Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pigeon Forge Midnight 8K - Race Report

Normally an early to bed kinda girl, I love the Pigeon Forge Midnight race.  This is my 3rd year of running it (my first year was at a time of 51:34 - I've improved a lot since then!)

I originally wanted to run the race because it was one I remembered my dad doing back in the day (80s? 90s?).   Now I run the race because I enjoy the atmosphere of Pigeon Forge at night.  Surprisingly, there are still plenty of people out and about - willing to honk their car horn or holler a cheer from the sidewalk.

For me, the biggest excitement came before the race.  Jay and his parents dropped me off at registration around 11PM, and a text from my running buddy had me hustling to get my stuff together to join them for a 1 mile warm up.

We ran on the sidewalk, keeping a conversational 10 m/m pace.  Too much so.  I didn't notice an uneven raise on the sidewalk and went flying.

My left elbow (above) and right knee (below) took most of the impact, but as I fell I landed on my left hip and my left ear made hard contact with the pavement.

After waiting a beat to catch my breath, I was able to shake it off and complete the last half of the warm-up.  One of our teammates had a first aid kit in the back of her car, so she cleaned me up in plenty of time to make the start of the race.

I lined up just behind my faster teammates, and with the gun we were off!  I tried to keep my pace around a 9 m/m - the average pace I was hoping to finish the race in. 

In front of me, I saw who I thought was my boss's wife.  I'm faster than her, so I worried that the pace my garmin was showing wasn't accurate.  Also, there was a 84 year old man running in front of me.  (He finished with a time just over 50 minutes.) 

Mile 1 -  8:40

Just past the first mile marker was the first turn - I saw the lady was not my boss's wife.  I allowed myself to slow down a bit in an effort to save energy for the end.  The next 2 miles were an ever-so-slight decline, so the pace was fairly easy to maintain.

Mile 2 - 8:49
Mile 3 - 8:47

While it was cooler than previous years, the humidity of the race started slowing me down.  I got a little wheezy in these later miles as well - probably thanks to the car exhaust.  On a 6 lane highway, only the 2 inside lanes (one each direction) are closed to traffic. 

Mile 4 - 8:58

The ever-so-slight incline at the turn around was definitely felt in the last part of the race.  I switched on my music to distract myself and tried to pick up my pace.  I did end up passing a handful of people in the last mile, but wasn't able to close the gap in the last half mile of the race.  To further distract myself I tried to focus on getting to the next traffic light, to the Shoney's, or whatever was the most noticeable landmark ahead.

Mile 5 - 9:01

Not sure just how fast my final kick was, but I know I was really pushing it.  Thankfully Jay didn't get a video, because the embarrassing grunting made an appearance, as well as some extra wheezing.  I really wanted to get this mile under a 9 minute pace. 

Chip Time: 44:05
Overall: 177/428
Age group: 9/35*
*#6 was "Nathan" so I suspect I was truly 8/34

I felt like I gave this race all I had.  Add to that my 1:05 PR from 2 weeks ago and I can be nothing but thrilled with my race.  Immediately upon crossing the finish line, my knee started to hurt, but I think my recovery benefited from having the race after I got banged up.  Thankfully soreness is minimal.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Old Skhool - Part 2 - Five for Friday

Once again I'm going to join the old school bloggy party.  Jaime tagged me in this round, so go check out her post as well.

5 passions


5 bucket list items

hike the Appalachian trail
celebrate 50th wedding anniversary with Jay
million dollar net worth
retire early and travel the world

5 phrases I often say

Hello my love
(when answering Jay's telephone calls)
Let's roll britches
(Little Man misunderstood what I said on vacation & created this phrase)
I know, right?
Yeah you
(evolved from one of Jay's sleepy indecipherable responses one morning I said "I love you" as I left for work)
Uno mas!
(when we are streaming a favorite series)

5 books I've recently read

{currently reading}
Gone to Green
Bread & Wine
{just finished}
Hazardous Duty
F is for Fugitive

5 favorite movies

Star Wars
Bridget Jones's Diary
The Avengers
Independence Day

5 places I want to travel

Pretty much every National Park
Somewhere on a cruise.

If you decide to play along, leave me your link in the comments!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The End! Finally! aka my Advocare 10 day challenge experience

The short version:
I'm glad to be done.  Is that bad? I dunno, but its the truth.  Did I learn from the experience? Definitely.  Will it carry on into everyday life? Perhaps.  Will I do it again? Probably not.

The long version:
After vocalizing my frustration on 2 days without a loss, a coworker asked me what I had hoped to gain from the cleanse.  Advocare is very clear on all there information that this is not for weight loss purposes, although that can be a pleasant side effect.

I admitted that weight loss was my primary reason.  My coworker had lost 6 pounds on the cleanse, and he's already very small.  I figured I had as much (or more) to lose.  I also wanted to get my healthy eating habits kick started, and establish a pattern for myself that would be easier to stick with.

I've been pleasantly surprised at Jay's willingness to go along with this new outlook.  He even came to me and mentioned the Paleo lifestyle.  After learning he would have to cut out hot dogs and hamburgers, he quickly decided we would be better suited doing "Jayleo." 

I wanted my weight to get down into the 130s.  I know, I know.  Its just a number.  To me 140s feels hopeless, 130s feels like progress.

I wanted to feel better.  I'm sick of trying to come of my anxiety meds, only to find they are a crutch I need.  I hate dealing with afternoon slump despite getting a full night's sleep the evening before.  I wanted my runs to feel effortless and strong.

The results:
I've proved to myself I can do it, I'm just not sure the drive is there to follow through.

The new way of eating hasn't helped my runs - if anything, wasn't consuming enough carbs or calories at the first of the cleanse to properly fuel myself.  I had to resort back to calorie tracking to make myself eat enough.  On one hand the food choices were easy - save a few cravings that were few and far between.  On the other, I just don't feel good.  Why bother being strict with myself - packing my own salad dressing to a restaurant or saying no to the cake or glass of wine or trying to plan my life around food, rather than rolling with the punches?

Day 1 - 144.6
Day 2 - 142.6
Day 3 - 141.0
Day 4 - 141.2
Day 5 - 141.2
Day 6 - 141.2
Day 7 - 140.2
Day 8 - 139.8
Day 9 - 139.8
Day 10 - 140.4
challenge end: 140.8

Cheats: 1 glass wine (Ragnar Relay meeting), 1 tbsp. salad dressing, 1 beer (Goody bag stuffing/running group)

Monday, July 22, 2013

have a blessed day

I've been guilty of it.  I think if we were honest, most of us have.  Too intimidated to share my faith boldly, I've tried to sneak it in.  Akin the over exaggerated "Merry Christmas" greetings around the holidays, "have a blessed day" is one way we go about it.

Blessed connotes more than just general pleasantness.  Blesses means to encounter God, and come out the better for it.  Let me jump quickly to my point, lest ye think I have a problem with the word itself.

Picture it - my office*, a few months ago.  A lady woman comes into the office to submit a formal complaint.  She often took a certain road as a short cut to church, in an attempt to bypass tourist traffic.  For the past few weeks, she'd notice the appearance of something unsightly on one of the front porches she passed.

Her visit was to demand we do something about it.  The building inspector explained our role in was focused on keeping the City safe, not pretty.  As long as the item wasn't presenting any safety hazards, there wasn't anything we could do about their choice of front porch d├ęcor.
This answer did not satisfy her, but she finally realized she was getting no where. As she was leaving, her countenance changed.  Like a flip of the light switch, she smiled and said "Have a blessed day" and turned to leave.

*I do not speak for my employer. Any opinions are mine. My employer doesn't trust me to speak for them.*

Is it any wonder so many Americans are put off by Christians.  Far from the persecution others face, often times we are hated because we are hatefulWe are called to love (Matthew 22, and a host of other places) not to whine, complain, and tattle in the name of Jesus. 

(1 John 4)

 A few weeks (months?) have passed since this incident but I was reminded of it a few days ago at the grocery store.  I found a cashier with no one in her line (a miracle, when you live in a heavily populated tourist area) and began unloading my groceries.  She didn't greet me with a "hello" or even so much as a smile.  She looked miserable. 

As I paid and finished up the transaction, she handed me my recipe.  "Have a blessed day."  I was taken aback.  If she truly meant it, then what had she done to bless me?  The exact same thing I had done for her - nothing.

The body of Christ must act, not just speak, if we want to reach people in his name.  I don't single these women out to judge them, but rather show how we all fail Him - sometimes without even realizing it.

I am just as guilty as them, if not more so.  I'm selfish, short tempered, and legalistic.  I don't seek relationships with Him or with His people nearly enough.  To not be hypocritical, I have to do more than hit "publish" on this blogpost.  I have to change.

 Lord help me!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacation - Zion National Park edition

And now for our final installment of my vacation recaps.  I meant to get this one done a while ago, but you know how things go.  Had to get a couple blogs out there while they were still timely.  We can wish we were on vacation any ole Friday right?

While we finished up our trip staying another night in Vegas, Zion was the last active day of vacation.  And by active, I mean seeing new places from the comfort of the car.

The old people had enough of the walking we were doing.  Thankfully, Zion is a great park for pull offs and road side pictures.  We entered through the mile long bridge.  Long enough to make me claustrophobic, so I tried not to think about it.

Thankfully, the crew was patient enough to allow those of us who wanted to indulge in pictures to do so.  Jay snapped too many good ones to share.  Also, my sister is afraid y'all are kidnappers who will steal her children if you see just how cute they are.  With an aunt like me, how could they not be adorable?

As we exited the park, we stopped at a local picnic area to have our lunch.  The City park allowed us the perfect place to work off any excess energy before getting back in the car and making the long drive back to Vegas.

The kids (or someone blaming them) had wanted ice cream all trip, so around the half way point we stopped at a local shop advertising the old fashioned kind.  One of the flavors was called "Grannie's apple pie."  Turns out, the lady assisting us was Grannie.  She said she makes actual apple pie to crumble into the ice cream.  Same with all her pastry based flavors.

I ended up with the "dirt and worms" flavor aka cookies and cream topped with gummy worms.  The Little Man thought they were really worms, and declined when she offered to top a different flavor with worms for him.  Once he was let in on the secret, he decided he would love some ice cream and worms.

Kinda sad to be at the end of vacation blog, because I don't have another one planned yet! Jay and I won't take a whole week just the two of us since we have had this trip.  Maybe we'll take a long weekend somewhere (a race destination?) to do romantical couple stuff.

Have you already had your vacation this year?  Where did you go?  Are you going?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


This is one of those weeks I feel as if I've been slacking on my gratitude.  How's that for legalism at its worst?  I live such a blessed life, I can typically find an abundance of things to thank God for blessing me with.  This week I've "only" listed 31.  On average, I've written down 4 a day, should put things in perspective for me.

That being said written, here are a view things for which I am thankful (numbers 1478 - 1509):

1479) The humming of the dishwasher
1483) Daddy's errand service
1489) 8K PR!
1491) Glow-in-the-dark finisher medal
1493) Hotel waffles
1495) Money to afford healthy foods
1496) Jay excited about eating healthy
1500) Grillmaster Jay
1504) Seeing the strong in my body
1508) Finding new book/author so exciting I can't wait to pick up where I left off

For what have you been thankful this past week? I know a couple of my bloggy friends have medically related answered prayers this week which deserve a big PRAISE THE LORD!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Run Down

Okay so maybe that's a bad title for a cleanse containing a fiber drink.  Thankfully I do not mean it literally.

A few weeks ago a coworker did the 10 day Advocare cleanse.  He had great success with it - losing (and keeping off) 6 pounds.  My running buddy (and fellow coworker) and I decided we'd give it a try.  For me, all my other weight loss efforts were getting my no where.  Why not try something new.

First I want to be clear - this is not a fast.  I'm eating 6 small meals a day plus supplements.

What's the huge difference between this and normal eating? No coffee, no soda, no dairy. 
Do I plan to eat this way forever? Not hardly.  I'd love to cut back on soda.  I would also like to move toward drinking my coffee black.  As for dairy, its a toss up.

However, I'm eating far better quality foods than normal - something I don't want to change at the end of my 10 days.  Right now, I'm only getting carbs from fruits, veggies, and oatmeal.  I'll probably start incorporating brown rice later in the week for a bit of variety.

Most of the blog summaries of the cleanse end with "but you could probably do it without the supplements."  Sounds logical.  I seriously doubt anything I've taken (the herbal cleanse, spark, and fiber drink) have magical properties. 

I will qualify that with a big BUT (and I don't mean my booty).  I would have never started eating this way without the cleanse.  I've read the Eating For Life book (more than once) and yet I've never really gotten after it.  I think I needed the buy-in that the supplements bring. 

It also doesn't hurt that I've seen immediate results.  I did measurements, which I will share at the end of the cleanse.  I've also weighed every morning.  I'm astonished it has worked this well!

Day 1 - 144.6
Day 2 - 142.6
Day 3 - 141.0

 I'll be interested to see just how much of this weight stays gone.  The current plan is to do a one week later post for comparison sake.  I also will be interested to see if the food patterns stick around once I'm no longer officially cleansing.

Please let me know if you have any questions you'd like me to address in the follow up posts.  I'm (of course) no expert but can definitely share how its working for me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crazy 8s - 8K Race Report

While trying to come up with a race plan, I briefly glanced at the epic fail what was my last 8K.  Since I have plenty of negativity without assistance, I decided to put that race out of my mind.  I'd already made the adjustments from that race (primarily fitting in a couple of training runs outside in the humidity).

Instead I tried to focus on doing my best and not giving up on myself.  Carpooling with the standard crew, we got to the hotel early (it was an out-of-town race) then had plenty of time at the expo.  Although it wasn't very big, I found my shoe (1/2 size bigger - perfect for marathon training this winter) for $25!  I snatched those suckers up before we headed back to the hotel to get ready.

Once the sun went down, the weather felt incredible.  The temps were in the 70s and the air didn't feel humid.  Until, of course, we warmed up.  Thankfully it didn't seem to be a huge factor in the race.  For sure warmer than I'd like, but nothing crazy hot like last race.

As we lined up, we positioned ourselves just in front of the 9 m/m pacer.  My (seemingly ambitious) goal was a 45 minute time.  I didn't expect to reach it, but it was the number in my head and I wanted to go for it. 

The first mile was crowded but I tried to keep a fast/even pace. 

Mile 1 -  8:50

The course was pleasant.  Some of it was in the town, other parts went through neighborhoods.  On the roads with no street lights, they had placed candle luminaries to light our paths.  The crowds also were a big help, with their porch lights on, and water hoses going to help us cool down.

Mile 2 -  9:04

The course profile showed 2 hills, but relatively speaking I wasn't sure what they would be like.  The first proved nothing too intimidating.  I ran up it and was on my way.

Passing the half way point, we had finished the first "8" loop, and were headed up the big hill of the race.  More slow and gradual than the elevation profile made it seem, I really felt myself slowing. 

Mile 3 - 9:06

After the hill, I'd counted on the good downhill to follow, only it seemingly never came.  My lungs were hurting and I wanted a break.  Thankfully it at least flattened out and the breathing problems went away. 

Mile 4 - 9:10

"Pick it up" I told my running buddy because he was lagging a bit.  Once we hit the 1/2 mile to go point, he really picked it up - passing me and the 9:00 m/m pacer in front of us.  My energy was really lagging but made myself keep pushing.

Mile 5 - 8:42

There was a bit of an uphill into the stadium, then it was a flat turf finish.  I managed an 8:14 final kick, finishing just shy of my goal.

Chip time: 45:10
Age group: 32/181
Overall: 986/2779

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Difficult Thanks

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:7

Thank you for your prayers for my family.  I also feel blessed to have the opportunity to take the concerns you mentioned to the Lord.  Thank you for sharing your heart with me.

With the loss of a family member comes the reminder to savor every moment.  Say I love you more.  Hug like you mean it.  Here are a few things for which I have thanked God this past week.

1432) Spilled coffee didn't ruin Thankful Journal
1445) Tossing a football with Jay
1453) Visit with (my great aunt) Caroline, in good spirits/joking
1460) Family support
1467) Memories/pictures of family dinners (including those with Caroline)
1471) Kelly making/delivering an iced coffee
1472) Kristal helping me clean up iced coffee spill
1473) Not getting iced coffee on my clothing
1474) Good conversation with (my great uncle) Dwayne
1475) Courage to care

As believers, we are called to give thanks even for the challenges in our lives.  What's something hard for which you are able to give thanks?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vacation Recap - Bryce Canyon edition

By this point of our vacation the travelers were growing tired of riding in the car.  As much as my Mother liked to blame it on the kids, but the Princess and Little Man were excellent travelers.  The 9 year old kept busy writing in her field journal or playing Temple Run on the iPad.   The 5 year old...well to be honest, the Princess never wanted to share me with the LM, but the few times I did ride in his car he was easily entertained.

At the hotel in Utah, we spent a lot of time by the pool.  Both nights we got take out and ate at the tables in the pool area.  The water was warmer than it had been in Vegas, but still not warm enough to warrant me staying in it for more than 15 minutes or so.  Unfortunately this "hot" tub, wasn't even warm.

Earlier in the day, we have visited Bryce Canyon.  The kids were excited to go on their 2nd ever hike, which was steep, although short.  I preferred Bryce to the Grand Canyon because of the ease of getting close to the sites, as well as the sporadic trees to help with color variation.

My parents took the kids back up for their junior ranger class, while Jay, my sister, BIL, and I continued on around for a longer hike.

Once again, we could have hiked longer/further, but with the whole crew along we kept it short.  We got our passports stamped, had a picnic lunch then headed back to the hotel.

Earlier in the week, my sister had mentioned a dude walking across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.  The ranger's wife we met up with (who my mother use to know from work), said the National Park wouldn't issue permits for stunts like this, but the Navajo nation allowed it.  Leaving the Grand Canyon, my sister saw a trailer in the middle of nowhere and speculated it belonged to the Skywire dude.

Then we passed this set up.  Instead of proving her to be mistaken, my sister was right on.  The lady working the information booth informed my sister and mother this was the viewing area - complete with big screen TV and bleachers.  The other site was where the walk itself would occur.

By the day of the actual walk, we were too far away to watch it in person.  Like much of America, we watched on TV from our hotel room.  Well, some of us watched.  My parents and the kids stayed at the pool.  My sister paced outside, seemingly more fearful that Mr. Skywire's family.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I'm sorry to keep peppering serious blog posts in the middle of my vacation recaps, but its a representation of my life right now.  My life is amazing, my life is hard.  I'm weary.

Last week one of my mother's best friends passed away expectantly.  Yesterday, a member of my extended family passed away.  Its going to be a rough next few days/weeks for us.  While I mourn the loss of both women, I'm also far enough removed for responsibility to fall on my shoulders.

Please pray for us as we walk through this valley.  Also, I would love it if you shared in the comments how I could pray for you right now. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vacation - the Grand Canyon Edition

When the family finished up in Vegas (after spending a whopping $1 each in the slot machines) we headed toward the real destination - the Grand Canyon.  Like the Griswold's before us, we stopped at Hoover Dam along the way. 

We had gotten a late start, so we arrive after the last dam tour had started.  Parking in the dam garage, we walked on top to get some dam pictures.  In the photo above, you'll see the dam bypass.  We opted out of the dam visitor's center - figuring it wasn't worth the dam $8 per person...wait - that didn't work did it?

After all the picture taking, stopping for an authentic A&W root beer, and letting the old people kids have potty breaks, we didn't check into our hotel until late that evening.  The next morning, we visited one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. 

Its hard to take in the vastness of the canyon in person, even more so in pictures.  Since neither my mother nor my father are back to 100% after their knee surgeries, we toured most of the park by car.  We hit a couple of small walks, giving our butt bones a break from all that sitting. 

OHSA (as we lovingly refer to my dad) was a bit nervous about how close to the edge Jay & I got, but we kept safety in mind as we took all of our pictures.  Most were only made to look like we were too close to the edge.

Day 2 in the canyon, Jay and I got up early to hike to Skeleton Point.  A 6 mile hike round trip certainly wasn't the most difficult trail we've ever done, but in the time we had allowed for the maximum view.
While the rest of the crew slept in and packed up to move on, Jay and I enjoyed the view of the Colorado River below.  Its a wide river, who's powerful currently is thought to have made the canyon, but looks tiny in the picture below.  That's how far away it still is, after hiking down for an elevation loss of almost 3,000 feet.

Jay and I would have loved to hike all the way down to the river, but our schedule just didn't allow for it.  We are definitely planning on going back, just the 2 of us, so we can take in more of the canyon on foot.

Sneak Peak of What's to Come: Skywire, Utah, & more red rocks

Friday, July 5, 2013

Seeking Gratitude in the Midst of Uncertainty

Things are a little uncertain in my world right now.  Maybe my Jabez style provision was God laying the ground work for this, letting me know "Chill - I got this."  Even still I have to pause to remember to breathe on occasion.
Life without gratitude is life without breath.  Returning thanks to God, acknowledging His ultimate authority, is both necessary and frightening for a control freak like me.   
In the past month, I've recorded numbers 1221-1431 in my journal.  Here is a sampling.
1226) Noticing my flat tire - saving getting stuck at destination
1235) Wii Just Dance party on my birthday
1242) Vacation planning
1252) Looking thru old family photos
1263) Getting out of bed to start a new day
1279) Monthiversary!
1282) Movie night
1294) Sleeping in on a Saturday morning
1300) Father's day @ church w/Daddy
1310) Airplane seat buddy (The Princess)
1322) Walking the Vegas strip @ night
1331) Hoover Damn
1332) Dam water fountain
1333) Dam pictures
1335) Dam bridge
1336) Dam panorama
1342) National Park passport stamps
1350) more stamps
1360) Skywire dude
1365) Playground fun
1370) Mama & Daddy - together 40 years
1376) A week without allergy pills
1384) Planning a hike
1390) Church TV
1392) Sermon = Pit - > Prison - > Palace
1393) Sermon = Hannah keeping it real
1400) Every {sad} thought captive
1409) Money to pay for Sam's club shopping trip
1414) Jay putting away groceries
1419) Ragnar relay planning
1422) 4 mile run in my 'hood
1430) Whoopie pies (made by my MIL)
1431) Assurance - > God is in control
For what have you been thankful this past month?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vacation Recap - Vegas Style

Jay and I vacationed with my parents, sister + BIL + princess + little man in celebration of my parents 40th wedding anniversary.  We flew into Las Vegas (by way of Minnesota, don't think I'll ever understand how that's cheaper than direct) then went to the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon (the day after we left the #Skywirelive happened), Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park.  We returned to Vegas to stay the night before we boarded a plan and headed back to good ole east Tennessee (by way of Atlanta).

My niece insisted she and I were travel buddies, even going so far as sharing her precious blankie.  She gave us each field journals so we could record our thoughts and findings on the trip (still need to do that...)

Our first 2 nights, we stayed at the Mirage hotel and casino.  Unfortunately, the Beatles show in the hotel wasn't playing while we were there.  The whole family gambled a total of $6 (my mother winning $7.75), but we kept busy walking the strip, drinking playing at the pool, and visiting the dolphin habitat.

My parents kept the kids so we could go out on the town, but being the old farts we are, we mostly just wanted an early bedtime.  My sister wanted to see the Belagio water show, so we walked down to see it, but we only caught the last song.

We're not a wild-and-crazy type family, so we were more than ready to get the vacation on the road when our 2 days were up.  We returned for another night's stay at the Trump Tower (dubbed Drunk Tower by the 5 year old) and were very out-of-place overwhelmed impressed with how fancy it was.

I'm gonna break the posts up so they aren't so picture heavy.  Don't worry - I'm not completely skipping over the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park pictures!

To be continued...