Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Rapture is a Rainstorm

Today was the Neptune Festival 8K in Virginia Beach and of course I signed up a little late this year due to the freaky weather we have been experiencing for the last week. We had a nasty Nor' Easter blow in and it brought several inches of rain and very windy conditions earlier in the week. It made training very interesting.

But by today, things were supposed to clear out.  Hmpf.....more lies.

I got up this morning to check the radar and sure enough.....storms loomed off the coast. I wasn't sure if those storms would roll our way but it wasn't looking good when I headed out the door. Those dark mean clouds that lay low in the sky were swarming as I headed to the oceanfront.

By the time I got there, the drizzle started. By the time I picked up my packet, it was raining.

I met up with a few of my running friends and we all huddled under the Old Lighthouse Museum until the start. There were probably 30 people huddled up together. By the time they called everyone to the start line, it was POURING down raining.

The gun went off and I ran my heart out....quick start or not I just wanted to get it over with. I couldn't believe how hard it was raining and it seemed like it only rained harder as we made our way up the beach.

As we came around our first turn, I saw a guy running ahead of me with a jersey on that had a holy cross on the back. It struck me at first, being a slightly spiritual and part time catholic person. Could it be a sign?

We all plodded up the rain soaked and puddle ridden street with the wind to our back. I didn't wear my ipod for obvious reasons so it was a different experience to hear people breathing and wet shoes hitting the pavement.

Of course I forgot to start my watch, so when I looked down at the 5k mark....there was a big fat 0:00! I seem to be having a problem with this.

I started to feel the pace on the 5k. I was poopin' out for sure. So, I latched on to some dudes who seemed to be maintaining a decent pace.

I never really look up when I am running hard and getting tired. I get less observant too. So when I started to follow these guys, I only noticed one thing.....a guy with untied shoelaces. I named him "shoelace guy" and he was pacing me pretty good. 

I stared at his flopping shoelace for the last 1.9 miles. All I could think about was how much I wish I could bend down and tie his shoe.

And then he ramped it up for the last maybe .3 miles and I couldn't hang on to the finish. And I never noticed anything more about him other than his flopping shoelace.

So I cranked it up and finished that 8K run in 38 min. As I crossed the mat....."shoelace guy"came up and congratulated me. He said....

"Great helped me so much. Thank you, that was just a great run and you really got me through to the end."

I was so touched that I introduced myself and shook his hand. He said "My name is Keith and I'm out here running for my mom who died last year of cancer." And that is when I noticed the holy cross on the back of his jersey.....he was the dude with the cross I saw earlier in the race.

I remember mumbling something out of my mouth....I don't know.... but I was so overcome with emotion that I walked away with the biggest lump in my throat and by the time I got to the boardwalk, I was in a full on cry. I cried because of how much I love my own mother. I cried because I helped Keith push himself to the end in honor of his mother.....and he was a total stranger.

I'm a sap.

Either way, here is the result......First Place in my age group

Thanks for the awesome pace Keith-aka "Shoelace guy"

It rained most of the morning and through awards ceremony. I was cold and damp and shivering but it was worth the wait to get the plaque. HA! I'm getting a pretty cheesy collection of this stuff. 

All in all, my running keeps getting better. I have reached a new level physically and emotionally and I keep dreaming about qualifying for Boston.

No more races until Fleetweek 1/2 in 2 weeks. The rubber hits the road here.

The story continues on the East Coast. Have a good weekend blogger buddies!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Ultimate Liar.....

Oh how lies hurt us. Tonight, my Garmin GPS was the ultimate liar. I have such an obsessive love relationship with that stupid thing. I believe everything it tells me from speed, heart rate, and calories burned. It could sell me ocean front property in Arizona.

But tonight IT betrayed my trust.

I should have known something was wrong. Even charged up this weekend, Saturday it did something TOTALLY do wacky do. It was showing me 17 miles, and no more than 2 minutes into a walk....the stupid thing shot to 20 miles. HA! How funny is that?! 

Running Buddy and I only wished it could have been true. That was completely strange.

But I chalked it up to cloudy skies and some trees. Tonight again, the skies were cloudy and I was on a route with some trees. And right on cue.....the GPS blimps off and on losing its signal. I figured it would just "catch up" with itself.


It just lies...that's what it does. It lies to you and makes you think you are going S-L-O-W-E-R than you think when you are giving your absolute all.

I knew the lies were on when I got to a point on my route when I KNEW I had gone at least 7 miles (I was on a 10 mile tempo run tonight). Then, I finally hit the 8 mile mark sweating and breathing hard, quads a burnin' and the time says 1 hr and 15 min.  I knew that couldn't possibly be my pace. BUT....I did do 45 miles on the bike yesterday and well....just maybe the legs are tired and I'm feeling more tired than usual.

But when it blinked mile 9 and I was coming up on an hour and a half, I just knew it couldn't be true.....IT HAD TO BE A LIE.

So, I cranked it up fast and hard on that last mile and came in at 1 hr. 28 min and 13 sec. And I was pooped.....and the GPS said 8:49 mpm. I couldn't believe I was just under a 9 mpm pace considering my effort the whole way. IT HAD TO BE A LIE. I know what a 9 min. mile feels like.

The compulsive freak in me decided to DRIVE the route. I had to know the truth. 

I packed the Golden Retriever in the car and drove out my 10 mile route.

And the GPS LIED. I ran 11 miles.

Son of a bitch......

And I ran 11 miles in under an hour and a half. BOO HAAA!!!!!

I looked up the pace and low and behold.....8 min per mile. HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!

But I'm so sad and hurt....and it might be time for a divorce. I can't be playing these games with the electronic equipment. The last piece of electronic equipment to die was my ipod about a week ago. Now....GPS seems to be on its last leg too. I think the sweat and rain and elements are finally taking its toll. 

Soooo, should I replace it with the "new" and very attractive Garmin GPS that looks more like a watch?? I just don't have that kind of money. But I'm such a slave to the pace and distance. I hate running the same route over and over. I want the flexibility of just going anywhere and having a GPS to tell me miles. And pace which has so become my obsession.

But....I need the truth. I can't live without the truth. NO MORE LIES........


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trouble times 20....

"It won't be pretty...." says Running Buddy last Friday as we contemplated doing our 20 miler together this weekend.

She was right....our 20 miler was anything but pretty. It was down right difficult...and coyote ugly...and all that pain had to offer.

It started off with poor wind conditions. The wind must have been blowing steadily at 15-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph at the beach. It has been like that for the last few days as the North East winds have been howling here on the East Coast despite the perfect temps and weather overall.

But Saturday....the winds were howling. It was cool and cloudy. Otherwise, a picture perfect day for running 20 miles.

I was nervous....not for Running Buddy but for myself. It's the first 20 miler on our training schedule and we are about 7 weeks out from the marathon. This 20 miler is what I have been working up to all summer.

Running Buddy and I met at her condo ready to roll. Except for some mild soreness from Friday's 9 miler (in the wind), all was good with us.

We started off head on into the wind on the boardwalk for about 6 miles.  Gust after gust after gust. We would speed up then slow down...speed get the idea.

We made it to the 6 mile turn around point feeling pretty good....except I had to pee.  Yup....had to for the next 3 miles, I'm scoping out a squat spot.

Luckily for me and Running Buddy, who was ready to walk it out a bit, I find a nice area with lots of foliage....and a small path. I headed towards it and ducked on in. Low and behold.....THORNS GALORE. Yipes.....I managed to navigate a spot....squated carefully as to not whizz on my new Asics and finished on up. As I exited this thorn forest...I got raped and scratched all over my legs and arms. Yuck...but I felt better!

We continued on our run in the tailwind this time. Ah...what a relief to run quickly with little effort. We got back on the boardwalk and ran peacefully for next few miles. Passed a quaint wedding. Passed several tourists still hanging around. Watched the angry surf.

Then we hobbled up the bridge and headed south into our teen miles. "Just make it to Boneshakers (biker bar)" Running Buddy says....and we keep a steady pace in the tailwind still, all the way to the end where the bar is. 

We stop, drink, stretch and continue on for the last part of this run that has gone pretty well at this point. At least that is what I thought. Then the trouble began. The fight for survival was on.

We only made it about a mile and a half when Running Buddy gave up. She stopped dead cold in her tracks and said "I gotta stop and I think I have to sit down." So we sit.  Both of us out of water and food and tired and Running Buddy starts to experience pain and dizziness that she has never experienced. We chat...I try to make her laugh....I eat the last 2 snickers candies....we decide to move on.

And it just got worse. Running Buddy is dehydrated...bloated and sick from chugging too much water. 

Then she hit the wall.               

The run was over at mile 17. She could no longer run. Honestly, my body was shot from all the stopping and going we had done for the last 5 miles.

Walking the last 3 miles was pretty tough physically and very demoralizing emotionally for me. I had to watch Running Buddy suffer AGAIN. It is so hard watching someone you care about go through the pains and agonies that the long hard miles have to offer. But it IS the right of passage. It IS what one must go through. It IS the hardship of long distance running.

We made it back to the condo but I think Running Buddy just barely made it. One more mile and we would have had to call in the support (her fiance'). She seemed a little disoriented and tired and definitely sick to her stomach still. 

Me on the other hand....I didn't know quite what to think. And I still don't.

But there are a few more 20 milers that we have still to redeem ourselves and that's the good news.

I felt pretty down about yesterday's run all day today. So I cleared the cob webs with a nice 45 mile bike ride. Oh it felt so wonderful. But what in the HELL is up with indecisive squirrels?? Here we go man....the squirrels are busy getting ready for the season change and now we get to play chicken in the road with their dumb asses.

AND.....last but not least...tonight on mile 40....the sun set.....and left the most AMAZING shade of hot pink clouds in the sky.  And.....the water way that I passed on mile 40 reflected that beautiful shade of pink.....and I thought about the beauty and power of the color pink.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Here comes Monday! JOY JOY from the East Coast.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Girl Power

I went for a 6 mile recovery run yesterday after work and well except for some sore muscles from Tuesday's 9 miler on the beach boardwalk IN THE WIND......the 6 mile recovery run was uneventful. 

So, I get back towards my house and stop on mile 6.10 and walk back up my street when these two cute little girls come flying out towards me from my neighbor's yard.  And they are staring at me with curiosity.  

I took off my headphones and they immediately surround me and ask...

"How many hours did you walk today?" I had to laugh....and I said "Well I just walked for an hour."  And they responded "Wow.....but your back is so sweaty!!!" Then they walked passed me and replied to each other "I'm going to jog now......"  "me too!!" and they sprinted off like bats out of hell.....two little girls racing each other....running up the street for the pure joy of beating each other to the corner.  

Full on girl power......

Today, I ran with Running Buddy and Running Gal's the first time I have gone running with my partner in almost 2 weeks.  We did some intervals on the "track" or I should say sidewalk that surrounded the football field since the "real" track was occupied. Running Gal Pal is in the early stages of her running obsession and did a superior job of keeping the pace on the intervals....considering my Running Buddy and I are pretty fast.

After running 4 minute intervals of fast pace and 4 minutes of recovery (4 times)....we finished up our last lap pretty strong. But being the self-appointed "obsessive coach" to these two twenty-something young chickitas.....I scream...."Ok girls let's make these last 30 seconds count!! Pick it up and GO!"

And off they went like two bats out of hell.....with something to prove.....or wanting to beat each other....or wanting to beat me. Wouldn't you know these two young and inexperienced chicks kicked my sorry old ass to the end?? 

And as they sprinted past me, I saw the two young girls on my street yesterday who challenged each other to a jog.........enjoying the sprint for the pure act of beating each other to the end.

What a treat to run with such strength, determination and youth....ahhh...very's what inspires me the most.

Full on girl power!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Sandman Report....

This was truly a fun race I must admit.  As unprepared for the swim as I was, I have to say I pulled it off pretty well. The only glitch on the swim was that for some reason or maybe it was the wetsuit (I hate the rubber), I couldn't seem to catch my breath at the beginning. However, I always start to release my anxieties when I see those hot young lifeguards just waiting to save ol' ladies like always makes me feel safe.

Anyway, so the swim was great. Nice steady ryhthm....NO waves what so ever, glassy conditions.....gentle current. Perfect......except this STUPID picture of me exiting the water:

What the HOLY hell is this????

WTF am I looking at??? Am I making sure all my parts are still on? Praying maybe? I know....I'm stomping on a ghost crab! THATS IT!!! I'm just making sure all the other athletes don't trip on the ghost crabs.

Now, in past tri's my transition times have always sucked.  So I was hell bent on making some time in transition. HA! That backfired. I was so focused on getting my wetsuit off and biking shoes on in a reasonable amount of time that I FORGOT TO PUT MY DAMN CHIP BACK ON! 

Note to self.........don't take the flippin' flimsy ass timing chip off.....EVAR.....just pull wetsuit over it.

So, I get on the bike and joggle out to the bike start line (with gum in my mouth as you will see in my picture) all full of fire and piss and ready to smoke 'em. 

All I can say is attitude....I rode like a hot bitch UNTIL....I looked down and noticed my ankle did NOT look like anyone else's ankle. It was missing the CHIP! Talk about air out of your sail. I was hotter than a hornet. My best leg too. The last time I did this race I ranked first in my age group on the bike and I am stronger and faster this year than 2 years ago. DOH!!!!!

Here's girl cow chewing her cud thinking about how cool she is with NO CHIP!
(notice cool aero helmet guy BEHIND me...he has disk wheels too....)

Yup, the bike rocked. I averaged about 21 mph for the entire 14 miles and managed to pass those totally cool dudes with wheel disks and aero helmets. Don't that just make a girl feel good?

I made it to bike/run transition all good and happy but just a tad sore in my left quad. By this time in the race the heat was full on. I was sweating like a race horse. I had no trouble getting out of my bike shoes and into the run stuff but I was just so ANGRY about the chip (which I promptly applied to my ankle before the run).

The run was good and I cranked an 8:14 min per mile pace. Running Buddy came out and stalked me for the entire 5K taking pictures and videos. It was very sweet and I enjoyed the company along the run. She rode her bike on the bike path next to the boardwalk and she talked me all the way to the end. Then took some horrible pictures of me that could be used as black mail at some point Im sure.

                                     Not bad eh? Lookin' strong.   

Ok, a little too close camera guy....

I had to dig pretty deep on the last .1

SOOO, my final time was 1 hour and 33 min.  That is almost 30 min better than the first time I did this race.  I won't complain....but I'm still PISSED about that chip. What a blonde moment.  I placed 5th in my age group which is also not bad considering this race draws out the "hardcore triathletes" in this area. The chiquita's that run in my age group pull 7 min miles on the run and swim like sharks. Can't even come close.

Next up.....the Neptune 8K. I'd like to race that really run fast. Again, it's a local fav so the competitive ones will be out staking their claim on age group me's become an obsession!

Stay tuned.....marathon training continues with a 20 miler looming this weekend!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Perfectly Pink Conditions

It's the day before the Sandman Triathlon and I'm feeling a bit anxious.  I guess I always do before a race but Tri's really make me nervous.

I did my final swim this morning following my 13.1 mile run.  It was a bit warm today and I of course didn't bring enough fluid.  So I was thirsty as hell after I put on my wetsuit for the swim. The water conditions are pretty damn near perfect.  Very small swells, flat at 76 balmy degrees. I'm happy 'bout them conditions because around here in mid September anything is a go go with the ocean.  I did this race 2 years ago and this is what the water conditions looked like:

THAT was a rough swim and just getting to the buoy was an adventure.  The current was a killer even though you get to swim in the same direction.  It just made getting to the buoy interesting.

Anyway, tomorrow shouldn't be a problem.  I did have a few "charlie horse" episodes in my right and left leg during the swim today.  I think it was because I was pretty dehydrated and my legs were worn from the 13 mile run.  That was a pretty good run by the way considering I did a terrible 9 miler last night.  I was just so tired.....I think the sub 8 milers caught up to me Friday night.  My legs didn't have the gas and I barely made a sub 9 mpm.  I put all I had into it too.  I felt like total crapola too...headache, rumbly stomach and WRUNG OUT.

So, today I go to pick up my race packet and I go to get my runner information and swim cap and the guy says to me "oh you get to wear the PINK cap!" I said "Well isn't it my lucky day?? That just happens to be my LUCKY color!!!"  Now, is this a sign...??  I just adopted pink as my signature color in honor my fabulous Running Buddy. 

So, then I start to walk back to my truck and the lady helping the athletes get signed in runs up to me and says "excuse me, may I ask how OLD you are??"  "Gee...Im 40." 

She says back to me...."Oh I just wanted to make sure I gave you the right packet because YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE YOU ARE IN YOUR 40's!!"  

I wanted to hug and kiss her.  Smooch smooch lady who chased me made this ol' gals DAY!

I have a pink ensemble for tomorrow's race:

And here is my lucky PINK swim cap......

I need to set out my stuff for tomorrow and it's an early 5 AM rise and shine.  I hope this all goes well.....cuz I'm always thinkin' of the things that could go wrong....leg cramp in the water....flat on the bike......tripping on the run.  

If nothing else I GOT MY PINK ON!!

Stay tuned for sandy shoes on the East Coast.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Moving Along

I had no intention of posting tonight, but I came across this ADORABLE picture of a golden that describes my workout tonight...just plain happy.  I still don't understand, let alone fathom, how I keep making weekly improvements but tonight's BRICK work was great.  I did 26 miles on the bike with an average of 20 off the bike and ran 6.1 miles at a 7:56 mpm pace.  I have NO clue how I manage to pull this shit off....I can only imagine it's some track work, tempo runs and some serious bike riding.  Either way....I be happy :)

So I feel pretty confident about the bike/run portion of this weekend's for the swim.....pray.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Long and Winding Road

Holy crappy I don't know where to begin tonight because so many things are swirling around in my head along with a splash of Michelob Ultra.

I'm mostly random in thought because of the running I have been doing lately with my training partner Running Buddy.  I think we may have reached a "cross roads" if you terms of where we are in our running.  I think I may have pegged a comfortable pace that allows me to be more confident about the possibility of a Boston Qualifying time in the spring.  The jury is out....but it's looking a little better each week with the specific workouts and speed training.  

Man, is it starting to pay off....

AND.....I have been working very hard to help Running Buddy get to that same damn place but I feel like we are moving in a backward,  I watch helplessly and uselessly as she gets more and more frustrated.

I have run out of things to do.....and I can't help but think that Im part of the problem because I'm making my way along the long and winding road.....and Running Buddy struggles to keep up.

Ever feel like you are in a war between feeling like you are quitting when the going gets tough and doing the right thing?

I encouraged Running Buddy to go ahead and do all this week's training runs with Running Gal Pal....not with me.  I'm hoping that by running with our Gal Pal, Running Buddy won't feel as anxious to keep up with me and not disappoint or hold me back.  It's an experiment and I hope it works because Running Buddy needs to get a dash of confidence and running with me just isnt working.  I know its the "right thing to do" for my why do I feel like I'm giving up a little? is a little dedication to the journey Running Buddy and I have taken since we both decided to try to qualify for the way we were total strangers before we ran her first marathon together....

Total days we have gone running together:  90
Miles we have gone together: over 800
Weeks we have run together: 24
Races we have done together: 7 to include 

                          -Shamrock Marathon
                          -Dismal Swamp Stomp 1/2
                          -Chesapeake Bay 10K
                          -Autism Awareness 5K
                          -EquiKids 5K and hound run
                          -Elizabeth River Run 8K
                          -ECSC 5K

Countless and priceless hours of laughing, coaching, sweating, whining, and talking.....

Soooo.......tonight I shocked the mother living shit out of meeself......I did my 9 mile pace run at 7:51 mpm!!!  Well BUTTER MY BUNS AND CALL ME A BISCUIT!! 

Things are a changin' around here!!  And the really really awesome thing is that I felt like I could have gone one more mile at that pace.....and maybe even if I had to slow down a pinch....I could have still made a 1/2 marathon time close to 1:45 which is my goal for Fleetweek. Hmmmmm......

Still my heart is sad tonight despite my great run.  And my legs and ass hurt like hell.

Stayed tuned to the East Coast runner........

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hannah Banana

Well, here I sit.....watching it rain sideways.  I got awake early this morning because DOH!....forgot to turn off my alarm.  But as soon as I got awake, my mind rapidly started thinking about that 10K I was SUPPOSED to run this morning.  The Hampton Bay Days 10K run was actually part of a large weekend festival starting yesterday and running until tomorrow.  Lots of festivities, music, vendors and the RUN!  But well, its all been cancelled due to the tropical storm that is now blowing lots of leaves in my pool and dumping a ton of rain on my out of control yard.   

Things to possibly do today:

1.  Laundry?  Ok, yeah...better do that we are out of running bras

2.  Clean house? Uh......let me think on that one-

3.  Crawl on the couch and watch a movie?  Sounding much better....

4.  Eat lots Edy's Slow Churn Yogurt Blend ice cream?  Oh baby keep talking!

5.  Take a long nap after 1/2 gal. of ice cream.....yes, yes YES!!

But really....what SHOULD I do?  Take advantage of this crappy weather and go to the gym.

Wonder Boy is leaving me today and will be gone through Monday.  He is actually headed to SC for some golfing on Sunday.  I'm going to miss him.....weekends are our only real quality time together.  Poo.....

This week's running was a struggle for me.  I'm really fighting with myself to get motivated after school.   I had a FANTASTIC brick on Wednesday really was a last minute "whim" thing but I rode out on Ol' speedy for 30 miles and my legs felt fresh so I cranked an ave. of 20-21 mph.  Then I got off the bike and had planned in my head to go 3 miles but I ended up doing 6 and averaged 8:34 mpm.  I was SO excited.  I did have to concentrate and dig WAY deep to finish that last mile on pace.  I felt it on my 8 miler the next day with Running Buddy.

Ok, so no 10K today and I hope Ike just stays away otherwise next weekend's Sandman Tri might be in jeopardy.  Not that I'm ready for that ocean water swim.  I feel so guilty and full of shame.....and I think I'm going to learn a hard lesson, but I just haven't prepared very well for the swim.  If I don't drown....I will kick some hard ass on the bike/run.

Stay tuned......blessings from the East Coast.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Support Crew Part 3

I'm strolling down memory lane tonight as I page through my iphoto albums on my mac reliving a few of the races I have done over the years and I came across several photos from 2 years ago when I was in the training cycle for the Inaugural OBX marathon I did in 2006.  That summer training was the best I can remember.  I did several races and did them well.  I PR'd the Fleetweek 1/2 marathon and I was well on my way to PR'ing the OBX Marathon.  I planned it up for a fun weekend racing and hanging out with my best biggest supporter and of course my hero.

I have never known a stronger and more courageous woman than my own mother.  I feel blessed to have been born to an intelligent, outgoing and amazing person.  If I have even inherited an ounce of her strength and compassion......I have been given an amazing gift.  I never can quite see the good in myself....let alone strength and courage so my only hope is that others see it.  I draw on the strength my mother has shown in all the years of her struggle raising me alone.....putting herself through school, managing a home.....and working full time all the while trying to make her own dreams come true.  I think that many of her dreams were never fulfilled because she was a single mother.

But she has always been there to help make my dreams come true.  I could not have pulled through some of my marathons and some of my endurance events (and most certainly college and my first job) if it had not been for the comfort and strength of my mother.  Of particular note IS the OBX marathon I did in 2006.  I had been beaten down by an unfamiliar course, a 5k off road section of the marathon, the bridge to Manteo and a Nor' Easter that blew in the day of the race.  It rained, it poured and the OLD MAN SNORED!  It was windy, rainy and chilly.  

I had been stressed out the entire weekend.  I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep......and I was again scared of failure.  But my mom rallied on.....encouraged me and reminded me of how many times I had already done a good my training it would all turn out ok as it always does.

And the weather beat me took away all my hopes of a PR......and I was tired and sore....I battled nausea for entire 26 miles......and I was wet and all I wanted to do was go home.   I was just a few miles from the finish line and I just knew my mom wouldn't be at the end waiting for me.  The traffic to Manteo was a mess I thought for sure my mom would get caught in it.

I hobbled hard around the track for the last .2 of the 26.  My head was down in TOTAL despair....unlike any despair I had ever run through.  And I looked up.....and there she was.  My best friend and hero......cheering and yelling and whooping it up for me to get to the finish line.

I found the strength and finished and I was so happy and as mom was there for me in one of my darkest hours.  This is what I looked like when I saw her in the cheering section....

Thanks MOM!!

My mom and I have been through it all together all of my life.  No one in my life has given me more hope, love, encouragement and strength then she has.  No one ever will.  Mother and daughter.....its been just the two of us against the world.  She has battled every battle with me. I have been blessed with the best mother a daughter could ever dream of........

Mother and Daughter enjoying the beach 40 years ago....

Mother and Daughter hiking in Alaska

Summer Vacation