Grateful for 9…but please slow it down!


My little girl turned 9 this month.  While so far we have a million good memories and smiles it dawned on me shortly after her birthday that in the same amount of time she’ll be in college!  What!?!?!  Makes me shake my head.  It all is going by so very fast.  This isn’t so much a surprise as it is a reality.  Most people I know who have older kids have told me regularly to embrace every second as it goes by so very fast.  I’m here to tell you that so far they are right.

What I also know is this sweet 9 year old girl has taught me so much more than she knows.  She’s taught me that nearly every event that involves leaving the house should excite me to the point of jumping up and down.  She’s taught me to love bubble gum pop music, so much so that I run with many of her favorite songs in my running playlist.  She’s taught me to love more deeply.  Her tears in movies when a good character gets hurt makes me tear up.  She’s taught me to be bolder.  Wearing mismatched sock like no one cares is liberating and fun.  Who knows, I might even start wearing bright socks to work with my suits – it looks like fun.  She’s taught me know matter how smart I think I am I’ll never fully understand women.  She’s also taught me that a hug and a kiss can make everything ok.

She’s one of a kind filled to the brim with awesome.  I couldn’t be prouder of her.

Her birthday events lasted only about 10 days this year, down from roughly 3 weeks last year. 🙂  First at 1×1 sleepover with her good friend Lucy.  Then the family party at Thi’s Vietnamese in Rock Hill on her actual birthday.  Side note for locals:  eat at this restaurant and don’t order from the menu.  Ask Thi to choose for you and to prepare something nice.  We’ve never had anything we didn’t like yet rarely have experienced any of the food she serves.  Along with the cake we brought, she made homemade donuts with tons of powdered sugar which Stewart absolutely loved!  Then a lunch party at her school.  Then a skate party at Kate’s Skates in Rock Hill.  Yep – mom and dad skating in all our glory.  We learned that the skating rink smell is unchanged in 25 years.  I also learned that I might actually be a better ice skater than roller skater (this is a low bar).  Stewart loved every second of it – 10 girls yipping and yapping about a rink for hours.  I still loved seeing Stewart spend time with the weaker skaters to make sure they didn’t feel left out – she’s got a good heart.

Lastly, Stewart and I enjoyed a Daddy/Daughter date to witness some amazing high school girls receive awards for their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math abilities.  We dressed up and had a fancy dinner at the Ritz in downtown Charlotte.  Memorable good times for just the two of us.

She seemed to have a great few days.  See for yourself – slideshow of her birthday can be found here.

We’ve had a fun month in March…see other random events in this slideshow.




Grateful for the Mangum Track Club

So there’s this place called Ellerbe, NC.  Population 1,027 where a group 1/10 of their population shows up to participate in my favorite marathon.  At one point, Andre the Giant and Bennie Parsons (NASCAR) were a part of this town’s population (god rest their souls).  100 or so runners mixed with as many first timers as it has people running this event as a part of their long training run that day or people who ran a marathon the weekend before or plan to the next day.  That’s the type of draw it has.  Needless to say, you don’t show up in your marathon shirt from your prior marathon and expect to stand out.  These people have tattoos of their hundredth marathon on their calves so you can see it as either you or they run by.  Some tattoo their favorite running club on their body.  Dedication to their sport.  8 aid stations, a super-courteous race director named Mark and a race reporter who both takes pictures and captures quotes for his story in what can only be presumed as the Ellerbe paper’s (maybe the Richmond Times?).

John, Jason and I ran our 8th, 7th and 4th Ellerbe Marathons respectively this year.  Much to Cindy’s chagrin we actually trained for it.  We all agreed this training paid off for the event.  We did Yasso’s and hill training.  We all agreed the late race heat and potentially a quick pace early made the last 4-5 miles hurt more than they should have.  At mile 13 I did some math with Jason and thought a 3:20 time would be do-able and at minimum a race PR was well within reach.  I kept the pace up until mile 20/21 when I was told otherwise by my body.  My legs were fine, a little tired in the calves, but my stomach wasn’t great.  I was eating and drinking but a stiff “gurgle or slosh belly” kept me from feeling great.  I’ve been here before – it feels like you could throw up but you can’t.  If you could, or at minimum have the belch of a lifetime then things would get back to good quickly.  Unfortunately, that belch came about 5 minutes after the end of the race…though, it did feel great.  I suffered up what is a bear of a last 4 miles and yes, “up” was a deliberate word choice.  Even with a late race breakdown, I love this race.  Finished 3:35 (pace: 8:15, Garmin Data is here)  which was my 3rd best Ellerbe I think.  Won 2nd in my age group and finished 8th overall.  My 7th place finish went up in smoke where the only person who passed me in the race came steaming by me at mile 25.  I loved thinking about pacing in with him but all I could do was think about it.  Nonetheless, dumplings, iced tea, slaw and a 2nd place finisher’s mug awaited.

Good times.  Next race?  Not sure.