Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
We found out at our 'thank you dinner' that when Tracy mentioned finding 40 friends to race with her John laughed and made a comment to the effect of, 'your friends won't do that.'
Boy did we surprise him!
He held up well on a five day trip that involved 49 women and just a few other men. The day we left we found out he'd written this.
Friends, Footsteps, Fighting, & "Feenix"
em>Greetings all.....i hope this note finds you finds each of you well. I am reporting this glorious morning on my last day in Phoenix......the temporary home of Mitchell's Angels and site of their most recent triumph!
As many of you can see as you have followed this blog......I haven't been writing nearly as much......I have just been "living" with nothing amazing to report. However, as I was awakened this morning by the creaking sound of nasal passages tightening around 5:30am.......I had time to reflect while enjoying a 2nd morning of lactic acid build up in my legs! LOL (Lactic Acid - it's not just for breakfast anymore?)
I love women. I really do. However, collectively - they present their own unique set of logistical challenges for my linear - ready, shoot, aim - hulk smash - let's get moving......mindset. They have an amazing need to build consensus among the group before making a decision. They can get to indescribable volume in a nano second......truly incredible to behold......and I have seen it A LOT the last 4 days! As I have gotten to observe this wonderful group of chicks over the last few days it has become readily apparent that they are little bit hypocritical.........because I can assure you that every dude reading this has gotten the "raised eyebrow" over their "boys will be boys" humor/jokes.......dude, women are just as bad - IF NOT WORSE - than we are! They like to laugh a lot at fart noises, glitter applications, & strange cacti. Refreshing to see......I feel like I have discovered a whole different universe. Good times, indeed!
You want to know what I really love about women.....especially these women?
They take care of each other. They love each other. They express themselves......and cry a lot....in a good way. They don't quit......they have each others back and aren't afraid to comment on each others backside :) I am so proud of these girls. I love their resolve and their willingness to get involved with a cause that is bigger than Tracy, bigger than Mitchell, bigger than all of us.......and getting "involved" meant a level of commitment, dedication, injury, and sacrifice of time greater than any of them had ever taken on before. Sunday was so wonderful..........because Chicks Win! Sunday was the culmination of a lot of hard work and I got to see so many dear friends that I love accomplish things that I never thought possible. Those are the moments in life that make it worth living folks. They have made my life richer just by allowing me to be a part. Tracy is chief among these "little indians"......she has been glowing all weekend......and clucking over her "flock".
Girls - I always believed in you. I just never believed that you would run. You have shown time and time again that you love our family - that you love my Mitchell - and you have gone above and beyond with grace, compassion, & beauty during the last 3 1/2 years......................so I wasn't surprised that you would want to get involved with Team in Training to raise money for a cure. I am shocked, humbled, and so very proud of you. I love you all. You "kept fighting".....regardless of your time.......you finished this race and honored my son.........and did yourselves proud. Mwah.
C'mon.........let's race. ~jwhit
Oh, and about the title of this post? Two days before we left John decided to run the race also. Since we were the 'Mitchell's Angels' he was dubbed the 'Little Devil'.
He wore the title proudly:)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I've been told those are not the same thing.
But I don't think I believe it.
By the time I decided I should go to the store because we had no fresh fruit or vegetables in the house there was already a sheet of ice on everything. Even in 4-wheel drive I was sliding quite a bit.
School was called for Tuesday at 5 on Monday. And now school for Wednesday has already been cancelled. It's 2:15 on Tuesday afternoon.
So you'd think that I'd be getting all comfy on my couch and making chili. BUT NO!! I'm packing to go out of town! Kennedy, McKinley, and I are headed to Tulsa tomorrow for Children's All-State choir.
So back to the original reason for this post. Boy I can get side tracked, can't I?
I was checking the local news website to see if Shawn's soccer game tonight had been cancelled. As I was reading down the H's I found that the Hoof and Woof Chiropractic Clinic was closed today.
Hoof and Woof:)
I love how I find out all these interesting things only because of an ice storm!
To all my Oklahoma readers...I hope you can stay home and be safe and warm! To anyone who will be driving the Turner Turnpike with me today...please don't hurt me!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
A massage! That's what!
About 16 Angels stayed an extra day to shop, rest and relax, or go to a spa. Shawn was nice enough to let me do that:) I got on the spa's website and looked up pedicures. $95! Can you believe they charge $95 for a pedicure?!? I decided, just for kicks, to look at massages. I'm so glad I did. A 50 minutes Swedish massage was $95 dollars. Hmmm...just my feet...or my whole body??
Four of us who had appointments around the same time caught a cab and headed that way.
As I was filling out my paperwork it asked if I had any places I needed worked on. I had been shocked when I woke up to find out that only two of my toes were sore. No where else. Then I raised my arms over my head and realized my shoulder blades was slightly tender. I wrote that down on the form and waited my turn.
I wish I'd never let that fact be known. The masseuse was trying to kill me! I was honestly coming off the table, on my toes, quite a few times. Every time I said that it hurt she'd tell me to breathe deeply. I almost sucked the paper cover off the headrest doing that deep breathing! So after my 50 minutes of what should have been a relaxing massage I had a harder time getting off the table than I did getting out of bed!
Luckily the four of us who shared the cab back decided to get in our swimsuits and have a pizza delivered poolside. That made everything better:)
The remaining Angels decided to head out for one last dinner before we flew home. Why they picked the same stinking Mexican restaurant as the first night I wish I knew. Luckily I stopped at a deli and got a delicious wrap to take with me!
In my last post I mentioned our Devil. Poor guy. He joined the 16 of us for that dinner. He looked like the king sitting at the end of our long table. As girls do, we talked like we would if there were no men around. I'd notice his eyes rolling from time to time. I just had to get a picture.
He caught me though:) What do you do after a filling Mexican meal on a last night in Phoenix? Well, if you've run a full or half marathon the day before, you can certainly justify this.
Cake Batter with Heath and caramel.
Come to momma.
We headed out to the pool after dessert and spent about another hour just chatting. None of us wanted to see this end.
As I finally headed to my room I was so content. Not only had I accomplished something I never thought I would...I'd shared it with 48 amazing friends...and helped out an amazing organization.
How lucky am I??
Monday, January 26, 2009
Every TNT runner had to go to the finisher's tent and check in so that the volunteers could go home and not spend their night walking the race course calling out our names.
I had to go to the tent to meet Becky!
Becky has been commenting on my blog for a while and told me that she was going to be in the tent. I was so excited to meet her! I quickly checked in and started asking people if they knew a Becky.
I found her by the mountains of Jelly Sandwiches. She told me that sweet little Boy Scouts had made lots and lots of PBJ sandwiches...then they found out peanut butter had been recalled...the Jelly Sandwich was delicious. Becky was sooo sweet! She even took a picture with me in all my sweaty, salty glory.
Speaking of sweaty and salty...I was really impressed when I saw pictures of the Angels later. We all looked pretty good!
This is my sweet friend Lorene. We knew each other in college. She is one hot mama and lives in California with her adorable son. Even though she's a working mom, when she bought a cookbook from me she sent a little extra with her check. It was not necessary, but just like her. She might be joining the Angels for our reunion race in San Diego in June 2010.
So what do most half marathoners do after the big race? I'm sure most go back home and put their feet up. But if you're part of the greatness that is Team in Training, you have dinner...oh, and a dance.
Dance? Are they crazy? Well, they might be on to something here.
I am Nazarene. Does anyone know what that means? It means that I don't know how to dance. Since my high school never had dances, just banquets, I've just never learned. I did have one boyfriend at a different school who took me to a dance. Since the school was in the country I came away from that evening knowing how to two-step...and not much else.
But you know what? When in Phoenix...
I caved into a little peer pressure and walked to the dance floor. Imagine my surprise when I found out dancing is just a little swaying, a little twisting, and a little bouncing. I can do that! Luckily I took my camera so I could stop from time to time and take pictures.
I wasn't the only Nazarene on the dance floor. These three women are all married to Nazarene pastors.
When they tried to dance the only thing that happened was a little Nazercise 'Sprinkler'.
Sadly, most Angels made me promise not to post dancing pictures. I luckily thought that they might have some interesting ones of me, so a deals a deal! But when you have a group of women dancing together...some interesting men show up.
Especially this one.
Oh wait. That's the devil of our Angels. Tracy's husband and Mitchell's dad. Poor thing, he was surrounded by women for almost 5 straight days. He did survive, but just barely.
After a few more pictures...
One with my favorite coach, Mark...
And my awesome roommate Becky...
I took my worn out body, walked back to the hotel, and crashed.
What an amazing journey. I feel honored to be an Angel and a TNT team member. If you are ever given the opportunity to work with this amazing organization, please do. You will come away better than when you started.
And you might just learn it's not about you.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
OH! THE RACE!!!
All of our hard work and sacrifice were about to come to an end. I wasn't really sure how I felt about it.
I did know how I felt when my alarm went off at 5 a.m. READY TO GO!!
I had carefully laid out everything that I would need.
Yes, I realized that's a whole lot of stuff. High maintenance, remember!!
Becky and I headed down to the lobby. It was purple everywhere you looked!
After several friend pictures...We gathered on the stairs and took a Team Oklahoma picture.
Sadly there wasn't a camera that got a good picture! That's because I was in front of mine, not behind.
After one last 'Go Team' cheer...
We waved goodbye to the full marathoners as they boarded the shuttle and nervously waited until our shuttle came.
Way too soon our bus was ready and off we went.Once at the race location we checked our gear bag, started stretching, got in the 40 minute Port-a-Potty line, and made our way to our corral. Oh, and took more pictures!
To make the start less of a mess, each entrant had to guesstimate their finish time. They used those times to put each runner in a corral. I ended up in Corral 21and so did everyone else who figured they'd finish in 3 hours. Luckily I was surrounded by lots of other Angels.
And lots of strangers also.
Since there were 20 other corrals in front of us that had to cross the start line we had some time to kill! We actually ended up at the start line 40 minutes after Corral 1 started. Every 2 minutes we'd walk a little bit closer. What are a bunch of girls to do while waiting?? Take pictures of course!
This precious friend is a fellow blogger. I am crushed that I won't get to see her on a regular basis now.
This is my amazing friend Susan. She has six boys. SIX! And she's so cute and tiny you'd never guess it. For living in a house full of testosterone she is very girly. For the race I was carrying salt, energy jelly beans, GU packets, and chap stick. She had her sparkly lip gloss and camera. She walked the whole thing, and beat me...but I still love her:)
I did snap some pictures along the way. But since they were with the disposable camera, and I was kind of bouncing around, they weren't very good. Bear with me as I try to describe to you what they are.
See the people with the E, A, and M on their shirts? Those are TNT employees, mentors, and coaches. They were all along the route, just about every 1/2 mile. Cheering, encouraging, and waving. Since we had our names on our TNT jerseys they would call us by name and cheer for us. Very encouraging. I teared up most times. Strangers calling out my name and clapping for me? I felt like a celebrity!This was tempting...I've never been there. But, since the majority of the people were going straight, I followed suit.
I'm such a follower.
So, how did I do? Well first off, let me 'splain.
At the point of recommitment my longest run was 8 miles. I had to fill out my paperwork and guesstimate my finish time. I talked to some friends that ran the same pace as me and they said 3 hours. I was happy with that and went along my merry way. A few more miles under my belt and I really thought 2:30. I left for Phoenix feeling confident with 2:30.
But then I allowed myself to get talked out of taking my own water in my fuel belt the night before. Who knows why...maybe I thought the less extra weight on me, the better. Maybe it was peer pressure. I don't know. I found out the water stops were every two miles so I thought I'd be fine. What I didn't think about was that messing up my run 10 minutes/walk 2 minutes pattern. I also lost my running partner at mile 6 and spent 10 minutes walking and looking for her. She had been having some leg pain and was really relying on me to keep her on the 10/2 pattern. I felt guilty but finally went on.
So...enough excuses yet?
Wait, there's more! Well, not really. It did get harder. And the supposedly flat course went up from 9-12 miles, and it we windy, and hot, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I know, stop complaining!
At mile 12 I decided to run it in. We started across a beautiful bridge with beautiful scenery and my motivating song came on my phone. I was set. I was going! Up ahead of me I caught sight of one of our coaches, Mark. He ran to me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was recommitted and feeling good. Dragonforce was jamming in my ears and I was out of there! He congratulated me and sent me on my way. I started getting really excited as I saw the 13 mile marker ahead of me. I was almost there!
A half marathon isn't 13 miles. Oh no. It's 13.1. Can I just say that the last .1 is the longest, most grueling, mean, inhumane thing in the world! It seemed longer then the whole 13 I'd just done! It was also very curvy and the finish line was very well hidden until we were right up on it.
But, it was finally in my sights. I got a final burst of energy and crossed the line. I glanced at my watch and saw my time. 3:01:48.
How did that happen?
I had hoped for 2:30 but really wanted to finish before 3:00. I know, I know. 1:48. Why was I complaining? Still, I was mad.
But, then I saw her.
Tracy was waiting at the finish line, hugging each and every one of us as we finished.
My grumpiness left immediately as I threw my arms around her and started crying. It wasn't about my time, it wasn't about me at all. It was about Tracy, and John, and sweet Mitchell. It was about all the things we had accomplished before we even got to Phoenix. The fundraising, the families that will be helped by our money, the awareness that was raised.
The memories. What could be better?
Coming tomorrow...After the finish line...
You're on the edge of your seat. Aren't you??
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Look what I found on my way!
We always make the girls pose in front of anything that has their name on it. She was glad to get it sent to her phone...and thrilled to not be standing in front of it!
I love downtown Phoenix! Middle of January and all the flowers are blooming!
I also felt very tropical with all the palm trees. Made me miss Florida:(
I have way too many pictures like this. I had to get it right!
We had a free day until the Pasta Party at 5 so three of us headed to the movies. Just across the street from our hotel was a statue area. I just had to.
Sadly I needed Shawn for this one.
As we headed up the escalator to our Pasta Party we heard a lot of noise. Guess what? The noise was for us! All the TNT coaches, mentors, and employees were standing on either side of a long room and we walked between them to go into the ballroom. I felt like a celebrity!
We loaded up our plates and headed to our tables. I don't know what I was expecting...but 2,000 people certainly surprised me!
There was a slide show running showing honored heroes for each Team. It was moving to see the people that our fundraising was going to help.
After a hilarious talk by 'The Penguin' (anyone know who that is?) we listened to a mother talk about her daughter Alex. Most of us were moved to tears as she described all that their family went through during treatment and Alex's death. She thanked us again and again for what we were doing. How amazing that even through her grief she wanted us to know how much she appreciated us. It was amazing.
The highest fundraisers were recognized and then Mitchell's Angels were recognized! How amazing to be a part of the sea of pink that stood while the announcer talked about Tracy's birthday wish and sweet Mitchell.
All evening long we were treated like celebrities. Funny, since we were just doing this to honor and help other people.
After several pictures-
All the Angels...
All the Angels that went to the same college...
in a VERY dark, poorly lit room, we were headed to bed.
5 a.m. wake up call the next morning!