Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Greatest Man who Ever Lived - or one of Them.

It was about a week and a half ago that I heard my Grandfather was sick.  Sure, he was 87, had some Parkinson's symptoms, but really was a relatively healthy 87 year old.  I was told (and I'm still not sure 100% of what ended up actually happening) that he had a bowel obstruction, a pseudo-typical older person problem that can usually be resolved without surgery.  I know from my experience as a nurse that worse case scenario you go in for surgery, have part of your bowel removed, and you recover and are on your way in most cases.  About a week later, he died.  He got really sick while in the hospital and the decision was made to move him out of the ICU and into another wing for hospice care last Wednesday morning.  Surgery was not an option. He passed Thursday night with much of the family around him.  He was loved, respected, and deeply admired as a man by those who knew him.

He and Grandma have lived in the same yellow house for a million years in SmallTown, USA.  They were often holding hands over the last 66 years they were married (and I'm sure before their Big Day too).  They walked around town, stayed active and were involved in their church.  He was a World War II veteran, one of the few remaining in our county where I'm from.  The only time anyone can remember him ever crying was when my brother Nick graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, SC and officially became a Marine.  He retired 3 different times and had a work ethic that you don't just find these days. As mentioned in his funeral service, "he would rather go to work sick and get paid than lay at home in bed sick and NOT get paid".  He instilled his values in his four children and the trait has been passed down through our family.  When I learned of his passing when I woke up Friday morning for work, and went, my co-workers told me I was crazy for being there. "You don't understand", I said, "I'd be told I was being silly and there is nothing I can do now.  I may as well be at work".  Those were my words and I shed some tears with people who did not even know him in my work unit that morning.

Grandma and Grandpa were simple people.  They didn't have fancy new cars, a big screen TV, or go out to dinner except when invited by others (or got a gift card for Christmas, Bob Evans was a big hit). They gave what they had and did what they could by giving of their time.  They delivered mobile meals to people younger than them and Grandma still quilts with the church.  They raised four wonderful children who have hearts of gold and are all caretakers in their own rights.  Glen cares for his wife, Shirley cares for everyone but also helps her daughter care for her husband with ALS, Angela kept close eyes on Grandma and Grandpa from just across the street where they live, and my step-dad Paul takes care of my mom and helps her manage her MS.  They are all mild mannered, kind people who couldn't have all gotten those traits biologically but were raised to be good people.  The apples don't fall far from the tree.

I came into this family as a "bonus" child - my mom and now step-dad moved in together when I was 4. I got a new brother 11 months older than me out of the deal who I didn't really like all that much to start.  We ended up in the same grade and went through school together.  There are definitely drawbacks to divorced families but the way I see it is I got 2 moms, 2 dads, lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, and 4 sets of grandparents.  Pretty lucky girl if you ask me.  I was accepted and loved in the Thompson family from the very first meeting.  I don't remember the very first time I met them, but I do remember on December 4th, 1998 when my mom married my step-dad that Grandma and Grandpa Thompson were there.  They got married at the court house and we ate at Bob Evans after.  Nick and I were in the 6th grade and had to ask the Principal if we could still go to our first middle school dance that night despite missing school because our parents were getting married.  He let us, and I know I was thrilled.  In the next few weeks came Christmas and I got a gift from Grandma and Grandpa of a jewelry box with a note inside that said "for our Granddaughter, even though you always were, now it's official!".  Pretty lucky girl.

I spent time with my family at the funeral home and church for his visitation and funeral services.  There was so much love in the room it was palpable.  The line to see Grandpa one last time and to hug Grandma was out the door for a good amount of time.  It was as if the whole town, church, and beyond was there to pay this great man their respects.  At the cemetery, the county honor guard was present to pay respects to Grandpa and to present Grandma with the flag from his casket.  I held it together pretty well until then and to see multiple other veterans present and saluting gave me chills.  What a great honor for the greatest of men.

At the end of the viewing hours when all the visitors had left and the family was getting ready to leave, everyone sort of made their way over to say goodbye; to touch, and kiss him one last time.  My heart shattered into pieces when Grandma went and touched him, looked hard at him, and with her voice cracking she said "we can go".  66 years together.  Their entire lives were together and the love they shared was infectious.  Very few people can make it to that milestone and we should all be so lucky to feel and be loved like they loved each other.  True love exists.  True love lasts a lifetime.  Theirs did.

All stories have a beginning and an end.  While this may be the end of Grandpa's story ours continues.  There will be Thanksgiving and Christmas soon.  Grandpa's birthday is the day after Christmas and we always celebrated the two together.  There will be an unimaginable void at the table.  The prayer will have to be said by someone else (Come Lord Jesus, be our guest.  Let thy gifts to us be blessed. Amen) and I'm sure there won't be many dry eyes at either dinner.  He was just that great.  He was a rock of solidarity and a beacon of what defines a man.  He cared and loved his wife deeply, he took care of his family, his country, and his community.  Everyone should have a Grandpa like him.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

18 miles and oral IV product review!

Week 25 of marathon training complete!  I remember writing about being halfway done at week 15 and how long ago that seems.  I feel like I've gone through a lifetime's journey in the last 9 months.  There has been ups and downs with a whole lot of sweat and tears in between.

Speaking of tears, I shed quite a few of those this morning.  I finished my 18 miles with 15 seconds to spare to get under my 4 hour goal I had set for myself.  I ran the first 14 miles straight and beat my 13.1 PR time by a minute in the process.  From 14-18 I walk/ran and had intermittent moments of uncontrollable sobbing in there too.  I don't know what it was today but it just all felt like it's really coming together.  When I pretty easily ran 14 miles without much thought I was amazed at what was happening.  Who is this girl?  Who have I become?  Someone who runs at 5AM and enjoys seeing the sunrise from the golf course behind the homes I pass.  Someone who follows through with a commitment.  Someone who dreams a dream so big a year ago and is seeing it through.  That's who I am.

I got home and I no more than got through the front door and the water works started.  Kyle was concerned that I had hurt myself again but I had to tell him they were happy tears and I was just so proud of myself.  The dog was all over me wondering why I was so sad (and stinky).  I couldn't hold them in and I'm sure I'm going to straight up ugly cry at the finish line of the marathon and very likely before then, too.

One more run longer than today and that's my 20 miler 2 weeks from now.  I'll enjoy falling back for 14 miles this week especially knowing I did it so well today to that point.  I had set my 187 mile goal for how many miles I had left after I hit my 200 mile goal and I'm already 25% of the way done.  I had missed a run so I've added a mile or two to my shorter runs to make up for the 6.5 miles I was behind.  I've got a few weeks to get the last 3.5 in, no worries :) I don't know how well I'll truly be able to taper and only run 2-3 miles at a time the last week of training.  It's all good!

I ordered my custom dri-fit shirt yesterday and I'm pleased with how it turned out. I got it from as it was the only site I could find that actually let you have color options in single ordered shirts and they were even having a flash sale at the time so even better!  

This morning I took the opportunity to try out Oral IV for  my run - I was graciously offered samples to try to review for my blog through a Sweat Pink connection!  Per the website (, Oral IV is "a revolutionary hydration aid product based on a proprietary formula of crystalloid electrolytes and purified water. ORAL I.V. does not contain any sugars, caffeine or stimulants, additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients."  It comes in a small tube that's easy for carrying in my fuel belt and doesn't have a bad taste to it.  I always use my Advocare Slam before and during my long runs so I took it as an opportunity to use it along side that and followed with a small swig of water to wash it down.  I think in combination with today's cooler temperatures and the Oral IV I felt more hydrated and didn't have any issues with cramping during the 18 miles.  I drank the same amount as usual and even though it was cooler I was still drenched with sweat so I feel the Oral IV helped with my electrolytes and keeping on top of my hydration.  I will continue to use it for the rest of my training!

Can I just say how excited I am to be back on day shift starting this week?  6 weeks of nights was a long stretch!  I do think my training schedule works out better with being on nights as long as I don't work 3 in a row because I can do longer runs during the day and still get a nap in before work.  Life works out better for us on day shift so I will be thankful (as will Kyle) for some normalcy.  I'm working a day at Bethesda this week on Wednesday and work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday otherwise.  I'm spending the day tomorrow with my sister, niece and nephew at the Cincinnati Zoo so I'm excited to play with those two for the day!  

I'm going to settle in for the night with a book (I've just started Orange is the New Black) and get some good sleep tonight. Week 26 is upon us!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

39 days away, Sunshine award, more spotlights, oh my!

Guys, we are 39 days away from THE day.  I remember the 100 day mark, now we're a little over a month away.  Holy shoot!  I have a lot of miles left to run in the next few weeks and then I get to taper and I don't know how I feel about it just yet.  I'm excited to taper but I'm nervous about it and from what I've gathered that's a consensus among us crazy people they call "marathoners".

I've had a pretty good few weeks and my plantar fasciitis has been under control.  I have been getting regular massages (thank God for Massage Envy memberships!) and I think having them do a full body but focusing more on my legs has helped tremendously.  That and new shoes and knowing I have to back off a little bit especially on the treadmill.  For whatever reason my feet and the treadmill surface don't love one another but it works to get the miles done.  I have run over 350 miles since I began training at the end of March and that is CRAZY.  I doubt I've ever covered that many miles in my lifetime before let alone in a few months (that might be a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point). 168 more training miles in the next 5 weeks to be exact.  I'm not counting down or anything :)

Tomorrow is 9/11 and I'm remembering by running 9.11 miles - I was due for 9 anyhow and it just worked out that way.  I'm not overly patriotic on a daily basis but I do remember exactly where I was (9th grade English class) and I won't forget how I felt.  To honor the families, first responders and service men and women who went to war following the attacks I will run these miles for all of them.  Both Kyle and I have brothers who served in the Marine Corps and I know mine specifically served 2 tours overseas.  He has been out of the military since early 2010 and can be called up as a reservist if needed still until this coming January.  He received a letter telling him to report to a "fit for duty" meeting thing this weekend because if things with Syria continue he may have to go back.  Insane.  Hoping for the best.

I was tagged in a few different blog posts for some "about me" type fun so firstly I will start with Candra from Camo and Lipstick ( with 6 questions about me:

1. What is your favorite workout move?
I love, love, love to do the curl/press combo with a nice heavy weight!

2. If you had to eat the same cheat meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Chipotle.  Easy.  Or Panera bread bowls of soup.

3. Live in the mountains, or by the ocean?

I think the ocean because I hate the hills of the mountains, especially in the winter.  I don't love the idea of hurricanes either so maybe I'll just stick with the midwest :)

4. East Coast or West Coast and why

I've never been to the West coast but I'd love to go visit New England in the fall.  I've never been but I hear it's beautiful!

5. What is the book you recommend the most?

I love My Sister's Keeper, the Harry Potter series and a fun book I found before starting marathon training was The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and on With Training.  It gave me hope I could do this and was a quick, funny read.

6. How do you take your coffee (or energy drink)?

Coffee - 4 shots of espresso over ice in a venti cup with sugar free vanilla and splenda/stevia from Starbucks.  Energy drink wise I use Spark, Slam, and C4.

I'm a bad blog follower and only read others occasionally so I really only have 1 person to tag and that wouldn't be fun now would it?

I also realize I need to step up my blogging game and learn how to use HTML properly and add pictures and actually design this page but I don't know how.  Need blogging help!  Maybe when I have more time to focus on not running a marathon I can focus on being a a better blogger during my short period of down time.

I was also tagged for the Sunshine Award for blogging!  Again, I don't have the fanciest blog but I'm happy people enjoy reading my ramblings.  I'm supposed to include the picture and tag blogs but I need to be a better blog-buddy because the other ones I follow were tagged by my friend Kim over at Fabulous Fit Foodie ( who lives in the area and we are planning on meeting up on marathon day!  These were the questions she asked of those she nominated:

1) If you won a free trip, all expenses paid, to ANYWHERE you wanted to go--where would you visit?

I REALLY want to go to Ireland and England but I don't love flying so I hope to drug myself up some day and get there.  I also would love to go on an Alaskan cruise!

2) What does a typical weekday look like for you?
My weeks are so crazy with my schedule where I flip back and forth every 3 weeks between day and night shift so I hardly can say what a typical day looks like.  When I work I'm gone for 13.5 hours that day between my commute and the actual shift itself.  So I basically wake up pretty early and get home after dark now that fall is settling in (although the 95 degree day we had today hardly felt fall-like!).  I love my job so it is totally worth it for me.  On my days off I try to get up by 7, have breakfast and either run or go to a Zumba class.  In the afternoon when we are all free I like to go play with my nephew and niece who are 2 and 8 months.  They are precious!  In the evening the boyfriend and I have dinner and try to catch up on our favorite DVR'd shows.

3) What's your all time favorite workout?

I really am loving running now but I have to say that Zumba is my obsession right now.  I grew up playing softball competitively and still love to play on leagues occasionally.

4) What is your favorite recipe right now?

I love Jackson's spaghetti squash recipe from The Biggest Loser last season - 10 minutes microwaving a spaghetti squash that was cut in half and the ends off, wrapped in saran wrap and microwaved together.  While that is cooking brown some lean ground turkey and onions with some minced garlic.  We have a big jar of minced garlic from Costco in the fridge for easy cooking!  When the meat is brown add a jar of low-sodium spaghetti sauce and some spinach (and mushrooms but I don't care for them).  Cook until the spinach gets slightly wilted and add one cup of the meat mix to one cup of spaghetti squash for around 250 calories!  Top with a bit of mozzarella and serve with a side of steamed veggies and it's so good!

5) What is your favorite site for finding new recipes?

I don't really seek out too many new recipes but I've been hearing a lot about Emily Bites lately and am dying to try some of her "cupcake" recipes!

6)  If they made a movie about your life, what would they call it and who would have the lead role? Who would you want to play your best friend?

They would probably call it something with "resilient" in the title.  I think that word really defines me since I was a little girl.  With my father having Huntington's disease and my mom having Multiple Sclerosis I had to do a lot of things at a young age as a caregiver.  I gave my first injection at 11 years old to my mom for one of her weekly treatments.  I think to play the lead role I'd want it to be Drew Barrymore just because I love her and the best friend(s) would pretty much be the cast of Bridesmaids.

7) What would your perfect day entail?

Sleeping in until around 8:30, pancakes and hashbrowns in bed, a mani/pedi followed by a massage then dinner and a movie with my love.  Perfection.

8) What's a major aspiration you have? Think big!

I want to go to nurse anesthetist school and officially call myself a tri-athelete one of these days!

9) As a child, what did you think you wanted to be when you grew up?

Either a singer (think Taylor Swift style and with the same level of stardom), a lawyer or a music teacher.

10) What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Shopping - I have always had a hole in my pocket!

That was fun!  Of course it was because like any other blogger or female I love to talk about myself - lets be honest.  That's what I'm here to do, right?

I've been having a lot of fun as a face of the Columbus Marathon as an ambassador.  We have a weekly "assignment" to complete but I probably would be posting what they are asking for anyways.  My feature on the Runaway Bridal Planner's blog was fantastic (thank you!  Check out this nearly 40 time marathoner!  Insane miles right there, guys! I found out that THIS FRIDAY I will be the featured charity athlete on !!!  I am so excited and am so close to meeting my fundraising goal.  I hope the exposure will help me hit (and exceed would be even better!) my goal before race day.

That's all I've got for now - running in the morning and working the next two nights have me tired just thinking about it.