Archive for May, 2018

The Aging Affect

May 28, 2018

I feel like I have officially crossed over into old age. For the past few months staying up past 9pm has been a major struggle. I’ve no idea whats happened. Those night time hours from about 8pm (once the boys were tucked into bed and fast asleep) have for the past almost 6 yrs been my hours to tackle everything that was just impossible to get done during civilized daylight hours due to my day being fully hijacked by the wants, needs, and schedules of 2 little boys. But once their little heads hit those pillows at night, it was “go time!” for me. I was a production machine. Yes, I was often tired and drained from the days spent in the trenches of motherhood, but sh*t needed to get done and if my days of dealing with newborns had thought me anything, its that I was fully capable of functioning on minutes of sleep pieced together to total maybe 2 – 3 hours a night. So riding the wave of my second wind, I got busy and stayed busy from about 8pm until anywhere between midnight and 1am, depending on what needed to get done that day or what I needed a head start on for the next day. Nowadays however, anything I haven’t accomplished by the time the boys go to bed, stays unaccomplished. Cos come 9pm, my brain and my body goes into shut down mode. We’re talking SHUT. DOWN. Like I just took a tranquilizer to the arse shut down. I’m literally a production nightmare these past few months. And while it is causing me some stress and has me existing with that horrible feeling like I’m constantly playing catch up on life, once 9pm comes and the fatigue strikes, all I care about is getting to my bed. I was sure it was something that would pass, sort itself out after a few early nights and some new vitamins to supplement my diet. But like I said, we’re a few months into it now and the pattern remains the same. Which leads me to believe the only thing it could possibly be, is aging.

Or maybe it might be things like taking not just your own 2 high energy kids to the aquarium, but your 2 high energy kids + 2 of their equally high energy friends. Now that right there is like taking on a marathon, sprinting. To be fair, they were all well behaved, with only a few mini heart attack moments. But we picked a good day to visit. It wasn’t too busy and there were several opportunities for running to keep them happy. This is Keane and his buddy Eli.

Cullen and his bestie, Henry.

The joy of spotting a poster for the aquarium, on your way to the aquarium.

And yes, after getting our tickets we were those people who did the cheesy fake backdrop photo booth.

Then it was inside to see the real thing.

Mesmerized but the seahorses.

The giant manta ray.

Pause for a snack at a spot with the best ocean views. And 4 little boys in awe of these amazing sea creatures.

Great excitement when this blacktip shark came swimming past.

Waiting patiently for the rays to swim past and possibly get a touch. But it never happened. The rays stayed hiding in the seaweed.

But we did get to touch the star fish, some urchins and coral.

The lower bodies of the Beluga Whales. Their upper body was at the surface, waiting for their dinner.

Glasses on ready for the 4D shark show. Can anyone spot the odd one out??

A long but amazing day.

Heading to the car park I was wore out and tired from the long day. My camera was away and my focus was on getting to the car to go home. But we passed this bench with this penguin and Keane and Henry asked if I would take a photo. By the time I’d dug my camera out from the bottom of my bag, their motivation was gone. Hence the reason no-one is looking at me and Cullen can’t stop yawning.

Its A Wrap

May 23, 2018

A couple of final things happening this week, the most notable being the boys final day of school. Yes, its summer break time! And also Keane’s final baseball game of the season. This season has been a lot fun to watch. The kids are starting to have a real understanding of the game. No longer at they hitting from a tee. Balls are pitched to them from a pitching machine, so focusing on the ball and timing their swings has been a learning experience in hand-eye coordination. Every time each of the kids stepped up to bat, you wanted desperately for them to connect with the ball. To give them that feeling of an actual hit. When they did, it was pure excitement, in some cases, complete surprise. Out field there was a bigger hustle to run for the balls and throws were less random and more intentional and calculated. They now understand the goal is to tag bases and get the other team out. However, working together as a team, is still a bit of a work in progress. Plenty of moments with teammates rushing for the same ball and ending up in a slight tug-of-war for possession. But overall the team has had some pretty massive improvements. And because this is their 2nd season playing together, friendships and bonds are building, resulting in practices and games that are a lot more fun.

Game face.

Team mate David in focus mode too.

As is Bryson.

Abigail’s vision is locked on the batter of the other team.

Ground ball as she’s all over it.

Karina with the throw to 1st base.

Brittan’s even got the baseball slide going on.

The ladies in rush mode.

Cubs up to bat.

Us mom’s, always making sure to capture those memories.

Bryson at bat.

Safe at 1st base.

Next to bat, Keane.

Bryson on to 2nd.

Keane safe on 1st.

Abigail.

She too is safe to 1st base.

Keane hammers it on to 2nd.

Safe.

Hannah at bat.

Keane on to 3rd.

David smiling his way through the game. Having the best time out there.

Keane makes it home.

Partaking in some baseball sign language to communicate something to someone.

Cubs back in outfield.

Staying focused for an entire game can be hard for a group of 5 yr olds.

Distractions happen easily.

But eventually, with some encouragement from coach, we have snapped back into the game.

Keane and David in a tug for the ball.

Honorary team member Cullen, gets to hangout in the dugout and he and David get chatting about all things shark.

Tired from a great game.

The line up for post-game high-5’s.

Snack time!

End of season dinner and trophy presentation.

Gifts for the coaches too.

Framed team photo signed by each of the kids.

Its taken me a few days to pull this blog post together due to 1. fatigue, obviously. 2. the sheer amount of photos my sister-in-law, Dinara and I captured over the 2 days. Hundreds. To say we were trigger happy would be the biggest understatement. Combing through and narrowing so many moments and fun memories down to just the ones I’m sharing here on the blog has been quite the task. And 3. my struggle to pull together the right words to articulate just how amazing this entire journey was, from start to finish. I mean, 12 people, most unknown to each other, coming together as a team, traveling in 2 vans, running in shifts, day and night, to cover almost 200 miles for an amazing cause. That my friends, is no mean feat let me tell you. There were of course lows, lots of them, mostly in the form of wore out legs, bouts of nausea, sleep deprivation and general discomfort one could imagine comes with living in a van with 6 people for 2 days. But there were also highs. So many highs. Mostly highs. Highs that overshadowed any of the lows. Highs like realizing you’re team mates are actually some of the coolest people ever and although we all started this journey on day one as strangers, mostly, by the end of day 2, its like we’d always been friends. Friends for years, with a history and inside jokes. Legit friends.

Some other fantastic highs from this whole experience:

- Learning that the sound of a cowbell, while in the “real world” might be considered annoying, in Ragnar world this was the sound of your van support arriving. Your teammates pulling over to cheer you on, offer hydration and yell aggressively at you words of motivation and encouragement.

- Teammate Casey (who hasn’t run in 8 yrs BTW, joined the team at the last second when another member had to pull out), learned that you should probably train if you plan on running miles for a relay. And that everything is 90% mental……except sunscreen.

- The girls in the van sucked at sharing the driving duties. As in, they didn’t. Major woot! woot’s! to Matt and Casey for doing ALL of the driving.

- To avoid future awkward wristband hand-offs, the team needs to come up with a uniquely cool slap hands type of routine for Ragnar 2019. Thats right, we’re already talking about doing it again next year.

- Nighttime running is scary, but survivable. As long as you keep the Blair Witch stories and conversations on all things crime to a minimum.

- Even in my hungriest moments, I am incapable of choking down a PB&J (Peanut butter & jelly) sandwich. Proof, I’m NOT 100% Americanized.

- You can’t swing a cat in Massachusetts without hitting a Dunkin Donuts.

- Its easier to rise above the pain, quit your whining and bitching and dig deep for every painful mile when you’re running for a cause bigger than yourself. For those of you who may be unaware, we took on this Ragnar almost 200 mile challenge in support of The Avielle Foundation. The Avielle Foundation was set up by our team mate Jennifer. Avielle was Jennifer’s daughter. An adorable 6 yr old little girl who back in 2012, lost her life in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. As a team we vowed to raise $12,000 to aid this foundation with its crucial and ongoing research, and I’m happy to report that we reached our goal. To everybody who donated “Thank You!” Your support means everything to the team, but even more to the family of little Avielle. Ya’ll rock.

But now, on with the visual show. Lots of photos to share from an unforgettable experience.

The Van 2 crew. Also knows as The Lit Bisches.

Van decoration. Gotta let the world know who we are and what we’re here for.

Avielle Foundation sign in hand and ready to slap it on the van.

A team that means business.

My pre-run strut.

Buddy love.

Team mate and fellow memory capturer, Brian.

Me, giddy with nerves, waiting to head off on my 1st of 3 runs for the team.

Everyone, this is Jennifer, Aveille’s mother and the strongest women I’ve ever met. She has suffered the most unimaginable loss, but somehow, I don’t know how, powers forward with a massive heart made of solid gold.

My cheer squad has arrived, headed by Monica.

Stripped down and ready to rock.

Wahoo! Incoming team mate Sunny, about to hand off the wristband to yours truly.

And I’m off!

Team high-5’s for Sunny.

And while I’m busy logging essential miles, the others busy themselves with selfies, sort of.

My van support has arrived, checking in on me somewhere around half way.

A little closer and you’d be able to see the desperation in my face as I near the end of my first leg.

Dinara all smiles as she awaits the wrist band and the start of her first run.

The hand off.

YAY! Heart in the box to signal the completion of my first run for the team.

Then its back in the van and The Lit Bisches are on the road to give their support to Dinara.

Here she comes.

Water bottle fill up.

Yes girl, you have the wrist band, therefore you must keep running.

The hand off to Casey.

A job well done.

Heart in the box for the completion of Dinara’s maiden run.

Van support for Casey.

A break for hydration from lovely team mate, that also happens to be his wife, Monica.

Next to run for the team, Ashley, and look how happy she is.

Casey coming in for the hand off.

And Ashley is off!

Casey gets to heart his first box.

Ashley powering through the end of her leg.

Now the wrist band is passed on to Matt.

These runs are tough, make no mistake.

First box heart for Ashley.

Van support for Matt.

The happiest girl in our van, Monica is pumped for her first run.

Matt nearing his finish line.

Wrist band to Monica…

…and away she goes.

Well done Matt.

Roadside cheer squad for Monica.

Rehydration point.

Leg 1 for Monica is complete.

Lots of support from hubby.

Later that night, somewhere around 10.00pm, we are back on the course for the night shift run. The 6 team members in Van 2, running in turns, til about 1.00am. Then the 6 members of Van 1 took over. No photos from our night run, cos, darkness. We were just a bunch of moving reflective vests and blinking headlights. But we did grab a quick team shot before running off into the night.

Somewhere around 5.00am, with barely 2 hours of rest and here we are, back on the course, for our 3rd and final runs. Getting closer and closer to our finishing point in Provincetown, Cape Cod. If you think I look rough, its cos I do. This last run was for sure the toughest one to rise to.

But its time to pull it together. Game face. Lets do this!

Van 2 group shot before we all do our last run for the team.

Half of our team are already done. Gathering to share the stories of struggle and pain.

The wonderful Jennifer, exhausted from finishing her final run, but still smiling and here to give the rest of us who still have 1 run to go, some encouragement and support.

Monica and I manage to find something to laugh about.

Team mate Brian either pumping me up or giving me a bollicking.

And here she comes, Sunny at the end of her final run, ready to hand off to me.

Me trying to roar her home.

Wrist band hand over….

…and I’m off. My last run.

Well done Sunny.

Support van in motion.

This is how they kill time waiting for me, taking headshots.

Here I come.

The halfway point on my last run.

Some of the hard working volunteers entertain themselves teaching each other the floss dance.

No photo of me at the end of my last run. But trust me, I made it and delivered the wrist band safely to Dinara.

Dinara sees the end of her last run.

Wrist band delivered for the last time to Matt.

That feeling you get when your all done running.

A heart in the final box.

Cheering on our last remaining runners.

Cowbell support.

Monica, Casey and Ashley.

Matt in full throttle mode up the hill.

Ashely in position and ready to go.

Wrist band on and off she goes!

The relief, but the pain.

Matt stars his last box.

Ashley powering along.

Support from team mates over these 2 days, was top shelf.

Ashley is nearing the end, she can feel it.

Casey is off and running.

Well done girl, put the last heart in that box.

Working hard.

Casey hands off to his fabulous wife. This is not only Monica’s last run, but its the last run for the team. The final 8 miles to the finish line.

Great job Casey!

Matt and Casey, the only men in our van and they both shared the driving duties for the team. Love them!

There she is, plugging away, getting closer and closer to that finish line.

Another team injecting a bit of humor into their run. Assholes! (get it??)

Van support and Monica in the background removing layers. Gets hot out there when you’re pounding through the miles.

The rest of Van 2 meeting up with Van 1, getting in position to cheer Monica home and to run the last 150m through the finish line as a team.

So happy, so relived and starting to realize what it is we’ve accomplished as a team.

Eager to get celebrating.

And here she comes. Pause in stride to wrangle Monica into her team t-shirt.

Gunning it towards finish.

Finally, the finish.

And here we come, the rest of team.

Ragnar Cape Cod 2018, WE DID IT!

Meeting up with family.

Medals for the team.

This was so cool. The medals joined together to reveal a positive statement.

Our medals, read “TOGETHER WE CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. WE ARE RAGNARIANS. WE BELIEVE”

Nothing but love for this team and all its amazing people. Well done to everyone!

Broken

May 13, 2018

Its done! We’re done! We did it! A team of 12, covered almost 200 miles, running day and night for an amazing cause. Bodies are broken and tired, brains are drained and foggy from sleep deprivation, its definitely going to take us all a minute to recover. Hundreds of photos were captured, ensuring we never forget this unforgettable experience. And as soon as I start to feel human, I’ll share lots of these photos, so you’ll all get a visual taste of what it took to compete and survive the Ragnar Cape Cod 2018 Challenge.

Day 2, me “hearting the box” having finished my 3rd and final run for the team.

This is It

May 10, 2018

This is it, we are 2 days away from the start of Ragnar Relay Cape Cod 2018. I know I said I’d chat a little more about this challenge a few blog posts back, but didn’t really get around to it and now, there’s no time cos I’m mid-pack, readying myself to fly to Massachusetts in the morning, where I will meet up with the other 11 members of our team. I’m so excited and absolutely terrified. The fear is mostly based on the unknown. Having never run a race like this before, its hard to know what to expect. Weather wise I’m preparing for everything. Long leggings and sleeves in case the weather is cold, shorts and sleeveless in case its warm. Rain jacket for, well, rain and reflective vest and head lamp cos I think one of my runs is scheduled for the wee hours of Saturday morning. Yep, its 36 hours to cover the almost 200 miles. Starting at 5am Friday morning, running all day and all through the night, to hopefully arrive at Provincetown, Cape Cod by lunch time Saturday. This is going to be tough, make no mistake. But I actually can’t wait to get going. Most of the people on my team I’ll be meeting for the first time, but theres nothing like a physical and mental challenge of this magnitude to instantly bond a bunch of strangers. So wish us luck and look out for a post-race report on the blog here next week.

The new generation of family adventurers and Keane’s friend Ella, who spent the day with us last Saturday.

This was my view of the kids most of the walk. Cullen, always trying to play catch up.

Oh look, an ant hill.

Managed to get ahead of them at one point.

Finally, a rest.

Oh yeah, Dexter was on the walk too.

A noise in the forest grabbed their attention. So obviously it needed exploring.

Cullen is concerned about ghosts.

An al fresco lunch cos the weather was so lovely.

Cheeky!

Curious about the bee hives.

But also cautious.

Later Keane had a baseball game and Ella came to cheer.

Keane is bottom right, guarding 3rd base.

Cheer squad.

Keane at bat in the red helmet.

Great game.

Celebration hugs.

And off for post-game snack.