Friday, October 26, 2012

Fun Day Friday

  • My mom got this little running girl sticker for me when she went to St. Louis. I think she's precious, and her purple headband is the best. I love purple. I think running stick girl goes nicely with my run sticker I got in New Orleans.
  • Speaking of stickers, I'm saving the other side of my back window for my 13.1 sticker. As of December 1, I will have one of those beauties on my car. And I get to check something off my bucket list.
  • I've decided my only distractions I'll have from working from home will be unlimited access to my refrigerator and the ability to make endless cups of coffee.
  • I am thinking it's time to break out my top 5 Christmas movies. Asher's been quoting Christmas Vacation for weeks now, and it's starting to get to me. I'm trying to hold out until Thanksgiving, but let's be and I both know I'll cave before then.
  • Mark it down. October 26. The first time I mention Christmas on the blog this year. Two months away....I can't believe it didn't happen sooner.
  • Boom Kinetic is playing two nights in a row here in Little Rock. I've waited years for such goodness to happen. There's rumors of a guest list for tomorrow night. Trying to figure out how to get on it. It would just add to the goodness.
  • I'm in the market for some chunky sweaters and smoking loafers. Any suggestions on where I should go to get these items? I need something trendy in my wardrobe right now. Maybe a sweater with elbow patches. And definitely some leopard print smoking loafers.
  • Once Upon a Time and Pretty Little Liars has taken over my free time. Netflix has been good to me recently. I think it's trying to make up for the time it took away The Biggest Loser without my knowledge. And don't judge me for Pretty Little Liars. It's a good show. I think I'm in love with Ezra Fitz. He's cute in that nerdy smart guy kinda way.
  • I picked my 13-year-old cousin up from the junior high the other day. And then I kidnapped her and made her help me recycle some magazines. She tries to pretend like I'm not cool anymore, but deep down I know she loved it. Am I cool enough to make recycling fun? It's questions like that that keep me up at night.
  • I need to get the new Mumford and Sons and the new Taylor Swift. My musical life is suffering. I am behind. I feel bad about it. And you can hate T. Swift all you want, but she means it when she sings. She means it. (My love of Mumford should help me keep some cool points, right?)
  • Who says cool points? I need to be slapped.
Have a great Friday. Rock on!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One Week from Today

This sweet girl turned 4 on Monday. I can't really believe she is four....probably because she acts likes she's 24. Just a little old soul in a toddler's body. This is one of the only pictures of us. Susan snapped at Bit's birthday party this past weekend, and I cherish it. It's one of many moments I will never forget.

As of today, it's exactly one week until Asher's surgery on the tumor in her leg. I'm hoping after that we can start throwing around the term "cancer free" like it's our job. Justin got some awesome photos of Bit last night, and I wanted to share them with you because they are so beautiful.

Looking at these photos makes me so happy. I love how little kiddish she looks. I mean she is a little kid. A little kid dealing with very grown up problems. So I love any captured moment where she actually looks her age.

The last few weeks I've been super busy, and I started my new job this week so I haven't been able to hang out with her as much. The time I have gotten to spend with her is a full reminder of how much I love this kid.

She has been a constant in my unsteady life for the past five months. But if I were to bet, I'd say she's been a constant in more lives than just mine. And this is a beautiful thing.

This kid can evoke so much emotion out of so many people. And the fact that she has touched so many people who have never met her is just a testament to her story....and all the more reason to tell it.

But there are two people that should get a lot of praise for this child's success.

Her parents, Justin and Susan.

I've never really went into much detail about how amazing they are, but it's been on my heart lately. Anything I write won't hold a candle to how amazing they actually are, but that doesn't stop me from trying.

I am very blessed to have them in my life. They let me come into their lives during one of their most difficult challenges. They've fed me for five months while I was job hunting. And all they ever asked me for was my babysitting skills.

As I've spent more time with them, I'm just so grateful for both of them.

Susan and I have grown really close. She's taught me that green beans can be fried, angel food cake must be put on the lower rack of the oven and celebrity gossip makes the world go 'round. Justin and I talk running, he's sent my resume around to his contacts and he always provides vauable information about things I know nothing 401Ks.

But more importantly, they've both given and accepted love for their child to any and everyone. They created a normal for Asher that only the two of them could have created, and they've created an indestructable bond that only two people can create when it comes to their child.

You both are exceptional parents. And I'm lucky to be a part of your life. Thank you for letting me in. Thank you for being open to sharing Asher's story. And thank you for being incredibly awesome people. Your kid is special to me,  but so are you guys. I be loving you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fight or Flight

After a week of running 19 miles, I'm so glad this week is my recovery week. I did complete all of my runs last week, and my mid-week 5 miler wasn't pretty.

But I am thrilled to tell you all about my 9 mile accomplishment. So here we go.

I set my alarm for 4 a.m., which is something I never do. But I wanted to get up and eat breakfast so I could have time to digest before my 6 a.m. run. Y'all, I had it all planned out. I thought 6 a.m. would be the best time to go before it got too hot outside. And as I was loading my ice chest into the car, I didn't think too much about the fact that it was still dark outside. I thought for sure the sun would be on the rise at any time.

Apparently, I missed the memo that the sun comes up a little after 7 a.m. But being the trooper I am, I downloaded a flashlight app to my phone and took off in the complete darkness at Two River Park.

It was dark. I mean country dark. I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face.

Nobody was out there. The parking lot was completely empty, and there were no signs of human life.

But I wasn't alone.

I ran about a half mile when I turned on to my usual trail. With my flashlight beaming, I rounded the corner and was met with four pairs of glowing eyes. I couldn't see a thing but those eyes staring back at me. Ummmm....I almost peed my pants. So I turned around as quickly and quietly as I could, but then I heard some rustling too close to my left.

I hightailed it back toward my car at an 8-minute mile pace. My legs were booking it. I could hear my heart beating in my ears. Fight or flight, y'all. Fight or freaking flight. I have never moved so fast in my life. I was terrified.

I should have known the run wasn't going to be what I thought it was, but I decided to stay on the road instead taking the trails.

It didn't help.

I could hear too much movement along the sides of the road, and there were too many "shadows" moving. But the coyote darting across the road in front of me was the icing on the cake. I was done with the dark and Two Rivers Park.

I ran back to my car, got in it and left. Didn't look back.

So I drove down to the Big Dam Bridge, and when I got there I saw sunshine and people. Just what a girl needs after too much darkness and wildlife.

I did run a mile and a half at Two Rivers. So I completed the seven and a half miles I had left at the Big Dam Bridge trail. And it was glorious.
Here are my stats:
Distance: 9 miles
Time: 1:53:07
Best Pace: 8:39 (darkness and wildlife escape pace)
Average Pace: 12:34 (much more like normal)
Calories: 960

Let me just say this. Running nine miles gives hunger a whole new meaning. I've been eating the contents of my refrigerator like it's my job. And I'm still's Tuesday.

And for the record, I will not be running in the dark 6s again. Not ever. No way. Too many animals. If it came down to me and deer, I feel like the deer would kick my they are naturally swift animals so I don't really stand a chance.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Day Friday: Welcome the Weekend

  • My mom is going to St. Louis this weekend to run a half marathon. AND she is going without me. #rude I'm trying to be cool about it because that's what "grown ups" do, but let's be honest....I really wanted to go. What can I say? Big cities just call out to me.
  • I officially start my new job on Monday. I went to check out my office/storage closet on Thursday, and I ended up taking some boxes home with me. I need to look through some stuff so I have a slight idea what I'm being trained to do. To be honest, I'm a tad bit nervous. I'm hoping I will gain more clarity about everything on Monday.
  • I'm doing a 5 mile hill workout today. Who wants to come with me? Not all the miles will be hills, but there will be hills........and in this case I mean the Big Dam Bridge or something similiar to it. Who wants in?
  • Asher's birthday is Monday. She's going to be 4. Crazy how time flies. Her party is tomorrow. I still  have to find a costume...
  • I'm running 9 miles on Sunday. Nine miles. Sometimes I can't believe it. But I'm starting to get more confident in the long runs. To be honest, I enjoy them the most. I don't have to focus on speed or time. I just have to cover the miles. The other workouts during the week are shorter, but sometimes I feel they are more difficult, hence the five miles of hill work I'm planning to do this afternoon.
  • I made a to-do list yesterday. And sometimes I write stuff down that I already did just so I can mark it off. It makes me feel better about having a to-do list. I've marked one thing off already, and the day is just getting started. I have a feeling the last three things (reorganize the nook, clean out the cabinets, and clean the house) will not get done today......but that's just a prediction.
  • I've been watching a lot of British tv shows on Netflix. I've finished Sherlock and Doctor Who, and I'm now watching Being Human. I can't decide if I like Being Human as much as Sherlock and Doctor Who. What tough decisions I'm faced with?
  • Also, the British tv show marathons have made me want to attend high tea. I've tried to recreate the tradition in my house, but I don't have any biscuits. Does anyone know where I can have high tea?
  • I'm going to be guest posting for Paige over at Approaching Joy one day in the next two weeks. I don't know what that means you will have to visit her everyday until you read my macro moment. P.S. Paige is getting married and going on her show her some love while she is busy getting hitched and all.
  • As soon as I hit the publish button, I will be making pumpkin oatmeal, starting the next episode of Being Human, looking through work files, and deciding when I should hit the trails for a run.
  • Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Such a Happy Day

I'm completely thrilled for two reason.

1. I GOT A JOB!!!!!

And with this new job comes the title of Executive Director. I couldn't be more excited about it. I can't wait to get started because I see so much potential for this organization. This vision and opportunity are great, and it's up to me to make it happen.

Here are my stats:
Time: 1:41:13
Distance: 8 miles
Best Pace: 10:10
Average Pace: 12:39
Calories: 846

The majority of this run was terrible like the lone three-miler I ran on Thursday (more on that later). I haven't been feeling well, and I ran fever a couple of days this week. Such a bummer. And it threw my running off.

I set out to do four miles of speedwork on Thursday, but I cut it to three miles because I couldn't breathe and my whole body felt like it was break into a thousand pieces.
Here are my terrible stats from Thursday:
Time: 36:22
Distance: 3 miles
Best Pace: 10:21
Average Pace: 12:08
Calories: 345

I have no idea what was up with me this week. I just couldn't get in a groove.

The 8th mile of my long run felt the best, and you know I have to be crazy to say that. But I finally worked through my side cramps and stomach pains and leg tightness by the 8th mile. So I can only hope that this week of running will be forgiving, however, I fear it won't.

This is the week before my next recovery week. And it's going to be tough. I have a five mile HILL workout and a 4 to 5 miles of repeats at race pace with a half mile warm up and cool down. And did I mention the nine mile long run???

Typing that just made me realize how crazy I must sound when I say it out loud. Looking at an 18-19 mile week. Sweet. And I'm starting to develop a nice toe callus, a runner's mark that I wear with pride and sometimes pain.

Just in case you're curious about what my day looks like, here is a look at my to do list.
And I got this book on sale at Kroger the other day.
Looks like my spare time is pretty wrapped up.

Tell me something that made you happy today.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Two Days of Pure Joy

I have been a very lucky girl lately. It's very unlike me to be so lucky.

I got to see Needtobreathe play two shows two nights in a row. Talk about luck. We (the roommate, Chelsey and I) had bought tickets to see them play in Little Rock back in May. But the roommate entered a contest to win tickets to see them in Oklahoma City, and she won.

Oklahoma City was ridiculous. Standing room only. And we were so close to the stage. I could have touched Bo if he had reached out to the crowd.
I mean seriously. I could have touched him. It was an amazing night. The opening bands were so good, and the energy was crazy.

Leaving OKC and driving the 5.5 hours back to Little Rock was a true test of character. About three hours into the drive home, I was ready to be out of the car. And by the time we got home, we had just enough time to get ready to go eat before the show.

Round 2 was just as awesome as Round 1.
They played "Cops" from their new EP that came out a few weeks ago. I was ridiculous. Jumping. Singing. Screaming. Laughing. You get the idea.
I can't tell you how much I love Needtobreathe. I just can't do it.

I am a music lover. And I have been since as far back as I can remember. My family was always in awe of my ability to memorize song lyrics and melodies at such a young age. And there was a period of time (1998-2000) where I wanted to be a "pop star."

Needtobreathe became my favorite band my senior year of college. All it took was one song. One song started the whole thing. Once I got all their music, I was hooked. Ridiculously amazing melodies. Thoughtful lyrics. And every single album that comes out is just different enough and even more genius than the last. And I like all of the old stuff just as much as the new stuff....and that's not something I say very often.
I have now seen them play live six times. And each time is more amazing the the first time. They are like a fine wine...just keeps getting better with time. Songs become more thought-provoking. Melodies become more ridiculous.

The roommate took some video that I have to share with you. I want you to have the opportunity to see what I saw. To experience the awesomeness that I experienced.
This first video is from OKC. "The Outsiders" is a song off the album The Outsiders. And there is a point in this song where my brain exploded. If you listen carefully around 1:15 you can hear me freak out because of the ridiculousness.
The second video is a new song called "Difference Maker." I had never heard it before they played it in OKC. But the roommate recorded the whole thing in Little Rock. I think we were both in shock and awe mode in OKC because of how awesome it is. And when I watched this exact version in Little Rock, I totally cried. The sounds and lyrics were just too much to handle.

I hope you enjoy. If you are new to Needtobreathe, you should definitely check them out. I can say without a doubt they are my favorite band ever. And those are big words for me.

What is your favorite band/song?

Who was the last band you saw play live? Where did you go to see them?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Seven Mile Milestone

Something amazing happened on Sunday morning. Something I've never done before. I ran seven miles. The farthest I've ever ran. And it was awesome.
It was one of those runs that didn't seem long or difficult. I was completely in the zone. And to make the seven miles that much sweeter I got to run six miles with my mom.

Here are my stats:
Time: 1:25:08
Distance: 7 miles (really 7.3...I'll explain it in a bit.)
Best Pace: 10:09
Average Pace: 12:10
Calories: 817

For the first .3 miles of running, my watch decided not to work. So I technically completed  my run at 6.7 miles in an hour and twenty minutes, but I just couldn't stop until I saw that perfect seven.

I felt good running. It was cool outside. I would have and did say it was freezing before we started running. But it ended up being just the right temperature. The sun was out. It was too good. And I didn't have any hypoglycemic issues! Hooray!

But I'm not the only person to hit a milestone this weekend.

My friend and sorority sister Sarah ran her first marathon this weekend.
She ran the 26.2 miles of the Chicago Marathon in 5:25:16. I am so proud of her awesome accomplishment. The whole weekend I was tweeting/stalking her, and I almost cried when she posted this photo of her.

So show Sarah some love because she is amazing!!! And she deserves all the congratulations she can get! Party on, Sarah!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Day Friday: Funnies

Every time I write a blog post, I e-mail pictures from my phone to myself so I can post them. In the subject line, I just type random letters so I don't get the dreaded there-is-no-subject-do-you-want-to-send-it pop-up. And sometimes the random letters are autocorrected into something awesome.

That was the case today. kdhaldjhdl turned into Highballing. #perfect


I went on a winter squash buying rampage yesterday. And I have to tell you I had a butternut squash before I got all this. It's fall, y'all. Get some squash. Roast it and love it.


I stole this photo from Arkansas Outside. I laughed a lot when I saw it so I had to share it.

I also found this on Pinterest and sent it to the roommate.


I'm prepping to see Needtobreathe next Tuesday. We all know how much I love them. And they are coming to Little Rock to play a show. We have fourth row tickets. HOLLLLLLAAAAA!!!!


While eating burrito bowls on the patio of Chipotle's, a little girl, no more than two years old, tried numerous times to climb the metal fence and run out in the street. Her parents were trying to eat dinner while her older sister was shaking the umbrella attached to the table.

As they were getting ready to leave, the pregnant mother was carousing the umbrella shaker and the dad was going after the fence climber. I made a comment to the dad about how she was trying to break out of jail.

He said, "Don't have kids til you get a Taser." I, of course, laughed out loud. Then he threw in "...and ear plugs." as an afterthought.

Best advice ever. Taser and ear plugs.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Get a Foam Roller

Since I started training for St. Jude's half marathon, I've been foam rolling. I've talked about it a lot, but I realize some of you have no idea what I mean by that. So today is the day I share some information.

As much as I complain about it, foam rolling is clearly brilliant for quick muscle recovery. And I can tell a huge difference since I started using it.

What does it look like?
It's a cylinder-shaped piece of foam. It's not soft foam, but it's not hard like a brick. It has a little give to it, but not much.

What do you do with it?
You roll your legs and back on it. It's a very awkward process. And after long runs or not using it for a few days, it will hurt you.

Here's the thing. When you run, your body builds up toxins that are stored in your muscles. Over time, the toxins form knots in your muscles. You can't really feel the knots, but you know they are there because of muscle tightness.

Think of the foam roller as you own personal masseuse. By applying pressure to different muscle groups and rolling them on the foam roller, you can elongate your muscles and break up the knots and toxins in your body.

It is crazy how good it hurts. The first time I did it (the right way), I cussed like a sailor. My calf muscles felt like solid rocks, and rolling down my quads took my breath away.

But as bad as it hurt doing it, I felt like a million bucks the next day. Seriously, nothing hurt. No aches and pains. No muscle stiffness. It was crazy. I knew I was on to something.

So I decided to dedicate 30 minutes or so a day to foam rolling. And at first it wasn't pretty. I looked like a fish flopping around on the floor, and I'm pretty sure if my neighbors heard me they would have thought I had Tourette Syndrome because of the random outburts of cuss words. (BTW---they moved out right after I started using it on a regular basis....Coincidence? Maybe.)

After running Asher's 5K, I was too lazy to foam roll, even though my legs felt tight during the entire run. And I didn't foam roll Sunday. Or Monday.

So I did 3.7 miles of speed work yesterday, and I knew my date with the foam roller wouldn't be fun. And guess what? I was right. My calves were back to feeling like rocks, and rolling over my quads almost made me cry.

Bottom line: If you are a runner, you need a foam roller. Especially if you run long distances and high mileage. Elongating tight muscles will help prevent injury. And once you get through the first couple of rounds, foam rolling becomes less of a self-tourture fest.

I realize foam rolling doesn't sound all that great, but I promise your legs and back will thank you. I am completely amazed at how much better I feel, and I would dare to say it's changed my running life.

Here is the pin I used to teach myself how to foam roll.  Thank you Pinterest!

Now go foam roll and report back.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Arkansas Outside Follow-Up: Bit's 5K

I'm back at Arkansas Outside today.

I was super excited when I was asked to write a follow-up piece to "Why I Run."

And I'm pleased to tell you the Show a Lil Bit of Love for Asher Ray 5K and Baggo Tournament was a huge success.

Since my mom didn't run, I ran with one of her good friends and running buddies. Kerri is an excellent motivator, and I love getting the opportunity to run with her.
My mom and dad worked the final water station with my best friend from high school Shannon and her mom Kimble and my mom's other running buddy Lisa. Shannon tried to get me to pose. I think I did pretty good.
Overall, it was a wonderful day. And I came out of the race with some pretty nice stats.

Distance: 3.11 miles
Time: 34:35
Best Pace: 8:33
Average Pace: 11:07
Calories: 363

And I'm pretty sure Asher had a awesome time, too.
Via Maurie Alderson at Studio M Photography

So head on over to Arkansas Outside and see what I did there.

Happy Wednesday!! Party on!