Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Maine 2014 - The Drive Up {Day 1}

I'm more than 2 months removed from this trip, and regret not blogging about it sooner. I hope readers will enjoy the pictures and my commentary, but I mostly want these to jog my memory about the order of the trip. Using the blog as a digital scrapbook of the vacation, better late than never right??

 I have no clue what this picture is suppose to be. So we'll also agree better soon than later, right??

Just for giggles.

The drive was just over 20 hours long, so we decided to leave immediately after I got off work on Thursday and drive until we couldn't any longer. And by we, I mean Jay. Especially on the road, I have difficulty staying awake after 9PM. We over-nighted on the other side of West Virginia then hit the road again.

Jay's magic box (aka his cell phone) worked overtime for our vacation needs. We stopped at every brewery/pub we could find along the way. Our first stop was just outside New York City, a bit out of the way, but what's a road trip without a bit of randomness?

Captain Lawrence was difficult to find, tucked back behind a warehouse. In true southern fashion, I was quick to strike up a conversation with a stranger. A member of FDNY, he was on his way to visit his grandmother and stopped in the brewery for the first time that day.

Jay bought a sampler, and I enjoyed a "Golden Delicious" beer - flavored in apple brandy barrels. Yes, it was as good as it sounds.

We got lost getting back on the interstate, and passed this guy twice - costing us double in tolls. After driving up the road a bit, we settle in for dinner. The first place we stopped was rated high on trip advisor, but we arrived 30 minutes before the fancy restaurant opened. Another would-be patron dismissed the locked door "Only in Waterbury!" I'm still not sure what that means, but Jay and I break out into giggles whenever the other randomly tosses the saying out.

We ended up at an Irish pub, a bit more our speed. I had some delicious stew and a local beer. We hit the road again, Jay determined to make it to the southern tip of Maine before calling it. Once again we used the magic box, this time securing a hotel before pulling into York after dark.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

SOC Saturday

Its been a while since I've joined Jaime for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and today I'm fixing that.

Cause you know how much I love typing it all dramatic like
  • I'm writing this a few days before Christmas. Because I've been neglectful of doing these posts, despite the fact that I really enjoy them.
  • My But Seriously post started out as a SOCS post, but then I went over my 5 minute and didn't have everything out I wanted to say.
  • I'm ready for Christmas - early as always - and now wondering why I finish so early. It seems like the longer I drag out the season the more I sit, twiddling my thumbs a few days in advance
For the new year:
I want to do all those trite "resolution" type things
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Be more organized around the house
  • Take time to date my husband
  • Find outlets to serve others
  • Put down the phone/iPad and be present and available with those I love.
Now to find a way to actually do those things, not just talk/write about them. Do you have goals for the new year? Resolutions? Sure fire tips for staying on task?
about them.

Monday, December 22, 2014

But Seriously...

I guess I just couldn't bring myself to write this blog, now that I (sorta) know the end of the story, I'm ready.

Last month, before Jay and I went to Maine I received an ominous phone call from my dad. His doctor found something suspicious and wanted him to come in for a biopsy. They performed the procedure while we were gone and got the results back the week following.

Sitting just beside my driveway, while getting the mail, my daddy told me over the phone he had cancer.

For a while, I clammed up about it. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to think about it. I told a few friends, but asked them not to mention it to me. I even told Jay I didn't want to talk about it.

During a run one Sunday, I had my breakdown. Scared and upset, I ran the first 6 miles doing all the worrying I'd pent up in my head. My daddy has cancer. I even said it aloud. All the not talking/thinking about it had left me numb. Something about the words made it real.

Along the route, I saw a dead bird on the ground. Not sure why I found that dead bird comforting, but I starting humming His Eye is on the Sparrow. Life is hard, all too often. But.

At the turn around, I abandoned my concerns to the Lord. No matter what happened, He is in charge. He has a plan. My daddy has cancer. BUT. My daddy has Jesus.

After a month of waiting, last week he had surgery to remove the disease. He'd been told radiation might be necessary afterward, depending on margins and what not.

This time, after only a week and a half of waiting, he learned his margins looked good and no further treatments are needed. He's still got some recovering to do from the surgery, but the scary part is over.

From where I'm sitting, its easy to say cancer sucks, but God is good. He wouldn't be any less good had the outcome been different. However I'd be lying if I tried to pretend I'm anything but thrilled with the news.  Praise the Lord. Not because He did what makes me happy, but because no matter the storm, no matter the damage, He is worthy of our praise.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Twas a week before Christmas

What a better time to pause and give thanks? Hopefully I'll be caught up on my sharing by the new year. I have super awesome news to share, but I'm leaving that for SOC Saturday. No, I'm not preggers, moving, or getting a promotion. Its nothing to do with me, directly at least. But it truly thrills my soul.

And now, the list:

4744) Daddy's perfectly cooked burgers
4753) Extra day with the in-laws
4760) Christmas in a candle
4772) Green Bay Packers on TV
4789) Library full of options

4792) 2 parents
4793) a bike
4794) a non-leaky roof

4804) Bible study Christmas party
4819) Beautiful Star song at church
4822) Family who cares enough to visit
4839) Throwback Thursday - happy memories

4845) New running kicks
4851) FREE books!
4864) Comfy new outfit
4873) Run plans with friends

I've at least caught up to last week. For what have you been thankful for this Christmas season?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Stones to Remember

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever. Joshua 4:1-7
The perfectionist in me cringes at the thought of being so far behind posting my thankful list. However I truly do need these reminders right now. Holidays are changing for my family, partly do to family members with health issues.

While my winter blues always come for a visit when the time changes and the days get shorter, this year I have some life stress to accompany it. I am so thankful for the journal itself  - both forcing me to pause to consider my blessings and giving me an opportunity to remember them.

4554) Audiobooks from library
4562) Scruffy beard kisses
4578) Clear direction from God (at auction on our anniversary)
4581) Sleeping on the couch like an old married couple
4592) Clear, crisp view from Mt. Cammerer

4608) Money for groceries
4616) "Ain't Nothin wrong with dat!"
4622) Sense of tidiness at home
4635) Snow!
4646) C.A.R.E. card writing with ladies from Bible study class

4655) Sunset reflecting off the river
4663) Melissa - understanding what I need and acting accordingly
4677) Sharing books with family (Mama, Aunt Karen, Aunt Caroline)
4682) His eye is on the sparrow
4693) Trying something new - cooking asparagus

4701)The little man's funny story about his dad
4716) Seeing Mocking Jay Part 1, with my sister and BIL
4725) Early Christmas gifts
4731) Card/board games

For what have you been thankful this past week?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Doing the Double - Part 2

If the goal of the Farragut 13.1 was to save up enough for the next day, the goal for the Foothills Half Marathon was to slow down and enjoy the journey. Unlike the cold, snow-flurry morning of the previous day, Sunday's race was held in the afternoon and the day shaped up to be sunny and warm.

Kelly, Amy, Johnny, Judy and I lined up at the start together but as the race progressed we split off into two group.s Johnny and Judy went on ahead. The half of our Ragnar van representing at this race stuck it out together until the bitter end.

Not trying for a certain pace at all, we looked for goodies stashed along the course. I may or may not have partook a couple times along the way. I have to live up to my hipster reputation* and all.

*I've only been accused of being this by one person, and he'll admit to being a moron.

Late in the race, as with the day before, Amy started having pain. We switched to a walk run and just focused on getting it done. We were surprised by a training buddy waiting at the top of a hill to encourage us.

Step by step, mile by mile, we got it DONE. Chip time - 2:27:26.

2 days + 26.2 miles = Challenge Accepted
3 medals = BEAST MODE

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Doing the Double - Part 1, Farragut 13.1

Over a month ago, I ran 2 half marathons in one weekend. Two different race directors picked the same weekend for half marathons locally, people noticed the conflict, and a "wouldn't it be cool if" thing was born.

I haven't blogged about it - first because I was busy with real life. However in recent days I've had trouble with the idea of blogging the events because they aren't something I can go through mile-by-mile and recap.

The objective originally was a PR attempt the Farragut 13.1 (Saturday's race). Then I would "for fun" running the Foothills Half Marathon (Sunday's race). October's vacation struck and I didn't get much running in. There would be no fall half PR for me.

I made it to the starting line with adjusted goals: enjoy myself, and finish with enough left to race the next day. A group of us girls started together, but broke apart in the opening miles of the race. Sharon and Judy went after a sub 2 time. Gretchen dropped back so that she would finish the distance (she hadn't trained for) comfortably. When we hit the hills Kelly & Christal pushed on, leaving Amy and I to tackle the mileage together.

With the exception of the big hill at mile 5 (we walked much of), the first 10 miles we ran at paces between 9:30 and 9:50, varying mile to mile based off of terrain. At the aid station around the double digit mark, we got encouragement from our friend Blaik. Its always good to see a smiling face on the course.

In the last miles Amy was having knee pain, so we slowed the pace into the 10s. She encouraged me to go on, but I saw no point it in. This would be neither my slowest half marathon ever, nor my fastest, so I stuck it out with her until the end.

Chip time - 2:12:06

The best part of the race (excluding the camaraderie we brought with us, of course) was yet to come. The race director did a great job of putting together a post race feast of chocolate milk, Petros, pizza, and tons of other great goodies. I stuffed my face. After all, I was carbloading for a half marathon the next day...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was supposed to auto post on Thanksgiving Day. It didn't, so we're just rolling with it and going a week late.

I'm going to pick up where I left off last week sharing my thankful list. I'm trying to post 1 item from every 10 grouping. We'll see how much longer I have the patience for this before I just skip to the current. I think, however, its good for me to review from weeks ago and give myself a bit of perspective.

I'm typically susceptible to the winter blues, this year circumstances making it worst than normal, so I'll welcome the positivity that comes from gratitude.

4323) Acadia National Park passport stamp - finally!
4334) Snacks in the car (post RI Cliffwalk)
4342) Home run markers - Camden Yards
4353) Travel safety
4366) Family support and love
4375) Ragnar prep meeting
4381) Hiking with family - physical ability

4392) Feelings may lie, but knowing I am never truly alone
4400) Being known for openness of service
4413) Rainbow streak in the sunset (Ragnar team picnic)
4421) Ragnar - as life distraction for me and daddy
4433) Gorgeous scenery for my first leg

4447) Warm hoodies and blankets
4457) Leg 2 - beautiful starry sky
4467) Leg 3 - sunrise
4474) Free massages at final exchange
4483) {another} free massage at the finish line
4494) Fun idea for hiding Jay's birthday present
4504) Eric Church concert 
4519) 13.1 - snow flurries!

4523) Post race yummies
4531) Holding hands with my darling
4549) First fire of winter

Hopefully you are having a great holiday with your family. 
For what are you giving thanks today?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Secret City Half Marathon - 2014 Race Report

This past weekend I competed in the Secret City Half marathon for the 3rd time. This marked my 4th half marathon of the year, 3rd of the month. I haven't really trained for any of these races specifically but had my mileage up and went into the races with a specific purpose.

In February, I ran the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon. I was training for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, and considered it a training race. I would practice starting slow in a race situation, then kicking up the speed at the end. I did this successfully.

Earlier in November - on the 1st and 2nd - I participated in the Farragut 13.1 and the Foothills Half Marathon. The goal for Farragut was to take it easy so that I would feel okay for the half the next day. The goal for Foothills was to run with friends and enjoy myself.

My goal for Secret City wasn't so clear. I signed up thinking that I would train for this race and attempt a specific time, but that didn't happen. October vacation, time training burn out, and serious life situations shifted my running to "for fun" and "for mental health" rather than for a goal race.

I'm glad I was signed up for the race - my brain needed these miles, but would have easily talked my body out of them otherwise. If for no other reason, posting 100 miles in November makes this race an epic win!

I set a tentative goal of 2:05, but most importantly I wanted to negative split the double loop course. 

Mile 1 - 9:29
Mile 2 - 9:44
Mile 3 - 9:30
Mile 4 - 9:28

The first miles were an exercise in restraint. The weather was perfect, I felt good and found myself going faster than the 9:30-9:40 plan.  These miles consisted of fast running, followed by my chastising myself and forcing a slower pace.

Mile 5 - 9:46
Mile 6 - 9:38
Mile 7 - 9:39

The green-way section of the race is the hilliest portion, as well as having lots of curves and turns. It was hard to maintain a good solid pace for these miles. I had worn my heart rate monitor, so I started tracking effort at this point.
 I finished the first loop in approximately 1:04 - I knew I'd have to pick it up if I wanted to hit my sub 2:05 goal. However saving enough for the second loop was the goal all along, and I felt confident I'd be able to speed up in the last miles.

Mile 8 - 9:20
Mile 9 - 9:04
Mile 10 - 8:58

Once again, I felt good for the first part of the loop. Relying solely on heart rate at this point, I had no clue how fast my paces got through this section. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the Garmin data post-race. 

Mile 11 - 9:35
Mile 12 - 9:27
Mile 13 - 9:41

And once again my pace slowed through the green-way section and one final uphill jaunt. I kept my heart rate at the highest it had been all race. At the 12 mile marker, I wanted to slow to a more comfortable pace. Its a race, its suppose to be uncomfortable I heard Kelly say. Crazy how she says crap that haunt me in random moments.

Final 0.15 - 1:21{9:00 pace}

Chip Time - 2:04:34
  • met time goal
  • ran the loops in negative splits
  • completed 4th half of the year
  • completed 16th half of my running career
Not a bad day at the races, if I do say so myself.