Nov 18, 2014


I'm not sure if it's a mom thing, a woman thing, or just a some people thing, but I love traditions. I have lots of them and I like to create new ones when new things arise. Maybe it's my type A personality now that I think of it. 

During my single mom years, I liked to create all kinds of traditions for Brooklyn and myself. I wanted there to be so many things that she would remember from year to year that we did together. As you would expect, we had lots of traditions when it came close to the holidays. We always had fall pictures taken that would go on our yearly Christmas cards. We would go see Santa at the Enchanted Forest and take pictures with all the themed trees. Every Thanksgiving evening we would get out the Christmas tree and drink sparkling apple cider from "fancy" glasses while watching some Christmas themed movie. 
Christmas Card pics
Now that she is getting older, I am starting to realize some of our traditions are going to have to change. Seeing Santa isn't exactly on the top of her list this year and neither is the Enchanted Forest or Festival of Trees. But some new things are on her list like going to the Christmas shows with me and shopping for presents. This is the first year she has gone without being mad about it. And she actually asked to run a holiday 5k with me this year. 
Enchanted Forest 2009
Other things are changing too. I used to be a strict "no trees before the bird" person. I didn't mind seeing everything in the stores because that's just what retail stores do, but I was "never" going to put up any red and green before Thanksgiving evening. Well, I am going to eat my words this year. Now that I am married, we usually spend Thanksgiving with my family and then go to visit Jeremy's family the following weekend. Because of that, I am starting a new tradition. We will now be those people that put their trees up before Thanksgiving. I cringe a little. But it works for us. So this weekend I am going to get all the trees up in the house, with lights, ribbons and toppers. The ornaments are not going up on the trees until Thanksgiving night though. I had to hold out until after Thanksgiving for something. 

Now tell me how crazy I am! Or telling me some of your favorite traditions. It doesn't even have to be a holiday tradition. 

Nov 3, 2014

Mondays are for Giveaways

Happy Monday, everyone! I know, I know, Mondays aren't really that exciting. That's why Lisa at Showered With Design and Katelynn from XO Katelynn got a bunch of us together to start Monday off with a giveaway! All you need to do is click a few places, follow a few new friends and you are entered to win $105 and a $10 advertising credit at Fitness Blondie

Good luck everyone!! And check back tomorrow for a little recap and some other fun things coming your way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 31, 2014

Running with Scissors

Just wanted to pop in real quick to say Happy Halloween!! Hope everyone is dressed up and celebrating all day long. I am a holiday person. Doesn't matter the holiday, I want to celebrate it and dress up. I will find a way to dress in theme. 

At work we have a costume contest each year. There are individual costume winners and group winners. This year I entered the group contest....
We have only had one person "get" our costume all day without telling them I was running with scissors. But the judges laughed so maybe that's all that matters. Winners get prize money so I decided to do it for the Jude! If I win anything it is going toward my St Jude fundraising goal this year (if you'd like to help on that as well, just click right here, please and thank you!). 

I hope everyone is having a great day and eating some of their favorite candy or snacks! If you dressed up today, what did you dress as? Be sure to check back on Monday though, I have a little giveaway to start the week! 

**Update: We totally lost. I personally think we were robbed, hah! 

Oct 13, 2014

The Beast

We made it to October! It's birthday month for me and 10 mile course month for the Road Race Series! Today I'm talking running, are you really surprised?!
I got super lucky and met some awesome runners back at the beginning of the Road Race Series. Being that they are awesome, they let me into their running world that is Run365. Some people in this group are on huge, huge run streaks and they are so inspiring! They always take a group pic before races. I've just been late to like the last 4 races. I was terrified of being late to this one though. I was warned over and over again about getting there extra early to get parked and get to the start location. I left at 5:30 am and got there with plenty of time to spare. Plus I ran back by my car around mile 4.5 so next weekend I can layer up if I need to and drop my outer layers on my car when I come back by if I need to. 

Anyways, this! You local people, if you have never gone running or hiking or just exploring at Shelby Forest, you need to like right now! It is gorgeous!
How beautiful are those trees and that little path through the woods?! Yea I stopped to walk more than once. I just didn't think to snap a photo until nearly the end. I wish I had taken a picture of the hills though. I was mostly trying not to fall down them and then having to hike up them. No time for pics there. 

I had heard of "The Beast" but I didn't know that was this race! I totally know why it is called that though. It is so very challenging but it's very rewarding. I would say it is up there with my one half marathon. At one point in the race, I looked over at the lady beside me and asked if the hill we just conquered was "the big one"....and she laughed. Like, she got a real chuckle out of my question. By the end, I knew why that was so funny to her. I just can't say it enough, that race was amazing! And hills. Oh the hills. And did I mention...hills?! 

All it all, it took me forever to finish. Like forever. But that's ok. I didn't mind the time. I got my second favorite race picture out of it. And got two pretty funny pictures from it when looked at back to back....
These photos were taken just seconds apart. Makes me laugh because right after the start of the race, a guy behind me yelled, "Ok we are past the camera guy we can walk" haha! I'm so guilty of trying to look like I've been running fast all day when I see a camera. 
And a big thumbs up at the end, almost over! 

So tell me what your favorite race is. And do you have any funny/memorable race photos? Please share!! 

Sep 25, 2014

Finally Took the Leap

I finally took the running plunge and got myself a GPS watch. About time right? I am just such a cheapo and kept telling myself I didn't NEED one. Well, then a youtube ad for the TomTom Runner got me. 

I usually just set my goal for either time or distance and run, but this weekend I tried out the race feature. Oh my, if you have this watch and you are competitive, this feature will be your favorite! I got the watch in time for my first 10k at the beginning of the month. And since the second 10k was the same course, I set my watch to race mode. Throughout the race the screen showed two arrows one was me currently and one was where I would have been at the same race time in the race. At the bottom it displayed either + or - the yards compared to your run you are racing. The watch vibrates to let you know when you move from 1st to 2nd place and vice versa. 

From mile 1 forward, I was beating my original time. Then I started watching my yards ahead. I met a new friend during the race (don't you love when that happens??) and I ran intervals with her starting at mile 3. I was around 350 yards ahead of my previous self but we spotted someone that my new friend knew, Mrs Colleen. I have seen her at races before but never spoke with her. She is a cancer survivor and as she put it, she runs to beat her cancer. It was nice stopping to speed walk with her and talk for a bit. We pushed on through the last mile (with two hills, by the way) and I managed to beat my time by 2 minutes. I'll take it. 

Next up is my 10 miler next weekend and two weeks after that. I wish I had already logged a 10 miler so I could use the race feature on my watch again. It has been such a big motivation for me! I can't wait to see what it's like using that feature next year during 5ks. 2014 is the year of distance running. 2015 is going to be the year for speed! 

So tell me your favorite watch feature? Or what motivates you? 

Sep 24, 2014

Tag You're It

My sweet friend Natalie over at May the Schwartz Be With You tagged me to complete a few questions and tag some other friends to join in the blog hop. Natalie is a friend I "met" through blogging who happens to live in the very same area as me, not just the "big city" we are close to. Natalie even teaches a yoga class at the gym I'm a member of! Unfortunately, our schedules never seem to line up to be at the gym at the same time. Maybe one day. Anyways, Natalie and I have so much in common but are also so different. Isn't that what makes a good friendship? Make sure you go read the questions that Natalie answered. 

Now for her questions for me:

Why do I keep a blog?
I originally started one just to document pictures and have a little diary of mine and my daughter's lives. Along the way, I started incorporating more than just our daily activities. I have added some of what is going on in our lives, some random things that interest me, lots of running, and basically anything I feel like writing about. I really like the way the blogging world has evolved and I have learned quite a bit along the way. 

What are my greatest strengths?
I feel like I should give a standard interview answer here. If you asked my husband, he would say I am the most organized unorganized person ever. Is that a strength? How about, I can be creative. Not always, but I can be. That's a little bit of a strength right? No, wait, greatest strength....vacation planning! I am great at planning a vacation. Not just like "hey we are going to the beach" but "hey we are going to the beach, eating here here and here, and I want to see this while we are there." Real planning. I would be a great travel agent. I am also a really good bargain shopper. That's gotta be a strength. If I am trying to save money, I will. 

What motivates me to run?
I signed up for my very first 5k because friends were doing it. I don't remember exactly but I'm pretty sure I hadn't run more than a block in the last 5 years before that. I worked out regularly so how hard could a 5k be, right? Oh boy. I felt like I had paid for torture and a tshirt that day! hah! After that I realized that I should probably add some running to my exercise routine. My family has a history of heart issues on both sides so I knew I needed to think about running as a way to not only maintain a healthy weight but also keep my heart in shape. Health has been the biggest motivator for me so far to basically answer the original question. However, somewhere along the way, mostly this year, I actually fell in love with running. Now my motivation is more my need and want to run. Heart health is just a lovely side effect from that. 

What is my proudest moment?
I should probably say something like graduating college. It was a really proud moment for me. I did it while working full time, taking care of a toddler, going to school year round and having up to 18 hours per semester at times. But I felt like it was just something I had to do. Not finishing was just not an option. Completing my first half marathon was another proud moment. I was almost sick I was so nervous about that race. I started that race not knowing if I would be able to finish it but I did. I can't wait for my next one to see improvements. My daughter also makes me very proud. As a mom there is something so special hearing someone else tell you good things about your child. It makes you feel like you are doing a good job as a parent especially if they get a compliment on their manners! 

That's all the questions Natalie had for me. I'm going to come up with a few of my own and probably tag a couple more bloggers on them so if you are looking for a few questions as a blog topic let me know! 

I'm going to try to be better and catch up my little diary blog. I have celebrated my 1 year anniversary this month!! I've "raced" two 10ks that I absolutely loved. I've attempted to become a morning runner. I've succeeded and failed at being a morning runner. I've watched 8 volleyball games so far this month. I reached my first mini goal with my St Jude fundraising! (I still have a little way to go so if you are interested in donating to the most amazing children's research hospital, click that little link please.) It's been a busy month and next month is even busier. Plus it's birthday month! Anyways, I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of fall. Tell me something good!

Aug 26, 2014

Race Recap: Road Race 5ks

This year in prep for the St. Jude half marathon that I'm running in December, I decided to sign up for MRTC's Road Race Series. You can sign up for the whole series ($65 if you are a MRTC member, which I strongly recommend) and you get 10 races! That is a bargain! Each month from July to November there are two races and the distances increase each month (5k, 5 miler, 10k, 10 miler, and half). You change locations each month too, so the 5ks are at the same place, 5 milers, etc etc etc. 

The first 5k was a few weekends over a month ago at a park in the East Memphis area. We basically ran around the block around the park to get to 3.1 miles. The route was simple because there weren't many turns but there are still some rolling hills. And it has the potential for having my running nemesis...running on an incline into the sun! For the first run it was sunny and it had gotten hot by 7:30 when I was on that last mile. That part felt awful but I liked knowing my route for this race. I liked seeing the next turn and seeing the finish long before I got there. And most importantly I loved having so many friends running this series too! {and insert picture we took at the first 5k that I can't find. This is another reason I need to post my recaps a little more timely hah!}

My plan for this series was to take it easy on the first race and push myself more on the second race. But one of the things I've learned about running is plans change. Right? 

The weekend of the second 5k in the series came around and my husband decided to go out to the hunting cabin to do some work before the seasons kick off. Hindsight: at that very moment I should have gone online and registered Brooklyn to run with me the following morning. I didn't. And it's my own fault. We didn't get there by 6:30 to get her registered. That was fine. Again, it was my own fault. But I realized just how much I love running because I was nearly in tears that not only was I not getting to run but I wasn't getting to run a race with my mini. She was actually really excited about doing it with me. Several weeks before, I told my husband I actually wanted to just go be a spectator one day and watch when the really fast people coming running in, so I guess I got my opportunity. Spoiler alert....they look just like regular runners only they make it look super easy! It was nice cheering for friends and strangers as they made their way across the finish line. We even got some pics afterwards. 

I usually have a donut (or two) after race Sundays, and even though I didn't race that Sunday I still stopped for a donut with B. 
Next up is the 5 miler recap. Anyone else run a series like this? Or run this series? Anyone prepping for St Jude this December?

Aug 25, 2014

New Routine

It's back to school time in Tennessee! I know a lot of areas don't start back quite as early as we do, but kids are out around mid-May in Tennessee so that means starting back in August. This year we aren't only getting used to starting back to school, we are getting used to having a middle schooler now. It's still unreal to say I have a middle schooler. I definitely had more anxiety about her moving to middle school than she did. I have learned to let go a little and let her learn some more responsibility this year. 
I threatened to come inside and take a picture of her by her locker, but she pretty much knew I was just messing with her. 

On top of school, she is getting used to playing middle school sports. Middle school sports = practice every single day. And you better be paying attention! I love it. I just have to fight the urge to yell, "Put me in, Coach!" at her games. I miss it, can you tell?
Cell phone quality pics because I can never seem to get my camera, a charged battery, and an SD card all together at one time. 

Back to School night was last week, and I felt even better about this year. They have so many teachers that truly love these kids and love to teach. Makes me very happy. Also, they are at the age where they get a little variety in their classes. This year they will all take Drama to help them get comfortable in front of people and prepare them for the presentations class next year. Some (mine) opted to take choir this year as well. So they get all their traditional classes plus some arts as well.

Remember when we used to get a study hall every year? And we had 7 classes a day? Yea, no. Now there's no study hall and they have 5 classes a day. Their year is divided into trimesters and sometimes their classes change from tri to tri. It's definitely different, but so far so good. And it's week 3 now so we seem to be back into our routine other than running late all the time. Wait, I think that IS our routine. Before we know it, it will be time for fall break! 

How's school in your area? Or how is school prep if you aren't already in school? Anyone with new middle schoolers this year?

Jul 28, 2014

Since You've Been Gone

Ok more like "since I've been gone" but I like song lyrics more. 

Today I thought I would list some things that have been going on since I took my little unintentional blog hiatus. Lists=the lazy girl blog post

#Firstofall, I chopped my hair. I say chopped because to me anything more than a tiny trim is a chop. I love the beach wave, messy curled hair that everyone is sporting but I knew that just wasn't going to be possible with my longer hair. I don't know why but when my hair is longer, curls just don't work. They won't hold or they end up looking like wet perm. Or they look flat and stuck to my head. None of those things are cute. So I chopped. And I'm actually itching to take about another inch off of it. 
That's preworkout hair vs post workout hair. I'm starting to master the curling wand. But I can't say I totally understand what makes it better than just a curling iron used the right way for beach waves/curls. I'm a newbie though. 

Next up, I may have mentioned here that I got pretty busy a few months back when my work partner was on maternity leave. I had to learn a whole lot of her job. I would say probably 70% of what she did. The silver lining to that was I just had to know it all for 6 weeks, right? Wrong! After being back a week, she took a job within our parent company but with a different business unit. Now I'm still doing my job and that extra % of her job. It's been a little stressful, but I'm making it. I see a light at the end of the tunnel by way of shoving off my old work on someone else. Winning! That has been part of the reason why I haven't felt like typing or being anywhere near a computer after working hours. 

In other news, I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador while I was away. If you aren't already following, drop what you are doing and go follow @fitapproach on instagram. (oh and add me while you're there too)
Other than that, our summer has been winding down. Brooklyn competed in the softball World Series a week and a half ago. That doesn't mean that softball is over for long though. Tryouts are in just another week. She is also starting middle school in about two weeks. Which means I will be attending a sports parent meeting and middle school orientation this week. Add volleyball camp to that list and we have a lot going on. I feel like our summer has been pretty busy but I'm sure it's nothing compared to how busy we are going to be going forward. I am pretty excited about what the future holds though. 

Now fill me in. What is something new with you that maybe you haven't shared to all of social media yet??

Jul 25, 2014

Race Recap: Stars & Stripes 5k

Let me dust off this old blog, and see if I remember how to do this. 

I have got to be better about writing my recaps. Too much time has passed since my Stars and Stripes 5k and I know I don't remember it exactly as I did the week following. 

I will start by saying that the M-town Race Series is easily my favorite race series. Ok, so maybe it's the only race series I've completed. Minor detail. It really has all the fun summer races in it. I felt like after each race I said, "That one was my favorite!" Stars and Stripes was no different. 

This was my first race that I would have Brooklyn & Jeremy there to cheer me on. Thanks to my friend Lora for bringing B. This made it possible for me to get there in time and not have to backtrack. Another awesome friend picked up my race packet so that gave us a little time to hang out, find our other friends, and take pictures of course. 
Sidenote: How cute are my friends?! I love dressing up for themes or holidays, so this race was great for that. So many awesome red, white and blue race clothes. 

On to the running portion...we had really great weather. I mean, it's July in the is usually a million degrees+ outside. It was comfortable. Everyone seemed pretty chilled out at the start too. I was worried with there being so many people that it would be hard to get off to a good start. People spaced out a little and took their time getting up to the start. I was fairly close to the front, but I noted that the timer was at 2 minutes by the time I crossed the line. 

The course was mostly flat (or maybe I've forgotten rolling hills) and shady for the first half. I found someone a little faster than me and chased her for almost two miles. Then she apparently got a burst of energy that I was lacking, and she left me in the dust. My Nike+ said I was running slower than my PR pace, but I'm starting to learn Nike+ can be a little liar. My legs were getting tired on the last half mile but I was trying my best to keep running. I remember feeling like I was running through molasses or running so slowly I felt like I was actually going backwards at times. I got a little burst when I rounded the last turn. I gave it all I had because I knew my loves were waiting somewhere along the finish line. I happened to look up and see the clock said 35 minutes....which meant 33 running minutes for me. I was ecstatic! That may be slow to some. That may be fast, but for me that meant a PR. Official time- 33:39. My goal is a sub30 5k and I'm trying to do it by the end of the year. 

To celebrate my PR, I got a new tank and new running top after the race. So much for my "no new workout clothes" ban I put on myself. I also got a tank for Brooklyn and a running tech shirt for Jeremy. I got those with the stipulation they had to start running with me. Ask me how many times they have run with me since....if you guessed 0, you'd be right. 

After the race, we ate typical 4th of July food (hamburgers, hot dogs) along with typical post race foods (bananas, oranges) and hung out around the fountain. Once it got dark, it was time for some fireworks. 
This is apparently how you take pictures of fireworks these days. She missed half the show trying to take the right selfie #tweens

And being the hypocrite I am, then we took a selfie, eh um, I mean an usie? I don't know. And yes, I was so cold in July I had to get my race shirt out and put it on. And I was still cold! 

First M-town Race Series is over, but I think this is going to be a yearly tradition. I loved all these races even the Gibson which was my worst. I definitely recommend anyone in the area to sign up for all or at least one of these series races. 

Jun 20, 2014

Race Recap: Gibson 5k

Last weekend I ran the Gibson Guitar 5k in downtown Memphis. I wrote up my thoughts on it and somehow deleted the post or blogger was hungry and ate it. I'm not really sure. And since I hate rewriting posts, I closed blogger and didn't log in for 4 more days. Now I'm finally back around and feel like sharing, so here is my recap. 

I've mentioned a few times (here, here) that my goal this summer was to beat my pace in each race of the M-town series that I'm doing. Well....spoiler alert, that didn't happen. Do I get a mulligan? I started off the race fine. My first mile is always the hardest for me mentally. I get nervous and then I start thinking that something is hurting. It's usually an ankle, random muscle, knee, something. This happens while I am dodging people and parked cars on the first mile. Coming into the mile marker, I'm headed up a little hill straight into the sun. I start feeling kind of weird. We round the corner and I smell one of my favorite things about Memphis....BBQ. Yum, right? No. The smell made me feel nauseous. From that point on, my sense of smell was super sensitive. Every change made me feel worse. I continued slowing down, walking some parts, trying my best not to get sick. I started feeling better toward the end and sprinted up the hill from the river up to Beale Street. Mistake. The hill had been too much for at least one person. I saw their lunch (sorry, TMI). I don't do well with that, so I walked and tried to pull it together to the finish. My husband came to this race so I had to run at the end for him. Once I saw and heard the crowd (and a man that kept pumping people up and running with them for the last sprint) I started running as hard as I could. I think when Jeremy saw me he knew by the look on my face and the time on the clock that I was not feeling great. 

All in all I didn't do that horribly. I didn't get the pace I wanted but the way I see it, there's always a next time. And since I don't want this post to be a "woe is me, I took an extra minute a mile" type post, I'm going to share some positives. 

[one] I can see why so many people love that race. It was fun and there's lots of good energy. We got to run down Riverside Drive. I love Riverside Drive. I love seeing the "M Bridge" and pyramid along the river. We started on Beale St. What a great starting line! The after party is at the Gibson Guitar factory. I mean, could it get any better. 

[two] I love evening runs. I had time that morning to hydrate up, eat right, enjoy the day and prepare for my run that night. 

[three] I got to meet up with a running friend before the race. And Meredith met several ladies of the Schweddy Belles running group from Breakaway Running. I'm telling you, runners are the most friendly people. We had a little conversation with those ladies before getting to our spots. 
[four] The only pictures I saw of myself during the race were when I was running. No grumpy pictures of myself when I was getting frustrated with myself. And I don't totally hate them. 
 [five] Despite the rough run, I felt amazing afterwards. I grabbed something to drink, had some oranges and I felt amazing. I even felt great the next day. I have finally reached that point I used to hear about. I used to think my friends were crazy when they said they felt awesome after a run. That used to sound crazy to me. Now I get it. I totally get the runner's high. 

That's it for this run. Next one coming up is the Stars and Stripes on July 3rd. I think I may have talked Jeremy into running it too! I am really excited about that. Also, I have started low heart rate training thanks to some friends and some online research. I still have a book I want to read about it, but I will share my initial thoughts on it all one day next week. Now get out there and run!

Jun 13, 2014

Friday Five

In case you haven't looked at the calendar or been on any social media all day, guess what? It's Friday the 13th. My mind just stopped at "it's Friday" though. And Friday the 13th or not, it's my favorite easy link up...Five on Friday!
[one] One of the big reasons I don't blog every day is because I read blogs everyday. Make sense? I like to catch up on my internet friends before jumping into a post of my own. This week, my blog reader has been on the fritz and I was not happy about it. I use Feedly, and have been avoiding Bloglovin since Google Reader went away. To me it wasn't as user friendly. To each their own. So for the last few days I have probably been missing out on my favorite blogs but I have had a lot of ideas for my own blog, so maybe this was just a sign or a kick in the pants, whichever. 

[two] I have another race this weekend! I love back to back race weekends. After this weekend, I have two and a half weeks until my next race in the series. Unless I sign up for a race between now and then. 

[three] I have been really bad lately for the last year or more about remembering to take my real camera places. I used to be the photo nazi! My friends could count on me to document our lives in photos. I've been slacking. So this weekend I am going to get a few more camera cards and have my camera ready to go for whatever comes our way. I'm going to start by trying to join in Rachel's day in the life linkup next week. I love the camera on my phone, but for the most part they don't beat out photos from my actual camera. The linkup is next week so everyone has plenty of time to document a day and write a post.

[four] Father's Day is this weekend and I still have to make a mad dash to the store to pick up our gift. Nothing like last minute shopping! At least I know what I want to get for Jeremy this year. That's half the battle. I just have to make sure it's approved by Miss Brooklyn, of course. And since she will be at her dad's house on Sunday we will do our thing to celebrate either tonight or tomorrow during the day. She has already requested that we grill out. Let's see if the weather cooperates.
[five] Also on the agenda this Yep, not our usual softball tourney weekend. This weekend we are supposed to take B to her friend-that's-a-boy's baseball game. This is all new territory for me. It makes me nervous and I don't know exactly why. It makes me feel like she is so grown up, but she's also still my baby. 

[bonus] According to my planner, summer is passing by extremely quickly this year. There is little time left on the calendar that is blank. And I still haven't planned our summer vacation. I can't decide between beach, water park, mountains, cruise. Everything sounds like something we should do, so leave your vacation advice in the comments! I need to weigh out our options. 

Jun 10, 2014

Small Victories

This weekend was busy, fun, and a whole lot of stormy! I could have done without that adjective {she says, as her area is under a tornado watch currently}. 

Friday night was the second race in the 4 race M-town series that I signed up for. This is the only race in the series that I have actually run before, two times actually. I love this race! It is in one seriously cute part of town. I love every single adorable little house here. What makes it even better is my friend Laura lives there and this year the race went right by her house. 
Usually it is already 100 degrees by the time this race rolls around. It's humid and sticky and hard to breath, but this year I have to say the weather during the race was probably the best weather you could ask for in Memphis in June. It had rained and stormed all afternoon pretty much. But by the time the race started the rain cleared and the temp was closer to 70.

I got there really early....that is totally not like me. But I've been surprising friends lately by being on time or even early for things. Maybe I will lose that late reputation one of these days. Anyways, so I was texting my friend Lora who was in route and searching for a place to park. I was also meeting Debi in front of a restaurant so we could find each other before the race. She brought Cecilia, which was awesome because I have been following her blog and IG, but I haven't met her in person until this week. They are both super nice, and I love meeting more of the awesome running community we have around us here in the city. Then when I finally get into the start line about where I think I should be, Meredith turns around and says hey! She was in front of me for no telling how long. More friendly faces to look for before the next race in the series! 

I am not sure if I have mentioned it before, but I am not fast. I have never been a fast runner. My body will require more training to speed up my pace. Thank goodness I found my love for running, right? Anyways, I set a goal for myself this year to PR each and every race from now until the end of the year. Sounds like a lofty goal, but this is the first year I've been training and running on somewhat of a schedule. Plus, besides 5ks I've only ever raced one half marathon and one 10k. I just have one untrained (pretty much) time to beat for those. So I'm happy to say, that I have accomplished my goal so far. My pace for the Zoo race was 13:07 (it was a 4 miler) and my pace for Harbortown was 11:41. See, not breaking any course records for sure, but I improved! And my biggest surprise....I wasn't sore. I waited until two days later to say anything. I was kind of disappointed in myself. I assumed this meant I didn't push myself hard enough, but a friend told me that just means my body has gotten adjusted to the distance. Already time to add on some miles! Now I'm excited! 

My goal this week is to follow the rest of my training in my Nike Running app. Then I run the Gibson Guitar 5k on Saturday night. I'm excited about this one. I have heard it is a really fun race too. 

May 30, 2014

Running for a Reason

I've mentioned before that 2014 is the year of running for me. I did my first 5k in 2009. That sounds so long ago. But I wouldn't really consider myself to be "into" running until this year. It took me 5 years to find my love for it. That first mile is the hardest for me. That is when my mind tells me to quit. After that first mile, I can start to enjoy the nature around me. I feel alone but in a good way. I have my time to think. The good thing about being slow is having more time to think I guess. 
Harbortown 5k 2010
During the half I ran in April, I realized I CAN run more than just a 5k. It's crazy that it took me until the middle of a half marathon to realize that my legs could actually take me 13.1 miles. I decided right then, I wanted to sign up to run the St Jude half in Memphis this year. I also wanted to do whatever I could to raise money for St Jude. So today, I took the leap and signed up at the bronze hero level for 2014. I must raise $500 for this level, but my goal is to raise $1,000. I have a few ideas on how I will do this and I have several months to get there. My fundraising page is here if you would like to donate or just share it and spread the word for me. 
Country Music Half Marathon - April 2014
Growing up in the Memphis area, I knew about St Jude. I knew it was a hospital for children with cancer. I never realized it was also a research facility. And I really didn't think about other cities not having a place just as great as St Jude. I didn't realize that patients coming to St Jude never receive a bill for their treatment. St Jude raises money all the time so they can provide families with treatment but without the financial burden of high medical bills. Parents are dealing with enough emotionally and financially when they come to St Jude so knowing that the treatments are taken care of has to be at least a slight relief. 

This year instead of just doing some races, I actually feel like I'm part of a "race season." I signed up for the MTown series, which is 4 races. I completed the first one (a 4 miler) last week, and the next 5k in the series is next Friday. That series will be complete on July 3rd, and I will start the MRTC Road Race series which is 10 races--two of each distance (5k, 5-miler, 10k, 10-miler, half marathon). That series runs from July to November, so it is a great prep for the St Jude half marathon. I will be sharing my experiences along the way as I prep for this race and come up with some fun ideas to raise money for St Jude. 
Zoom Through the Zoo 2014
And if you are in the area (or not), you should sign up and run too! My friend Lora is running it too. And hopefully we peer pressure, Meredith into joining us as well. 

May 19, 2014

Winner Winner BBQ Dinner

Last week, I was going through some of our pictures from previous Memphis in May BBQ fests. I knew this weekend would be fun and full of some good food, good friends, and good times just like every year. But I didn't know this year was going to be such a year to remember. 
Our standard pose - MIM BBQ fest 2012
In case you didn't already know, Memphis is the home of BBQ. There may be some Texas/Kansas City/NC style BBQ lovers that may disagree with me, but let's just agree to disagree :) Each year during the whole Memphis in May celebrations, there is the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. My husband has been competing for about ten years now. When he texted me Saturday and told me they were a finalist (top 3) I knew I had to drop everything and get downtown on TIME (not my strong suit). We got good spots in front of the stage and listened to all the other awards. Their category was last--ribs. 

They called out the 3rd place winners, so they knew they were top 2. One of their team members was yelling "we were nobody, and now we are top 2." I got a kick out of their reactions. Then they called out the second place winner and it wasn't them!! Everyone was losing their minds screaming and jumping up and down. It was the absolute best! 
That would be my husband there in the center 
This is definitely a MIM that we won't forget ever. It was so much fun as usual, but it was even better seeing the team so happy! They were all on cloud 9. We went back to the booth to dance and celebrate...and take lots of pictures by the trophy!
And last by not least, my required family picture for 2014...

May 16, 2014

Friday Five

It's Friday! The longest day of the week at work. Just waiting on the weekend! More specifically, waiting on a 3 day weekend for me. 
[One] It's BBQ Fest week here in Memphis! My husband is on a cook team so we get to go down to the river on Wednesday night before it's open to the public. Unfortunately this year it was freeeeezing Wednesday and a constant mist was being blown into the booth. But we are venturing down again tonight to hang out, get my typical picture of us in front of the M bridge, and eat some good food. 
We smiled but we were so cold!
[two] Softball starts this weekend. After a rain out last weekend, we are all anxious and ready for a long day at the park. I am just not looking forward to game day morning without Jeremy. He will be downtown for the end of BBQ fest so I've got morning duty. How did I manage to do this alone before??
[three] I am in a fashion funk. My closet is boring me to tears. It's awful. I am about to clean a lot of it out and start working on building it back. I went shopping a little on Mother's Day to find a few new things to wear to work. I left with black and patterned workout compression capris and two new workout tanks....this has been typical of my shopping trips in the last few months. If I could wear workout clothes to work everyday I would be set. I'm hoping to finish bringing out the summer boxes and find more options in those. 

[four] Race season kicks into high gear starting next week. I am signed up for a 4 miler Thursday evening. I'm a little nervous because my legs are super sore from leg day this week, but I'm going to work in some running time maybe between softball games this weekend. This is the first year I've been signed up for multiple races in advance, and I really like having those planned out. I joined the Memphis Runners Track Club last week and I plan to sign up for their series that starts in July as well. This really is the year of running! 

[five] Speaking of running. I didn't share last week about the Run Baby Run 5k that I participated in. This was a very special run this year. It was for the March of Dimes, and it was in honor of my sweet friend's son, Harper. All of our friends and families came out, wore our #irunforbabyharper shirts, and ran for a great cause. And after everyone crossed the finish line, every single member of the Young family and extended family placed in their age division--from sisters to grandparents! How perfect is that?! 

That's my five for this Friday! I'm ready to pick up my mini and head to BBQ Fest. I'm hoping we get better weather tonight so we can really enjoy our nachos and ribs. What does everyone else have planned for their weekend?

May 14, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: The Funny Stuff

I'm wondering if I'm the only person that has a few goofy wedding pictures thrown into the mix. I thought me and my sister started it because we always have a picture of us with at least one of us making a face. Apparently I was wrong though. The boys were a little silly in their pictures too. 

This is very us...

Which resulted in this picture, which is very us as well...

Then we had to bring my middle sister into it. She usually avoids our foolishness. 

And I'm about 90% sure we didn't completely drive our photographer crazy taking these pictures. She was a trooper! 

I saw this in the men's section of pictures. Of course. Some of the bridesmaids that watched the guys get their pictures taken had already told me that I had a patient photographer. I can only imagine. 
Really guys? 

Just a quick, mostly photos post for today. I have a shorter day at work today and then I'm headed downtown for Friends and Family night at the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Fest! {I had to write out the full name} We are the BBQ capital of the world right? If you are from Kansas City, you may argue with me on that. Anyways, we go every year on Wednesday because it's more of a family night. It's not open to the public yet and there are plenty of kids. I can't wait. I look forward to it every year! 
NC Belle in Boots

May 7, 2014

The Liebs

It has been such a busy week! The first week of every month usually is, but this month I am covering for a coworker that is out on maternity leave. There have been some longer hours this week, but those will pay off on Friday. Luckily, we have some wiggle room with our work schedule. I will have 35 hours (or more) in by the time I leave Thursday, so I just have to finish out my 40 for the week. In other words, I will be running out those doors at 1!

Yesterday, the awesome Cecilia at MommiesRun nominated me for a Liebster Award! So I am answering her questions and coming up with some for you!
1.  How did you get started running? I really can't remember why I decided to start running, but I had some friends that were signing up for 5Ks. What's better than running with friends! So I signed up for my very first race ever--the Youth Villages 5K in either 2009 or 2010. I would say I haven't really gotten serious about running until within this last year.
2.  What is your favorite summer treat? Fruity beverages. They just go with summer, right? And homemade ice cream
3.  How do you unwind after a rough day? When I don't have running around to do after work, I love getting home, putting on something extra comfy and relaxing in front of the tv with a nice dinner and glass of wine. There was a window of time where I would have said sitting on the patio, but we may have jumped right through spring into summer in about a week's time here.
4.  What race is on your bucket list? I would love to run the NYC marathon but I'm not really sure right now if I want to go after that distance or not. I am just now getting comfortable with the idea of running 13 miles. I do want to run some more half marathons in other cities. Maybe a half in 13 states? Who knows.
5.  What do you love about blogging? I love the people I have met and the sense of community. Sure there are negative things that go along with it but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Some of my good real life friends have once been exclusive blog friends. I've met several just in the running community.
6.  How do you fuel for a long run? I'm still learning how my body needs to be fueled for long runs. As crazy as this sounds, one thing I thought would be the worst race snack ended up being great for my half.....brown rice crispies. Jeremy's cousin had some and that's what I had with natural peanut butter before the race and then one during the race along with some Gu. All worked perfectly for my body. I just didn't have my first snack early enough in the run I think.
7.  What is your all time favorite TV show? I would say Friends, Modern Family or The Office just because if nothing new is on tv, I can watch any rerun of these shows. I like to laugh!
8.  Skirts or shorts for running? Compression capris. For now. I have never liked to run in shorts, but I did 3 miles in shorts last night. I think I just need to do it more and get used to the shorts. I also have a running skirt that I really like.
9.  If you could make 3 wishes, what would they be? Besides the typical, world peace and a cure for cancer (because those are definitely top of the list), my personal wishes would be an unlimited expense account for travel, a huge chunk of land in the same area we live now, and to have had more time with my grandfather that passed away when I was little.
10.  What is your signature color? Melnessa (Melissa, do you remember this color? lol) When I was in high school, my best friend and I discovered that we had a common color that looked great on our ghost white porcelain skin, so we named it Melnessa (Melissa and Janessa, we were combining names before Brangelina). Melnessa is just the right shade of pink-orange-coral.

Now I'm going to try to tag some people that haven't been tagged recently to answer the following questions:

1. If you run, what's your favorite piece of running gear?
2. Where are you going for summer vacation this year?
3. What is something you have pinned on Pinterest and actually made?
4. What is one thing on your bucket list?
5. How did you meet your significant other?
6. What's your favorite current tv show?
7. What is a random fact about you that most people don't know?
8. Why did you start blogging?
9.  What is your favorite piece of clothing?
10. What's the last text in your phone say?

And I'm tagging....
Meredith @ My Own Little World
Lindsey @ A Plane Dr, His Nurse & their 3 little passengers
Lora @ Raising Steppe Sisters
Natalie @ My Fabulous Life of Woodchucks & Sippy Cups
Natalie @ May the Schwartz Be With You
Analisa @ Sunset 79

Apr 30, 2014

The Little Details

NC Belle in Boots

It's time for another Wedding Wednesday post. If you are getting tired of them, sorry, we are almost at the finish line. 

Today I'm sharing some of the little details from the wedding day. I am really glad the photographer got a lot of these shots. I had no clue what the food set up looked like until I got our pictures. All I remember besides dancing at the reception is all the people. I didn't really even see the food table. 

My mom ordered this sort of shadow box. There are little wooden hearts and everyone wrote their messages on them before dropping them in the opening at the top. The day after our wedding, we poured them all out and read them. It was really sweet and funny. 
My family likes to antique shop and restore old things all the time. This frame is one that my dad found at either an auction or estate sale. It got painted up and a piece of chalkboard painted wood was attached to the back. My sister wrote the message and this was placed in the window of the building where the reception was held. I am planning on snagging this frame and hanging it somewhere in our house with a wedding picture. 
Instead of the traditional book for everyone to sign, we decided on going with a photo book. I made it pretty simply on The first page just thanked everyone for coming and being a part of our day and asked them to sign our memory book. We also read these the day after the wedding. Very comical entries and some heartfelt sweet messages inside. 

Outside there was another antique piece from a dresser. Instead of a mirror though, it had, you guessed it, more chalkboard. 

Those are just a few of the little details and keepsakes from the wedding. My family, especially my mom, put a lot of thought and time into planning things with me. I don't remember any of the stress now but it was enough to make my sister decide that she is going to elope. Fine by me, but by "elope" she better mean get married somewhere tropical and invite me! 

Next up I'm sharing reception fun and then the blooper reel! If you feel like it, share your wedding post and go link up with Meredith