Monday, March 12, 2018

Rowley Fam Photos

in January we got family pictures with Jason's family. Jason's sister's friend is a photographer in Cali and she was really nice to gift us a photo session. she took some posed pictures and then a lot of candid photos of everyone talking and hanging out. we had them taken at the orange groves in Mesa and at then at Jason's parents house. they turned out beautiful! 
 these photos make me laugh! cute Loretta looks so excited- the guys not so much :)
 Jason's sister Loretta and husband bought a vintage firetruck a few months ago (why not?!) - and it usually makes an appearance at every family party. we usually end up going for a short ride which is always fun. it worked out great for family pics! 
 our nephew Andrew the magician.
our previous Rowley family pics here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lantern Festival

in February we went to the Lantern festival with Jason's family. we had never been before and it was so beautiful and magical!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Marathon #5!!

on Saturday morning (Feb 24th) I completed my 5th marathon! that makes 5 marathons for me from ages 25-30. that was a little goal of mine (that I only decided last marathon). I also hit a PR and got my new fastest time at 3:48! that makes my pace about 8:40/mile. Jason initially signed up for the whole but he didn't really have time to train and he ended up dropping to the half. I had to train on my own this year which was fine- we usually just ran our long runs together and even then we didn't stay together because we are different speeds. we would always run our long runs at Tempe Town lake though and since it is 45 minutes away I didn't feel like driving there by myself. I love running there and I did miss it but I was a little nervous about running so far there by myself since some areas we go by are a little sketchy. instead I ran down the canal near our house which gave me a different training experience which will set it apart from past marathons. I ran a couple long runs in the evening and watched the beautiful colors of the sunset on the farmland and cows. I also ran early in the morning and started out seeing the super-moon one day and also an amazing sunrise.
most of my runs were 6 1/2- 8 miles and I would run my long run on Thursdays and a short speed run on Saturdays. really the only added miles to my normal running routine are the long runs and the speed run. the long run miles are a lot though with my longest run being at 20 miles. I felt great all during train with no injuries, blisters, or knee pain and my times were faster than ever so I was feeling very optimistic about getting my best time ever.
I tried to carb load as much as I could a few days before the race but I didn't want to eat too much either. all through training I felt hungry all the time but I really tried eating healthier and more vegetables and fruit than normal. the day before the race I ate grilled chicken with beets (I feel like they are a secret speed and endurance food) and sweet potatoes for lunch and raviolis with salad for dinner. 

I didn't sleep well and we had to wake up around 3:15 to make the 4:45 bus. I got on the bus with Jason's brother Brendan who was the only other one running the full with me that year. they dropped us off in the middle of the desert and it was probably the coldest marathon start ever- about 35 degrees. luckily they had heat lamps and fires for us to keep warm until the start.  the race started at 6 am which is a half hour earlier than normal so I had more time to run in the dark which is when I usually do best. it is always such an adrenaline rush in the beginning and I have to try not to go too fast. the beginning miles are all downhill until about mile 6 then it is uphill for a couple miles. while training I usually listen to audiobooks to keep my mind off the miles but I always make a playlist for the marathon to keep me running as fast as I can. it really helps me speed up especially if there is a song I can step in time to the fast beat. during the race it sounds a little silly but for the past few marathons I like to count how many dogs I see with the people cheering (which this year was only 15). little things like that can help keep your mind off of how many more miles you have. I love reading peoples signs too- one young guy had a sign that said "run faster or I'll drop this sign!" and he was naked behind the sign (probably with boxers but that had to be freezing)- that might've been a temptation for some women to stop- hah! another one said - "marathon today, netflix marathon tomorrow!"

initially I had hoped to get 3:55 which would have only been a 3 minute improvement from my last marathon. while running I felt really great and began to realize that I could get a better time than that. I started about 5 minutes after the actual start (which doesn't matter because your bib has a chip to track your time) and so I was behind nearly everyone. the good thing about that is you end up passing a lot of people and it gives you a little confidence boost :). I started out passing the 5:30 pacing group and I eventually got to the 3:55 group at about 18 miles. I stayed with them for a few miles and I knew if I did it would put me at about a 3:50 finish time. for some reason I got the number 3:48 in my head and I knew that was the number I was going to try to hit. I felt really good (well as good as you feel in the final miles of a marathon) up until about mile 22 when the pace group got ahead of me and I couldn't keep up. I kept a steady distance from them though but I figured I wouldn't achieve my new goal time I had decided on during the race. at about mile 25 though I somehow caught up to them. even though I had eaten energy gels and a couple orange slices throughout the race those last few miles all of your stored up glycogen in your body is completely depleted and it takes enormous mental strength to keep going. my goal time is what kept me going though and knowing that the sooner I finished the sooner I could relax. I didn't walk once during the race not even at the water stations. I feel like it is better to keep the running momentum going because once you walk it is that much harder to get going again. you start to feel all the aches and pains once you start walking too. I know sometimes you can't help but take a walking break but somehow I didn't need to. mile 25 goes downhill slightly so it helps you pick up a little more speed. I hit 26 miles and I was still going strong with the 3:55 group. I got to where everyone is cheering on the sides near the finish and I was ahead of the group and I ended up crossing at 3:48! I couldn't believe that I had perfectly hit that new time I had in my head. I was so relieved to be finished and so so proud of my new goal that I just hit. even though it was my 5th marathon every one still feels like an accomplishment. 
 Brin took this near the end very close to the finish line.

I had seen Brin on the other side before I crossed but after I finished I saw Jason, my sister Ashley and my nephew Grant. I had no idea Ash and Grant were coming so I was really surprised and excited to see them there. 
Jason had finished the half at 1:58 which is a great time especially for not really training.
second year in a row getting to ring the PR bell!

I got my medal, picture, free food, then went out to see the rest of my family. Brin and her family are awesome and have not missed any of my marathons. they are my best little cheering squad! my mom came to cheer me on too which I was glad cause I had forgotten to remind her about it or check to see if she was coming. 
  this was Brendan's (Jason's brother) 40th marathon!!

after the marathon they have free drinks, drinks, and you can spin to win free stuff at Chic-fil-a or Rubio's. we hung out, took pictures, then Brin's kids and Grant ran the kids 2k. near the end they start giving away cases of free drinks instead of individual ones and Brin wins for fitting the most in her stroller!
I got a much needed free 10 minute massage and then we went home and relaxed for the rest of the day.

despite how hard the training and the race is it is always an exciting day and I love being a part of it. it is easy to doubt during training that all the running and long runs will actually pay off but it always does on race day. also I prefer training alone because I like to zone out and listen to stuff and go my own pace but it is always so cool getting to the race and seeing all these other people that have been training hard too on their own. it is such a great experience running that far with so many other runners. I know it sounds cheesy but I am grateful that my body can carry me that far and that I am physically able to finish marathons. it makes me feel strong and capable of doing more than I can imagine. I don't really have the typical body type of a long distance runner- I am tall with a larger frame and thick thighs. I love proving that I can do it despite not being the average marathon runner. I don't know how long I can run marathons or half marathons and I think I will as long as I am able. I know I will miss it when I am no longer able to! 

it is the second day after the race and I am still really sore and hobbling around. I am taking it easy today and blogging about the race is the perfect way to do that. I will take a break from running for the next week or two which is always really nice.
here are my past marathon posts: (I didn't blog about last year's :( that's why I wanted to write about this years while it was still fresh in my mind) 
2013 2015 2016
and my half marathon: 2011