Friday, September 30, 2011

Pre-Game Analysis

Today's Workout:  2 mile shakity shake out.

Marathon #3 in the morning.  In honor of  my Dad and his love for Basketball here is my pre-game analysis!

**The weather will be an issue:  Low 67/ High 91 with 5-10mph head winds predicted.  I have been running in low 50's but I will do my best to just run my race and not let the heat effect me.

How I'm feeling compared to Utah Valley Marathon.

Fitness:  Feeling good and in better aerobic shape than UV.

Weight:  Down a solid 3lbs from UV.  Would like it to be more but not totally terrible.

Injuries:  Nagging shin/calve and hamstring pain since Mt. Nebo HM.  No injuries and minimal fatigue before UV.

Training:  Higher miles at lower pace and outside going into St. George.  Lots of medium long runs but not many 18+ mile runs.  Going into UV; less miles, on the treadmill faster speeds, three 20+ mile runs.

Mental Health:  I am more confident in my fitness and my training going into St. George however I have struggled with anxiety and fear due to multiple little injuries.

Conclusion:  Based on my training, and race predictions over the Summer I am capable of running a PR tomorrow.  I wish I had one more long run under my belt but with that said I know that my fitness is where it needs to be to PR.


1- Run a smart race.  I am fast enough to know how fast I'm not and that means pacing smart!  The goal is negative splits as the second half of the course is faster than the first half. 
2-  Hydrate well!  I have a history of not hydrating appropriately and I cannot even risk that tomorrow with the heat.
3- Find someone to pace with and have fun.  The plan is to stick with the 3:20 pace group and see what happens.

**My time goal is sub 3:30.  If I am having a freakishly awesome and perfect day I do think sub 3:20 is possible.  With that said it is A FREAKING MARATHON and anything can happen.

"The miracle isn't that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start."
Goodluck to everyone racing this weekend!!  Run hard, have fun, and remember Your feet hurt because your kicking ass!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Lighting The Way To Success"

Today's Workout:  4 miles outside.  2 mile warm up, 1 mile @ tempo 7:15, 1 mile cool down.

Okay so I lied about my family all gathering together, eating copious amounts of food, and playing games all in honor of Rachelle's Pity Party.

There was actually a reason for our impromptu family fiesta!  An event much more important and something worth celebrating.  Much more important than the fact that I learned a great big adult lesson with a $500 price tag, realized that my mortgage is upside down, and I am stuck in my house until I disintegrate.  Ahem.....seriously moving on!

We were celebrating my Dad's Birthday!

Sadly this is the best picture I managed to get of my Dad on his B-day.
As I mentally prepare for this upcoming marathon I think back to all the important lessons I have learned from my father.  My Dad will be the first person to admit that he thinks distance running is absolutely ridiculous.  He may think it's crazy (it is) but he has taught me so many lessons that have helped me to become the runner and individual that I am.

My Dad is a true born leader and a very inspired individual.  He is a teacher that inspires youth, a coach that motivates and transforms lives and he truly is one of those few hero's among us.  This is especially evident by the amount of letters, praise, and thank yous he gets from past students and ball players he has worked with throughout the years.

 I have always admired my Dad and he definitely reiterated his level of endurance, heart, and ambition to me when he embarked upon a new career shift 2 years ago.  He willingly accepted a coaching position at a brand new high school and was asked to start a Basketball program from the ground up.  Many of the players he worked with had never even played basketball before, they had no basic fundamentals, and they down right stunk!  They lost every single game except one that first season and just watching those games I would bury my face in my hands to hide my embarrassment.  I could not possibly comprehend how my Dad could stick with it, stay positive, and compliment the team on all of they're minor improvements.  He never once uttered a negative word, never complained, and worked day and night doing what he loved.  He would leave for work at 5:30am, teach all day, coach all night and get home most days around 10:00pm yet still he never complained.  Two years later through his unconditional love, support, encouragement and perseverance his team is on track for a great season and one of the most highly anticipated teams to watch in 2011. 

My Dad may hate endurance running but his example of endurance and unconditional love has taught me everything I need to know about the sport.

As I run 26.2 miles this Saturday I will repeat my Dad's favorite saying over and over again in my head:  Endure to the end.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.Michael Jordan

Happy Birthday Dad!!  Thank you for teaching me to always "light my way to success" and never give up until I make it happen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Giveaway Winner & Eliminating Stress

Today's Workout:  30 minutes weights, 5 miles treadmill, 1.5-2% incline, 7:53 AP

Remember this Giveaway that I posted like forever in a life time ago?  In order to win you had to correctly guess my Napa Valley Ragnar teams finish time and my individual road kills.  Well My total road kill was 30 and Rangar finally posted the official finish time and our team finished in 26:08 (that is a 8:25 average pace)!!

The winner is............Danielle from Healthy Happy Strong who guessed 42 road kills and a 26:42 finish time.  Great job Danielle!!  I could not have guessed it better myself.  E-mail me your address at and I'll get you your goods sent.  I am throwing in a "Running For Trevor" T-shirt, a $15 i-tunes gift card, and 2 of my favorite cliff chomp blocks!  Thanks for playing and entertaining me!!

Everything I read about marathon tapering tells me that one of the most important things during the week of the marathon is to "eliminate added stress from your life".  That phrase my friends is easier said than done. 

I generally like to think I handle stress incredibly well.  I mean after all I work in Management and the definition of my job title is:  fixer of all problems.  I am pretty used to dealing with problems 24/7 and I have been known to keep a pretty level head.  But the last few days have challenged even me and I am one of the most annoyingly optimistic people you will ever come across.  I do not like to complain on my blog because we all deal with stress and have problems right?  In fact I'm sure there are plenty of people dealing with much worse than what I am going through right now.

So lets focus on how I'm eliminating my stress instead.  Normally I would run until my hearts content and I've burnt out all of my frustration and fried all of my brain cells to the point I can't even remember what I was stressed about in the first place.  But dam that stupid taper.

Instead I thought I would eat until my hearts content and force all of my family to stuff themselves like Thanksgiving Turkey's as well.

Seriously threw together a last minute family party just so they would all pity me. :)
And then I decided to take the stress out of my 18 month old nieces and nephews and beat them all at a game of steal the ball.  Even though they think they're all cool because they can walk and stuff they ain't got nothing on me.

I had all four of them crying after I swiped the ball from under them. HAHAHA!!

And last but certainly not least I stuffed my dog in a Frog costume and am forcing her to wear the "costume of shame" until I am feeling better.  Freaking dogs, they're lives are so easy!!!  Sleep, eat, make messes, repeat! 

She loves it.  Can't you tell?

Happy Monday Ya'll!  I'm off to stuff myself in a pig costume and roll around in mud for the week.

Do you ever wish you were an animal?

Heck yes!  No one judges them if they're overweight and they just get to sit around all day watching soap operas and sleeping. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Stop Believing

Today's workout:  20 minutes weights (chest & shoulders), 6 mile tempo run. 1 mile warm up & 1 mile cool down with 4 tempo miles @ 7:07 pace, 1% incline on the treadmill.

"Believe you can succeed and you will."

When I first started running I didn't have a lot of self confidence.  I didn't really believe in myself at all let alone ever dream of becoming a talented runner.  The thought of running a 5k was frightening, and even considering running any further was completely out of the question and daunting.

Running for me became like a drug and I was instantly addicted.  I remember running one day last fall and day dreaming about how amazing it would be to run a marathon.  The next day I remember watching the NYC marathon on TV and dreaming about someday running in the Boston marathon.  At that time it was really only a dream and the thought of actually accomplishing it was like a child dreaming of becoming an actress.  It was so unrealistic to me and felt so far out of reach!

It was also that day that I changed my mindset and I started to believe in myself.  That week on a complete whim Julia and I signed up for Utah Valley Marathon.  I was scared shitless!  But I paid my money, clicked that "submit" button and I committed.  From that day forward I never stopped believing in myself.  I worked my butt off, trained hard, suffered setbacks, and learned so much along the way.  I erased the fear and held tight to the once unrealistic dream of qualifying for Boston.

I know that 25,000+ people run the Boston Marathon every year.

And that to a lot of people it isn't that big of a deal.

And that I am probably blowing this way out of proportion.

But to me it is so surreal and I feel so incredibly blessed and honored to be able to participate in such a historic event.

I got the e-mail at 6:25am Monday morning:  "Dear Rachelle Wardle,

This is to notify you that your entry into the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2012 has been accepted."

I fell to my knees and cried.  I am still in shock and feel so incredibly overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. I am so honored to be apart of such an amazing event and more than anything I am so proud of myself for never quitting and for always BELIEVING!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Napa Valley Ragnar Recap

Today's Workout:  Ran 7 miles, lifted for 25 minutes, and stretched for 10 minutes.  I do not like tapering but one thing I do love about it is adding strength training and stretching.

I have held off on my Ragnar Recap because I was hoping the results would be posted by today.  Unfortunately they have still not been posted and I know if I wait any longer I will completely forget everything.  I do know that our team ran about 8:30 average pace and there is also a great possibility we may have placed in the mixed division so I will be sure to update you as soon as the results are posted.

Okay so if you've been following my blog for awhile or even if you are new you probably know that I love Ragnars!  I love the idea of working together as a team and I also love that Ragnar is all about having fun and not stressing about time.  The focus is off of me as an individual and rather geared towards helping my teammates and ensuring we complete the task together.  I absolutely love the concept.

With that said, Napa Valley Ragnar was my 4th Ragnar relay race to date and I would definitely say that logistically it was not my favorite.  Please do not get me wrong, I still had an absolute blast!  But the course was unsafe in many areas, multiple signs were stolen which made things confusing, several teams (including mine) were held at exchanges due to lack of volunteers, and many legs had multiple street lights which slowed down the runners.  I do not blame Ragnar at all for these problems and in they're defense they did do everything to make the course safe and correct the issues.  There wasn't really anything they could do about crazy drunk people harassing runners, or teenagers stealing signs so this was not solely there fault but it did contribute to some frustration.

Now that that mini rant is out of the way lets get to the recap shall we.  We drove all morning and afternoon and got into California at 1:30pm on Thursday.  I was able to spend the entire day with my aunt and her family and it was marvelous!  We ate an amazing dinner, went and visited my uncle's new house, and just chatted and caught up.  It was great.  Most of my van arrived at my aunts that night and I slept like a champ.

Friday morning we drove to our first exchange and it was off to the races.  After safety meeting and chatting with a few friends at the exchange Heather kicked our van off to a great start. 

The start set up.

All fresh and happy looking before the race began.

I met up with Alicia that I ran with at Florida Keys Ragnar.  It was so fun to see familiar faces.
  Our team started around noon and the weather was a little warm but not overly hot.  Heather ran first, followed by Ken (who was filling our extra leg), then Annalise, and then I was up.  Our van was short a runner so we took turns running the extra leg. 

Heather supporting Ken along his extra leg of the race.
My first leg was probably my toughest.  7.8 miles with a 771 elevation gain.  It was also now 2:30p.m. and much hotter than I was used to.  I was also graced with an awesome headwind but I didn't really let any of it effect me.  I just ran, chatted with other runners along the way, and enjoyed myself.

Leg #1:  7.81 miles, 57:16, 7:21 average pace.  13 road kill!  I was surprised to see I had ran so fast but I felt good and definitely think running at Sea level played a role.  

After I was finished Ken was up again followed by Nikki.  We hit up Subway immediately after Nikki finished and headed to the next exchange to hang out.  We were suppose to sleep or something but instead we talked and I got to meet Jessica!!  After what seemed like only milliseconds we were off again for legs 2 of the race.  Almost everyone had tough legs and we were all looking forward to getting them out of the way. 

$5.00 foot long!!  Ken was trying to get a good picture to send into Subway in hopes they will sponsor us. :)

The freaking amazing Jessica from Re Run Runner
It was now nighttime and after Heather was finished I ran the extra leg.  I had a 45 minute break in between and then it was onto my actual leg.

Leg #2:  2.91 miles, 20:56, 7:12 pace. 9 road kill!  This leg was fun and just kinda flew by.

Leg #3:  6.14 miles, 46:06, 7:31 pace.  5 road kill!  There were only 350 teams in this Ragnar total and my team was in the top 50 so this leg was incredibly weird.  I literally felt like I was all alone running in the dark in the middle of the night.  For the first 3 miles I saw no one except 1 homeless person.  I thought for sure I was lost and kind of ran this leg confused and scared.  Oh well it made the time go by fast and I was happy to have it done.

After I was done Ken ran his grueling 8.3 miler and then Nikki conquered her 9.4 miler like it was a piece of cake.  I know this is getting long but I must include this story.  While Nikki was running there was a drunk man wondering the streets (keep in mind it was pitch black).  This dude was a quack and scary looking.  He tried to get in our van and then threatened the runners that he had a gun. Nikki is a Trauma nurse and one tough chick.  We caught up to her to tell her and all she said was "I'm pretty sure I can out run a stupid drunk."   Yes, yes Nikki yes you can!  She bolted past him like it was no big deal and just continued on her way finishing with an 8:10 average pace!

Once they were done we headed to the next exchange which again was an opportunity to 'sleep'.  There was no indoor sleeping so all 5 of us were stuck in the van and not much sleeping actually happened.  When we woke up to get ready to run we were told we would be held at the exchange because there was not enough volunteers and the next exchanges were not yet set up.  We only ended up being held about 15 minutes and then Heather was off for her double legs.  She ran the extra leg which gave her 7ish miles. 

Heather got to wear night gear for 3 our of her 4 legs.  How lucky is she?
We were all pretty freaking tired at this point and I was incredibly worried about how I would hold up for my last leg.  I do not do good on no sleep and I literally did not sleep at all.  Luckily the gorgeous views helped to wake me up and I was just ready to get my run out of the way.

Leg #4:  6.84 miles, 51:19, 7:31 pace. 3 road kill.  This run felt like the marathon death shuffle but it was a gorgeous route and I tried my best to enjoy it and soak it all in.

After I finished my last leg Ken and Nikki were up and they both ran their best times of the entire race.  Who does that on the last leg?  Anyway they finished up strong and we all ran into the finish together.  We finished at 11am and over an hour ahead of our projected time.  It was weird to be one of the first teams to finish.  The finish area was still pretty dead and we were able to get all of the free food, samples, and wine tasting we wanted.

Free wine at the finish!  The bartender lady spit out about 5 zillion different flavors and I was so overwhelmed.

Seriously just the smell was enough to make me nauseous.  Luckily Nikki's family came to the finish and they got all of our free wine.

Whew.... now that was a long recap and I hope you were able to bare with me!  Overall I had an absolute blast and would not change this experience for anything in the world. 

**I will announce the winner of the giveaway as soon as our team results are posted so keep checking back!  I also have some fun and exciting news to announce tomorrow so definitely stay tuned!

Now tell me what is the weirdest thing you have ever had happen to you while running?

I thought having a drunk person chase after you and try to catch you in the dark was a little odd but it seriously did not even seem to phase Nikki.  Am I just way too Utahnized?  I know thats not a word but you get the picture right. 

Do you like wine?

Nope!  I nearly threw up in my mouth just from the smell.  I'm going to go ahead and blame this one on Utah as well. :)  Apparently it's an aquired taste?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Top 10

Phew.....I survived living in a van for 4 days and I am home (I'm even dumb enough to do it all over in 4 weeks at Vegas Ragnar) and alive to tell about it! :)  Anyway my brain is far from functioning. I even forgot my address earlier and am still trying to figure out what time zone I live in.  So Since I'm operating on about a 4 year olds level and far from coherent enough to throw together a recap of Napa here are my top 10 highlights from the weekend.   It was such a freaking awesome weekend!!!

1.  I got an e-mail on the drive down Thursday from Team Refuel saying I was a WINNER of the grant!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the votes.  I seriously cannot even thank you enough!  Between reading your guesses on my giveaway and getting this news the drive out to Cali was awesome!

2.  I registered for Boston!!  I woke up early Friday morning and was on my aunts computer right at 7am.  I have not received e-mail confirmation yet but I am crossing my fingers and praying I get in.

3.  I got to meet the fabulous Jessica from reRun Running and I was seriously star struck!!  This girl is even more amazing in real life and it was so fun to meet her and her husband Jason!

4.  I got to meet the sweetest Hannah from A Happy Balance and she was so cute and I am so excited to start following her blog.

5.  I asked Sea Level to marry me and it accepted.  Seriously wow it loved me so much I was sucking in enough air to fill up a hot air balloon.  Howly oxygen overload, but man that was fun.

6.  My injury did not bother me to much and I ran with a big smile on my face the entire time.  Being injured reminds me of why I love running.

7.  Napa was freaking gorgeous!!  Seriously running through the vineyards was breathe taking.

8.  We finished!!!!!  I do not have an official time yet but we ran minus a runner and finished an hour faster than our projected time.

9.  The Utes beat BYU in football!!!  Sorry to all my BYU friends.  I still love you but I am a Utah fan through and through and that was just the icing on the cake of an awesome weekend.

10.  And last but definitely not least my amazing friend Amy BQ'd at her very first marathon ever!!  I may have been texting her obsessively and driving her crazy all day but boy am I so so happy for her.  I'm not sure if it was due to sleep deprivation or the fact that I ran 24 miles in 24 hours but I cried like a baby when I got her message about BQ'ing. 

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Brag and spill the beans.  I am behind on blogging, reading blogs and commenting but I will get caught up.  I have missed everyone so much!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Entertain Me (giveaway style)

As you are reading I am in route to Northern California.  It is a deathly boring 12 hour drive with absolutely nothing to look at and I am stuck with an eight year old child and an old man.  Kidding, kidding, the company is great but I am trying to get you to feel bad for me. :)

If you are seeing this post then I have entered the ranks of SR and Hungry Runner Girl because this is my first attempt ever at a "scheduled post."

Sorry about the red eye and awkward picture oh and Two and a half men in the back ground.  Man I wish I had TV in the van!!!!
Since I am basically going to be stuck in a van for 96 hours  (12-13 hours driving to cali, 30 hours running ragnar, and 12-13 hours driving back.)  And I only packed enough food and people magazines to entertain me for about 6 hours I am going to need your help.  I get all of your comments on my phone and reading them may keep me from banging my head against the window. :)

This giveaway will be a guessing game and the prize will be an awesome "Running For Trevor" T-shirt and a bunch of other running stuff.  I'm thinking maybe an Active Band, some Cliff Shot blocks, and a "care package" for running. :)

There are only two ways to enter (only 1 comment please) and the giveaway will end Wednesday September 21st:

1.  Mandatory:  Become a follower of Running for Trevor and include this in your comment.

2.  Guess how many road kill I will get at Napa Valley Ragnar and what my team's overall finish time will be.

Hint #1:  Road kill in Ragnar means people passed while running.  Every one person I pass counts as one road kill. :)  Remember I am planning to keep about an 8 minute mile pace and will be running 21 miles total.  There are 350 teams running Napa Valley Ragnar.

Hint #2:  My team's average pace is between 8:40-9:10 and we will be running about 200 miles total.

The person who is the closest on road kill and my team's overall finish time will win my awesome "care package" and believe me it is going to be great.  Heck maybe I'll even bring you a bottle of wine back from Napa!!

Now in a separate comment just for fun tell me something funny or interesting to entertain me during this long boring drive!!!

Also I have my alarm set for 2am tomorrow morning so I can run 2-3 miles before we leave by 4am.  Do you think I actually got up and ran?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wacky Wardle's Wednesday

First of all WOW!!  I am still in awe and so incredibly overwhelmed by the support, love, and caring comments I received on my injury post.  This community is so genuinely supportive and I am so thankful from the bottom of my heart.  It was difficult for me to open up about this and it would have been easy for any of you to say "I told you so" or "you deserve this as a badge of stupidity" but instead you were thoughtful, sincere, and loving.

THANK YOU!!  This may sounds ridiculous but I actually printed out all of the comments and I refer to them whenever I have a moment of doubt or am looking for advice.

Second of all there are only two days left to vote for me for team Refuel.  Please click HERE to vote.  Remember you can vote from multiple computers once per day.  Simply click Here, type in my name (Rachelle), and vote, vote, vote!!  Boston Registration opens for me on Friday and I am crossing my fingers I still have a chance to get in!!!

Although this nagging little injury has been difficult and confusing it has taught me so much and I am truly grateful for the opportunity it has given me to reflect, learn and grow.  My body is trying to teach me and I am doing my best to listen.  I am stubborn, very stubborn and I do not like to be told what to do or how to do it!!  But I am listening and I am learning.

I have learned that I am not invincible and that I am indeed human. 

I have learned that my parents and family are capable of taking all of my pain away and making me laugh until I cry.  On Sunday I felt defeated and like nothing could possibly take away my pain.  But my pain was taken away and I laughed until my gut ached!

I have learned that being in a full time relationship with my foam roller isn't all that bad, wearing compression sleeves 24/7 is socially acceptable (if you don't mind the stares), and ice baths get better after the first 3 minutes. :)  Basically I have learned that I am not too busy to take care of my body and a little TLC goes a long way.

And most importantly I have learned that there really is more to life than running.

So Where do I stand?  I am definitely not out of the woods but I am feeling 100% better.  I took everyones advice.  I took time off from running, I rested, I iced, and iced, and heated, and rolled, and rolled, I did talk to a Doctor, and I even ellpiticized for hells sake!  And I will be running Napa Valley Ragnar.  It may be at my robot pace but I will be running and having a blast nonetheless.  I am also 99% confident that if I continue to be smart and listen to what my body is telling me I will still run that 3:20 in 17 days at St. George marathon.

Thank you for your unconditional support and please tell me you laughed at those pictures of my parents?

I am off to California at some awful hour of 3am or something tomorrow morning so I will be unplugged from the blogosphere for a bit.  I will try to catch up at my Aunts house tomorrow night and hopefully I'll be able to update you all on if I get into Boston on Friday morning!

Fingers crossed!  :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

I AM AN injured RUNNER

Today's Workout:  15 minutes weights, 55 minutes elliptical, 10 minutes walking on an incline.

**First of all thank you all so much for your incredibly kind and encouraging comments on my Race Recap post.  I genuinely appreciate this community and the unconditional love and support I receive and feel on a daily basis.  The race really was amazing and I do not want to discount that a bit.  I wanted to write an honest report and not let my injury influence my opinion and "in the moment" feelings.

Now the only way I can begin to describe this is by comparing it to the game Jenga.  My tower has been built up and articulated perfectly.  I gradually increased my mileage, precisely accomplished my tempo/speed workouts each week, performed well at my key races, and did everything in my power to properly prepare myself for a 3:20 marathon finish.  I stacked my peices very carefully and everything was almost perfectly aligned.

Unfortunately one of the pieces from the bottom of the tower has been pulled and I am faced with a set back.  It may be minor or it may be major and I'm not sure how long it is going to take to rebuild or if my tower is even salvageable.  But what I do know is that I am going to do everything in my power to tape the pieces back together.

Soreness after a hard race is normal.  In fact the weirdo that I am actually welcomes it because it means I pushed myself and it is a badge of honor. 

Severe pain after a hard race is not normal.

The Cause:  unknown.  But likely a combination of running too far in my racing flats Monday and the extreme downhill of the race Saturday.

The Effect:  I cannot run without severe pain in my left calf and shin.  Walking is bearable but does not come without pain associated.  It may be a muscle strain, shin splints, stress fracture, or possibly just severe soreness from the downhill race.  I am not 100% sure and seeing a Doctor is basically pointless as there is nothing they can really do.

So where do I go from here?  Besides burying my emotions in food (I am such a girl) and religiously taking my ib profin 800 every 4-6 hours.

R - Rest.  Yup this one is a major punch in the gut for Rachelle Crazy cannot live without endorphins Wardle!
I - Ice.  Icing like it is my job and I am getting paid to do it.
C - Compress.  Wearing my compression sleeves as if I get a ticket for nudity if I take them off.
E - Elevate.  Keeping the legs up as much as possible.

So that's where I'm at.  I may or may not run Napa Ragnar this weekend and I may or may not run St. George Marathon in three weeks.  Whatever the outcome I will not quit pushing forward and continuing to build, repair, and rebuild my perfect tower.  Setbacks suck but they are a part of life and I firmly believe that things happen for a reason. 

As I sat, sulked, polished off a full bag of potatoes chips and iced my bummed leg yesterday I was humbled by the 9-11 tributes on TV. 

Although my marathon may seem like the most important thing in the world to me at this moment in the big picture it doesn't mean anything and it i just a race.  Things could always be worse and I am counting my blessings.

**I apologize for this long and incredibly boring post but I felt I owed it to my readers to not ignore this and explain my feelings.  I truly am not looking for sympathy but I did want to journal my thoughts.