November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving!

November 13, 2011

Big Hit Half Marathon

They say it takes 2 weeks to recover from running a Half Marathon...apparently that's also how long it takes for me to blog about a running a half marathon...

Back in August I had a brilliant idea to register for a Half Marathon on October 30th. It was the perfect plan…I’d be training with the Cross Country team so I’d be more than ready to run. Plus, it started & finished at Slugger Field and ran past all of the sports arenas/facilities in Louisville. Another cool reason to sign up – the age group awards were full size Louisville Slugger bats. I remember saying, “How cool would it be to win a bat?!”

So my Monday long runs turned into my Monday really long runs. I convinced my dad to ride his bike and be my traveling water station along the various 8-11 mile routes I ran around town. I invested in some gel packs and practiced choking them down without losing a second of time (not an easy feat for someone as clumsy as me!)
Side note: I recommend Hammer Gel, Montana Huckleberry. It’s actually quite good! I recommend staying far, far away from anything chocolate or vanilla flavored…yuk.
Then October rolled around and I started getting really excited…and a little nervous. My two main concerns – at what miles should I take my gel & what in the world was I going to wear??? In case anyone’s wondering – yes. It is possible to have hour long conversations…multiple times…about gel and running apparel (capris vs shorts vs tights – tanks vs sleeves & then what length of sleeves?? Gloves vs no gloves……Too. Many. Options.). Not to worry – I figured it all out and remembered to pack my bag the night before the race!

I have THE BEST running group. We met bright and early (except it wasn’t bright…just really early), piled into Chuck’s van, and headed over to the race. A  mile warm up, lots of stretching, a few last minute apparel decisions, some frantic chip & gel pinning, and we were ready to go!


I love the start of the race. So much adrenaline and chaos as everybody lines up and waits for the gun. The first 7 miles were great! I managed to successfully take my gel without stabbing myself with the safety pin or losing any time stumbling around. I even found my parents in the crowd (mom with her camera…trying to time the shots perfectly haha).

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Then came the hill…no fun. Around 7 I could feel my calf getting tight and around mile 8, I was ready to amputate my leg. NBD. I slowed down a little and kept coasting through. No way was I not finishing…plus, I really wanted that bat! Luckily for me (him, maybe not so much haha), Chuck was waiting at mile 11 to run in the last 2 with me. He had to put up with me yelling for an entire 16 minutes (in my defense I forgot I had headphones in & thought I was talking at a perfectly normal noise level :) ). Thanks, Chuck!


The finish was the best part….cruising into Slugger Field at center field, rounding third base, and heading for home. I finished strong and in a pretty great time. Not my PR, but there’s always next race! I said it earlier, but I have to say it again, I have THE BEST running group. I love having welcoming committee at the Finish Line…especially my mom with her camera…"SMILE!” “Mom, I can barely stand up.” “Smile anyway!”


Check out these awesome results ==>

Big Hit ¼ Marathon (that’s 6.55 miles, folks):
Murphy – 38:25 – FIRST PLACE OVERALL. Come and get your bat!
Chuck – 40:18 – 2nd Place overall & 1st in age group. Come and get your bat!
Casey – 51:18 – 4th Place overall & 1st in age group. Come and get your bat!

Big Hit ½ Marathon:
Tim – 1:23:36 – 14th overall & 2nd in age group. Come and get your bat!
Kari – 1:33:39 – 3rd overall & 1st in age group. Come and get your bat!
Kim – 1:44:39 – 20th overall & 3rd in age group. Come and get your bat!

6 runners & 6 Louisville Slugger Bats. I think that now you’ll have to agree with me…I have THE BEST running group ever. 

November 11, 2011

Guess who’s home?

That’s right…KEVIN!

We were so excited to meet him at the airport last Friday…He left home in May and our visit in July was a REALLY long time ago! We made signs, arrived at the airport WAY to early, and waited (somewhat impatiently) for his flight to finally land in Louisville. It was a scene made for the movies :)

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These 10 days are flying by so fast…I wish he could stay longer! We spent all weekend catching up and hanging out. On Wednesday, we celebrated Kevin’s 20th birthday. Today, we celebrate Veterans Day. When I think about all those who have served, are serving, and will serve to protect this great country, I get to include my brother in that group. I’m so proud of him!

My Grandpa was in the Air Force for 23 years. He was retired by the time I was born and passed away when I was in Middle School, so I didn’t really know much about his Air Force career. About a month ago, my Grandma sent us a box full of old photos and newspaper clippings (and some really entertaining letters my mom wrote when she was a little girl haha). These two clippings nearly took my breath away…

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My Grandpa enlisted in the Air Force and completed boot camp at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, TX. He then went on to complete his technical training. His first duty station was Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City Beach, FL.

Nearly 50 years later, my brother enlisted in the Air Force and completed boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. He then went on to complete his technical training this month. On Monday morning, he will report to his first duty station, Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City Beach, FL.

How. Weird. Is. That? When Kevin was picking out where he wanted to go, we had no idea that my Grandpa had been stationed there. Gives me goosebumps….

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November 7, 2011

When the going gets tough...

I like to look at the world through my own personal shade of rose colored glasses…not in the “I’m totally oblivious to the world around me and live in a fairytale word” kind of way…I’m not oblivious to the world around me. I know that life isn’t always perfect, people aren’t all good, and getting hurt is part of growing up. I don’t let that stop me from being an optimistic person, from making the best out of every situation, from seeing the good in every person, and from trusting way too easily.

For the most part, it’s working for me. Every once in a while however, those rose colored glasses get knocked to the ground. Recently, they were knocked to ground and then stomped on. I was reminded that no matter how hard I try, I can’t control everything. No matter how much time you spend planning, organizing, strategizing…people will still find a way to cheat the system. On some level, I expected it (my rose colored glasses aren’t that dark). I just didn’t expect it to be so blatant and in my face.  I’ve always been taught to act with integrity -- to be honest, to be fair, and to treat others as I want to be treated. It always surprises me when other people don’t do the same.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people: My parents who are always there to give me a hug, calm me down, and remind me to be the bigger person…even when it’s hard to do; My friends who will stay up half the night and let me vent my frustrations; My siblings who are willing to “raise all hell” to protect me and to tell ridiculous jokes to make me laugh. Now that I’d had my healthy dose of reality for the month, I’ll put my rose colored glasses (fixed by my family, friends, a jumbo chocolate milkshake, and a red velvet cupcake) back on and remember that it’s important focus on the positive.

Monday message: When the going gets tough, the tough (take a moment to eat a cupcake and then) get going!

November 3, 2011

Girls In White Dresses

I’m always looking for a good book to read. I will read anything as long as there is a good story line. I’m also a firm believer in, “Don’t see the movie unless you’ve read the book.” This summer, all the talk was about The Help. Previews were on TV, book reviews were all over the internet, and it was assigned summer reading at my alma matter…good ol’ PHS. So I snagged the book from one of my runners (thanks Casey) and figured I’d get around to reading it eventually. I started reading it on a flight to St. Louis, and was so enthralled after 57 minutes that I just wanted to stay on the plane and read! I was the girl walking trough the airport with her nose in a book running into all the people in a hurry to catch their flights haha. I finished the book in three days…It only took that long because I had to stop and go to meetings! If you haven’t read it yet, stop whatever you’re doing and start reading.

The next book I got my hands on was Water for Elephants. I had been meaning to read it, just hadn’t taken the time. So on a flight to Pittsburgh, I got lost in the story of circus life (Yes, I know…need to make time to read other than in airports). The characters were captivating and I didn’t want the story to end! I joke about running away and joining the circus, but after finishing this book…I was this close to calling Ringling Bros! Another MUST READ book.

Side note: I still haven’t seen either movie. I almost don’t want to because I can’t see how they will live up to the books.

This week, I was complaining to my mom (I know…surprise, surprise) that I was bored out of my mind since I was taking a few days off from running (more on that later). So she handed me a book and said, “I got this because I thought you would like it.” As usual, she was right :)

The inside front cover says it all… With a wry sense of humor, Jennifer Close brings us through those thrilling, bewildering, what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life years of early adulthood. These are the years when everyone else seems to have a plan, a great job, and an appropriate boyfriend, while Isabella has a blind date with a gay man, Mary has a crush on her boss, and Lauren has a goldfish named Willard. Through boozy family holidays and disastrous ski vacations, relationships lost to politics and relationships found in pet stores, Girls in White Dresses pulls us deep inside the circle of these friends, perfectly capturing the wild frustrations and soaring joys of modern life.

The book was total chick lit & required no brain power what so ever to breeze through the pages. The story was incredibly cliché, but the characters were totally relatable. I’m pretty sure EVERY 20-something female can relate to the girls in this story.

The book follows a group of friends for 10 years after college graduation, totally capturing the stereotypical “Gen Y” post college life. Some go to grad school, some get jobs, & all spend a lot of time floating from bar to bar. The story is set up so that the reader sees the daily lives of the characters…the routine, sometimes mundane, daily activities and thoughts that are slowly leading up to the next great adventure in life. 

We follow the characters through all of their “firsts” – first jobs, first apartments, first real boyfriends, and first real breakups. This story takes us through the mistakes, decisions, and not-so-fairytale romances that so many of us deal with in our 20’s. The characters all have “problems,” but none are insurmountable & all can be fixed by girl’s night out (aka improvised group therapy with cocktails). So if you’ve ever:      
  • Been on a blind date
  • Had a roommate
  • Kissed a guy at a bar
  • Contemplated getting a cat
  • Been hungover at a bridal shower
  • Lost touch with a friend 
  • Had a cocktail at lunch
  • Cried at a wedding
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

This story is for you. You’ll roll your eyes & laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the predicaments these girls get themselves into while at the same time thinking, “that would totally happen to me.”  And of course, as with all chick lit novels, everyone has a happy ending. As long as you have a best friend, a little patience, and a lot of wine…awkward first dates will turn into great third dates; a low paying, entry level job will turn into a career; a tiny apartment will turn into a beautiful house in the suburbs and you’ll eventually get to upgrade from a bridesmaid dress to a wedding dress. 

If anyone else is counting, I’m one book away from my BOOK IT reading goal (haha remember those). If you have any recommendations, send them my way. I need something to read while I’m waiting in the next Janet Evanovich book to be released :)

November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I recently stumbled upon the Wordless Wednesday trend on some of the blogs I follow. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I could not agree more. So I'm jumping on the bandwagon and starting my own Wordless Wednesday. Enjoy!