Anxiety and Fear

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In the past few years, I have noticed that I suffer a bit from anxiety. I didn't really know I had this until one day I caught myself repeating a certain sentence over and over in my head. Then a few days later I noticed the same exact habit, I started to notice more and more when I would end up in this cycle. They don't last long and lately, now that I am aware of them, I try to snap myself out of them. I don't know what causes it, probably stress, probably feelings of inadequacy, whatever it is, it is terrifying and I don't like the feeling at all. I hate meds, so I probably will try to never get on any of them, especially if I can snap myself out of it myself. 

However, yesterday, I was overly stressed. I knew what was stressing me out and I tried all weekend to not let myself be stressed out over it. What was stressing me out? Something extremely simple--I was having another doctor's appointment for my pregnancy. I have had many of them with my first two and I don't remember ever being stressed out. However, after my miscarriage in November, anything at all with this pregnancy sets me on edge. Although I have had already one ultrasound and it showed everything normal (at least to the little peanut size baby that I had at that point), I was terrified. All weekend and all day yesterday, I was preparing myself for the worst. I was preparing myself mentally to hear the doctor say, "Isela, I am sorry, it doesn't seem like a viable pregnancy." Is that crazy? I think I am trying to shield myself in case anything happens. I know my odds of having a healthy pregnancy are low due to age...blah, blah, apparently 38 is too old. 

My appointment was at 4:30 and I was on edge...so on edge! I wanted to know that my baby was okay, that my body was handling it okay. That my body can still carry a wee one. The doctor, thankfully, was in and they took us right away. She came in and after some small talk, she said that we will listen to the heartbeat. My heart was racing. I was sweating. I was hopeful. She put the little ultrasound gadget on my abdomen and right away, the most beautiful sound came on "woosh, woosh, woosh" beating at 160 bpm! My little wee one is thriving. My body is doing it! I am doing this!!! I am officially out of the first trimester, the odds for me and my baby have gone up considerably. Am I still out of the danger zone, no, I am not, but I am hopeful that the Lord will allow me to have one more little one. I am hopeful that we will both make it through the next 6 months. 

I think the miscarriage taught a lot that I had never imagined before. The fear that enters our hearts is indescribable. It is hard not to hope and not to have dreams about this little bundle, especially when you want it so badly. Yet, having had the miscarriage taught me that even the one thing I have "some control over", my body, that I cannot really control it. It taught me to fear, to fear simple routine checkups. It taught to fear everything I do. As such, when people tell me with an accusing tone "you are still lifting and running?" it bothers me,  not because it is a thoughtless comment (although it may be) but because if they only knew how much I love and want this baby, I wouldn't do anything in this world to jeopardize my pregnancy. The truth is that if I am going to miscarry, there is nothing on this earth that I can do about it. I learned that lesson in November. I cried. I begged. I prayed. I stopped doing everything and anything physical to save my pregnancy, and I couldn't do anything. Even the doctor said, if the pregnancy is not viable, your body will end it, there is nothing we can do about it, or you can do about it. It is hard to lose this control. It is hard to accept that we do not have control over these things--believe me, I am a control freak and this one episode in my life has taught me what 37 years of life hasn't been able to in that time period. 


Coming October 2016....my next greatest accomplishment since almost 12 years ago.

Announcement sitting down

We are so excited to announce that we are being blessed with a third little one. The baby is due October 2016. We all cannot wait to hold the baby and cherish it as much as we are cherishing the idea of him/her right now. We are all full of hope and feel so blessed. 

Announcement

Our little peanut is still very little, but we love him/her so much already. I wonder if he/she knows how excited we are. 

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Miracles!

This post was written on March 14, 2016, made public,  April 13 2016.

Totally unexpected. I got super sick on Thursday March 3rd, so sick that I wanted to crawl under a rock and die! That evening my son had a hockey tournament and I dragged myself to the game, all the way down in Provo, a good 2-hr drive from home. I lasted about 30 minutes in the front seat and then I had to switch my son as I couldn't take the nausea. Truly, I felt like I was dying. The game was a whirlwind and I felt nauseated the entire time. At the end of the game, I climbed back in the car and curled into a ball and slept the entire 2-hour ride back home. I was miserable. The next morning, the same plus some flu side effects. Truly--why does the body react so violently to a virus inside the body, why can't it just peacefully let one simply die! The hockey tournament weekend was a no-go for me. I stayed home with Nyah--who took charge of me and became my little nurse. Friends came to my aid bringing me meds and soda. I drank my first coke in 16 years! Oh, it was like mana from heaven. My guts felt better the instant I started sipping on it. It may not be good for the body, but it is good for killing viruses. 

Monday came and I felt almost human enough to go back to work. I was still feeling the flu in my body but was at least running at 70%. Then, that evening came and with it cooking or being around food (hubby cooks a lot of the meals as he gets home earlier than I do from work). The moment he started cooking, I felt again completely nauseated and sick. Something was not right. I was supposed to be getting better not worse. Then my kids came and gave me hugs and their stench about killed me. They were so smelly! A pre-teen girl and a teenage boy do not smell their best at the end of the day. Gosh! They were stinky! 

Then it dawned on me....it couldn't be...it just couldn't happen. I counted and recounted and knew that it wasn't possible. But, I picked up a cheap test at the supermarket and I took it, waiting the required time to see the results. In my head, I knew it had to say "-". Well, I was wrong, the second the fluid hit the lines, it turned into a "+". No freaking way! It had to be wrong. I had to send hubby back to the store to get a "good and reliable" test. Maybe the $4.99 was wrong. Took the second test, waited the 2-minutes for it to say  "yes" or "no". Unbelievably, it was a "yes"!!! What in the world!?! Both hubby and I were confused and really have no clue how it happened, according to dates other than my body did something weird in between months, so we are calling it our miracle. 

Pregnancy test 3.14.16

To tell you an approximate date is a little complicated so I will wait until the doctor gives us a more accurate date, but it should be beginning of November. 

Am I apprehensive? Yes. After my miscarriage in November and the emotions that I went through (and still going through) this is difficult to accept, not because I do not want to be pregnant, but because I am afraid of losing my little one, again. I don't want to go through the loss one more time--I try to be strong in my everyday life and not be that little broken-winged bird, but that experience truly broke me.

I have been very sick this time around and I have an aversion to everything I smell. The hardest part has been my water intake. I used to drink 80-100 oz a day but I can't stomach the taste of water, so I have felt dehydrated all the time. I am queasy and feel nauseous all day long. Where before I didn't cook due to lack of time, now I can't cook for fear of barfing every minute. I want to think of these side effects as good omens....I want my body to be able to keep my little one. 

This was written on March 14, 2016. 


Morning thoughts

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Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I go through the same battle in my head. The saying goes "workout because you love your body not because you hate it". I want to love it. I love the fact that it is healthy and that I can do stuff with it, however, I hate it because I have the genes to be a chunky dunky monkey so in order to stay healthy, I have to constantly work my butt off. I cannot help but look around at other women who do not workout and look amazing all the time. At 5:30am when my alarm is going off, all I can say to myself to get out of bed is "fatso, get up, that flabby belly is not going to go away by itself!" Not like it has gone away before, but I keep it at bay.  Comparison is the worst enemy, I know, but it is so hard to think logically at 5:30am when I am tired and all I want to do is keep sleeping til 7am. So each time, I end up getting up and getting dressed in 100 layers and going out for a run. It is a sense of responsibility and shame that makes me get up. Do you have to get up early in the morning to workout? 

Working full time has its awesome perks-I love having health insurance! I enjoy the sense of security it gives me as I know that if my children get sick that I can take them to the doctor so they get check. However, I have struggled finding the time to workout. I finally understand what many people told me before "I don't have time!". It is true. If I slept til 7am, I also wouldn't have time. Fitting in all the activities from the kids and my "wants" doesn't really fit in 24 hours, especially if I sleep for at least 7hrs.  If you are a Momma or Papa out there getting your workouts in, I applaud you because it is freaking hard! We have to give up something precious (sleep) in order to stay healthy. So the question is: how badly do you want it? What is your level of commitment to your cause? I know my bed loves me at 5:40am, it wraps its warm, soft arms around me and begs me with soft whispers to stay in bed. 

It is not that I hate working out, no, on the contrary, I completely love being active and working out. What I don't like is that I have to get up so early to get it done. But then again, if this is my only worry of the day, I have a pretty good life and then I realize that my petty laziness can be overcome. 


Knitting as Therapy

Through the Woods

January is such a blah month. I read something recently that made me giggle, it read " January is the worst month! You're fat and broke from Christmas, it's cold and dark 24/7, you're paler than ever, it's just such a struggle", I tend to agree with that statement. It is a hard month. The January blues! Couple that with the sadness of my miscarriage and I have turned into a complete #itch the past month.  I try to be good. I really do. But, I cannot help myself when the blues hit, I just want to crawl into bed and stay in there forever. 

January blahs

Thankfully, January has a day off in there so I was able to stay home and simply "be". I gave myself the gift to knit for me. To do something for myself. I don't knit for myself often as I don't really have time to grab a pattern and knit and enjoy it. Most of the time, it is a matter of sitting down and figuring out instructions and writing out the pattern for the looms. Not this time. I simply sat down with pattern in hand and I knitted. I knitted for 3 afternoons/evenings. It was most pleasant. A feeling that I had forgotten, a feeling of getting lost in the process and seeing the magic appear. 

First, I knitted the cute Quendi hat by Irina Anikeeva. I totally love the cables. I do wish it wasn't so long in the ribbing section. I believe it is meant to be a slouchy hat, but I don't do really like slouch hats, at least not with cables in them. This one was worked with Malabrigo worsted--super soft and lovely! 

Quendi Hat

My other project, which I have been waiting since 2014 to get a chance to knit was the Through the Woods hood. I am in love with this hood. I made one winter of 2014 in a red color and it is one of my absolute favorite accessories. I have been meaning to knit one in a charcoal gray but I have not had the time, until this last weekend. I casted for it on Sunday night and finished it Monday evening. It simply flies through the needles!My Nyahbelle is here modeling the cute hood. And because she is uber cute, I couldn't decide on "just" one picture. 

 

Through the Woods 3

Through the Woods 2

Through the Woods 4

Through the Woods Back

I would like to knit another hood, but I want it with Celtic cables, but I haven't found one with Celtic Cables. I could design it myself but that means work so instead, I'll wait until someone else designs it so I can simply sit down and knit. 

This weekend was one of those in which I finally realized the wonderful gift that I have learned...I can create with string. I can create basically anything that I can imagine. One day, I will have a cat and I will dress it, hahaha. 


Goodbye 2015!

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It has been fun, it has been real, but it hasn't been real fun this year. I am glad that it is coming to a close and to see what 2016 has in store for us. As a family, we have overcome some major hurdles this year but we are happy to say that we have survived and have conquered. 

We have had some major highlights, some of them small but very meaningful to us. 

  1. We moved to a new house. In a sense, this was one of the major changes in our lives. We like the little house we are renting, it is in a good neighborhood, and most importantly, the kids have their friends near. 
  2. A full-time job for mom, meaning me. This was probably the biggest adjustment. The kids are in school til 3:30pm, so I went back to work, not part-time, but full-time. Unlike some family members want to believe, it was not because "I don't like to be home" or because "I give my kids all they want" but rather because financially, we needed it. My income helps support us. It is very hurtful when family members tell you to your face that "really, you shouldn't work because you should be able to live within your husband's income". Thankfully, I don't need to be near "these" family members. The best part is that I do love my job. I love being an Academic Advisor. I love being around the students. Most importantly, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful team--each one of them is appreciative, kind, and smart. 12080145_10207987908761927_8558490266793821133_o
  3. Bryant competed at Nationals in Olympic Weightlifting. What?! Yep, my 13-year old boy, not only competed but he placed 2nd in the nation in his age and weight bracket. He got to this point not because it was given to him, but because of all the hard work he has put in at the gym. It is a result of his dedication and work ethic. 43855 (5)
  4. Our good friends moved back to town from Colorado. We have missed them and we are so glad that they are back in town so that we can see them more often. 
  5. I found a morning group to run with! This is very important as I had to find a group that went early enough so I could get to work on time. I love these gals! They have become a great support to me over the past few months.  We laugh, we chat, we solve the world problems, all while hitting the pavement. 11921799_10207670879956405_8956818659491229020_n
  6. I got my passport! Yes! I am super poor and probably won't be able to travel outside of the country in a very long time, but I have a passport! How cool is that! 11232080_10208213614964441_8238877051932084405_o
  7. We took an improptu trip to San Francisco! It was only a 1 day trip but it was so much fun to be near the ocean. My first 5 years of life were by the ocean, it is in my blood. I love it. I love the smell, the breeze, and of course, the food!
  8. Taking three mini trips across the country with these awesome sidekicks! California, Reno, and Minnesota! 12291856_10208337274415850_5105633241318985721_o
  9. We tried for a baby (blog-story of hopes and dreams)and we were able to get pregnant, but unfortunately it didn't work out in our favor. It is a sad part of the list, but I know in my heart that my little family is not four anymore but five. One day, not on this earth, I will get to hold my child.  Ultrasound
  10. Spent Thanksgiving with my uncle Pablito, celebrating the holiday and also bonding with them and allowing the children to spent time with them and learn about our Mexican culture. 
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    We are together. We laugh. We cry. We have each other's backs. I know I can depend on my hubby for anything that I can dream up, and that the two little ones will follow us. Thank you 2015 for all the wonderful memories, for the lessons that we learned, and for allowing us to relay on each other.  Family PictureWishing all of you a wonderful New Year's Eve and a Prosperous New Year, 2016!

A Club No One Wants to Belong To

The following post is a bit raw. I needed an outlet for my thoughts and what was going on inside me at the time. It is probably one of the most personal posts this blog has had in a very long while. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago and it has sat, unfinished, because I couldn't bear the thought of reading through it or going through the emotions again. I still cannot read through it without having tears roll down my face. Perhaps the loss will always be there...

Loss

For a little while, we were a family of 5. We have been wanting to make our little family bigger for a long time. On November 7th, we found out that our dream was finally becoming a reality. I was so excited to become a mommy for the third time. Full of joy, I stepped outside of the bathroom to show my hubby my test results. He was so busy with some car issues that we were having that his first words were "all-wheel-drive" as he was finishing his previous thought out loud. I laughed and I jokingly punched him on his arm. He got up and hugged and held me for a little while. We were both so very excited. I was full of dreams already, full of happy thoughts in my head of what the following years will bring. 

Pregnancy Test

Everything was going great, I was feeling cranky, just like with my two previous pregnancies and I was having some of the other common pregnancy signs-nausea and some cravings, however, along with this, I was also feeling dizzy, a lot. Each time I exerted myself, even minimally, like on a regular slow run, I would feel dizzy. If I picked up anything heavy, I felt dizzy. Driving to work, I would feel dizzy. I figured that it was because I was older and my body was not my 20-year-old body as with my fist two pregnancies. 

On November 28th, I started spotting. It was a drop or two so I wasn't very concerned. I went to bed thinking that maybe it was normal. Having never had spotting during my first two pregnancies, I didn't know what was happening. Next morning, I woke up and there was more spotting, heavy, deep red spotting. Right away I was panicking. I knew something was wrong. In my heart, I knew that I was losing my baby. My world came crashing down around me. The question in my mind was, why? I consider myself to be quite healthy, exercise regularly, eat clean foods, never drink or smoke, yet, here I was faced with losing my baby for some unknown reason. As we traveled from visiting my uncle, I was contemplating the issue at hand. What was ahead of me? Could it really be possible to bleed as much as I was bleeding and still be able to keep my baby?

Monday morning, I called the hospital to get with my doctor. The only available appointment was at 4 pm. I spent the next 3 hours at their offices. First, the doctor gave me a routine check-up, asked me questions about my previous pregnancies (how many, how many children). He reassured me that some pregnancies do experience some bleeding during the first trimester, not to worry. I was taken to the ultrasound room next. The regular ultrasound didn't work as it was still too early to detect on an external ultrasound. He was finally able to locate the baby with an internal ultrasound. My little peanut was there, I could see it, however, although I was at 8 weeks, he didn't have a heartbeat. The doctor measured it and said he measured at 6.5 weeks, and that sometimes at that "age" the heartbeat was undetectable. I was told to go home and come back in 2 weeks and he would check for a heartbeat. Doctor said that there was still a chance that my little one was okay. Sometimes conception dates are off and maybe my baby was too small. I requested to have blood samples taken to measure my HCG levels. The doctor agreed, he said that if that would make me feel more at ease that I could do that. Samples needed to be taken within 48 hours of each other to be accurate and the HCG levels should go up. 

As I sat in the parking lot, I cried. I knew what was happening. I knew it with all my being and there was nothing I could do about it to stop it. I knew that if I was having a miscarriage that it was going to happen no matter if I stood on my head for the next 7 months. I drove home and I tried to compose myself before walking in and spreading my "joy" around the entire household. I think the hardest part of my experience has been holding my shit together in front of the world. As you go through this, life doesn't stop. There is still work, kids must go to school, the world keeps going around and around and with it, you must keep going. 

I had my second HCG sample taken on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I didn't find out the results from both samples until Friday. My numbers had gone down, it went from the 1300s to 800s. As I heard the assistant tell me this over the phone, a feeling of numbness took over me. I was talking to her, but I was not "there". I couldn't believe it. I was preparing myself for this for the past week and I knew it was coming, however facing the reality was a completely different. She told me something about some medicine and that I should come in next week, Wednesday. I hung up the phone, and, with it, all hopes of my baby. The agony and emotional pain that I was feeling were like nothing I have ever felt before. I felt dead inside. My body was not "good enough" to hold on to my baby.  That entire day, I cried on and off continuously. I cried for the loss of my baby. I cried for the missed dreams. I cried for something that I had imagined in my future. I mourned what I lost, what it seemed that it was only real to me. I felt so alone (although I was not), I felt that I was alone in this world.  I remember feeling that I was inside the deepest, darkest hole on earth. No light was coming in and no sound, only my crying and deep sorrow was around me. 

As one of my close friends shared with me yesterday, I had become part of a club that no one else wants to join. 1 in ever 5 women go through a miscarriage, yet, it is a story that not many of us want to share. How can we? How can we share a story that brings so much sorrow, a story of hopes that never came to pass. 

I love you baby Eowyn. You will always be in my heart. 

Ultrasound

I know that as time passes, I will heal, and as an LDS person, I know all about the after-life, however, none of that makes sense nor makes me feel better right now. 


St. George Marathon--you get what you put in!

Medal

You most likely have heard the saying "you cannot expect to get results when you don't put in the work" well, that is exactly what this racing season has been. Working full-time, mom,  and part-time knitter have its tolls. One is unable to train 60 hour weeks. My training was lacking this season, the fact that I finished in under 4 hours with training weeks of 15 miles is nothing but a miracle. It is also no surprise that I ended up with an injury due to a)lack of training b)old shoes. Despite my lack of training, I was ready to give it my all-like always! I have been told by my ortho that I make the PERFECT runner from my neck up! I have the mental stamina of a Kenyan, but the body of a walrus sliding along the wet sand (if you look at the pictures and then compare it to the picture on the right (my top running shape), I have definitely gained a good 20lbs, sigh). 

Our friend, Christopher, from California, traveled here to run the most popular Utah marathon, St. George! I started the day off quite well until I realized while I was inside the bus that I had forgotten my Garmin! Gah! I wanted to die! I jumped out of the bus and Sam came to my rescue and brought me my Garmin--I am quite attached to it when I run, but, at least, it wasn't my music. Anyways, I had to leave poor Christopher in the bus all by himself while I went to get my Garmin. But thankfully, we found each other at the top by the porta-potties. 

Christopher and I

Although everything started okay, around mile 2 my left foot, around the arch started aching. I thought it was just a minor ache, so I ignored it. By mile 4, it was hurting something fierce so I popped 400 mg of ibuprofen and continued on. I knew the hills were coming and I knew full well that I would be walking up them so I prepared myself mentally for the massacre. The hills went as I had imagined, slow and painful. My foot kept on aching and it wasn't stopping or lessening. The day was warming up, but at least, it was cooler than Huntsville was a week ago. 

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Around mile 18, I could barely put any weight on my left foot without it sending shooting pains up my calf and leg. I don't know what was wrong. I knew it wasn't fractured (ha, I am no doctor! For all I knew, it could have been!). I decided to pop the other 400 mg of ibuprofen and continue on. I wasn't going to stop now, I was only 8 miles away from finishing. So, being the very smart runner that I am, I continued on. The dose of ibuprofen helped lessen the pain enough for me to put some weight on my foot, I was happily limping along. I knew that once I got past mile 22 that it would be downhill from there and then I could let gravity carry me down. 

The crowds from mile 23 to the end carried me forward. I truly would not have been able to do it without them. Could I have finished without them-yes! Would I have run without them there-no! They don't come to cheer me walk, so I "ran", I ran with all my heart and smiled as much as I could to them and thanked them for coming out. Near the end, I found one of my close running friends, Adrian. He was struggling with some cramps. I stopped and gave him a quick massage on his calves to see if that would help relieve the cramps. We stayed together for a little bit, holding on to each other and running along, picking up ice and popsicles. We couldn't stick together as he was getting more cramps, so I continued on while he handled the cramps. 

Running

Finishing a marathon is never easy. Well, perhaps if you are super fast and speedy, but I think by that point, no matter your speed/pace, you are tired and want to finish. I was definitely ready to finish. I kept looking for the telltale sign that the end was near--my family. I finally spotted, over by the sidewalk jumping and screaming "mom". I saw my daughter starting to run to keep up with me, which was fairly easy at this point, then my son and my husband. How dear they are to me! I so very much love their support in my craziness. I gave it all I had left, every single ounce of strength and every step brought pain on my left foot. Triumphantly, I finished! I crossed before the 4-hour mark. How did that happen? Miracle! I don't know how I managed to make it to the finish with  6 seconds to spare, but I did it. 

St. George Certificate

My foot: well, it turns out that I had almost a tear in one of my foot tendons. After the race, when I took my shoe off, the entire area on the instep of my foot was completely purple and blue. By next day, the bruise had spread to the entire arch and instep.  Yeah. It didn't tear completely but it was bad enough that I was not allowed to run for 8 weeks on it. I was even threatened by the doctor to put a cast on if I was not careful. I met with him/reported to him every 2 weeks for the 8 weeks. 


20th Marathon: Huntsville Marathon 2015

Writing this while it is still fresh in my mind....it is a little raw. 

First: a thank you to my friend Brett. At the beginning of the week,  my running friend Brett offered his bib to a willing runner, I right away raised my hand and was lucky enough to receive it. Thank you Brett!

This was my 20th marathon. I had different expectations for my 20th, but instead, I received probably the very best experience I could ever hope for my 20th. 

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What a beautiful course! Perfect time of the year to see the leaves changing color. I was very excited to try out this new, to me, course. I have only heard great things about the race and I wanted to give it a try. The volunteers were awesome and each aid station was well stocked, and every volunteer expressed their concern about the heat and being hydrated. Thank you race event managers for such an awesome event! 

The race has a unique start time of 9:00am, I didn't realize this until a couple of days ago. The late start allows one to sleep in, totally thumbs up on sleeping in, however, it does mean that temperature may be a little higher than usual. This time of year, Utah typically has lower temps, but that was not the case today. 

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The race started and just a few miles in, I knew I was in trouble. It was hot! By 6 miles, it felt like I was cooking inside an oven. Training in the early dawn got me used to running at cooler temps, now I see the value of training at 5pm. At mile 10, I started looking at it as a crossfit chipper. The course had aid stations every two miles, on the odd miles. So I started looking forward to the odd miles to get a drink and to cool off. At mile 14, I started slowing down, it was hot, way too hot and I couldn't cool off with the water, so I slowed down to keep my core temperature low. 

Around mile 17, I wanted to quit. All I wanted was to stay out of the heat. There was a little river running down the side and all I wanted was to jump in it and lay my body down in the water. I knew I couldn't keep my pace, I knew I couldn't achieve my desired time, so I had to choose: finish or DNF. I cannot quit, I don't have it in me to quit, not when I can still walk. So, I continued with a new mindset, finish. Finish the race is better than quitting. Walk, walk to keep the body temperature low and stop at every aid station and get water and gatorade. After mile 18, each mile became a chipper, one at a time, walk for about 1/4 of a mile, then make my way to the next mile, then repeat. 

At mile 20, I had to reach out to my hubby and to my friend Lizzy. I turned on my phone and started texting them, I needed encouragement. I needed a reason to keep going. Both of them gave me the words I needed to hear. I took a picture or my attempt at taking a picture with shaky hands at a mile marker. I don't know why I was so shaky, but I could barely type or hold my phone. 

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Did I mention that my ipod died at this point from throwing water on it? Ya, lucky me! 

I want to call mile 24 the miracle mile, I was hot, I had done a lot of walking at this point and I wanted to encourage those around me, but I couldn't even talk. Then, to my surprise, there was a little table around the bend and a lovely couple had set up an aid station with the red tall cups full of the coldest water I tasted all day. I grabbed two cups, and thanked them for their service. They literally saved me at this point. I drank and drank, then I poured the rest over me. Thank you. I wish I had gotten your names to thank you properly.  Around mile 24.75, a group of girls were handing things out, I couldn't make it out from a distance, I shuffled my way to them, and to my surprise, they were giving away popsicles, yummy, icy popsicles! Thank you to you too darling girls! 

Making my way to the finish was all but a struggle. I would walk and run and go back to walking because I just couldn't run. My body was shaking from head to foot, I was hot but yet, I was shaking. 

I passed the last aid station, around mile 25, then I crossed a street, my garmin said I was around mile 25.4 but the mile marker said I was at mile 25. A mile has never felt so long, as this one. I wanted to run it, but I couldn't. I walked a little, and then far away (about a block) I saw my little Nyahbelle running toward me. I knew then the end was near, but I couldn't see the Finish Line. 

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Nyahbelle reached me and she started running with me, then my son, Bryant joined me. I was in the middle, each one by my side. Each one encouraging me. We made the last turn to the Finish Line and I wanted to cry. It seemed so far away. I had to walk. I asked my children to slow down, I couldn't run. I gave myself a few steps, then we picked it up. My kids kept encouraging me and running, right beside me. They slowed their steps down to stay with me. My son, my little coach, kept telling me, over and over "mom, you've got this! "mom, you can do this". I wanted to cry and curl up on the side of the road, under a shady tree, but instead, we kept going. They carried me with their encouragement through the finish line. I got my medal and then I had to lift my foot for the volunteers to take the chip off my shoe, and I was about to fall, both of my children were right next to me, holding me up. Then, a volunteer came and offered me ice, and we found a chair for me to sit on. Having my children run through the Finish Line with me and helping me get there was probably the very best gift ever for my 20th marathon. 

They (my children and my hubby) have been with me during this entire journey...and they keep being my number one cheerleaders. Even when I ruin their weekend plans with my races. I love them dearly. 

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Running a marathon is not easy. It is not supposed to be. It is mean to test our limits, physically and mentally. Today, I was tested. I am pleased to say that I passed (barely).  Today's marathon was exactly what I needed for my 20th. I needed to realize and remember the complexities of a marathon. No, it was not perfect however it made me realize that I have the very best support group on my side. 

I am grateful for the support from my family and friends. For the love, example, and encouragement. 

Time: something around 4:13:xx