January 31, 2011

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

While I love my church, I've always felt a little out of place.  All the ladies in my Sunday School class are mommies (with one exception and she's currently expecting) and the majority of them are also teachers.  So often, the topic of conversation is either babies, school, or babies.

When it comes to serving in the church, I've also had trouble finding my slot.  Since I'd be a bit like Barnie Fife singing in the choir and just can't bring myself to volunteer to work the nursery or children's church, I've struggled to find a place to serve.

Enter Financial Peace University. 

Our church is starting classes in February.  I mentioned to Jay that I might attend them.  "You already know everything they are going to say."

When I suggested that maybe I could help with the class, instead of being a participant, he said I was just being conceited thinking I could offer anything of value to the class.  Says the man who just said I know everything re: the class.

I decided to suck it up and talk to the person coordinating the class after church.  "I don't mean this conceited, but I've been through FPU.  I listen to him on the radio daily.  If you need any help, please let me know what I can do."

I was thinking that he might ask me to give my FPU story to the class for inspiration.  Maybe be a mentor to a younger person in the class or something.

Instead, straight out of the gate, he socked it to me. "Well it would be great if you could speak before the church next Sunday about the affect FPU has had on your life."

The whole church? 

All 250 of them?

Not just the 15 or 20 in the class?

*Big Sigh*

Then the conversation with Jay afterward.  "I thought women weren't supposed to speak in church." Well its not really the service but before.  Then again, you could always speak for our family.  "No way.  Why don't you just tell him that you don't wanna do it."  Right, I've finally found a way to do something in the church I'm passionate about.  I offer my services, then say "no" at the first thing I'm asked to do?  I don't think so.

I've got a week to come up with a few minutes of motivational testimony to inspire people.  This is life changing material. 

Please pray that I don't ramble!!!

January 28, 2011

I need your help!

Valentine's is just around the corner and I need a good idea for my man! 

We're leaving for Maui the following week, so I'm hoping for a free/cheap idea.  Just something that lets him know how much I love him and appreciate his hard work for our family.

In the past I've tried homemade coupon books, and those don't work so well.  Unless of course the coupon reads "good for one free load of laundry: washed, dried, folded and put away."  In which case the coupon gets redeemed immediately.

But that coupon for a moonlit trip to Big Rock?  Yeah still in the envelope from 4 Christmases ago.

Also - what's the rule on re-wearing formals?

Every year (this this will be my 6th or 7th year) I volunteer at the Cure Finder's Valentine's Dinner and Dance.  In years past, I've been able to find a good bargain on formal wear.  Its two weekends away and I still have nothing to wear!

I had planned on wearing a LBD I had worn at my previous employer's Christmas party, but who was I kidding!  That was over 6 years and more than 6 pounds ago! 

This weekend I'm going out shopping and hope that I'll find a bargain, but looking for a bargain is usually hit or miss.  Tirah has kindly offered to let me borrow something of hers, but since we're not exactly next door neighbors, I worry about postage costs, and of course fit.

What do you think?  How many years should I wait before re-wearing the collection I have in my closet from the past 6 years?  (Assuming those would fit of course.)  While memories aren't that good and no one probably remembers my outfit from 2 years ago, there is a professional photographer on site who does formal portraits that I keep up in my office.

January 26, 2011

Power of One Challenge

Challenge start: 137
Last week: 138
This week: 136

Woohoo!!  Okay that weight was yesterday.  Before we did our "last supper" at lunch before my preggo friend goes off to have her baby.  Before I spent the night with my parents to take my mom to her follow up appointment today.

But that means it can be done. 

And I didn't really try that hard.  (Anyone from twitter remember the 6 cinnamon rolls for breakfast Saturday morning?)  Just a couple of days of thinking about what I eat before I put it in my mouth.

The My Fitness Pal web site likes to say "if every day were like today you'd weigh X pounds in 5 weeks." Jay thought that was one of your twitter handles and said it was rude of you to say that I'd break the 140 mark if every day were like Saturday.

Thankfully Sunday and Monday were much better.

Tuesday not so much.

But then today we just sorta ate as the mood struck us.  Which for my mom 2 days post surgery, wasn't a lot.  I was cozy with my book and watching movies with her, so I didn't get up much.  A little for lunch and just a little for snack along the way.

Had I tracked yesterday MFP would have probably said "if every day were like today you'd way 400 pounds in 5 weeks."  Today will be more like "you'd way 100 pounds in 5 weeks."  Not trying to compensate, that's just the way things worked. 

Although I am starving waiting on Jay to get home so we can eat dinner.

January 25, 2011

Praise God!

First off I want to let you know that my mother came through surgery well and is already at home.  I appreciate all of you for saying a prayer for a woman you don't know!  (Well I suppose technically you've never met me either, but you know what I mean.)

She gets her pathology report tomorrow, so I would appreciate your continued prayers for her recovery.

One thing I've always had a (semantical) problem with is when people praise God for good news.  I get the idea behind it and I am very appreciative she came through well.  Even recently, someone in my circle lost a parent after a routine surgery didn't go as it ought.  I know that I should be grateful for her situation.

And I truly am.

But even if her situation had went horribly wrong, He is still worthy of my praise.  He is still just and good and kind.  (Easy for me to say sitting on this side of the surgery right?)

Today is week 4 in the Your Secret Name  by Kary Oberbrunner read along, hosted by Marla Taviano.  Mr. Oberbrunner (in quotes) then Marla (she's just Marla cause we're cool like that) ask the following:

 “How could my recent experiences harmonize with God’s preordained plan?” Have you ever felt like this?

I know that God can use any situation in my life to bring him glory.  He's dealing with me (harshly if you ask me, but then again I'm probably just a slow learner) that even my daily life can be used to fulfill his plan.  There are things that I don't want to do to serve my husband much less my "neighbor." 

I've prayed and committed any part of my life, anything that Jesus would need to reveal Himself to the hubs, all the while thinking of all the grand scenarios God could allow.  Never thinking that maybe its today that He wants from me.

My husband is spoiled.  Rotten.  He's an only child to a stay a home mom who loves kids (and would have had more if given the opportunity.)  He's use to being served with a smile.

Now I can see some of you out there.  You're already bristling.  This is 2011 - how dare you be expect to serve your husband.  I'm right there with you, so in many ways I hold out.

Until I see the little things he does to serve me, that I don't even realize (and he doesn't even consider). 

Its not effort that makes him grab my feet for a quick rub as we lay on the couch, but love and habit.  Its not an obligation (to God or me) that he volunteers to go downstairs and make sure the stove is turned off just to ease my mind.  Its love.

Serving people, looking out for them before yourself is what you do when you love someone.

I love my husband.  I claim to love God.  Yet my husband, who's not even sure my God exists, is able to simple do these things for me that I would object to on principle.

So to make a long answer short - I find it very difficult to believe in practice that God can use the every day to fulfill His will.  Which is tantamount to doubting God. 

How embarrassing.

I should be praising God on a daily basis for the opportunity to minister to my husband through the ordinary.  Sometimes I wonder if my husband's life has been too easy, and that's why he isn't a believer.  Both sets of his grandparents were Christians, but he didn't grow up in church.  His life (excluding the whole hemophilia thing) has been easy peasy.  His blood condition caused huge doctor bills and his parents worked hard to pay them.

He's never had to rely on God.  And because of that, he's missed out on the blessing you get when God comes through for you.  That feeling that when everything around you is falling apart - you have Someone...not just someone but the Creator of the Universe...there to hold you up right.

Maybe that's what it means when James says to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from Smart + Strong = Sexy, any purchase you make supports this site.

January 21, 2011

Debt Free Friday

Okay before you get excited and start screaming "I'm deeeeeeeeebt freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" with me, I'm not debt free. 

If you and your family are, please write me a book down there in the comments section with pointers/encouragement as to how you got there.

But it is Debt Free Friday on the Dave Ramsey show.  I love listening to people calling in telling all about how they got out of debt.  It does make me a twinge jealous though. 

I want that.

But right now I'm not acting like it.  I'm going out to restaurants tonight too often. I'm slacking on my couponing.  I'm bumping the temperature up a few extra degrees when I get home from work. (In my defense on this one, I'm turning it up to 62* from 60*)  I need to refocus.

Right now we have 2 debts: our house and a stoopid piece of commercial property that Jay and his parents bought together before we were married and my "NO" vote counted.  I sort of feel like now that we're on baby step 6, my gazelle-ness has worn off. 

Just in case you haven't drank the Dave Ramsey kool-aid here are his baby steps to getting out of debt and building wealth:

1) $1,000 starter emergency fund
2) Debt snow ball (paying off the debts in order of smallest amount to largest)
3) 3-6 months of expenses emergency fund
4) 15% of income towards retirement*
5) Kids college fund
6) Pay off mortgage
7) Build wealth & give

*This one only applies if you have kids

As you can see, we're sorta, kinda, half way on #6.  Due to the amount of the investment property, Dave (as I've heard him relate to other people on the air) would classify it in step 6. 

Dave would also say "I told you so" on going into partnership with anyone (including family).  Even if Jay and I were in a position to pay off our portion of the land, we couldn't do it right now unless his parents were in agreement.  Since its a piece of vacant commercial land, the loan has to be resigned every 3 years. 

Jay and I have decided that we want to work our buns off to have that money in savings in 2013 so that we don't have to resign. When presented in that fashion, the monthly payment will be lowered by the amount paid in, leaving the payment amount exactly his parents portion. 

I guess part of the reason I'm writing this blog is because I want to get back into it.  I want to save and pay down my mortgage and celebrate that every month is one month closer to being done with BOA (and debt) forever!

Our goal is to have the commercial land paid off (or sold) in 3 years, and the house paid off in 5 4 years.  (5 years was last year's goal, but we didn't do much to pay it down.) 

We're certainly not going to do that unless we buckle down.  I can take my personal spending down from $125 to $100 a month.  That might sound high but remember hair cuts, dinner out with the girls, books, clothes all come out of that budget.  We need to get better about food - both eating out and shopping at the grocery store.

Other than those things (and traveling and remodeling) I don't know where else we could cut back.  What are some ways you save a little extra here and there?

January 20, 2011

Chaos in Search of Order

My life isn't going as planned.  In some ways its going better than I could have dreamed and in some ways I'm too worried about how to get it back on track to enjoy where I am.

With a bathroom remodel that's a month over projected time (with no end in sight), a tiny little hiccup like not reading the current chapter for my Thursday's read along group seems insignificant.  Being the perfectionist that I am, it feels like incomplete homework or something.

To read posts by people who actually read chapter 6 of @stickyJesus, head on over to Michelle's blog.  From her post, it looks like this chapter will hit me hard where I struggle a lot - comparing myself to others.  I hope to get caught up tonight, but if not I'll definitely have both chapters 6 and 7 read for next week.

I would like to take a moment though, and ask for prayer.  Not for me, but for my family, friends, and friends of friends.  I often get caught up in the little things that go wrong.  Truth be told I'm very blessed to live such a cushy life.  Jay says I'm bragging when I count my blessings on my blog, and I certainly don't want to do that. 

I just often need a reminder of just how good I've got it.  Looking into the blog-o-sphere quickly shows me.

*If you've seen the #prayingforjoanne hash tag on twitter but weren't sure who Joanne is or why she needs prayer?  Please check out her web site.

Wife and mom Joanne had a major stroke last week and her husband Toben is updating her blog with status updates on her condition. 

*Penny's aunt Betty..."has a very aggressive type of cancer, small cell cancer, I believe it's called. It's in her lung and her liver and her kidneys and her brain. There is no cure. There is a hope for remission, though..."

*Jamee lives daily with chronic illness, yet she doesn't let that get in her way of living life.

Also I'd like to ask for prayer for my mother.  She's having surgery to remove her thyroid on Monday.  Its supposed to be a fairly simple procedure, but I know she's scared.  Fear of complications, how she will fill afterward, and the terrifying "what if this doesn't fix it?"

Please let me know if you have a need you'd like me to remember.  Those of you who left requests pre-marathon, please know I haven't forgotten them.

Dear Lord,

I thank you for the many blessings in my life.  Forgive me for getting so caught up in myself that I fail to see them.  Your grace and mercy knows no end, and for that I am grateful, because I sure need a lot of them both.  I ask you to remember these wonderful ladies.  You know their lives, you know their struggles.  Be with them as they fight these battles.  Be with their families as they look on, grasping for ways to help.

We are weak creatures desperately trying to grasp on to something to keep our lives from spinning out of control.  You promised to be our Rock.  Forgive us when we feebly try to fix things. Give us the strength to turn it all over to You. 

I love you.


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January 19, 2011

Power of One Week #4

How long is this challenge?  Cause I ain't movin much of any where and need to get my act in gear!  I've been out of the losing game for so long I guess I forgot how it works.

Power of One Challenge

Oh yeah, well not this week - maybe next week!?!

Challenge start: 137
Last week: 137.2
This week: 138

What's up with me?  I'm so hungry from all my mileage.  No, that can't be right.  I logged a grand total of 8 miles last week.

I'm so tired from getting my runs in.  Erm...didn't run at all last week.  Haven't since the marathon actually.
I don't know how to "do" moderation.  And doing what I know makes me lose weight terrifies me.

I really don't know what to do with that.  I mean obsession and moderation are my only 2 weight loss choices, and I don't see either as a viable working plan for me. 

I considered "doing" South Beach.  It was even recommended by my Dad's doctor (we are both hypogluacemic)  but Intuitive Eating principals are still in my head.  Carbs aren't bad.  No food is.  I'm not even bad for enjoying a Pizza Hut double punch Monday buffet + Pepsi with friends.  Probably not the smartest choice for my body, but it doesn't make me a bad person.
Really, so what if I'm chubby?  I'm back to my former size 2 top, size 8 pants circus freak proportions.  Is that such a horrible thing??

Jay and I watched The Devil Wears Prada the other night.  Later I commented to friends that the movie was meh:

was insulted by the "size 6 is the new 14", but even more insulted that they wanted us to believe that ann hathaway was a size 6.

I was surprised and taken aback for a moment when I got the following response:

Or that size 6 and below is a good thing to shoot for. Feh.

It got me thinking, what did a size 4 get me?  Did I get the mortgage on my house paid off?  Did it take me to Europe and to Australia?  Did it bring my husband closer to the Lord?

None of those things happened.  Those things on my bucket list that I supposedly want more than anything occured.

So what was the point?

I'm not saying I'm giving up.  Or that I'm meant to be this size.  I just don't know where all of this leaves me.

I said once that even if I gained all my weight back, the journey was worth it because I found my love of running and how great I felt when I exercised.  Well that's me right now.

I'm going to be participating in a challenge issued by April.   A mile a day for 100 days.  Some days (like today in spin class) that will be easy peasy.  Other days (like on the weekends) I'm sure I'll really struggle.  But it'll be good for me.

In other news:
If you get a second Take a moment to head over to RR Mama's play ground.  She's looking for a bit of accountability and I have just the friends to help her! (Also, she thinks I'm cool.  So I'm kinda partial to her.)

January 18, 2011

Your Secret Name - Read Along Week 3

Before you go off in search of weeks 1 and 2 on my blog, save your time.  I have been a bit of a slacker and while I have been reading along to the book Marla selected, I haven't made time to post.

Forgive me for diving in mid-stream.

I think because I come from such a “functional” family and have had so few real “problems” in my life that I can sometimes pretend that life isn’t messy, that there aren’t people suffering very deeply from all kinds of physical and emotional wounds.
Marla made this observation on chapter 5 of Your Secret Name by

January 14, 2011


The stress excitement of the holidays have worn off, along with marathon training.  Its time to settle in and take a look at my goals for 2011.

Each year, I want to be able to mark something off my bucket list.  Let's take a look to see what I've got on there.


Run a marathon 01/09/11
Complete a triathlon 09/29/10
Find that happy weight both my body & mind like
Hike the Appalachian Trail

Okay good.  Got two things done.  The AT ain't happening while I'm working full time, so that's not an option for this year. 
Which only leaves finding my happy weight.  I hesitate to put a time limit on that because its not easy to measure.  But surely a year should be plenty of time right? DUE DATE: 12/31/2011. 
The How: Toy with different strategies - see if I can handle intuative eating when I'm not training for a marathon or else calorie count one day a week (ish)  to see if I'm on track.  I'd like to not return to full time calorie counting, but we'll see how the other two options go.

Jay has challenged me to compete in the Mountain Man Memorial March against him.  You'll remember from last year that's its quite the challenging course.  Its more of a hike than a run.   Jay's convinced that he can run a good portion of it and beat me.  I'm convinced that a marathon distance (walking or running) is the only distance that he can't beat me at.  My goal is to whoop my husband's hiney.  DUE DATE: 04/16/2011.

The How: Maintain my current fitness level and add in some weekend hikes.  My experience, training and over all fitness level should give me the edge over my sit-on-the-couch-and-eat-chex-mix hubby. 
I'd like to add to that a 5K PR for the year.  I'd like to run a sub-30 minute 5K.  I'm going to rest up from the marathon and give myself a bit of time off.  My 5K training will start up in March and hopefully I'll be able to achieve those two goals at the SMARM 5K in May.  That was my first race ever 2 years ago and I'd like it to also be my fastest.  DUE DATE: 05/07/2011

The How: This training plan should help, although a PR is almost guaranteed since I was broken for most of my races last year.  My Moonshine Run 3.2 mile race time means that sub 30 minutes isn't out of the question, but since that was the flattest East Tennessee course I've ever raced on it will still take some work. 

Paying off the house
Developing a Million dollar + net worth
Help my niece and nephew with college

None of those are going to happen this year, but in order to get there we need to set sub goals.  We're currently paying extra on the house each month, but I'd also like to be able to pay a bigger chunk of twice this year.  DUE DATE: 04/16/2011 (after we've filed and paid our taxes) AND 12/31/2011.

I'd also like to contribute to our Roth IRAs for both 2010 DUE DATE 04/15/2011 AND for 2011 DUE DATE 12/31/2011.

Once we get the remodeling done, taxes paid, and Maui enjoyed, we really need to take a look at our money/budget and buckle down to get these things done.  Right now I feel like I'm spending with reckless abandon.  That's not truly the case, but those 3 items (the first two more so than the vacation) will take up quite a bit of money.  We can't really make a game plan going forward until we know exactly what we're looking at in those areas

The How: Keep doing what we're doing. Living on dramatically less than we make, Jay working his buns off, and me continue to be a savvy shopper/meal planner.  This also includes doing a budget plan at the first of each month, and then following up at the end of the month and reviewing our "actual spent" totals.  When possible I'll update the spreadsheet to reflect the spending for the previous week every Friday.


Read the entire Bible
The How: Finish this plan, that I started in 2009.  I know, I know.  Why is it so much easier to keep my physical and financial goals than my spiritual ones?  At the rate I'm going, I'm on track to finish up in a couple of months.


Read 52 books in a year.
Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with my darling husband 

The How (books): I'm already behind for the year, but I need to be very purposeful in my reading.  Putting down the computer and committing to a chapter or two a night would help tremendously.  I read quickly, its just carving the time for it.  (I read 46 last year.)

The How (50th): A lot of variables are out of my control on this one, but I can study/read up on how to be a good wife.  I'm currently in the middle of Marla's book, and hope to find some more good marriage reading this year.  Also, a Love Dare revisit might be in order.

In order to accomplish 50 years of marriage, I need to keep us both alive that long, which would include purchasing only good healthy foods as well as encouraging him to stay active.



None of the above are going to happen this year.  Partly because we're going to Maui next month!!!  Hopefully we can hit Alaska in the next year or two. 
The How: I booked the tickets yesterday!!

Am I leaving anything out?  I feel like I should be making more physical goals, but the ones I've got are big hairy deals so I'm not sure I could handle much more.

What are your plans for 2011??Baring something delightfully unforeseen, we won't be making it to any of those places this year.  We are, however, traveling to Maui next month thanks to a buddy of Jay's who lives there.  We'll be mooching off staying with him while we're there. 

January 13, 2011

Reaching out

When I started this blog over 2 years ago, I felt a bit like blogging was a popularity contest.  Some bloggers I read had triple digit followers and got oodles of comments every day.  I wanted that.

So I joined memes.  I would open every link in Mr. Linky and comment on every blog I ever visited. After all how else was I going to get people to visit my blog?

While that works, its all superficial.  Someone might return a comment, but they won't make your site a daily read unless you have that all important, critical blog component.


Before you think I'm trying to teach anyone how to run a blog, when quite obviously I'm no expert, I'm talking about the focal point of @StickyJesus chapter 5.  In the blogosphere content is what its all about. 

What are you putting out there for the world to see?

I strive to be transparent.  Some days I feel like I could conquer the world.  Some days I pour my heart out hoping that I won't be misunderstood.  Cause let's face it - sometimes life sucks.

As I've grown as a person, I think (hope?) I've grown as a writer and as a blogger.  Along the way blogging and commenting on blogs has become about more than popularity.  Over the past 2 years I've developed relationships with some amazing people.

I hope words I've typed have helped them through bad times and encouraged them through good. 
I do worry, however, about my blog content.  Do I talk about training too much?  My husband says I talk about running too much in real life, so maybe it spills over onto my blog. 

So as my dear, loyal, and 100 strong readers (woot - while its not all about popularity I do love now having 100 followers!) please tell me what you think.  What would you like to see more of?  Less of?

What questions are burning in your soul that you just have to know about me?

Okay so doubtful there is anything that serious, but hit me with some questions. 

And before you ask - yes, I really do think chest hair is sexy.

January 12, 2011

Power of One Check in

Power of One Challenge

Challenge start: 137
Last week: 136.2
This week: 137.8

Oops, forgot to take my Walt Disney World Marathon medal off!

This week: 137.2.

I gained a pound this week.  Boo freakin hoo.  I also ran 26.2 miles on Sunday.  Add to that my eating was thrown off by the travel to and from Florida.  And the ramen noodles I made last night when I was too lazy to cook a real dinner.  I'm not at all concerned about the gain. 

Now that I'm done with the training causing me to burn a million calories a week (and making me hungry enough to consume 2 million calories a week) I'm going to just try to make sensible choices and see where that takes me.

Check out my race report.  I split it up in 3 sections, but they all connect back into one another.  Thanks again for all your support leading up to and after the race!!  A special thanks to Audrey for waving those pom-pons for us at the finish line! and to Bari for chatting with me through the half way point.

Walt Disney World Marathon - Race Report Part 3

Click on the links for parts one and two.  Please and thank you.

In part 2, I forgot to mention the helpful dude at the water station.  My water bottle holds enough for bout 13-15 miles, depending on how thirsty I get.  I mix my own Gatorade, and knew that what they passed out at the aid stations would be too strong for me.  Instead I packed a zip lock baggy full of just the right amount of powered, and would refill the bottle when the time came.

I stopped just to the side of the water station, and crouched down.  A volunteer offered me a cup of PowerAde that I declined.  I explained I was refilling my bottle and would need water to mix with the powdered.  I just wanted to stop before getting to the water so I didn't hold anyone up.  Before I could get my baggy out and the end bit off (to make a funnel w/the corner), he had grabbed a bottle of water and came to where I was crouched.  He even held the bottle for me while I pushed in the rest of the powder.

I can't say enough how helpful and kind the Disney staff as well as the volunteers were.  They went above and beyond to make the race experience as good as possible.

Okay where were we?  Mile 22 ish?  After talking to my sister one last time, I told her to let my brother-in-law know I'd seen Caballo Blanco (Born to Run anyone?) and told her I should be good to the end.  The race had previously been through the sewer plant Animal Kingdom, and would take us through Hollywood Studios before finishing at Epcot.

I can't recall which came first, the chocolate or Hollywood studios, but remembering my energy when I passed the "American Idol" camera I can only guess that the chocolate came first.  I was going to pass up the chocolate, but then I saw they had Mr. Goodbar.  I can't pass a Mr. Goodbar up.

They had a camera set up in their American Idol section asking us to wave/yell for the camera.  Apparently my "woot" was a little too enthusiastic, because as I passed the guy said "that girl needs to run another marathon."

I had a hard time getting in my zone throughout the race.  I was surrounded by people yet I was still alone.  I didn't see Jay at any of the spectator spots, and I couldn't jam to my music because their speakers were turned up so loud.  I was thankful that the final miles were filled with cheering people, even if they weren't there specifically for me.

In the last 2 miles, I noticed Sleeping Beauty - my nieces favorite princess.  Even though I was ready to have the race done, I knew I had to stop for a few moments for a photo.  Thankfully she didn't have a line and I didn't lose any momentum. 

I almost cried when I saw the legless spectator along the side of the course.  I wondered what he was thinking.  I remembered what Mel had told me about how fortunate these legs of mine would allow me to run.  I tried to decide if he consider his own misfortune, if he wondered why we were destroying our legs, if he was glad we appreciated our legs.

Probably none of the above, but hey it was near the end of the race and I was emotional.  I tend to over think things any way.

I saw the 25 mile marker, and picked up my pace a bit.  I saw the 26 mile marker and picked it up a bit more.  I saw the finish line and tried to pick it up but there was nothing left.  As I crossed the finish line I raised my hands in victory.

I was a marathoner.

I am a marathoner.

I am now in the 1/10 of 1% of the population that can claim that title.

January 11, 2011

Walt Disney World Marathon - Race Report Part 2

For the first part of the race click here.  Although I got a little ahead of my self.  Let me jump back a couple miles before my mother called.

As I said, I felt the call of nature while sitting in the coral, but when I got my first porta-potty opportunity it was evident that I wasn't the only one.  At about the mile and a half mark, there were a dozen or so toilets, but there was also a line.  Figuring that I'd held it that long, I could wait a while longer. 

My patience paid off, as we ran through Epcot (mile 3ish) and there were some real, non-portable toilets open for runners to use.  I even got to wash my hands in a real sink!

Okay so around mile 5 or 6 my parents called to check in.   Along the way we had marching bands encouraging us, as well as Disney workers (through Epcot) cheering us on.  Personally I'd be pissed if some stupid runner made me have to go into work at 4AM, but they were very good spirited about it.

Bari, called me near the Magic Kingdom section and chatted with me for a bit.   My legs were still cold, even though I'd been racing for 2 hours or so, but to that point it was my only complaint.  As I approached Cinderella's castle, I asked her to call me back in 30 minutes.  I stopped (because I don't know the settings on my camera well enough to get a good "in motion" shot) and took a picture of the castle.

I was disappointed that my favorite princess wasn't around her home, but I was glad that race photographers and Disney staff were there to take pictures of racers in front of the castle.  I got in the short-ish line and posed a couple times.

While in the Magic Kingdom I also had my picture taken with the Little Man's favorite character, Buzz Lightyear.  LM says "to infity an yond."

The highway sections of the race weren't nearly as interesting.  In fact, the hardest part of the race for me was between miles 17-20.  My sister had called me a couple times after the Magic Kingdom and I confessed to her that I was starting to get discouraged.  My pace was off what I was hoping for. 

She, BIL, the Princess, and the LM all spoke to me on the phone to help me along the way.  The Princess was disinterested in the run, but the Disney talk had her wanting to play Princess so she dressed her baby brother up in feather trimmed shoes and a lipstick.

Around mile 19, I saw a couple in front of me hold hands.  "Aww, how sweet.  They are doing the race together."  The closer I got it, I noticed that the woman had on wings and a pink tutu.  It was Christie O and hubby.  I snapped a picture of them (hopefully it turned out well) and continued on.

They caught up with me around mile 20 and we crossed over the check point within a few seconds of one another.  :Leading up to the race miles 20.1 through 26.2 had me worried.  Instead of being scared as I tackled them, they made me confident.  With each step, I knew I was traveling further and further still than I ever had before.

Right before the 21 mile marker, Viva Las Vegas came on my IPod.  I had chosen that song because its one of our favorites to compete on the Wii "Just Dance 2" game.  It made me smile thinking about how much fun we had playing that game (and me winning consistently) over Christmas.  It pepped me up and I had to break out the finger guns.  (Those of you who've played will understand why.)

Earlier in the day, I overheard someone say "oh...she's on the phone" as if they thought I was crazy and talking to myself.  Those crazy confirmations were really confirmed when i was shooting my pistols instead of hitting reported wall.

Also around miles 21-22?  My ass started hurting.  More specifically my tail bone.  I debated in my head the merits of stopping, sitting down, and cracking my back, or just continuing on.  The fear, of course, was that after sitting I wouldn't be able to stand.  I chose to risk it, not thinking I could bear the discomfort for the rest of the race.

(Click here to continue to part 3)

Walt Disney World Marathon - Race Report

The whole Disney experience was great: meeting for the first time IRL some awesome chicas, experiencing the "magic of Disney", and getting away from the cold weather/snow storm back home for a weekend.

But those are all things to talk about in a different blog.

The race.

I was very glad to have those awesome chicas (and chicos) around me race morning.  Christie O. had heard the day before about people missing the buses to the race because they stopped running at the 4AM cut off time (not that they arrived late, they just stopped running at 4 despite the line).

Kirsten decided to set the alarm for 2:30 to try and catch the bus around 3ish.  We'd packed our bags to check the night before and laid out or race gear.  The only morning of prep work that remained was popping an English Muffin in the toaster and getting dressed.

As we were walking to the main building, I noticed a couple ladies carrying their refillable Disney mugs back to their rooms.   Which (thankfully) triggered in my mind that I'd forgotten my hand held water bottle.  It was the only thing not with the rest of my stuff (I'd left it filled and in the cooler overnight).

A bit flustered, I headed back to our building and got on the elevator with a fellow racer.  I got off when the doors opened and went to room --08.  Banging on the door (we'd left all our keys with Jay) I waited to be  let in.  Then I noticed there was a "privacy please" sign on the door.

Only I was the last person out.

And I hadn't put the sign on the door.

Looking over I noticed I was at 4608 instead of 4508. 

I had just banged on the wrong door.

Before anyone came to the door I took off in a run.  Thankfully I made it around the corner before seeing if they answered the knock.  I felt bad, until later when Kirsten informed me of their loud activities had been obnoxious the night before.  Guess I was tired because while Tim and Jay confirmed that they were really loud.  I hadn't heard anything.

Loading the bus was thankfully drama free.  We were off to the starting gates.  Here was where I was thankful to have my Shrinking Jeans hookers around me (plus Christie O's friend Nicole and Mr. Christie O. and Mr. Kirsten.)  We arrived early, but it just took a few potty breaks to eat up that time and we were off to the corals.

Seemed that there was a porta-potty on every turn.  Except in the coral.  So guess where the urge hit me?  While I'm not above peeing in a bush, there are just some things a girl needs a proper bathroom for.

Also?  It was a COLD morning.  Maybe not by Tennessee in January standards, but by I'm-in-Florida-dressed-in-shorts-and-a-thin-long-sleeved-shirt standards.  When I went to sit down in the coral (I was going to be there waiting for our start for an hour), my legs were so cold and stiff my skin hurt.

I had dressed in a tank, with a thin zip pullover, and a pair of shorts for the promised 70 degree weather.  I was under dressed for sitting around in the cool morning air.  Once the first runners started, the excitement really started.  In less than 30 minutes I'd take my official first steps of the journey I'd been anticipating for the past year.

I was glad to have Christie O. and her Mr. in my coral, it really helped with the wait.  I knew that once we crossed the start line we'd be running our own race.  I was use to running alone.  I'd never practiced sitting in a coral for an hour by myself.

By the time my first scheduled incoming phone call came in, the sun was up, but I was still freezing.  My mom and dad called with their words of support and encouragement before they headed to church.  As I ran through one of the mile markers, my mom asked what all that racket was. 

That racket, was the sound system that the race officials had set up to play music at intervals along the way.  Later in the race, that racket would mess up my race mojo.

(Click Here to continue to part 2)

(I don't want to bore you to tears.  We'll be in the park soon I promise.)

January 06, 2011

Mileage sign-up time!

The countdown to Disney is growing even closer!  This time tomorrow I'll be on my way to meet the Shrinking Jeans Hookers.  Tomorrow night I'll be giving them their first round of hugs.

I'm starting to get nervous.  I'm starting to get emotional.  (How could I not with people like Barb blogging for us)?

One thing I've learned battling back from anemia is that its not about me.


(I had to yell because sometimes I forget.)

I love you ladies.  I love the encouragement you give me.  I love that you love me even though I probably should be smacked around a bit.  I love that you know just when that swift kick in the pants is needed.

So during this marathon - I want it to be about you.  Pick your mile.  I write down names on a postcard or something and store it in my bra.  I'll figure something out.  But pick it and let me pray for you during that mile.

If you have a specific prayer request that you don't want to put out there for the world, claim your mile in the comments then email me at stingysingleton (at) gmail (dot) com.

Or maybe you don't have a specific request.  You don't even have to believe in my God.  You can still claim a mile.   You might not get a full 12 minutes of prayer out of me.  I'll probably spend some of my time out there chasing down characters, digging for gels, and what not.  But I promise that you'll get at least part of it.

And before anyone claims it, I am going to be selfish and say that from mile 26.0 to 26.2 I'm probably just going to be focusing on me.  Forgive me m'kay?

Thank you for encouraging me along the way.  I appreciate each and every one of you!

Edited: This is open to anyone - not just the Sisterhood hookers!

Already claimed:

1- Lisa
2 - Penny
3 - Stella
4 - RR Mama
5 - Barb
6 - Tirah
7 - Butch
8 - Kim
9 - Lora
10 - Mari
12 - Tiffany
13 - Joanna
14 - Bari
21 - Amy
22 - Pubsgal
23 - Jaime
25 - Becca

January 05, 2011

Disney Marathon: T-minus 4 days and counting

Good morning all!  Hard to believe that today will be my last run before the big day.  Getting a little excited, a little nervous, but mostly I'm ready to do this thing! 

Power of One Challenge

This weeks goal, as far as the scale is concerned, is for that number to not go up.  I've read about the dangers of weight gain during a taper.  Since I've been gaining wait while running full mileage, I was a scared about what would happen when the mileage started to decrease.

How did I fare?  Let's take a look shall we?

Last week: 137
This week: 136.2

Nothing to turn cartwheels over, but I'm definitely pleased.  This week I'm not focusing on weight loss, but rather properly fueling for the race.  Each dinner that I've planned has included at least one good form of carbs.  Monday night was mashed potatoes, last night spaghetti, and tonight we're going to be having stir-fry and rice.

Yes, the stir-fry was strategically placed.  I didn't want the sodium to make me retain fluids and help me record a gain for the week.  But I also want that sodium gone before race day!

I haven't done so well on cutting out soda consumption, but I'm still working.  I was soda free for 2 days, then the New Years hit.  I was soda free for 2 more days, but then the stress of my bathroom remodel caused a meltdown and I decide to have a coke at lunch.  What that does mean, is that I have only had soda 3/7 days this past week.  That's pretty good progress for the girl who was drinking one a day.

I'm also learning that the more critical I am of myself, the more poor the choices I make.  Those days I caved in and had a coke are done and over - nothing can be gained by dwelling on them.  I can however gain encouragement and momentum by congratulating myself on 4 days this week soda free.

Another example?  I saw a slight loss this week.  I also forgot my lunch today.  That small (but significant) loss will probably mean the difference between me running out and grabbing fast food, and settling for the can of chicken noodle soup in my food drawer at work.

What are the little things you've done this week to help encourage you?

(Sorry still no "before" pictures.  I keep forgetting until I'm snuggled in on the couch.  And with inside the house temps of 60 degrees, its hard to find a good reason to come out from under my blankie.)

January 04, 2011

Dear 2010 Self. Love, Your 2011 Self

The Monthly project is going weekly!  For this month at least.  This week's challenge?  Dust off that old January 2010 Monday/Monthly Project - the one where we wrote a letter to ourselves, and review it. 

Half way through the year last year, I reviewed mine.  So I know I didn't quite reach it.  But let's take a look shall we?

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

Who comes up with this crap?  I mean seriously some of us are trying to work here - these tears just aren't professional!!

Beyond training for Disney, I didn't do a single thing on my list. 

I didn't set a new PR at Covenant, but I was (mostly) okay with that.  I loved being able to race with Jay and my parents.  Of course Jay beat me, but I was proud of him for really pushing himself.  And incredible proud of my parents for their efforts.  My mom even went on to walk another race (On Cosby Moonshine Run - 3.2 miles) later in the year.

My 2011 self didn't even bother to mention the Mountain Man March where, with some friends, I walked 26.2 miles.  Maybe she figured if she said something I'd get scared and not commit.

I ran in the SMARM 5k, but I wasn't able to run the whole thing.  I got short of breath (even light headed - due to lack of oxygen I can only assume) and had to walk portions.  It was my worst 5K time ever.

Until the next week when I ran another 5K and set yet another PW for myself.

Thankfully May was also the month that my anemia was discovered.  Looking back at how bad I felt at the SMARM race, I'm quite fortunate that I listened to my body and I didn't push myself too far. 

I would have been nice if 2011 me would have warned me that the Memorial Day Triathlon would never happen for me, and I could have save my entry fee.  Thankfully the Anchor Splash Triathlon was perfect timing to be my first race back after getting myself healthy.

As far as shaving 15 minutes off my half marathon time?  2011 Brooke was wrong again.  I cut 18 minutes off my time!!!  During my anemia stuff one of the nurses told me that my race times would be incredible once I got built up again.  After all your blood carries oxygen to your body, and that oxygen directly effects performance. 

Then there was Disney training.  She...wait...2011 me is me now.  Duh!  Anyhoo, I was totally right about the Disney training.  Part of me says I've got it in the bag.  After all I walked a marathon despite being anemic and not realizing it.  I didn't let illness get me down and I fought my way back to being healthy and hitting all the goals I set for myself at the end of the year.

But there is still that part of me that worries...

January 03, 2011

Living so I can GIVE like no one else

The month of December is all about giving.

What you didn't get that memo?  Believe it or not, I got it the day after Thanksgiving.  We arrived at Target at 4AM in the pouring rain.  Our brains were so sleep deprived we didn't bother to bring an umbrella, so the ladies in front of us shared.

I've never met that woman in my life - yet she and her family each let us under their umbrellas.  (There were 4 of us: me, Jay, Mama, and Daddy.)  When they were allowed in the store, they offered to let us have their umbrellas.

4 o'clock in the morning is a very ugly time, yet this people were beautiful to us.

I decided to take on the Sisterhood Monthly Project challenge full blast.  Jay and I have been financially bless and I wanted to bless others with it.  For the first part of the month, check out this post explaining how I gave the first 3 weeks.

The last two weeks of December I got a little creative.  My mother and I went to Cracker Barrel for lunch (lunching somewhere is our standard Friday date).  The CB, as my Papaw calls it, allows anyone to order off the kids menu.  I was able to get my meal and drink for only $4.05.

A 20% tip would have been $0.80. 

Let me just say I've never been a fan of the % tip guide.  Just because I order expensive food doesn't mean the server works harder.  Nor does my ordering frugal mean that the server earns less.

Since our state tax rate is 9.5%, a quick trick to figuring out a proper tip amount is to just double the tax. 

Instead, I doubled the cost of my meal.  Sure it was only $4, but I'd say its a rare day that a server gets a 100% tip.  Hopefully it helped make her Christmas just a little brighter, if just for the thought.

The for the big finish...all month long we've been hearing about Lissa's son Bridger and his campaign for a Charity Water well.  You and I talk all the time about "getting our water in" and how difficult it is to remember to walk to the kitchen to fill up. 

Imagine if clean drinking water meant walking miles to the nearest well?

I committed to donating the remainder of my personal spending money to his cause.  Thankfully he reached his goal just after Christmas, but I was proud to do my month-end budget report and see that I had a bit extra to help him exceed his original $5,000 goal.

On one hand it was a selfish thing - I needed motivation to not spend all that spending money on fast food.  What better way to encourage my way out of my bad habits then to pledge to a good cause?

There is still time - he's got 9 days left on his challenge.  If you haven't donated yet, consider giving.  Its fun stuff!

How'd you do this Christmas?  Did you open your wallet for a stranger?  Did you purge your closet for someone in need?  Financially or otherwise I hope you found a way this Christmas to give back.