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As hoped, Clemson pulled it out and beat the Citadel (45-17), NC State (27-9) and SC State (54-0). Yes, all of those were easy games and they were expected to win, but hey, three W’s to offset that initial L against Alabama. So, “GO TIGERS!” My blood runneth orange again.

Twenty-one days without a new post. Sorry about that. This little thing called life keeps happening in a great way and tends to keep me away from the computer when at all possible. But I think you’re all deserving of an update:

Newlywed glow — Our friends, Kirby and Meredith, came down for Labor Day weekend after only being married for six weeks. We were impressed that they were even willing to leave their house after such a short time of wedded bliss, but hey, we were thrilled to host them here in Savannah. We had a great day at the beach and exploring downtown Savannah before watching the depressing Clemson vs. Alabama game at Wild Wings that prompted my previous post. So glad that things are looking up, up, up for the Tigers now! Later in the weekend, we went out to Tybee Island for the Labor Day Beach Bash and fireworks show. The fireworks were incredible. It was a blast to be around such a great couple that weekend.

His team name is “Henderson” — David’s on a soccer team here in Savannah started by Travis Henderson…hence the name. I just cheer based on jersey color, “go blue!”, instead of “go Henderson!” I can’t sound like I’m cheering for Travis the whole game. David’s really enjoying being back on the field again and honing his skills. He’s hoping to teach me some basic moves so that I can be on the indoor league in early 2009. We’ll see, folks.

Parental visit — I love my mom, and I love when she’s in town. She came down to Savannah not too long ago to “visit, cook and shop.” Awesome! She cooked two fabulous meals for me and David, and she and I got to go shopping downtown. Too fun! My mom is down nearly 30lbs and is looking fan-stinkin-tastic these days. It’s a blast to go shopping with her and see how great she looks in everything. Go mom! Come visit anytime!

A grandparental visit — My mom left on Friday morning, then I worked all day, then my mom’s parents came to town. They had been in Hilton Head for a conference and thought that a quick jaunt to Savannah would be nice; David and I agreed. They treated us to Papa’s for dinner–delicious–and we got to get all caught up with them. They’re about to embark on a trip to Nova Scotia…by car. I wholeheartedly respect their patience with being in a car that long, but then again, when you have a great travel buddy, cross-country driving can be fun.

Saw the whole thing, dude. First you were all like “whoa,” and we were like “whoa,” and you were like “whoa…” — As spoken by Crush from Finding Nemo. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie (you should rent it tonight), Crush is a sea turtle, and David and I had a couple of pretty cool sea turtle experiences recently. Not only did we get to observe two hatched sea turtle nest excavations, but during one of those, a live sea turtle that had been trapped in the nest for at least five days was uncovered. That night, he was released back to the ocean. How cool to be so close to an endangered species. Aside from that, David and I were both blown away by that little guy’s (or gal…you won’t know until he/she is 35 years old) determination. No matter how many times the waves pushed him back onto the shore, he–after at least five days without nourishment of any kind–kept fighting to get into that water knowing that he had at least a 36-48 hour swim to safety. Unreal. Certainly refreshed my determination in areas of weakness in my life. Only 1 in 4,000 baby sea turtles makes it from the egg to adulthood. Go little guy, go!

Upcoming excitement — This Thursday, September 25, is exciting for at least three reasons. First, it’s Gap’s payday-woo hoo! Second, Cold Stone Creamery in Savannah is having the “World’s Largest Ice Cream Social” from 5-8 with FREE delicious ice cream creations put together by two make-a-wish children. Donations accepted of course. And third, Grey’s Anatomy starts up its 5th season with a two-hour premiere. What could be better?

Mud + obstacles + race + 5,000 competitors = fantastic weekend — David and three guys from his work joined forces to create a team to compete in the US Marine Corps Mud Run at Ft. Jackson last weekend. When I thought of what a “mud run” would look like, I definitely pictured 4.5 miles of dirt and mud, but not in pits chest-deep. I didn’t picture my husband and his team having to climb up dirt/mud mountains and go under logs that laid right on top of previously mentioned mud pits. It took David a couple of days to get all the dirt out of his ears. But you know what? It was a great time! I wanted to be in there with the guys, competing. David and his team really enjoyed their time and are already talking about how they’ll beat their 1:02:54 time next year.

Speaking of athletics — David and I are still training for our respective long-distance races in December, but it’s been anything but easy here in Savannah. Between the heat (which thankfully seems to have broken for at least this week), humidity, lack of running trails/shoulders and hills, aggressive beach traffic and extremely busy schedules on our end, each run is like a little victory. In fact, as soon as I finish this post, I’ll be heading out the door to tackle one of those runs and accomplish a big victory. Should be fun!


So it’s been 20 days since my last post. In the past few weeks, David and I have kept plenty busy:

1. 1, 2, 3, 4…1, 2, 3, 4…C L E M S O N T I G E RRRR S! – with football season right around the corner, the alumni group in our area is starting to have some functions, and we’re planning to go to as many as possible. Clemson fans around Savannah are few and far between–I’d say the ratio is about 15:1 in Georgia/Georgia Tech fans to Clemson fans. Too much black and red and black and gold. Yuck! We’re planning to represent in our purple and orange soon enough.

2. Hotel Mertens – just shy of nine months away from getting married, Jo and Craig came down after visiting family in Hilton Head. It was great to play host, and we look forward to doing it again. If you’re going to be in the Savannah area, just give me or David a call; we’d love to set you up with free lodging!

3. Faitha little over a month ago, I started a Beth Moore Bible study called Believing God with a group of gals on the islands. It’s been pretty incredible so far, and through the study, I’ve decided to start attending BSF in September. “BSF” stands for “Bible Study Fellowship.” It’s an international, non-denominational Bible study that meets weekly from September to May of each year. In the course of seven years, you make it all the way through the Bible, analyzing scripture line-by-line. It’s not for everyone, I’ve been told, but it sounds like it’ll work really well for me. Can’t wait!

4. Run, Mertens! Run! – David and I are about three weeks into our half marathon/marathon (respectively) training, and it’s going so-so right now. It’s still so hot in Savannah that we either have to run on the treadmills at the gym or run at 4:00am before there’s even a glint of sunlight (and yes, we now have a headlamp so that I don’t fall down…again). The heat is showing signs of breaking, though, as this whole week our highs are in the mid to upper 80s with the heat index in the 90s. In previous weeks, that index has been in triple digits. So glad that fall is on its way!

5. I only burn what in a day!? – In the past six years since I started working out with rowing and ultimately running, I’ve never really gotten a handle on what I should be eating to fuel the amount of activity I do on a daily basis. I opted to go to a nutritionist, but before my appointment, I had to get my resting metabolic rate (RMR) taken. Essentially, the RMR is the amount of calories you burn when you are completely at rest. I was in a reclined comfy chair for 15 minutes while the test was going on–definitely relaxed and at rest. Based on my height, weight and age, the doctor administrating the test estimated that I burn around 1400 calories at rest. Wrong! I only burn around 850. I couldn’t get to the nutritionist fast enough after that to figure out how many calories I could eat in a day and not gain weight over time–around 1300-1400. So much for that “based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet” note on every packaged product’s nutrition label. It’s been an interesting adjustment so far, but it’s going well. Getting my RMR checked really opened my eyes to what I’m up against. If you have struggled with weight gain or knowing what you should be eating, definitely pursue a nutritionist and get your RMR tested.

6. Pedaling like crazy but going nowhere – this time around in marathon training, I’m taking a slightly different approach by cross training more frequently–specifically biking. Problem is, I don’t own a bike. I’ve been using the YMCA’s “spinning” bikes one or two times per week, and it’s been pretty awesome. The spinning room is dark except for black lights on the ceiling, so if I wear all black, I’m pretty much invisible–besides my teeth if I smile and my shoes. I’m hoping that training on a spinning bike with pretty heavy resistance will prepare me for riding on a real bike later on down the road.

7. Clouds and wind are evil – Well, only when the presence of both makes you decide to not wear sunscreen while walking on the beach. Saturday was an overcast day–the first day of no rain since the beginning of Fay–so David and I opted to go out to Tybee Island beach and walk for a bit. We packed a picnic lunch, but opted to walk on the beach for a few minutes first. Well, a few minutes turned into an hour or two. It was in the mid-80s out with extremely strong winds (considering there wasn’t a storm nearby) of around 30mph, so it felt fantastic, and neither of us realized how badly we were getting burned…until about four hours later. We’re recovering and will never underestimate the sun again. Whew!

8. Working hard for the money – I love the Gap. I think that deserves some repetition action: I really love the Gap. My job there as brand logistics expert is fun, a little challenging, rewarding and exciting. Plus! I get a fantastic discount on the clothes, get to work in the middle of downtown Savannah (gorgeous), and get to be a part of a wonderful leadership team. And I get paid to do it. So awesome! I’m still working for Clemson too and have the most flexible boss around. It’s so nice to be able to work right out of the home office. So both jobs have been keeping me busy. David’s working pretty long days right now, but starting in the middle of October, he shifts to 21 days of 12-hour shifts each day with no weekend breaks. Just three straight weeks of work. I still can’t picture what that will be like…intense I’m sure.

9. Livin’ on a prayer – so much is going on in our lives, our family’s lives and the lives of our friends that we’re constantly praying. Some are getting married, some are moving, some are expecting a first child really soon, some are changing jobs, some are struggling in various areas, some are triumphing in areas and on it goes. We love our friends and family dearly and wish we could see them all more often. Know that we keep you in our thoughts and our prayers, truly.

So yes, that’s kind of what’s been going on around here in the past 20 days. We’re looking forward to the holiday weekend as we’ve both got Monday off of work. I doubt we’ll go to the beach, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be exploring Savannah. What a great place to live!

So marathon training starting yesterday morning with a nice 3-mile run. This morning, I faced the same short distance, but with a rather different outcome.

The alarm went off at 4:10am, and David and I got up as quickly as we could, got dressed and headed out the door. It was dark, and without many streetlights, we had a tough time really seeing the road. Since there were few cars (we maybe saw 10 during the 30 minutes we were out), we were able to run in an actual lane of the road–away from the treacherous shoulder.

Somewhere around mile 2, we were approaching a red light where we planned to turn right. We both shifted over to the right in preparation for the turn, but apparently, we shifted too far. I was on the shoulder-side of the lane, and when we moved, my right foot went into a hole between the end of the road and beginning of the shoulder. I had a good bit of momentum going, so I fell pretty hard onto the pavement–catching myself with my hands and knees.

Since my right side was tripped up, the blunt of the fall was felt on my left side. David heard the fall and turned around to help. I sort of laid there for a minute making sure I didn’t break my right ankle. Once I knew it was ok, my brain shifted its pain reception to the other parts of me that got scraped up.

I’ll spare you the details, but my left knee and hand were in pretty nasty shape since when I fell, I slid forward on the pavement. I broke a blood vessel in the bottom of my left palm and had to tie my faithful ole red bandanna over my knee to slow the bleeding.

Then what did I do? Like any good trooper, I finished the run with David at my side. Yeah my hands burned and my knee was throbbing, but I think there’s a little masochist inside of every runner.

I’ve got another 3-miler tomorrow. Should be interesting. This weekend? After our Saturday morning 6-miler, we’re going to buy headlamps. No more skinned knees, please.

It’s official. I signed up this morning. In 127 days (and counting), I’ll be running the Kiawah Island Marathon.

I cannot wait to start training! I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this topic as time goes on, but for now, please pray for the strength of my knees and IT bands. Whew.

…continued from Tuesday…

A trifle can be…gasp…healthy? I hope that all of you have been able to enjoy a trifle dessert sometime in your life. The delicious decadence that is chocolate on top of chocolate on top of cool whip on top of fresh fruit, then repeated. Oh l’amour! So, how the heck can you eat it without it being sinful? Well, perhaps I’m a bit late to this bandwagon, but I’m learning the art of ingredient substitution. The cake mix calls for a cup of oil? I’m using a cup of sugar-free applesauce. And I need an egg? I’ll use two egg whites instead. The trifle needs something crisp in the center like oreos? How about fresh strawberries and blueberries? Oh and for that whipped topping, sugar-free, fat-free Cool Whip. And voila! A dessert that could have had 100s of calories and lots of fat grams–not to mention cholesterol (from the eggs) turns into a sweet, virtually innocent treat. And yes, the rules of substitution apply no matter what you’re making (i.e. I used applesauce instead of oil in our waffle mix this morning).

It’s official. We’re no longer joined to PA or SC Legally, anyway. We love all of our friends and family in both places and wish we could visit more often! That said, we’re now official resident of Georgia–Georgia peaches, if you will; although South Carolina is the real peach state, but whatever. We’ve finally gotten the tags, titles, insurance, utilities–heck, even our voter’s registration. We’re set and hope that we don’t have to move again any time soon!

July 4th sans fireworks So what is Independence Day without shooting fireworks? It’s whatever you want it to be. We went to a cookout at Russ and Sarah’s place for a cookout and met some awesome couples for the first time and got to hang out with folks we’d met before. It was a whole lot of fun, and the food was delicious. A side note: the night before, David and I were watching a movie at the apartment and heard fireworks. We walked out onto our breezeway and got to watch the last 15 minutes of the Savannah Sand Gnats (baseball team) stadium’s firework show. It was spectacular! So much so that we didn’t feel the need to buy and light any ourselves–plus it’s illegal or something.

Endangered species Last Saturday, we went beach combing with Joe and Amy. What’s beach combing? you might ask. Well, it’s when you walk the full beach front of Tybee Island beach at 5:15am looking for crawls–or disturbed sand caused by a momma sea turtle coming out of the water to lay her eggs. Sea turtles are endangered and fiercely protected here in Savannah. There are sea-turtle-crossing signs along the road on your way to Tybee, and caution tape and stakes around their nests. Well, we didn’t get to see any crawls that morning, but as the sun rose, we came upon a non-endangered species of bird, but the bird himself was in trouble. The brown pelican (very large bird) had a broken leg from what we could tell, so Amy (biologist) took off to get a box. Once she got back, she covered the bird in a jacket to keep his wings down and put him in the box. David got to carry him and loved every minute. Once upon a time (and still today, really), David wanted to be a marine biologist.

Hearts all over the world tonight Yes, from the Chris Brown song, “With You.” While yes, there are hearts all over the world tonight, there are two that stand out. My parents. They’re in Brussels, Belgium right now and headed to the Netherlands and France before coming back to America. I hope David and I can travel like them when we’re empty nesters (assuming kids come at some point, of course). Twill be fun!

Time management crisis Help. There, I said it. I need help. David and I want to work out 4-5 days per week, including an hour or two of running for two or three of those days. But when? Between David working nearly 60 hours a week at this point, me working for Clemson and for Gap, church, errands, friends, enjoying Savannah, oh and sleeping and eating, etc, we haven’t found the best time. Today, we ran at 4:00am. Not ideal. Please pray that we’d be able to get a grip on our time management, please!

And on that note, it’s time for something that trumps working out–date night!

David and I took part in the Fiji 5K this past weekend, but it was right here in Savannah. “Fiji” stands for “Fit Isn’t Just Image” and is the basis of a diet book (The Fiji Vacation Diet).

Anyhow, it was our first race in Savannah, and we were prepared for whatever the weather would throw our way.

There were about 200 people at the start, and when the horn sounded for us to start at 8:00am, it was 80-85 outside with nearly 90% humidity. Sauna, anyone?

We opted to run at our own paces just to see how hard we could push ourselves. I was ridiculously motivated and wanted to break 27 minutes (the time requirement each week in women’s rowing to maintain my gear).

I started out pretty fast (David later told me it was around a seven-minute mile pace. What!? Ok, too fast.

Anyhow, I got to mile one and was soaked with sweat and already had a side stitch from my water loss. Geez! I caught up with a tall guy and opted to pace right behind him. Good move. He broke the little bit of breeze we were running into and kept me steady.

David passed me just before mile two, but I kept on trucking. Since I wasn’t wearing a watch, I really had no idea how fast I was going. I knew I was exhausted, but I figured it was just the heat and humidity.

I rounded the last turn, and the finish line and clock came into view. It read “23:47,” but even in a dead sprint, I wouldn’t have made it before 24 min. I finished in 24:10–much better than my 27 min goal. That’s about a 7:47 minute average per mile. I was stoked!

We waited around for the awards because when David and I finished, there really weren’t too many people ahead of us. Kind of exciting.

David took third place in his age group (men 20-29), and I won first place in mine (women 20-29)! It was really exciting for several reasons. First, I had never run a 5K faster than 25 minutes, ever. Second, it was our first race since the marathon, and we haven’t really been training consistently. Third, it was our second ever run in the Savannah heat. We were both thrilled!

More races to come, I’m sure. Hopefully the next one will have money involved (yes, I like my medal, but a medal can’t buy gasoline!)

Literally blazing. As in a blazing furnace.

David and I just got back from our first run outside in Savannah. It was 85F outside with 81% humidity and wind gusts up to 23mph; good living, eh?

On the bright side, the bugs weren’t that bad at all!

We only ran 3.75 miles, but it took nearly 37 minutes to finish, and we were soaked by the end. Whew! That said though, once David and I get acclimated to running in this sort of heat, humidity and beach breeze, we’ll be able to handle any sort of race! Maybe even Iron man! At least, that’s what we’re hoping.

More on our first week in Savannah tomorrow.

Yesterday at 11:46am, David and I crossed the finish line of the Cleveland Marathon.

A lot took place before that statement could be made, though. We trained for 18-weeks, starting with small three and four-mile runs with “long” five to six-mile runs on the weekend, and building up to our one and only 20 miler.

Then race weekend came. We drove up to Cleveland on Saturday morning, arriving at the Expo by 10:30am. Being a pretty large race (10,000 runners total in the three events), the Expo was impressive. Around 50 vendors put on quite the display giving out free samples of granola, protein bars, yogurt, peanut butter, jelly, energy drinks, runner’s gel, protein-packed donuts etc. Needless to say, we stocked up. There was even a health station where you could get your blood pressure taken, a body fat analysis, and have your glucose and cholesterol levels tested. Too fun!

After wandering around for a bit, we picked up our racing bibs, t-shirts and goody bags. It made me think of Megan’s post about race t-shirts. The marathon shirts were black and dry-fit, while the halfers got a red cotton one. Not sure about the 10K racers–did they even get shirts? Poor people. Oddly enough, the prize for winning the 10K ($1,500) was larger than the marathon ($1,000). Hm.

One of the pace team leaders (the race provided pace runners that you could stick with during the race based on the time you wanted to finish in. For example, there was a 4:15 pace group that, if we stayed with them, would finish in four hours, 15 minutes) was giving bus tours of the course for free, and we immediately jumped on board. It was a beautiful day in Cleveland, and the course was equally gorgeous. Part was through a park, part on bike path, and part right along Lake Erie. We were going to be running by the Browns’ stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What could be better, right?

Shortly after the tour ended, we headed back to the hotel to get off of our feet before David’s parents arrived. We sorted through our goody bags determining what we would keep (i.e. sample sizes of icy/hot, sun screen, lotion, hairbands) and what we’d throw away (umpteen brochures for other races, coupons for random brands of granola bars, Kotex pads–ha!).

David’s parents arrived, and we headed back to the Expo where we met up with Mike, (our trainer from the gym who also ran in the marathon). Mike was aiming for a Boston Marathon qualifying time (had to beat three hours and 15 minutes to do so), but we were not. Maybe one day!

The race sponsored (after we paid for it) a pasta dinner, and boy was it tasty! I ate more pasta that night than I have…ever. I figured I’d need the energy. After Mike, David and I sat down, the other tables started filling up, but not ours. We thought we had the lonely table until a group of four joined us–all from Pittsburgh. We all laughed together at the “hills” in Cleveland (compared to Pittsburgh) and talked about North Park, etc etc. It was a lot of fun.

David and I went to bed at 9:00pm Saturday night since we knew we’d have to get up at 4:30am to get ready, pack up, eat, meet up with our pace groups, and walk to the start by 6:30am. A relevant side note: when we left the pasta dinner (held at a different hotel), we heard some really loud music and saw lots of high schoolers in exquisite attire: prom night.

So, back to the story, we went to sleep. Around 1:30am, I woke up to the sound of people running up and down the halls screaming obscenities. Yes, you guessed it. Prom kids. I looked out of our room’s peep hole and saw a group of guys and girls–all with beverage bottles (you know the type) in their hands–sort of stomping around and arguing. David was able to sleep through it, so I went back to bed in hopes I could do the same. Then 2:00am rolled around. More yelling and heavy steps. David woke up and called the front desk; the concierge assured us that he’d send security up. Shortly after, it got quiet.

Then at 3:30am, back to it. By that point, David and I just prayed for deep sleep and ignored it until our alarm at 4:30am.

Despite not the best night of sleep, we woke up excited and energized about the race. We got dressed and headed downstairs. Remember the beautiful day before? The morning of the race was anything but. It was in the 40’s and raining–not drizzling, raining. We donned garbage bags for warmth and to keep dry, then headed out to the start. We saw some friends along the way (a coworker of David’s, the Berry Anns, Nathan’s sister, Melinda) which got us pumped up. The start was sort of depressing since we stood there in the pouring rain waiting for 7:00am to roll around.

Then the horn sounded and we were off to “Cleveland Rocks” playing in the background. The marathoners and halfers all started at the same time, and with nearly 5,800 total in both groups, the first few miles were pretty crowded. The course was more flat than hilly, but it did have a few climbs. The first of which was in between miles two and three (climbing up the hill by the Browns’ stadium).

David and I were trying to keep a decent pace, and the first 12 miles or so flew by. For those of you who are not runners, that may be hard to believe–after all, that’s about two hours of running. Trust me, though, once you get in the zone and have tons of spectators cheering you on and are in a group of 100s of other people doing what you’re doing, it passes quickly.

Around mile three, the rain stopped, and we discarded our trash bags. The overcast skies gave way to sun around miles 10 and 11, and the gorgeous weather was back!

Then at mile 12, the halfers took a left-hand turn to go to their finish line while the marathoners kept going straight. Things started to get tough for us a few miles later.

Without the large group of people around us, the run started to get a little lonely, but we kept right along trucking. There were 18 water/powerade stations along the way and two Hammer Gel (GU, essentially), and not being used to hydrating that often, David and I over-hydrated a bit causing me to have to stop at a porta-john. Ugh! Granted, it was like a 60 second stop, but enough for me and David to both be aware of the lactic acid building up in our legs. I’ve heard of people running marathons and (sorry for the details in advance) using the bathroom “on the run” without missing a stride, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I’m not that hard core.

Anyhow, we got right back to running and were still at a pretty good pace by mile 18. Then we turned onto the bike path along Lake Erie and the wind said “hello.” Not just any wind, might I add, but a nice gusty headwind for over five miles–you know, the kind you could probably lean pretty far into without falling. Intense! We walked/ran those five miles, but kept pushing.

By that point, it was really just a race to finish. We no longer care about how long it took, but just that we finished strong! From mile 23 until the end, the streets were covered with people cheering, and that pumps just about anybody up. We made the turn right before mile 26, and just had a half-mile straightaway left. We could see the finish line. All of the burning in our legs faded at that point, and we finished holding hands. It was intense.

As soon as we crossed the finish line, I was completely overcome with emotion, and David and I hugged for a while. We received huge medals for completing the race and immediately wore them around our necks with pride. We then joined up with David’s parents and Mike for pictures and lots and lots of juice, bananas, water, pretzels, etc. So good! Oh, and let me just add, the shower after the race was the best I think I’ve ever had!

A few huge pluses:
1. We had tons of people praying for us; thank you so, so much! God was definitely keeping us going!
2. A lot of our friends and family were tracking our progress via text message/email, and knowing that pushed us forward.
3. We saw David’s parents cheering us on at the start, mile 11, mile 23, mile 25 and at the end. It was such an encouragement for us and made the race that much more enjoyable. Thanks Mertens!

All in all, it was an incredible experience. Was it hard? Uh huh. Did it hurt? Yeah. Are we sore? Oh yes. Are we tired? Absolutely. Would we do it again? Without a doubt. When? December 6…Kiawah Island.

Four days from right now, David and I will be around an hour into our marathon, so hopefully close to mileĀ  seven. It’s kind of intense to think that 18 weeks of training have come down to this Sunday, no pressure or anything.

Please say a prayer for us–that we’d make smart speed choices, have crazy endurance and finish strong, without too much pain if possible!

The header above is from our half-marathon race last October. It’s like “Where’s Waldo?” Can you find us in the crowd? This was at the very beginning of the run. That race was a really tough one for several reasons: my knee had only been out of physical therapy for about a week and was in no shape for a half-marathon, it got up to the 80s outside, and we were running a ridiculously hilly route around North Park. That said, though, we finished the race.

In Cleveland, the temperature should be a bit more mild, the course is flat, and my knee is in much better shape. It might be a rainy race, but that’s ok. We’re ready for whatever is thrown our way–besides, rain would certainly keep us cooled off!

I’ll be sure to post all about the race when we get back because I doubt my hands will be hurting; typing should be simple.

*If you would like text messages or emails as David and I cross the 6.2 mile mark, 13.1 mile mark, 18.6 mile mark and the finish, post a comment to that effect, and I’ll give you instructions on how to do that. Really cool free feature offered by this race.

We finished our first 20-mile run.

That’s so great to say. Here’s how it all went down:

We got started right at 7:00am this morning. It was a crisp 69F outside and breezy, so we were feeling pretty good from the get-go. We were definitely not dressed as though it was going to storm outside–wishful thinking of course–and were wearing running shorts and sleeveless tops. No sunscreen, though, because it was forecast to be really cloudy and ultimately, thunderstorm-y.

All of that said, off we went. In all honesty, despite a few instances where the breeze stopped and we lost our shade, miles 1-10 felt really good.

Then we turned around to run back.

It was around 8:30-8:40 at the time, and the sun decided to rise and burn off all the clouds and the breeze. Meanie! Needless to say, we started warming up, but at least miles 10-12 were on a slight downhill (coming up was tough, but of course, going back down was fantastic)!

**Side note: we always carry 8-oz water bottles full of Gatorade with us when we run along with GU, but today, silly us, we didn’t. Big difference, let me tell you**

That said, we were lucky to have four water fountains on the way out and the same four on the way back for our use (at miles 1.4, 3.1, 4.1, and 7.6). Of course running from mile 7.6 to the turnaround and back was a pretty intense gap in water consumption, but we kept on pushing.

When we paused for water at mile 12.4 (the 7.6 one on the way back), there were two older runners grabbing quick sips, and one of them had run our same marathon before. He said it was even flatter than the trail we ran today; great news, believe me.

Miles 12.4 until 16 were the most brutal. That’s where the sunburn and raw skin began. Ouch and ouch. I had never run in a sleeveless shirt, and my armpits weren’t too thrilled about rubbing. Burn! And of course, the sun came out, and we were sunscreen-less, and I’m from partly Irish heritage.

Oh the pain. At least that pain took my attention away from my silly hip which started acting up around mile 15.

Miles 16 until the end were off and on (running and then walking, back and forth), but we finished the last 1.5 miles at a nice-paced run. Yeah for kicking it at the end! To be honest, I haven’t asked David how long it took us, and he’s out at the moment, so you’ll just have to live with your wondering! When we finished, the last thing I cared about was how long it took. I wanted Gatorade and food and to take 100% of my weight off of my legs. Oh, and to get into the shade as soon as possible so that my arms didn’t completely fry.

Too late!

So now, after an ice bath, lots of aloe vera and lotion, a hefty lunch and some much-needed stretching, I’m feeling good. Too look at me, you’d think I was just out on the lake today or something and forgot my sunscreen.

That is if you can ignore my hobbling gate.