Friday, August 31, 2012

Financial Friday ~ August Check-in

I haven't been budgeting as consistently as I would like.  I don't know if its the lack of weekly check-ins, or just the nature of things.  I've had a couple of weeks go by without reconciling our expenditures - something I use to do every Friday like clockwork.

Without a keen eye on things combine with paying 2 mortgages for the time being, I've felt like our budget was out of control these past few months.  Today I sat down to review things, turns out its not as bad as I had originally feared.  HOWEVER, that's no excuse to allow the pattern to continue!

$150 budgeted ~ $161.21 actuals

I lead off with this one, because I'm proud of how well I actually stuck with the budget without much effort.  I've read reports of rising food prices, given the heat/drought this summer, so Jay and I will be discussing spending a bit more next month.  $150 is about what we need monthly to not deplete (but certainly not build up) the stockpile. 

$100 budgeted ~ $181.24 actuals

We never spend $100 or less on food out.  We nickel and dime it to death with trips to Taco Bell, then dinner out with friends or family pushes it over the top.  Not sure why Jay likes to set the "hopeful" bar low, when we don't stick with it.  While I hate we almost spend double our budget, I don't fault our careless spending with all the blame.

Brooke's personal spending
$100 budgeted ~ $130 actuals

I went over last month, so I decided to spend less this month.  Only someone did tell my pocketbook.  *Sigh*  Dinner out with friends, an overnight girls trip, and a couple of race registrations really did me in.  Got 2 more for next month.  I need a sponsor!!!

Have you being tracking your spending?  What's the biggest frivolous area you splurge on yourself?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Daily Thanks

Friday - helLO
Not sure how it came up in conversation, but Jay tried to imitate the way my Papaw always answers the phone: quick on the first part, emphasis on the "low" syllable.  Out of the blue it hit me how blessed I was Jay knows how my Grandfather answers the phone.
1) He calls my Papaw on the phone.  2) A month away from 80, my Papaw is not only still alive, but still working with his cattle on the farm.
Saturday - BIL

Saturday (after "failing" my race as my mother so delicately put it) I learned that my brother-in-law successfully navigated the San Fransisco Bay to complete the Escape from Alcatraz relay event.  He and a buddy flew out there to compete - he swam the frigid 1.5 miles and his buddy completed the 7 mile run. 

My sister calls our racing (and our dad's devotion to being a high school football referee) "dumb assery" but I feel blessed to have a BIL who understands my love of racing and supports me every step of the way.
Sunday - Napping!

I know I've used this one before, but I'm always thankful for a Sunday afternoon nap when I have the chance to get one.  This particular nap lasted for 3 1/2 hours.  I woke up at 7PM, yet was still tired enough to be in bed asleep by 11PM.  I definitely needed some extra rest!
Monday - Cycling Class

After Saturday's triathlon debacle, it felt nice to hop on that spin bike and power through a 400+ calorie burn.
Tuesday -Movie Night

Jay rarely wants to go to the movies (a waste of money he says) so I am thankful when he find a movie he deems worth of watching in the theater.  He chose The Campaign - a little on the vulgar side, but definitely had a few good chuckles.
Wednesday - Coffee creamer

I'm dealing with allergies or a cold and my throat is raw and sore.  A yummy coffee creamer makes even the sludge the serve at work drinkable.
Thursday - Hot Apple Cider

(see Wednesday)

What have you been thankful for this past week?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Celebrating Fitness

This morning I read a post by my friend Barb calling me out for insulting her.  I've been an insensitive bitch and she's tired of it.

It seems that at least once a week, and usually more often, I see someone lamenting about how slow they are biking, running, swimming, or whatever. Or how they didn’t go far enough, or saying how horrible their workout was because…wait for it…they were injured.

While her comments were NOT targeted directly at me, I've certainly been guilty of the above-mentioned crime.  Sadly enough, I've also been hurt by others doing the exact same thing.  Of all people, I should know better - making the offense far worse.

I think I've been pretty good hear lately about controlling my own negative thoughts and posts, but then again I've been happy with my pace/progress here recently.  Would I feel the same if the PRs weren't rolling in?

For the month of September (and hopefully beyond) I pledge to stand with Barb and anyone else willing to join us.

I pledge to celebrate every workout I do in September. I won’t put myself down just because my pace or distance was not what I had planned. I will celebrate the victory of that workout, which might be as simple as getting out when I really didn’t want to or as profound as a personal record. It doesn’t matter how big or small the victory seems at the time – I will celebrate it and ditch the negative. 
Care to join us? Also? Please feel free to make a citizen's arrest if you catch me participating in the offensive act.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tip-sy Tuesday

Don't worry, I'm not promoting drinking first thing in the morning.  If I were going to do that, it would definitely be on a Monday!  Instead I want to talk about helpful tips as found on the Internet.  I've had a couple here lately, so I thought we could have a little chat and share with one another the best of the best.

I'm probably missing the boat by not signing up for Pinterest, but I'm afraid of adding yet another time suck to my life.  Today, will you bear with me and share links the old fashioned way - in the blog comments?

When I ran into problems cleaning the extra- large shower curtain surrounding our claw foot tub, I sought help via google search.  Thankfully I found a bunch of answers on yahoo, and scrolled through until I found the one that worked for me.

Given the set up, the curtain cannot be taken down completely to be replaced or even machine washed.  I followed one person's advice and took down as much of the curtain as possible, then filled the tub up with warm bleach water.  I let it soak for an hour or so.  No scrubbing was required yet the curtain looked practically brand new!

Thank you random Internet search answer person!!

Last year, my father had an abundance of tomatoes in his garden.  I don't like fresh tomatoes, but I do a lot of canned 'maters in my cooking.  I found a detailed tutorial on how to freeze tomatoes.  The work is easy, but it does create a mess.  I only got about 3 servings last year using this method, but got almost 10 this year.  I even cut up garden jalapenos to add in to a couple of the freezer bags for chili.

Thank you home grown blogger person!!

What great Internet tip have you tried/liked recently?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Douple Dip Sprint Tri: Race Review

Normally I do race reports for each of the races I complete.  In the case of the Double Dip, such a report isn't needed.  I completed the 300 yard swim, went through the first transition only to learn I had a flat on the bike.  I had checked the tire pressure while unloading it from my car that morning, so I must have popped a tube.  Thankfully I had only ridden a 10th of a mile, so the walk of shame back to the transition area was very short.

This makes for my first ever DNF (did not finish).  My first DNS (did not start) was also a triathlon which I was forced to pull out of for health reasons.

Instead of a race report, I want to review the race and my training leading to it in order to better myself for the next time around.  And, yes, there will be a next time.  I considered never racing in a sport which mechanical failure meant personal failure.  After some much needed sleep I decided I wasn't the kind of person to be okay with accepting failure. 

What I did well:

  • Spent enough time on my bike to learn the gears
  • Several long rides helped build my endurance and confidence
  • Bought a tri suit to make transition easier and over all race more comfortable
  • Arrived race morning in plenty of time to set everything up
  • Passed 2 people on the swim (also got passed by 1)
  • Have a cry, then move on!

To improve:

  • Be careful of the curbs!!
    I think the incident with the tire happened on my ride in to set up my transition area before the race.  Parking was quite the trek away, so I threw my bag over my shoulder and rode in.  Unfortunately, I hit the driveway curb too fast (there was a fairly big lip).  At the time I was concerned, but it didn't immediately deflate so I went ahead with my set-up.
    In the prerace announcements the race director cautioned about the driveway exit, but I suspect at that point it was too late for me.
  • Learn to change a flat
    Some more competitive people have said they wouldn't bother with changing the tube for a sprint race, but given I don't even know how the choice was made for me.  I've decided its past time to learn how, and friend's husband has volunteered to teach me.
  • More bricks
    I didn't make it to the bike/run portion of the race, but I should have done more than just one brick before the big day.  This will be corrected in the next month before my next race.
  • Remember: Mechanical failure is NOT personal failureThis is true even if being more cautious I could have prevented the accident.  Never live in the world of woulda-shoulda-coulda.

How do you cope when life throws you a curve ball? (Or a flat tire?)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Foto Friday - Bear & Birdie

I’ve never been a fan of knick-knacks in my home, even to the point of being accuse of liking a “cold” and “uninviting” look.  Maybe it can be traced back to my childhood chore of dusting the house – including the piano.  The family piano is more a display case and less an instrument.  I took only 3 years before giving up because I wasn’t any good.  My mother plays well, just not often. 

Maybe my OCD tendencies keep me from having too many figurines – after all the fewer I have the less worry there is about something being out of place.  Or not being aligned perfectly with true north.  Or something equally as neurotic.

The few items I do have are symbolic, and considered worth of the trouble to dust around them.  The jar of unity sand from our wedding represents our intertwined lives.  The fake Bush’s cans with “Chesnutt Hill” on the label represent my husband’s insistence on buying something to decorate a kitchen he’s never in.

Two of my favorites, however, seem out of place to even those who love dust collectors…I mean thingamajigs.  Despite my farmhouse style in the majority of our house, the master bedroom is a more modern look.  The walls are painted a rich, dark teal.  The room accessories, including the bedspread, are gun metal and black – save the bear and the bird on my nightstand.

A few years ago I visited my sister and her family for the weekend – nothing out of the ordinary.  I can’t remember the specifics, but the Princess said/did something to hurt my feelings.   As an apology, she brought me the care bear as her way of saying “I’m sorry.”   To this day, the bear hangs out in the black lamp on my nightstand.

Just recently, while cleaning out the office, Jay found the bird and put it on my nightstand to keep the bear company.  Birdie was a gift from my Mamaw.  Of course she certainly knows better than to think the bird is the type of home d├ęcor I enjoy (she bought me my super awesome comforter after all).  The tiny little statue has a much more interesting story behind it.

Each year around Christmas time (usually the Saturday before) my family gathers at my house for an evening to hang out and be silly together.  Set aside is the stress of cooking holiday food (we have soup, sandwiches) as well as the stress which goes hand-in-hand with gift shopping/giving.  Instead, we keep it pretty simple.

The rules for our “dirty Santa” game state that each individual wanting to participate must find at least 1 item from their home that they no longer want.  The item might be useful to someone else, or it might be something they end up throwing in the garbage.  One year I was the lucky recipient of a 20 year old bathroom hand towel.  (I now use it for a sweat towel at the gym.)   Birdie is a reminder to me of all the crazy-fun my family has together.

Some call it “curio” others “crap” but to me, these baubles are symbols of the love my family shares with me.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tri-Week Daily Thanks

Friday - Wellness program

I often forget how fortunate I am to have free access to the gym - classes, equipment, and locker rooms - available to me via my employer.  Logic goes the more employees workout the healthier we will be, lowering our health insurance costs.  This is definitely a benefit I use frequently!

sporting one of the many "wellness" gifts we've received through the years.

Saturday - Cades Cove run

Last week I told you about the Backyard Olympics.  This weekend I met up with the Knoxville Track Club Socialities for a run in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park followed by food and fellowship.  I ran with Kim for the first half, then took the back portion solo.  I'm one of those crazy runners who can't decide if I like the solitude of running alone or the benefit of chatter that comes with company.  I had the best of both for this run.  I ended up going long and doing over 10 miles, the longest I've ran since April!

Sunday - Kelly & Crew

My parents and I traveled to have lunch with my sister and pick up her rug-rats for the week.  As always, I very much enjoyed hanging out with her.  The Princess didn't feel well the last time I saw her, but was back to her old self yesterday.  The Little Man is cuter than ever.

Monday - Dollar Hot Dog night

I met my parents and the kids at the TN Smokies game for $1 hot dog night.  Along with my handy-dandy refillable (for only $1) mug purchases at the beginning of the season, I had a pretty reasonably priced ball park dinner.

Tuesday - Garden fresh produce

I enjoyed a delicious cantaloupe for breakfast as well as a green pepper (topping on my bagel pizza) - both courtesy of my father's garden.

Wednesday - Friends!

I'm very thankful for friends that I've had for the past decade.  Our group met at work (my first real post-college job) and made quick friends.  A decade later, 3 of the 4 of us have moved on.  We've probably traded thousands of emails over the years, and somehow we've made it work, despite having very little in common.

Thursday - One last swim

I'm doing a triathlon this weekend, and Monday's mini-tri was less than what I had hoped it to be.  "Suck-tastic" is a good word to describe my swim (my weakest of the 3 sports).  Today's swim, however was everything Monday's wasn't - relaxing, reassuring, comfortable.  Feels good to have this one under my belt 2 days before race day.

What have you been thankful for this past week?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Constantly Craving - Book Review

When I saw the Book Sneeze review opportunity for Constantly Craving: How to Make Sense of Always Wanting More by Marilyn Meberg, I jumped at the opportunity.  After all, this was a topic right up my alley.  I'm always wanting to run a bit further, a bit faster, try the latest thrill seeking adventure, or even lose just a couple more pounds. 

Surprisingly (at least to me), this book has nothing to do with food or fitness.  Meberg addresses our common desires for more love, more from our relationships (including separate chapters for marriage and friendships), time, solitude, among others.

I was disappointed with the book over all, although it contained some helpful information.  For me, the book fell short of going past the "direct your cravings to God" church answer.  Maybe I'm being too critical, given the book being different from what I expected.  I must admit I found myself skimming towards the end, just to get through it for review purposes.

Bottom line: Borrow from a friend.  If you are bored.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, August 20, 2012

Living Their Faith

Rather than discussing what I've done wrong this past week in my attempts to live missionally, I thought we would all be better served to discuss what we've seen others do right

I've had 2 very clear examples, one from someone very near and dear to me.  The other is a complete stranger.

When scheduling his hair appointment (his niece owns a salon), Joyce asked how the family was going.  Being the king of over-share (yes, like father like daughter) he launched into his knee woes, my mother's need for arthroscopic surgery, my Mamaw's fall and subsequent shoulder problems - all as a stressor on top of the big deal of Zach's cancer diagnosis/treatment.

A couple of days ago, Joyce called the house and asked my dad to stop by her shop.  The lady who's hair she was doing had overheard them talking about Zach's cancer diagnosis and wanted to do something to help.  Instead of the trite "I'll be praying for him" she put her faith into action.  While praying for him, she made Zach a prayer quilt - a gift both practical and thoughtful in nature.

Every time he takes the quilt to a chemo treatment, or wraps up in it at home, Zach has literal proof of the love and prayers by which he's being surrounded.

Another touching example of faith in action I witnessed at a funeral this past Monday.  For several years, a local attorney struggled with a rare blood disorder.  I attended his funeral on Monday with my mother.  She had worked with him, and counted him among her friends.  After he became ill, even after moving to another state to await a transplant, she kept in touch. 

As we walked through the line, I watched as my mother introduced herself and I watched as the expressions on the faces of each of the family members changed.  Each time, their face went from the blank look of a mourning family accepting generic condolences, to a look of recognition and appreciation.  Repeatedly, they thanked my mother for being a good friend and source of support.

My friends, that is what living missionally is all about.  In what ways have you witnessed the love of Christ in action?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Backyard Olympics

You might not know it, but I'm married to a gold medalist.  What sport, you ask? 

Beer chugging! (oh wait - that's me!)

Jumping rope (25 times immediately following above-stated beer chugging)

then running a zig-zap pattern through cones, only to tag the next relay partner on your team.
And that was only the first activity!  Some of the buddies I've been social running with lately put together the backyard beer Olympics.  We split in to teams - I was very thankful to NOT be on a team with my super competitive husband - to go for the gold(schlager).

We had a tug-of-war tournament. 
(My team lost miserably in the first round to the team with the giant, but we recouped with a solid victory in round 2 for the bronze.)

Bungee Run

Three legged race

And ended with a plank-hold endurance challenge. 
Then it was time to head inside for food and (more) beverages...

There was an award for best Olympic costume

Honorable mentions included a male gymnast (see picture below), a speedo (swimer? diver? beach volley ball chick? see pic 2 below), and Kara Goucher (see pic 3 below).  Then it was time for team awards.

Bronze {rum}

{bacardi} silver

...and finally the gold{schlager} team!

Where am I, you ask?  My team finished 4th.  Out of 4.  We did win triva later though!

Jay also took home the MVP trophy for his team.  Why, you ask, given one of his fellow teammates is a beeping tank?  Good question.  Just kidding...but seriously. 

In all honesty, I think Jay was awarded the trophy based on his effort.  Jay is a competitor - be it chugging a beer or walk/run/hiking  26.2 miles.

What fun do you have planned for this coming weekend?  Jay and I are going to be meeting back up with this same group, only this time we'll be doing a long run followed by soaking our feets in the cool creek and refueling.   

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Daily Thanks - Back in the Saddle

I've slacked on daily thanks these past couple of weeks, but its time to get back at it!  Here are just a few of the things I've been thankful for this past week.

Thursday - Shrinking Olympics

After 10 days of online challenges - I won the ultimate Olympian prize!  (Bragging rights in addition to a $100 gift card.)  I won the gold medal in 4 events, silver in 4, and bronze in 1 - best I could count during the awards ceremony.  I'm very pleased with my effort and performance!

Friday - Sleep

Jay and I watched a Netflix DVD, then he went about setting up our new modem & wireless router (or old ones were struck by lightening).  He began around 8 o'clock and I fell asleep shortly after.  We were going to watch something on Hulu when he finished.  Instead we went to bed and I got some good rest before my race the next morning!

Saturday - Running (& walking) friends

I participated in a race (and took 2nd in my age group) in the morning then hung out with some other runner friends for backyard Olympics later in the evening. 

Jay's team gold medal (aka goldschlager) and his MVP award

Sunday - Family

I often use "family" as a thankful point, but I am truly blessed with incredible parents, grandparents, and extended family.  Sunday after church I hung out with my parents, watched a (really bad) movie, and enjoyed my Mama's home cooking from my Daddy's garden.

Monday - 70th Monthiversary

Jay and I celebrated our 70th month together since the day we met by going on a local winery tour/tasting then eating dinner out.

Tuesday - Insomnia

Normally, this wouldn't be a thankful topic, but my mother had minor surgery on Tuesday.  Early that morning (around 3) I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep, giving me ample time to pray for the doctor who was performing the surgery, the attending nurses, and for God to calm the nerves of my father and grandparents.  I'm also thankful the surgery went well.

Wednesday - Training buddy

I'm very blessed to count my training buddy (and coworker) as one of my best friends. Sometimes I'm the fast one, sometimes I hold her back but always we have something fun to talk about - and someone with whom to try new events/distances/social activities.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Break-through: Review & Giveaway

The title of the book - Break-Through: When to Give In, How to Push Back. The Moment that Changes Everything by Tim Clinton and Pat Springle – gave me high hopes for directives regarding Godly relationships.  I wanted a checklist of “when to give in” and clear instructions on “how to push back.” 

Instead I had my eyes opened to my own relational flaws.  Not so much a user manual as a case study on relationships and behaviors.  Going into the read with the wrong mindset, I must say I was disappointed with the first few chapters.  The only examples were extreme unhealthy relationships not found in my life – the over-bearing mother, the abusive boyfriend, and the like.

About half way through the book, I realized that my expectations were hampering my reading.  I readjusted my mindset and almost immediately began to glean helpful information from the book.  Instead of reading to “fix” others in my life, I became aware of damaging, albeit minor, behaviors of which I am guilty.  Examples include being too passive when my husband asks for my opinion and being too pushy when he doesn’t agree with my opinion.  (What can I say – I’m an eclectic personality.)

While the writing style was a bit too clinical for my preferences, it contains a lot of helpful information from which I think most people could benefit.  And benefit one of you shall…I’ve been given an extra copy of the book to share with one lucky bloggy friend (and get to selfishly keep my copy for myself)!

Giveaway Entry details:

*Manditory* Leave a comment recommending the last good book you read. If you don’t read, audiobooks count.  If you don’t listen, books made into movies count.  If you don’t watch movies, I’m sorry to inform you we can no longer be bloggy friends.

+1: Follow my blog.  See that little button over there? >>> Leave me a comment telling me you did (or already do).

+1 (each): Tweet, facebook, blog about the giveaway.    (Up to once daily until the giveaway closes)

+1: Something creative that I forgot.  Hit me up in the comments. 
Giveaway closes on August 22. 

Thanks to Worthy Publishing via Handlebar Marketing for providing me with a free copy of this book as well and a copy to give away.  Opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Racing to Remember (almost) 5K - Race Report

I hadn't planned on doing another 5K this summer.  The weather has been far too hot and humid to get any quality outdoor training runs.   However one of my besties found a race benefiting Alzheimer's (a disease affecting her family) and she asked us to join her.

Surprisingly, the weather Saturday morning was cool and pleasant.  I even wore a light jacket over my running gear on the way to the race.  I got there 30 minutes early, but between checking in and gabbing with the girls I didn't have time for a warm up.

Over the past couple of weeks I've had some lingering soreness in my left calf, so I opted to run the race wearing a compression sleeve.  I didn't feel comfortable running on cold muscles, but there was no time to do otherwise.

For a first time race, there was a pretty good turn out - over 100 racers participating.  Kelly and I have spent too much time stuck behind jogging strollers, so we also position ourselves towards the front when possible.  We always get passed by faster runners, but I race better getting passed then having to work to pass those slower than me.

The course was flat(ish).  Certainly not the flattest I've ever ran, but the bumps (I won't go so far as to call them hills) weren't large enough to really affect race strategy.  Shortly after the start, I turned on my music and settled into a comfortable pace.

Mile 1: 8:19

I question before the race if my Garmin would help or hurt, and decided to go ahead and wear it.  I tried not to look to it too much, but was very encouraged to see my pace at the first mile marker.  I was feeling comfortably challenged. 

I cheered on the leaders as they met me between the 1 & 2 mile markers (it was an out and back course), and was surprised to see my Garmin said the turn around was 1.46 miles into the race.  Some races have a different start/end point, so I assumed the finish line would be a bit further into the road, or up the parking lot.

Mile 2: 8:36

While the temperature was a mild 68* the humidity was still up in the high 70% range.  By this point in the race I was beginning to tire.  As I pushed myself to maintain my pace, I started wheezing.  For me wheezing is the sign of pushing my limits.

I crested the last bump before the quarter mile finish and took off.  Don't think, don't look at your watch, don't do anything but run like the wind.  As I got closer to the clock, I noticed it read 24:XX.  No way I would get there before it flipped over, but a 25 minute 5K was still a PR by almost 2 minutes.

Mile 3(ish): 8:07

As soon as I crossed the finish line, one of my daily mile pals congratulated me, then burst my bubble with 2 words "short course."

Turns out my last mile was an 8:46 m/m average pace - but it wasn't a full mile.  The course was only 2.93 miles instead of the 3.1 miles a 5K is supposed to be.  This was super disappointing to me, especially when I used a pace calculator to determine my time (if I used my average pace) would have been 26:30 - a true PR by over 20 seconds for me.

Thankfully, the day wasn't a total waste - I took 2nd in my age group!

And for the Jay Fradds of the world - no, there weren't only 2 people in my group.  I finished 2nd out of 9!  3rd place was a full 2 minutes behind me.  1st place was 22:XX so no amount of pushing would have gotten me a better standing.  Not bad for Asthma girl if you ask me!

Final Time - 25:04 (gun time)/2.93 miles

I quickly grabbed a water, had my chip cut off my shoe, and headed back on the course.  The friend who'd asked us to do the race was walking by herself, so I trotted out to meet her.  We did the last half mile together, and when we were about a tenth of a mile from the finish, I made her run.  I picked it up to a sprint and yelled for her to match my pace.  She made it in 39.19 (gun time) - an excellent time for walking the majority of the race!  I am incredible proud of her!

I wasn't the only one of the group to take home bling - out of our group we walked away with 2 silvers and 2 bronze awards! (I love that the a/g awards were in gold/silver/bronze like the Olympics.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Open to Suggestions - Missional Minded Monday

I hope to make Missional Minded Monday a regular feature around here.  Keeping it in the forefront of our minds, and as Mari said just little bits of love and putting others first is the best way we can show God's love.

After last week's wonderful *cough* example of how I gave up my Diet Cherry Pepsi to show Jay Jesus's love (only for him to give it back to me), I thought I would share my big fat fail for this previous week.

For my triathlon training, I've been doing one long cycle outside to log time in the seat and get use to my bike gears.  The for my 2nd bike ride of the week, I head to the gym and take a cycling class.  This helps build my strength and confidence - tackling imaginary hills isn't any where near as depressing when it gets really steep.

To reserve a bike, patrons can call as early as an hour before class.  With a limited number, the classes often fill up.  I called at 11:30 on the nose and snagged a bike for the 12:30 lunchtime class.  I arrived a few minutes early and got in a nice easy spin to warm up. As the class started, all the bikes filled up.

5 minutes into class, another cycler arrived.  The instructor asked if she had signed up for class, she had.  The instructor then asked who in the class hadn't.  No one volunteered.  Going person by person thought the list, the instructor attempted to match the sign up sheet with the faces before her. 

Give up yours.  A voice within me said.

But. I argued

Do it, give up your bike. 

That's not fair.  I was here first.

They'll be another class, another opportunity.  Do it.

Hmf.  I put my head down and kept riding. 

a pouting reinactment

As the instructor began to call names, one of the regulars got off her bike. 

 Your name is on here, you signed up.  The instructor told her.  You don't need to give up your bike.

Its okay, she can have it.  She said, and grabbed her stuff to leave the class.

Its a humbling experience seeing someone willing to do something I knew should be done, but was unwilling to do myself.  I was also humbled when I realized how small and petty of thing I was asked to do, yet I still said "no." 

Talk to me.  What missional opportunities have you encountered?  Whether you rose to the challenge or not, I think its good to discuss them so others can be aware of things we can be doing to show Christ's love.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Foto Friday - Green Thumb?

I've never been one to nurture living things: kids, animals, plants all seem better off when not relying on me to care for them.  I even killed an African violet, which my mother assured me was impossible to do.  (RIP Eko)

the "before" picture

Imagine my surprise to learn Jay & I had become inadvertent parents to a baby tree.

At first I thought it was a weed, but upon further inspection twas a tree indeed.  Thankfully a guy who's been helping Jay out getting the house ready to sell had a ladder tall enough rigged up a way to clean the gutter out. 

Quite a gem to be proud of, isn't he?

Linking up with Christie O. for foto Friday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pigeon Forge Midnight 8K - Race Report

I woke up far too early for my liking Saturday morning.  One of the very few benefits of a night race is not having to set an alarm to get to the race on time.  (The only other being cooler temperatures.)  Unfortunately, my body naturally woke up at 7 so I knew I would need a nap before I headed to the race much later than evening.

By 10, I was picking up my cousin for some back to school shopping.  Why is that in a race report?  Because shopping for 5 hours is tiring, despite the 16 year old being an awesome young lady.  Also?  I wore flip flops shopping because my sister said I'd embarrass our cousin wearing my running shoes around the mall.

I've been having some lingering soreness in my left calf, and I think this aggravated things.  Fortunately, it didn't effect my running performance, just made for a bit more post-race soreness than I would have expected for an 8K race (just a hair under 5 miles).

Before the big race, I emailed Ashley for a bit of advice.  I've ran a lot of races, but I've never been good at actually racing them.   She's a sweetheart who doesn't mind if I pick her brain (or at least hasn't told me if she does!) about how to approach the race in order to get the best possible result.

Her suggestion was to treat it similar to a 5K, but go out a bit slower.  I kept a comfortable pace, despite being passed by quite a few people.  

Mile 1 - 9:32

I wondered if I had started slowly enough, but by the first turn around I was still feeling well.  I brought my hand-held water bottle along, so I was able to cruise right past the first water station.  I tried to be more thoughtful about my pace, still feeling fairly comfortable.

Mile 2 - 9:37

Around the 3 mile mark, I tried to pick up my effort.  I was working for my speed at this point.  The evening was warm (75*) and extremely humid.  93% was the forecast, I'm not sure how the night actually shaped up, but I'd believe the humidity was truly that bad.

Mile 3 - 9:44

Jay and I had went to dinner with some friends of his that were in town, and they decided to tag along and spectate the race with him.  I'm sure he was glad to have the company while I ran.  Around the 3 mile marker, I saw them on the side of the road and waved as they cheered me on.

Mile 4 - 9:49

Between Miles 3 and 4, I started feeling sluggish.  Between the humidity and the late time of the race, I found it difficult to keep my pace up.  I knew at this point I was going to meet my 2 main goals (a PR and sub 50), if I could just keep pushing myself

After the 2nd turn around, I knew there was just under a mile left in the race.  My pace dipped into the 10s for a bit, but I forced myself to dig deep.  With a half mile to go, I sped up.  By the time I saw the finish line (and heard my crew cheering) I kicked it up and finished strong. 

Mile 5 - 9:40

Final time - 48:16 A PR (last year's was 51:4X), sub 50, and oh-so close to my long shot goal of 48 minutes!

*Splits are from my garmin, finishing time official chip time

Monday, August 6, 2012

Missional Minded Monday

I wrote last Monday on my difficult time learning to accept God's call to live for Him in my ordinary life, instead of traveling to minister to others via a mission trip.  Jay was a little offended by the post.  While it was not my intention, he took it to mean I thought being married to him was a chore. 

I attempted to convey my heart on the matter: frankly put its hard to "witness" to someone who's heard you drop the "f" bomb.  Especially when said bomb was intended to hit him them.

Exhausting.  Hard.  Thankfully those of you who commented seemed to understand the point I was trying to make.

Later in the day, I had a {oh-so-tiny} shot at redemption.  A scene staring BJay:

Jay: takes the last cold soda (cherry diet Pepsi) from the fridge and cracks it open.
Brooke: wrinkles her nose
Jay: What?
Brooke: Nothing.  long dramatic pause. That was supposed to be mine.  I let you have all the others.  That one's diet so you won't drink it.
Jay: But its cherry, so I will.
Brooke: Oh. looks sad
Jay: You can have it if you want it.
Brooke: No, its okay.  Jesus wants you to have it.
Jay: No, take it.
Brooke: Jesus wants you to have it.
Jay: Its okay.  Take it.
Brooke: HURRAH!  Jesus wants me to have it!!

I'm pretty sure the above interaction isn't what 1 Peter 3:1 had in mind.  Now that we have the 2 examples of how not to live missionally, why don't we consider ways we can purpose this week to reach others for Christ. 

In the comments, I'd love to hear your ideas for things we can do right where we are to show the world around us God's love.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Scavenger Fun Run

The local track club put together a scavenger run last week, meeting and ending at my favorite Knoxville restaurant.  Of course I had to participate! 

We split into teams counting off.  This was an excellent strategy to break everyone out of their comfort zones, but towards the end of the run I did feel sorry for the girl who struggled to keep up with the rest of the crew.  The heat index was 104* which made 3+ miles (even with starting and stopping) a bit more challenging.

By our 3rd stop, we decided to get a bit creative.  We pulled in a couple of random people off the street, I pretended I was in prison, and of course, there was the dog bowl.

We reached the 4th stop at the same time as another group,  rather than slow down and get caught behind them, we went ahead and joined them for a group pictures.  I'm the one with the tan, skinny calves.  *cough*

In front of the Tennessee Theater we decided to go for the dramatic.  We couldn't decide on a specific play, but we figured that you can't go wrong with death on the stage. 

This one was a tribute to my former employer.  One of my coworkers and I use to pretend to be gangsta and do "M" gang signs.  Thankfully I had a fun scavenger group who played along and didn't think I was {too} crazy.

Blount Mansion stumped us for creative ideas, but I know when we got the steps of the church we had to Tebow!  I was honestly surprised that none of the other groups did it. 

After a few crazy poses in the park, we filled up our water bottle (we were sharing because nobody else though to bring one) and continued on our hunt.

We toed the line...or maybe crossed it a bit...

...then headed across the (train) tracks...
as in "come on on ride the train" the end we were running out of ideas.  This was a lamp store.  The heat and humidity had us "glowing" so this is the best we could manage.

Then it was back to base camp for some pizza & beer refueling.  Fun times were had by all.  Or at least me.  Jay kept texting me "when are you coming home?"  Guess next time he'll want to join me!

I'm linking up with Christie O.  today for Foto Friday.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Home Grown

The first round of my dad's garden didn't take (he blames Jay), so he had to plant another round.  While everyone else's were getting scorched by record setting 100+ temps, Daddy's garden version 2.0 was still protected.  The rains that followed the harsh temperatures took care of the rest.

This is a picture of a monster zucchini Jay brought home from his office last year.  He placed his hand in the photo to give reference to the size so I could tell him how many I wanted him to bring home.

While the stockpile of veggies being brought into work (zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, cucumbers) is starting to die off, my parents are just now hitting pay dirt.  For the past week I've gotten regular deliveries of cucumbers, tomatoes (to freeze, I only like them cooked), jalapenos, banana peppers, okra, and (already cooked) green beans!

Unfortunately, my dad found raccoon prints leading to his not-yet-ripe corn, but Jay and I have some left in the freezer from last year.  (We probably should get right on that shouldn't we?)

I'm very thankful for:

  1. Coworkers who share.
  2. Parents with the resources to garden.
  3. Parents with the health to garden.
  4. Parents who share.
  5. Free food!!!
What are you thankful for this week?