Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Low Key Turned High Key

First of all, it's 95 degrees here.  And it's going to be like 95 every day this week.  I'm sorry, but I don't think the weather got the memo that it's not quite June yet... so why is it pretending like it's mid-July.

This led me to buying yet another dress at Target today.  I'll never make it through this summer without more casual dresses, so I've slowly been finding more to expand that area of my wardrobe.

I had a pretty busy holiday weekend... even though I originally planned on it being pretty low key.  But then things kept popping up.

Drinks with friends Friday after work.

I rent a movie and got a pizza to enjoy later that evening.

I ran Saturday morning.  I napped Saturday morning.  I had lunch with my best friend and her husband who told me Friday they were coming to town briefly for a wedding (fun surprise!).  I saw Hangover 2 and laughed a lot with friends.  I picked up my best friend from her hotel and joined some other gals for drinks and dessert at Urban Flats.

I went to church Sunday.  I went to brunch with some gals.  I went home for a family cookout.

I spent Monday with my family and some friends at the pool and attempted to get a little sun (I really don't tan well, but if I go outside enough I'll eventually be a little less white.)

And I watched almost the entire first season of LOST.  I decided to watch the entire show again in hopes that if I watch it in a shorter span of time than 6 years like the first time I watched it that I might pick up on a few more things.

All in all, it ended up being a great weekend.  But it's no surprise I'm a little exhausted today.  I hit the pool for about 30 minutes after work (and when I say hit the pool I mean that I laid beside it and listened to a podcast while getting some rays), and I'm about to settle down with some dinner and more LOST.  Sometimes I have to have my low key evenings at home... especially when I've been on the go for a few days!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

800th Post

I realize I've been a horrible blogger lately.  Honestly, I haven't really been running as much as someone who calls herself a marathon runner should be running... but I think I've been in a season of rest.  I'm going to start training for the Chicago marathon in a few weeks, and I'm thankful that I've taken some time to just run for fun when I feel like it.

However, I don't want to disappear from the blog world... and I realized today that this is my 800th post.

It's kind of crazy to believe I've had enough to say that it's taken me 800 posts to do it, but I want to say today that I'm thankful for all of you readers out there.  I appreciate getting feedback from you... the encouragement you send my way when I'm a little blue... the recommendations for music and running gear and all sorts of other random things.. and it's a joy to read your blogs and learn all sorts of awesome stuff through you.

So thanks for sharing this journey with me.  I think I'm also in a season where I don't feel like writing as much, but I wanted to let you all know I'm still here.  I'm sure I'll be back with more frequency soon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday with my Friends

On Friday, I turned 28.   I was born on a Friday the 13th, so I woke up excited to celebrate this year's birthday on a Friday.  I had a nice day at work, and I went with some work friends for a special lunch at Blue Coast and ice cream at Menchie's.

After work, it was off to Cabana to meet up with my amazing friends here in Nashville that were able to come out for dinner.

We got lucky and actually got a cabana.  This meant we were able to pull the curtains for a little privacy (it for real felt like a private party) and plug in an iPhone to listen to what we wanted.  It was awesome.

We ate.  We laughed a ton.  We talked.  We sang along to fun songs coming up on the Pandora station we picked.  We heard another party sing "Happy Birthday" to someone, and my friends were like, "We can beat that" and sang even louder.  (A girl from the other party came over to compliment them.  My friends are awesome.)

It ended up being a pretty awesome day.

On Saturday, some friends and I ran in the Run for the Homeless 5K that our friend Ben had helped to plan.  I ran with my friend Brittany instead of racing since I was out a bit late and not really up for running fast.  I was a bit more concerned with having brunch at Jackson's after the race.

I took a solid nap Saturday and returned some phone calls I missed the day before, thanking people for all their sweet birthday wishes.  My phone (and Facebook) had been blown up the day before.  I have so many wonderful people in my life!

On Sunday, it was off to a just for fun pub run that my friend Matt had planned for his birthday that was this past week.  It was of course his party, but it felt like I was still celebrating mine, too!

We ran around town.  We earned points.  We ate cupcakes.

I still have another birthday dinner planned with my family later this week.

You know... I'm a pretty lucky girl. There's really not a lot that I'm lacking in my life... there's one or two things I'm praying specifically about and kind of wishing on my birthday candles to come about in this next year.  But past that, I pretty much have everything I need and desire.

I'm incredibly blessed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another Year

I'll be turning 28 this Friday.  Yep, Friday the 13th.  And it's supposed to rain.

But here's the thing... when I was born 28 years ago, it was truly a dark and stormy Friday the 13th.  I think that's why I'm not at all superstitious as well as why 13 is my lucky number.  And my mom's.  And maybe it's why I don't mind having a black cat who walks in front of me a hundred times a day.

Of course, sometimes I'm unlucky in love... but I don't think that has much to do with being born on a Friday the 13th. Ha.  And I know one day I'll be incredibly lucky in love, so this is really all moot.

But the point is that I'm only 27 for a few more days.  I think that my birthday is always a bigger cause for reflection and introspection for me than the new year.

Maybe some things didn't go exactly how I would have liked in the past year, but there's been a LOT of really good things.  I have a full life. 

I got closer to my current friends.  I met some new people that have become pretty important to me.  I ran some fantastic races.  I took some trips.  I connected with friends who live out of town.  I moved to Nashville.  I spent more time going out and about and exploring new restaurants, bars and other local spots that have quickly become some of my favorite places to hang out.

I've challenged myself.  I've accomplished a lot of things on my various to do lists.

So yeah... there have been some rough spots, but all in all? It's been a good year.

And maybe my life doesn't look exactly how I would have hoped on this birthday, but what it looks like is pretty awesome... and I have a feeling that in the year to come, things are going to look even more awesome than I could have planned myself.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Recommendation

I mentioned in my most recent 101 in 1001 post that I read Two Kisses for Maddy.

If you've never read the blog Matt, Liz and Madeline, you need to.  I warn you... Matt's been writing for over 3 years, ever since his daughter was born... and his wife died the next day.

I first found the blog about two months after it all happened, and I must have cried for hours as I read every post from those two months.  I've read every post since then... and it's been amazing feeling like I'm a part of this stranger's journey.  There's been sadness.  There's been joy.  There's been laughter and tears.

So of course I had to read the book he had written about the first year.  I knew the story, but I had a feeling there'd be more in the book than what was in the blog.  I was right.

What I just read was an incredible story of one of the happiest things in life being intertwined with one of the saddest things in life... birth and death all within 27 hours... the ups and downs of mourning the loss of a spouse and becoming a new (and single) parent.

I have so much respect for Matt and the way he's shared himself with so many... the way he's started a foundation in his wife's name to help others who have lost a spouse... the way he loves his daughter.

I hardly ever buy books new, but this one was worth it (and part of the proceeds go to the Liz Logelin Foundation that Matt started).

Don't worry though... it's not all sad.  In fact, I want to share the section that made me laugh the loudest...

"I knew the morning we set out for NY was the last time I would see Liz's car. Before we left for LAX at five o'clock, I stood on my quiet, empty steet with Maddy asleep in my arms, just staring at it. If any of my neighbors had seen me, they probably would have though I was out of my f*ing mind. ... I waved at the car, and headed out to the airport.  I wasn't sad.  I was mostly mad at myself for acting like a jack*ss and waving at an inanimate object."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Registration Happy

I was reading Aron's post over at runners's rambles about how running a race always seems to make you want to sign up for more.

I definitely find this to be true.

On Sunday, I registered for TWO fall races.  Registration opened that day for The Middle Half in Murfreesboro, a race I have run in all four years they've had it and where my current half marathon PR is from.  It's the Saturday after I run the Chicago marathon, so it may be a bit much to hope for a half PR when my main fall goal is to break 4:00 at Chicago... but I'm looking forward to running the race anyways.  If you live around here, I encourage you to sign up soon.  It always sells out fast!

I also decided to join some friends and register for the Warrior Dash on September 17.  It's only a little more than 5K, but there are apparently over 10 obstacles throughout the course.  And a mudpit.  It should be fun!

I'm also thinking about running The Flying Monkey Marathon again in November.  That should round out my year of racing nicely.  I may hop in a few other short races here and there, but for now I feel pretty good about my schedule.  For some reason, I don't feel like trying to plan too much right now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Race Report: Country Music Half Marathon

On Saturday, I ran in Nashville's Country Music Half Marathon as the 2:15 pacer for the second year in a row.  Once again, I had a blast.  This race report is a little long, but I think it's a pretty fun story of a great weekend.

I headed downtown to the race expo on Friday.  I have to admit that the Country Music doesn't offer the best race expo... but there were some pretty cool aspects this year.  Namely, I got to meet Ryan Hall.  And get a free copy of his book.  And he signed it and we talked for a minute.  It was definitely one of those really cool moments I think I'll always remember, and it was just so cool to meet him.

I also got to meet Kara Goucher, and she signed my copy of this month's Runner's World.  That was also pretty cool, but I'll admit I wasn't quite as starstruck as I was with Ryan.  I think she's awesome, but he's the fastest American marathoner and half marathoner right now, and I think it's incredible!  I'm also really impressed by the way he shares his faith, and I can't wait to read his book.  I got a picture with Kara as well, but for some reason it refuses to upload.

I also worked at the pace team booth for a while and had a chance to connect with some runners that wanted to run with me in the morning.  I was wearing my Run for Mercy shirt, and it was really neat how many people kept telling me they loved my shirt and asked where to get one.  It was cool to get to tell them about Mercy and how we have a team of 65 people who raised over $31K while training for the race. 

It was also kind of neat that I got to talk to a lot of runners throughout the time I was there, both at the pace booth and while in lines to meet Ryan and Kara.  When people found out I live here, everyone wanted to know where they should eat, what they should do, etc.  Sometimes I feel pleased with myself for being able to give people good suggestions.  I also got stopped twice while walking down the sidewalk by people sitting in traffic in their cars that needed directions.  I was really glad I actually knew how to tell them where they were going!

On Friday night, we had the Run for Mercy team dinner at Mercy.  It was so fun to celebrate the fundraising efforts of our team and eat a yummy dinner.  I came home, got everything ready for the morning and read a bit until I got sleepy.

My parents picked me up at 5:30 on Saturday morning, my little sister in tow as she was going to run her third half marathon. 

She headed to the porta-potties, and I headed to the VIP area to have a little breakfast and chat with my fellow pace team members before we all headed to our corrals. Meredith met back up with me as we made the trek to corral 16, and I ran into a few friends along the way.  It's always cool to run into people you know in a crowd of 30,000!

Once in the corral, people started to flock around me to join our group.  My sister and a couple of friends also decided to start out with me.  I told the group about my strategy and started talking and getting to know everyone a bit.  It wasn't long before it was time to start slowly moving up so that we could start the race.

The first mile passed pretty quickly, and I was laughing and talking with the group some and telling them a bit more about myself and our plans for tackling the hills of Nashville.

It wasn't long before we hit the first pretty tough hill, so I let them know we were going to keep it steady and make up any time we lost going up later when we come across a downhill.

My parents were along the course a few times and snapped a couple of photos of us.

The below picture is actually one that I took at the start, but these two were a father/son pair that ran with the group for the biggest part of the race.  The dad was a riot.  He was SO funny, and he was definitely making jokes and keeping us all entertained over the first 4-5 miles.

After we got up that first rather large hill, we turned and made the steady incline up Music Row.  I kept reminding my group to keep it steady, and I promised them we'd have some relief soon.  Some more friends of mine were spectating along this part of the course, and one friend even made an awesome poster for me about my "Pa Pa Pacer Face."  Loved it.

We made the path down Belmont pretty smoothly, and it seemed like everyone had good energy.  I got to talking to one of the gals in the group a bit more and found out that it wasn't long ago that she was finishing up chemo for breast cancer.  It was such an honor to be running with her!

There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and it was quickly warming up to 65 degrees or so... WARM for distance running in Tennessee.  We turned and began heading UP the rolling hills of 12 South... I had managed to build us up a little time in the bank when we came down Belmont since it's not as hilly, and we definitely used it to climb these hills.

Before long, we turned and found this guy as we headed back down the other side of Music Row.

Somewhere along here my sister pulled away and took off.  I was excited for her, and I encouraged the group that if they were feeling good that it'd be a good time to start trying to pull on ahead.  A few took me up on it, and a few kept hanging with me.  I did my best to keep encouraging everyone - I could tell we were all getting hot and tired.

I continued to see all sorts of friends I know from college and work and other random social circles along the course... it's always exciting to see a familiar face and have them cheer for you.  Thanks to all of the spectators out there, whether I know you or not!

Somewhere around mile 11, there was a blonde that yelled out to me and said she reads my blog.  It took me a second to piece together what you said my friend, but thanks for calling out!  So glad to know you're reading - email me and say hi sometime!

My group was definitely quieter the last 2 miles, but I kept talking to them and encouraging them to keep pressing on.  We were definitely on pace.  It's kind of funny though how much you feel like a celebrity when you run with a sign... the entire time I was running, I kept hearing spectators comment about me being the pacer, and it was just kind of fun to have people noticing even though in general I'm not one to call attention to myself.  I guess this is the one time it's kind of nice.

The last mile has some decent hills, so I told everyone to hang on and keep pressing on.  Before long, I was turning the corner and heading to the finish line.

I crossed the line in 2:14:50.  I'm pretty pleased with how close I was able to get to 2:15, and if you're going to be off a few seconds then I'd rather be under.

I hung out in the finish area for a while and connected a bit more with people in my group.  Some were able to pull on ahead.  Some were just behind me.  Everyone seemed pleased with their time, and I was so glad to be able to be a part of helping them to get there.  There's something that's just really fun about helping other people reach their goal.

I headed to the VIP tent to say hi to the other pacers and grab some food before heading to find family and friends and hang out for a while.  I am 100% in my element when I'm at a race... it's just so much fun!

My sister ultimately ran a 2:07 and was really pleased with it.   We of course snapped some photos with our medals.


I still had a temporary tattoo from a previous year... they don't even have this same logo any more, but I totally wore it.  VINTAGE. :)

The below photo is from where I was in corral 16... of like 30 something at the start on West End.  This is definitely a HUGE race.

After I got home, I totally took a four hour nap.  And then I slept like 12 hours Saturday night.  I ended up getting a little sunburned, and I think the combination of the 5am alarm, running 13.1 miles, being in the sun for hours and talking for hours just drained me.

It was definitely a ton of fun to be able to run this event again as a pacer.  Thanks to everyone who ran with me, and thanks to everyone who supported and cheered us on!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

101 in 1001 Update

I can't believe how quickly April went by, but I have to admit that at the exact same time it seemed to drag by...

24. Take a spur of the moment road trip - This one is a bit of a stretch because it's not exactly what I had in mind, but I woke up one Saturday morning not totally sure what the day held, but I quickly found it included a trip up to Bowling Green, KY and then over to Diamond Caverns.

45. Give money to people who are fundraising at least 4 times a year - I had another opportunity for this.

48. Mail a card/letter to someone four times a year (doesn't have to be the same person) - It's personal, but I did this earlier in the month.

53. See Stephanie and Amanda at least once a year if schedules allow - I got to see them both in Chicago this month!

68. Go to three concerts per year - I saw Lady Gaga this month here in Nashville.

95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum - I definitely continue to have no problems accomplishing this.  I watched: The Fighter, Step Up 3, Morning Glory, 127 Hours, Buried, Water for Elephants, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Charlie St. Cloud, and The Switch.

96. Read one book per month, minimum - I read Two Kisses for Maddy, written by Matt Logelin.  I've read his blog Matt, Liz and Madeline for three years now, and I am always touched by the way he writes about the birth of his daughter and death of his wife.  I read this book in 3 days, and if I were to tell you one book to read this month it's definitely this one.