Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Stuff.

I am so glad that you all enjoyed my last post!  Eleven comments in one day!  Thanks, friends!  I loved all your comments - you are all so wonderfully supportive!  And funny!  And I love funny!  

Speaking of funny... Cooper was having lunch the other day when I went to change the clothes in the laundry room.  And when I came back into the kitchen, this is what I saw:


The book was on the table when I left.  He just loves that book.  Someone gave it to Murphy years ago.  Thank you!  That is the gift that keeps on giving in this house.  And finally, Harlie likes books, too!

Cooper tries to talk.  A lot.  Some words are clear - like apple, bee, cars, boat, horse, duck, I don't know, and there you go.  He was saying something to Tom the other night.  And Tom guessed "banana" and Cooper said (while clapping), "There you go!"  He tries so hard to say "cracker", but it doesn't sound much like cracker at all.  And "rock."  But it comes out as "rot" with an emphasis on the "t."  Milk sounds like "ma" and he finally for the first time signed "milk" and I went crazy, in a good way.  It's only been over a year and he FINALLY signed milk.  I have one word for you.

Exhausting.  

It is so funny how different siblings can be.  Trust me, this is not a shocker, as I have three myself.  It's just even funnier when they are your kids and they are so very different, despite all efforts to remain as consistent as possible.

Okay, enough of my kids.  Now on to ME.

I just want to say for the record, that I am both amazed at myself - and super, duper tired - because I have run 56 miles in the last 9 days.  Isn't that crazy?  Okay, that's really not that crazy, given that there are way more people out there that are far more athletic and accomplished than that.  And that there are hundreds of people in my training group alone (Sportsbackers Marathon Training Team) who are doing the same thing I am. BUT, in my defense, considering the circumstances, I think that's pretty darn crazy!  It's certainly not something I thought I would ever be doing.  And trust me, I can feel it.  I wish I could lighten my daily load right now, but that isn't possible.

Although, since our area was hit with... tornadoes? Harlie's feeding and speech therapies were cancelled because there were lots of trees down and damage to the Children's Hospital.  While that is terrible - I can't deny that I was happy to get out of some therapy this week.  We still took her to physical therapy, though, since that is on the other side of town.  Since we didn't have therapy in the am, I took her and Cooper to school and went for my required run.  By the time I got home, I had barely enough time to eat and it was time to pick up Cooper.  And since Harlie was at school (normally she's home after therapy on Thursdays), I had to pick up Murphy early from school, then go and pick up Harlie and Brandy from school, then go to PT.  Whew!  Not having therapy in the morning didn't really provide the break I thought it would.

The day ended on an exciting note.  We finally got an upright freezer for Harlie's food storage!  Woohoo!  Oh, the things that excite you when you have a special need's child.

You might remember that we have to puree all her food.  I have been pureeing it, then freezing it in ice cube trays.  Then I put the frozen food cubes in labeled ziploc bags.  Well, storage - or lack thereof - has been a huge issue.  I can only puree so much at a time and then I run out and have to puree food at inconvenient times.  And I have to pack two meals - which is four food items - each day.  Then she eats two more meals at home.  I could go on and on... but the fact is - that I am SO HAPPY to have some room!!!   I know this sounds ridiculous - but trust me when I say that I fully expect this to be LIFE CHANGING!!!  And not just for me - Harlie will have better variety - and I can concentrate on different entrees and meals!!!  YAY for us!!!

Tomorrow we have gymnastics again.  And thank you Lindsay for reminding me that it is ribbon time!  It is the last day of the session and Harlie will earn her first ribbon and button to put on the ribbon.  I cannot forget my camera!

Again, thank you all for your comments!  It is so fun to be able to talk about nothing but good stuff.  Oh, how things have progressed to a wonderful place.  Who knew it would be like this after four years?!  We have come so very far!!!

Thanks!
~Christy

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gymnastics Pictures, Finally!

So, after six weeks of gymnastics I finally took some pictures!  I would have taken more - but I was asked not to.  Can you believe that?  I like the owner/instructor, but he is pretty darn strict.  I get that he has to be - for safety reasons and all, but c'mon!  The problem I have with being strict in certain ways is that it doesn't lend to flexibility at all.  And my life is all about rolling with the punches and is as opposite of strict as can be.  Each day is a battle of flexibility and problem solving and more learning.  I do not have the luxury of a strict routine, strict schedule, strict anything!

I know he doesn't like that we are never early.  Okay, okay... just a few minutes late on occasion.  Okay, okay... all the time.  Geez.  But, seriously - getting there before 9:15am is almost impossible.  And trust me when I say it is not for the lack of trying!!!  You should be a fly on the wall in my house in the morning.  Hey, my new response is "they don't call them special needs for nothing!"  hehe

Plus, let's get real.  These are three and four year olds.  In a recreational gymnastics class - for FUN.  They were stretching and I took these two photos (Harlie's in the dark pink)...




and he came over and asked me to stop because "this is a classroom style instruction and their focus is supposed to be on the teacher and you are distracting them from the teacher."  Now I ask you... do they look distracted?  Not one of them had a clue that I was taking pictures.

And I'll be honest... it took all my strength to smile "sweetly" and calmly leave the room.  When inside my mind was screaming, "have your kid almost die several times and have someone tell you that you can't take their picture when they are doing something you never thought they'd be able to do!"  But, I can't say that.  There is NO possible way he can look at it from my perspective.  Nor would I ever expect him to.  And I'm not going to play "that" card.  Unless I absolutely need to.

And I get that he has rules that must be followed.  And if one mom sees me taking pictures when she's been asked not to before, yeah, yeah, I get it.  But when I went back to where the parents watch through the glass, one of the moms said that he let her take a bunch of pictures the last week.  Later, when Brandy was in the room suctioning or something, he told her I could come back and take pictures now that they were on the equipment.  I'm kinda thinking that's a worse place to distract them (like when they're walking on a balance beam vs. stretching), but whatever.  I am nothing if not flexible.  And I can roll with the punches like no other.  So, here are some more pictures (and I am oh so grateful to have them!)...


Seriously, could they be any cuter???




Go, Harlie go!


Love, love, LOVE that Harlie's arms are up and she's enthusiastic!!!



That adorable outfit is courtesy of my friend, Lindsay.  She gave it to Harlie for her birthday.  So cute!  Thank you, Lindsay!

Harlie loves gymnastics.  The instructor says that she's not afraid of anything and wants to be so independent.  She asks for very little assistance, which is great.  She has wanted to jump with both feet leaving the ground at the same time for a while now.  She has practiced almost every day (since even before gymnastics started).  And last week she finally did it!  Now it seems she practices even more!

I signed her and Murphy up for another six week session.  I am anxious to see how things go with more time and experience in the gym.

Okay, that's it for tonight.  I'll have more pictures for you tomorrow.
Thanks!
~Christy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beating the odds.

Yes she is.  And doing great cardiac-wise!


She's such a mess.  But in a good way.  I mean "mess" as a term of endearment.  And I still miss her tooth.  The one she lost back in February.  Anyway, that t-shirt came from Children's National Medical Center (in DC).  They have an annual cardiac thing every September.  Although we couldn't go this year.  But I love the shirt.  So true.

Things have been going okay here.  Harlie's been doing well with her therapies.  She's still eating well.  She's not always agreeable, but for the most part, I'm pretty happy.  She eats about four times a day, pretty consistently.  And has been able to eat 35 ounces of food and milk each day (which is her goal).

She's been wearing her PMV (speaking valve) for most of the time at school, which is fantastic!  And if we stay on her at home, she'll continue to wear it for most of the day.

Her teacher at school is a genius.  She worked on Halloween issues last week.  She had the kids practice putting on costumes!  Last year, Harlie would not even consider putting on the costume I got her (Super Girl, of course).  And So, on Friday, I sent the same costume (yes, it still fits her and I saved money, which is great!) to school with her and they got her to put it on!  Woohoo!  And they are working on teaching them to say "trick or treat."  Seriously, this is genius.  Putting on costumes just isn't as simple as it sounds when your kid has a lot of issues.  And, it doesn't help that she doesn't eat candy, so it's hardly worth all the work to her.  She doesn't like to walk any farther than absolutely necessary, either.  And she can't say "trick or treat."  I'm thinking Halloween won't be her favorite holiday.

On Saturday, I ran my longest run ever - 20 miles!  The day couldn't have gone better!  The weather was perfect.  We had great company.  And I felt great!  I will admit that I was pretty darn nervous.  Twenty miles is a little daunting.  And to have a great run, well that's so exciting.  And comforting considering that's the longest I'm going to run prior to the marathon.  The last 6.2 miles will be all new come race day.  Now just a little over two weeks away!

Yesterday (Monday) was picture day at Harlie's school.  Ugh.  I hate picture day.  Harlie is so NOT photogenic when it comes to pictures like that.  Brandy said that the photographer took nine pictures of her before settling on one that he thought was the best.  How sweet is that for a school photographer?

Well, I am falling asleep as I type this, so I must end this now.  I have to get up at 4:30am to run 8 miles.  I promise you, I will have more time to update you once this race is over.  These longer miles have really killed my computer time.

Thanks for checking in!
~Christy

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lucky

I found this photo the other day. 


Something about it I just love.  It was taken in July 2009.  I think she's signing "fish."  There's nothing special about the picture.  I just like it, so I thought I'd share it.

I've been in a blogging funk lately.  Not really sure why.  I know that I've been very busy.  Every minute seems to be booked.  And after a while of that kind of busy, I just get kinda lost in it.

Today I made the time to go to Murphy's school for his PE class.  They are doing a program called "move your feet so others can eat."  They asked people to pledge X number of cans of food for every lap your child completed on the track in six minutes (I think that was the time).  Anyway, they invited family to come, too, and run with them.  So I walked on over with Cooper in the stroller for the event.  Thank goodness there was one other mom there who planned on running with them.  I don't think I would have done it by myself.  But, I think Murphy got a real kick out of seeing us there.  And I was so pleased that he ran four laps and never stopped running.  He did great!  Of course I didn't bring the camera.  I am really slacking in the picture taking department lately.  I really need to get a picture of Harlie in her gymnastics outfit.  SO cute!!!

And lately, my mind's been on my running.  This week will be the hardest miles yet.  We are supposed to run 40 miles from Tuesday to Saturday.  FORTY MILES!!!  Ugh.  That's a pretty daunting goal if you ask me.  So, increased running time requires increased "rest" time (yeah, right) which means decreased blogging time.  So sad.  But, every time I feel overwhelmed or tired of running, I just think about how it's going to feel crossing that finish line.

This past weekend Murphy and Tom went on their first Cub Scout camping trip.  They had a great time. Of course Murphy's favorite part of the weekend was s'mores.  Yes.  He's MY kid.  That just happens to be my favorite part of camping, too.

While they were away, Harlie went to her friend, Kyleigh's 4th birthday party.  I was running, so I couldn't be there.  But, Jennifer (Harlie's nurse and Kyleigh's mom) said that Harlie sat on a horse and held a hedgehog!!!!  Jennifer had a petting zoo party.  How cool is that???  They had a little kangaroo (a wallaby?), a lemur, a monkey, some lizards, snakes, and bunnies.  Harlie is ridiculously afraid of dogs (seriously - it's insane and I have no idea where this fear comes from.  The only thing I can think of is that dogs are unpredictable in their movements.) so the fact that she sat on a horse and held a hedgehog is pretty remarkable.

And one of the mom's on the trach board posted that they lost their little girl this weekend.  And that always makes me sad.  And it makes me feel so blessed, too.  That could have been me having to post something like that - several times.   But here I am, four years into it, still blogging about all the amazing things Harlie can do.  Even when I'm busy and overwhelmed with therapies, appointments, decisions, school, feedings, running, cleaning, working, etc. I never forget how lucky we are.  Never.

Here's to hoping you feel lucky, too!
~Christy

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cub Scouts, Therapy and More!

*Note:  I wrote this post last night, but something went wrong and I couldn't post it until this morning.*

Sorry I've been MIA all week.  Well, for two weeks, really.  Just when I think I'm going to get caught up, I get more behind.  So, I'll just start and see where it takes me.

I'll have to save the Murphy/ADD update for another day.  Too much to write tonight.

Murphy joined the Cub Scouts.  Tom thought it would be a good way for him to learn team lessons (since he's not interested in sports) and we were thinking that maybe it would somehow help him with his school issues.  Can't hurt to try, right?

This past Monday was his first Den (?) meeting.  I have not learned all the right lingo yet.  I know he's a Tiger Cub and they are part of a Den, which is part of a Pack.  And I also know that Tom is now his Den Leader.  hehe  I know, cute, huh?  I also know that we had no business making another time commitment.  But the only thing Murphy does is gymnastics one afternoon a week.  And Tom thought it would be good for him (Murphy) to experience this.  And no, Tom was not a cub scout when he was a kid.


The girl scouts sell cookies (yum) and the boy scouts sell popcorn.  So, if you want some popcorn, you know who to call!!!

Cooper started preschool.  He goes three mornings a week.  The first week went great.  He walked into his classroom and said "bye" to me and went on about his business.  The second week he cried like no tomorrow and refused to enter the classroom.  The teacher takes him and he reaches over her shoulder for me calling "Mommy!  Mommy!" while crying hysterically.  It's quite torturous.  But, the teacher tells me that he only cries for a few seconds and goes on about his day.  He's happy when I pick him up and she always says he does great.  So, I think that's going well.  Hopefully each day he will cry less and less and then all will be well.

Last Thursday was a killer day (aka Therapy Thursday).  I had to run all over town, rushing to appointments.  Harlie has feeding, speech and physical therapies.  In between those appointments, Tom and I met at the pediatrician's office to discuss Murphy, and I had to pick up Cooper from preschool.  I also had to pick Murphy up early from school to take him with Harlie and I to physical therapy.  That way, while Harlie was getting therapy, I could help Murphy with his homework.  At some point during the day (I think it was during PT), someone HIT MY CAR!!  And did NOT leave a note.  Thank you very much, kind stranger.  UGH!  So, now I will have the wonderful inconvenience of having to get it fixed.  Great.  Luckily, I got to end that day with wine with a friend.  Ahhhh, there's nothing more healing than some good wine and laughs with a friend!

On Saturday the 9th, I ran my longest distance yet - 18.74 miles.  Wowza!!!  I ran for over three hours straight.  It was the hilliest run EVER with an elevation gain of 765 ft.   Prior to that run, my greatest elevation gain was 462 ft. during a 10-miler.  It was crazy hilly.  I burned over 1,800 calories (that should explain why I'm hungry most of the time).  And my heart rate averaged 85%.  Not too bad!  I am very proud of those numbers!  The only negatives (other than the hills, of course) was that I got a blister (and it hurt while running) and my IT band started hurting at mile 13.  That sucked.  It hurt like hell that last mile.  But, I took another ice bath, and I've been stretching it a lot.  So, hopefully it will be fine enough for me to finish this thing in one piece.  And then I went and got new shoes (the blister reminded me it was time).  I ran 5 miles on Tuesday night and 9 miles early Wednesday morning, and no IT band or blister issues.  So, that's a good sign.  This Saturday is a recovery week and we are just running 12 miles.  And I don't think they are going to be very hilly (running downhill doesn't help the IT band issues).  So, hopefully I can make it through those with no problems.  Then, on the 23rd, another big run - 20 miles.

On Sunday, Tom took Murphy to Carter Mountain to pick apples.  Last year, the family went.  But, this year, we just couldn't make it work.  There was no way I was going to push the double stroller up or down the mountain the day after my 18-mile run.  No way.  And there wasn't really another weekend that it could work anyway.  So, Tom took Murphy to breakfast and then they went and picked a ton of apples.  I did as little as possible while they were away.  But, I had Harlie and Cooper, so I didn't exactly rest.

On Tuesday of this week, Harlie had her 4-year old well check appointment.  That went fine.  Except she had to get five shots.  Oh, she was not happy about that.  But she remains in the 5th percentile for both height and weight, so that's good.  And she would be taller if it weren't for her vertebral issues.  At any rate, tiny as she is, she's doing great.

Today was Therapy Thursday again.  Oh, this day of the week wipes me OUT!  I know it may be hard to understand, but sitting there for therapies is exhausting!  I find myself willing her to do whatever it is they want her to do and that is very draining.  But, she's doing really well, I think.

Allison (her feeding therapist) gave her a soft piece of popcorn wrapped in mesh today.  Harlie didn't want any part of it.  But after some time she finally let her put it between her back teeth and she bit down on it some.  And she can now eat applesauce without me pureeing it.  The only problem is that she must get tired eating it like that, because toward the end of the feeding she gags on it.  Anyway, it's progress, so that's good.

And she did great in speech therapy today.  She said "Mama Duck" and some other two-word combinations.  Some of the words were only understandable because we knew what she was trying to say.  But, mama duck, I think anyone could have understood.  So, that's exciting.  Honestly, she tries to verbalize a lot.  Which is SO promising!

I had to cancel her physical therapy for today, though, to make room for her ENT follow up appointment.  I just tried to find where I blogged about her last ENT appointment, and it looks like I never did.  I thought for sure that I had talked about how the doc had to use a stainless steel catheter-type looking thing to suck all the ear gunk out of her canal.  But I must not have.  Anyway, yeah, Harlie was NOT a fan of that procedure.  Today her local ENT said that her ear tube is definitely out of her canal.  We are just going to wait and see what happens with her ears before we do anything else.  We are hoping she doesn't get any infections so we won't have to put another tube in.  Unfortunately, she didn't test very well afterwards (hearing-wise) so they are thinking there is some fluid behind her ear drum.  So, she's now on a nasal spray for the next 4-6 weeks to help that fluid drain.  That fluid is an infection risk and it doesn't help her hearing, either.  So, we'll go back in the next 4-6 weeks and see how things look.


I don't know if today wiped her out, or if she's coming down with something, but she was not acting like herself this afternoon.  I hope she was just tired.  Tomorrow morning she has gymnastics and she LOVES it.  I would hate for her to miss it.  Oh, I'll have to talk about that soon, too.  Her coach says she is doing great.  He said she is SO independent and not afraid of anything!  
Well, that's all I have time for tonight.  I really hope I can get back to updating you more regularly soon.  It is really hard to cover this much ground in one post!
Thanks for hanging in there!
~Christy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ADD????

These past few weeks, my thoughts have been consumed with Murphy and his struggles in first grade.  His teacher and I have spoken numerous times - in person, over the phone and through e-mail.  And last week Tom and I had a conference with her.

I want to stress that he's not a bad kid.  He's not acting up, being disruptive or disrespectful.  He just can't seem to pay attention or listen enough to be able to keep up with the class.  And as his teacher says, he's just "some place else" a lot of the times.  And while he might know how to spell all the words studied that week, if he doesn't hear her call them out come test time, he doesn't write them down.  So she can't see that he knows how to spell them, and clearly, his grades will be affected.  

We've put some things into place to help.  Whatever work he doesn't complete in class, she sends home so I can make him do it before he can play.  She has 5th grade aides that come in to assist the students as needed.  She moved his seat to be right next to her so she could keep an eye on him and help him along as much as possible.  And Tom has started to walk him into his class so he can help Murphy with the "check-in procedure."  Getting off on the right start seems to help Murphy for the rest of the day.  I think the numerous steps in the check-in process just overwhelm him and leave him beginning the day already feeling behind.  What a horrible way for a six-year old to feel!!!

We've also made some changes at home.  We started a point system with goals that focus on staying on task (without being reminded 10 times), following daily/nightly routines without being prompted and
successfully completing several-step instructions (without being reminded).  I'm not so sure a point system will work for him.  A friend told me about a similar system she has in her house, but she makes it more visual than points on a piece of paper.  So, I might have to try that route soon.  I just don't think he gets that excited about tally marks.

Anyway, after many conversations with numerous people, we completed some paperwork to see if he has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I am not linking ADD to any website because I have - purposefully - not read up on it.  (I learned that tip over four years ago.)  We - just Tom and I - have an appointment with Murphy's pediatrician tomorrow to go over the results.  Then on Friday we have a Child Study meeting at his school.  Here is a definition of Child Study Meeting that I found:

The purpose of the child study meeting is to identify barriers to the learning process, to target specific issues, identify base-line data needed and to then propose strategies which will be attempted as interventions.

I don't know exactly how accurate that definition is, but it sounds close enough to me.  There will be a lot of different people in the meeting, each providing their information and thoughts.  And then the group decides on what, if anything, needs to be done.

So, we'll see what the next couple of days brings.  This has been weighing so heavy on our minds in the Holton household.  I just hate to think of how "lost" he feels during the day.  And the chain reaction of isolation that it has already started to cause.  That is so not our son.  And I can't stand to see him go down this road.  So, hopefully this meeting will be good.  Maybe they can offer some plan to help him.  IF he's ADD, he's certainly not the only one in school.  So, I'm sure they have some things in place to help.

Anyone want to share any ADD experiences?  Got any advice/tips for me?

Thanks!
~Christy

Some Running Firsts

Hi!  Sorry I have been away for a while.  As much as I need/love to blog and tell you all about what's going on here - time has not allowed it.  So sad.  I worked really hard today to try to catch up a bit on things so that my night would be "free" for me to get on the computer.  The kitchen is clean, bags are almost all ready for the morning craziness, kids are tucked in, and I am able to think!  Woohoo!

I'm not sure where to start!  I think I will start with my marathon training.  On Harlie's birthday (STILL need to tell you about that) we ran 16 miles - my longest distance so far.  It wasn't that bad, really.  The worst part of training for me is the anticipation of the long run.  And the nutrition.  Trying to eat the right stuff when you're supposed to takes a lot of energy (thinking energy, I mean).  Anyway, I digress... after I ran the 16 miles, I had to rush home, eat some food, take a shower, and take Harlie to her party.  Sadly (although not surprisingly) we were 20 minutes late.  Had the party, and then went home.  Hung out for a brief couple of hours with the kids and Grandma and Pap Pap (who came down for the weekend) and then Tom and I went to a fundraiser for Richmond Hope Foundation.

We had a great time and got to hang out with some great friends that we've met through my Special Needs Mom's group (which was started by the President of Richmond Hope Therapy).  I forgot my camera that night, which was a total bummer.  But here is a picture I copied from Donna's blog.


From the left, Dara and Jerry, Donna and Aaron and Tom and I.  

We had a great time.  But the event was outside on a grassy hill.  And I was wearing heels.  And we stood for hours.  By the end of the night, all my concentration was going towards keeping myself upright.  Oh, and at social gatherings like this (not hanging out at a friend's house) I generally don't/can't eat.  I just find standing up, holding a small plate, a napkin and a drink - while trying to eat - very uncomfortable.  So, on top of being really, really physically tired, I was probably calorie depleted.

So, to recap - I ran 16 miles, burned about 1,600 calories, had a very busy day which distracted me from eating properly, stood on my feet in heels for several hours and didn't get home till really late.  I was beat!  And my muscles let me know it, too!  Let me tell you, the next four runs were not easy!  I didn't set myself up for good recovery.  So, this past Saturday we ran a recovery run of just 12 miles.  And this Saturday we go up to 18 looooong miles!

So, to help my legs recover a bit to prepare for 18 this weekend, after the 12 on Saturday, I came home and took my very first ice bath.


Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

That was a seriously uncomfortable experience, to say the least.  But I believe it was very beneficial.  And you can read about why in this article, so you can see that I'm not completely insane.  Well, maybe I am, but not for this reason.

It was mighty difficult to go buy the ice I needed, though.  I've been told to buy three bags.  I bought one 16 lb. bag and in my mind I knew it wasn't enough.  But that's all I could bring myself to purchase when I knew I was just going to use it to torture myself!  At torture time, Tom was more than happy to run downstairs and collect all the ice he could find to add to the tub.  I would say he enjoyed my pain a little too much for my comfort, really.

When I took the picture of my feet, I only lasted three minutes and I had to get out.  Tom called me a wimp.  But my toes were already close to falling off - they burned horribly when I got out after just three minutes!  How in the world was I going to last 20???  But then Tom told me that he heard I should wear socks.  At first I thought, heck with it (okay, that wasn't exactly what I thought) I'd rather be sore for a few days.  But then I thought about how badly I really, really want to be able to run this marathon.  Which means I have to be well and injury free for the training runs.  And if this freaking ice bath will help me reach my goal, then I was going to do it!  So, I went and got some socks and made myself get back in that freezing cold water.  I am NO wimp!!!

And I did the full 20 minutes.  I wore my fleece jacket and played games on my iPod Touch and tried to "enjoy" the 20 minutes of being left alone.  I am so darn proud of myself I don't know what to do.  I was cold to the core for the next four hours - but it was worth it!  I ran four on Tuesday, nine today and I'll do five tomorrow and so far, my legs feel great.  So, hopefully I am as "prepared" as I can be for another personal distance record of 18 miles (and I hear they are hilly).  Don't worry, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.  And you can bet I'll be doing another ice bath, too.

Thanks!
Christy