Friday, June 28, 2013

26 things you needed to know about me.

Happy Friday, me lovelies. Don't forget to begin and end your day with a smile! 
A. Attached or Single? Single. Unless we are talking about coffee, because we're 6 years committed and counting.
B. Best Friend? My younger sister 'the Tabs'. So, so, SO blessed to have this woman in my life.
C. Cake or pie? Icing, with a side of icing. 
D. Day of choice? Any day that begins with a good sweat.
E. Essential Item? Earrings. I never leave the house without them.
F. Favorite color? Pink.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Gummy lifesavers, please. 
H. Home town? Seneca, Kansas
I. Favorite Indulgence? Krsipy Kreme filled doughnut. Finger lickin' good.
J. January or July? January. 
K. Kids? First comes love, then comes marriage, THEN the baby carriage. (because NO is just boring).
L. Life isn’t complete without? My relationship with God. 
M. Marriage date? I'm both marriageless and dateless. ;)
N. Number of brothers/sisters? 5 brothers and 6 sisters.......otherwise known as my 11 best friends.
O. Oranges or Apples? Apples!
P. Phobias? Water, being in it, not drinking it.
Q. Quotes?  

R. Reasons to smile? There is more to life than my mistakes, achievements or the circumstances that I encounter. 
S. Season of choice? Autumn.
T. Tag 3 People.
Amanda @ The Lady Okie
Brittany @ BlissfulBritt
U. Unknown fact about me? I go barefoot 90% of the time, unless forced to shod my hoofers for work or running.
V. Vegetable? Beets.
W. Worst habit? Thinking of myself before others.
X. Xray or Ultrasound? I've never had either........
Y. Your favorite food? The food that's on my plate when I'm hungry.

Z. Zodiac sign? panda bear, or maybe an eagle. or maybe I have no idea. :)
Pick one, pick two; tell me something about YOU!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Relay Iowa (Part 2).

11am on Saturday, we completed the first 24 hours of our relay. Our team had previously set a goal to finish the relay in under 48 hours, and we were sitting right about the half way point. Most of the team was still feeling strong and we had a lot of miles left to cover. Through the middle part of the day our entire team stayed on the road together for a few hours, instead of some of us going to sleep.

After my 5 mile leg, I had almost 10 hours before my next leg. I did a lot of rolling and stretching, but my legs were feeling super awesome! My last leg on Saturday was at 7pm and my splits were 8:02, 9:25 and 8:58. My pacing over the course of the relay was not particularly stellar, but I was happy to be seeing lots of miles in the 8:XX area.
The weather was still pretty great- low 80's for a high, barely any wind and great cloud cover. 

Saturday afternoon some of the team was starting to get some aches and pains going on. All of us had double digit miles on our legs, and fatigue started to play a role for some of the runners. 

Ice-bath anyone?? 

Saturday afternoon we were stopped by the news crew that covered the relay and they asked if they could interview us. Yours truly got stuck with the microphone. Can I just say now that I hate my recorded voice?? 

Let's just be as awkward as physically possible, because the cameras eat that stuff up.

At 9pm we split into two shifts again and it was my turn to sleep. We stayed in a gym with showers and a very cold floor. I was tired, but had a really hard time actually sleeping. The night shift laid down some really good fast miles for our team and then called us to switch around 2am.
Running in the dark was my favorite part of the entire relay! It was just you, the road and the night! So amazing. Loved every minute of the night legs!! 

The day shift runners were excited to put out some pretty fast miles and keep up the good pace that the night shift team had set up. Through the night they had passed several more teams, and at that point there were only a couple teams ahead of us. When the night shift drove ahead to camp out, they counted and let us know that there were only two more teams in front of us, one just barely 1/2 mile ahead and the other one closer to 2 miles ahead.
Time to catch some runners. :) We passed the first team almost immediately, and then set our sights on the one remaining team ahead of us.  
We were running just a couple miles ahead of some pretty heavy storms, so it was cool and there was quite a bit of wind. The headwind made the morning legs a little bit tough, but still doable.

I was the 4th runner in our morning rotation, so by the time it was turn for my leg, we had pulled up close to one of the runners remaining in front of us. I knew he was far enough ahead of us that I probably wouldn't get the kill, but I wanted to shorten the gap between us so our next runner could pass him.
It was a perfect morning to run- my leg was at 4:15 and I was feeling really good. Just before I hit the 1 mile mark, I realized that I could see the red blinking tail light of the runner in front of me. He had some good ground on me, but I was determined to catch him. I got my 2nd kill of the relay when I passed him just before the 2 mile mark! Woohoo! I got a second wind after passing him and just kept pulling away from him. (Yes sir, you got chicked!!!) My splits were 8:19, 8:52 and 8:57. 

Field of dreams in the middle of the morning!! When the sun came up, the wind picked up even more. It was  almost chilly out! So far we had not run in any rain, even though we were sitting at 60-70% change of showers for the past 12 hours.
During the night legs you were required to wear a reflective vest, headlamp and tail light. We had two sets of lights, but only one vest, so transition took a little bit longer because you had to get the vest off & on the the new runner. At one transition, in the fumble of handing over the vest, the finishing runner forgot to hand the GPS off to the new runner. Tim had already taken off about 1/3 of a mile down the road before we realized. Our first response was to jump in the van and bring it to him, but that would have felt like cheating- even though he ran the entire distance, it was our error to not give him the GPS, and that didn't mean we could use the vehicle. One of our other runners took off in a dead sprint to catch him, while we went ahead in the van and told him to stop and wait. Thankfully we caught him and quickly remedied our error. Early morning brains don't always function the best!! :)

My 2nd leg that morning was at 6:30, and I was starting to slow down just a touch. This particular part of the  leg wasn't super well marked, and I was afraid that I was off course. I spent about a mile worrying that I was lost. Since we had passed all the other teams, there were no other runners or support vehicles out on the road to help reassure me. My splits were 8:41, 9:28 and 9:04. Thank you mr. german shepherd for chasing me and increasing my speed for the last 1/2 mile of my 3rd split.
At the end of that leg I was sitting right at 29 miles. I was ready to be done, but really wanted to hit 30 miles before I was done. :) 

We ran though the town where the night shift team was camped and they broke camp and rejoined us. It was time to get in our last 30 miles and finish!! Our team was excited, tired and ready to be done. It's amazing how tired you can be, but yet completely amped up on adrenaline at the same time.
There were quite a few runners on our team who were starting to feel pretty slammed, so we switched up the legs for the last couple of miles so that they could fall out of the rotation.
My last full leg was a 1 mile leg--- uphill. It was tough, and my legs felt pretty spent! I ran the last mile in 8:46, not horrible, but I had hoped for a bit faster.

9am on Sunday morning- the sun was up, the clouds were looming and we were within just a  miles of the finish!!

Stay tuned for part 3-- the FINISH!! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Friday Favorites.

Welcome to the weekend! 
This week was a little bit all over the place-- work, some last minute studying before I test for my CFT exam, some workouts, family time and a couple of random errands that I'd been procrastinating on FINALLY accomplished. For some reason I felt a little bit spread out this week, and my over-achieving, OCD, super-planner, control freak reared it's ugly head. 
Settle down crazy, life is not, should not and will not be perfect. 

1. Holy (Nichole Nordeman)

This simple reminder really blessed me this the midst of all the 'doing' and 'striving' and 'trying' and 'accomplishing' and 'working', all He desires from me; is ME.

2. Cantaloupe.
Hello deliciousness, also known as 'cantaloupe'. Thank you for being the perfect addition to breakfast, lunch, supper, snack, brunch and the answer to midnight hunger pains. You're also awesome as a post run treat, finger food, party food, hide-in-the-closet-while-you-eat-it-so-you-are-not-forced-to-share food. 

3. I've decided how I want to die.
The below photo pretty much sums up the ideal way to pass on from this earth. 

4. Workout

This was not a super stellar week for me as far as workouts go, but I loved my crossfit WOD on Thursday evening. We performed 3 rounds for time; 10 pull-ups, 15 box jumps, 20 push-ups, 25 walking lunges and 30 kettle-bell swings. Talk abut some sweaty amazingness. 

5. All my 'fat pictures.
(me & three of my siblings in Florida, February 2010- 50 pounds ago.)
Self acceptance is a challenging issue-- we have to love where we've come from, where we are at, and where we are headed.  Sometimes we put conditions on our self-acceptance and allow ourselves to be happy with who we are only when we achieve certain things- especially physically. But it's important to love who we were. My oldest sister (check out her super-adorable blog) shared this amazing article and it really hit home for me. I really struggle with wanting to shred all the photos taken of me during my heavy years. As I pondered the perspective that Teresa shared in her article, I remembered that all those years were some of the best years of my life. I have amazing memories and experienced and achieved so, so many wonderful things- regardless of the fact that I'm not thrilled with how I look in any of those photos. I'm grateful for the change to get a change of perspective, and it still applies today, as I still am a work in progress.

Share your Friday Favorite with me!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Relay Iowa (Part 1)

Relay Iowa - the first 24 hours.

(I decided to split my relay recap into two posts. Basically I'm tricking you into listening to me jabber on and on by splitting it into two different posts instead of one monstrously boring post.)

Relay Iowa may be the longest relay in the United States, but it's about so much more than just running. All the proceeds from the relay are donated to Restoring Hope International , an amazing organization based in Welkom, South Africa. Two amazing couples founded Restoring Hope Village, where they meet  both the physical and spirituals needs of countless precious orphans. Their mission is to restore the HEARTS of the children, because you cannot live a restored life with a splintered heart.
It was amazing to participate in such an awesome event, but also realize that it didn't end in was so much bigger than just running, recovery and our sunburned memories. 

Our team of 12 was amazing! I had only met about half of the team prior to the relay, so it was neat to see how well our team clicked and worked together, even though most of us had previously been complete strangers!!
The relay started in Sioux City, right at the Missouri river. There were 17 teams running this year, and each team had previously submitted an approximate average pace per mile. The teams were released every half hour or so, starting with the 'slowest' predicted average and ending with the fastest team. Our team was predicted to be the 3rd fastest team, so our start was at 11am. 

Our team was very laid back, and there wasn't a lot of haggling over details prior to the relay. We decided to run 5k legs, and switch to longer legs later if we wanted to.
The first leg was brutal-- HILLY. As we followed along in the van, I was exceedingly grateful that I didn't have to start out on that leg!! It was intense!! Most of the state was hilly, but there were only a few legs that had soul-crushing hills, and I think the very first leg was the worst!
After our first runner hit the pavement, we started making some rough outlines of who would run what legs at what time. We were planning about 6 hours in advance so that each runner could plan when to eat, what to eat and what time their first leg would be. 

We started out by having each of our 12 runners run a leg, and then split the group into a 'night shift' and a 'day shift'. The 'night shift' would run until early morning while the 'day shift' caught a few hours of sleep. Day 1 was a beautiful day-- about 79 degrees with a light breeze. Sunny, but lots of clouds. The weather was absolutely perfect for running, even at 3pm.

I ran my first leg just after 2pm. I was a bundle of nerves and it was even worse than running a race. You have all the emotions of the starting line of a race, but then you take off all by yourself!! My first leg my splits were 7:46, 9:02 and 8:43. Hmmm.....let's do some better pacing next time. :) My first leg was my hilliest leg of the relay, so it was all down hill from there (pun, intended). 

My 2nd leg was at 5:45pm and I ran 8:34, 8:51 and 8:49. My second leg was through the town of Ida Grove and also included a (very confusing) checkpoint. The course was always well marked, but at the checkpoint there was an arrow pointing to turn right, when you actually needed to keep going straight. The staff at the checkpoint kept me on course, but I was thoroughly confused!  

My 3rd leg was at 8:15pm, the last leg for the 'day shift' team before we split to get some sleep. I ran 9:25, 9:06 and 9:24 during leg 3. My third leg was probably the hardest leg of the entire weekend. I'm not sure why, but I just felt off on that leg, and it was also my slowest. 

Our team had some very fast runners (below 7 minute mile averages), but everyone ran their own pace. As a team we had submitted an average of 8:30 per mile, but we were all hoping to run faster than we predicted. Every single on of my team mates ran their hearts out- we left out legs in Iowa!!

Friday night the Relay provided a spaghetti dinner for the runners. I was in between leg, and the last thing that sounded good was spaghetti. I'm not much of a spaghetti fan, so I wasn't particularly bummed to miss out, but the rest of the team enjoyed it!

The 'day shift' group was spoiled and actually got to sleep on real beds for a few hours. Several of the team are originally from Iowa, so we stayed at the house of one of the runners! A shower and a pillow have never felt so amazing!! The 'night shift' started at about 8:45pm and ran for the next 8 hours. The two shifts transitioned at about 5:15am and the fresh runners took over. We were far enough into the state at that point that the 'night shift' had to camp out instead of stay in at the house.

When we got up, I was feeling great! My mileage total for the first three legs was just under 10 miles (our 5ks were usually just a touch long) and I wasn't feeling any unusual soreness or pain! I was excited to get out and get some more miles in!

Iowa was BEAUTIFUL! Absolutely great scenery! 

I wanted to run my first leg in the morning at a slightly slower pace and ramp up as the day went on. My first leg was at 6:15am and I ran three miles at exactly 9:01 each. This leg was especially flat, and my legs felt good. 

There were plenty of other runners out on the route. We were playing leap frog with lots of other relay vehicles. We were passing other teams every few legs. All of the teams seemed to do a good job of pulling off the road and being safe & mind full of the traffic. We ran all different road and surfaces--- dirt, gravel, chip 'n seal, black top, highways, brick etc..... 

Did someone say carb-load? The provided meal on Saturday was a pancake breakfast. I was definitely looking forward to splurging on some hot cakes!! After I finished my 2nd route, it was my turn to eat!!

Our 'day shift' group decided we wanted to run some slightly longer legs, so my 2nd leg of the morning was just short of 5 miles. I love the 5 mile distance, so I was excited. My 2nd leg was at 9am and my splits were 8:31, 9:12, 9:20, 9:03 and 8:52. As we transitioned and Rikki handed off to me, we were passed by a speedy blonde. I hung with her for about a half a mile, but I knew I couldn't stick with her for 5 miles. At about 3.5 miles, I saw another runner up ahead of me and realized I was gaining on her. I made it my goal to pass her before transition!! She was keeping a good pace, so I kept pushing. About 1/4 mile shy of transition, I passed her going up a hill. Mission accomplished- I got my first 'kill', and our teamed called it when you passed another runner!! :) 

The night shift reunited with us at about 10:30, and we continued on across the state. We were keeping a really good pace as a team and everyone was still feeling pretty great. Everyone was putting out some pretty fast miles, and the hills were an exciting challenge. 
11am on Saturday--- the first 24 hours gone-- we're halfway done!! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Take me out to the Ballgame.

Love these long summer evenings spent at the baseball diamond! My youngest brother & sister and my oldest nephew are all playing baseball for the first time this summer. It's fun to see my brother & nephew play on the same team! Between my work schedule and several of their games getting rained (ahem, tornadoed (yes I know that is not a word (and yes I know I am parenthesizing x3) but I use it anyway) out), I haven't been able to get to many of their games and have had to settle for recaps afterwards.
 There is nothing more important than family, but sometimes those relationships are the hardest to maintain when you are in different states, work opposite work schedules or are 13 years apart in age! I'm grateful for  each opportunity I have to spend time with my siblings.

I'm no caption queen, so I'll let the pictures do the talking for me.

Paul is 7 and Silas will be 9 in October-- best buds from birth!


Two super excited boys celebrating their first win of the season!

Did you play sports as a child?