is and how she lives.  I’m so proud of her!  You can preorder her book here.)

I also started The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb and while it was slow to start, I’m enjoying it now that I’m in the middle!

What have you been reading lately?


In the last year or so I have really gotten into podcasts.  I credit Dave – he loves podcasts.  I wasn’t too interested but once I started listening I was hooked!  They’re especially great for long car rides.  Once a week I travel for work an hour and 45 minutes each way and podcasts really help the drive pass quickly and keep me awake.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Popcast: This is by far my favorite.  They’re mostly discussing pop culture, but Knox and Jamie are hilarious and so entertaining.  I also love their southern accents.  I eat these podcasts up and I’ve been back-listening to episodes, too.  Can’t get enough and never gets old.

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: Every week Jamie brings another woman on and they just talk about life.  It sounds basic but it’s really fun to listen to.  They tend to run the gamut in terms of deep, emotional stories, funny tidbits, and silly details about fashion or makeup.

Surviving Sarah: I just started listening to this one, but so far I like it.  It is pretty similar to Jamie Ivey, although maybe a little more serious.

What Should I Read Next: Anne Bogel interviews someone each week and asks them to name three books they love, one they hate, and what they’re reading right now.  Then she makes recommendations based off of that.  I’ve written down a bunch of books to read that she’s talked about.  Episodes are pretty short, too.

Relevant: I haven’t been listening to this one as much recently, mostly because I’ve gotten into some new ones, but I always enjoy listening to the banter between the guys.  I sometimes listen to the interviews, but mostly I’m listening to the first half where they’re all just talking to each other.  So funny.

Sorta Awesome: I’ve only listened to a few episodes of this one, but it seems promising.  Four women share hosting responsibilities and it seems like different combinations are on each week.  They talk about their “awesome of the week” and then generally focus around a particular theme or idea.

I use the PocketCasts app to listen.  It’s $3.99, but I think it’s worth it if you listen to podcasts because it allows you to adjust the speed for listening.  I listen at about 1.6x speed and now when I listen at regular speed I wonder why everyone is talking so slowly.  If you want a free app, BeyondPod is a good option.

And not a podcast but a tv show, I’ve been really loving Suits lately.  I’m watching season one right now and I’m all in!

What podcasts do you listen to?  Do you have ideas for me?

leek soup

I pulled the recipe for Spring Onion Alphabet Soup out of Better Homes and Gardens last month and made it last night, with some adjustments and substitutions.  We loved it!  It’s a really light soup,  but warm and comforting.  Good for a rainy spring day (like yesterday) or as a vegetarian substitute for chicken noodle soup.  We’ll definitely make it again.

Leek Soup

  • 1/4c. butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 leeks, white parts thinly sliced
  • 2c. frozen peas
  • 8c. vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2-2c. small pasta
  • 1t. salt
  • 1/4c. pesto
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium high heat.  Add the onions and leeks and saute for 10-15 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent and just starting to caramelize.  Add the peas, broth, pasta, salt, and pesto.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is tender.  Remove from heat, add lemon, and serve.

favorite kids books

This is by no means an exhaustive list and it’s certainly one that changes regularly, as we find new books/authors and as the kids get older and their interests shift and change.  But here are a few that we love!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead



My Aunt Penny got the kids this book and it is just so dear.  Dave and I love that it centers around an older man (not a typical kids book character) and the illustrations are so sweet and serene and wonderful.  The whole book feels very nostalgic and is just incredibly well done.  The kids love it, too.  Highly, highly recommend.

Being a Pig Is Nice by Sally Lloyd-Jones


We recently picked this book up from the library, mainly because Sally Lloyd-Jones wrote the Jesus Storybook Bible (LOVE) and I heard her on a podcast and wanted to check out her other books.  Leo is currently obsessed with this book and as soon as we finish reading it asks if we can read it again.  It’s perfect for his age.  We also got her book The House That’s Your Home and while the kids like it but don’t love it, I find it to be one of the more poetic kids books I’ve encountered.

Look Inside a Farm by Usborne books


This is Katie’s current favorite book.  She likes to find all the cats hidden about.  This is such a fun book because it has flaps within flaps and books within the book.  It’s super cool and very informative, too.  Leo especially likes that when you lift one flap of a cow’s tail, you see the cow pooping.

Flutter Fly by Kaaren Pixton


This is Molly’s favorite book, if she had one.  As our resident goat, Molly will relentless pursue anything she can put in her mouth, especially paper and plastic bags.  We originally got this book for Katie when she was a baby and she didn’t care about it at all.  Molly, however, finds it quite satisfying to wave it around, eat it, etc.  It’s indestructible and can’t be torn, so she can chew to her heart’s content.  It’s also washable, although I haven’t needed to yet.  The paper has a slightly fabric feel to it and I find if I crumple up the pages a bit, Molly can get a better hold on pages.

This is a short list and leaves out a whole slew of other books that the kids love and read (or want to read) daily, but these are current favorites.  What about you?  Any we should be checking out?

in sickness and in health

It’s been a looooong month over here.  Molly got a cold at the beginning of February.  Leo caught it, which led to an asthma attack that required steroids.  Molly’s eventually became an ear infection (which had been cooking for weeks – at her doctor appointment at the beginning of February they were a little pink, but not infected, and then a week or so later when she wasn’t sleeping they were still pink, but not infected, and then another week or so later one was, yes, very infected).  One round of antibiotics wasn’t enough so we had to do a second, stronger round of antibiotics which did, finally (or so it seems), kick the ear infection AND the congestion.  Oh, she also popped two teeth during all that, too.  Just as we were feeling relieved from all that, Leo caught a stomach bug and was up during the night puking.  Then two days later I caught it and was up puking, too.

So now we’re on the other side – or at least I hope we are.  Molly has a large scab on her nose from where it rubbed raw from so much suctioning and wiping.  The washing machine is running load after load of sheets and towels and laundry I got behind on while I was flat on the couch.  And I’m still a little bit worried that the stomach bug isn’t through and Dave or Katie or Molly (although she’s least likely, since she’s still nursing) will fall prey.  I hope not!

In that month though, Molly has gotten faster at crawling and has figured out stairs – she likes to climb the whole flight for fun (with Dave spotting her).  And my two toes – which I broke way back in mid-January – finally seem to be healing enough that I could start doing some exercise again.  That actually seems feasible, too, as Molly is sleeping better now that she’s not sick and those teeth have come in!


We also had a big snowstorm and got about a foot of snow.  We spent one morning enjoying some time outside with friends, sledding and building a snow fort, and also inside, eating pancakes and drinking hot cider.  It was a wonderful snow day!