Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tricycle Lesson

Over the past year, Jay & I have carried mortgage + insurance + taxes + water + electric + internet on 2 houses.  I'd be lying if I tried to pretend the thought of all those payments didn't scare me.  Real Estate is a refined form of gambling, and I'm not the betting type.

Today the anxiety was put to rest.  We sat across the table from a young couple who will bring their first child into the world in a couple months, and will turn our guest room into a nursery.  As we signed the papers, we chatted about all the little things we've learned about the house these past 3 years. 

The tricky ceiling fan pull.
The rickety ladder leading into the attic.
The lemon yellow walls Jay painted for me, despite his feelings on the color.

I'm happy our first (non-rental) home went to someone who will love and appreciate it it.  Even more happy to have further proof of God's provision.  As He has all along the way, He never let us stumble.  Jay worked hard, we paid the bills, and never had to stretch until it hurt.

Today on the way back to work from the closing, I saw a friend of my mother's on the sidewalk.  This lady works as a cashier at McDonalds - driving her tricycle to and from work.  Unfortunately, our road infrastructure isn't biker friendly, but she pedals with a smile upon her face.  I'd never noticed the license plate on the basket in the back until this afternoon: My God is bigger than all my problems.

Praise Him.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Expo 10,000 Race Report

The week leading up to the Expo 10K, I considered a DNS.  After all, I hadn’t trained for the race at all, registration was $5 after coupons/discounts, and I had company coming into town.  Somewhere along the way my mood shifted, and I got excited about the race.  My 10K PR was set during a virtual race almost 2 years ago. 

 Despite the difficult nature of the course, I knew something disastrous would have to occur to prevent me from setting yet another PR this year.  I decided to go for more ambitious goals.  After Covenant, I decided all my races should be ran sub 9 m/m over all, making this race’s secondary goal averaging a 8:XX pace.  My super-ambitious-probably-not-gonna-happen goal was an 8:30 average for a finishing time of 52:49.

I didn’t really have a race plan, but Daily Mile Joe (one of my teammates) talked to Kelly & I about the course layout.  He said miles 1 & 2 should be the fastest given the downhill portions.  Miles 4 -6 would be hilly, and then we’d end on a nice downhill finish.

I lined up with Kelly, but then made no attempt to keep up with her once the race started.  She’s gotten significantly faster than me, and I didn’t want to wear myself out keeping up with her.  Instead I settled into a comfortably fast pace and enjoyed the rolling first couple of miles.

Mile 1 - 8:39

I tried to focus on strong downhill running in mile 2, in order to maximize pace early on.  Apparently, I did fairly well, given that the mile was a faster pace with no more effort.

Mile 2 - 8:32

The next few miles flattened out.  Since I hadn’t carried my hand held water bottle and the morning was fairly humid (although remarkably cool), I walked through the water stop for a drink.  The 3 mile turn is a sharp 180, followed by a quick left turn, and I know my pace slowed a bit.  Mentally I had to push to quicken my turnover and pick up the pace.

Mile 3 - 8:58

Cool or no, the pollen was evident and really getting to me.  I could smell the honeysuckle in the neighborhood.  My lungs hurt, despite the rest of me feeling good.  I tried to keep pushing, and finally decided to switch on my music for distraction.

Mile 4 - 8:45

Leaving the subdivision, racers tackled a pretty steep incline heading towards the freeway. 

Mile 5 - 9:29

Thankfully the first portion of the next mile was flat/downhill and I once again was able to get my momentum going.  I pushed up the long/steep hill heading towards the finish.  I just kept reminding myself the end was just around the corner.  Once again my energy level felt good, but my lungs were on fire.

Mile 6 - 9:04

One final bump up, then it was a downhill finish.  I felt incredible as I crossed the finish line.  Gotta love getting a little extra help for the final kick from the terrain.

Mile 0.2 - {8:00}

According to my watch, I averaged an 8:54 more than meeting 2 of the 3 of my goals.

Garmin time: 55:16
Chip time: 55:19

Age group: 16/36
Overall: 239/463

I am excited to have a marker set for this distance.  Perfect timing to train for another 10K in a couple of months.  It’ll be another hilly course, and most likely very hot/humid.  Even still, I’m hoping for yet another PR at the distance.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Prayer

Forget the Proverbs 31 wife.  My prayer is one day this will be how I love My Love.  I'm not there yet, but I'm trying.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Confessions of a Thankful Slacker

In the process of moving, I realized there would be a few things left behind. 
 I made sure I had toiletries at each place, same with Bibles,
carried my phone charger in my purse, but somehow overlooked one major thing.

This weekend we undertook the big move. 
 We hired a couple guys to help Jay with the heavy lifting,
 borrowed a truck and trailer, and jumped in with both feet. 
I'm thankful to say it was far less painful that I expected.

One casualty?  My thankful list. 

I left my notebook at the farm house and didn't retrieve it for a couple days. 
 Turns out, unless I'm toting the binder around, I don't stop to be thankful.
 I only made a couple of notes using the app on my phone. 
 I'm glad to say its back in my possession.

And now for the recap #1072-1150:
1074) letter from Suman (my Compassion kid)
1078) niece & nephew who love me
1084) niece's teacher who attended the Princess's first communion
1096) promise of His provision
1100) Seeing Jesus work via jay
1111) clarity regarding confrontation
1125) peaches & cottage cheese
1134) ability to laugh @ a creepy situation
1140) jay packing the house
 For what have you been thankful this past week?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Awesome Isn't Good Enough

When Jay and I purchased our new cabin, we realized it was lacking one very important feature.  In order to convert it from a rental cabin to our home, we would have to add a closet.  Not just any closet.  A Mack-daddy, there-is-no-where-else-to-store-crap mega closet. 

My carpentry skilled, OCD repressed husband went to work.  One evening while I played on twitter cleaned the house; Jay spent hours sketching out the perfect closet.  He counted my shoes.  He inventoried my clothing.  He measured the length of my dresses.  He made detailed notes which he added to his blueprint.

Then he handed the information to our contractor and they went to work.  Surprising no one who’s ever worked on a building/remodel project, they weren’t quite as meticulous as my darling love.  They eyeballed instead of measured.  They assumed it would be good enough.

They assumed wrong.

This weekend we moved in.  This weekend, Jay’s OCD came out of hiding as he proudly unpacked my shoes and arranged them on the shelving he envisioned would make me the happiest wife in the worldUSstatecounty subdivision.


I posted the above picture on Facebook.  What some of my friends saw was an awesome way to store my shoes.  What others saw was the excessive amount of shoes I own.  What no one saw (or at least commented on) was the major flaw with the shelving.

Notice the row of heels turned on their sides? (Just above the boots) The measurements were off by a fraction, making the shelves too short for my tallest of heels.

A similar mistake on the dress section of the closet meant I had to call my mother.  I have an enviable closet, yet I have to store my formal dresses at my mommy and daddy’s house.

Sometimes awesome just isn’t good enough.

Sometimes tiny details matter.

Sometimes a closet turns out to be a life lesson.  It’s difficult to see flaws through the filter of Facebook.  Nothing is truly perfect.  Everyone has their issues. 

But despite it all, I’m blessed.  Because while awesome isn’t good enough, it’s still pretty damn cool.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Training Tuesday - What Now?

While I'm still running the Summer Solstice, I've decided not to make it my training/focus-on race.  Why, you ask?  Here is the course description:

A challenging, out-and-back, hilly, don't worry about a PR, course.

When the Knoxville Track Club calls a race hilly, you know its bad!  Also, it starts at 6PM.  Pretty much the hottest, most humid time of day summer in east Tennessee.

The latest of the summer race evolution from Brew-Ha-Ha to Midsummer Nights, we believe we've found a permanent home, to include some improvements. No more miserable sweating in July, now you can sweat "pleasantly" in June! Of course it was always a great race and some things can't be improved...there's still beer at the finish line!

 Just for fun race it is!!


I'm kinda lost lazy without a race to train for.  I've got a 10K this weekend and a half marathon in 2 weeks - far too little time to train seriously.

Beyond those races, I only have a 10K and an 8K left on my summer calendar.  The rest of the races I've picked out this year are more into the fall (15K and half marathon distances).  I'm just not sure what to train for.

Should I work toward a marker this weekend (my 10K PR is from years ago, so I shouldn't have difficulty beating it) then work on a new PR for the 10K in mid July?  Focus on the 8K scheduled 2 weeks later?

I'm also considering doing the Anchor Splash spring triathlon I've done in years past, but that's scheduled for late September.  With only a 300 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and 3 mile run - the training should be minimal for me.

I guess the question comes down to - is 8 weeks enough for serious 10K training?  10 weeks too much for 8K training?  What say ye?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach...

...and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up!

I received this book to review with the understanding I would post a review on May 1st (the books release date).  In the process of moving, it got misplaced before I had a chance to read it.  I was the goody-two-shoes in school, so missing a due date to an assignment bothered me.  I emailed the company and let them know my review would be a little late.  I have yet to receive hate mail from them, so maybe they understand things happen.

Without further adieu, my review:

The (longest eva) title had caught my eye, so I was looking forward to the unique take on a story I've heard all of my life.  I hadn't had a chance to preview the book before first reading it to my 5 year old nephew.  I tried to get a read on him, but kids that age are difficult.

  Not knowing much about children's literature, I worried that the book was too long for a kid.  However,  my nephew didn't have a problem sitting through the reading.  I very much enjoyed the illustrations.  The takeaway, like the Biblical story of Jonah, is about trusting God's will for your life.  Its a message I hope my nephew learns sooner, rather than later in life.

My only other concern about the book was the "Christianese" language used by the author.  As a "churched" person, I knew what the author was trying to say, although I'm not sure the language is truly speaking to a younger crowd.

What I can say is that he told me he liked the book, and sat still the entire time I read it - a huge compliment coming from a rambunctious little boy. Also, I asked if he wanted to keep it and he said yes.

Overall it looks like this book was a win!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Returning Thanks

Sometimes it feels like all I write about any  more are races, training, and thankfulness. 
 And I'm okay with that. 
 More than okay. 
 Sounds like a pretty good life to me!
This week I recorded numbers 1013 through 1071 on my list.  Here is a sampling:
1014) Safe travels to Ohio
1022) Prerace poop
1023) Early morning sunrise
1033) Good visit with Jay's parents
1038) MIL's hospitality
1039) FIL's sense of humor
1040) Pastor Dan's blog
1051) Psych on DVR
1055) Answered prayer
1057) Generosity of others
1064) Rest when I am weary
1065) Rain drops, dripping from the evergreen
just outside my front window
How has God blessed you this past week?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer Solstice 8k - Training Week 3

scheduled - 7x400 intervals
actual - 5x400 intervals
All the treadmills were taken when I first got to the gym,
so I warmed up on the elliptical.
Kept the pace at the slow end of the range,
and shortened the workout to save my legs for the weekend.
scheduled - Strong Lifts 5X5
actual - weights/2 mile run
These weight workouts only last 20 minutes,
so we've been tagging a run/walk afterward.
scheduled - easy
actual - 45 minute walk
scheduled - rest
actual - rest
scheduled - race day!
scheduled - rest
actual - rest
scheduled - Strong Lifts 5X5
actual - weights/walk
Calves are still sore.
I tried to trot a bit during the walk,
but it just wasn't happening.
I've decided to throw out the goal of negative splits for the near future. 
Due to my lack of confidence, going out too fast never seems to be a problem.
I'd rather go out to fast
 (at least for the next few races at each distance)
and know I gave it my all.
Will that result in some less-than pretty races?
But at least I'll feel confident about my effort,
and be able to know I left nothing out there.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Capital City Half Marathon - Race Report

I signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon the week following my 2:00:22 running of the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon.  Given the hilly nature of east Tennessee, I figured I could run sub 2 on a flat course and finally put that goal to bed.

In any give half, 13.1 is rarely the distance from start to finish.  Between wide turns (very difficult to run the tangents even when thinking about it) and passing people along the way, I always seem to pick up an extra tenth of a mile or so along the way.

 I knew the 9:09 pace wouldn’t be good enough for that reason, and set the goal to run this race at a 9:00 pace. Going into the race I had no doubt I was physically ready to run a sub 2 race, but I was struggling mentally.  After all 9:00 is practically 8:59. 

And I don’t run distance races in the 8s! 

I became even more intimidated when I arrived at the race starting line.  My projected finishing time had landed me in corral B, while the slowest of racers would start in corral F.  The sizes of corrals C-F were the same size of corral A + B.  My projected race of 1:5X:XX would put me finishing with the top of racers.

I’m not a top racer!

The race organizers asked us to load into the corral at 7:40 for an 8:00 start.  Thankfully Jay and MIL were able to stand close by, and I spent most of the time dancing around and acting goofy in an effort to embarrass him.  I chatted with a couple of my fellow corral Bers, the Mayor addressed the crowd, then the Race Director spoke.

The National Anthem was preceded by Sweet Caroline and a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. I started to tear up, knowing how blessed I am to be a part of such a great community of runners.

With the sound of the gun we were off.  A lot of runners passed me in the first mile, and I told myself it was because I was in the wrong corral.  I didn’t deserve to be that far forward in the pack.

Mile 1 - 9:01

Along the course, we hit a few inclines to change up the flat terrain.  I certainly wouldn’t call them hills, but my body reacted to them as if they were.  I noticed on the incline portions I slowed, but didn’t gain any speed on the decline portions.

Mile 2 - 9:22

Throughout the race, the crowd never really thinned.  When the quarter marathoners split off, the roads seem to get narrower.  Passing was never easy and I was always surrounded by people.  The benefit to the large race was the amount of spectators along the roads. 

Mile 3 - 9:07

Early in the race, I started battling with my mind.  I saw my slow 2 mile pace and kept telling myself the pace wasn’t good enough to meet my goal.  Somehow I morphed it into ME not being good enough.  I settled into a comfortable pace, afraid of not being able to sustain more over the constant flat terrain.
Mile 4 - 9:21

Mile 5 - 9:14
Mile 6 - 9:16
At this point I knew I was losing the battle in my mind and needed a distraction.  I turned my iPod on and tried to concentrate on running with the music.  My next few miles reflected the wisdom with that decision.

Mile 7 - 9:05

Mile 8 - 9:04

Mile 9 - 9:01

Jay and his mother were looking for me around the 8/9 mile point of the race.  Never has a girl be so happy to see her mother-in-law, and their cheers brought a smile to my face.  I waved at them and pushed on.  Around the next corner the wind was pretty strong.  I appreciated the coolness of the breeze, however, so I accepted it as the gift it was.

Mile 10 - 9:08

Mile 11 - 9:02

Mile 12 - 9:02

Mile 13 – 9:00

I had seen a “Boston strong” poster along the side of the course, and decided my final few miles would be for those who didn’t get to finish their race due to the bombings.  I pushed through to finish strong.  My efforts (and sharpie) were rewarded as I received several cheers-by-name in the final miles.

0.1/0.25 - {8:31}

With the finish line in site, I gave it one final push.  The closer I got to the clock, the more disappointed I became.
Garmin time: 2:00:47
Chip time: 2:00:52

Son of a Bitch, I tweeted while waiting in line for bottled water.  I grab my snack bag and filled it as I went down the finishing shoot.  The finish line was so crowded; we were corralled in all the way to the after party.
I was PISSED.  I wanted to yell, scream, and say ugly words, but there were too many children waiting around the finish line.  Jay knew I was upset and tried to tell me what a great job I did, but I wouldn’t listen.

I had come to Columbus to break 2 hours.  And I failed.  This race was a failure.  I was a failure.  I AM a failure. 
I really haven’t had a chance to scream, cry, and cuss like I wanted.  Jay rarely gets to visit with his family and I didn’t want to make the weekend all about me.  Intellectually, I know I shouldn’t be disappointed with this run – I barely trained, I didn’t push myself during the race and yet I still ran a 2 hour half marathon. On some level, I know how awesome that is.  Eventually I’ll get around to being proud of how far this former 2:44:5X half marathoner has come.

But for now, I’m pouting.  Pouting because I drove all that way for nothing.* Wasted 2 hours running.* Have a really cool medal and tech shirt that piss me off at the thought of them.
*Once again, intellectually I know this isn’t the case, but it’s how I feel.

My head beat me out of a sub 2 hour time.  I’m open to suggestions regarding mental training plans to keep this from happening again.
Finally, here are my stats from the race.  Not too shabby at all for a race I half-assed.

Overall: 2822/8107 (top 1/3)
Division: 195/863 (top 1/4)
Female: 1056/4722 (top 1/4)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1,000+ Gifts

I finally reached 1,000 things for which I am thankful.  I've decided to continue this list for the foreseeable future.  I really think it helps with my attitude and {attempting} to stay positive.  962-1,012
Highlights of my list for the previous week:
962) white chocolate mocha creamer
973) hoodies
981) evening fog rolling over the pasture as the sun sets
984) answered prayer (rest)
987) church services on tv
991) $80 electric bill
992) kelly dropping me off for my long run
993) kelly doubling back to bring my water bottle @ mile 2
998) marla book to review
1000) jason ord
1005) cool breeze from the back patio thru the window
1008) starting the day with the WORD and a cuppa
Have you stopped this week to count your blessings? 
 Share one with me.