January 29, 2010

Dear 2010 Brooke,

As I said yesterday, this song caught my attention.  I considered (briefly) plagerizing and making this my letter to me, but I know that some of my readers are Christian music fans, and how embarassing would it be to be caught...

Here are the lyrics for those of you who can't watch the video:

Sidewalk Prophets - The Words I Would Say

Three in the morning,
And I'm still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I'd say,
If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I've already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say

Since I'm going to be honest and write the letter myself...here goes.

Dear 2010 Brooke,

This past year was one of tremendous growth for you.  2009 Brooke was no where to be found!! 

After a couple months of training - you set a brand new personal best at the Covenant Health 5K.  Who would believe you'd run a 10 minute mile?  Jay You certainly didn't.  Remember what it feels like as you cross the finish line.  Never forget that moment of total victory.

Of course you reran all the same races from last year, each time setting a new personal course record.  First the SMARM 5K, then the West Hills race - the hills will kick your butt again.  Period.  This time you better your time AND you don't feel like you're going to puke as you cross the finish.

The new of running has worn off for your family - don't expect them to meet you at the finish line as they did all last year.  This is old hat to them.  You still have the stuffed animal the Princess gave you at West Hills - keep it close by, hug it often.  With every hug, remember that she is with you in spirit at each race.  Just as you will be when she grows up to compete.

Then there is the matter of this Disney marathon coming up.  The training totally helped you kick it into high gear for the Oak Ridge Half.  Shaving 15 minutes off your time?  A completely crazy goal, but I'll let you in on a secret - You totally do it.  There is no trotting, no getting passed by an old lady in a back brace, or a walk/runner who speeds up when you pass her so she doesn't have to be last. 

You jog the entire race at a respectable pace, then you report back for training Monday morning.  A week of rest?  You don't have time for that nonsense - you have a full marathon to train for!!!

As I write you this letter, I can't help but be nervous.  You've made a lot of progress in 2010, but you left me with some work to do.  First there is the matter of 26.2 miles that you've signed me up for.   No thanks to you, some of those nagging insecurities are still in my head.  Can I do it?  Am I tough enough?

You've proved to me that I am, but it looks like this month I'm going to have to prove it again.

There is so much more I could share with you, but I think its best to leave it at that.  Love yourself, take care of yourself - oh and don't forget to love that husband of yours!

Love, 2011 Brooke

January 28, 2010

So Long Self...

I hope Amy over at The Theme Song for the Day is... doesn't mind me borrowing her concept for the next couple of days.

Once again, the Sisterhood has me thinking.  Before you non-sisters start zoning out on me this isn't a diet or exercise related post at all.  With self improvement - physical or emotional - comes a certain level of introspection.  This particular group challenge has dealt a lot with who we are a people and dealing with the emotions that brought us to the beginning of our weight loss journey.

I'll talk more about it tomorrow, but our project for the week is to write a letter to ourselves, as if we were the 2011 us, looking back and advising the 2010 us how the year would go.  Yesterday on the way to work, a song caught my ear - Sidewalk Prophets "The Words I Would Say."  The chorus is perfect for future me to tell myself tomorrow.

I heard it again on the radio this morning and a particular line stood out to me, brought me to tears.  Totally unrelated to the project tomorrow, but God used the Sisterhood and Christie's homework to catch my attention.

Forgive and forget, But don't forget why you're here

Because I haven't.  And I do on a regular basis.

One reason I've been so stressed lately is because I haven't been able to forgive.  Someone said something harsh about me, behind my back.  Then someone else, whom I love dearly, brought it to my attention in an effort to manipulate my behavior in a manner that would benefit him.

Jay's mom got pissed off at me because I don't do his laundry, and Jay told me in the hopes that it would shame me into doing it for him.

Only it backfired.  In my stubbornness, I swore that he had changed my behavior - only not to his benefit.  Not only would I not do what he wanted, what little help I did give him wouldn't happen in the future.  Quite obviously he didn't appreciate me it.

Seriously is it not enough that I hold down a full time job, prepare/cook all the meals, do all the dishes, dust, vacuum, sweep, straighten the house, wash the towels & sheets, and clean the bathrooms?

See, I'm doing it again.  Just this morning I was convicted to forgive and forget, and here I sit still trying to justify myself.  Forgive and forget.  Remember the harsh words are never going to do anything but perpetually hurt me.

As for the "don't forget why you're here" - why is that the part that I have an easy time forgetting?  I'm here to be salt and light to the world.  I'm here to love my husband with all my heart, and through my words and actions, show him the love and the grace of God.

I'm sure it was Divinely inspired, but the next song that came on the radio spoke directly to the flaw my current attitude.

Mercy Me - So Long Self
So long, self
Well, it's been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long, self
There's just no room for two
So you are gonna have to move
So long, self
Don't take this wrong but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh well, goodbye, don't cry
So long, self

and my favorite line - don't go away mad...just go away.
Christian or not, marriage isn't about focusing on what's best for you at least it shouldn't be.  With the move, Jay has been super busy.  Trying to work on the house because I'm stressed we won't get everything done by moving day.  Trying to do a lot in real estate because I'm worried about paying for the work we're doing on the house.
He's been working his little fingers to the bone (thankfully not literally this time) taking on my burdens for me, trying to make them better.
Yet here I sit, holding on to my pride.  Not wanting to budge. 
There isn't a lot I can do on the house just yet.  The cleaning can't be done until the carpet and baseboards go in.  But I know exactly what I can do to help.  This weekend I can continute packing up the house, and while I'm packing it wouldn't kill me to do several loads of his laundry - after all clean neatly folded clothes are easier to move then a heap of dirty stuff just thrown in the floor.
On second thought, it might kill me - if I choke on all this pride.  Can someone hand me a drink to help me wash it down?

January 27, 2010

Rethinking My Shrink - Week 4

Rethink Your Shrink!

This week I've done a better job with the mind part than the body part.

I've been weighing on two scales for the past couple of weeks and just going with the lower one - consistantly the work scale rather than the gym scale.  Not sure if its a difference in my workout clothes verses my work clothes or something more...

Add a couple pounds to the scale in the ladies locker room.  That's an approximate quote from the movie Dodgeball.  I looked here for the exact quote and couldn't find it, but I did find this one.  Seems to have been my life's motto for the first 28 years of my life - and I'm still having to fight against it.

Peter La Fleur: I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don't have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya... it feels phenomenal.

Anyhoo - starting today I'm just going to weigh on the gym scale. 

Goal Weight: 124
Last Week: 127.6/128.6
This Week: 126.8/128.0

I'm incredibly surprised that I'm registering a (tiny) loss for the week.  Especially with the weekend I had.  It also reinforced what I was wondering about - with my increased activity 1650 daily calorie intake seems to be working for me.

Apparently I really can have my cake and eat it too as long as I run 3+ times a week, lift weights 3 days, and take a spin class.  Oh yeah, and the day of yoga.  So yes, Bari, yoga does count!

From this point forward, I'm only going to be weighing on the gym scale - so for next week 128 will be my reference point.

I promised not to let my emotions be affected by the weigh in, but I can't help but be a little happy.  Either I lost water I was holding on to from Aunt Flow's visit, or I lost it because I'm not as stressed as I was, or I just burnt off enough calories.  It really doesn't matter to me.

Did anyone else take note of what Jillian said on BL last night?  About how holding in stress causes water retention and doesn't allow for weight loss.  Makes me hopeful that once we get moved and settled into the new house the weight loss will be a little easier for me.

So how'd you do this week?  Head to the scales then to the Sisterhood and report back.

Yes, I know that I promised you pictures of all my bargain shopping.  I took them last night and everything.  However, Jay & his computer didn't get home until late and mutter something about being too tired.  [eye roll]  What he thinks making money at his job, then going over to the farmhouse to work and getting it ready to move in is more important than pictures for my blog?  Men!

January 26, 2010

Heartfelt True Confessions Volume 2

Last week was a tough week for me, as evident in last week's confessional post.  Then by the end of the week, Christie made me say why I discovered I totally rock.

Heading into this weekend Aunt Flow was packing her bags and I was on my way to feeling better.  I went to the Repeat Boutique 70% off sale hoping that I could find a couple pair of pants so I could retire the remainder of the pants I wore 10 pounds ago.  Instead of a couple pair - I walked out with 8 new (to me) pairs of pants, plus a skirt and wrap dress!

I'm hoping to get the pictures taken tonight so it can go up with my weigh in post.  Truth be told I'm trying not to focus on the scale.  Sure I weigh myself each week and hope that the number is smaller than the previous week, but I'm really trying to not let it ruin my day get away from the scale meaning so much.  What could be more Shrinking Jeans appropriate than a fashion show demonstrating how the ladies over there encouraged me and enabling me to buy a pair of size 4 jeans???

I walked out of the store with a bag of 4s (and a couple of 6s) feeling pretty good about myself.  Normally I struggle to find pants to fit over my saddle bags fit me properly.  I've changed my shape/size and learned what brands work for me and what brands don't.  So I was able to walk in, go straight to the pants rack, and, after trying on about 20 pair, find 8 pair of pants that fit me wonderfully!

Needless to say I was riding pretty high at that moment.  Shopping took precident over lunch, so by the time that I met my family at my aunt's 80th birthday party I was starving.  Yes, you read that right.  My Aunt Dorothy turned 80 this past week - my dad (her brother) isn't even 60 yet.  My grandmother had a kid every two years consistantly for 16 years until my Uncle Ken was born.  She thought mother nature was done with her...until 8 years later when my dad made his appearance. 

Needless to say (I keep saying that, but then I keep saying what I say is needless...hmmm) my aunt's children (my cousins) are dramatically older than me.  My dad was an uncle when he was born thanks to this particular aunt.  Said children are tremendous cooks. 

I hadn't had lunch, there was a delicious spread of food so I dived right in.

But we're not to the confession part yet.

I had chips & ranch dip, tortilla chips & bean dip, veggies, fruit, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered marshmallows (they had a chocolate fountain), sausage balls, chicken nuggets, and cake. 

And I didn't care.

That's my confession - I ate all of that yumminess and I didn't care to count the calories as they went in my mouth.

I'm down to a good weight for me, and even though I'd like to lose several more pounds my world isn't going to end if I don't.  I fit into size 4 pants for goodness sake!

I know this is by no means license to eat whatever I want whenever I want.  But splurging on the weekends isn't going to kill me.  I mean how often does your Aunt turn 80?  (Acutally, I have the opportunity for that to happen 4 more times...and an additional 5 if you count Aunt-in-laws.)

Getting back to the point.  I'm in no rush to lose that last 5-7 pounds.  If I only lose 0.5 some weeks, that's okay.  If I don't lose at all, its not the end of the world.

Dear God, Please don't let me gain this week.

The hard part will be maintaining this attitude.  Because I know its the truth.  I just sometimes put on my chubby googles and like to live in the land of "poor, pitiful me". 

When I go back there, please feel free to slap me back to the land of truth.

January 25, 2010

Monday Musings

~I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was fantabulous - I got about 8 new pair of pants plus a super cool wrap dress and a wool skirt all for under $75!  I'm going to have Jay take pictures of me modeling my "loot" and devote an entire blog to it later in the week.

~The kitchen/den/mud room have all been painted "cheerful hue" aka yellow - and they look wonderful!!!  Jay is going to be putting the finishing touches on the paint work this week.  Its starting to get real - this is totally happening for us!  I'm going to wait until the furniture is moved in and everything before the big reveal with before and after photos. 

This is the most positive/least stressed I've been about the house since closing.  I really do have a fabulous husband who is busting his rear at the house, and also taking care of his real job.  He knows that I'm stress about money just as much as I'm stressed about getting into the house.  One thing I need a constant reminder of though - I'm too blessed to be stressed!!

~While we're on the subject of Mantras - I came up with a new one over at the Sisterhood on Friday.  Its been floating around in my head but I just pieced it together and made it catchy.  I can.  I have.  I will.

~I'm going to need that mantra, because I've been given the go ahead to run the Disney Marathon next year.  The full 26.2 miles!!!  Christie O and Karena have both committed and while we'll be virtually training together, we'll be physically racing together!  We are all at different paces, but I hope to meet up with them before or after the race.  Having them on board will also help me stay motived.

This marathon really is perfect for me because the training plan will have me ready to re-run the Oak Ridge half marathon again in November on my way to the full marathon in January.  That way I'll only be in training 4 months for two races.  Much better than the 6 months for two races, had Disney been another time of year.

~Totally sad about the Vikings/Saints game last night.  I wanted so badly for him to be able to go out on a Super Bowl victory.  I would have even settled for his last game to be in a Super Bowl.  They are saying that he knew going into the game last night his decision for the future...I'm hoping he'll be back at it again next year but I don't think its looking good.

~I missed our first marathon training walk for the Mountain Man March coming up in April.  My running buddy said that the 10 miler was okay, so I shouldn't have any problem picking up the next training walk of 12 miles.  The big challenge will be carving out 3 hours to meet up and walk it.

~I've got another true confessions post brewing in my head that doesn't involve bullet points, however this one is far more up beat than last weeks.  I think I've broken through my funk.  At least until I have to step on the scales.

So how was your weekend??

January 22, 2010

I totally Rock!

or not. 

Most of my regular readers know that there are few days that I actually think that.  However today's Monday project is all about how awesome I am.  Well my Monday project is at least.

Rethink Your Shrink, The Monday Project

This past Monday we were challenged to think up 5 reasons we totally rock.

I knew going in this would be the hardest projected to date.  Okay so we've only had 3 assignments given.  I can promise you, in 10 projects from now, I'll still say this is the hardest. 

Sure - I can come up with 5 reasons you totally rock without even blinking.  But me?

I threatened to copy of someone else's homework, so I've got to be original and churn this out early before they think that's what I actually did.

1. I enjoy making people feel good about themselves.

Most of the time it doesn't take much.  Like telling a friend that you totally love the way she put that outfit together.  Sometimes it requires stepping out of the box - like having the courage to tell the lady racing in front of you that she has killer calves.  Seeing the look on her face, having someone compliment a part of her body she's always hated - it was totally worth taking the risk. 

2. I'm rock solid.

Not everwhere mind you, I still have some parts that are too squishy for my liking.  Jay might have been flattering me, but he told me the other night that he couldn't tell where my ribs stopped and my ab muscles began because my abs were so hard.  He was probably trying to flatter me, but he's right.  They are scary hard!

I also couldn't help but noticelast night while I was doing yoga - butt in the air, feet near my head, shoulders on the ground - that my hamstrings are rock hard.

#3 was going to be how awesome I was that I could do this pose.  So when Jay got home I got down on the ground to show him.  He was super impressed.  So much so that he tried it himself.  And he could do it.  So much for my super cool trick.

3. I'm the best wife ever!

Or so I've been told.  He has no previous wife experiences to compare, but I'll take the compliment.  And not tell you that it was right after he noticed I had refilled the Kool-aid container less than 30 minute after he'd emptied it.

Believe it or not, I have doubters.  People who don't believe this to be true.  However a wise woman and a dear friend told me that other people's opinions of me are none of my business.  I love my husband and try to be a good wife and not complain to much when he doesn't put his plate in the sink much less the dish washer.

I think I deserve an extra crown in heaven or something, cause being the wife of a hemophiliac isn't easy.  There is the heart stopping fear hearing him cry "help" from the garage and seeing him round the corner with a bloody finger.  Its waking up in the middle of the night and he's still working on the house - only I imagine him laying in a puddle of his own blood.  Then there is the surprise "oh hey I cut my finger open when my knife closed on it a few hours ago.  I made a makeshift bandaid with a napkin and painters tape, but can you help me fix it up right?"

I tell you its not an easy job.  Then again I don't think anyone would claim that being a woman is...

4.  I set goals and acheive them.

So far there isn't a goal that I've set for myself this past year that I haven't acheived.  Either I'm super awesome or I'm not setting my goals high enough.  Since this is a post about my super awesomeness we'll go with that one.  Run a 5K?  check.  Lose 10 pounds?  check.  Run a half marathon? check. Pay off the 5.5 acres of land? check - and in record time.  Live in a farm house?  check, almost.  Get back to me in a month.

5. I'm a bargain shopper.

My splurge at the grocery store two weeks ago?  A 12 pack of Diet Dr. K - $1.99.  I found a pair of Nike weight lifting gloves for $2.18.  My wedding shoes were $5.  My bridesmaids dresses were $25 each.  My favorite store ever?  The Repeat Boutique consignment store, but I only shop there 2 days a year - the first Saturday of their 70% off Winter sale and the first Saturday of their 70% off summer sale.  I end up spending $2 on brand name tops and $5 on brand name pants.

(PS - That's this weekend and I hope to get some nice new pants to replace the ones that are droopy and need a belt.  I'll do a cool picture blog of my good deals if I find much.)

6. My niece adores me.

Normally when she sees me for the first time in a while, she runs up and jumps into my arms for a big squeezy hug.  She and her family (can you tell that's my sister in the background?) met me at the finish line of my half marathon.  I made sure my sister explained that I'd be tired and she couldn't jump on me.  Thankfully, I still got a hug.

What does her love have to do with me?  Cause she's an incredible little girl.  At 5, she already does chores around the house to earn extra money - just so she has money to give in the collection at church.  On top of her generosity, she's very smart.  She's already two reading levels above where she needs to be when she starts 1st grade next year.

All of that and she thinks her Aunt Boo is the best ever.  Somewhere along the way I had to do something right.  Sure she has a big heart and loves everyone.  But she loves me the best.

Like when we're playing school.  She's the teacher (of course) and she looks out among her students (her parents, my parents, Jay and myself) to decide who her helper is going to be.  It always goes like this:

"And for my helper, I'm going to pick..." [insert long dramatic pause] "Boo!"

Which always gets an eye roll from her mother and a sarcastic "Oh I'm so surprised."

So if a little girl who's that awesome thinks that I'm that awesome, I must be.

Now its your turn.  I don't care if you are a Shrinking Jeans sister or not.  You rock.  I have some pretty incredible readers out there.  As if I didn't already know, tells us why you are flipping amazing!

January 21, 2010

Spence Field/Rocky Top

Monday morning, since we had the day off for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr day, my friend/exercise buddy/coworker decided that we should spend the day hiking.  Not surprisingly, she picked a difficult trail - a guarantee for a high calorie burn.  We would be taking the Bote Mountain Trail to Spence Field and from there, if we had the time, continue on to Rocky Top and Thunderhead

Yes, the Rocky Top that the song was named after.  If you don't know which song I'm taking about your local University has obviously never played the University of Tennessee in any sort of sporting event.  Its the  most annoying song in the world song the band plays after every touch down at Vols games. 

No, I'm  not singing it.  I'll have it in my head all day.  If you wanna know about a moonshine still or a girl that's half bear the other half cat then you'll just have to google it.  Google is your friend.

Thankfully, since my husband cares not for calorie burn, it was also forecasted to be a clear day.  The peak  elevation of 5500 feet promised to be chilly, but assuming you plan for it, the cold is no big deal.  A hike on a cloudy day with obstructed views, however, can be a deal breaker for Jay. 

As we pulled into the Cades Cove parking lot, Jay lamented our time crunch.  "I bet we'd be guarenteed to see some wildlife if we went through the loop now."   We parked, and Jay went by the creek to take pictures while we waited on our hiking companions to arrive. 

Oops - guess he walked away at the wrong moment.  No need to go through the loop for wildlife.  Thankfully, they lingered long enough for him to get a few pictures.  The bathrooms were closed for renovation, so we answered nature's call then started up the trail.

I'm not sure who found the sticks, but they came in handy much later in the trail!

I had decided that the chilly conditions warranted a long sleeve tech tee, a hoodie, and a thick jacket.  About 5 minutes in I was already shedding layers.  Since my super manly "I can carry everything" husband had insisted I didn't need a backpack, I could only tie the unnecessary garmets around my waist. 

The first part of the hike was fairly easy - which I knew meant trouble for the later parts.  The average elevation change per mile was over 500 feet per mile, we'd be compensating for the easy trail towards the end.

About half way up, we hit ice and snow.  That's when the sticks really came in handy.  I felt more secure being able to jab my stick into the snow and having something some what stablizing as I walked over the icy patches.  Some how, Jay stading on the ice with his hand out saying "trust me" just wasn't good enough.  Common now - he had no control over the ice so who's to say he wouldn't have ended flat on his butt on the ice too?

We started seeing tracks in the snow, but weren't sure what they were.  At first we wondered if someone had brought a dog on the trail - something expressly forbidden on the signs.  Then our super sleuths realized that some times the prints had claws, others they didn't.  A retractable claw meant one thing for sure - a cat.

Thankfully, we never happened upon the critter responsible for the print, so we really don't know for sure.

As we got closer to Spence Field, I started struggling.  My muscles weren't sore, I just lacked the energy to move up the side of the mountain as well as the rest of the group.  I'd like to blame a poor diet the day before and a change in my pre-game breakfast.

In an effort to be thrifty (with both money and calories) I had a peanut butter and jelly English muffin instead of my usual Bacon Egg and Cheese biscuit with hashbrowns.  Whether it was the real reason or not, next time I'm going for the biscuit.

Never have I been so glad that Jay is that annoying camera guy.  While he was off taking pictures, I got to rest and scarf down a few snacks.  I'm still a little bummed, though, because I'm fairly certain this was where I lost my Tommy sunglasses. 

Not sure if I've admited it before, but the reason I'm wearing sunglasses in most pictures of me is that I can't keep my eyes open for a picture.  Either the sun or the camera flash or both make me squint like a fool.  On top of Spence Field this was the best I could do.

You totally would have thought it was a candid if I hadn't told you  - right??

The braniacs caculated our average speed hiking up, factored in the time left until dark, and decided we had enough time to head on up to Rocky Top and Thunder head.

This was where we seperated the men from the boys.  Or the equiped hikers and me. 

I really struggled on the climb up to Rocky Top.  Thankfully our friends went head.  After a few minutes of slowly putting one foot in front of the other I stopped and told Jay that I couldn't do it.  I didn't have anything left.

"What's that guy's name - Derek Redmond?  He didn't give up."

"Yeah but he was stupid."  He's the never give up guy on my motivational wall and my husband knew this.  "And he only had 400 yards to go.  This sucks.  I hate this."

"You can do this.  You really can."

My walking choices were the ice covered trail and this:

In my head I was preparing a speech, one that told how I was different from all those people Jillian tells not to quit on Biggest Loser.  I challenge myself.  I push myself.  I overcome obstacles. And if I say its time to quit, it is.

I wanted to kick Jay in the family jewels for being so encouraging (where was this encouragement when I actually wanted it?) but I didn't have the energy to lift my foot up that high. 

So I kept going.  Knowing that I didn't have the energy to proceed.  Knowing that I would slip and fall and hurt myself.  Knowing when I did, I'd be able to say "See - I told you I couldn't do it.  You should have listened to me."

Lucky me - I even have a picture of that moment.

Or not.  So maybe he was right.  I could do it.  I did it

Although I did draw the line, and let them know I couldn't make it on to Thunderhead - another 0.8 miles away. 

We all pulled up a rock and had lunch whilst taking turns yelling "woohooo!"

As in: "Good ole Rocky Top - WoooHoo - Rocky Top Tennessee."

Crap, I said I wasn't going to sing.  Jay was the only UT fan out of the group, and was very proud to have his picture made with his Vol hoodie whilst standing on Rocky Top.

We spent about 40 minutes up there eating, resting, and enjoying the beautiful views, then it was time to head back down the mountain.  I had already told Jay that I wanted a hot bowl of french onion soup in a bread bowl from Atlanta Bread Company, but they convinced me that we should go to the brewery for pizza, wings, and beer.

The Brewery has the best microbrews I've ever tasted (okay not that I've tasted a lot, but the Black Bear Ale is yum!) and the wings are incredible.  I thought about them all the way down.

I stopped at Spence Field to look for my sunglasses, but no such luck.  If you'll notice off in the distance is a body of water - that's Fontana Dam.  I'm not clever enough to know how to figure the mileage between the two areas of the park, but I do know they aren't close.  Its very rare to catch a glimpse of it from one of the trail peaks.

For me at least, the trek down was uneventful.  I was much more comforatable walking down on the ice/snow than I was going up.  Obviously the elevation change was much easier to deal with.  Kelly had anticipated knee problems going down, but beyond a momentary twinge it was smooth sailing.

She had worn her heart rate monitor on the trip and we were eager to see how many calories we had burned.  She and I are close enough to the same weight and fitness level* that her results would be similar for me.

*You couldn't tell it by looking at the pictures could you?  This is why I don't like skinny friends.

Are you ready for the calorie burn for the 6 hours we spent hiking??



I didn't worry about the calories in the pizza and wings for dinner.

Until after I'd already consumed them of course.

January 20, 2010

Empowering THIS woman

Rethink Your Shrink!

This is going to be a combo post - weigh in and race report.

My goals for this challenge:

1. Get down to 124 (lose 4 pounds) lowest weight on record

Last week: 127
This week: 127.6

Suck.  I'm totally bloated because of Aunt Flow, so I'll pin the blame on her whether she deserves it or not.

2. Bicep curl 15 lbs – 3 sets of 8

DONE!  Jay was thrilled that I found my reward (a pair of weight lifting gloves) on sale at the Nike Clearance store for $2!!  Not exactly the style I was going for, but you can't beat the price!

3. Post a PR at my next 5K (33:58 or less, preferably 32)

Leading up to the race I was discouraged.  I was coughing and hacking and wasn't even sure I should run.  My running buddy suggested I take Thursday and Friday off, and let my body rest up.  I certainly couldn't expect to set a new PR at the race, but I could run it - just to prove to myself that I wasn't a quitter.

Friday night Jay went over to the farm house to paint and I headed to the rental to crash.  He begged me to come out there with him and I just didn't feel like it.  "If you can't come out and sit with me while I work, then you don't feel well enough to race."

Not sure where he thought I'd be sitting - the house is completely unfurnished.  Plus he was painting - so it wasn't like I could sit on the floor lean up against the wall!

He got inside my head and I felt guilty as I lay there watching Reba.  So I called my parents and got all whiney.  "You really don't need to run.  You'll give yourself pnemonia.  Keep your @$$ at the house!"

Okay so my mother was the kind, gentle discouraging one.  My dad was the hateful one.  Grumpy is what he does best.  No seriously, he's got a t-shirt with the dwarf on it that says "I'm bringing Grumpy back." 

After whining around, I decided to just go to bed.  At 8:30.  On Friday night.  If that doesn't scream "ill" I'm not sure what does.  Our house is too big for two people, way to big for one person, so I was scared going to sleep in the house by myself.

I turned the lamp on Jay's nightstand on, and I turned on my Jesus music and fell asleep.  I woke up around 1 AM and Jay wasn't home.  So I called his cell phone.  6 times.  It went to voicemail each time.  So then I call my dad "Jayisn'thomeyetandhe'snotansweringhisphoneshouldigooutthereandmakesurehe'snotdead."

Please keep in mind that my husband has hemophilia. Were he ripping up carpet with a box cutter and make one wrong cut...

Right as my dad starts to give me advice, Jay beeps in.  He was outside washing off his paint brush.  I click back to my dad, let him know that Jay is alive and well...for the moment.  No guarentees when he gets home.

My parents almost had me talked out of racing, but somewhere in that 5 hours of sleep I felt better.  Not great, just not coughing and hacking stuff up...very much.  At that point I new I was going to race.  I had a chance for 5 more hours of sleep and I'd be ready to go.

I met my family for breakfast.  Long story about the why, but I love my family and I love biscuits and gravy.  Apparently its the prerace meal of champions!  As we ate, we talked about how we were going to honor MLK Jr.  I told them about the Race Against Racism.  When I mentioned the area the race was being held - the family smart @$$ said "Don't bother locking your doors, they'll steal your radio either way.  Unlocked means you don't have to deal with the broken glass."

Real funny wise guy.

Only it turns out that it really is a bad neighborhood.  The YWCA is just down the road from where a high profile unspeakable crime was committed.  None of this I knew at the time. 

My dad was a different story.  So it was no wonder that when I called him upset because I was lost, he freaked out a little.  Okay a lot.  But I was frustrated and feeling the time crunch.  I had followed signs for the race and they seemed to lead me away from where I thought I should be. 

Before I saw the first sign, I saw a police car at an intersection - presumeably for the race.  So why were the signs pointing me away from the car??  By the time I turned into the Old City (the downtown night life of K-town), I knew I was heading in the wrong direction.  I didn't see another race sign and I really started to freak out.

Somehow my dad managed to calm himself and guide me over the phone to get on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.  Surely the YWCA was hearby.  As I turned onto the street I noticed the church that the race paperwork had recommended for parking.  Then I saw an officer, so I rolled down my window and asked where I should park (the church lot was full).

"Yeah, the race is up this street, but good luck with parking.  I think some people are parking at the school." 

So I went to the school. 

And didn't see any parking.  Did he mean street parking?

It was 10 minutes until race time and I started really freaking out.

My freaking out only served to escalate my dad's freaking out.  "Just get your @$$ to the house!!!"

"NO!  sniffle.  I'm doing this race.  sniffle"

"Quit being so d@mn stubborn."

I didn't have time for this.  "PUT MOTHER ON THE EFFING PHONE!!"

Only my voice was so high pitched and shrill he didn't hear what I said, but just in time my mother took the phone.

Side note: I'm well aware about the commandment of honoring your parents.  I'm also aware of the "so your days may be long" tag line.  At this rate, I've already burned through the nursing home years.  I'll be lucky to make it to retirement.

She called me down, and while I briefly considered giving up and coming home, it seemed a waste.  All that drama for nothing?

So I made a pass around the church again.  This time I pulled in a found a place to park.  Sure it wasn't a parking spot, but it wasn't blocking anyone in either so why not?

As luck God would have it,  it was right near the registration building.

(Please note - all pictures were taken after the race.  I didn't have time to fiddle with the camera prerace.) 

I make a beeline for the registration table.  "Brooke F"

"I'm sorry, I don't have anyone by that name."

"F is commonly misspelled - can you check all around where it should be?"

"Nope nothing."

I start freaking out.  I don't have time for this.  They're gonna start the race without me!!  Then the answer fell from heaven.

"Can you check under the Bs?  People have a hard time believing that F is a last name, so maybe they have Brooke as my last name?"

Sure enough they did.  My hands were shaking with nerves as I hurried to pin my number on and head toward the starting line.  After a lecture about how they weren't liable if we got ran over by a car because of our head phones, we were off.

My first mile I was on record pace - 9:30!  My second mile I started to slow down - I passed the mile marker around the 20 minute mark.  Mile 3 I really slowed down.  My lungs were starting to rebell and I started coughing and hacking.  I tried to fight disappointment.  I knew that the cough would probably keep me from a PR - I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up.

As I looped back around, I noticed the street where I'd chatted with the cop.  The finish line was nearby!

I looked down at my watch - 32 minutes had passed.  If I could just sprint the last 0.1 I could have a new PR!!

Seriously?  Who ends on a hill like that?  So I grunted and tried not to groan as I sprinted toward the finish line.  My official race time?  33:08.  I had a new PR!!!

After coughing up some loogies, I called my parents with the good news. 

I can't put into words what I felt like at that moment.  It was honestly a bigger rush than finishing my half marathon.  I had set a goal for myself, overcome a plethera of obstacles AND I REFUSED TO GIVE UP!!

Now that I've shaved 51 seconds off my PR - I'm greedy for more.  If I could go through all of that and still have a PR of 33 minutes, after two months of training surely I can get myself down to 31 minutes. 

But I do plan on having my dad on standby.  Just in case cussing someone before the race really does help with adreniline.

Side note: the YWCA motto is "Empowering Women, Eliminating racism"  not sure if racism was cured by one run - but this woman sure felt empowered!!

January 19, 2010

Me, bearing all

Today is True Confessions Tuesday over at the Sisterhood.  While this is a confessional post, its not the classic bullet points "oh crap I pigged out on beer, wings, and pizza last night confessional.  (And before you ask, yes I did pig out on wings, I just had two slices of pizza and one beer though, so surely that's not pigging out on them.)

Moving on to the point.

I was very weepy this weekend, and mostly I knew why.  I took on the financal responsiblity of purchasing our first home - in the process using a huge chunk of the money we had saved up for the down payment.  We're knee deep in repairs and remodeling of a home that didn't need much work on it.  (God bless anyone who has the patience for a fixer.)

All of this is on top of my respiratory illness that I'm feeding by not resting fighting off AND its just the week for me to be hormonal and moody.

Okay seriously I'm getting to the point soon.

My confession?

I don't like myself. 

Even when I have a moment of complete awesomeness, I have a hard time stepping back and just enjoying it.

This weekend I beat my personal 5K record.  Coughing and hacking the entire final mile.  Then I returned to the farm house overwhelmed at everything there was to do.  How is one woman supposed to clean 2500 square feet of old house that's not been lived in for a year?

Boo freakin hoo right?  I mean I have this incredible new house and all I can do is whine about it.

And it wasn't by myself.  Jay has already put in many late nights painting, ripping up baseboards, and general manly type things trying to make our home perfect.

Yet all I could do on Saturday is stand in the kitchen with my head up my butt.

Thankfully, my parents arrived and my mom helped me formulate a game plan - after she and my dad took steel wool to plug up all potential rodent entry points.

The next day, I struggled to get Jay to church.  We've finally found a church we both liked, and now he's resisting again.  I don't wanna be the wife who has to go to church by herself.

Then why the beep did you marry a non-Christian??

I whined around enough that he decided just going with me was worth getting me to shut up We compromised, skipped Sunday school, and just went to preaching.

Following an amazing service, Jay and I met my friend/coworker/workout buddy at the house.  Using my mom's game plan of attacking the rooms that don't have to be painted/carpeted/baseboarded*, she and I managed to clean the 3 rooms from ceiling to floor.  I was on window/vent/ceiling fan duty, while she hit the baseboards, walls, and floors. 

Thanks to a great friend, I'm done until Jay's work progresses.

*Most of the house has 12 inch baseboards - yep, that's right.  They are huge and beautiful.  The newer part of the house has only 6 inch baseboards - Jay has ripped up the 6 inchers and is going to custom make 12 inch baseboards for the kitchen, den, master bedroom, master bath, and downstairs bathroom.

So I've just kicked the 5K's rear (and trust me it was more than a race - it was a test of will), and gotten my head above water on the house.  Nothing can hold me back right?


Yesterday (facebook friends can checkout the pics - everyone else has to wait for the blog) I went on a hike with Jay, this same super awesome friend and her hubby.  Only I was the weak link.  I'm not sure if it was a lack of energy due to poor food choices the day before and that morning, or if I'm just not as strong as the rest (I'm trying to pretend that's not it since my friend and I have a very similar exercise routine, although she does hike more.) No matter the reason - I sucked yesterday. 

We hiked to Spence Field and everyone else wanted to continue.  On the way to Rocky Top, I had to stop.  Thankfully they went head and left me and Jay to my mental breakdown.  My poor, wonderful husband tried his best to encourage me.

He'd seen my Wall of Motivation and reminded me of Derek Redman's never give up attitude.  "Well he was just stupid.  I CAN'T do this Jay."  Lots of crying, lots of him telling me I was almost there.  Lots of me telling him to shut the f up.

In the end I just kept going because I was sure that I'd probably fall hurt myself along the way, and wouldn't that make him feel like a jackass for pushing me.  Only I didn't.  Guess we all know who the real jackass is.

The hike back down was great and I was very much looking forward to our dinner at the Brewery.  Jay and I decided to split 2 pounds of wet wings and a large pizza.  After all I'd just burned 2100 calories on the hike, I deserved it right.

After sucking the meat off the bone of 8 wings, I started feeling guilty.  All that hard work and I just blew it on dinner.

Because I deserve it?  I don't deserve a cussed thing.

On the ride home I felt bloated, but I was very much looking forward to a nice hot bath in our jetted tub.  I planned on staying in there at least an hour.  Once I got in, I couldn't help but obess about my bloated tummy and fat legs. 

I finally got out so I wouldn't have to look at myself any more.

So we're back to my confession - I don't like me.

I know how to fix it.  I really do.  Stop focusing on me.  Look to God, focus on Him.  Focus on being a godly wife to a husband that puts up more mood swings than any man should have to.  Focus on being a good daughter and not cussing my dad out.  Focus on being the kind of Christian that shows my niece and nephew what a Godly life is all about, stepping up to the plate and being the godmother I should be.

Only its not that simple.  I'm tired, run down, and emotional.  Letting go should be easy, but for a control freak perfectionist me its not.

So there you have me - my dirty secret exposed.

Hopefully your confessions are much more fun/light hearted.

January 15, 2010

Monday Project Motivational Board

Rethink Your Shrink, The Monday Project

This week's Monday Project at the Sisterhood was supposed to be a fun break from all the weepiness of introspection we had last week.

That was a big FAIL for me.  Only a few minute into my research for the project, I was already in tears.  Cause I'm sappy like that.

At first I thought I'd put a picture of my childhood hero - Miss Elizabeth.  She was a WWF valet, which means she pretty much got paid to be pretty.  Then I thought about other women I'd love to look like...then quickly realized these women don't truly inspire me.  Sure I want to look like them, but then I get discouraged when I don't.

So I headed down a completely different direction.  What inspires me?

Derek Redmond.

Who?   I didn't remember his name either, just his story.  It took a little research but I found an article which you can read if you want the full story.  The short version is that he was injured during the Olympics during a 400 meter race.  Instead of limping off to the side he refused to give up.  Eventually his father made his way out of the stands and helped his son to the finish line.

(click to enlarge the picture)

The cheesy line beside it is a movie quote - but I thought it was a perfect fit.  Funny - the motivation is already working.  I've signed up for a race tomorrow, but because of my respiratory illness I was considering just not going.  Wouldn't that be embarassing?  Posting about the race.  Posting "Never Give Up".  Then coming back Monday and telling yall I didn't even bother to try. 

So I'll be racing.  Probably won't reach a PR like I wanted, but I'm going show up.  I'm going to finish my race.

Okay now moving on to the non-weepy section of my board.  I just happened upon this picture this week and thought it would be a perfect addition.  

In case you can't tell that's a picture of Marilyn Monroe with a couple of decent sized dumbells in her hand.  Who knew?  One of the sexiest women in our nation's history with a set of weights that could crush the 3lb weights Gwyneth Paltrow swears by. 
I also decided to put a couple of people who I love dearly on my board.  I very much want to inspire them.  The first is my niece.  She's the cutest, smartest little girl ever.  Seriously.  She's two reading levels above where she needs to be for 1st grade (she's currently in kindergarten). 


This picture was taken last year during playtime at school.  They got to wear whatever they wanted - and apparently she got creative and wanted to be a member of G.L.O.W. (the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling).  I love that she's so spunky and hope she keeps that attitude throughout life.

Her little brother is 4 years younger than her, but already showing early signs of asthma.  His doctor doesn't want to jump the gun and label him yet, but he fears that the diagnosis is down the pike for the little man.

It felt really good when my sister told my mom that she was hopeful because if I could run a half marathon with my exercise induced asthma, the Little Man could grow up and do whatever he put his mind to.

Is it conceited to say I inspire myself?  I suppose that's not the right wording, I just know where I started.  So I can't help but be amazed at how far I've come.  Okay so my name is the last in the list for my age group in the half.  But I finished and within the window of time that I wanted to finish.

The day after I met Jay, my parents and I hiked to the top of Mt Leconte.  Its the 3rd highest peak in Tennessee.  If you can't read the stats on the picture the top is almost 6600 feet high and the hike up has an elevation change of 502 feet per mile, over the course of 11 miles.  I've since been to the top again, but as they say there is nothing like your first time. 

My faith is important to me.  He has promised to prosper me, and He hasn't let me down.

There is just something incredibly inspiring about knowing that I am loved no matter my faults or failures, and with through the strength of my Savior there is nothing I can't do.

Finally - my goal.  I found a race on March 28th - perfect timing for me to start an 8 week 5k improvement training plan.  The best part about it all?  The race ends in Neyland Stadium, on the 50 yard line.  My mug will be flashed on the Titon Tron as I cross the finish line.  I will break my PR there.  I'm shooting for 32 minutes, but I didn't want to commit that to the board. 

For those of you not from around here - people in East Tennessee live for UT football.  Embarassingly so sometimes.  Neyland Stadium is the Mecca of Tennessee (well besides Graceland, but its on the other side of the state).  It'll be freakin awesome to finish my best ever 5K there.

You'll notice I have a little free space at the bottom, but I wanna be able to add as I find more motivation.

Hopefully you've finished your homework on time - I can't wait to see what everyone else has put together!

January 14, 2010

Random 17 and a Giveaway!

Jen sent me some bloggly love, so I thought I'd play along and let you know 17 things about me.

7 random factoids
  1. In case you aren't friends with me on facebook or twitter - I totally know the "Singing Cop" from American Idol last night.  More in a say hello in the grocery store kinda way than a bff kinda way. 
  2. Ricky Morton was my 2nd ever crush - and he kissed me.  Okay so he was my crush back in the early 80s.  Then I got to meet him/be in the same wrestling ring with him a few years ago.  He kissed me as part of the show.
  3. I just joined twitter this week, and now I'm addicted.  Jay just to work at night after dinner.  Now I sit on the couch, blanket in my lap, laptop on the blanket twittering away. 
  4. If your breathing is already bothering you, running outside in the 40 degree weather isn't the smartest thing you could do.  Even Especially when you have a race to run just a few days from that.  Breath problems lead to coughing, coughing leads to hacking, hacking leads to spiting up half your lung.  Did you know lungs are useful when running?
  5. I wear a size 9 narrow shoe.  Most ladies that wear a 9 don't have skinny feet, shoe shopping is difficult for me.
  6. Jay's grandfather was a POW during WWII.  Visiting Pawpaw always includes at least one war story.  He's also the reason we don't give to the Red Cross.  One of the stories he tells is about how just released as a POW, the Red Cross refused to give him a cup of coffee or food because he couldn't pay them for it.  Not sure if that was a fluke or if that's just how they rolled back then.  Not sure if that's how they roll now or not, but out of respect for him we comply.
  7. Giveaway time!!!  To win, just go through my old book reviews and leave a comment telling me which book you'd like to win if you won.  I'm doing the old fashioned name in the Darth Vader mug drawing - via vlog.  For an additional entry - guess what you think my race time will be.  Previous 5K times have been in the 33:59 - 35:16 range.  The person who guesses closest to actual time will get their name thrown in the mug an extra time.  You have a shot at 3 entries - and everyone can have 2.
Edited to add - the Giveaway closes at 1PM Eastern time Saturday aka the start of my race!!
10 things that make me happy
  1. Snuggles and huggles...
  2.  in front of the fireplace (my current home doesn't have one - but the new one we just purchase does!)
  3. My niece running up to me and jumping into my arms when she hasn't seen me in a while.
  4. My nephew saying "Boo".  (Their name for me.)  Doesn't happen often.  Okay so it only happened once but he's working on it.
  5. Soup in a breadbowl
  6. Sprinting at the end of a race and knowing I gave it my all
  7. My new SPI belt - thanks Christie for the suggestion - I ran with it for the first time yesterday.
  8. the "101 things I love about Brooke Middle Maiden Last" list my darling love gave me for Christmas - even if he only got to 50.  He promises the 51 to follow next Christmas.
  9. Bloggy/FB/Daily mile comments
  10. Settling in for bed and getting out my Bible to spend some time with my God who loves me more than I can imagine (why I don't do it more often is something else entirely...)

January 13, 2010

Rethinking and Shrinking - Week 2

Its weight in day over at the Sisterhood and the 2nd week of the Rethink Your Shrink challenge!

Rethink Your Shrink!

I decided to switch scales this week, and I'm not sure if it had an effect on the results.  For the past few weeks I've been waiting until after my workout, after my shower to weight at the scale at work.  Since I have scrunch 'n go kinda hair, I've been weighting with a wet head.  Apparently I come up with all sorts of excuses for my weight being up.

Since its more convenient (and more first thing in the morning before I've had a drop of food/water), I decide to start weighing in at the gym.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are our weights days, and we prefer to do it first thing in the morning so we don't have to fight smelly boys for the equipment.

I worked out hard this past week.  I only cheated on two meals.  For motivational purposes, I needed to see a loss on the scale this week.

Starting weight: 128
Goal weight: 120*
Last week: 129
This week:127

Now I'm not sure what the difference in the two scales are.  Quite frankly I don't care.  I needed to see that loss this week and I'm glad for it.  127 doesn't feel all that far from my original maintenance weight of 125.  129 felt like I was crashing, burning, and on the road to gaining it all back.

What?  I've never claimed to be sane rational.

My success this past week gives me the motivation to stay on track - and not let a friend's hibachi birthday lunch completely derail me completely. 

Speaking of motivation - I've gotta get to work on my wall.  I've already got a few things but I'm no where near finished.

Also, I'm a little nervous about my race this weekend.  I'd love to be able to finish in 32 minutes, but I'm just not sure that'll happen.  Right now my personal record is 33:58, and it was my first 5K ever.  If I can't manage 32, I at least want a new PR.

*120 is my goal weight over all, not for the challenge.  I don't think it would be realistic for someone my size to lose 8 pounds in 7 weeks.

PS - I packed 5 boxes last night! :)  Granted they were small copy paper boxes, but none the less I've officially started packing!