Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Big Race...

On May 18th, Todd and I traveled to Joplin, Mo., to pick up my race packet along with my brother's for what was the biggest race I had ever done. I signed up on January 19th for the Joplin Memorial Half Marathon after some coaxing from my sister-in-law and best friend who also was doing her first half marathon on April 14th.

I never really expected to finish...I thought I would become injured like last time...I expected to walk a lot, but here's how it went:

8:30 pm--picked up race packet and race jersey
9 pm--ate an entire meal from Olive Garden, which I have never done, carb loading you know...hee!
11:30 pm--fell asleep reading Fifty Shades of Grey (oh my, I'm blushing!)
4:30 am--up and at 'em to get ready, use the bathroom, eat some breakfast
5:30 am--meet my brother who did not sleep at all the night before as he was at an Eric Church concert in Topeka. Thank goodness his girlfriend, Deidra, was with him to keep him awake on the drive down.
Deidra and Brandon at the start line

Me and my brother at the start line

6:15 am--Remember those we are running for...161 people who passed away because of the May 2011 tornado and those thousands of people, including my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who were first responders in the aftermath of the tornado.
161 balloons let go in honor of those lost in the May 22, 2011, tornado. 
6:30 am--It's GO TIME BABY!!!

I spotted the 2:25 pace leader and thought I can try to keep up with that. They were two fantastic leaders who were very nice and pepped everyone up. We ran downtown and on the route of the tornado damage. I was fighting back tears from mile 1-4 while looking at all of this:

Right around 26th street where most everything was wiped away. 
St. John's Regional Medical Center where Christina worked/s and was destroyed by the tornado.
Around mile 4 we entered into McClelland Park and had climbed two hills at that point but I was still sticking with the pace group. I got through mile 6 and spotted Todd on the side of the highway cheering me on, and that was a huge relief and happy point to keep me going. By mile 7, I stopped to grab some water and take my gel and lost the pace group leader and was deeply disappointed in myself. Yet, I knew I couldn't walk or stop so I ran on. I LOVED the news crew who gave out cold towels soaked in water at mile 7. That was my saving grace as it was starting to get hot.

At mile 9, I thought I got this...then heard the ambulance behind me from someone on the race course being hauled off, and thought whoa, this is intense. I walked a teensy bit through the water stations so I didn't drown myself in water and choke.

At mile 10, I thought wow, I never thought I'd see double digits, never thought I would say only 3.1 miles left!

Starting with mile 12, I was overcome with such joy and relief I only had 11 more minutes to go. The Walgreens employees were the last to give us water at mile 12 and I needed it. By mile 12.5, Eric Church came strumming on my iPod and sang "Springsteen". I repeated that four times I think. I needed that music. I charged through the last half mile with a full-on kick. I passed by a man in full military fatigues and cried when I saw him knowing what my brother meant to me and everyone in our military. I was in a sprint through the finish line and finished in 2:26. I averaged an 11:09 mile throughout the race.

I got my medal, walked through the corral for runners to grab water and fruit and saw my brother and Todd. They were so proud of me, and I was so proud of me.

I never thought I'd run the whole thing, but I did. I never thought I'd do good, but I had a great time. I thought I was in the last part of the runners, but I wasn't. I worked hard at something, and it felt so good to finally do something a lot of people cannot say they have done. It felt good to finally feel like I am an athlete, which I never felt in high school. It felt good to not feel like I failed, but instead did good and felt great. There also was a lot of prayer involved. I prayed so hard to feel great, to be strong, to not feel the pain in my body, to watch over everyone who was running, to remember and honor those who lost their lives, to be thankful for what I have, to be full of gratitude always and so much more.

Now my brother wants me to do another in if only I can convince my body to stop hurting when I run, I'd be all for it. I am proud that I got right back into running four days after my race. I know this is a new found peace for me. Just me, some good tunes and good fashioned hard work to get to a finish line. :)

The professional finish line pic.

Christina, me, and Brandon sporting our medals after the race. 

Can't forget the beef! I wore my Team Beef jersey and proudly posed
in front of the KKOW cow. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Little Gift for Myself...

I bought the Kindle Fire for my graduation present to myself. I was going to get an iPad or MacBook Air (and I'm going to get the Air soon enough when they make the new Mountain Lion system). The Fire though is pretty nice and I have already read one whole book on it in three days! That's pretty good for me. It also happened to be Fifty Shades of Grey (oops, yes I admit I read that!). It was too good to put down, and it was the first "romance" novel I ever read. Either way, I am excited to have this new gadget to take with me on vacation and road trips! Thanks to myself for finishing my Master's with a 3.94 GPA!

Passing on The Liebster Award Love...

Have you heard of the Liebster award? No? Well me either until I was reading through my usual blogs this morning and came across my friend Nicole Starr's blog. She created an interesting post on this concept for others to share up-and-coming blogs. Love that! So here are the details of the award...

1. Choose five up and coming blogs to give the award to, must have 200 or less followers.
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. List the blogs you gave the award to with links to their sites. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
5. Share five random facts about yourself.

So here goes my part of the award-giving:

My thanks of course goes to Nicole because she gave a shout-out to my blog and I was so gosh-darn-excited to see that! I just love her, even though we have only met each other a few times back when I worked at the American Hereford Association. Since then we have kept in touch about things ag, cattle, advocacy for agriculture, etc., and I love hearing about her craftiness, new career in the ag PR world, running feats and other things. You should definitely check out her blog here

My five blogs you should check out:

1. Living Mama Style--Oh where to begin about my sweet friend Janie? Janie and I met a number of years ago because of past relationships we both are no longer involved in, but have stayed in touch through K-State and now our blogs! She is one of the most tenacious, bright and compassionate ladies I know. Janie and her husband had their little girl a little over a year ago and had some challenges with their baby's skin. Janie took it upon herself to research and create house cleaning products that were natural and safe. How cool is that? I personally LOVE the laundry soap she created. It smells divine and works! She also has great recipes and advice for families who like hers are always on the go.

2. A Little Birdie Told Me--I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention my best friend's blog for this award. Kelsey and I are "twins" through our friendship that started as sorority sisters in Kappa Alpha Theta at K-State. She is truly one of my dearest friends whom I have so much admiration for with all she does to promote agriculture. Her husband, Ronny, and fur-child, Hank, live in Nebraska. You can read on her blog about all of her travels (so jealous!), gardening tips, craft projects, and other happenings. 

3. Roth's Child--If you want one of the best belly laughs you've had in a while you have to check out Carra's blog. By no means am I laughing at her family, but only empathizing at what I am sure to be my life in a couple of years. She is oh-so-witty, and I love how she is using her blog as a way to remind her children of details of their childhood in future years. 

4. Aspiration--Another sorority sister, Mandy, is half way around the world studying lemurs in Madagascar. Yes, you read that correctly. How totally awesome is that? She is so smart and ambitious, and I would not have expected anything less than what she is doing now. You'll love reading about her adventures most of us only dream about in the jungle! 

5. Born to Pharm--A great blog about life as a wife and daughter to farmers and soon-to-be pharmacist. Melissa has been a friend since high school in FFA and became my sorority sister at K-State. She finished her degree at K-State in agriculture but is now studying to be a pharmacist at UMKC. She does a fantastic job relating ag and farming topics to things every day consumers she comes into contact with are concerned about. I also love that she and I have a mutual love for advocating about agriculture even though our careers have taken a different path out of agriculture. 

And finally, random facts about myself:

1. I actually love to go turkey hunting and fishing with my husband. It's a newly formed hobby since meeting him, but I really enjoy being outdoors, enjoying nature and of course being with him. 
2. I have been on a "magazine" cover twice. I was featured in the local Josephine magazine once for a contest and the other for my Mary Kay business. 
3. I have a guilty obsession of office products. What most people find mundane in Office Max or Depot, I find as heaven. I love organization and new office supplies!
4. Food is one of my favorite things, and I think of myself as a lover of all types of food. I am really not picky at all. I am, though, the worst cook as I never have time to truly make great meals. 
5. I shop almost 75 percent of the time at thrift stores and garage sales for my clothing. I used to be so embarrassed by it because my mom would only buy clothes the same way for us growing up. However, when I can find name brand clothes for pennies on the dollar as that of a regular store, I get very excited. How else can I change my wardrobe almost completely every 6 months?! I do love buying accessories so I splurge on those but buy staple clothing pieces at a bargain. Smart consumer!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I am finished...part 1

I totally have been slacking on the one post per week thing. Arghh, I hate that, but I often feel like I have nothing to write nor do I remember to take pictures of anything we do. This past week was one of those weeks you just have to survive as you know it will be better next week. I had our last Junior League board meeting (thanks for the glass of wine!), four papers to write to finish school, last minute event prep for our fundraiser event I was in charge of at work, the event, and finally my graduation.

I was cruising pretty well through Wednesday finishing some 16 hour days and then I felt like s**t hit the fan on Thursday. I found out a winery backed out, we got the wrong order for our chocolate, a million small details needed to be done, etc., etc., etc. But thankfully, our summer intern, Kayla, started on Monday and helped do a lot of the little things. Thursday night came and I finished two papers that night (bam!) and got a few hours of sleep. Friday went exceptionally well and we had plenty of time for set up, things went as planned, and the event could not have been more successful albeit a few more guests would have been nice. Saturday was my graduation from Park University with my master's in public affairs with a nonprofit and community services concentration. The icing on the cake that day was seeing my name spelled wrong in the program and having the wrong degree listed. Oh well, I made sure to call on Monday to verify my diploma would be right. That would have been embarrassing. I'm glad my family could come and it was great having a little downtime on Saturday. On Sunday, we celebrated with all the moms in our families, and I ran 10 miles for my last long-run before the big race on Saturday (hence the part 1 in the title). It hurt, and I jammed up my foot pretty good. I hate to admit that my body is probably finally telling me enough is enough with these high mile runs. I hate that as I want to be one of those who can just bust out 8-10 miles every other day or so and think nothing of it. Maybe someday...until then here are a few pictures from the last week.
Receiving my hood from Dean Stocks and Dr. Stuteville for my master's degree from Park University.

Willie, Tillie and I checking out my grad gift from Todd. Todd got a kayak too so we'll have
some fun on the river this summer!

Friends and donors enjoying wine from the Windy Wine Co., at the
Expressions of Good Taste wine and chocolate event
I planned for work.