Sunday, May 31, 2009

Well, I did it!

I completed the Rock & Roll Marathon today. My chip time was 5 hrs 1 min 9 sec.

My goal was 4:45, and I'm pretty sure I would have exceeded it by a good 10-15 minutes if I hadn't experienced serious knee swelling around mile 18. At mile 15, I was feeling pretty good. I was thinking, I'd like to do this again sometime...

But at 18, the underside of my knee caps got inflamed and both knees got really swollen. Walking for a brief minute at a water station only made it worse when I started to run again. So I decided to suck it up and just keep on going. My pace got slower and slower and slower. I was probably close to a 12-13 min/mile time near the end. By mile 22, I was pretty much in tears from the pain, but I kept on going.

I think three causes contributed to the swelling. First, most of my training was done on relatively level ground. But this course goes down some freeways and roads that have a serious bank to them. It was challenging to find a flat place to run. I think that was the main culprit.

Secondly, I arrived at the start line around 5:00, so I had to wait around for an hour and a half before I could get going. The ground was wet, so I didn't sit down. I think standing around and waiting probably wasn't the best for me either. Usually on my training runs, I warm up, stretch, then get after it. I noticed that my heels and knees were sore more quickly than usual - even by mile 2 or 3.

The final reason probably was inexperience and overconfidence. I took a slightly quicker pace over the first 10km than I meant to. I was feeling good, and I was happy to finally get going.

I don't know if I would do it again. Probably would, though, if I were doing it to support someone else or had the chance to run with my brother Joel or cousin Greg.

I have to say that the course did not live up to it's name. It was more like the marathon with a little rock & roll added in. The bands were few and far between. I was glad Brandon suggested I bring my iPod.

But the spectators were awesome. In addition to the official handouts of Gu and water and electrolyte drinks, there were so many people handing out sliced watermelon, orange slices, pretzels, and hi-fives and cheers all around. I especially enjoyed the run through the neighborhood in Pacific Beach. People just sat in lawn chairs in front of their homes and cheered us on. A few families even handed out Otter Pops! All these energy boosts helped a lot!

I met several people from on a Team In Training from Calgary and shared a bus seat to the start line with a nice guy from New Brunswick. So Canada was well-represented. There were people from all over the world sharing this experience with me. (Although most of them finished a lot sooner than I did :) )

Oh and if you want to check out the details, here are my stats:

Jenetta, Joy, and the girls came down to the finish line. We shared a picnic lunch together before heading back home. I was really tired and was in a lot of pain as we sat together, but the ice on my knees and the support of my girls helped to heal a lot. These photos say it all: Click on the one of me running to make it full size and see the pained look on my face at the finish line.

Joy let the girls use her camera and they took lots of photos of me covered in a race blanket and passed out on the ground. I don't think I'll be posting those... they make me look really pathetic :)

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes and encouragement. I appreciate your support!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well, two steps forward, one step back as they say...

This week it felt like one step forward and three steps back!

We didn't expect that everything would be rosy and perfect with the girls, but over the past few weeks, everything has been steadily improving. The consistency and stability we are providing for the girls has been paying off.

But from Sunday night through Wednesday, things have been really challenging, and it is hard to pin-point if one element caused the problems or three things all combined to contribute. We are still processing all that and trying to figure it out. Here are the contributing factors:

Last weekend, Jenetta's family visited. The girls had a good time and enjoyed receiving gifts and having more laps to sit on for story time, but on Sunday afternoon we had 6 extra adults in our home interacting with the girls. Even though the visit with everyone was less than an hour, the girls got pretty worked up. Nap time was very difficult that afternoon.

We have been avoiding flour and gluten in their diets on a recommendation from Jenetta's naturopath. This has really helped to calm O down and keep her on a more even keel. But, this weekend, we fell away from that at an adoption event where just pizza was served and at snack time at church. Maybe that had an effect...

But our vote for the most likely starting point was a phone call with some of O and L's family members that had some elements we did not appreciate. I can't really go into the details here, but in discussion with our social workers, we have cut off the phone conversations for a while and canceled a planned visitation for early June. This phone call was the boiling point, and it has taken several days for the girls to recover from it.

What went on? You may be asking... Well, I can't really go into specific details, but O's defiance and being unable to control herself rocketed up to levels we haven't seen since the first week with us (and in some cases, beyond...) Hearing her cry and scream so much is just heartbreaking. But it wasn't just O who was acting up. L turns inward, gets very quiet and needy, and has some challenging behaviors as well.

To top it off, on Monday afternoon, we received some very unsettling news at work. I still have a job, and I know that God is providing for us. But the amount of stress at work has gone off the chart. I can't go into details on that really here, either. Just know it has been tough, and even though I have only had this job for less than 3 months, I am completely emotionally invested in the success of our product. This stress has led to interpersonal conflicts and other challenges.

I haven't slept very well all week. It is a good thing that my marathon training is winding down because I don't have energy to run more than a few miles. Jenetta's mom is staying with the girls tonight so we can attend our home group (where we haven't been in two months). We really miss and need the support of our friends now.

Thanks for letting me vent on you...

In case you were wondering, the girls have for the most part calmed down to where we were before. I'm trusting God that the work stuff will settle down as well and that I can get some decent rest this weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another crazy weekend

I think I need to find new adjectives to describe our weekends. Or just get over how absolutely jam-packed they have become (and how they seem will always be from now on...)

On Friday, Jenetta's dad Pat and his wife Shelley came out from Phoenix. The girls never get tired of having more grandparents. L was commenting how excited she is because she has "much grandpas and much grandmas..."

That night after we went out for dinner, we went to Cruisin' Grand to check out the old cars. The girls were so excited to see the Hernandez family. Jena and her mom Shari were tearing it up at the hula hoop competition!

Carmel popcorn and a walk through town is always a treat. Plus, we stopped to visit just about every dog in Escondido!

On Saturday morning, I got up at 3:30 so I could run 20 miles before the day really got busy. I made it with minimal leg chafing and only a slightly upset stomach. I'm convinced I can complete the marathon in two weeks without stopping to walk or rest now. My original time goal was 4 hrs 45 min, but I'm pretty sure I will be closer to 4:30 now. I was very steady over 20 miles. It was kind of neat to run the first 5 in complete darkness. There was no one else out at that hour!

Something that was kind of cool was that I paused briefly at 13.1 miles to say a prayer for my brother Joel who was running a half marathon in South Dakota. After our runs, we checked in with each other on the phone and it turns out because I started so early, (and I run slower than him) I was actually within a few minutes of his finishing time.

Then we went with Pat and Shelley and took the girls to an adoption support carnival event in the city. That was a lot of fun. The girls won some prizes and got their faces painted. It's nice to have grandparents to help at an event like that. It was also cool to connect with some other adoptive families that we hadn't seen for a while and hear about what they are experiencing.

After nap time, we took the girls to Crystal and Brandon Barnett's home. Thank you! Thank you!!! They looked after the girls and let them play with Austin as we went with the majority of the Giles clan to the reception for Frances and Earnie's wedding. It was a very nice dinner, and even though we could only stay for a few hours, it was great to have an evening away with adult conversation and to get dressed up for a special event. It was good to check back in with Jenetta's relatives. They all made the drive over from Phoenix that day.

Much of the weekend was also spent coordinating the details for a last minute video production session for work. We are putting together an educational video to give to our customers, and one of our expert testimony contacts was only available on Monday, so I helped to coordinate all these details and arrange for flights to get him here tomorrow morning. So on top of all the other stuff we did, I spent a lot of time on the phone... :(

I had hoped Sunday would have been a day of rest for us. But O woke up at 3:00 and although we dealt with her concern quickly, it was hard for both of us to get back to sleep. Church was really good. We really need our supports there. Everyone is so helpful and encouraging! I wouldn't mind meeting with those people almost everyday :)

After church, all the Giles relatives came over to meet the girls. That was a lot of fun - more super grandparents!!!

After nap time, the girls were pretty wound up, so we played quietly at the house for a while, then I took them to the pool again. This is getting to be their favorite activity.

After dinner, we planted some tomato plants and some new flowers together. After bath time, Jenetta popped some popcorn, and we watched Thomas the Train on cable on demand.

After all that, I took some time to put new music on my iPod, but I have laundry to fold and dishes to wash... never ending...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh my goodness!

I got this in the mail today. This is so FAR!!!

I will be running this distance in two and a half weeks. What have I gotten myself into?!?!?!?!

I think it would take 45 minutes or more to even drive this far.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

We had a pretty cool mother's day for Jenetta today, which was kind of a relief after yesterday. Jenetta and I shot a wedding together and didn't get home until around 10:15, so Joy had the girls all day. Part of the time they were at Joy's preschool doing activities, and part of the time, they were back here making surprises for Jenetta. They were pretty wound up, so they didn't really get a nap, and they went to bed nearly an hour late.

We were all very tired this morning, but we managed to get out the door in time to make it to church today. The sunday school kids all sang for the moms and passed out flowers to them.

After nap time, it was getting warm, so I thought it would be a good idea to go swimming at Joy's community pool. The girls had a really great time, and O is getting braver and braver in the water (which is scary for me because she swallowed a bunch of water after jumping in when I had my back turned).

After we swam for a few hours, we decided to go to Fidel Norte's in Carlsbad for dinner. The girls were really well behaved the whole time. Then after dinner, we walked around with the grandparents. This is a photo of them checking out goldfish in the pond by Norte's:

Then we finished with a walk on the beach. A pretty cool end to Jenetta's first mother's day!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Taking the day off

I took Thursday off to clear my head a bit, spend time with the girls, and take care of a bunch of chores that have been piling up. We have a busy weekend ahead since one of the grandparents of O and L are driving down to visit on Saturday, so I know I won't get much rest over the weekend.

I got up early to go surfing with my friend David. It was super low tide - and the waves were really small, so we just decided to go to Panakin's for breakfast instead. Before we left, I did some product photography - not really, I just put one of our old bottles on a fence post and took a photo with my cell phone.

Even though I didn't get to surf, I still had a really refreshing time eating a cinnamon roll and just talking and sharing with David. It's good to be able to unload on someone now and again :)

After breakfast, I went home for a while and then the girls left with Jenetta to go to the library. We have found that our local library does free stuff for little kids each Wednesday and Thursday. Jenetta likes to bring the girls to the story times, and the girls really enjoy themselves there. So while they left, I picked up the car at the mechanics, went to a doctor's appointment, and took care of the recycling that had been piling up.

After nap time, the girls and I had a really good time running errands together. They were really well-behaved, and I decided to share our good fortune with them at the recycling center by giving them each a dollar to spend at the grocery store. I knew not to take them down an aisle I didn't want them to see, so while we were looking for cheese, we came across yogurt on sale for $.90 each. That made them very happy, so they spent their dollars and ate the yogurt in the store! Then I took them to the post office, and the clerk stamped their hands with smiley-face stamps.

When we got back home, some of our neighbors were just getting home from school. O and L have become great friends with two girls who live across the street. They are 12 and 6, but they seem to enjoy having new friends to play with in our neighborhood. I think they enjoy being totally revered by two little girls - O and L look up to them so much! So O and L played with them in their front yard for about an hour, which allowed me to get the rest of the chores done in the garage I needed to accomplish.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Jenetta and I were talking about how easy-going and compliant they both were for the whole day. However, the evenings are still very challenging. They fight us on every step of the "winding down" process, but we have found that if we don't try to calm them down after dinner, then getting to bed can be very challenging and take hours!!! By the end of the day, we are both wiped out and very tired of dealing with it. It seems that they are learning a lot about the rules and how we want them to behave - just for some reason, that all goes out the window after about 7:00.

Next week, we are going to take a break together. We're taking the girls to Grandma Joy and Grandpa CJ's house for dinner. Jenetta and I are going on a two hour date together. Yay!!!

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