Tag Archives: Arkansas

Love Those Weekends!

28 May

As expected, we had a terrific and fun-filled weekend in Arkansas with family. Joe, Michelle & family never fail to make it a fabulous visit for all of us! The kids were running all the time, all over the place with their cousins, and we got to go out on an honest-to-goodness double date!

On Friday, we picked up the girls at school and headed out. Everyone was pretty excited about school being out for summer!


When we got there, Joe had a Green Egg specialty waiting for us. It may have been the best pork ever! After the kids went to bed (read: were in bed, definitely NOT asleep!), us grownups chilled out on the porch in the cool summer night weather. LOVE.

The next morning was full of picture potential. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera, so this post will be about 20,000 words as I probably would’ve posted 20 pics. Maybe I can trim it down…

Anyway, it was a warm day, so we started it out at the park. The kids climbed all over the playground and then we all finished up by throwing the football around on the grass. When Nana and Grandpa arrived, we headed to the splash park. No one had swimsuits on, but that didn’t stop our kiddos. It’s one of those places with fountains shooting water out of the ground and the kids can just run around the entire area. AND it’s free! It was perfect. Caleb was the cutest little guy! He loved it and got so startled and excited when the water would shoot up.

After all that, we headed back home for lunch and to get ready for Kylah’s 5th birthday party. She had a Lalaloopsy party and there were so many kids there! Michelle is a champ for putting together such a fun afternoon for so many kids. They started off the fun with a water balloon toss.


…it quickly escalated into a water balloon fight.



….and finished off with dumping water wherever one could find it.


Once the kids got settled at the table, it was time for cake and snacks. Kylah looked so happy to have everyone singing to her! It was so adorable.


I think Caleb loved being a big kid. He just followed the bigger kids around and tried to keep up. He and Norah were so cute together at the table!


Here is the entire birthday crew.


That night, Joe and Michelle arranged for a babysitter, so we ducked out (assoonaspossible) and headed out for a fantastic evening at Bonefish Grill. Michelle and I shared the fish tacos and pair of lobster tails. They were a-mazing. The boys both had swordfish and it was terrific too. Oh! Plus, we had bang-bang shrimp and sea scallops wrapped in bacon for appetizers and they were both divine! We finished off the evening with coffee and then headed home. It’s a shame that we don’t get to double date often with them, but it makes us even more thankful when we do get to!

We had to leave the next morning as we were picking up a friend at the train station that afternoon. We all grabbed a $1 frozen lemonade at Burger King and hit the road! Those bad boys scream “summer” and I love it.

Strawberry lemonade or plain????

Bentonville 1/2 Marathon

9 Apr

We had a blast of a weekend in AR. The more time I spend there, the more I love it! It’s such a great area that hits all of my favorite parts of life. If we ever leave the mission field, this blog will have to change its title to Thrilla in Bentonville-a! There’s family and friends all over the place, it has all of my favorite shopping places in one spot, great churches, there are beautiful running trails everywhere, and Braums, Braumy-Braums – ‘nuf said.

Anyway, we came down this weekend for the half marathon in the Bentonville Running Festival. Joe called a few months ago and said that he was running in it, so Josh and I jumped on the bandwagon and signed up too. It was fun to have something new to train for, rather than trying to get out and run everyday for the pure joy of running.

I did a Runner’s World Intermediate Training Schedule. I did their Beginners schedule for my first half around this time last year. This program included a lot of speed work on a track, as well as long-distance intervals. It was fun to mix up the workouts. However, with spring break, traveling, and Easter, I missed a few runs. I tend to get a little obsessive about sticking to the schedule, so it was a good lesson in chilling out and not stressing out about missed workouts.

So we woke up around 5 am on Saturday, planning for a 7am start. Joe fired up the coffee and we all ate/drank our respective pre-competition fuel. I had a Clif Bar and half a cup of coffee, my usual. We were all laughing at Josh’s supplementation and teasing him about not bothering to train if you have enough supplements! It’s all about quantity, not quality, in his books!


We pulled all of the kids out of their slumber and dragged them to the Bentonville Town Square, set up with babysitters and lawn chairs. The weather was in the low 50’s, perfect for running! It was still dark out, but we wanted to get a pic of all the racers before separating.


Then we made one last pit stop and headed to the start. We stretched, loosened up, fired up the Garmin’s and started the iPod’s….and my battery was dead! I had plugged it in to charge it, but I guess it never charged.

I was honestly devastated. The thought of trying to PR without motivating tunes just seemed next to impossible. Then Josh did the most selfless and sweet thing and switched shuffles with me, so that I could still have music and he was the one making the sacrifice. I love that guy! Every time I started to slow down on the course, I told myself that Josh sacrificed so that I would have a good race, so I’d better get after it!

The start of the race was really crowded and I tried not to spend extra energy and time weaving in and out, but I could also see on my Garmin that I was going too slow for a PR, so I kept trying to find openings in the crowds.

It was a great course! We ran across the town, through residential areas, by Walmart (of course), along the highway, on some trails, and back to the square. I really loved the variety and all the turns. I don’t like to see all the miles in front of me on a straight path, so if it has lots of turns, I only have to make it to the next one.

At mile 12, there was a hill that had terrified me for the weeks leading up to the race. I was completely intimidated when I saw this.


Usually, when I get to mile 10, I get all excited about being almost finished. But when I look at this, I’m dreading mile 10! That being said, miles 7-10 were phenomenal! It was a beautiful 20 minutes of downhill. One guy ran it with me and said, “Enjoy it while you can!” And I did. I was able to pad my time with some faster paces.

mile 1 – 8:46

mile 2 – 8:27

mile 3 – 8:52

mile 4 – 8:51

mile 5 – 8:56

mile 6 – 8:43

mile 7 – 8:42

mile 8 – 8:33

mile 9 – 8:34

mile 10 – 8:40

mile 11 – 8:54

mile 12 – 9:03

mile 13 – 9:35

.1 – 7:14

Aside from that steep quarter-mile jump at mile 12, the last three miles was not at all as bad as it looks. The uphills were slight and usually followed by a slight downhill to recover. In fact, I had run some of the trail when I was visiting last October, so I knew it wasn’t bad.


And then we hit the hill. It was just as horrible as you can imagine. Thankfully, it was a serpentine, so like I mentioned before, I could only see a few yards in front of me rather than a huge, straight incline. It really helps! I was thrilled that I ran up the entire hill and even passed a lot of people on the way up! When I got to the top, an encouraging bystander looked me in the eye and said, “You did it! You made it up the hill!” I got all choked up, and her encouragement gave me the last nudge I needed to make it to the finish line.

Speaking of the fans, they were terrific!!! I wasn’t expecting it, but there were people lining the streets, cheering us on with music, encouraging words, and signs. The best was the kids giving out high-fives. I made a beeline to the side when I saw kids with their hands up!

There were signs with encouraging Bible verses on them, funny signs and homemade signs. Here were some of the favorites:

“This is practice for when you will have to run from the zombies.”

“Run as if you stole something.”

“You’re going the wrong way!”

“Because 13.2 is crazy.”

“Plots available” (This one was next to the cemetary.)

Shoot, I can’t remember the others, but I was smiling throughout the race when I saw all the fun signage.

APPARENTLY….my own personal cheering squad was at mile 8, and I ran right passed them without a glance. I was so bummed when I heard that. It would have been the best energy boost to see my kiddos with their signs, cheering for me. Michelle said that they were so close to me that she could’ve reached out and touched me!

We finally turned the last corner and saw the big finish line. I started going as fast as I can, and it makes me numb. I love that feeling. This time, I saw the whole cheering crew on the sidelines so I headed that way. Just as I got there and stuck my hand out for a high-five, Deacon, with a giant smile on his face, started running with me. Or rather, under me. We got tangled up and he bit it. I stumbled for a few steps and then….kept going! I wish it made me feel like a hard-core runner with eyes on the finish line, but it really just makes me feel like a horrible mother!

I spent that afternoon going over things I could’ve/should’ve done. I didn’t know it at the time, but I probably could’ve stopped, picked him up, and carried him across the finish line and still PR’d. Plus, it would be a huge crowd pleaser! Maybe. When it all went down, a guy on the sideline shouted angrily, “Get the kids off the course!” I wanted to turn around and shout angrily back at him, but as we all know, my eyes were on the prize!

Of course, the official photographer got a picture of the whole situation. I can’t figure out how to put it on here without purchasing it, but I might go ahead and buy it. It’s a pretty memorable photo that we’ll all laugh about for years!

Anyway, Deacon of course was fine, and I PR’d! I was pretty excited about that. I wasn’t sure if it was possible with that daunting hill at the end, but I rolled in at 1:55:50.

Overall place: 370 of 1648

Gender place: 92 of 850

Female 30-34: 19 of 175

Josh had a great race too! I’m so proud of him for doing it. I think his unofficial time was 2:13. He was more on the “just finish it” plan of motivation.  He even saw two people from college along the course, so he stopped and chatted with them for a while. I think he appreciated the excuse to catch his breath.

We didn’t do much of the finish-line activities since we had all of the kids with us and of course, the last thing you want to after a long run is walk around aimlessly! We all just took it easy for the rest of the day and finished it off with yummy Mexican food.

It was a great race and so fun to do with friends. I hope they all plan to run it again in the future, because I’m sold on it, even with that hill!

What song really makes you pick up the pace???