Sunday, May 24, 2009

May Festivities...continued.

We're back! Our internet has been down for 7-8 long days. This has really put a damper on Brent's teleworking, and, more importantly, has made the blogging grind to a halt for awhile. Have no fear...three visits from AT&T, a three-hour service phone call, and one new modem later and we're back in business.

I'll just bring you quickly up to speed on our latest happenings since I feel like there's a lot that I haven't blogged about. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the pictoral trip through May...

Mother's Day...
I believe we've started a new tradition in our family for Mother's Day since this year turned out so well. We met my family and Brent's parents at Joseph Decuis in Roanoake for a FANTASTIC Mother's Day lunch. The food was ridiculous...we loved it. It was nice not having to choose which mother to visit on the actual day. We always struggle with this on holidays because our parents are spread out just far enough that it's hard to visit both in one day.

Lemon asparagus soup in cute cups...

The May Marathon Club...

Brent ran another 13.1 on the 16th, which would make him a proud member of the Month of May Marathon Club if he had fallen for the ploy and paid $25 for the extra t-shirt. He did the Geist Half Marathon in 1:37 which I consider to be pretty darn good. The hill at mile 9 really wiped him out. Bonnie and I met him at the top of said hill because it just happened to be in Feather Cove, the neighborhood right across the street from ours. It was pretty fun to be a spectator and yell out things like, "Woooo, you're doing great!" or "Wooo, you're almost to mile 9!" I know I always appreciate yelling from spectators when I'm running.

He whizzed by too fast to get much of a picture...
Here's another attempt...made more difficult with a lunging 15-pound Westie on one arm who had lost all control of herself in all the excitement...

And before I knew it, there he goes...

At the finish line

In other running news, I'm kicking around the idea of doing the full marathon in Lawrence this October. Anyone care to join me? I certainly do not plan to run all of it.

Quick Trip Home...

I ran home yesterday to hang out with Mom, Ashley, and Audrey just for the day. It had been too long since I'd seen the Bigelow Sweet Pea. We hung around for the day and went on a walk. This baby is one Smiley Miley, let me tell you what! I just love her! It was so nice seeing you both!

I feel ya, Audrey!

The Race...

This will have to be a post of its own. Best...time...ever!

The Details of Life...

In the past several days I've taken a CPA exam, started my classes again (which involves a very long class on campus on Wednesday nights now...yeah Lindsey, great idea to switch out one of your cushy co-hort electives with an actual class on campus, like 45 minutes away...), and made a quick trip to DC for work on Thursday and Friday. I sat next to Indiana Congressman Andre Carson on the flight home, and no, he was not going to the race, and yes, he likes his iPhone. He wanted to know if my Sudoku puzzles were difficult, and was polite to the flight attendant during the beverage service. That's about all I know, folks...we didn't talk politics much to the dismay of my co-worker sitting several rows back on the plane. He would have LOVED to give Mr. Carson some advice on what he should be doing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What a Difference Two Days Makes...

Oh friends, I have a plethora of good blog material right now but so little time to blog! What a predicament. I'm taking a quick study (ah-hum...Biggest Loser break) to show you our completed landscape project that is only a few hours old. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good before picture, but it looked something like this...

Our neighbors used to point and stare and grumble something about the value of their property going down...

So we called for help and devised a plan to rip everything out, reduce the floor beds and fill with grass, install underground drains, etc. Here's how it looked yesterday after they ripped everything out...

The peony bush...the pride of the landscaping and the ONLY piece that remained.

And here's our new yard. I love it. What took a landscaping crew two days to accomplish would have cost us an entire summer of headache.

If you live in Indy and need some landscaping services or tree removal, call Stewart's Tree Service and Lawn Care. You won't be sorry!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Glorious Month of May

Sweet May is finally upon us. This is probably the best month of the year, in my opinion...and not just because I am the self-proclaimed May Queen. Everyone looks forward to the summer, the weather is so much better, teachers see light at the end of the tunnel, etc, etc. Experiencing May in Indianapolis makes it all the better, because if this city can really claim one month of the year, it would be May. It starts off by hosting the country's largest half marathon and ends with the greatest spectacle in racing.

The stakes were high in my 4th consecutive running of the mini as this was the only time I've ever trained with any consistency. The goal - under 2:30. One of my LIFE goals, in fact. Pressure. The training seemed to really fall off after I ran that 9-miler last month and dehydrated myself, thus losing an entire productive Saturday. I knew it would be tough, but I was still hopeful to reach my goal. (Most of you probably know what happened, but humor me while I keep you in suspense a little bit longer...)
Here's how the events of the weekend unfolded...
1st Annual Carb-Up Dinner
Rachel, Justin, Laura and Megan joined us for a pre-race meal with lots of bread and pasta. Laura brought a Casa salad down from Fort Wayne and Rachel brought over her Lemon Asparagus Pasta.

No dinner is complete without favors...

Race Morning
This was taken just before we scrambled out the door at 6:00 a.m. and headed downtown to pick up a bunch of old Manchester friends for the race. This is also about the time when the three of us ran out the door without remembering to bring Mom's extra race number for Kirby's boyfriend Ryan, who found out the night before that we had an extra entry and was so pumped about it that he bought a new running shirt late that night. Sorry Ryan...we're big jerks only thinking about ourselves, apparently.

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
This guy we work with ran the mini in 1:32 one year, so all week long Brent was gunning for that time. He carbo-loaded, hydrated, pretty much did all he could to be in top running shape for the last week. Imagine him chugging V-8 in front of the fridge wearing sweatbands, ankle weights, and a cut-off t-shirt.

Okay, not really. But funny image, eh?

As much as he really wanted to beat Jerry, he kept saying that at least under 1:35 was possible. That's a little bit more than averaging 7:00 minute miles. Seriously, who is this person? 1:35? That's like a PROFESSIONAL RUNNER (close, anyway). I was so excited to finish the race so I would know how he did.

Brent's time was 1:34.38. Unbelievable! I'm bragging on him a little bit, but I don't do that often enough and I am seriously amazed at his ability. Amazed enough to use the word "amazed".

Reflections on Coming Up Short
I partnered up with my friend Christi who is a really good runner but didn't have much time to train this year and wasn't going for any great time. Therefore, she was free to stay behind and run with me as my motivational speaker. This girl can hold entire conversations even after running 10 miles. I can't imagine how she can do that, because I was just clinging to life towards the end. Around mile 11 her legs were cramping up and she needed to run faster, so we parted ways. We had been keeping track of our times each mile and at that point I knew it would take a small miracle to pull off 2:30. I pulled myself together and kept jogging through those last two miles, only walking for a few brief moments until I realized it hurt more to walk than to shuffle my feet in a "jogging" motion.

I crossed the finish line in 2:35. Sooo close....but not enough. I was so thrilled to be done that I could have cared less at the time. Plus, this was 14 minutes better than my best time, so that was good. I found my husband in the park and was then thrilled by his time and also at how good I felt compared to most years. After every other race I have curled myself into the fetal position on the ground, only moving to Army crawl to the Port-o-Potty. A few years ago I sat down right in the middle of the street because I couldn't make it to the car just yet. When Ashley ran a mini with me we got separated and she had my car keys, but I still laid on the ground for about an hour while she looked for me because that's how bad I felt. Lesson pays off both during the race and after.

I was okay with it until I got home. Then I was sad. Not only had I not beat 2:30, but I walked about five times. Christi went on to finish the race in 2:29, which means I still had a chance at mile 11. If only I could have kept up with her for two more miles!! Then, I stood in the kitchen and had a brief pity party for myself. I could have worked harder, and shouldn't have let myself walk. I hate failing.

Then it hit me. How can I feel anything but grateful that a gracious God has given me health to not only live a full and productive life, but has given me the legs, lungs, and heart strong enough to complete seven half marathons? And the will to do so? So many people would do anything to have this kind of health.
This is not about failure, but about the victory of my own Biggest Loser story. As a 225 pound 17 year-old who wanted to play high school tennis but didn't because of the running required, would I have ever imagined that I could run 11 of the 13 miles in that race? NO!

So tonight, I am glad. I am thankful to know how much life there is to live if you only have the confidence to experience it. And tomorrow, I will run. And I will take five more minutes off my time later this year. Because frankly, anything is possible.

Tag, I'm It!

Ashley tagged me with this blog forward, and since I like lists, here it is...

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

1.) Our landscaping is going to be totally scraped out and replaced this week. I CANNOT WAIT.
2.) Passing my last CPA exam in two weeks. It's happening.
3.) The Coldplay concert in Toronto this summer.
4.) Our Pacific Northwest trip early this fall
5.) A Cardinals' game with most of my mom's side of the family in June
6.) Finishing my MBA in just 2 measley semesters!
7.) Completing more home improvement projects
8.) Beginning a training program soon...perhaps starting with Jillian's 30-Day Shred dvd, maybe
trying out a real trainer

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1.) Ran the 500 Festival Mini Marathon 14 minutes faster than my best time. That was pretty
big, so the rest of my 8 will be a stretch...
2.) Saw some old Manchester buddies at the race
3.) Made a desperate trip to Wal-Greens for a 12-pack of Diet Coke. I hear that slugging back a
few Cokes is the best thing for dehydration....
4.) Did the dishes from our Carbo-Load supper the night before
5.) Met with our landscaping guy and picked out bushes and shrubs
6.) Ate dinner at The Outback
7.) Watched The Break-Up
8.) Made plans to go to the 500 for the first time ever

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1) Lose the last 20+ pounds
2) Organize all the problem areas in my house and keep it clean
3) Take one month of leave from work and walk Il Camino in Europe...500 miles
between southern France and Spain
4) Convince everyone to recycle
5) Have a baby but still have all the freedom and plans I have now…
6) Get my dog to behave herself
7) Run a marathon
8) Complete a triathlon

8 Shows I Watch:

1) The Biggest Loser
2) The Office
3) The Hills
4) 30 Rock
5) Parks and Recreation
6) Sex and the City Reruns
7) Jeopardy
8) the news

8 People I Want to Tag:

1) Mom
2) Megan
3) Lori
4) Michael
5) Lauren
6) Emily
7) Jana
8) Larissa