Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eating for two

Tonight was my companies Christmas party. The party was a murder mystery party. I had never been to a murder mystery party but it's like a play where the audience is involved and you are on teams to try to find out who is the murderer. Anyway, So I go up to the buffet and get a rather large plate of food and sit down. One of the characters from the mystery comes up to the microphone and says "I have an announcement to make! This young lady is eating for two!" He then turns to Jeff and says "you must be the lucky man." I turned beet red. Note to self: stay away from runner sized portions at murder mysteries :)...Oh and just to make it clear- I'm not pregnant even if I eat for two most of the time : )

Sunday, December 16, 2012

sooo Portland

I called Columbia (the employee store is close to where we live) to make an order and when I gave him my address he said “get out- you’re from Portland? Do you know it’s snowin’ on Mt. Hood right now?” We then chatted for a while about the ski conditions. This was such a quintessential Portland experience. Number 1: it’s pouring rain right now and everyone is happy because it’s snowing on hood. Number 2: He was in no hurry to put in my order…people are so friendly and laid back here. I love my new city.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Got our tree and Lodge Style Christmas Party

This weekend I was on call for work. We were about to head out to get our Christmas tree at 2PM when I got a hospital call : ( I got back from the call at 4PM at which point we left straight to get our tree (it was pouring rain and pretty dark but we were determined: ). The place we went had over 2,000 trees! We took a hack saw and set out. Jeff started singing "Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!" And then I heard a holler! I found it! The perfect tree! I came running and agreed it was a beauty :) We then enjoyed some hot cocoa by a bonfire at the tree farm. Awww- life is goood.
We then got ready for a Lodge Style Christmas Party (come dressed in post ski attire)! It was so fun!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Off season- it's called goals on the back burner- friends and fam on the front burner

Today I went snowboarding with my husband and our good friends Laurel and Juston. I had a blast. We skied from open to close. Sunday I slept in and had a lazy morning with Jeff before Church and then we went Christmas shopping and then to a Christmas party. A weekend like this did not exist when I was in the heart of marathon training. To be honest I love running and there have been a few times that I might have chosen a run over a holiday party- I know I'm unique :). However, right now is not the time. When people talk about taking time off after a marathon, it's often talked about for it's benefits in recovering properly and allowing the body to continue to improve. However, in my years of running it hasn't been until the last couple years that I have really realized the most important part about downtime. It's the time you put your goals and ambitions on the back burner and put the ones that you love on the front burner. During training you have to make decisions that are going to help you reach your goals. You can bend a little in training but not very much. You can't do this all year! During the months after the marathon it's the time that you can be completely flexible and really put others above yourself. If you need to be goal oriented about it.. Think about it as strengthening your support system and relationships rather than strengthening your muscles. It's so important! (And..I mean who doesn't enjoy spending time relaxing with friends and enjoying some other sports : )
(with my guy before a party)
(ski day)
(a rather HUGE Italian sub....that we shared)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My secret: the 5 dollar full body massage

I really love massages.  However I've only had two in my life:(.  They are just not in the budget.  However I have my own way of giving myself a massage after a marathon that feels amazing.  It's called swimming!  For 5 dollars you can go to a public lap swim pool.  I swim for 25 minutes.  When you swim you are dragging your body through the water which massages and lengthens your muscles...and it's fun! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tokyo- where's Waldo Jeff and Christina style : )

I was bummed that when we made it to the fish market in Tokyo we found that it was closed for the day. We still aren't sure why. My highlight of the day was going to the busiest pedestrian intersection of the world and to the highest grossing starbucks in the world. We had a blast running out into the middle of the intersection when it was the all pedestrian time and having the other person take a picture. It was like where's Waldo Jeff and Christina style : ) (Can you find Jeff?? I put an arrow pointing down to his head : )
(no wonder it's the highest grossing Starbucks in the world- a tall coffee is 400 yen (about 4.50 US!) They only sell the Tall size because they don't want people to stick around too long)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1/2 Kyoto and 1/2 Tokyo

We spent the morning exploring some gardens and a shrine:
(arch after arch after arch each getting smaller- so cool!)
We then took the bullet train to Tokyo...Jeff was making fun of me for how much food I consumed on the train. I had bought some interesting snacks- including teriyaki flavored popcorn and I had gotten free beer at the race (although we realized later it was non-alcoholic beer!! LOL! )
The bullet train was sweet. We could see Mt. Juji. We then checked in at our Capsule Hotel- yep- this was our "room"!
That evening we went out for Ramen:
And then finished the night off with a drink at a bar in Shinjuku. Shinjuku has an area with all these tiny bars that seat 6-25 people. They all have sitting charges and you maybe asked to leave if you aren't adding to the's essentially renting restate for the evening! Fortunately, we were on the early side of things so we didn't worry about being voted out : )

Monday, November 26, 2012


took the train to Kyoto. Checked in at our guest house...and started exploring the land of shrines and temples...a picture says a thousand words (you can click on pics to make them bigger)
(getting dry in the common room in the guest house before heading out)
(feeling very tall as I waited for the bus)
(beautiful fall colors)
(loved walking these cute streets and sampling street food)
We spurged on a fancy dinner. About 10 beautiful little dishes in a peaceful room with a garden. Shoes off in the restaurant and when we left the waitresses in their beautiful traditional Japanese attire opened the gate and bowed in unison. We were given large bamboo shoe horns to put our shoes back is one picture of a dish

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Osaka Marathon- 2:44, fourth overall

I had my usual breakfast (oats with honey and peanut butter) and coffee (1/2 of a Starbucks via- I’ve learned that I like coffee the morning before but not a lot) at 6AM. We left for the race at 6:45. Dropped bottles off and went to this waiting area (it was in someone’s historical house- very cool). At 8 I had my stinger waffle. The whole time I sipped on roctane (liquid calories are the way to go before a marathon- top off your fuel without worrying about digestion). My warm up got strewed up because I ran for 10 minutes in a little area and then was called in for roll call and then escorted to another building where we stood waiting to be called to the line. I’m not sure what the building was but it was an old historical building- really neat. However, when we were called to the line we were told to stay on our spots so instead of strides or anything I was stuck standing on a dot. Oh well. They made announcements to the crowds. When they called your name you were supposed to wave and bow. I listened very closely and thought I hear CU-RA-FO-DO (how they said Crawford)..there was a long silence and then I realized it was me so I waved and bowed and everyone cheered. I felt like I was in a movie and on a different planet. It was such a cool experience. The first 5k of the race was weird- I was trying to find my pace- everyone was flying past me but my watch said 6:08 when I looked down so I didn’t want to speed up. I missed my first water bottle at the 5k. My eyes were scanning the table but I just missed it. The guy by me saw me miss it and offered his bottle. I took a sip and it was pineapple juice- ick. That was super nice of him though. I continued on this time with the only focus of getting my bottle at the next 10k. I successfully snagged my second bottle. I took a sip and then the guy that gave me a sip of his juice said something in Japanese and put his hand out for my bottle. OH NO! I didn’t want to share because I had only put 6 oz in each bottle. I handed it to him at which point he drank some and handed it behind him to another guy. I turned around to see my bottle thrown to the side: (. I also noticed I was leading a pack of 8 Asian men. I determined that the next bottle stop I would try to explain that I needed all the drink. I also realized I was running into a head wind. However, whenever I tucked behind someone I felt like we slowed down and my stride was being stifled. At the next water station when the guys asked for it I pointed to how little there was in the bottle. They didn’t look happy and I felt mean but I drank my whole bottle. As I write this I realize that this is silly but I really felt bad and my thoughts were so preoccupied with this bottle dilemma! I soon got a little distance from the guys and I started to relax and enjoy the sites and cheering. I felt good. I started to get excited. None of my splits had been over 6:18 so I think I’m going to PR. I come to a clock and realize that it’s the half- wow already the half? I see 1:22:30 something- what? How can that be? I’m alittle disappointed because based on my splits it should have been faster. I speed up alittle trying to not surge and just go alittle faster. I feel fantastic- even better and more relaxed at the faster pace! Wow- this is weird. I get to the 20 miles. Only a 10k left. I debate if I should speed up or not. I determine no because I could still bonk. At Chicago I felt great until 4 to go and then died and same w at the trials. At 4 to go I do speed up. Then they start to mark 5k, 4k, 3k 2k, 1k to go. There is a massive hill at 5k to go- it wasn’t bad though but going down the hill without putting on the breaks was tough. When I get to the 3k the k’s seem to take longer than before. When I see the finish I know it’s a PR and I’m pumped! I am met with cheers and excitement. I feel euphoric for about 5 minutes. Then as I’m watching people finish around me with stiff wobbling legs it hits me that I could have gone faster and that reality gives me a sick feeling inside. You never want to waste an opportunity and maybe I won’t have a good day like this ever again. I put it aside though and live in the moment. This was awesome. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to travel across the world to do what I love so much- RUN! I hope that I was a good ambassador of Chicago and the US in our sister city Osaka so far away. No matter the distance, one thing is for sure. As I watch people finish, we have something in common. We all share that feeling of crossing a finish line.
(the results page- in Japanese like everything)
(an example of a gift I got- the wrapping and presentation was so beautiful)
(what was given to me to eat when I finished...I opted to save it for later : )
(feeling like a celebrity- so many people wanted their picture with me...everyone was into doing the peace sign as well)
That evening Jeff and I went out to try to find a treat. We went to this little tea and desserts shop. We aren't sure what we got- green tea ice cream with lots of jelly like things and sweet bean (In Japan- desserts usually consist of sweet beans : )

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pre Race Day

Surprisingly Jeff and I didn’t wake up until 8:30AM wowser- that was a good night of sleep. J and I ran in the park in the morning- 4 miles +8 by 30 second pick ups. I’m getting nervous- I feel so out of breath on my strides and I also had a sore throat. Have my normal breakfast in the hotel and then head to meet our ride for packet pick up at 11AM. Go to packet pick up then straight to course preview on the bus. The bus ride was torcher- 3 hours of information overload being translated from Japanese to English by a translator telling me which side of the street to run on and all these little details. I am also freaking out a bit because I’m super hungry and it’s 3PM and I haven’t had lunch. Got back from the race preview at 5PM and got dressed up and ready for pick up for the welcome banquet 5:30- quick turn around. The banquet was sweet but it was standing tables and a lot of meet and greet. There was a lot of food but every time I took a bite I was getting pulled away to meet the major or director or some famous person I didn’t know and when I came back my plate would be gone…however I did get 6 rolls because those were not taken away : ). I got back to the hotel feeling a bit defeated. That was an awesome night and opportunity but I had done everything wrong from a marathon preparation point of view. I gathered my things together and went to bed. I had no problem falling asleep but then woke up at 2AM at which point I could not fall asleep. I wasn’t super nervous- I just couldn’t sleep.
(everything is in Japanese but I know this is talking about me : )
(the expo was quite an experience- everyone was lining up to have these people give them some kind of blessing)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Osaka day 1

My first day in Japan I went to the Aquarium. It seemed like a good thing to do to test out my skills with getting around and yet not do anything too risky before the marathon. I walked over to the subway to be faced with this machine!
....I tried to ask for help but people didn't speak English. Everyone recruited everyone until I had a group of 20 people trying to figure out where I wanted to go - lol. They figured it out and I was on my way. The aquarium was written as the best in the world. I must admit, it was pretty sweet! Most people seemed to be most impressed with the sharks. However, I just LOVED the jelly fish. I watched them for such a long time. Here are a few pictures...
There was a cool food court right next to the aquarium. It was written in my book that it had alot of traditional Japanese are some pics of the food court..I had a tasty sesame black tea soy ice cream cone at the dessert shop...but I stuck with subway for lunch- I know lame but I didn't want to risk upsetting my stomach.
After that I went to an out door fish market / concert / I don't know what to call it. Jeff got in that evening and we went to Dotonbori- an area known for night life. We had okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes). It was fun to watch them cook in front of us. It was really yummy as well.

First night in Japan

Endo my contact for the marathon picked me up from the airport and took me out to eat sushi on a conveyor belt!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Japan flight

Check out my dinner and breakfast (yes Breakfast!) on my flight to Japan...the trip really does start as soon as you board the Asian airlines.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Made myself an eye mask for the flight...the store ones seemed to let light in under my cheek bones (guess it was my dutch nose : ). Jeff says he will pretend he doesn't know me when I wear my mask but hey- it's super dark and I like my sleep! : )

You know you're getting ready for a marathon when...

Recently I have realized that the thoughts that go through my head are very unique to a marathoner : ) For example, today I cut my finger at work and the first thing that came to my head was "oh no! I'm losing blood- this is the opposite of doping! That can't be good!." Then the other night I woke up to in the night having to go to the bathroom and thought "this is great! I'm hydrated!." Anyway...I guess I'm ready for this marathon : )

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The delimma of being sooo blessed!

I head to Osaka Japan in a couple days. Packing my suitcase has gotten me super excited!
As I was packing it also made me realize how blessed I am (I know I say that alot- but it's true!). Here is why- I have this dilemma as I pack. I have my Chicago team (Fleet Feet) racing things. I have my alma mater Calvin College racing things. I have my current Portland team racing things. All these groups support me and encourage me but I can't take three suitcases and wear three uniforms! Fleet Feet sent me some Nike's for my race, Calvin College emailed me saying they wanted to do a write up about my race, and Portland Running Company is my current running community who are all great. So many hats of love that I can draw upon! I'm so lucky to be in this pickle! Based on the fact that it is the Chicago Marathon that is paying for me to go to Osaka, I will try to represent Chicago with as much Chicago apparel as I can...but I will take my Calvin Grey, Portland Running Company shirt, and Fleet Feet shirt with me for pictures along the way!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cross Country

I ran a cross country race today! I hadn’t run cross for almost a year. I LOVE cross country : ) Unfortunately I had a workout 2 by 25 minutes…no problem- I just jumped into the men’s race for a second repeat. I was sixth in the women’s race and our team was 4th. It was a competitive race. You also had to hurdle over hay bales and run up some VERY steep hills…as you can see I am not so good at hurdles : ) At the pic at the start I'm the gal with the orange spikes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Onto another Chapter

After much thought I decided that it’s time to step away from my coach in Chicago and find a local coach. It was a really tough decision because I have had a lot of success under my current coach. However, there is only so much a coach can do from afar and I need to get myself established here in Portland. It is scary to leave what you are used. One thing that I remind myself is that there is more than one way to train successfully. I have had success under all of my coaches: Coach Sloan, Coach Diemer, and Coach Leach. Each coach has their own strengths and with each coach I feel like I have gleaned knowledge and skills that have made me a better athlete and person. I received this note from my Coach: “I have thoroughly enjoyed having you in my coaching life for the past several years and will treasure memories of you personally and your commitment to running and to excellence in everything that you do. I will always welcome any opportunity to provide support for you - please reach out at any time. Best Wishes as you continue to move forward - please keep me posted on your continuing journey.” When I received this email my eyes teared up. It’s always sad when a chapter ends even if you know the next chapter is good as well.
Sorry for the long blogging hiatus! I am going to revamp this blog as I train for my first international competition: The Osaka Marathon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Visit to Kalamazoo

After a fun weekend in Northern Michigan I visited my grandparents in Kalamazoo. They were great hosts as always and it was great to catch up over some great Cappuccino Shakes made by my grandpa! I spent the night with them and the next day we went to Panera for breakfast before I caught my train back to Chicago

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

life line - call a friend : )

Today was a very busy day for prosthetics. First of all I needed to make the TLSO for the patient with the unstable fracture. I was informed that we were out of plaster bandages, so it took awhile to find the supplies. Once we had the supplies we went and casted the patient for the brace in the ER- you need more than one to do this type of cast. It all went well but because of his injury and lack of supplies we couldn't do a bivalve casting technique (casting the front and then the back so you have two pieces that fit together). We had to do a clamshell casting for the tlso (leave a portion on the side open). This isn't a problem- it just takes a bit of art to sculpt the missing side. Good thing I enjoy an art project every now and then. : ) I did take some measurements so that I would know the circumferences. After this, FIVE prosthetics patients came up. One of the patients was a little girl who was having pain on the bottom of her residual limb. I took a look and even a small touch to the end was painful. It looked like her tibia had grown alittle and she had no distal padding on the end. The problem was that her limb was only 3 inches from the knee. I talked with Sidgu and we brainstormed everything we could. I kind of thought that she might need revision surgery so I went down to get the ortho surgeon. He took a look and said that he would do what I thought he should do but hadn't ever operated on a kid. He said let him know if he should operate....this put me in a cold sweat. If she had a longer residual limb i would think no problem but its so short as it is. Well...I decided this was a time to use the life line "call a friend:)" I went on the roof and called Todd at Shriners Childrens Hospital. He was super helpful and after discussing the situation we decided revision surgery was really the best option. I hope it goes well.
Next a casted 2 ladies for above knee prosthetics. There was another lady who wanted a prosthetic but she was really swollen so we gave her a shrinker and told her to come back.

Well sorry- that was alot of detailed prosthetic info....but I guess that was what was on my mind at the end of today. The good news is that - guess what, I have learned quite a bit the last couple years in school! : )

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

prosthetics in Haiti

Today was my first day in the Prosthetics Lab. It's on the roof and it's a legitimate lab- much better than many places in the US. Sedju. Emanuel, and Miguel are the three guys that work up there. They are really fun. They speak some English but alot of the time I am not sure exactly what is going on. Miguel is the captain of the amputee soccer team. They are pretty awesome- look up utubes of Medishare amputee soccer. I did alot of prosthetics today so I will just share some fun stories from the day. First, an engineer was down here a week ago who is designing an inexpensive prosthetic foot that can be manufactured with plastic in Haiti. Good idea...however...right now Ossur is one of the labs sponsors so all the people have 800 dollar or more carbon fiber feet (like the flex foot). Anyway, so while the engineer was here they switched out all the amputee soccer players feet to the plastic low cost foot. Oh side note- they don't where there prosthetics when they play soccer actually (they use forearm crutches). Anyway, so today the whole team was in the clinic making a bunch of commotion. I asked what was going on and they told me that the soccer players were saying that they couldn't walk with the other foot and they wanted their old feet back. I told him to tell them that they were athletes so they should be able to walk on anything (said as a joke). It was really funny. There was even more commotion as they tried to tell me that they could but still wanted there feet back. Anyway- so we switched their feet back to the dynamic response carbon fiber feet. Story two, one of the guys came back after lunch with a watermelon and gave me a big chunk. We stepped out of the lab to the back "porch" and as I ate.I started to spit the seeds out (there was a small gab between the fence and the hospital wall. All of a sudden I heard yelling and Sedju started laughing. I went to the edge of the porch and looked over and there was a whole line of people crammed between the wall and the fence taking a break from work- oops!! Story 3, I was cutting a cast off after I had filled it with plaster and let it harden and one of the techs came up to me and said "Do you like to cook?" I said "yes!" Then he said "really? Well cut it like you are killing a chicken!" I was confused- he just meant to use more strength but the analogy didn't work since I hadn't ever killed a chicken! ; ) Another excitement was getting called into the OR because of a spinal fracture. Casting the patient in the OR for an unstable burst fracture of L3 made me alittle I need to make a brace for the guy to keep it stable until they get someone down here to operate which could be a few WEEKS! Well, more from me tomorrow.

Day 4: being a PT for a day

Today I helped out with the PT. I did some exercises with a kid with low tone and some exercises with a hydrocephalus child. It was pretty self explanatory. You scan the patient logs and look for "PT." When you see that you look for the corresponding bed number and then assess the situation. For example the child with hydrocephalus needed to work on protraction and she had knee contractures. After peds, we went to ortho. One lady who had bilateral femoral fractures needed PT. We got her up and walking. Next we went to the spinal cord unit. This is where I spent most of my day. I learned how to do transfers- hard physical work. I got all the spinal cord patients into their wheel chairs. I played catch, talked and played connect four with some of the patients. It was good to get their spirits up. After that I got put to work organizing donations. We got all the suplies sorted and to the right department. I am excited to do prosthetics tomorrow. No prosthetics is done on Sunday (today). It was neat to see the pastor come and give a church service to the patients. It was a tough day. The problem is that there is no place to get away- except the roof which I learned this morning that we really aren't supposed to go so now I am alittle scared. It was nice to look down at the streets but also scary to see police standing by the gates with huge guns. So now I still go to the roof but I must sit between the generators just in case someone were to look up from the street and be unhapppy to see a "blanc" (white). It's pretty chaotic and everyone wants to chat in Creole if you are by a patient- It's good practice but it gets tiring. To be quiet honest- I'm already ready to go home. It might be a long week. I shouldn't speak yet though- I haven't done Prosthetics yet which is what I am trained to do. It's just tough to be on such a little complex in a "lock down" situation (no leaving), people screaming in pain...and for me- I can't do anything for someone in the ER. I crave solitude..a nice run to clear my's going to be awhile until I get that.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 3 Haiti

(pardon typos- this key board is really sticky and no spell check :) We woke up at 5:45 and had some coffee and bread on the beach and then we were off to run. It was market day so there was alot to see- goats handing upside down on the back of a truck, all sorts of fruits. The run was fun but long and I don't think I was used to the heat. Good time though. Jeff and I showered quickly and then went down to the coartyard for breakfast (included). We had omelets, bread, and grapefruit juice. They also brought a glass of creme for the coffee which Jeff took a gulp off and said " hmm this must be goat milk or something." When I told him it was the creme we had a good laugh. We hurried to check out and grabbed a motto to take us to the glas station we were meeting Teresa at (doctor that used to work at Cloud Forest Clinic with Jeff and now works in Christianville). She had to check on some of the orphan kids in the orphanage so we went there. We then met someone she had a talk to about supplies for a project (busy lady!). We then went to Teresas home and had lunch with her, her husband, and her two little kiddos. Her home was clean and orgaanized and quiet- it was nice to have a little break from the chaos outside. After a quick stop for lunch she drove us down to medishare right before Jeff's shift started at 3PM. I met the Rehab director and he showed me the Prosthetics Lab. It's run by all Haitians but he said they speak good english. I had some dinner that was provided and then went to the roof to watch the hussle and bussle in the streets and watch the injured get carried in. This is going to be an intense week.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Haiti Day 2

(day one will be posted when I find the paper I wrote it on :)
We woke up at 5Am and went out of security to wait for a man with Project Medishare who had a couple bags of medical supplies for us to check. We waited until 6:10 (we were supposed to see him at 5:30) and then started to get worried because our flight was at 7:30 and international. We checked in and started walking towards security and saw a guy with a Medishare shirt- oh no! We quick checked the 2 bags. He had 2 more bags but we didn't think we had time to go back to his car. I feel bad that we couldn't get the luggage (medical supplies). When we arrived in Port-au-prince we found the medishare ride right away. Medishare was very close to the airport. We dropped the luggage off and got a ride up the mountains alittle ways. We started walking up the mountains and all the kids followed us as they were going home from school. One little girl grabbed my hand and then they all held onto me. I kept getting behind Jeff because of the train of kids attached to me so I made up a game "i, 2, 3,run to Jeff (in Creole)." It was taking longer than we thought so we caught another motto (motorcycle). We took that motto as far as he could go until the road was so bad that he said he couldn't go any more. From there it was a grueling hike up the mountain on crushed rock. Many people were carrying goods on their heads= including hot coals!!!\ We again had a crew of children following us "Chree-stee-na- m gran gu! (I'm hungry). We didn't give them anything because we were told not to encourage bagging. We finally got to the top and through the clouds saw Clayton coming towards us. We both ran to meet him. From there we went to see the school they are building. It was super nice and the people there were so sweet. They remembered "Mr John" and were excited to learn he was my father. The view from the school was so beautiful. From there we drove down to Jacmel. It was Clayton's girlfriend Jeannie's birthday so they had gotten a hotel and some of her friends had come down. The place was nice. We checked in and had some barbeque chicken on the beach- it was a full moon and georgeous! I liked Jeannie and her friends. They had a big run planned and Jeff and I planned to join them the next morning for it.