March 29th we traveled to Southern Oklahoma for a few things. First things first, we had a family birthday party for Alivia on Saturday morning in Durant with Brandon's family. Shortly after the party Brandon and I loaded up the car and off we went to the A2A Maraton {Another race adventure}!

We arrived at the expo on Saturday afternoon. Packet pick up was easy-breezy, no lines and we even found a few goodies at the small booth they had set up at the expo. We had a little time to kill before the pasta dinner so we went exploring in downtown Ardmore. They were having their Music and Taste of Ardmore Festival so we grabbed a few tickets and enjoyed a slice of pizza from a local pizza place before heading back for dinner #2 at the pasta dinner. {Tickets to the pasta dinner were included in your race registration fee!} At the dinner we learned that this race is 100% volunteer ran. Not a single person is paid for their work in organizing this marathon. With that being said it was probably one of the best ran races we have ever been too! Great job A2A team!!

Saturday night Brandon and I stayed the night in the Durant Falls Creek cabin. It was fun to go back and see everything that had changed there. We got there a little before sun set so we went exploring! I had a great time with Brandon. We are very blessed with family that loves our babies when we sneak away! 
We played a little ping-pong, ate a great snack, laid out all of our clothes for the next day and off to bed we went with a early wake up call of 5AM!

The A2A Marathon is different than anything Brandon and I have ran before because it is a point-to-point run. So when we arrived at the stadium Brandon got on a bus that took him to the start of the Half Marathon and I got on a bus that took me onto the Full Marathon starting line. The air was chilly so I ended up staying on the bus until 15 minutes before the race was scheduled to start. While sitting on the bus I got to chat with Angie of Marathon Training Academy. {Check her and Trevor out! We love their podcast!} The buses drove away leaving me and 106 other people on top of the mountain ready to run 26.2 miles. 

The gun went off and the feeling I had was very surreal. It was crazy starting as such a small group. This was the smallest race I ever ran, and it was a real mental battle at first being at the back of pack. I kept reminding myself that I was there to run my race, and i couldn't compare myself to anyone else on the road that day. 

Miles 1-6 were pretty much down hill, the weather was perfect, the wind was chilly so I kept my sleeve on for the majority of the these miles. At mile 7 we turned and went onto a Ranch where we ran miles 7,8,9&10. The ranch was beautiful, this portion of the race was a loop so I got to see the leaders of the race. Feeling good at this point. 

Between mile 13-14 Brandon, the kids, and his parents came and found me on the course. Still feeling good, but the wind was starting to pick up, and the sun was shining bright. The next 6 miles were tough. I begin doing run/walk intervals around mile 15. Mile 17 I wrote Brandon a text message and all it said was "kill me".  That was the slowest mile of the day for me coming in at 13mins51seconds. I walked a lot of those six miles. It was pretty hilly, and so so so windy. One of the hardest parts of the day was being out on the course all alone. The race was awesome and there were water stops pretty much every mile from 12 on, but runners were few and far  between.

BUT I knew mile 20 was coming and we would finally get to turn and the wind would be at my side and back for a few miles. I had  a renewed spirit and felt pretty strong the last 6 miles.  I ended up passing several people at the end of the race. 

I finally came across the finish line at 4hours58minutes. My slowest of my 3 official marathons I have ran, but I am still super proud of the hard work I put in to earn that medal.

Overall this race was awesome. It was well organized, ran %100 by volunteers, and definitely a race we will be doing in the future! {And you should too!}

Big shout out to my mother-in-law and father-in-law for watching the babies for us and cheering us on, to Aunt Peggy for driving up to see me finish, and for all of our supporters here. Thanks for cheering me on! 
Well, we are almost one month into the year of 2014 and I guess it is about time I blog about the big goal I have set for myself for the year twenty-fourteen. 

Twenty-Thirteen was a great year for me as a wife, momma, and a runner. I accomplished my goal of running 1,000 miles despite having a baby and taking a few months off. I ran this 5K & this 5K with my momma. I ran the KC Half in October, and sadly my marathon was cancelled in December so plans had to change a little bit towards the end of the year.

With that being said this year my goal is not going to be about total mileage.

So, here it is:
 In August of '14 I turn 26 years old. 26 is an important number in the running world. The distance of a marathon is 26.2 miles. Therefore, my big running goal for 2014 is to run the distance of a marathon each month of the year. {yikes!} 

12 Marathons in 12 Months!

No, sadly that does not mean Brandon and I will be traveling the country participating in 12 awesome marathons. Funds would just not allow that. My plan is to run 4 {or 5} official marathons throughout the year. Some of the races include but aren't set in stone : 
Miracle Match Marathon,  January {Just finished this past weekend, click here to read the review!}
A2A Marathon, March {I officially signed up for this race today!!}
Kansas City Marathon, October
 Route 66 Marathon, November
Dallas Marathon, December

The other marathons will be ran here at home around Perry, We might venture to Tulsa, OKC, or Stillwater for a change of scenery, but I plan on running the marathons the last weekend of each month unless there is a prior commitment or a race scheduled for that month. 

This year is all about running more, eating more veggies, simplifying our life, growing closer together, and just enjoying everything God has given us as as a family. I hope you join us on another crazy adventure. 

This past Saturday morning we loaded up the car and headed to Waco, TX for the Miracle Match Marathon {MMM}. We ditched the kiddos with the grandparents and Brandon and I were on our way, just the two of us! {What a blessing!} 

The MMM is a very small race compared to the bigger city races we usually go to. There were no lines, a small expo, and just under 200 people that finished the marathon on Sunday. We arrived at packet pickup and I received bib #20. They had big maps hanging on the wall of the course route and a gentleman walked me through the route. He explained where the small hills were, where the big hills were, and where the even bigger hills were. I was told not to expect a PR {personal record} at all. To say the least I left packet pickup with a lump in my throat and my stomach in knots. I was so very nervous. Probably more than I ever have been before  a race. 

That evening Brandon and I ate at PEI WEI {YUM!!} and we stopped at Collin Street Bakery on our way back to the hotel. We got there about 30 minutes before they closed so we walked out of there with 4 cookies and 2 containers of cinnamon rolls FOR FREE because they were going to throw them away at the end of the day! Awesome! 

We ate our cookies, brushed our teeth, and got a great nights sleep {Besides when I woke up at 3:00AM thinking we had slept through the alarm and I missed the race}. Totally odd, but the hotel room had no clock so I woke Brandon up in a panic! 

Sunday morning I felt great. I was right at the front of the pack at the start line. The marathon, 1/2, and 10K all started together. The weather was perfect as we set out onto Baylor's campus. The sun was starting to rise and it was so peaceful. The campus was beautiful, and I had settled into a comfy pace preparing myself for the 26.2 miles and hills ahead. 

Right before mile 5 everyone split. The 10Kers went right, the 1/2ers went straight, and the marathoners went left, and believe me: the marathon route was the road less traveled for sure. There was no road congestion. I could see maybe 5-10 runners in front of me, and just a few behind me as well. I knew that the road ahead could get lonely. 

Mile 7 came with the first small hill {easy peasy}. On that hill I passed a man, probably in his mid 50's. He was walking up the hill and told me to take it easy, and that it was just the beginning. Around mile 8 he caught up with me and we quickly became friends. His name was Jorge, he is an ultra-marathoner. That run was his 48th marathon to run and I realized that he knew what he was doing. Mile 8,9,10,11,12,13 passed in a flash. Rolling hills filled with conversation with my new friend. Plant based diets, proper fueling, ultra-marathons, our families, blogs, and running groups were the topics of our conversations. 

Mile 13 came with a bang. A beautiful view of the lake and a hill that made you forget the beautiful scene all together. Mile 14-15 was one loooong hill that never seemed to end. We walked the hills that were steep {At that point our walk was faster than our attempt to run up the steep inclines}. 

Mile 16 came and Jorge and I got split up. He stopped to tie his shoe and get some water at a water stop and I continued on. Just ten more miles. I was feeling strong! I started concentrating on the the next 4 miles. I knew that the last six were going to be killer. Miles 17,18,19 were pretty much a breeze. Down hill or flat. 
Then mile 20... I knew at this point unless my body completely shut down I would have a PR. I continued on as my body grew more and more fatigued on the HUGE hills in Cameron Park followed by 2 small, steep, and rough hills. My hips were starting to hurt from going down so many hills, by that time I was hot, out of breath, and hitting the dreaded "wall". Mile 23 came with the promise of less hills and the end in sight. 

Mile 24 was a tough mile for me. Brandon had gone ahead to the finish line and I knew the last 2.2 miles were just me and the pavement. By this time I could only see a few runners ahead of me {which I ended up passing!!} I decided to run mile 24 for Alivia. I kept thinking of the joy she is to me. The things I love about her and her sweet little stubborn soul. Mile 25 was for Gray. My boy. His blonde hair and blue eyes that I treasure so much. He high pitch scream and the his sweet shy smile that makes my heart skip a beat. By now I was just praying there would be one more hill so I could walk, but there was no hill insight. Just the bridge I knew the finish line was located on and the promise of Brandon waiting for me cheering me on. 

After running up a pretty killer ramp there it was: .2 left over this old wooden bridge. There was B, along with others cheering us on. I crossed the finish line at 4hours 32minutes and 31seconds. {A 6 minutes PR, which I am so excited about considering the tough course! It is known to be the toughest marathon in TX!}

I got my medal, my finishers jacket,  chocolate milk, a delicious fajita, found a seat, and just processed everything that had just happened. Realizing how strong I am. How far I have come from just having a baby 11 months ago. How much I am loved and supported by the man of dreams, family, and friends. How much I love running and the challenge it is for me and how much fulfillment I get from pounding the pavement. 

Man, what a great experience Sunday was. I am so very thankful for the opportunity. I am so very thankful to the person that paid my way. I am so very thankful I got a redemption race after Dallas was canceled in December.  I am so very thankful that Brandon rode his bike for 4+ hours. He was my own personal traveling water station and he kept me going when I wanted to stop. His love, patience, encouragement, and persistence gets me to every finish line. What would I do without him?? I am so very thankful our babies are loved by their grandparents and we can leave them knowing they will be loved and cared for!!

I got 2 things I wasn't expecting from this race: 
1. A sunburn
2. A blood blister on my toe
Both things I would not trade for anything. 

The MMM was great race. Beautiful, tough course. Great water stations that were ran by spirited, encouraging individuals. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a challenge. I hope to go back for sure. It's worth the hills! 

Well, the day is here. 

Tomorrow Brandon and I are headed to my redemption marathon, the Miracle Match Marathon in Waco TX. 

As most of you may know, my goal race was the Dallas Marathon and sadly it was canceled due to bad weather in December. BUT Brandon and I are extremely blessed and someone offered to pay my way in to the marathon in Waco this weekend. {THANK YOU SO MUCH--you know who you are!!}

There are two things I have read about the race that are important to know:
1. Be prepared for hills
2. Once you think you are prepared for hills, prepare some more...

Ya see, this Marathon is known to be the toughest in Texas. Just typing that out makes my legs hurt, my heart beat a little faster, and head sweat. 

As I am sitting here my nerves are growing by the minute, but despite that my GPS watch is plugged in and charging, every piece of my running wardrobe that might possibly come in handy is sitting on our bed ready to be packed {Better to be over prepared than under, right?}, and my shoes are laced and ready to go. 

I have prepared for this run {maybe not the hills--but we'll see}. I have put in the miles, the training, and the heart. However, I still sit here nervous as can be. Nerves aren't a bad thing though. I am thankful I sit here today nervous and excited instead of frustrated and burnt out. 

My love for running has grown deeper than I ever imagined over the past year. I have some pretty exciting goals for 2014 and beyond and can't wait to share more after this 26.2 miles on Sunday.