Good Ole Nebraska

I decided to go home for the weekend - Seth was already driving back for his friends wedding, so I figured, heck, why not split the gas money and take a trip home. After all, it's been a year and a half since I've been back! 

I had no idea what to expect on my little visit - I facebooked a few friends letting them know that I would be in town and wouldn't mind seeing them and meeting their little kiddos. Thanks to Regina! I went over to meet little Ethan, who is adorable, and already has a great pitching arm at the tender age of not yet 2! 

Later that night, Sarah (Bean) Coughlin and I met for drinks - something we have never done before! Yes, I am 27 years old and I have never indulged in an adult beverage with my good friend Sarah! So it was quite a good evening for some celebration! Later, Gina and Jason met us at The Dish on "O" Street. After a few drinks - fun fruity drinks for the girls, an iced tea for Gina who was "with child" and a Bud Light for Mr. Teague (ha!) we were off to meet up with some other friends in the Haymarket District. 

Here is a picture of the girls - me, Regina Teague, Sarah Coughlin and Tricia Sandy

I have to say, I did feel bad for the boys - Jason, Ryan Cole and his friend Robert - as most of the conversation revolved around things that probably didn't really interest them - kids, childbirth, stretch marks, etc

But, Sarah lightened the mood with her colorful gestures - which she shared often with Jason! And of course, humorous stories of raising two "little people" - Megan is 7 and Connor is 6. Yikes! The funniest stories included Megan tying Connor up with scotch tape, naked, like "the police officers do." And also figuring out what "bad words" the kids knew - so that Sarah and Brad knew what they could and couldn't say around the kids! 

I was so disappointed (and surprised at myself!) when our waitress came over and announced last call. We had been having so much fun (yes, my cheeks hurt badly and at times I thought I would pee my pants!) and time had slipped away. First of all, I couldn't believe that it was already 12:30 and that I was still awake and functioning and secondly I couldn't believe that it was so easy and fun to hang out with these amazing people that I have not seen or talked to in over 9 years! Why did the night have to come to an end already? It was like we were just getting warmed up!

I made it home by 2 am - after securing a safe ride for my drunk Korean friend! I had exactly 2 hours of sleep before I had to wake up to go to the Omaha Farmer's Market with my mom, the Lollipop Lady! Let me tell you, at one point, I was kinda wishing that I hadn't agreed to go. But in the end, I am glad I did, because it gave me and mom some time together - even if the majority of our conversation was consumed with lollipop and farmers market topics. 

Once I was back in Lincoln, I got a few messages inquiring about what we had planned for the evening. At this point I was shocked! It was not my initial intention to spend my weekend in Nebraska out downtown - but, if these crazy people wanted to do it again, then I was definitely game! This time we recruited Abbey Lowe to come with us! And what a great evening we had!

It was so good to have some of our old group back together again! Although it had been many years since we had seen or talked, and so much in our lives had changed, it was so easy to laugh with each other again like it was yesterday. 

I had such a good time in Lincoln - which is always a bit of surprise. But more importantly, it was great to reconnect with some amazing women who have touched my life and shaped me into who I was - and who I am. I cannot thank them enough for their unspoken love and support - and an environment free of judgement and shame, but filled with love, laughter and healing hugs! 

And Regina and I accomplished our mission of getting Seth and Jason back together. After a few years of not speaking to each other, it was time that these two long time best friends were reunited. It took some scheming on our part, but I finally got Seth to call Jason to meet us for lunch. And the boys are just as cute as ever!


To the best group of girlfriends that I could ask for! Thank you to all you fine females for loving, supporting and encouraging me - I don't know what I would do without all of you!

Erika - for being so new to the group and yet you feel like a long lost sister. Thanks for helping me process things in a healthy and mature way. A little wine and some girl talk is always better than throwing my cell phone against the wall any day - especially when it means I get to hang out with you!

Kate - my identical twin personality! I see so much of myself in you - which is really scary! But I love and appreciate your energetic, compassionate and sincere enthusiasm for life - plus, shopping with you is always a great distraction from the things that I should really be doing - like laundry, packing, etc. 

Joely - you surprise me with your friendship everyday. I knew that we were true friends when you high fived a certain posterior area of my body! Thanks for your breathe of fresh air in the form of hilarious text messages that make me smile - and provide a dose of reality to my day. 

You girls are the best! I just hope that I can return the favor of your amazing friendship!


Calendar of Events

So I'm sitting here today looking at my calendar. It's already June 16th - which means summer is officially underway! And I feel so ill-prepared! I feel like I've been waiting for summer for such a long time, but now that it is here, I have no idea what I want to do with my 11 remaining weekends of the summer fun time! Time to get planning - and organized! So I thought I would create a list of all the fun things that I want to do this summer. I tried doing this for winter, but unfortunately only did about three of the things on the list! And I have a feeling with all the Team in Training functions already planned for the summer, finding time to fit in "me" things might be a bit more challenging. But, here goes:

Things I Want To Do This Summer:
(in no particular order - at least at this point!)

1. Hike a Fourteener - preferably for my birthday!
2. Go camping at least once
3. Share bread, cheese, nutella and wine with friends at the Jazz Concerts at City Park
4. Read and finish at least one book on my must-read list
5. Play golf at least 3 times
6. White water rafting (ok, does it count if we just did this the other weekend?!)
7. Spend an evening relaxing quietly on the hammock

Between training for yet another marathon in October and playing kickball every Thursday evening, I'm not sure when I'm gonna find time to fit everything in that I want to do!


Post Race

After the race, Kate and I met up, grabbed our gear bags, some food and the sweet superwoman capes to keep us warm. Who knew that after running 26.2 miles in 70 degree weather that you would get cold after you cooled down? But I was thankful to have it after a while.

We hung out at the Team in Training tent and had a few beers before we headed to the ocean to take our "ice bath" in the ocean! I couldn't think of a better way to finish up our race experience than doing it in the ocean! It was cold - but it was better than sitting in a bath tub full of ice water!

Race day was also Cortnae's birthday, so we went out that night to celebrate by going to sushi and having a few drinks. We were all pretty exhausted by that time of night, but we had a good time and had a few drinks to celebrate.

Character Building

Kate and I on race morning - smiling at 3:30 am! And ready for the race! (notice the bright sequined letters across my shirt - so that people could cheer me on during the race!)

We brought our Team Hero with us and wore his photo on our backs. Team Brandan helped us to make through the marathon! Not sure I could have done it without the help of our support staff and fabulous coaches - and the encouragement of Brandan and his family!

We even wrote on our legs - "Team Brandan" and "Hope"

Erika and I tried to get tough and fierce as we waited at the start area - mentally preparing for the challenge ahead! (yes, it was pitch black outside because it was 4:45 in the morning!)

I hate to sound like a running snot, but I have to say that I am so disappointed in myself and my finish for this race. I ran a 4:42 in San Francisco last year and was really hoping that with more training and a supposedly easier course that I would break 4:30. However, at mile 8 that quickly became a distant dream. I analyzed my whole race with my coach and I have no idea where things went wrong.

 I did everything just as I was trained - I rested, I tapered, I ate well, I abstained from caffeine and alcohol. On race morning I was well rested and well fueled. I felt good! I went out conservatively, but competitively and felt good through mile 7.5. At mile 8 my fuel tank felt like it was on empty. My body felt fine! Mentally - I was ready! But there was nothing left to fuel my journey. Soon after the half way point, my body started hurting - in places and ways that it never had before. I was sluggish, and my knee quickly began to ache. By mile 15 I was walking - something I NEVER did in my first marathon. Something I had NEVER done in training runs. I had run several 20-21 mile training runs with no issues, no problems and I had felt fine. Why was it that today, when it mattered, I felt sluggish and weak? I walked - a lot. More than I would ever like to admit, but I honestly thought that was the only way I would finish. Each 1/2 mile passed slowly by and I became incredibly discouraged. At one point, I started to tear up realizing that for one of a very few times in my life, I would not reach my goal - even after 3 1/2 months of successful and adequate preparation. (of course, tearing up made me feel like I couldn't breathe and that I might hyperventilate) 

So I sucked it up and realized that I was out there representing the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society mission, not myself. The fact that so many cancer survivors were out on the course with signs of appreciation and saying thank you to all the Team Purple participants made me realize that running a marathon is tough, but nothing compared to chemotherapy treatments. If they could smile and perservere through their journey, then I could do the same. And I took the advice of our keynote speaker John Bingham and began cheering on fellow participants encouraging those who would pass me. It was difficult, but it really helped me feel like a bigger part of the race by encouraging all of the other runners. It was a great experience and it really felt like a team environment as we encouraged each other on and struggled together to reach the finish line. 


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