To be the best Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Runner I can be...God willing!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bluebonnet pictures

This morning I dragged the kids out of bed early so we could have pictures taken with the bluebonnets.  I think if one lives in Texas this is a must.  We have lived here since 1999 and this is our first time to take pictures with the Texas state flower and the must see flower of the spring.  I will admit that a field of bluebonnets is pretty!  Could this picture be more Texas...bluebonnets with the tower in the background with the Texas and US flag on it?

My friend Valerie and her friend took professional pictures of the kids.  I cannot wait to see them.  Everyone was fairly cooperative...even Elena.  Valerie took some of them walking, running, and standing in the field.   She also used a bench and a chair for props.  Again, can't wait to see them!

However, I wanted pictures now so I made them pose for me after Valerie was finished.  I think mine came out pretty good as well.  It does help to have photogenic and cute subjects!

I could not resist Jonah being silly especially wearing his boots!
Emma who put bluebonnets in her!
Just so sweet....Elena
A more posed Jonah
All my sweet babies!

I met my coach

The bloggy world is funny.  You "meet" people, develop relationship, but meeting up with people is a challenge.  Racing with Babes is the first running blog I started reading.  I was attracted to Tonia's bold personality, the socks, and her drive to succeed.  I knew she would be a great coach for me.  I was correct!

So, when I found out last year that she would be racing the Texan Ironman 70.3 in Galveston I was super excited.  I knew we would finally meet.

Yesterday, we had lunch at the Empire Cafe in Montrose.  Tonia was with her friend Heidi and her husband.  It was a fun two hours of chatting about whatever...running, triathlons, family, East Coast living, and the list goes on.

Tonia and me
I did not know this one was being fun!
I know she is going to crush the 70.3 on Sunday.  The best part is we get to hang out for a bit again in June when I travel east for the Zooma 1/2 in Annapolis!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I miss my running coach

That sounds crazy does it not?  I don't mean it in a sappy way, but in an accountable way.  Let me explain.

I have had a running coach, TMB, create two plans for me.  Both helped me achieve the goals I dreamed of for those races.   I was accountable to someone besides just me.  I had someone checking to see if I was running and how it was going.  I like that.  I had no excuses.

I designed my own plan and three days into this training cycle I was ready to cut my mileage short.  I only have to answer to me.  No one else knows my plan and checks in on me.  No one would know if I was supposed to run 4 or 5 miles this morning.  It is all me.  I answer to me.  I am solely responsible if I follow my plan and work toward achieving my goal.

Today I was tired and really just wanted to run 4 miles.  Actually I wanted to say in bed!  I knew I would have to hustle if I wanted to run my planned 5 miles.  However, I had a progression run planned so I would be hustling and I had no excuse.  It took me 2 miles to realize I own this plan.  I will work my plan. I am not a quitter.  I will be accountable to me.  I will do this, but it probably won't be easy.  But, that is okay.  I think most big goals are not easy to achieve, but they are definitely possible.

Still, I miss my coach!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Yesterday I read a wonderful blog post about words...the words of life.  Words build up and words tear down and it can go either way very quickly.  Are my words true, kind, and necessary? 

Reading posts like that are always a good reminder for me.  Words often fly out of my mouth before they should especially when dealing with my kiddos.  Most times the words are in response to me not planning well and getting frustrated with my kiddos not being ready.  Truly that is my fault not theirs, but you might not know that by my words. 

I wrote in my journal last night how happy I was to have that reminder on a Monday morning.  It was a great way to start my week and I had a good day of words.  I think probably 90% or more of my words true, kind, and necessary.  I literally thought of the post every time I was frustrated.  It was like my own little censor!  When my words are kind, in general life at our house is so much better.  Crazy how that works!

This morning I opened my email and the same post from the same blog was there again.  It was as if I had not read it yesterday.  Crazy...maybe.  Coincidental...maybe.  Eye opening...definitely!  I re-read the entire post again.  I think God really wants me to connect more to my words and what life they bringing to my home.

So, now I am going to put the post on my refrigerator where I can see it multiple times a day.

Words from my Children

Words have been on my mind recently as you can tell.  Most of the time, what my kiddos say is just normal daily conversation kind of stuff.  However, occasionally one of them spews something that is hilarious, eye opening, shocking, or some form of not normal.

Yesterday I heard Elena, who is two, say "watch Charlie" as Emma was changing the channels.  Elena wanted to watch "Good Luck Charlie".  Seriously, I am a horrible mom.  I never would have let Jonah watch that when he was two and probably not Samuel.  Now, I have so much going on that I monitor less of what they all watch together and "Little Bear" usually does not win.

Sunday Jonah wanted to play Wii with me and I picked bowling.  It is really the only Wii sport that I can play decently well or so I thought.  After my first two attempts Jonah said, "Do we need a few practice rounds?"  For real was not that bad.  And for the record, I beat him in our second game!

On Saturday at dinner Samuel said to Drew "Dad, you know what they say?"  Oh, really Samuel!  What do they say?  Hilarious!!  He did not have an answer and I could barely stop laughing.  They really do hear everything!

As for Emma, she is too busy being bossy or guarded with her words to ever really let loose with something funny.   Trust me.  My ears are definitely listening for her to be goofy.

Kids....they are so funny!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Run for the Rose 5K

This is one of my favorite races because we all participate.  I run the competitive 5K.  Drew and the kiddos run/walk the family 5K.  When I finish running I double back until I meet up with them and we all finish together.

The race benefits brain cancer research which is a charity I love.  A good friend's husband is a survivor and I used to work with brain injured adults.  That is different I know, but I have a special place in my heart for all things related to our crazy and amazing brains!

So, off we went this morning.  Is this just a wonderful site?  Everyone in my family had a bib.  I heart that very much!

I was very unsure about this race.  In two attempts at 5K pace during recent runs my legs were just not feeling it.  I don't know if it was still from the marathon, our trip to CO, random tiredness, or just bad days.  Whatever it was I did not have the confidence I needed to run a great race.  In fact, I realized this morning that I have not run a 5K since this race last year.

The first mile was interesting.  I got stuck back farther than I preferred.  This required some weaving which I hate.  It uses too much energy. Then I had the pleasure of being cut off by some young young I mean maybe 12.  I actually had to put my hand on his back so we would not crash.  Then he kicked me in my knee with my scar from the fall which still hurts.  I was thrilled.  Children with no running etiquette should stay in the back...just my opinion.   Despite all this my split was fastest race mile ever and I knew I would be in trouble.

The second mile was harder and I knew my pace slowed.  I ran a 7:19.  At this point, I was beginning to feel like I could not breathe.  It was foggy and humid and it was messing with my breathing.  I really wanted to walk, but decided to just slow my pace.  There was no way on earth I was going to walk in a 5K!  My third mile was 7:42 which was not too awful considering a hill (overpass walkway...there are no hills in Houston) at the end of mile three. 

I started to pick up the pace at the end of the third mile.  I wanted to be finished so I kicked as much as I could and finished in 23:37 (a 7:02/mi pace for the last bit).  I had hoped to run faster, but truly did not think it was possible.  So really I don't have much to be disappointed about, but I still am.

I finished 6th in my AG, which is at this race is 30-39.  If it would have been every five years I would have placed.  Those darn 30 year olds were just too speedy today!

After I finished I found my family around 1.2 miles.  I had so much fun running and walking with them.  Elena ran for about a block and then we tried to keep her in the stroller.  Emma was a stinker and wanted to walk today.  Jonah ran with me for a little while.  But much to my surprise Samuel wanted to run with me and run he did!  He probably ran approximately 2 miles.  I was so proud of him.  He told me he needed to walk just before mile 3.  I pointed out how near the finish was and told him to keep running.  He did!  What a boy...he did great today!
The post race party is amazing and very kid friendly.  The boys and Elena enjoyed a jumper.  Emma had her face painted.  We also enjoyed samples of some amazingly yummy food!
Despite my personal annoyance with myself, I had a fun morning.  I had a great time with my family.  It is wonderful to show them how running can benefit a great cause and be fun!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jonah's South State Gymnastics Meet

Today was Jonah's final gymnastics meet of the 2012 season.  His journey learning how to point his toes, keep his legs together, and stick his landings began in December.  He has learned to love meets.  He has also learned that he must perform if he wants a medal.

Well, all his work paid off today!  Jonah had his highest scores of the season!!  He did well on every event except for Pommel Horse.  He does not like that event and always does poorly.  Today was better, but there is lots of work to do on this event.

Regardless, he had a 14.1 on Parallel Bars, a 13.5 on Rings, 9.5 on Pommel Horse, 13.6 on Floor, 13.2 on High Bar, and a
This is his highest score of the season on any event!!  He was one happy boy after the meet!

His level four team has four members, but only one other boy is 6.  They competed together today and the other two boys competed earlier in the day.
Jonah and Patrick (Drew took this...just saying)
He also received an individual medal in vault.  He was in the top 17 out of almost 60 boys...yeah Jonah!!!!  His coach was very proud of his performance.  Drew and I are so proud of him!!
Jonah with his vault medal and a meet participation medal!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good for my soul

This has been a challenging week.  My grandma is quite ill and was placed in hospice care on Wednesday.  Lots of tears and emotions and "what to do" now thoughts in my head all week.

My friend Kim has also had a really crappy, emotional week.  Life has just not gone as we expected it to and so what did we do about it?

We decided that a girl's night out was needed and it was definitely fun.  We were able to enjoy the wonderful weather we are currently experiencing.  We ate wonderful Italian food at Grotto' yummy.  I ate way too much pasta, but it was yummy.  And, we both had awesome desserts (dark chocolate cake and toffee mousse cake).  I might just explode, but every bite was worth it.

Better than the food was time away from my thoughts.  It is so nice to have a friend who will listen to my junk if need be, but also talk about totally random and silly things too.  We had so much fun talking and laughing about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Having girlfriend time was even better than my dessert!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Setting Goals

I have made the big decision as to running or racing the Zooma Half in June.  Drum Roll please....

I am racing it!

I know that you are all very shocked.  I really did give this a lot of thought.  It is June and I don't do well in hot races.  Does anybody?  I am running the day after I fly to Maryland so the potential exists for me to dehydrated and tired.  I don't have anyone to run the race with me.  Then there is that little thing called hills.

However, I realized that summer has already arrived in Spring, Texas so I will be training in hot and humid conditions.  It is going to be great preparation for the race.  If I plan ahead, I will be hydrated and I make that flight all the time.  I will be fine.  

As for the hills, I actually like hill running.  I really wish I had hills to run on regularly.  But, I don't so I will be using my treadmill to simulate hills.  I wrote up my training plan last night after consulting two prep-made generic plans and the trusty McMillan calculator.  I created my own plan designed with the goal of breaking the 1:50 mark.  I will be literally running my butt off five days a week for the next ten weeks.  I decided to alternate hill work with progression runs every other week.  Each week I will have a tempo run.  Finally, each long run will contain some element of speed work.  

Who knows if this plan is smart.  If I need to adjust I can and will.  However, if I don't challenge myself how will I ever know what I am capable of running?  I refuse to be comfortable and happy with my current PR's.  I believe I can run faster and now we will find out if I can.

I read a comment from Tony Robbins today on a blog and he said to Dream Big, but also to Goal Big.  Work for something huge, experience pain, don't be afraid to push the boundaries, challenge yourself.  

I think he is a smart man.  I plan to do just that staring next Monday.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The marathon is what?

I rode my marathon high for about two days before reality set in big time.  IT WAS OVER!  Now what??  And, I mean now what in a big, big way.  It was a huge decision for me to decide to run a marathon.  I loved the training process.  I enjoyed the race.  I was happy with my effort during the race and my time.  I truly felt a little lost as to my next running goal or plan or goal or plan or .....

Thankfully, we left six days after the marathon for Colorado.  It was a beautiful (literally) distraction from my brain and all my thinking about running.  I had so much fun doing nothing to worry about it too much.  However, I did use the time to come to some realization as to what to do next.  There was something in the mountain air that helped me achieve clarity.

After the race, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.  There was all this build up and anticipation and excitement.  The unwrapping/running occurred and then it was over.  It was a little depressing to be totally honest.  It was made even harder because I was too sore to run.  My stress reliever was not available to me.  This morning I read an article about what to do after a marathon and the author compared it to the feelings on the day after Christmas!  How crazy coincidental is that?!

So, what is my plan.  I have decided to run the Zooma Half Marathon in Annapolis in June.  I am totally psyched about the race.  I get to spend the weekend with my sister and her family.  I get to run in Annapolis, which is a place I totally adore.  The half marathon is my favorite distance so I think this is the perfect follow up race for me.  I have yet to decide if I am going to run for fun or race it, but that does not matter.  I am just excited about what is next.   Plans make me happy!

The Colorado pictures I missed

Here is a sampling of my favorites that did not make it into the other Colorado posts!

We played lots of games with the favorite being "Set".  This game is lots of fun for everyone and I highly recommend it!

The kids and I had a picnic lunch on Monday on the lovely side deck.  I indulged their requests and made pizza and let them have soda.  We did have some fruit too!

I just love this picture of Jonah holding his skis!  He is just the cutest 6 year old ever!

Samuel snuggled with me after returning from skiing on Tuesday.  He was so tired and I enjoyed every minute of this!

Yes, this is a bear rug and it was in my and Drew's bedroom.  The house owner shot it and had this made.  Elena was completely freaked out by it the first time she saw it.  Samuel was a little unsure himself.  As the days passed both became more comfortable with this rug.  I, of course, had to have a picture of them sitting on it!

This bear statue was in Beaver Creek Village and Samuel liked it.  I think his expression in this picture is so funny!
 We went swimming at the hotel pool.  The water was super cold which is why Emma is wearing her ski coat over her bathing suit.  Elena was just cute sitting all wrapped up on the chair. 

So, there you go...all the pictures fit for posting.  There are many more, but these were just my favorites.  It was definitely a vacation of a lifetime.  I feel quite blessed to have shared these days with my family and to have made wonderful memories.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pike's Peak

On our last day in Colorado we decided to make the trek up Pike's Peak.  It is the 31st highest mountain in the state at 14, 110 feet.    Having driven to the top, I can hardly imagine going any higher!

We woke to this beautiful sight out of our hotel window. 

The day was glorious and perfect for driving to the top of a mountain.  The road to the top is 19 miles long.  The roads are narrow with few guard rails and many switch back sections.  To say I was a nervous wreck is a huge understatement.  Drew kept telling me the view was amazing, but I hardly looked.  I just prayed we would get to the top safely.
We started at the bottom red sign and switch backed all the way to the top!
We stopped about half way up to get snacks for the kiddos.  We also got our winter gear ready.  It was about 55 degrees when we started our drive up and we knew that it would be about 25 degrees at the top. 

When we finally reached the peak, I felt this huge relief.  We made it safely!!  It was so, so, so windy and COLD.  It was almost too cold to describe and the wind was brutal.  It was 29 degrees and I would guess the wind was 20-30 mph sustained.  We tried to take pictures, but they are really just hilarious.  We were all too cold to look at the camera.  Gail and Drew felt a little sick from the altitude. I had a hard time catching my breath and I am sure the kids did as well.  Elena just cried until we went inside the gift shop/rest area. 
The best one!
The wind was fierce
Emma was trying so hard to smile, but it was just so hard.
The view from the top was amazing...really beyond words.  Katharine Bates wrote "America the Beautiful" in 1893 after having been at the peak.  The words mean something more to me having seen what she saw.  The mountains are majestic and you feel like you can see from sea to sea.  Jonah even said "I can see the whole world from here."  It was definitely a drive worth making.  I am so thankful Emma, Jonah, Samuel, and Elena were able to see the beauty of God's earth!
One of the views from the peak
You can see the cog railway tracks in this picture.

Elena refused to look into the wind, but this is pretty good considering the conditions!
Driving down was better than I expected.  Drew obliged his nervous wife by stopping at all the rest/pull off spots.  The chance to lose your breaks is pretty high and not a risk I cared to take at 14, 000 feet.  These pictures were taken at approximately 12, 500 feet.  I really felt like we were looking down on the world!

We just drove down this part of the road and this was pretty flat!
Elena fell asleep about 3 minutes after we got back into the car.
At mile 6, which was around 8, 000 feet we stopped for a picnic lunch.  The spot had a lovely frozen lake surrounded by pine trees.  It was very picturesque.  It was so nice to eat in 55 degrees with minimal wind.  The kids were much happier. 
I just love how beautiful this is!
The sun's rays are streaming in the picture!
Our time in Colorado was restorative for all of us.  The kids were able to play, have fun, and do whatever they wanted for several days.  It was a just what they wanted to do.  Drew was able to ski and watch his kids ski.  I was able to relax, run, and rest at my leisure.  There were no schedules.  It was wonderful.  Ending our trip by visiting this amazing mountain was like cream cheese icing on a homemade cake.  It was just finger licking wonderful!

Hitting the trails in Colorado

At home I run at approximately 55 feet elevation.  In Colorado I was running at approximately 9,000 feet elevation.  Upon doing the math, it is easy to realize the stark difference.  It is also then easy to realize how much harder it is to breathe in Colorado than at home.

Can you spy the moon above the mountains?
I only had the opportunity to run outside one time (every other run was on a treadmill).  Any other time running outside would have interfered with skiing---the purpose of our vacation after all.  The one time I headed outside, it was 22 degrees.  It was cold and I loved wearing my cold weather running clothing.  The sun was rising and I could see my breathe the entire run.  I had to stop to walk over ice patches.  I ran up hills and down hills.  I ran along a creek.  I looked at huge mountains the entire run.  It was beautiful and I enjoyed every labored breathe of my run.

BUT, don't get me wrong.  Despite the humidity, I like running at sea level.  It is way easier!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I LOVE family pictures

We took lots of family pictures on vacation...mostly on the last day, but we took lots!
In front of the house
By the deer statue...Elena is still fascinated
At the Beaver Creek Village
Me and Drew
Meemaw and the kids
Meemaw and everyone