10.30.2013

Marine Corps Marathon Recap

I am not really sure where to even start. It's actually hard to believe it's over and it went by so fast - 18 weeks of training for 5 1/2 hours of running, and it's done.

There were lots of tears as I expected, a few times I had to take some deep breaths and not let the emotions come to the surface because I could feel hyper-ventilating coming with them and, I could be wrong, but I suspected that hyper-ventilating at any point mid-marathon was a bad idea.

So, I think I'll just work through the weekend and try not to leave anything out. Feel free to skip this, as I'm sure it will be long, but I don't want to forget.

Friday
The Man and I got up, packed the car - I triple checked that I had my shoes! - dropped the dogs off at "camp" (the kennel), and headed East towards DC. We had a beautiful drive, I love entering DC on the George Washington Parkway, and arrived ahead of schedule at our friend, John's house. We unpacked and headed to the Metro to go to the Expo where I would pick up my bib (my number), my shirt, and my "clear, plastic bag" to check my items at the start of the race. I did get new compression sleeves - pink tie-dye - and exchanged my pink-ribbon charm on my shoe for a new one b/c some of the stones had fallen out.

After the Expo, we headed toward Chi.nat.own for some cupcakes. Rae introduced me to this great bakery back in March and I was so excited to head there again - gluten-free cupcakes are hard to come by in a small town! We had Sta.bucks and cupcakes and then walked the 6 blocks up to the hotel where the first timers' pep rally was being held. It was fun to see all of the other "first timers" and to get some tips for surviving.

Emily and I at the First Timers Pep Rally

Saturday
Saturday, we started our day with daily Mass at the Theological College at Catholic University with our friend Cody, who is a seminarian in our diocese. I was the only woman at the Mass - ha! It was amazing though, to see all of those future-priests and to get to celebrate Mass with them, I really couldn't have imagined a better start to the day.

After Mass, we headed to brunch with some awesome ladies, Alison, Lora, and Rae! Fortunately for The Man, Rae's husband, Josh, also joined us :). We had brunch and then yummy gluten-free desert and lots of chatter! It was awesome. No photo was taken - more on this later.

We headed back to John's after Mass and John and I went for a quick 3-mile "shake-out" run. I'm not sure why they call it a "shake-out" run, but it was my last pre-marathon run and I needed it. It helped to settle my nerves and give my legs a little bit of a workout that they were craving.

A quick shower and change into my gold and blue and we were off to a Sports Bar/Restaurant in Arlington that is owned by a WVU Alum, so it becomes a WVU Sports Bar/Restaurant on game day. We watched the WVU - Kansas State disaster. And that's all I have to say about that. My dad, stepmom and little brother arrived in time to watch it too, so at least the company and food was good!

We got back to John's and after making our plan for the morning, I went to bed at 8:30, with my alarms (all 3 of them) set for 4am.

Sunday - Marathon Day!
I didn't sleep well but I didn't sleep awful either. When I was sleeping, it was good. I just kept waking up every hour thinking "is it time yet?"

When 4:00 finally rolled around (really? 4:00am "finally rolled around"? maybe I really am crazy!), I got up and got ready to go. I had my marathon out fit all laid out and ready to go, so there wasn't much thought required. Awake at 4:00am doesn't mean "fully functioning" at 4:00am. I made myself some breakfast and made sure John was awake at 4:45 since he'd agreed to drive me to the start line area at 5:00.

My Race Day Outfit
We got to the start line and it still seemed a little early, so John and I relaxed in the car for about 20 minutes, and then I headed over.

The walk was quiet and dark. There were a few other really early runners there as well, but for the most part, I was alone to enjoy the views of the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building lit up as I walked around the Pentagon. I finally arrived at Runner's Village and had my bag checked by the marine standing there. Many times as I made this walk and checked in, I got choked up - between the pentagon and the sights of DC and all this day would mean for me, I knew these were just the first of many tears.

I arrived in time to participate in the first Ecumenical Prayer Service that was offered and I'm glad I did. The chaplain was very good and the man beside me also turned out to be Catholic, and as we caught a glimpse of each other making the sign of the cross at the start of the prayer we shared a knowing smile. After the prayer service, I headed over to use the bathroom - note: using a porta potty in the dark is a bit challenging. By this time, I was ready to check my bag and consider walking toward the start line, as I wanted to be there well before 7:30's starting ceremony. After I checked my bag and put my garbage bag on for warmth (true story: a black garbage bag keeps a runner quite warm pre-race and can easily be discarded before running). One last pre-race bathroom stop and then I met up with Emily and we shared our nerves and excitement with one another. We wished each other good luck and I headed to the start line.

I found my corral and settled in to people watch and wait. At 7:30, skydivers dotted the sky, carrying flags from each branch of the Armed Forces and 3 large American Flags. The Star Spangled Banner was performed. I cried.

Finally, from afar, I heard the cannon that signaled the start of the race. It would be about 20 minutes before I actually got to and crossed the start line.

The Marine Corps Marathon

Miles 1 - 5 (Intention: Sara)

The Man, my Dad, stepmom, and little brother (family from here on) were all planning to be there to cheer me on, as well as Lora and Alison. I had a vague idea of where they would each be and I scanned the crowd looking for them. I spotted my Dad, stepmom and brother just past the start line and smiled and waved to them. To my surprise they were wearing shirts that said "Run Rebecca Run" - I loved it!

The first of only a couple hills was in these first few miles. I was actually grateful for them because I was having trouble keeping my pace to something reasonable! I saw Lora and her DH for the first time right around mile 4 as I crossed the Key Bridge from Virginia into DC.

Also, just as I approached Mile 5 and continued through Georgetown, I heard a band playing. As I headed down the hill toward the Mile 5 mark, I heard a few notes that were quite familiar to me, but I thought: "no way!" BUT it was true - the band was playing John Denver's Country Roads!!!  I sang my heart out as they sang "Country roads, take me home, to the place, I belong, WEST VIRGINIA, Mountain Mama, take me home, Country roads" I sang loud, I waived my arms, and I'm sure the people around me thought I was absolutely nuts. I didn't care - I loved it! Oh, and I cried a little bit too.

Miles 6 - 10 (Intention: All of my IF buddies and their intentions)

I continued to struggle to keep my pace reasonable through these miles. Rock Creek Parkway was beautiful and a great place to offer up for all of my fellow IFers. I saw Lora and her DH again at the end of the parkway. At the U-turn between miles 7 and 8, I saw 2 of the wheelchair participants struggling to get up and around the hill and turn. It was one of those moments that remind me why I love running - all the runners around them stopped and cheered them on, encouraging them up and around the turn. No one was worried about their own pace/race, only supporting these wheelchair racers. Yes, there were more tears here too. It was certainly a good reminder of all that I have to be thankful for and I specifically asked God to help all of us IFers to be able to see the many blessings in our life despite the pain and hurt associated with IF. Oh, and the oranges at Mile 9 were delicious, and going past the steps of the Lincoln Memorial between miles 10 and 11 was amazing!

Miles 11 - 15 (Intention: All of my bloggy friends and their intentions)

As I neared the water stop at Mile 11, I found myself wondering "what the heck am I doing/thinking?" I had to remind myself it was WAY too early to feel this way and I'd run this far plenty of times. I saw my family at just past the water stop so they caught me walking a bit as I was trying to get a good drink. I shrugged and held up my two cups of gatorade and smiled saying "double fisting it!" These miles were around Hains Point, not too many spectators so I turned my iPod on and let my music help carry me through. Between my music and the great signs (things like: "You're running better than the government."; "1 in 100 runners poop their pants, are you the 1?"; "Run faster, the Kenyans are finished already and they're drinking all the beer."; "Chuck Norris never ran a marathon." and more!), I actually enjoyed Hains Point, even though it was the more "quiet" part of the race. I did have lots to offer up as I was really wondering "what the heck am I thinking" quite a bit here.

Miles 16 - 20 (Intention: The Man)

Just through the water stop at Mile 16, I was trying to get a good drink of water and swallow my Gu without choking. I stopped moving for about 15 seconds and as soon as I did it, my left calf started to cramp. I'm not used to cramps, so it caught me off guard. I found a curb and light post to balance on and stretched it out. It did cramp on and off the rest of the race, but thanks to a nice group around mile 17.5 I had an unexpected banana and I think that helped to keep it from being unbearable, at least for a bit. Just before mile 17 though, I saw my family and Lora and her DH (but they didn't realize they were very near each other). It was a great time to see them and get some encouragement.  Then, just before mile 18, I saw another familiar face - Alison! She came and ran with me for a couple of blocks and then headed off across the Mall to meet me on the other side. After she split off, I headed towards the US Capitol Building, as I turned in front of the Capitol, the band there was playing the Rocky Theme Song - it was great :). I rounded the other side of the Mall and just as I wanted to walk, in fact I took a few steps, I saw my family just before mile 19 - this time Lora and Chris were with them! I gave them all High-Fives and told them what perfect timing it was to see them there! Then, I saw Alison again just past Mile 19. She ran with me again for a bit. It was great to have some company :).  I gave her a big hug (sorry about the grossness of that hug, Alison!), and thanked her and continued on. Next up was Mile 20 and "Beat the Bridge." I had to reach Mile 20 and the Bridge by 1:05pm in order to be able to keep going. I'm not sure exactly what time I passed, but I knew it was well before 1:05. Also, with mile 20, came uncharted territory, I'd never run more than 20 miles before. At about mile 20.5, my body said "hey, we don't run this far, what are you doing" and, starting with my inside right quad muscle, all of the muscles in my right leg from hip to ankle cramped up at the same time. I'm sure I was quite a sight hobbling over to the side of the road to try and stretch. I squatted down, hoping I would be able to stand up again, and that it would give me some relief. Both were accomplished, but wow, did that hurt. But, there was no way a few leg cramps were going to stop me at this point, so on I went. I crossed the bridge with a combination of running and walking and stretching and then headed into Crystal City.

Miles 21 - 25 (Intention: My Dad)

The cramps continued, as I turned into Crystal City, but the atmosphere was great. Bands and music and people, a great way to get a good "pick me up" heading into the final few miles. I saw my family again at mile 22 and I knew I wouldn't see them again until the Finish Line. These miles were tough.  I was tired, my legs were cramping, and I just wanted to be done. I had a lot to offer up for my Dad, and I was grateful for that - I picked these miles for him for a reason. And yet, I knew I was going to finish. I knew I was way past meeting any time goal I had set myself, but I didn't care. I was going to finish and that was what mattered. I pushed myself, but also listened to my body so as not to hurt myself permanently. My legs cramped and I stretched them and I kept going. Marines encouraged us along the way (as they had the entire race) and encouraged us to dig deep and keep going. We rounded the Pentagon, and headed back towards where we'd started, towards where it had all began more than 5 hour before. More than a few times during these miles I had to take deep breaths and remind myself to breath, I knew if I let myself really feel all of it: the pain, the emotions, the awe of the marines, the Pentagon, Arlington, all of it I would lose it, completely. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes slower than others, but I refused to quit; I knew I would finish.

Mile 26 - 26.2 (Intention: Myself)

I was determined to run these final .2 miles entirely. Including the final hill up to the finish line. The .2 miles broke down to about .05 flat, then .1 uphill, then .05 flat to the finish. I made it almost all the way up the hill, walked for about 5 yards, and then ran the rest. I will take it. After those few walking steps, it was like all the pain went away and I felt great again. My family was in the bleachers cheering me on and the finish line was in front of me. I was really going to do it, I was finishing a marathon. I raised my arms in triumph as I crossed the finish line. I had done it. I am a Marathoner.

If you click here you can see photos taken during the race - these are the "official" marathon photos.

The After

I got my medal. A marine placed it around my neck, saluted me, and told me congratulations. Yep, more tears. I had my photo taken with him and then had my photo taken at the base of the Iwo Jima Memorial. I got my food box, my water, another banana, and my recovery jacket (helps to regulate body temperature because it tends to drop after a race). I texted The Man to let him know I'd meet them at the family link-up area for "R"s and I was overwhelmed at all of the notifications from Face.book, Twi.tter, texts and e-mails I had. I knew the prayers of so many had gotten me through.

With the Marine who placed my medal around my neck and saluted me.
After I retrieved my bag (it seemed so much heavier than when I dropped it off!), I headed to meet my family. Hugs were shared (I kinda feel bad they had to hug me smelling like I did) and I got to hear all about their day - I was so relieved they'd enjoyed it all! We took some photos and found a spot for The Man to stretch me out. A marine asked if I was OK or needed and ice and I laughed and said "I'm great - I travel with my own massage therapist! :)" He laughed and my Dad let him know it was my husband, that I wasn't that pampered! Once Dad was sure I was going to live for real, we said our good-byes, I hugged them again and thanked them for coming. They headed towards the metro to head home, and we headed towards John's car to head back to his place.

We got back and The Man stretched me out again (can't remember if it was pre or post shower, I'll have to ask him) and I caught up with all of the sweet, encouraging social media messages. I was overwhelmed. I texted my Mom (she wanted a photo of me with my medal) and tried to nap. After a couple hour nap, John and The Man had made dinner, so I headed downstairs (quite comical to witness) ate dinner and then headed back to bed for the night. It felt so good to sleep so long.

Me, with my medal.
Monday

The Man and I slept in - so nice! And then we headed to meet Laura and Caleb and January and her sweet girl for lunch. Caleb quickly decided The Man was fun so "the boys" hung out at one end of the table while the girls were at the other. Also no photos - more on this later. But first, we took my Jeep through the car wash and she was given her sticker, ready for the drive home! Lunch was amazing - gluten-free crepes!!! And of course, the friends and conversation were even better :). We headed home out George Washington Parkway and a beautiful drive home.  We stopped at a gas station for a drink and for me to stretch my legs and I'd been wanting ice cream since dinner the night before, so I checked out the little ice cream freezer and picked out a Snickers ice cream bar. I enjoyed every bite with no guilt - one perk of running a marathon! We picked up our pups and then my Mom stopped by with beautiful flowers in Marine Corps colors and a gift certificate to a local running store - it was a great end to the day. Only to be capped by a visit from Sara in which we swapped marathon stories and she dropped off a piece of gluten-free cake - yum!

My Jeep - ready for her drive home!
My Zero-Guilt Snickers Bar!
My Thoughts

I really don't know where to begin. My last post summed up what this race would mean, and all I can really say is that it exceeded my expectations in all aspects. It was harder than I expected, the atmosphere was better, the course was amazing, the emotions were intense, everything. It was an honor to run this race. I high-fived marines all along the course, thanking them for their service; I took in the scenery; I pushed myself; I prayed for all of the intentions I wanted to, and a few more - specifically all those other runners who were wearing shirts in honor or in memory of someone. Yes, I wondered at times if I could do this - both before and during the race - and I wondered if it would be worth it. I did do it. And it was all worth it. Yes, I would trade every second of this weekend for one twinge of morning sickness; for one kick in the ribs; for one contraction; for one cry; for one sleepless night; for one first smile; for one first step; for one "I love you mommy" for any one of the many things I dream of and hope for - yes, I would trade it. But, so far, none of those dreams have come true, so what I do have is a medal that says "26.2" and "Finisher" and the proof that I've lived my life. It doesn't lessen the pain any less, if anything it somehow amplifies it, but there is one less regret. One less instance of saying "I should've done..." And that my friends, is worth more than I can say and is certainly worth every tear, cramp, and pain I felt during the race. Thank-you all so much for the prayers and the encouragement, not just on race day, but throughout all of this!

October 27, 2014 - Marine Corps Marathon Finisher - 5 hours, 37 minutes, 35 seconds


10.24.2013

26.2

It all started about 3 years ago, well, it will be 3 years in January.

Then, it continued with one step forward.

Then, last year, it went 13.1 miles.

And Sunday, it continues for 26.2.

At 7:55 am on Sunday, a cannon blast (how cool is that?!) will start the Marine Corps Marathon and I, along with 30,000 of my new best friends, will start running.


26.2 miles later I'll cross the finish line, at the base of Iwo Jima


I'm nervous. I'm excited.

And I'm a little bit sad.

You see, this is the race I never wanted to run.

It wasn't until just a few days ago that a connection hit me, 3 years ago this month was when The Man and I got our first BFN. And 3 years ago in January I was so shocked to need a size of jeans that I swore I'd never need that I knew something had to change - eat less or move more. I like to eat.

And that's when Sara and I started our Couch to 5K program. I thought 60 seconds of running was going to kill me.

In 3 years a lot has happened, some good, some not so good, but include:

Sara had a second baby.
I had surgery.
Sara was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, and is now cancer free.
Sara ran her first marathon last week in Columbus!
My dad was diagnosed with cancer. Twice.
I got a new job.
I ran a half-marathon. Three of them actually. And too many 5Ks to count.
I've done every "I'll never do that" thing I've said related to running: wear a fuel belt, run in the rain, run in the snow, run farther than 6 miles, run farther than a half-marathon, carry a water bottle, pee my pants during a race (really!), and more. (For the record, I've quit saying "I'll never do that.")

But that one person is missing.

And on Sunday, I will run 26.2 miles because I can. I know it is a victory. Running has been so healing for me both mentally and physically. In the times I've cried and sobbed because my body is broken and doesn't work, The Man has gently reminded me of what my body has been capable of; of how it has held up and gotten stronger even when I fully expected it to not be able to do any of this.

So, on Sunday, I'm sure there will be a few tears along the miles. Just thinking about lining up at that start line gives me chills. The point of the Marine Corps Marathon is mutual respect. From the runners to those who have and continue to serve for their daily sacrifice; from the marines to the runners for their dedication and commitment to train and live a healthy life. There will be marines lining the route; one will place the medal around my neck at the finish line. Yes, there will be some tears.

When I registered for this race, and spent the $99, I really and truly believed that God was laughing at me. Saying, "you silly girl, you're wasting that money." I really felt like we were coming to the end of our IF journey. We had to be, we were so close to 18 months post-surgery. We just had to be. Yes, there will be some tears.

But it was not to be. God's answer continues to be "no." I am finding this truth to be very hard to accept. And I'm truly starting to wonder if it is "never." No matter how great this whole process has felt, I'd trade every minute I've spent training and racing for one, brief "I love you mommy."


I'm counting on that last part. That somehow, this person, who is feeling defeated and broken and wanting more than anything to have the only reason I'd accept to not run on Sunday. But I don't. So, run I will. That somehow, this person is changed for the better.

And, because I need to focus on something other than all of this for 26.2 miles, I'm offering it up for different intentions.

Miles 1 - 5: For Sara. Without her, I probably wouldn't have lasted a day past that first run. She's been through so much and has another surgery (elective, but still) coming up next month.

Miles 6 - 10: For all of my infertile buddies. If you have a special intention you'd like me to pray for, please leave it in the comments.

Miles 11 - 15: For everyone else who reads this blog, but doesn't fall under the "infertile" category. If you have a special intention you'd like me to pray for, please leave it in the comments.

Miles 16 - 20:  For the Man. He's been my constant support. Always picking me up when I want to quit and reminding me of the good things in our lives. I'll be specifically praying that the Lord continue to give The Man the strength and patience necessary to be married to me.

Miles 21 - 25: For my Dad. He will be one week and one day into his chemotherapy treatments on Sunday. He's taking it in pill form, and so far so good, so he will be there cheering me on.

Miles 26 - 26.2: This one is for me. That somehow the strength that gets me through this race will get me through the rest of this infertility journey, however long it lasts.


On Sunday, I will run 26.2. I've lived my life and, while sometimes the living hurts, I will look back and smile, even if there are tears too.

10.17.2013

The Medical Plan and Reflections About Our "Break"

I wrote about "The Spiritual Plan" over a month ago, expecting the medical plan to come together soon after. Well, it finally did just yesterday when I got final confirmation from the FCP at my doctor's office about a test.

So, here it is:

My next cycle I will have the Follicular Maturation Series done (don't be mad TCIE, I need to at least try to have it done locally first because my travel schedule is already crazy enough). The plan is to do this one time and get an answer regarding ovulation - do I or don't I? Is it healthy and strong or not?

I will also have a modified hormone panel done, I get to wait until CD 10 instead of 3 to start the blood draws this time. A few less days of being a pin cushion anyway.

On P+7, we will revisit the 2-hour fasting glucose with insulin levels test.

I will see Dr. D sometime in January.

It seems like not a lot when I list it that way, but I'm already feeling it all. I know there will be a next cycle b/c a marriage-prep weekend combined with The Man's sinus infection equals no Is on "fertile" days, so there is no chance of skipping any of this. I will admit, while I didn't plan to not use this cycle, I'm OK with it, as the marathon is going to fall in the last days of what would be the 2WW, and I'm grateful to not be analyzing every twinge while trying to run 26.2 miles with some level of confidence.

So that's it. Seems so simple. Spend 30 minutes a day in silent time with the Lord and have a few tests run. Got it.

Yeaaaaaa. Riiiiiiight.

Which has led me to reflecting upon this "break." It's not a true TTC break because we were still, you know, having s.ex on "fertile" days, but without meds (and with the evidence on my charts) it was much less likely we would conceive.

Yet, even with that knowledge. I still hoped. I still dreamed all of those dreams. And here we are again, 6 months later, still not parents.

When I was hoping, so boldly and foolishly, I wondered why I was hoping. Where was it coming from? Knowing that it felt good to hope; that I felt alive when I hoped, but wondering where it was coming from.

I concluded that it was because somehow, 3 years later, I still believed God could heal us. That, should He choose, our infertility could be gone. just. like. that. It is the only explanation that makes any sense. Because, practically speaking, to hope during an unmedicated cycle makes very little sense.

And yet, He didn't. The hope gave way to tears and disappointment yet again.

Which leaves me right back where I started, to the question we all have about something or other in our lives, why? Or perhaps more accurately in this situation, why not?

And I find myself straddling another line on this road. The line between believing God can heal us and asking why he doesn't. We are trying to do our part, trying to keep moving down the road, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared about what we may find out. I think it's time I actually follow my spiritual plan so that I can make it through this medical plan with some small amount of grace.

10.06.2013

Overwhelmed

It is the only word that even comes close to how I'm feeling these days.

When I don't want to be honest I blame it on marathon training, grad school, and a busy work schedule because, well, that's certainly enough to be overwhelming. But when I am honest, I realize it has nothing to do with any of that.

The past week has been rough. The number of pregnancy announcements that started at 4 last Saturday was up to 9 by yesterday. 9 in 7 days. With CD1 right smack in the middle. As the tears streamed down my face yesterday morning, I just kept asking "when does it stop?" The passing of this cycle means we have officially passed the 3 year mark of TTC. The only word that comes close to describing how I feel about that is sorrow. Deep sorrow.

Then, there was the retreat I was co-running this weekend - for parents who have lost a child. (I was co-running it b/c I do not have this experience, but a wonderful couple who does created a beautiful ministry and was willing to bring it to our diocese.) It was beautiful, but was so much more emotional for me than I expected. It brought up emotions and thoughts that I cannot explain.

And then, there was the news from my Dad (albeit it came over a week ago, but I just really let it sink in this week) that his cancer is back. No matter how many times I tell myself "the doctors are hopeful that the drugs will take care of it. There is a good chance it will go away," the only words that keep echoing in my head are: dad, cancer, 4 spots, spleen, pancreas, rib, lungs, chemotherapy, experimental drugs, and more. Knowing the doctors are hopeful only goes so far for this worry-er.

Then, there was the fight The Man and I had last Friday afternoon. It was awful. The repercussions are still being felt over a week later. We are fine, just a little "off" our usual for now. Thank-you God for the grace of our marriage.

Yes, I am feeling overwhelmed.

I'm sure it's because of all of this and being in a more vulnerable state, but this cross of infertility feels so much heavier than it has recently. It feels like the wound that was perhaps starting to heal has been ripped open and made even bigger.

I have yet to follow-up on my "spiritual plan." If I'm honest, I don't want to. The silence scares me, especially a silence in which I'm asking God what He wants from me in regard to our infertility because what if His answer is "no"? What then? And all of a sudden a filmstrip of dreams starts playing in my head and I realize that it is these dreams I must be willing to lay at the foot of the cross. It is easy to write. Easy to say. And yet, I won't even put myself in the environment in which He might say this is what must be done. But I must. I promised Fr. D I would start this week.

I also haven't heard back from Dr. D. on the medical plan. I confirmed that they received my charts and they did, so I wait. Another cycle starting before I heard back from them has been more disappointing than I expected. This isn't normal, so I'm sure it's just because I wasn't in the "regular" cycle of patients, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated.

Yes, as I write it all out, overwhelmed is the only word for it all.



10.02.2013

Football and a Request of IF

How in the world did this happen?

What? you ask.

Well, it is October and other than a brief mention of football in before the season started it's like football season hasn't even started.



Yes, there have been a few other things going on - namely ridiculous amounts of running and reading. Whoever thought starting grad school and training for a marathon at the same time was a good idea really needs their head examined. Ahem.

But still, no football posts? I am quite seriously disappointed in myself. I shall make up for it here.

There was that small detail that I knew I was going to have to miss the second home game of the season. I KNOW! It was the 3rd home game in 11, yes, that eleven, seasons that I have missed, and I think in my head I just wasn't acknowledging that football season was going to start until after that. Not a completely bad plan on my part, as here is how it's gone thus far:

Week 1: Home game vs. William and Mary - Who? Exactly! We won. It wasn't pretty. We didn't have a starting quarterback named before the game. We still didn't have one after the game. It's gonna be a long year. Oh, and tailgating. Well, it was the tailgate for women who are pregnant. Yep. Three women were pregnant, all in their cute little "future Mountaineer" and "It's a Mountaineer" maternity shirts. While I sat there, ever aware of my emptiness. To say it was a tough day would be an understatement.

Week 2: Away game vs. Oklahoma - Wait! Why are we playing a bowl game in September? Oh, that's right we are in the Big XII now, this is a conference game. We had friends over, another IF couple, so thankfully there was no talk of babies, due dates, or any such thing. WVU lost though, so there was that. It was an ugly game and I'm just glad Oklahoma played as bad as we did, or it would've been much worse. (See week 4 for evidence of this.)

Week 3: Home game vs. Georgia State - Who? Exactly! Now, my friends, do you see why I was not quite as traumatized about missing this game as I could have been? Other than upping my number of missed games, I figured if I had to miss a game (and since it was a marriage prep weekend and that is a huge part of my job, I did have to miss it), this was the one to miss. It was a game we should easily win, and frankly if we didn't, I didn't want to see it. Thankfully we did win and the pre-cana weekend went quite well.

Week 4: Game vs. Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore - Wha? Exactly! Yes friends, instead of playing Maryland at home and having 7 home games, we trekked all the way to Baltimore to play them as it was sold to season ticket holders by our AD as a "home" game, only to find out, no, it is actually a "home" game for Maryland. (Not really home for either team, as U. of Md is in College Park and has their own stadium. Well, the Randy Edsell curse lives on, and to say it was ugly would be being nice. It was so bad, an entire 2 hours after the game, while hanging out with friends I shook my head and said "Did we really lose 37 - 0?" Yep. Worst shut-out in over 30 years. First shut-out since 2001. Not. Good. Oh, and the quarterback situation, a disaster.

Week 5: Home game vs. Oklahoma State. Finally! It felt like football season was really starting. No more missing games, no more silly neutral sites. It is time for conference football! I started the morning with a 12-mile run (I'm thinking that marathon training during football season is equally as crazy as marathon training while in grad school) and arrived at our tailgate spot by 8:15. I was showered and had my first adult beverage by 8:45 (we tailgate where The Man works - yay for showers!). By 9:30, I had received 4 pregnancy announcments. The first of which came from this lady (her blog is private, she is a fellow-IFer and has had a miscarriage before, so please pray for this sweet baby to grow baby grow and for peace for Katie and her DH) and I was super excited and it turned out I was going to have lots ot offer up for her, because within 5 minutes of her text, the next 3 came right in a row from my Mom who, while beaming from ear to ear said "Everyone is pregnant! M & J, G, and M & R! And S. just had their second, but their done." It took every. single. ounce of strength I had to not completely lose it. BUT! Oh, this is why I LOVE football. WVU went into the game facing No. 11 Oklahoma state barely expected to score. But score we did! It was a great great great game - and we won!!!! It was a great day to be a Mountaineer and for those 3 glorious hours, I thought very little of BFPs, pregnancy, baby bumps, any of it. I cheered and screamed and lost myself in this sport I love. A reminder to myself of why I need football. Oh, and the quarterback situation? Much. Better.........Except. He got hurt. Still waiting to hear if he can play this week.

So, this week, we head to Baylor for Week 6. Last year the score was WVU 70 - Baylor 63, yea it was fun! I'm not sure WVU is capable of 70 points this year, but our defense is much improved, so I'm hopeful. Well, if our quarterback is healthy.

Though, I would like to make a request of IF - please leave my football alone! Our next home game is in 2 weeks and I'd like it to be baby bump and BFP - free.  It's only a few hours on a Saturday. Is that really too much to ask?