Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene Update

Well we survived Hurricane Irene here in Richmond. We were lucky that it didn't destroy any of our house or property. The effects were a rainy half marathon, lots of rain and wind, and of course we lost power. Around 6pm on Saturday we lost it, and spent that night playing cards by lanterns and candlelight. Sunday morning we still didn't have it, but our church did so we still got to go. After lunch we came home to no power, so we took all our food over to the in-laws to keep. I had just gone to Costco and had all this food I really didn't want to go bad. We spent the day over there, then went to my mom's for dinner. We had planned on sleeping over there but then we found out an area near us had recently gotten power, so we drove by to check. Luckily we had power! We were so excited! I still need to pick up all the sticks and leaves in our yard....oops. But other than that I am happy to say life is back to normal here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Patrick Henry Hurricane Half 2011

Yes, we coined that phrase "hurricane half". Ha!

So I knew it was going to rain the morning of the race. A lot. As long as they didn’t cancel the race I had planned on going. I’ve been looking forward to this race for some time now and I felt really prepared. I was so excited. Our weekly emails from the head assistant coach and my team’s head coach were both about the rain in the half. Both talked about not being able to control the weather, so accept it and don’t let it ruin your race. I decided that was exactly what I was going to do. There are just some things you can’t control, and you can choose whether they will keep you from enjoying something or not. I wasn’t going to let it affect me.
I woke up at 4am ready. I did my regular pre-run routine and I was out the door a little before 5. When I arrived up in Ashland it was so dark and they were still setting up. I was told to get there early, but I got there maybe too early. My stomach had butterflies in it, I was nervous but excited. I finally found some other Silver team members and we chatted some before the race started. Some of us joked about the white van. In this half you had to finish in less than 3 hours. If you didn’t reach the half way point and the 10 mile mark by certain times the white van would pick you up and bring you back to the start/finish area. How embarrassing, especially since I had people coming to see me finish. My only goal for this race was to finish. And not be picked up by that van.
About 5 minutes before the race began it started to drizzle. Okay, we knew it was going to rain so here it is. It’s okay. The race started and I tried not to go too fast. That was the one piece of advice that everyone had given me. Don’t start out too fast. I ran with my team for about one mile then some of them went ahead of me, but I still had my regular running buddies. At the 2 mile water station I met G. I was pretty sure it was her so I just decided to say hi. That was really fun since we’ve exchanged emails and have read each other’s blog for some time now. It was so nice to finally meet her!! Then I was off again.
I loved the part of the race where it loops around. People who are in front of you are in the left lane and we were in the right. We cheered for other team members and others we knew; it was cool running past them. Around mile 5 I realized I was soaking wet. Every part of me was wet, including the worse part, my shoes. Although at this point it really didn’t bother me. We were out in the country, in the middle of nowhere. We talked about how if it wasn’t raining we would be complaining about the heat. That is the one universal complaint I have heard about this race. It’s hot and there is no shade. I noticed the lack of shade part, but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t hot at all, temperature wise I was perfect. The cool rain felt great, and so refreshing. We finally hit the half way mark at 1:20. I remember thinking good we have 20 minutes to spare. I started eating my fruit chews for fuel which definitely helped.
It was around mile 8 I remember my shoes starting to bother me. The wetness part didn’t bother me, although I could hear them squishing every single step. It was the extra weight that the water added to each shoe including my socks. It felt like each shoe weighed 5 pounds. I just tried not to think about it. Before I knew it I was at mile 10, which was the last spot I had to arrive before a certain time for that van to not pick me up. That’s when I really knew I would make it. I always believed I would, but there was apart of me that kinda worried about not keeping pace and being picked up by that van. I remember thinking about my husband and family who had woken up early to come see me finish. I had to cross that finish line. I had to make it.  
When I ran past the water station at mile 10 I knew I was golden, but I also knew that hill was coming. The one at mile 11 that everyone talked about. I remember a course marshal telling us it was coming up too. And as soon as I saw the sign for mile 11 I saw the hill. And it looked big. The first part of that hill was steep, then it was a more gradual incline. Although the gradual incline didn’t feel bad at all after going up the steep part of it. When I finally made it to the top of that hill I kinda got emotional. I knew I was so close and it felt so real. Everyone kept saying your almost there, your at the flat part, the easy part. I admit, part of me really wanted to cry, for good reasons, for being proud of myself. I remember around 12.5 I started picking up the pace and passing people. That adrenaline kicked in and I felt great. I could hear the band; I knew the finish line was near. I saw my head coach who was a course marshal and she cheered for me. Another coach was standing on the side lines and she cheered for me too. I turned the corner and saw the glorious finish line. I looked for my family on the side and they cheered for me. I ran so hard across that finish line and it felt sooo good.
I was completely soaked after the race; it rained the entire time except for maybe 20 minutes. It was as if I had just gotten out of the shower with all my clothes on. But I felt great. My time was 2:42 which meant I had a 12:25 average pace. That’s about what I had been running in my training runs so I felt good about it. But I really didn’t care about the time. My goal was to finish and I did. I was proud for not letting the rain stop me. Not letting something that I couldn’t control stop me from doing something I wanted to do, and enjoying it. I will always have such fond memories of this race. It was not only my first official half, but I did it during a hurricane, which is probably a once in a lifetime event.
I took an ice bath when I got home, my first one ever. I felt sooo much better after. And right now I feel great. Well my body is a little sore, but I feel like the high from the race makes it not matter. I love running in races, and this makes me soooo excited for the marathon in November. While it’s great to have a fun race to share and experience my ultimate goal is the marathon. But, I feel I am on track to where I need to be to reach that goal in the fall and that feels great too. J

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

more glee love

I posted here about how Glee is my new favorite show. I finally downloaded some of their songs from itunes, and I can't take this play list off my ipod now.

Favorite Glee Songs:
1. Raise Your Glass originally sung by Pink
2. Teenage Dream originally sung by Katy Perry
3. Start Me Up/ Livin' On A Prayer originally sung by Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi
4. Loser Like Me originally sung by the cast of Glee
5. Defying Gravity originally from the broadway musical Wicked
6. Proud Mary originally sung by Tina Turner
7. Beautiful originally sung by Christina Aguilera
8. Forget You originally sung by Cee Lo Green
9. Don't Stop Believin' originally sung by Journey
10. Jump originally sung by Van Halen
11. I Feel Pretty/ Unpretty originally from the musical West Side Story and TLC
12. Somebody To Love originally sung by Queen
13. Sweet Caroline originally sung by Neil Diamond
14. Blackbird originally sung by The Beatles
15. Tik Tok originally sung by Kesha
16. Keep Holdin On originally sung by Avril Lavigne
17. Singing In The Rain/ Umbrella originally sung by Gene Kelly and Rihanna

Can I just say that I love these "mash ups" and the Glee version so much!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

happy birthday!!

Happy Birthday Clarke!!

I love you and couldn't have asked for a better husband. I am so blessed to have you in my life.
Thank you for all your support, for always believing in me and always being there for me.
I love you always!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

weekend wrap-up

I posted on facebook I had an awesome weekend thanks to great friends and family, and I really did. It was so busy, but wonderful.

Saturday morning was a 10 mile recovery training run. It felt really good, at the end I ran up that huge hill to the stadium, and it seems to be getting a little bit easier. It's definitely not easy, but I just remember at the beginning of training loathing that hill. I still don't look forward to it, but now I'm really confident that I can make it and have a strong finish. I'm also really excited about my first half marathon this coming weekend!

Saturday my mom came over and helped me hang a new kitchen light over our table, which I am loving. More about that in another post.

Saturday night was my dear friend Rachel's bachelorette party. We went to a cooking class and then out for drinks, it was really fun.
Everything that we made was so good! These stuffed tomatoes were my favorite dish, I will definitely be making these again.

Sunday morning I taught the preschool class at my church. I was so tired I had to text my husband to bring me Starbucks when he came for church.

I spent that afternoon getting ready for hubby's birthday cookout. I was so busy I didn't snap even one picture at the cookout. Oh well, I did enjoy making all the food for the party. I was excited to try some things I had found on Pinterest. I made these cute fruit kebobs, I loved how they turned out.
source: quick dish via ayana on pinterest

I also made this feta cheese dip, which was a big hit and it was so easy. The recipe is here.
source: sweet paul via clare on pinterest

While I was making hubby's birthday cake I realized I accidently used all the eggs when I made the deviled eggs, and didn't have any left for the cake. Running up to the store put me behind in getting ready for the party, then my icing was way too runny. Luckily my good friend who is an excellent baker came to my rescue and saved it. Oh, and it was raining right before it started!

But, it turned out to be a really fun party, and most importantly Clarke had a great time. Although I still haven't cleaned the dishes, luckily my friends loaded the dish washer for me, thanks girls!

Whew, I am still recovering from all the fun! I think I am gonna go jump in the bed right now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Calling

It's time for me to stop trying to figure everything out. Stop trying to figure out what's next. God will show me when it's time. All I know is right now I'm so ready to be back at Echo Lake. I can't wait to see my students, I want to catch up with co-workers. I've missed them so much. I am blessed to have a job that I enjoy. In honor of the new school year starting so soon I wanted to share something. Back in February I wrote a post about special ed. Honestly I've been too scared to actually post it, because it makes it seem so much more real. But, I feel the need to get it out, so here it is:

I know I have been called to the teaching profession. It's something I have been passionate about for a little over three years now. I can look back and see how God has woven pieces of my life together and led me where I currently am today.

And once again I feel God tugging at my heart, telling me that I am on the right path. But I also hear Him telling me to keep moving forward, don't become comfortable, complacent and don't stop. And honestly I think that is where I was. I love my job and I love my students. When my coaching job didn't work out it reminded me how much I wanted to be a teacher. I think it's good that I enjoy my job, but I also think I was starting to forget that this is not my forever job. (If that makes sense, I know right now I am suppose to be an aide, but I also desire more right now.)

And that brings me to the point of this post. I'm praying about becoming a special education teacher.

When I took my current job as an aide I had no idea how much I would love it. And God has opened my eyes to a whole new world I knew nothing about. I had no idea there were such sweet children out there with such severe disabilities. (If you want to call it a disability, I honestly believe God has created everyone perfectly, sometimes I hate that term, disability, but I digress.)

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act."  -Proverbs 24:12. I love this scripture. And it's so true. Because "For those to whom much is given, much is required." -Luke 12:48. God has blessed me so much. He's given me so much more than what I need, so many resources, that I know He is calling me to use.

I also love this scripture. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." -Matthew 16:24. Because let's face it, being a teacher is hard. And I have seen how hard special ed teachers work. I know there are sacrifices I would have to make. Going back to school again. But even if I became one, it's a lot and I know there are a lot of easier careers I could choose.

I love this quote. "Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that really don't matter." -Tim Kizziar. Wow. It really makes me think, think about what is important. And how so many times the fear of failure keeps us from really going after our dreams. Because if I'm honest, I'm scared. Scared of failure. Scared of stepping out and trying something new.

God has been speaking to me, and I'm listening. Am I going to apply to art teaching positions this spring? (Where I am actually endorsed to teach.) Yes, I am. I'm going to apply to lots of things. And I'm praying God will open the doors that need to be opened, close the doors that need to be closed. I pray He leads me where He wants me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Movie Review

This past weekend I saw two really good movies, so I wanted to share.

Friday night me and hubby rented Soul Surfer from the redbox. I had been wanting to see it for some time now, I'm so glad I finally got to watch it. I saw on some of the reviews they said it was too cheesey, but I love that kinda stuff, and I really enjoyed this movie.
It was really inspiring, after the movie I googled about Bethany Hamilton (the girl who this movie is based on) and she was 13 when she was attacked by the shark. 13! I couldn't believe someone that young overcame such adversity. Loved it.

Saturday night after one of my best friend's bridal shower (where I unfortunately forgot my camera) a bunch of us went and saw The Help. I had read the book, and loved it, so I really wanted to see the movie.
I really liked this movie, although I do think the book was better. The movie didn't go into as much detail as the book did as far as character development and some other side stories, which I know most movies based on books can't. But overall it was a great movie, and I must say I loved Minnie's character the most.

Both of these movies make me so grateful. Seeing the hardships that these characters overcame reminds me of how incredibly blessed I am.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

accidentally awesome

Today's training run was awesome. It was tough, but overall it was great. The weather was cooler than it has been, and the route was great. I saw parts of the city I've never seen before.

We ran past the Children's Hospital on Brook Road, and it reminded me of my students. So many of them go there for therapies or even just to go to the dentist. I've always wondered where it was. It reminded me of them, and the fact that they can't run. It reminded me partly of why I run, for those who can't.

We ran past Kuba Kuba on Park Avenue, and it reminded me of where this whole marathon journey started. That's the restaurant we went to after the Monument Avenue 10k, where we sat, ate and got so excited from such a high on that race, talking about running the marathon.

We ran past The Cathedral, it was beautiful. We ran up Floyd, actually a little too far on Floyd. Somehow we missed our turn onto Sheppard, I don't know how this happened. By the time we realized we were off the route we knew we had added at least a mile onto the run, and since this was a 12 mile run, I figured that at the end I had run my first half marathon, accidentally.

I wanted to walk so bad at the end, but I had to run into the Sports Backers Stadium. Some of my coaches were there with the best watermelon I've ever had in my entire life, as well as cold wet towels that felt like heaven. And I felt awesome. My legs hurt and I was tired, but I felt so awesome.

When I got home I went to www.mapmyrun.com, and confirmed that I had in fact ran a half marathon. 13.43 miles to be exact. I am so ready for the Patrick Henry Half in 2 weeks!!!!

On a side note I also discovered that gu is not my friend. I had tried some gel on an earlier run and it was okay, so I decided to try some gu on this run. I gagged on it. Had to spit it out, yuck. Next week I will be trying a different fuel source.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Family Reunion

So my mom told me about this family reunion a couple weeks before it actually happened. At first I wasn't going to go so last minute, but then I thought about it and decided I should go.
My grandpa (in the bright blue shirt) had 7 brothers and 1 sister growing up. Two have passed on, but here he is with all his siblings. They grew up on a farm, in a 3 bedroom house, can you imagine being the only girl with 8 brothers?!
I'm so glad I got to go and meet all my grandpa's siblings. They were some of the cutest old men I have ever met!

The Pennsylvania countryside was so beautiful, and the weather was great too. It was in the mid 70s, which felt so cool compared to these hot summer days we've been having here in Richmond. It was such a quick little trip, but overall a great one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Simply Amazing

This past weekend I was in Western Pennsylvania for a family reunion. I knew I had to stop at Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Falling Water.
It was amazing. Just amazing. It was full of little details like this......
and this........
And to think that he designed this 75 years ago in 1936! My pictures don't do it justice.
Ahhh.....I just loved it. If you are ever near Mill Run, PA you should go!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Blogger

So this past weekend I was out of town (more about that in a post soon). When I finally got around to checking my email I had received one from Ginny, a fellow Marathon Training Team runner who is on the yellow team, asking me to write a guest post on their team's blog. I was so excited! Especially since the girls who write on this blog are amazing runners. Ginny just ran 2 half-marathons, one in San Francisco and one in Providence, RI. She also writes for Richmond Road Runners Magazine.

So head on over to Koolaid for 26.2  to see my guest post about running and fear. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

DIY Yarn Wreath and Felt Flowers

I have recently found so many beautiful wreaths on pinterest. Well, I finally got the chance to make one. I'm so pleased with how it turned out and how cheap and easy it was to make.

I went to Hobby Lobby and got some yarn ($3), felt ($1) and a straw wreath ($3.50). So this project cost me $7.50 total! Can't beat that. (I had the white ribbon already, and used a hot glue gun which I already had as well.)
CLICK HERE!! For instructions on how to make your own. I promise, it was so easy!
I love how it looks on the front door! Just what it needed!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

double digits, falling water and fall

This past weekend I ran my first double digit distance! I'm not gonna lie, it was a tough run, but I made it. I am really close to the half marathon, which is such a huge milestone!! I know I will be ready for the Patrick Henry Half Marathon on August 27th!

So the other day my mom told me about a family reunion, on her dad's side. It's about 6 hrs away in Western Pennsylvania. I really don't want to miss it, especially since my grandpa is my last living grandparent. When I mapquested directions I realized that one of my favorite buildings is on the way, Falling Water.
This is arguably Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous building. It's been on my list of must see buildings for some time now. I remember one semester in college we talked about this building in every single class I was in. It's simply amazing and I can't wait to see it!!

I am always ready for the next season before it comes. Well, I am really ready for fall. I am so over this heat, and ready to run in the cooler temperatures. I am ready for the pumpkins, the beautiful leaves changing colors, camping and hopefully a visit to the mountains. I am so ready to see my students again. I was looking through a photo album a co-worker had given me with pictures of me and my kids, and it just makes me miss them. Although I won't be teaching art in the fall I am still really excited to go back to school.