Those Psimases sure are some runnin' fools!  From left to right, we have Ryan's first ever half marathon medal, Brynn's first ever Final Mile medal, Camryn's first ever Leprechaun Dash medal, and my third half marathon medal (that's right, I'm a seasoned veteran to the 13.1).  

I could not be prouder of my little family, as we've all worked really hard to earn those medals this year.  Brynn showed up to Shamrock practice every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon since the start of the new year and logged 25 miles before the day of the race.  Camryn went along for the ride, sometimes literally and on my back, collecting dots on her hand for laps completed as well.  Sometimes we had the added pleasure of Jude's company, too.  Here are my little runners on the last day of practice:

Race day came and rain threatened to make the girls' races a little more of an adventure than we expected, but we got them pumped up with some music in the car while we waited for the showers to pass.  Camryn's race was first, and she ran as fast as her little legs would take her with Daddy by her side.  She was so proud of herself at the finish:

Brynn's race was next, and she couldn't help but be excited when surrounded by over 400 of her Three Oaks schoolmates.  I was probably more excited than she was, getting to run our first race side by side.  I loved looking over at Brynn throughout the mile and seeing she had her game face on.  So proud of that girl!

Both Brynn and Camryn said they had a great time and want to do it again next year, which is music to our ears.  

Ryan and I have also shown up all winter, in the form of early morning strength workouts and logging our miles however we could fit them in.  We've trained through every weather condition Mother Nature threw at us...rain (from gentle mist to total downpours), sleet (ouch), sideways snow, and winds over 30 mph.  It sucked.  Hard.  But the feeling of accomplishment (and hot shower and coffee) when we finished those tough runs is unlike anything else.  I get it now, and I feel like I've earned my stripes and should start calling myself a runner.  Unless you have to have gnarly toenails to be considered a runner...if so, I'm not there yet, thankfully.

Coming off a few great races this winter, Ryan and I set our goals for the Shamrock half marathon pretty high.  I wanted to finish under 1:50 and break into the top 50 in my age group.  Once we got into our corral, I changed my goal to finishing in 1:45 and stayed with the 1:45 pacers for a couple of miles.  Once I found my groove, I got ahead of the pacers and never looked back, finishing in 1:42:50 and beating my two previous half marathon times by 11 minutes.  Coming in 40th in my age group was icing on the cake.  I won't go on about how Ryan did, as it would completely embarrass him, but you can look up his ridiculous time on the internet.  Since my in-laws were kind enough to keep the girls all day, Ryan and I enjoyed the post race party to celebrate our accomplishments.  

A little race re-cap, as is tradition:
Favorite sign - "Worst parade ever"
Favorite shirt on another runner - "13.1 miles?  Ain't nobody got time for that!"
Favorite fellow runners - the blind guy and the woman he was tethered to
Favorite spectator - the toddler standing in the front door of his house along Atlantic Avenue in nothing but a t-shirt, green tie and his underoos

 I think the luck of the Irish was on our side in the form of a tail wind for the second half of the race, but hopefully we've shown our kids that hard work trumps good luck almost every time.  We told them we didn't all get medals because we won the race, but we got them because we did our best.  Today, each passing hour brings another sore muscle group, but I'm basking in the glow of a mission accomplished and looking forward to the next chance to do my best.  Ache on, little body.

"The future is not set - there is no fate but what we make for ourselves."  ~Irish proverb

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