Monday, December 8, 2008


This YouTube video is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Get it, Snoopy!

(Thanks to Kat & Rob for the find!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas in Wilmore

For the past two years, my early December weekends have not included Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, or Christmas partying. No, the early winter nights for the past two years have included a never ending playlist of Johnny Mathis, Sesame Street, Celtic Woman, Elvis, Bob the Builder, Andre Rieu, and Wayne Dyer. Winter time means pledge time at most public television stations, and such was my life at KET. For the past two years, December has meant 70 hour work weeks, unbelievable stress, and sky-rocketing blood pressure. Last year, I literally thought that I had experienced a stress-induced stroke (if those are even possible).

However, as Charles Wesley so eloquently wrote in his hymn And Can it Be - "my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and left KET*". Since I am no longer at KET, I have the great joy of experiencing all that our community has to offer during the Christmas season.

One thing that the city of Wilmore offers each year is an "Old Fashioned Musical Christmas". It is always held the 1st weekend of December and provides the community with well, an old fashioned musical Christmas. I was able to find a link to all of the festivities: This will be the 20th year for this festival, which I think is pretty impressive.

Growing up, my parents would always take us to "Dickens on the Strand" in Galveston, TX, which is also always held on the 1st weekend in December. I am really happy to see that they will be holding the event this weekend, despite the recent devestation from Hurricane Ike. I absolutley loved Dickens on the Strand and the festive atmosphere, and I am looking forward to being able to experience that tomorrow, even if only in a small way. I hope to bring our camera, and/or convince a friend who has a really nice camera (hint, hint one of you Strebecks) to take some photos of the evening. Hopefully I can then post them here!

I want to apologize for the lack of posting on the blog lateley. Life has been hectic and busy this fall and I have let several things slide, mainly blogging and running. Oddly enough, these are two of the things that I enjoy most! So I am going to try and get back on track with both. I will let that statement serve as an early New Year's resolution.

To quote Paula Deen, I wish you love and best dishes throughout this Christmas season.

*I made a slight edit to the lyrics. I know this is probably sacreligous, and for that I apolgize.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Dog Days of November

For the past week we have been watching Daisy, a 2 year old, 50 pound "Goldendoodle" (Golden Retriever, Poodle mix). She is a sweetheart of a dog, a gentle giant if you will. I've loved having her here with us, but I think little Emma is absolutely worn out. It will be sad to see Daisy go, but I know she will be ecstatic to her mama and daddy tonight.

The first few days were pretty interesting, - establishing boundaries and such - i.e. "Daisy, don't sit on Emma's head!" and "Daisy, did you just swallow Emma's toy lobster??" and/or "Daisy, did you just swallow EMMA??"

Yes, it has been interesting to reorient ourselves to having a large dog in the house with us. I took them on walks together every morning, and they did really well. They kept pace with one another and walked neatly side by side. It was cold and rainy on Friday evening and Saturday morning, so I took Daisy out for some solo walks. I was absolutely amazed at the ground we covered in the amount of time we were out walking. The distance I can go with Emma in 30 minutes is about 1/4 of the distance I can go with Daisy. But to be fair, Daisy's legs are about 9x longer than Emma's. I've taken them out to the dog park every day so that they can be free to do their own thing. Wrangling two wiggling and excited dogs into the car, out of the car, putting them on their leashes, taking off their leashes, making sure they aren't mauling or being mauled by other dogs in their respective sides of the dog park (big dog side and little dog side) - whew! It has been a workout for me, but I've loved it. Chad, who has been sleeping on the couch all week while Daisy has been snoozing with me, I'm not so sure that he's loved it. But he has been a really good sport, and is glad that we could help out some of our friends by watching Daisy.

Here are some pictures of Goofus and Gallant from the week (from my cell phone, may be a little grainy): Daisy says "Hi!"

"Do we have to get up?"

Snack time, Saturday morning

Nap time, Saturday afternoon

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dacshund Tails and Possum Trails

After coming face to face with a possum at 4:30am last Wednesday morning, I've decided to write a children's book about a friendship that blossoms between a dachshund and a possum.

We have had quite the critter problem lately - mice, opossums, and snakes (...Mom, Dad and Mimi - pretend that you didn't read that last part...and you might not want to read the rest of this post.) You would think the three groups would cancel each other out, but no such luck. Short of capturing some Indian mongooses in Southeast Asia, we are not really sure what to do. Over the past two years we have had chance encounters with a few garden snakes, but this summer the action really picked up. Last Thursday, I killed a scary looking snake (about 1 foot in length) while it was striking at Emma - yikes! It had tiny little fangs, but it was still pretty scary.

A pitching wedge has become my weapon of choice against the snakes. I gave the creature a good whack in the mid-section, and then scooped it up so it was hanging from the golf club. This was my first mistake, as it was still alive and it struck back at me as it was dangling from the club. I freaked out and accidentally slung the snake off the club and onto the roof of our garage. It slid back down to the ground and I finished it off with a blow to the head. This all happened on my lunch hour, so I returned to the office sweaty and shaky. We have recently had really cool weather, so I'm hoping this will keep the snakes away. I'll continue to kill all of the ones I see. If a snake hurt Emma, I'm pretty sure I would rip it in half with my own two hands.

The possum is pretty cute so he doesn't bother me, but boy does he rile up Emma. She always flies out of the back door, barking at the top of her lungs, in search of him. Unfortunately, this usually occurs between 3:30 and 4:30am.

The mice issue isn't terrible, but it does bother me. We have been dealing with mice since we moved in. Our house is really, really old - so I guess the mice come with the territory. We have put out traps in the past, but I really hate to kill them. I am going to look for some humane traps, if something like that even exists.

I'm getting ready this evening to head to Columbus, OH in the morning for the Columbus Nationwide Half-Marathon. Two of my friends will be running the full marathon, while me and another friend run the half. I've never been to Columbus, so I'm looking forward to seeing some new sites and hanging out with friends over the weekend. I hope to post a race report sometime next week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lack of Posting, but No Lack of Excitement

I do apologize for not posting more lately. Things have been hectic in all aspects of life - at home, at school (for Chad) and at work. I am getting more and comfortable with my responsibilites at my new job, so that is good. Things have been so busy that I feel like I have been there for a long time, but I've only been there a couple of months.

One thing that I am really, really, really excited about is this little thing that came in the mail on Thursday...A Specialized Allez road bike. My super generous, loving, sweet kind, beautiful (we are identical twins after all) and did I say generous sister Megan mailed her bike all the way to Kentucky. She bought it a few years ago and did several duathlons and road races, but when she moved out to L.A., she realized that she wasn't using it and that I would probably love to use it for triathlons and duathlons. And by "realized," I mean that I hinted at this fact for years. But to make a long story short, I ended up paying her peanuts for this really nice road bike that I am so grateful to have.

On Friday, Chad and I ventured into Lexington to a local bike shop to pick up some road bike shoes. I ended up buying a pair of Shimano SH-RO85's. Walking out with those shoes made me feel like a real road biker, but let's be honest - I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to cycling.

So this afternoon, Chad talked me into taking the bike outside for some street experience. I was pretty terrified, because I imagined that I would be able to practice clipping in and unclipping the shoes from the pedals for at least a good week before ever actually riding the bike. But Chad (who also got a new bike this week) wanted to take a quick ride through the neighborhood. So I got out into our driveway and clipped into one pedal and headed for the street...right as a car turned the corner onto our street and headed in my direction. So I slammed on the front brake and fell to one side - of course it was the side I was clipped into. So, down I went and somehow my free foot/leg got stuck in the spokes of the back tire - so Chad had to free me from the contorted, tangled mess that I had created. I got back up, made sure the coast was clear, clipped into one side and headed down the street. It took me a good three blocks before I got the courage to attempt to clip into the other pedal, which I was able to do with surprising ease. The rest of the ride was uneventful, but really really fun. Now, if I could just figure out how to shift the gears...

Now that I have the sweet ride, I am looking forward to training for some triathlons and duathlons in the Spring.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Photo Shoot

A few months ago, I was approached by The Doxie Digest, a quarterly publication for and by dachshund owners. They asked me if I would be interested in writing a short column each issue, through Emma's perspective. A chance to be part of a 72+ page publication about dachshunds? Um, yes - count me in. I submitted my first piece to them on Monday, and they asked me to also include a head shot of the both of us. So, my good buddy Justin Delatte was kind enough to indulge me and Emma in an impromptu photo shoot on Sunday evening. I thought I would post some of the contenders here. The winning shot will be at the end. Thank you, Justin!Cannibalism.
My personal favorite.

My little cuddlebug.

"Mom! Not in front of the neighbors!"

The winner!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why I Love John Grisham

I have no excuses for my lack of posting on here lately. Except maybe one. I have been seduced by John Grisham. Yes, that's right. I have been reading John Grisham books like a mad woman. I've always loved to read, and I don't know how I went through my young adult life never reading one of his books. Well, that's not entirely true - I did read A Painted House when I was in high school. But somehow I bypassed reading his legal thrillers. This is probably a good thing, because I think if I had read his books in high school I would probably have turned out to be a hard-hitting mass tort lawyer on the mean streets of D.C. (I'm really glad my life didn't take that turn, things did not turn out too well for old Clay in The King of Torts.)

A few weeks ago when I was in Houston, my mom let me borrow a paperback copy of The Rainmaker. Mom - you don't know what you started! In the past three weeks I have read The Rainmaker, The Brethren, The Chamber, The King of Torts, The Broker, and The Partner. That's an average of two books per week - so you can see how I've had little time to think of blog posts. A few weeks ago Chad asked what a perfect Friday night would look like for me, and I said "Renting The Rainmaker and shopping for office supplies." It's official, I'm an old woman.

The good thing about jumping on the John Grisham boat so late in the game is that he has so many books published. There are still plenty for me to read - The Summons, The Last Juror, The Runaway Jury, The Innocent Man, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, Bleachers, The Testament, The Street Lawyer, and the one that started it all - A Time to Kill.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back from Vacation

Chad and I returned from a wonderful vacation in Alexandria, LA on Saturday afternoon. We had a great time visiting with friends and family in Alexandria, Ruston, and Monroe.

Things are hectic here in Kentucky as Chad prepares for the start of the Fall semester at Asbury Seminary. But one thing will be different this year for him...I'll be going to school with him! I'm not enrolling in classes at Asbury, but they have hired me for a full-time position in the Registrar's office. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity. Today and tomorrow I will wrap things up with my current employer, and on Wednesday I will start my new job.

We have a lot of transitions going on and I apologize for the lack of posting around here. I hope to get pictures and posts up soon of our trip to Louisiana, and the 2nd half of my trip to Texas!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Secret Trip to Texas (pt. 1)

The fam, outside my paren'ts house in Houston.
R-L: Me, my mom, my sister Michelle, my niece Brittany, my dad, and my twin Megan

I snuck down to Texas for a surprise visit to my family this past weekend. It was quite a trip - and it got off to a pretty rocky start - which involved the unfortunate loss of a life and a chance encounter with a former Branch Davidian.

It's all kind of complicated, so I'll start at the beginning. Several months ago, Chad and I made plans to visit his parents in Louisiana for one week in August. Tickets were purchased, plans were made, and dates were set. Since my parents, older sister and niece only live about 4 hours away from Chad's parents, the plan was for them to drive over to Louisiana and spend the first weekend in August with us. I hoped that my twin sister Megan, who lives in Dallas, would be able to come visit us as well. Fast forward to about two months ago. I received a call from my mom and she said that Megan would be moving to L.A. on July 31st (the day we arrive in Louisiana) and that they were going to be helping her they wouldn't be able to come see us in Louisiana. I was pretty upset...we only get to see our families a few times each year, and I hated the fact that I was going to be missing them by one day - the day we are going to arrive is the day they are going to leave. mom and I hatched a plan for me to secretly fly down to Houston the weekend before we we would arrive in Alexandria to surprise Megan. Megan was planning on being home that weekend to drop off her belongings that she didn't want to move with and to celebrate my niece's 10th birthday. We were able to keep this trip a surprise up until the 11th hour - even though there were several times throughout the past few months where my mom and I thought for sure that our cover was blown.

So on Thursday evening I set my alarm for 3:30am, got packed, and went to bed early. I woke up at 3:28 on Friday, turned off my alarm, got ready, gave sleeping Chad and snoozing Emma kisses and hit the road at 4:30am to Louisville. The Louisville airport is about an hour and a half from Lexington and I planned to arrive at the airport at 6:00am for my 7:10am flight. I made pretty good time on the road and was poised to arrive at my scheduled time. I followed my directions and exited onto the Watterson Expressway...and this is where things took a turn for the worse.

Almost immediately after getting on the Watterson Expressway, traffic came to a grinding halt...across all 6 lanes. I was the third car back in a row of vehicles that had come to a dead stop. A few cars were parked across a couple of lanes, blocking traffic. I could see people getting out of their cars and pointing to something. A minute later, cop cars and ambulances were zooming past me and making their way onto the scene. A cop walked by my car and I asked him if they were going to be opening up any of the lanes any time soon and he said, "No - you're going to be here for a while." And then he said, "Don't get out of your car - I don't want you stepping in any of this." It was about 6:20am at this point and I knew that I wasn't going to make my flight. I called my mom and I was like "I knew it! I knew something was going to happen at the last minute!"

I still wasn't really sure what was going on up ahead. There was a large 18-wheeler stopped in front of me and the police didn't want me getting out of my I just assumed there was a chemical spill. My mom looked on the American Airlines website for other flights leaving that morning to Dallas. There was a flight leaving at 10:50am, so I called AA and was put on standby for that flight. I wouldn't be able to land in Houston until we decided that the plan now would be for me to call Megan that morning and (surprise!) ask her to pick me up from DFW airport in Dallas and then we could ride home to Houston together.

About 6:40am another cop walked by and was spray painting around a large dark streak of something next to my car. I asked him if it was a chemical spill and he looked at me and said slowly..."Um, no. Ma'm...this is blood." Ahh - so that's what it was. I looked at the car in front of me and noticed a cop spray painting a large circle around a lone tennis shoe next to the car's driver side door. I put two and two together and realized that there must be a pretty gruesome accident up ahead.

I had been sitting in my car the whole time thinking - "If I had left one minute earlier I would have missed this whole mess" or "If I hadn't stopped to go to the bathroom back in Shelbyville..." or "If had taken a different route to get to 64..." and on and on. But I began to realize that even though I was going to miss my flight, I had been spared from seeing and/or being involved in a terrible accident. I looked at the Louisville newspaper's website on Friday evening and learned that a 24 year old guy had been riding his motorcycle, without a helmet, at a high rate of speed when he struck the back of a Ford Taurus and was thrown from his bike onto the freeway. Horrific.

At about 6:50am they opened the shoulder on the left side of the Expressway to get traffic moving. I made my way over to the lane and then started booking it to the airport - with a tiny glimmer of hope that I might still be able to make my flight. I got to the airport, parked, grabbed my bag and started sprinting - up two flights of stairs, back down one to ask where the AA counter was, and then back up again and arrived at the AA desk panting and begging to be let on the flight, only to be greeted by two women who where both shaking their head 'no'. Son of a gun, I had missed the flight by two minutes! They changed my tickets and put me on standby for the 10:50am flight to Dallas. I told the women at the counter that at this point, I wouldn't need to get on the connecting flight to Houston. They gave me a boarding pass for the flight to Dallas, assured me that everything would remain the same for my return flight on Sunday, and sent me on my way.

...whew! This is longer than I thought it would be...and I haven't even gotten to the actual trip yet! Part 2 and pictures to follow soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fears Revealed

(Warning: This post is kind of a serious one. I won't be talking about running or dogs...well, ok I will be talking about dogs, but I will be sharing with the blogosphere something that has really been on my heart and mind lately.)

So here goes...

I can't imagine having kids.

I know this is a pretty bold statement, but it is one that has been dancing around in my head for the past few years. I used to not like kids. And then a few weeks ago I thought that I may be pregnant. This was really, really terrifying to me. Turns out that I'm not pregnant and had just eaten too many Ramen Noodles.

When I was in high-school I always imagined that I would live out my days alone, yet surrounded by a few faithful canine companions. Luckily, I met the man of my dreams and married him in 2005 and I was able to push aside the thoughts of being alone in this world. But now we are wrestling with the idea of kids. And, I do like kids now. Several of our friends have kids...Athan, Morgan, Lucy, Azzy, Trey, Margot, Israel and the little buns in the oven of Hannah and Charis and my niece Brittany have truly helped me to see what a joy having children in your life can be.

But then I think the about this fallen world that we live in. Death, disease, hate, accidents and so much more...these things terrify me. I look upon my friends and family members who are mothers with great respect. It's a hard job...and I struggle all the time with whether I would be cut out for it. I know that Chad will be a wonderful father, so much so that it breaks my heart to think that because of my fear...he may never get the chance to be one.

And that is why I think I enjoy dogs so much. They are manageable and safe. To a certain extent, most dogs are completely reliant on their owners. Our mini-dachshund Emma looks to us for food, water, love, affection, discipline, exercise, etc. As she grows and the years pass, she will stay right by our side. We don't have to let her out into this world for her to explore on her own. While she would probably love the freedom of being able to chase with reckless abandon any squirrel, bunny or cat that comes across her path, she seems pretty content to stay with us.

While we are on vacation in Louisiana, our friends Justin and Charis are going to be staying at our house and watching Emma for us. Emma absolutely adores Justin and Charis. They are like her Uncle Jessie and Aunt Becky. Truth be told, Emma will probably be disappointed when we get back from vacation and Justin and Charis go back to their house. But I find myself gripped with fear at the thought of leaving her. It is an irrational fear for many reasons - one being that there is no one that we trust her more with than Justin and Charis.

About 90% of my anxiety comes from my own doing and my OCD tendencies...I follow the same routine with her everyday and know just how she reacts to different situations on walks, just how she likes the blankets in her crate to be folded, where she likes her back legs to be scratched, etc. I find comfort and almost pride in this - "knowing" her better than anyone else. I'm finding that it is sometimes hard to hand over something you cherish to people you love. I know I am making this a whole lot huger of an ordeal than it needs to be and this is a lot to put in a blog post, but writing this has allowed me to come to some realizations that I might not have come to with the thoughts just bouncing around in my head. When it comes time for us to leave for the airport, I'm going to take a deep breath, give Emma a kiss on the head (over towards her right ear, she really likes that), thank Justin and Charis profusely for watching her, and leave my worries in Kentucky as we head south.

So I don't know where this leaves me with the whole kids thing. I think that leaving Emma for 10 days will be an exercise in growing more and fearing less. More on this topic to come as I continue to flesh things out.

PS: Here are some pictures of Emma for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoying an al fresco dinner this summer.

Emma, being dramatic.

Begging for a belly rub.

On vacation in Alexandria last year. This is her favorite spot -
a wicker loveseat in The Brooks' sun room.

Emma and her mama (me) before the Jessamine County Humane Society 5k, May 2007

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Goodbye...The Exciter

Well, it looks like Chad is going to be getting rid of his old girl. Don't worry - it's not me. It's his motorcycle - a Yamaha SR250 - lovingly referred to by all who knew her as The Exciter.

Much to his chagrin (but to our respective mother's delights!) he listed the old girl on Craigslist. She hasn't been running for about a year and a half, and it would take too much work and $$ to get her going again.

I still remember the day that Chad called me to tell me he was going to buy it from Pavlos, one of his Greek international students at the Wesley Foundation. He was so excited and I was so terrified! He took to motorcycle riding like a fish takes to water. He loved it and rode it into work most days. I was pretty wary of it, even though one time I got a wild hair and secretly rode it, very slowly, around the land we lived on in North Louisiana while Chad was out of town on a mission trip to New Orleans. We tried riding on it together once but it was quite a squeeze, and we couldn't go more than like 25 mph. Plus, Chad was convinced that my erratic movements would be the death of us on Highway 563.

So while it will be sad to say goodbye to the Exciter, the poor little gal who topped out at about 55 mph, I am excited about what the future may bring for Chad and his motorcycle ambitions. I know he is looking forward to riding his dad's Harley Sportster while we are in Alexandria in a few weeks and that one day he would love to have a Sportster of his own. As for me, I'd be content with one of these!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vacation Destinations

Do you ever have those moments where you want to just rip your hair out and scream "I need a vacation!!!"

Well, I'm at that point. Luckily, Chad and I have a vacation scheduled at the end of this month. We will get to spend ten glorious days in Alexandria, Louisiana with Chad's family. I know that I am going to spend about 80% of our time there either in their pool, eating, running, or sleeping - and that makes me very happy. What more could you ask for in a relaxing vacation? Plus we will get to see some of our dear friends in Ruston, LA.

We've been talking with some of our good friends, Justin and Charis, about how we want to start saving up now so that we can take a fun vacation together at some point in the next few years. My ultimate dream vacation would have to be somewhere in Mexico - where I can sit on a beach, eat chips and salsa, drink margaritas and feel like I am in a Kenny Chesney video. I might have blogged about this before, but I'm pretty sure that this is my "happy place."

But, it will probably be a while before we can afford something like that - so we are looking at going somewhere stateside. Some place like Chicago, Portland, or Seattle. My vote is for Portland - especially after seeing this place featured on the Food Network. And I would love to drop by Roloff Farms to give sweet Rocky a pat on the head. On a related note, RIP Mike Detjen.

What about you - any big vacations planned (or already taken) this summer? Any vacation locations that you dream about visiting one day?

And I will put here that I am jealous of my parents, who are going to L.A. and Vegas this summer, and my sister Megan who is going to L.A. and Puerto Vallarta! Lucky ducks!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Review: Three Weeks with My Brother

I have to post a review of this book that I just read. Now, I will start by saying that I read the book - from cover to cover - in six days. When I was younger and read all of the time, that would have been no big feat. But for me to read a book so quickly nowadays means that it must really be a page turner.

I usually relegate my "reading time" to when I get in bed for the night. This usually equates to about 3 minutes of me chuckling through "Life in These United States" or pondering the "Quotable Quotes" in my latest issue of Reader's Digest...then Chad finding me two hours later in a deep sleep, clutching my Reader's Digest with my glasses askew.

However, Three Weeks With My Brother was a different story - both literally and figuratively. Three Weeks With My Brother is a memoir by Nicholas Sparks, and he seamlessly weaves together the stories of his childhood and the stories of a three week excursion around the world with his brother in 356 pages. This book is clever and heart-wrenching - like most of his works. I haven't been able to read one of his books with being racked by sobs at some point. Come on, The Notebook? A Walk to Remember? Message in a Bottle? Now you can't tell me that you were able to make it through those books (or those movies) without having to take a moment to regroup.

Reading about his childhood, and how he learned to become who he is today through his family, resounded within me. More so now than it might have at another time. Reading about his constant trips back and forth from the East coast to the West coast really hit home for me- my twin sister is moving to California at the end of July. We have never been this far apart geographically, and it was kind of surreal reading about how Spark's handled his relationships with his siblings from across the country.

He also discusses the death of two dogs, which I wasn't expecting. This really had me in a heap of tears as I was reading on our back porch. Now, I just can't handle reading sad stories about dogs. I have always wanted to read Marley and Me, but I just can't do it. If I am feeling brave in a bookstore, I might read a few pages - but then my eyes well up with tears and I have to put it down before I am unable to regain composure. Reading about his experience with the death of their 12 year old Doberman brought me back to a few years ago when my parents made the tough, but necessary, decision to have our 15 year old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix , Scout, put to sleep. Grieving with my sisters made the experience easier, because they understood exactly what I was feeling.

I don't know how or when, but I hope that I am able to take a vacation with my sisters at some point in my life. Just the three of us - someplace fun and exotic, where we can put the cares of our worlds behind us for a few days. And I might just write a memoir about it.

...But for now, I will have to live vicariously through Sparks and his brother!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wilmore Running Club

I'd like to announce the launch of a new blog : Wilmore Running Club. This is the journey of five friends in Wilmore, KY as we train and prepare for the 2008 Columbus Marathon.

Contributors include:
...and yours truly

I'm also hoping that we can get our husbands to do some guest posts in a series I would like to call "Life with a Runner." I see the posts being titled something like this "Life With a Runner: My Wife's Unbridled Passion for Carbs," or "Life With a Runner: Where Did My Wife's Toenails Go?"
or even possibly "Life With a Runner: You Pee'd Where?"

If you get a chance, click on over and check us out!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shoe Review: New Balance 1123's

"LOVE/hate. This is the new balance."

And I can tell you why this is the new balance - because New Balance simply does provide the best footwear and gear for runners.

I got a new pair of New Balance 1123 running shoes, and I am really impressed. Usually when I get a new pair of shoes, it feels like I'm running on clouds for a few runs, but then the support system breaks down fairly quickly and feel like I'm back to running in old shoes in a matter of days. However, I still feel like I'm running on clouds with the 1123's.

I'm very much a 'heel striker' and the 1123's are like little personal down comforters for my heels. In addition to being a 'heel striker,' I feel like my running style can also be described as 'toe jamming.' This has been a problem in the past with Asics and Mizuno models I've tried, but the 1123's are unique in that they fit my foot snugly, but still have a roomy toe box. I'm thinking that with these babies I'll be able to toe the line in Columbus on October 19th, with, well, all of my toenails!

They also offer maximum stability for the ankles - I am constantly rolling my ankles, but these have really helped. I was speaking with someone who actually broke their ankle a few years ago, and her doctor recommended the 1123's for their ankle support. (I'll add here that she wasn't wearing the 1123's when she broke her ankle!)

I also really like how they look - a clean and simple design on a shoe that will help you both to elevate your training, and to kick butt and take names.

If you are looking for a new pair of shoes to start your fall marathon training plans in, the New Balance 1123's get two thumbs up from me!

Friday, June 27, 2008

In Labor!

I'm in labor! Actually - no, but she is!

This is my friend Dru. Her water broke this morning at about 7:00am, and the birthing process appears to be slow going for her. It is now 3:10pm and still no baby - but we know that he is on his way.

Dru has been such a great friend to me for the past two years while we've been in Kentucky. She has always cheered me on with my running, and in fact was there with Chad and Amberly as I finished the Louisville Marathon. She actually was supposed to run a mile with me, but she found out that she was pregnant a few days before the marathon and didn't want to jostle the baby around! She is one tough cookie though, and I know she is going to get through labor like a champ.

You can follow her progress at her husband Adam's blog:

Adam and Dru - we are all thinking about you and can't wait to meet your baby boy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Early Bird to Night Owl

While the transition hasn't yet come full circle, I feel like I am slowly turning into a night owl. And by night owl I mean being able to stay awake until 10:00pm.

I canceled my gym membership. I was only using it for the treadmill, and I didn't enjoy it. I realized that I was only going because I didn't want to feel like I was wasting the money we were paying for the membership. So I decided to drop the membership altogether (which was surprisingly very easy to get out of), save money and gas, and take to the roads for this marathon training season. Plus, it only makes sense to me that training on the road will translate to racing better on the road.

But back to my late nights. Since I don't have this obligation to wake up each morning and get ready, drive to the gym, do my run, then drive home - I have more freedom with my time. On Monday, I woke up at 6:00, ran 2 miles, took Emma for our 30 minute morning walk, and still had plenty of time to get ready for work. The taste of freedom was so sweet! I love waking up, getting dressed, walking out my back door and starting a run. There's something so refreshing in simplicity.

On Tuesday, I had to get in five miles. My plan was to get up at 5:15, start the run at 5:30, and be back home by 6:15. But, I overslept and didn't wake up until 6:15. As I was driving to work I was trying to figure out how I could get the five miles in and the thought occurred to me that I could run the five miles in the evening. In my year and a half of running seriously, I have run at night only twice. Both were pretty disastrous - I was so tired and weary during the runs and ended up cutting them short. But I decided I would give the night running thing another try. Since I knew that I was going to be running that night, I made sure to stay hydrated and eat well throughout the day on Tuesday.

I took to the road that evening about 8:30 and started on my way. I felt great through the run and finished in 46:08, with an average pace of 9:13/mile. The best part is that I was showered and snoozing by 10:00pm - a realistic bed time for me. I've got another 5 miles scheduled for today, and I am going to try another night run tonight. It's strange, but sleeping in a little later each weekday makes me feel like I am getting a summer break, too!

My ideal schedule would be to wake up every morning at 5:15 (except for weekends) and be running by 5:30. The sun is just starting to come up at this time, and its still cool out. I feel conflicted because I would like to get back into a consistent routine, but I also love the sense of freedom of not having a set schedule. I'm hoping to find a happy medium. And while I have enjoyed the night runs thus far, I am hesitant to take away from the time in the evenings that I have with Chad. Running in the morning has been perfect because he is usually asleep while I'm gone. So, maybe it is true that the early bird does get the worm...

Well, if you've stuck through this post this far, thank you for reading along as I think out loud. It is always a challenge to incorporate marathon training into a lifestyle, and I'm trying to find the best, most balanced way to do it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Things are crazy at work, so I haven't had much time to update the blog lately. Each summer, we host a huge, 1,000 person fund-raising event at a horse farm. It is always a beast to pull together, but it usually goes off without a hitch. Preparing for this event has been my life this past few weeks, and I really can't wait for it to be over! If you have been a faithful reader since the beginning, you may remember reading last June about how I got caught in the throes of addiction to Starbucks' Doubleshots. Well, I am happy to report that it is now one year later, and I'm still free from the juice. Even through this stressful week, I haven't given in. (If you didn't catch it last year - you can read about it here: here.)

Here are a few updates until I can get back to a normal posting schedule.

1. We got to celebrate this little guy's birthday this past weekend. It was so great to be with him and his family to celebrate his first birthday.

2. I ran the Skelter for the Shelter 5k on Saturday in 25:45 - winning first place in my age group!

3. I heard from my sister Megan that she got to see Whiplash, the rodeo monkey, live in person at the Irving Poochfest. Check him out - he is so cute!

That's it for now - sorry for the meager offerings. Things will get back to normal around here next week. And by "back to normal" I mean sporadic, shoddy posts!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Food, etc.

Well, I've come to a realization. I've got to get a handle on my nutrition if I want to drop a few pounds for the upcoming 5k/10k and marathon training season. I would love to lose 10 pounds over the next few months...but, unfortunately I eat like its nobody's business.

I have struggled for the past few years with eating healthy, filling, quick, easy and cheap meals. It's hard to find a lot of recipes that fit into all of those categories. I know they are out there - I just need to make the effort to find them, try them, and then incorporate them into our weekly meal plan. This meal plan currently doesn't exist - but it is something that I hope Chad and I can work on and establish this summer.

Last night at dinner, I looked down at my plate (which, ironically, was a paper plate in the shape of a pig) and realized that really I need to make a change. My meals for the weekend consisted of:

Breakfast: Special K with skim milk
Lunch: 2 slices of leftover pizza
Snack: Handfuls (several) of White Cheddar Cheez Its
Dinner: 2 small pieces of bar-b-q pork, two heaping spoonfuls of Sarah's amazing potato salad, 3 dinner rolls, 1 small ear fresh corn, a chocolate Drumstick ice cream cone, 2 servings of cherry cobbler, and one piece of white cake with butter cream icing. Mind you, I was not sharing with anyone.

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk
Lunch: One slice leftover pizza
PM Snack 1: Small cookie dough Blizzard
PM Snack 2: Cheese quesadilla with cilantro, salsa, light sour cream
Dinner (at about 9pm): Steak, macaroni and cheese

Breakfast: Huge cinnamon roll and latte at Main & Maple Coffeehouse with Chad
Lunch: No lunch - I was at the dog park with Emma from 11:30-1:00 and forgot about eating
Dinner: Hot dog, handful of Cool Ranch Doritos, half a tomato, and an Ale-8 soft drink

(Also - I try to always have either a bottle, cup, or glass of water with me at all times for hydration)

This is no way to live! I've got to get on track in order to fuel myself properly for my running endeavors. I've tried to make better choices today -

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk
AM Snack: Small carton of peach yogurt with almonds
Lunch: Turkey and Cheddar Lunchables, apple (and yes, I am currently coasting down off of a sodium high from that Lunchable)
PM Snack: Coffee light Starbucks Frappucino and 100 calorie Cheez-It pack
Dinner: TBA

It is 4:30pm and I feel very satisfied - not hungry at all. I guess that's a good sign!

Speaking of food, I've been thinking about all of the snacks that I loved growing up - but that are no longer available. Here is a short list of my personal faves that, unfortunately, are no more:
  • Breyer's Vienetta ice cream ( I felt so glamorous eating this fancy dessert)
  • Keebler O'Boises chips
  • Keebler Pizzerias chips
  • Rice Krispy Treats cereal
  • Dunkaroos
  • Planter's PB Crisp cookies
  • Fi-Bar granola bars
  • Crystal Pepsi
Do you have a favorite thing that has been put out to pasture in the snack graveyard?
...Or - a quick, healthy, cheap and easy recipes that you might want to share with me?

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Favorite Things

A simple list of some of things that are making me happy at the moment:

1. Helmets for doggies. I saw a dog get hit by a car on Saturday as I was taking Emma for a walk. It was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen. Thankfully, the dog is ok - but, I am going to make Emma wear a helmet at all times now. (Picture courtesy of

2. My Emma. Seeing that dog get hit really made me love and appreciate her more. I want to protect her and give her the best life that we can.

3. Making "mix tapes" on I can listen to the smooth sounds of Michael Buble to my heart's content while at work.

4. Hearing my Flying Pig race report on Steve Runner's Phedippidations podcast - it was a dream come true to be featured on my favorite podcast ever - thanks Steve!

5. Celebrating three years of marriage with Chad this Wednesday!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mix Tape

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stuck In A Rut

I'm in a writing kind of mood this morning due to a last-minute project at work, so I figured I would switch on over from Word to Blogger and write a quick post.

I've been stuck in a rut lately with my running. I have a 5k coming up on the 31st, the Jessamine County Skelter for the Shelter 5k, and I have some high hopes for it. The overall female winner won last year with a time of 24:00 flat. My fastest 5k has been 26:06 - an 8:25 pace. I know that I can run a 24 minute 5k on a treadmill, and I hope that it can translate out on the road. I am going to try and get some 4 mile runs in over the holiday weekend to test my speed.

The field was pretty small last year - it was the first time for the event - and I'm secretly hoping that it will be a small race again this year. The less people that I am competing with - the greater the chance of me doing well in my age group, or dare I say, overall.

I am motivated in my mind and in my heart to do well, but I just can't seem to get my body to want to do the work. It has been really nice running without a set distance or plan laid before me. I'm loosely following a 5k plan from the Runner's World SmartCoach application, but I'm trying to have fun with it and not get burnt out before beginning marathon training in June.

I've also been pretty tired lately, and I know my husband and friends will probably make fun of me for saying this, but I think it is because I have been staying up later over the past few weeks. "How late?" you may ask. 10:00pm. Yes, I know it is sad. But I've realized that I really need about 8 hours of sleep each night. 9:00pm-4:45am seemed to work perfectly for me. When I go to bed at 10:00, I can't seem to drag myself out of bed until 6:00. At that point, I am faced with only enough time to either go to the gym, or walk Emma before getting ready for work. When I get up at 4:45, I can do both. Being a responsible pet owner, I feel that my only choice is to take Emma for her walk. Anyway, all that to say - it has become increasingly easier to talk myself out of working out these past few weeks.

On an exciting note, I might be joining another gym (if I can get out of my current contract) that has an Olympic-size pool. I would love to incorporate swimming into my training.

On another exciting note, my husband will wrap up his second year at Asbury Seminary tomorrow morning when he takes his Greek final - yay! I am so proud of him and I know he is looking forward to a summer break.

Back to non-exciting anyone else having trouble staying motivated? With running, training, or life in general?

PS: Stay tuned - I've got a food related post in the works that I hope to post soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Part Three: The Finale

Megan was only in the medical area for a few minutes, and then they sent her on her way. We went to the post-race area to get some water and chips for her to eat. My dad pulled up in the car, and we all loaded in and drove back to the hotel to check out. Once we got checked out, we headed back to Lexington - stopping briefly for lunch at McDonald's. There is nothing I love more than a good McDonald's meal after a race! I remember getting McDonald's on the way home from my first half-marathon, and I think it has become a tradition. Chad and I ate at Joe's Crab Shack after the Louisville Marathon - but it was just too much food.

Once back in Lexington, we had about an hour and a half to get cleaned up and relax a little bit before taking Megan, Beulah, and my parents out to the airport. Megan and Beulah's flight to Dallas was supposed to leave at 6:00pm, and my parents flight to Houston was heading out at 6:30pm. After dropping them off at the airport, I stopped at Sonic to pick up dinner for me and Chad. McDonald's, Sonic...yes, I'm an emotional eater. After dinner, Chad headed over to church for the Sunday evening service, and I took a shower and passed out on the couch with little Emma. I watched "Dateline NBC's Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns" and was on Meltdown #2 when I got a phone call. It was about 8:00pm and the call was from my sister. Their flight to Dallas had been canceled, and my parents flight had been delayed until about 11:00. Are you kidding me?! So I got up, got dressed, and Chad and I headed back out to the airport.

I felt so bad for my sister and for Beulah. They were told that the flight was canceled due to mechanical issues, but that they were going to work all night on it, and hopefully fly out at 7:30am Monday morning. We got back to our house about 9:00 and we all went straight to bed. We decided on Sunday night that Chad would take them out to the airport on Monday morning. I just didn't think I could handle going out to the airport again - and plus, I am pretty sure that I was the bad luck link in this whole saga. So, we said our goodbyes at 6:00am, and luckily, their plane took off for Dallas shortly after 7:30am. And I'm happy to report that they made it home safely.

Even though the four days with my family were riddled with peaks and valleys, it was so great to see them -- I would rather have crazy memories with them than no memories at all.

I am going to begin training for the Columbus Marathon on June 16th. Megan - I think I will do this one solo.

Picture from Flying Pig

Here is a picture from the race. I will hopefully be posting more pictures soon - my parents took some pictures during the weekend and I'm hoping they will e-mail them to me soon.
That's me in the gray - bib #551.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Part Two: During the Race

So I also forgot to mention in my last post that on the Wednesday before my parents arrived last week, I got a call from Megan. She started the conversation with, "Don't freak out..." which is always a good sign. I shouldn't be surprised - earlier this Spring I had a message on my cell phone from her that said, "Meredith - call me back as soon as possible, it is an emergency." Practically in tears, I called her back and was like, "Megan! What's wrong?!" To which she replied, "Oh nothing. I am out furniture shopping and I wanted to see if you would recommend a micro-fiber couch." But, I digress.

So...I get a phone call from her last Wednesday and she tells me to not freak out, but that she has just left her doctor's office because she was incredibly swollen, like Martin Short in Pure Luck kind of swollen. Or Violet in Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory kind of swollen. Apparently one of her supplements had high levels of niacin, and it just didn't jive well with some of the other supplements she was taking. But - the prognosis was good and by cutting out the particular supplement, she was able to get back to her normal, non-puffy self.

Fast forward to race day - Sunday, May 4th. I woke up at 4:40am and after a quick shower and a Starbucks DoubleShot, I was raring to go. I ate a banana, and a peanut butter Clif bar - the breakfast of champions. At 5:45am, I headed down to Megan's room. I passed a group of girls in the hallway who were running the half that day, they asked me to take their picture, so I did and asked them about the course. They said the course had been redone, and all of the hills had been taken out. I had my doubts about this, but I took their picture and continued on my way. We met my dad down in the lobby - he was the kind soul who had volunteered to drop us off at the starting area. When we got down to the lobby, my dad said "Everyone said that it will be easiest just to walk." I was like, "Hmmm - yes, it would be easier to walk, but it would take forever to walk a marathon!" But he was talking about walking to the starting area rather than driving, which made sense. So, we set off on our 1.5 mile trek across a huge bridge over the Ohio River. I don't know if I have ever mentioned my fear of bridges on here...but I am terrified of bridges. Luckily, I was able to make it across without falling in and we got to the starting area about 6:10am. We said goodbye to dad, and made our way to the bathrooms inside the Bengals stadium. The line was really long, but it went by fairly quickly. Pretty soon, we were making our way to the 4:30 pace group. The start time was actually delayed about 15 minutes to do a three-alarm fire on the race course, allowing me one last porta potty stop.

The race got started shortly after 6:30 with a big display of fireworks and a whole lotta "Eye of the Tiger" blasting from some speakers. My adrenaline was pumping and I was so excited - it seemed like everyone had come through both hell and high water to get to this point, and finally we were there, running the marathon. The first few miles were pretty uneventful, we went from Ohio into Kentucky, and then back into Ohio. We shed our long sleeved shirts and tried to settle into our pace. The course was lined with spectators and their cheers of encouragement were so great. This is by far the biggest and best crowd on a marathon course that I've seen. There was water and Gatorade at each mile, and we were clicking along at a 10/mile pace. I was a little concerned that we were going so slowly, but I felt like we might be able to make it up in the later miles. At mile 6 I asked Megan to hold my water from the aid station for a second so that I could dig out one of my Shot Bloks. I handed her the cup and she proceeded to drop it. Great! Oh well - I would make up for it at mile 7. At mile 8, I got some water and before I took a sip, Megan asked if she could have a quick drink. So I gave her the cup, she took a sip, and then through the cup past me into a field. At this point, I realized that she might be trying to sabotage me. I would later come to realize that she was just really out of it. We both made sure to stay hydrated and drank a little from each aid station we passed - it was still cool out, but the sun was out in full force and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

At around mile 8, I asked Megan a simple question and she was like ", I can't talk." Then a few miles later she was like, "I'm just going to walk for a second and catch my breath." So we walked for a very brief period, and then started back. Around 11, we passed this line of very cute 5 year old - all standing there with their hands held out for high fives. I ran over and gave each of them a high five and then ran back to Megan. Megan was panting and was like, "Maybe if they all band together, they can carry me to the finish." (*I need to insert here, for those of you who don't know my sister - that she is like the poster child for being in good shape. She is a marathoner, a triathlete, a duathlete, and a certified personal trainer. For her to be in this kind of pain this early on was definitely a warning sign that something was seriously wrong with her*) It was also at this point that she claims she saw the "Angel of Death" standing on top of a building. She wasn't doing so well, and we decided that we would run together until mile 20, and then I would pick it up and try and make up some time. My muscles were starting to ache a little from going so slowly - we were at about a 10:45 pace at this point. I kept looking at my watch, seeing my 4:30 finish time tick further and further away with each second, and saying that we needed to pick up the pace. Megan kept saying, "I can't pick up the pace any." It was kind of sad really.

So, we make it to mile 13, and Megan tells me to go ahead. She said she just couldn't have it on her conscious for me to miss my goal time because of her. I debated this in my head for a few seconds, and then said, ok - I'll go ahead. I cried from mile 13 to 14. I felt terrible for leaving her, but I just kept thinking, you've worked so hard for this, you need to pick up the pace and make up some time over the next few miles. At mile 16, one thought went through my head. Basically, it was "What the hell are you doing!?" The whole reason I got into marathons was to have something to share with my sister. I was so inspired by her at the White Rock marathon in 2005, and running the Flying Pig with her was a dream come true. I only get to see her two or three times a year - and I was disgusted with myself that I had left her alone on the streets of Cincinnati just because I wanted to finish the race in a good time.

I turned on a dime and headed back down to find her. All these people kept yelling at me, "You're going the wrong way!" Some of them seemed genuinely concerned. I told them, "Yes, I realize that." When hundreds of people are going one direction and I am going the opposite...I know I am going the wrong way. But for me, continuing on towards the finish without Megan was the wrong way. I found Megan shortly after mile 14. She was off of the road, and up on the sidewalk, staggering along with a terrible grimace on her face. I burst into tears and ran over to her. I told her that I would rather finish with her, even if we had to walk, than finish in my goal time alone. She was really out of it and was like "I need to get to an aid station." Her legs were buckling and she was on the verge of passing out and/or puking.

Luckily, there was an aid station a few blocks up, and she hobbled into. She told the people there that she was dehydrated, epileptic, and pretty sure she was going to pass out. They radioed for a van to come get us, and I leaned against one of the poles in the tent and began to cry. I can't really explain how I felt. So relieved to have found Megan when I did, but so, so disappointed to have quit the race. Megan and I waited for a van, and waited...and waited...and waited. We sat on a curb for TWO HOURS before a van came to pick us up. We were both pretty thirsty, but the first aid station had no water. At one point I ran to get water from a water stop, but then I heard an ambulance and thought it had come for Megan. I ran back to the first aid tent to find that no, the ambulance wasn't for Megan. We kept thinking that at any minute the van would show up, so I didn't want to leave to go get water. The aid station also didn't have any mylar blankets, and Megan had started to shiver uncontrollably. A lady who was volunteering for the race, and parked in a van just a few feet away from the aid station, let us borrow her blanket and we wrapped it around Megan. I asked the lady in the van if she would drive us to the first aid area at the finish, and she said "No, I'm only here for people who need a ride to the finish." Ok...well that is what we were. But she said she couldn't physically take people to the finish, she could only radio for them. This made no sense to me, seeing as how the people at the first aid station were all equipped with radios to call for vans to take people to the finish. It made no sense to have the van parked right next to the aid station, if it wasn't going to be used to transport people. I also asked the aid station people what would have happened if Megan had had a seizure, or a stroke, or a heart attack. Would they have let her lie there for two hours? They said they would have called for an ambulance at that point - which makes sense - but I think it is absolutely ridiculous that she had to wait for two hours to get medical attention.

Two problems caused the van to be delayed for two hours. One, our first request for a van got deleted by the 'master control' people accidentally. Second, the van that was supposed to come get us went to mile 14, didn't see anyone there - so they turned around and went back. They forgot that the lady at the aid station specifically said that we were waiting at the First Aid station at mile 14.5. It was completely unbelievable. Finally, after the very last walkers of the entire race had passed by the aid station, the van pulled up to get us. I was able to borrow one of the volunteers cell phones early on to alert my parents as to what was happening and where we were. So, we got in the van and headed towards the first aid area at the finish line, where my parents and Beulah were anxiously waiting. The guys in the van asked us how were doing and Megan said that she was ok, just dizzy and dehydrated. About 5 minutes into the ride, after taking a few wrong turns, the driver was like, "Oh - would yall like some water?" I was like "Yes! She just said she was dehydrated!!"

By now it was about 12:00pm. We had stopped at the aid station at 9:30am. We pulled up to the first aid station and medical people immediately began to take Megan's vital signs while someone ushered me out of the medical area. I found my mom and Beulah at the entrance to the medical area - I was so relieved to see them! My mom told me that my dad was running (he was literally running, which is impressive - especially across the huge bridge) back to the hotel to get the car.

OK...part three to be posted soon!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Part One: Pre-Race

Ok - hunker down and you may want to consider getting a snack – this is a long one!

So this was the plan. My mom and dad were supposed to fly in from Houston at 1:00pm on Thursday, May 1st. My sister Megan and her friend Beulah were supposed to fly in from Dallas at 1:30pm, via Chicago, on Friday, May 2nd. We were going to have some friends over for dinner on Friday evening, have a leisurely Saturday morning, and then head to Cincinnati about noon.

This is what actually happened. Megan's flight from Dallas made it into Chicago on time, but because of bad weather across the mid-west, they were unable to land. Since they were unable to land, they had to circle the airport. Since they had to circle the airport, their fuel supply began to run low and they were re-routed to Milwaukee to get fuel. Once they landed there and re-fueled, there was no place for them to go. There were no open gates at the Milwaukee airport, so they weren't even able to get off the plane. I think they were physically on the plane from about 8:00am to around 3:00 or 4:00pm -- ridiculous! Finally, they got the go ahead to fly back to O'Hare. At this point, they had obviously missed their connection to Lexington, but were able to book an 8:00pm flight from Chicago to Lexington that landed at 10:20. About 8:00pm, the text messages from Megan started rolling in. The flight was delayed 20 minutes, then 40 minutes, then an hour, etc.

Finally, they boarded the plane to Lexington. They were on the plane for a few minutes when the pilot came over the radio. "Sorry folks - I've got some bad news," he said. They were canceling the flight because the pilots had reached their max amount of hours for the day - having to fly more than originally scheduled during the day because of all the re-routing around O'Hare. So - everyone got off the plane. They were not able to get their luggage - they were told it would be on the next flight to Lexington and that is when they could get their bags. Until then, it would be in a locked room in the airport that apparently no airport employee had access to.

The airlines gave them a green voucher for 50% off of a room at the Motel 6...10 miles away. So Megan called Motel 6 while Beulah tried in vain to get their bags. Motel 6 said the room would be $120, but Megan would only have to pay $60 with her pink voucher from the airline. Well, she had a green voucher - and Motel 6 would only take pink ones on the weekend. So, the Motel 6 would be full price. At this point, Megan called and was crying and was asking what she should do. I calmly mentioned that they might want to look into flying directly into Cincinnati the next morning and Megan screamed "don't say another word about Cincinnati!" and then cried some more and hung up on me. She was in a pretty fragile state at that point. My parents called her back and told her to get a hotel room at the Hilton that was located in the airport - no matter what the cost - just so that they could get some sleep. They ended up taking a shuttle to an Embassy Suites nearby. They are seeking to be reimbursed for the expenses by American Airlines, as they should be.

So, they got to the hotel, sans luggage, and were able to get a decent night's sleep. The next morning they got up and headed back to O'Hare for a late morning flight to Lexington. The plan was now for us to pick them up from the airport and head directly to Cincinnati.

After a quick stop at Starbucks to settle our nerves, we got to the airport baggage claim area in the airport. There are only two claim areas in the Lexington airport and one said "Chicago --1:25pm" – plus the monitors showed that the flight was on time for a 1:25pm landing. We asked someone who got off of the plane if they were on the Chicago flight and she said "Yes – it only took us 26 gours!" So, we were like great, this is their flight. Well, we waited and waited – and waited some more and there was no sign of Megan or Beulah coming down the escalator. We looked over to the luggage carousel – all the bags had been claimed. At this point, my mom put her head in her hands, leaned against a support column and began to sob. It was also at this time that I realized they were most likely caught in the Bermuda Triangle and we were destined to never see them again. My dad – being the most level headed of our group at this point – went to the American Airlines counter to ask about the status of the flight. They told him that the flight was still in the air, but scheduled to land at 2:00pm. By this point, it was about 1:50pm so we didn’t have much longer to wait in the agonizing suspense. We still don’t know what the girl was smoking who told us that she had just gotten off the flight from Chicago.

Thankfully, the flight from Chicago landed as promised at 2:00pm– and Megan, Beulah and their luggage all arrived safely. Since they had been without their luggage for about 30 hours at this point, they went to the bathroom and brushed their teeth, washed their faces and changed clothes. Megan was also finally able to take her anti-seizure medication that she had been without for the past day.

We left the airport and began our journey to “Cincy.” We stopped for a quick lunch at the delicious Chipotle. Carbo-loading” should technically include tortilla chips and cilantro-lime rice, but it probably wasn’t the best pre-marathon lunch. But, I’m an emotional eater and damnit, I wanted Chipotle! I kept telling Megan that she didn’t have to run the next day in the marathon. She was exhausted, dehydrated, and even quite dizzy at times.

So we get on the road to Cincinnati and miraculously made it there in one piece. The directions said to exit on 5th Street, so we exited on 5th Street and begin looking for the expo center. Unfortunately, we were on 5th Street in Covington, KY - and we needed to be on 5th Street in Cincinnati, OH. So we get back on I-75 to go a few more miles into Cincinnati, and I accidentally took the I-71 exit instead of I-75. So we go down I-71 a few miles until we can find a turnaround point. Finally, we found one and got going in the right direction (and in the right city) for the expo. We got to the expo and everything went pretty smoothly (other than my mother almost being crushed to death by an elevator door in a parking garage). The expo was really nice – there were a lot of giveaways – Crest toothpaste and mouthwash, Clif bars, Smuckers peanut butter and jelly, etc, and the runner premiums were really great. A snazzy duffle bag, a nice poster, and a somewhat hideously designed t-shirt. But it’s an Asics technical t-shirt, so I am going to modify it a bit(the cap sleeves must go – my sister and I put the shirts on and the cut of the shirt made us resemble Peanut M&M’s more than anything). And I did buy a really cool Asics/Headsweats Flying Pig hat that I’m in love with.

After leaving the expo, we decided to go to the hotel and get checked in. The hotel was about 1.5 miles from the race start and abuzz with other runners. After settling in for a few minutes, my dad and I worked out a race day strategy as to where we would meet my parents and Beulah along the course. We decided to meet them just after the water stop at Mile 25. At this point, the plan was for my mom to pass me my cell phone -- just in case we had trouble meeting up with them in the finish area.

Once that was decided, we headed to Pompilio’s, a local Italian restaurant in Northern Kentucky, for some true carbo-loading. We followed the directions and ended up at 6th and Washington – right where the restaurant was supposed to be located. However, all we saw were empty parking lots and homes. Blast! Once again, we were in the wrong city! So we pulled into a Shell gas station to ask for directions, and the only parking spot available was a handicapped space. We thought – well, Dad only has to run in for a second – what are the odds someone will pull up. My dad gets out to ask directions and sure enough – an Expedition with a handicapped parking tag pulls right up behind us. My dad offered to move, but the guy was really nice and said it was ok. So, my dad went inside to ask directions and the people at the gas station had no idea where the restaurant was, but ironically the man in the handicapped vehicle knew right were it was and was so nice to tell my dad how to get there. So, we finally get to Pompilios and it is about 8:15(that’s about 11:00pm in Mere-Maw time) and lo and behold, there is a two-hour wait. I had called on Friday afternoon to make reservations, but they didn’t take reservations at all. So, some people who were also in line for a table pointed us in the general direction of "Newport on the Levee” – a place just down the road with a lot of shops and restaurants.

We made our way there, decided to go to Arnie’s on the Levee, and all settled into a booth. Megan, my mom and I all got spaghetti and meatballs and Beulah and my dad each got a pizza. The food was really pretty excellent, and we had some good conversations and lots of laughs reminiscing over my mom’s short-lived stint as a puppeteer.

With full bellies, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

**Check back soon for part two -- “During the Race”

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Flying Pig -- DNF

There is only one word and five syllables, to describe the events of the last four days - unbelievable. And not in a good way.

I will explain it all in an upcoming post. I will probably break it down into three posts: pre-race, during the race, and post-race. It's quite the tale, so be sure to stay tuned.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mini Marathon Pictures

Sarah, Kelly, Kat, me, and Amber - just before heading off to Louisville

Preparing for the run - Sarah looks intense!

Stuffed after a good pasta dinner at Bucca di Beppo

Kelly and me - smiling at our husbands and trucking through at mile 12

Post race - happy to show off our medals

We finished strong!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Athan Update

Athan is going home from the hospital today! He had his surgery on Wednesday morning, and is being discharged today. The little guy is such a trooper - being released from the hospital not even a week after open heart surgery! Thank you to all who kept him in your prayers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Derby Festival Mini Marathon Report

I am happy to report that I finished my 2nd Derby Festival Mini Marathon in 2:03:03 - my fastest half-marathon time ever. The last time I ran this course, I completed it in 2:22. I was very pleased to beat my time by 19 minutes, and improve my average pace from 10:5/mile to 9:20/mile. I feel strong, ready, and poised for a marathon PR next weekend.

The girls that ran with me did an absolutely amazing job. There is no way I could have maintained that pace without them. From the moment we left Wilmore on Friday afternoon, I felt so encouraged and ready for the race. We had a great, and very large, pasta dinner at Bucca di Beppo in Louisville. Then we went to the expo, picked up our packets, got lost and then stuck in traffic in downtown Louisville - but we finally were able to make it to the hotel. We got to bed by about 10:00, and I think we all slept pretty well, but I could tell that we were all anxious about the race in the morning.

The alarm went off at 5:00, and we all began getting ready and eating our various bars and fruits for breakfast. My nemesis has struck again, and unfortunatley I've found that one of the best pre-race early morning beverages is the loathsome Starbucks Doubleshot. I hate to give in to this beast again, but it puts that extra pep in my step and helps to clear my head. We headed to the Kentucky International Convention Center, where the buses were loading to take the runners to the starting line. We waited in line for the bus for what seemed to be forever, each of us ducking out periodically to go to the restroom just one more time. Once we got the starting area, we jumped in line for another porta potty stop. When we all got out of our respective porta potties and to the starting line, we realized that the race had started 15 minutes earlier! We started our watches as we crossed the starting line, and we were off.

Amber, Kelly and I were all hoping for a near 2 hour finish, so we crossed the line and got to work - trying to pass the walkers and joggers at the back of the pack. We were careful not to exert too much energy bobbing and weaving through the crowd, and we settled into a nice 9:20 pace. Within the first few miles - I believe starting at mile 3 or so - you enter Iroquis Park in Louisville. This park is know for it's brutal hills - but it really wasn't much compared to the hills we had trained on in Wilmore. We powered through this section, and came out feeling strong. We kept a pretty good clip until about mile 8 when Amber started pulling ahead. We tried to catch up, but Kelly and I knew that we were going along at our max pace, and we didn't want to over do it early on in the race. We told Amber to cut us loose - we knew that she could maintain a faster pace on her own. She zoomed ahead (finishing in an amazing 1:59:30!), and Kelly and I focused on maintaining our pace and staying strong. I was amazed at how different I felt this year compared to last year - I could remember certain points along the course where I was dying and walking during the 2007 race, but this year I was able to move along and keep going. I'm not saying that I wasn't hurting - I was definitley hurting starting about mile 9 - but I was able to mentally push past the pain and not give into the desire to slow down. We saw our husbands at mile 12 cheering us on - this really, really made a big difference for all of us. Thank you guys for coming out to support us! We finished out mile 13, and turned the corner off of 7th Street onto Market Street to cross the finish line. We gave it our all, pushing at a dead sprint, for the last .01 mile - crossing the finish line in 2:03:03. Sarah and Kat were not far behind us - finishing in fantastic times.

I know that I trained harder for this race this year, but I think the absolute biggest difference was that I was training with a great group of friends. They all had a blast and finished in amazing times - I can't wait for our next training season and big race to complete together! I am so so proud of them, and I am so grateful for our time together over the past four months. My secret ploy is to convince some of them to do a full marathon in the Fall, and to get more people training for a half-marathon next Spring. (Sarah M- this means you!!)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Half-Marathon Well Wishes

I am heading to Louisville tomorrow afternoon for my second running of the Louisville Derby Festival Mini Marathon. I want to send a special shout of well wishes to the girls I have been training with for the past four months. I have no idea if any of them ever read this, but I am so proud of them. I remember our first Saturday long run of 3 miles, and a few of the girls were like "there is no way I can run 3 miles!" But they did - and they worked up to peaking at 10 miles just a few weeks ago. Kat, Amber, Kelly, and Sarah - I am so proud of them and I know that they are going to do so well on Saturday. Just think - everyone will get a PR (personal record) in the half-marathon distance! Except for maybe me. And one of our runners, Eve, trained with us but is not going to be able to run the race since she will be out of town this weekend. She ran the 13.1 miles a few weeks ago and did an incredible job. Eve - I hope we can run a half together this fall!

My personal goal for the race is 2:05. But I will be happy finishing anywhere between 2:o5 and 2:10. After all, this is supposed to be a training run for the big show next weekend - the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati. I ran my last 20 miler last Sunday in 3:15:46, which I was very pleased with. My 13.1 mile split was 2:06. But running at race pace (9:30), I hope to get it down to about 2:05 for this Saturday.

Best of luck to all who are running any race this weekend - the spring racing season is upon us!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for this little guy today, and in the next few days. He is going to have open heart surgery at the University of Kentucky Children's hospital early tomorrow morning. You can read more about the procedure and why he is having the surgeon at Athan's Journey ( His parents started this blog when he was just days old, and had to be admitted to the hospital for an extended amount of time. This precious baby boy has grown leaps and bounds over the past 11 months, and we can't wait to celebrate his 1st birthday on May 29th.

Please pray for his parents, our dear friends Ryan and Amberly Strebeck, that they may be comforted in this time. Please pray for his 3 year old big sister, Morgan, that she would know her baby brother is going to be ok. Please pray for Athan's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members for safe travel as they journey to Kentucky to be with the Strebecks over the next few weeks. Please pray for his surgeon, Dr. Plunkett, as he prepares for and completes the surgery. And please pray for Athan, that God will be with him (as He has been since he was in Amber's womb) that he will come through this procedure stronger than ever, that his heart will be made whole.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blizzard on a Hot Tin Roof!

Yesterday, I tried the new Blizzard of the Month at Dairy Queen - the Tin Roof Blizzard. It was nothing short of amazing. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, chocolate covered peanuts, and brownie pieces. Hmm, Goobers never tasted so good.

On a different note, marathon training has been going pretty well. The weather and my work schedule have done a pretty good job at disrupting my schedule, but I still feel good about a 4:30 finish in May. I have decided that I won't be doing any more Spring marathons. It is too hard to train through these brutal Kentucky winters (it's brutal for a Texas gal, at least!), and my Marches are pretty much dedicated to working 80-hour work weeks. It's been really difficult getting back on track after March for a full marathon, so from now on I am going to reserve the Spring for half-marathons, 10ks, and 5ks. There are several options for Fall marathons in this area, so I will possibly be able to do 2 full-marathons in the Fall/early Winter. I'm still hoping for Chicago in October 2009.

I have my last 20 miler this weekend, and then I will begin a two week taper. Before my October marathon I had a three week taper, and it felt too long. So, I am kind of happy that I didn't get to do the 20 miles yesterday (it was raining and in the 30s all day and I have a huge event at work this week and didn't want to risk pneumonia) so...I pushed the 20 miler to next Sunday. Temperatures are supposed to be back up in the 60s and 70s this week, so I'm hoping the good weather will hold out. I went to the gym and ran about 7 miles on the treadmill, and then ate my bad weather blues away with the delectable Tin Roof blizzard.