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Monday, October 16, 2017

St. George Marathon 2017

Marathon No. 22 for me is in the books and my love of the St. George Marathon is still going strong.  The way I run it has changed dramatically in the 12 times I have run, but fast or slow, it is still an amazing course and has somehow become a part of me.  For the past several years we have had a big group of family go down for the marathon and the entire weekend has felt like a big party.  This year though it was just my little family as well as Sean and Jessica so I worried that we might feel a little lonely.  But with several thousand other runners and their friends and families, there was still plenty of love and excitement.  Because Ruby's birthday was on Thursday, we didn't drive down until Friday morning so there was not a lot of time to wander around and get nervous.  We headed straight to the expo to shop, sample, and pick up my race packet.  Dinner that night was a carb fest with lasagna, bread, and pumpkin cookies and we all went to bed pretty early with dreams of Gatoradae and Gu.

The alarm rang way too early, but it was nice to be greeted by a text from Jarin wishing us all good luck.  His message was so perfect for the morning that we all were a little emotional about the fact that he wasn't with us.  The strangest part about the marathon for me this year was the fact that Tim decided not to run.  He has told me that he planned to retire after nearly every marathon that he has run, but this time he was serious.  I decided not to try to talk him into it, but the morning of I was missing him and wished I had tried harder to convince him that it would be fun. 
We all got up and going without too much difficulty which if you know how Broadbents sleep, that was a small miracle.  Jesse had made Kodiak cakes the night before so we made ourselves peanut butter and banana sandwiches, did one last check of our gear bags, and headed out for the starting line.  On the drive there we had Tad's OU Theater Department Dance Party Mix playing, so by the time we arrived we were excited and ready to run - ok that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but at least we were awake and not entirely grumpy.  The bus ride was smooth and we made it to the top with about an hour before the race was set to begin.  As usual, we spent most of that time alternating between the bathroom lines and trying to figure out how to stay warm.  We took care of the most important pre-race ritual, the hand mantras, and with that, were ready to go.  Sean and Jess were planning to do a run/walk, but we all started out together and ran the first few miles as a group.  I knew that I needed to keep my pace even and watch my heart rate if I wanted to have a good run so we eventually separated, I turned up my music, and settled in for a long run.

Coming into the race, I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be but I felt like I had a pretty good base to have a good race.  I didn't get as much sleep and had more stress that I had hoped for in the week leading up to the marathon so I knew that could make it a little tough.  But as I started to run I just felt happy and grateful to be there and that feeling continued throughout the run.  As I ran, I focused on trying to keep my heart rate consistent, especially on the hills.  At one point I got a little frustrated that I wasn't able to run a little faster - I felt like I was putting in good effort, but just couldn't get going as fast as I would have liked.  I had been hoping for an extra magical run and when it didn't happen, and actually felt more hard than normal, I really worked on not getting mentally defeated.  That is probably the biggest lesson I have learned over the last few years of racing - it's really all about the mental game.  Because I know the course, I know that the hills seem never ending so every time I saw a new one, I tried to just welcome the hill and the pain - a trick from my earliest marathon training.  Once I got past the 20 mile mark my feet and hips were really starting to hurt and being done sounded like a great idea.  Knowing that I would see Tim, Luke and Ruby really kept me going and motivated me to keep moving. Tim had texted to let me know where he would be so as soon as I turned the corner, I just started smiling and crying a little because I was so excited to see my family.  The kids had silly string to shoot which is their favorite part of any race.  I took the time to stop, shoot the string, and give everyone loves before pushing on to the finish.  I told Tim to stay and see Sean and Jess and planned to see him at the finish.  Seeing them gave me the total boost I needed to finish the race running and even encourage a few others along the way.

As I approached the end and crossed the finish line, I felt so blessed - blessed that I found something in running and racing that brings me so much joy and satisfaction, blessed that even though I've slowed down, I'm still healthy enough to run and race, and blessed to have so much support from those that I love best.  My overall time ended up being 4:46.  This was a minute faster than last year but somehow felt so much tougher.  Unfortunately,  within a few minutes of finishing, I suddenly felt super sick and like I was going to puke, or pass out of both.  I wandered into the park and found a space blanket to lie down on and just laid there for about 20 minutes, feeling quite miserable.  After a bit though everything settled down and I was able to get up and go welcome Sean and Jesse to the finish line.  They finished so much sooner than expected, and I was impressed that they were able to power through on so little training.  Once again, we all did it and as always, the accomplishment felt great!

Best cheerleaders ever!

It's tough work spectating so they made sure to fuel with Kodiak Cakes - best pre race fuel ever.  Tim sent me this picture with a test message of "Go Mama Go" and it came through mid race.  The picture made me smile and the chant gave me a boost for the next several miles.

The focus of the weekend is definitely the marathon, but we try to make it a vacation for the kids as well.  Their favorite part of any trip to St. George is time at the swimming pool and we had a great time playing in the water.  The kids made some friends and had plenty of space to splash and play.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Ruby Girl

Four years ago Miss Ruby McKena made her appearance into the world on her own timeline and terms and we could not have been more excited to meet her.  We were shocked to see her blue eyes and fair skin, and were especially amazed at her lack of hair.  Despite how different we may look, she has been my girl from the very beginning and we all love her fiercely.  It's hard to believe that four years have passed so quickly but we have loved every minute that we have had her in our family.  Luke and Ruby talk all the time about the fact that he came to the family first, and how once he got here, he was just waiting for her to come join us.  I think we all felt that way and can't imagine our lives without Ruby.  That's not to say that every day with her is easy...she is strong willed and stubborn and has very definite ideas about how she thinks her world should work.  But she is also smart, and funny and so full of fun that we are happy to take the sassy days as part of the package.

Both Ruby and Luke usually start planning their birthdays months in advance, and love to pick a theme and most importantly - a cake.  When I asked Ruby what kind of party she wanted for her four year old birthday, she was adamant that she wanted unicorns and rainbows.  That seemed pretty perfect for such a magical little girl and we started searching for the cake and accessories.  Because we were going to be going out of town, we decided to have her party early and celebrate on Sunday with all of the family.  Ruby absolutely loves being the center of attention and this year is old enough to understand the fun of a party.  As we were getting everything ready she kept telling me "mama, I'm the boss of this party, right".  I couldn't come up with anything else to say other than to assure her that she definitely could be the queen for the day.  Mostly she just wanted to be in charge of all of the unicorns, rainbows and balloons and making sure that everyone knew she was turning four!

She told me she wanted a rainbow cake with a princess and a unicorn on the top.  When she saw her cake she said it was exactly what she wanted - I hope she will always be this easy to please.

Ruby has a few friends in the neighborhood and at preschool, but mostly she just loves her cousins!

Somehow we missed getting photos of most of the party and the guests, but I guess that was because we were too busy having fun.  We are always so lucky to have so much family support and loved having everyone together to celebrate.  We missed having Grandpa and Grandma Broadbent at the party - poor grandma was in the hospital and having a follow up surgery on her back.

Within the space of a week, we actually get to celebrate the birthdays of Ruby, Taylor, and Miles so the party was a perfect time to remember everyone.  The party was even more fun with two cakes.  Miles and Taylor love to play chess together and their chocolate cake was delicious.

Make a wish baby girl.

The unicorn jammies from Juniper and co. were a total hit!

And a princess dress is always a great idea.

Cutest cousins ever!

After all the fun of the party, we had a very tired little unicorn

Ruby started celebrating early and the party lasted all week.  They made a big deal over her at preschool and the birthday crown helped everyone to know it was her special day.

On the morning of her actual birthday she woke up sleepy but so excited to finally be four and open more presents.  We had talked about what we could do to make the day special for her, but she ended up being quite sick so a trip to the doctor was about as exciting as it got.  The nurses were sweet and made a big deal over her and gave her a little prize and a birthday card which happened to be a unicorn.  We tried to talk her into going out to dinner somewhere nice the only place she would agree to was Costco where she wanted a hot dog and pizza.  She kept telling Tim that she really just wanted to stay home and that she was the boss of her birthday so she got to decide.  We finally settled on pizza and cupcakes and she seemed to think our little party was the perfect way finish the celebrations. 

Our little artist loves to paint

And books are always a favorite

New rain boots to replace the others that were too small

I've been trying to keep a record of some of the cute things that she says and does...without a few notes I worry that I will forget some of the Ruby magic.  I'm sure there is so much more to share, but here are a few of the highlights from the past year:

September -Told  me that she needs a horse for her Jessie doll, she said "I tried to have her go for a ride on the purse doggy but it didn't work"
Says her stuffed pigs are names Baza and Howie the Hog

December - "Next time I want you to marry me mama"
When I asked how she learned to be such a good dancer..."Jesus teach me"
Tells Tim and I "good job" or "that's a great idea"

January - Routinely tells me "mama, we're best friends"
Wants me to play princess with her, usually I get to be the queen
Loves the movie Trolls and routinely tells us to call her Princess Poppy

February  - We are seeing more and more of her personality.  She likes to know who is in charge and usually tries to argue that it is her.  When she is afraid someone else is going to be in charge she will pull out her trump card of "but Jesus is the boss of everyone".
Out of the blue one day she told me "Sometimes I just get really mad at my pets when they don't do what I say".

March - It appears that we have a little feminist in the making, one day I told her how cute she looked and she said "Don't tell me I'm cute, that makes me so mad...tell me I'm smart".
Loves to tell us stories about when she was a little girl, the imagination and details are usually quite amazing
"When I was a little girl my sister was Princess Leia and H had a new mommy with blue eyes"
"When I was a little girl I had a  little baby and a mama names Monichaw"

May - She and Luke love to talk about how much they love us.  They usually start with "I love you all the way to the moon", but then have been working on places that are further and more exotic.  Ruby loves to tell us "I love you all the way to Canada", or "all the way to Mexico".  I think that is the furthest she can imagine.  One day she came up with her best ever..."I love you all the way to lasagna!"  I still laugh every time I think about it.

June - Routinely raids my closet to "borrow" my shoes.  She loves to stomp around my house in my high heels - her favorites are the bright red ones.  Usually she puts on the shoes then pretends that she is the mama going to work.

July - "Daddy, you're a grumpy lizard"

August - We ran out of pull ups and that was the end of pull ups at night.  She will often wake and yell out to us that she needs to go potty, but she hasn't had any accidents
After months of excitement she started preschool.  On the first day she wasn't at all nervous because she was already sure that Mrs. Fox loved her.
Ruby also started clogging - she loved ballet last year, but we decided to try something new this year.  Since Ada is a clogger, Ruby immediately thought it was a great idea and has loved it since the first class.

September - Finally decided to climb out of her bed.  She uses the sides to climb up to the top rail, perches there for a minute, then jumps to the ground and tumbles
Can stand on one leg and do a little hop
Can ride her two wheel princess bike with training wheels but still prefers her "motorcycle" (big wheel) which she rides fast and furious
Listens to Luke practice reading and doing other homework and tries her best to keep up.
Gives the best hugs and squeezes ever!