Saturday, April 27, 2013

You Know You're A Housewife When.....

Almost two weeks ago our washing machine went kaput. It starting making a bunch of racket like it was really off balance, even with a really light load, so we figured it was shot. Unfortunately, we have to go through the steps of contacting the landlord agency people and them getting a repair man to come out and confirm that, before we get a new one. This happened on a Saturday so of course nothing could be done until Monday. I put it in my husband's hands who happens to be very busy at work and doesn't quite understand the urgency of a washing machine since I've been doing his laundry since 2007 (not sure he even knows how any more). So, there were a couple of missed phone calls and miscommunication with the repair company (there's some fault on the repair company too) and we didn't get a guy to come out and look at it until this Tuesday. That is 10 days without a washing machine, 10 days of laundry (not to mention the 5 loads that were waiting to be washed when it broke) you know what that looks like? Luckily, I was able to do a few loads at my friend Eileen's house before I left for London and it hardly put a dent in the pile but did buy us some time before having to turn our undies and socks inside out.

10 piles + about 4 loads of towels....

Anyway, repair guy came and confirmed that it was done. It was old and something about a spring. I was dreading that it would take another 10 days to get a new washer but nope, we got a call Wednesday morning to tell us a new one would be delivered that afternoon!! I can not tell you how excited I was/am/will be for a long time to have a new washer! And good thing I'm excited 'cause there is lots of laundry to be done...

Look at that beauty!
It's also Angus approved!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Monday Funday with Debbie

I decided to fly back from London on Monday night so I could get a day of site seeing with Debbie! And rushing to the airport after running 26.2 miles did not sound appealing what so ever.

We took the tube (mass transport system) to Hyde Park and made our way to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Building and Big Ben.
Spring has sprung!

Little Ducklings

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben

Parliament Building

We then took another tube over to Tower Hill to see Tower Bridge. This is one part of the race I actually remember because it was the first major landmark I recognized and it was super, super loud as everyone ran over. And it marked the 1/2 way point of the race. Super cool!

After the Tower Bridge, I just had a little bit before I needed to head to the airport so we decided to have a fancy cocktail at the top of Heron Tower at Sushi Samba. It's on the 38th floor and there are great views of the city.
The Gerkin

Monday Funday

So glad I stayed the extra day and now I can't wait to go back. Next trip (with Ryan in tow) is in the works! Thanks, Debbie for a fabulous weekend!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Virgin London Marathon 2013

Whew, where do I even begin?!?

I arrived in London mid morning on Saturday and headed straight to the expo to pick up my race packet and meet my friend, Vicki (she's the one that got me on the charity team to run the marathon). The expo was great, crowded, but great. Tons of vendors of all sorts and they even had a printer that could print your name on your shirt you were wearing for the marathon right then and there. In lieu of giving you a really awesome race t-shirt or even a nice finisher t-shirt. they have their sports sponser (in this case ADIDAS) come up with very appealing shirts, pants, shorts, jackets, etc that have the Virgin London Marathon 2013 logo printed on it and are for purchase. I seriously could have bought everything in there but refrained and only bought 2 things, a bright yellow wind jacket and a blue shirt (that I actually raced in) and had my name printed on the back. Overall, I was very pleased with the organization of the expo and all that it had to offer. I was was little hesitant since rumors have it that the international expos don't quite live up to those in the USofA.

 After picking up my race packet and spending hubby's money browsing the expo, Vicki and I along with her friend Danielle, headed to a carb loading lunch before I parted ways to go meet up with my fan club! Debbie and Luke now live in London and Kristin came down for the weekend to cheer me on. Nary and Gerald coincidentally had a weekend planned in London already so it was sooo much fun to have some of my favorite people there to cheer me on. And not mention, Debbie and Luke moved in to their new flat the day before I arrived and had a perfect guest room set up for me. They are the best!! Once I met up with everyone we headed to Soho Joe for some yummy pizza before we called it an early night since we all had a looong day ahead of us on Sunday.
Yes, Luke ate all of those pizzas :-)

I surprisingly got a decent night's sleep on Saturday and woke up around 6 to have a light breakfast and coffee before getting ready and taking the train to Greenwich (Grin-Itch) Park (where the start was) around 7. I got to the park in plenty of time to drop of my after race bag, meet up with Vicki, use the loo (we were in England, people) and just take in everything before the 10:00 start. The start of the race was so organized and I must give the VLM props for that. Organizing and herding 30,000 people can not be an easy task.
Good thing there were plenty of portaloos! (this was in our magazine)

walking up the hill to the starting line
Danielle, Vicki and me before the race
Before the race there were 30 seconds of silence for the people of Boston (and everyone was given a black ribbon to wear on their shirt). Never have I been so moved in my life. For 30,000+ people to be in complete silence at the same time is indescribable. My eyes instantly teared up and wave of emotions took over. The race started soon after and right on time. I was in Coral 8 so it was about 13 minutes later that I actually crossed the start line.

I won't go mile by mile on how I felt but if I could sum up the whole thing in one word it would be overwhelmed. I have never been a part of an event that had that many participates and that many spectators. I think they estimated 700,000 people total. It was hard to focus with people screaming for the entire 26.2 miles. As a runner you hope to get into your zone and actually pace yourself. As a Virgin London Marathon virgin, I did not know how to do this and I was overstimulated the whole time. My brain didn't know what to do. Usually when people are yelling that loud you are at the halfway point or at the end, not at mile 5.  On the other hand, it is truly amazing to see this event so well supported and the spectators were having a great time!

The weather was amazing for a spectator but not so much for a runner who did all of her training in winter of Northern Scotland. If you regularly follow my blog you know that most of my long runs involved some sort of hurdle mostly in the form of snow/ice and really cold temps. The high on Sunday reached around 63F which was about 30 degrees warmer than any of my training runs. My body was in a bit of shock and there was a point about half way that I got a little overheated and had to douse myself with water to feel better.

This was mile 20, still so many people around me!
I was wearing my camelbak (a small backpack with water) as I did in my last marathon but it got really uncomfortable this time around and I knew it had to come off. I knew my fan club was going to be somewhere between the half way and 20 mile mark so I called Debbie (while running) to see where they were to make sure I didn't miss them. She said they would be around mile 20 so I said please look out for me I have got to get rid of this backpack! But being the amazing person that Debbie is she ran over to mile 18 so that I wouldn't have to run with it for 5 more miles!
My Fan Club!
The last miles are a bit of blur (I do remember seeing Nary, Gerald and Christine at mile 22 though!!), I was sooo ready to be done. And with all the people you couldn't really recognize the Parliament Building, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace anyway. Luckily, I was able to go back the next day and get a really good look at these!

The Mall, that's Buckingham Palace in the distance. So. Many. People.

I finished with a time of 4:35:41. My goal was 4:30 or under and I was oh so close. However, considering how warm it was and the over stimulation, I am happy and it gives me a goal for next time!
So happy to be finished!!
After the race, we headed to the South Kensington area for a quick bite and a gelato treat before Kristin headed to the airport and Debbie, Luke and I headed back to their house. The rest of the evening was spent watching FRIENDS, drinking wine and having Debbie wait on me because my legs were done for the day. I really do owe her big!!!

A huge THANK YOU to Debbie, Luke, Kristin, Nary, Gerald and Christine for taking the time to come cheer me on! I can not imagine running that without some of your own support to look out for. I was so excited when I saw them and it gave me that extra boost to make it through. And I know I had at least that many people tracking me and cheering me on from Aberdeen, not mention a crew taking care of my hubby. Jonathan, Laine and Julia THANK YOU for making sure he didn't go crazy or hungry. I am truly blessed with some amazing friends and thank you all so, so much for your support!!

And to get a spectator's view of the race, check out Debbie's blog tomorrow!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

London, BABY!!!

I'm London bound and oh so excited!! I'll have a full weekend and race recap next week.

You can follow my race here
(Surname: Mahan; Bib# 45744; start time 10:00GMT)

And you can still donate here
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pray for Boston

As I make my final preparations for the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday the events of yesterday's Boston Marathon weigh heavy on my heart. Please keep everyone affected by yesterday's tragic events in your thoughts and prayers. My friend, Sarah, who I ran the Great Wall of China Marathon with was there cheering on her BFF, Laurie. They, along with Laurie's family, are okay but it definitely makes things hit a little closer to home. Not only did these events affect the running community that I am proud to call myself a part of but having someone you know in the vicinity of the events really hits hard.
I watched an interview today with the runner, Billy Iffrig, pictured here. The police helped him up and made sure he crossed the finish line. He is 78 years old and finished 2nd in his age group.

Great blog post here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Taper Time and Snowy Bennachie

So, it's taper time, my least favorite part of marathon training. Why would I hate running less miles you ask? Because at this point, I'm ready for the race, I've put in the miles and just want the race to be over and done with at this point. It's been a long 3 months of training in the snow, ice and freezing temps! However, tapering is essential to the training and I had a successful 12 mile run Sunday morning. I usually do my long runs on Saturdays but things kept getting in the way on Saturday.  I had a hiking commitment with Falene on Sunday so I knew I would get up and get it done before the hike because there was no way I was doing it after.

Falene and I, along with our labs, headed out to Bennachie. Falene is training for the Caledonian Challenge, a 54 mile hike that takes place in a 24 hour period, and the doggies needed a good long hike! We knew Bennachie had the potential for snow on the ground since we've had such a snowy winter/early spring and it snowed a little in Aberdeen the night before but I don't think we expected quite what we got.

Most of the hike we were trudging through several inches of snow and at one point we went off piste (trail) in which we were trudging through knee deep snow. Needless to say, we were tired and my legs felt like dead weight especially after a 12 mile run that morning.

We rewarded our 6 mile snowy hike with some yummy hot chocolate and a brownie from Gadies at Touched by Scotland, one of my favorite places in Aberdeenshire!

And this is what Angus and I did the rest of the day :-)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Running is Better with a Friend

Saturday, I had a 23 miler on my marathon training schedule. As most of you that read this blog know, Ryan had a ski accident about a month ago in which he broke his leg and our daily routines have had to adjust accordingly. Needless to say, my running has been inconsistent because I much rather be at home taking care of my hubby (that is not sarcasm) and not to mention the less than par weather we've been having (2 weeks of snow) so, to say I was getting worried about the marathon is a bit of an understatement. Physically I knew I could probably pull it off one way or the other, to date my longest run had been 20 miles but for me running is a lot more mental. Mentally I needed a solid 21-23 mile run to give me the confidence to successfully run the London Marathon and achieve my goal time.

I set out early Saturday morning (with sunshine!!) to run a big 'ol loop from my house to the beach and back again stopping by Countesswells Woods, Hazelhead Park and the Dee Line. My dear friend, Debbie, I think sensed that I might have been little worried about my run and agreed to meet me and run the last miles with me. She was my saving grace. I got through the first 15 miles knowing that Debbie was meeting me and she trudged throught the last 8 miles at my turtle speed and I am truly thankful for that. Running is so much better with a friend. Even if you don't talk just having a companion makes a world of a difference. So Debbie, thank you so much again for slowing waaay down for me and helping me push through the last 8 miles. You're the best and I owe you one!

So, 20 days til the marathon and I now feel mentally and physially prepared. I just have to make it through these last few weeks, fitting in as many quality runs as I can. Luckily, hubby is on the mend and spring seems to be coming which I hope means our lives are returning to normal and no more running in the snow! 
A pic I captured along the beach. Look at those blue skies! If you live in the UK, you know how exciting those are ;-)

Also, thank you to everyone who has already supported my marathon efforts by donating to Relate West Surrey. It truly means a lot to me!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!