Thursday, April 30, 2009

When You're Helping...

...You're Happy!

This is what I saw a few days ago: Tate emptying the dishwasher and enjoying the moment!
I loved the "hat" or more appropriately, "Gladware," he stuck on his head.

I love my little helpers...

They make me HAPPY!

Friday, April 24, 2009


I finished my second Boston Marathon on Monday!
I am finally getting around to reporting the weekend because I ended up in the ER yesterday with abdominal cramping that started during the race. I am fine. Stomach is better today and think I have an official excuse as to why I wasn't able to run faster.
But let's start at the beginning.
We left for Boston on Saturday and arrived early that morning to find a totally crowded expo (where you pick up your number and are tempted with booth after booth of awesome running gear). I won't say if I purchased anything...
We pushed and shoved our way through the expo and ended up at a small cafe where we started our two day carbo loading fest. Here are some of the runners I went up with.

This is the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The whole day we had our fingers crossed that the storm coming across the country would stay away until the race finished. Lucky us, it did. Besides some lovely cold head winds, it was dry until later that night.

Here we are standing in line for the buses that would carry all runners 26.2 miles to the start. Needless to say, it is a bit daunting driving so far realizing we were going to have to run back!

Steve and Ann ran the race together. How sweet is that?!

Here Ann and I show off our new arm sleeves purchased at the Expo.

I took the duck tour of Boston! Here I am having a go at driving the boat! Due to the lack of volunteers, I took full advantage and gave it a try. Everyone survived.

Here is a picture of my boat/truck. It was great to finally get to see Boston! What a beautiful city.

Our hotel was right next to the Boston Commons/Park. I loved the weeping willows!

We found the BEST pancakes in the world at The Paramount. We loved it so much, we ate there twice! We only had to wait in line for an hour or so...worth the wait indeed.

Here is a picture of the runners exiting the bus and entering the athlete's village where we would wait in the bathroom lines before the race.

Here one of the many lines of porta-johns. Lines, lines and more lines.
Now that you have seen some pictures, let me tell you a little about my race.
I always go into a marathon with three goals.
1. My dream time (this year it was 3:27)
2. My Boston Qualifying time (3:45)
3. My "I had better get this time" (under 4 hours) or at least finish if everything is going wrong
After spending way too much time in the restroom, I knew something was a bit off in my system before even starting the race.
After finally getting in my corral, the gun went off. It took me 8 minutes to get to the starting line where my official time began. The course starts with a downhill which makes for a great view of the sea of runners making their way to the finish line.
I started out at a great pace feeling a bit sluggish though.
I anticipated seeing Sara at mile 3 and sure enough, she didn't disappoint! There she was with a huge Go Heytar sign! I got a quick hug and off I went to miserably run my final 23 miles.
At about mile 6, I knew there was no way goal number 1 would be reached. I felt horrible. My stomach began to hurt...
I kept trudging along trying to keep my pace fast as I could.
I knew I wasn't feeling up to par when I had no desire to high five the thousands of cheering fans that make the race what it is! I went ahead and positioned myself in the middle of the road and did my best to zone out while my legs went to work.
I was thrilled to run with afro-man for 18 miles who the crowd absolutely loved. I felt a bit left out with my sweaty nasty hair and not one person mentioned it...I even asked afro-man if I could borrow his mo-jo wig for a bit.
It was the guy with the Spongebob t-shirt that I ran with next. "Go Spongebob!" was cheered over and over and again until I finally lost him on the Newton Hills. Thank goodness.
Speaking of hills! Last year I didn't even remember the hills bringing me any pain or suffering. Well, this year they got a bit steeper and longer and more often. Man, they were tough.
At mile 20 my splits really started to slow. I didn't really care what my time was at the point since I was in so much pain. I had stopped three times to empty my stomach and attempt to feel better. Fast running wasn't going to happen today.
At mile 23, I saw myriads of people walking. I thought, "I want to try that." So for the first time in a race I started to walk. A volunteer on the sidelines said to me, "No way sistah, keep running." And because the pain was worse when I walked, I took his advice and began my final 3 miles in a slow jog.
Up and down and around I went for what seemed like forever the last 2 miles. People cheered for me and knew I was one of those runners really suffering and needing some sensitive cheers such as, "You can do it," Hang in there," "You're almost home."
It helped. I didn't stop. I didn't run very fast or with a smile on my face. I didn't have my signature "kick" at the end.
But I finished.
And I hit goal #2...and qualified for Boston at Boston (3:41:11).
If you want to see some pictures of me running check out this:
You will then have to enter the correct race (boston marathon 09), my last name (porter) and bib number (12577).
A huge thank you to Garth who took great care of the kids while I was out playing for 4 days! You are the best!

I can truly say that Boston is the greatest marathon and what makes it so special is qualifying for it. It was remarkable being in a city where there were so many fit people - so many people who had trained so hard just to get to this point - so many people who had a common love for running.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I am off to Boston!

Here I go again! Not sure why I torment myself like this...
The good news is I am injury free.
The bad news is I have no excuse for not running fast!
The good news is I am going with many of my running friends.
The bad news is Garth declined to join me this year (it's a tough job being a spectator, especially at Boston's out and back with hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans cheering the runners).
The good news is the temps should stay chilly (great for running).
The bad news is the storm you all had in the west is headed to Boston on race day (rain gags me).
The good news is I get to stay an extra day to relax.
The bad news is the pain my body will be in on that extra day.
The good news is I have already packed.
The bad news is my suitcase is bursting and this trip is only 4 days and 1 person!
The good news is I will have a fan at mile 4 (my great college friend, Sara)!
The bad news is I can't stop and have lunch...hmmm...this gives me an idea.
The good news is you can track my progress on Monday during the race as I hit 5-6 timing mats on the course.
The bad news is you will most likely see my time get slower and slower as the miles go on (the race goes downhill for the first half and up the second half).
The good news is the promise of "run and not be weary"
The bad news bad news here. I am going with that!
I am off to Boston!
If you want to track my progress check this out:
Now you can by using AT&T Athlete Alert. To track your pre-race favorites, simply text RUNNER to 41234 and you will receive an SMS text message asking you to reply with the bib number of the runner you would like to track.Visit
Once you've signed up, you'll receive the same updates as you will for your friends and family as they make their own way from Hopkington to Boylston Street. The service, available to US mobile phone users, will allow anyone to register for any of the elite bib numbers published on the Boston Marathon website and receive SMS text
If you don't want a text alert, you can just go to the website and see my progress as I cross the mats!
My bib Number is: 12577
Remember the race is Monday and starts at 10 am eastern time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Busch Gardens

Spring break was sure fun last week.
The best part was our day trip to Busch Gardens amusement park. It was the only warmish day of the week. So everyone was there...
...I saw many of you!
I loved Busch Gardens!
Besides the masses of people (I am not crazy about crowds) we had a wonderful time. If you purchased a one day ticket, it gave you an automatic pass through September. Great investment for our huge family.
The greatest of greatest was the fact all seven of us could actually go on rides together! There have been many many years where Garth would wait on a bench with one or two smaller children while I took older kids. We would do the switch-r-roo never really able to all spend time together. There also used to be that huge stroller we had to maneuver around everyone. Ashton didn't mention it once. Ahhh! No more stinky diapers to change. Baby food. Finding a place to breast feed. Crying cranky nap deprived kids.
Awesome indeed.
We did have a bit of the following in our new stage:
1. Sommer texting the whole time in line rather than chat with her cool mom.
2. Calvin giving me one word answers...even with a totally cool mom to hang out with.
3. Lovely sibling squabbling.
4. More sibling teasing leading to escalated screeching.
5. Lots of BIG adult-like eaters costing us a small fortune.
Nothing a little tweakin' can't cure!
Our favorite family ride was the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster. Even little Ashton was tall enough (thank goodness he is so tall for his age) and absolutely loved this ride!
It was a super day!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Adventure Race

Our family participated in An Adventure Race last week!
We had two teams:
1. Team Garth: with members Ethan and Tate (not as fast but much better at map reading)
2. Team Heather: with members Calvin and Sommer (much quicker but horrible at map reading)
You know why we have to be quick but why map skills in this race?
This was a race where all teams were given a map with various check points hidden throughout the forest. Teams were required to run, bike, zipline while searching for the markers where a code was then recorded on a sheet of paper turned in at the end of the race.
...but you had to read the map in order to find them...
Team Heather was off in flash leading the pack. After a mile run, we headed to the bikes where all teams spread out quickly into the various trails throughout the park. All teams were required to stop at all three bike drops where we then had to hit the trails a running or even bushwack through the woods (ticks anyone?) trying to navigate to the various check points.
It was all good and well when we had others to follow. After finding 8 or our required 11 checkpoints, we found ourselves ahead of the pack and alone to find the final bike drop. Unfortunately, team Heather has a horrible map reader as a leader thus getting her team lost and going in circles for quick awhile.
But due to our quick speed (and willingness to "ask directions", we ended up coming in second place overall!
Team Garth included an expert map reader. His team also included two members with no gears on their bikes, one 6 year old, and a 45 year old who wore bike shoes (remember there was a lot of running). They ran an amazing race finding each check point without any mistakes! The little boys were troopers and had a ball getting muddied up and having their dad flawlessly lead the way.
Team Heather's leader was a bit bossy and made everyone run way too much. Notice the wicked smile on her face in all of the pictures...
But all in all the Porter's had a GREAT day!


Ashton arriving after the race with Grandma and Pop Pop Gair giving the zipline a try!

Start of the race. Calvin takes off like a flash. He ends up having to wait for the rest of his team at the bikes.

All of the kids received race medals. When medals are given, happiness follows...

Team Heather relishing in their 2nd place finish.

On the trails. Probably lost at this point but I won't officially say anything. Sommer rocked it on the biking portion.

One of my many wicked smiles. Calvin was a running champ and made his mother proud! I am still looking for one of my kids to be a running partner. So far, no takers.

More wicked smiling...

My future runner (shhh! don't tell him I said that!)

Due to our lack of map reading skills. We made the race much more difficult. We seemed to always find ourselves on the wrong side of the streams. I got pretty good at leaping...and then splashing...

It looks like we were being chased by a bear in this picture. But I think it was more to do with Team Heather's crazy competitive leader. Sorry Sommer.

Still smiling....tee, hee, hee!

Sommer muddied up! She is one strong biker leaving Calvin in her dust!

Lost here?! Maybe...I won't say.

Team Garth crossing the fallen tree to check point number 6. I let Sommer and Calvin get this one!

See! Here is Calvin passing up tons of slow kids! Way to push two of them in the water for the lead dear son...way to push!

We had a super time! Muddy, loud and allowed my competitive juices to flow. Next year we will go for the win though...
We have some great friends who head up NV Racing which is an adventure racing team that puts on this any many other events around Northern Virginia!