Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tiger Trek

A couple of weeks after Bo Bikes Bama our local Auburn club had their Tiger Trek night where Coach Gene Chizik (Auburn's football coach) spoke, scholarships for next year were awarded to two future Auburn students, and a silent auction to raise more money for scholarships took place. I had to watch J (the kid I nanny for) overnight so he had to tag along since I had already bought a ticket to attend. He got to meet Aubie (Auburn's mascot) and had Coach Chizik sign his football. We also bid on some items in the silent auction and won three of them.

He was so nice when he talked to J and signed our stuff

Coach Chizik speaking

One of my wins from the silent auction-priceless!

What I had Coach Chizik sign for Allan
We also walked away with a $35 Gigi's Cupcakes giftcard as well as a picnic basket with an Auburn tablecloth and a wooden bowl in it. All in all I would say it was a pretty great night and I'm sure they were able to raise a lot of money for scholarships. Now if I can just make it until football season starts again I'll be fine!

Are you a college football fan?

Do you participate in alumni events for the high school and/or college you graduated from?
**Both of us have our 10 year HS reunions this summer which we are honestly looking forward to!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our First Vlog

Alright, let me be the first to say that I assumed I could shoot a video on my iPhone, upload it to my computer, and it would be done. Wrong! It took Allan and his fancy computer ten minutes to do what I spent two hours trying to do and then it took me 5 days to get the video to load because I didn't hit upload. Just don't ask! It's finished and we really hope you guys enjoy it!

A few notes before watching:
  1. Turn up the volume.
  2. Ignore my appearance (I literally woke up 5 min before we shot this!)
  3. Our next vlog will be better and won't take me a week to post!

What relationship advice would you give others?
What's the best relationship advice you've ever been given?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bo Bikes Bama

In the past month I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of events in our area that important to the Auburn family. Bo Bikes Bama took place in April over the course of a week during which Bo Jackson (Auburn football player, Heisman winner) biked across Alabama to raise money for the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund and raised over $500,000. A friend of ours from college rode from Guntersville to Cullman so I volunteered to drop him off.

As soon as I parked I saw someone who I would have sworn was Scottie Pippen. A few minutes later I found myself standing in front of Ken Griffey Jr. and all I could think was that Allan has his rookie card and I could be getting it signed.

I felt so short next to Scottie Pippen
Bo spoke for a few minutes and then they headed off but not before I took a couple of photos!

Getting ready to ride-Bo Jackson is in the center of the photo

Our friend who rode from Guntersville to Cullman
Any bike riders out there?
**I ride Allan's bike every now and then but there's no way I could have biked 50 miles in a day.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt Review

In Wish You Were Here Beth addresses one of the worst fears of any bride leading up to her wedding day: Am I marrying the right man? Allison wasn't sure about that after an accidental kiss with her groom's brother (the best man) left her with feelings she couldn't deny for him and not her fiance. Leaving the groom at the altar and stealing her best friend's car are just the beginning of the mess Allison gets herself into as she embarks on a journey to first discover who she wants to be before she can decide who she wants to be with. That journey isn't without its own adventures as two brothers fight for her attention and love whether they mean to or not. Allison learns one of life's hardest lessons that she can't control everything. She must relinquish control and let God take control of her life if she ever wants to be happy.

 Book Info

About the book:

Wish You Were Here
| Beth K. Vogt

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom's brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison's life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a "Runaway Bride" complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend's car doesn't seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

About Beth: 

Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. She's a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Beth has discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." She writes contemporary romance because she believes there's more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They've been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and - thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a "daughter-in-love" and "son-in-love," enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website.

Link to buy the book
Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!

One "happy" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's website!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Beth's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via Twitter
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Viola Valley Half Marathon Recap

The Good
  • Beautiful course
  • Friendly and helpful volunteers at the aid stations
  • Personalized email with my results within hours of the race
  • No hassle with parking, packet pickup, pre-race bathrooms, etc.
  • People who lived along the course were out in their yards cheering, hosing us down, and doling out much needed words of encouragement

The Bad
  • Rolling hills were prevalent along the course and killed my hopes of a new PR but I still loved the course and will run it again if they continue to have the race
  • Ashley AKA redonk runner mentioned this in her recap: 8AM start in the south in May is probably not a great idea so I'd like to see it start at 7AM for future races

This was our approach to the Mile 12 marker
 The Ugly

Honestly, nothing was ugly as far as the race is concerned. My steak the night before, however, is an entirely different story...

I could have taken 100 pictures of the course but I used restraint so here are some of my favorites!

I love old barns!

We turned off the road up ahead and ran to the left

COWS! Hands down my favorite buddies along the course!

Gorgeous corn field that I'm sure will be breathtaking later this summer and fall

Oops, I totally forgot to mention my time. I finished in 2:37:09 which is exactly 12:00 miles. I was pleased with my time considering the hills and the heat. Call me crazy but this was just as hot and hilly as Nashville yet I ran it more than 12 minutes faster. I'm convinced that if you put me on back country roads with some grass, trees, cows, and no hills and turn me loose I'm going to run a fast race. I enjoy the peace and quiet and I never run with music so being able to enjoy the scenery and not have to weave around people or listen to other people's conversations makes me a happy runner!

What's the most scenic race you've participated in?

What's the most beautiful place you've been on vacation?
***Bahamas!!! Not Nassau but a small remote island where our friends have a house. No phone, no internet, and no worries!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anniversary Gifts

I had hoped to do a vlog for today's post about what we had leaned in our first three years of marriage but I'm not home until late tonight so that will have to wait until tomorrow. I am going to take a minute and brag on Allan for being an excellent gift getter. He may not always say what he thinks or feels but he always finds a great card and an absolutely amazing present to remind me how lucky I am to have him. Three years ago after we got married we went on our honeymoon to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, FL, and I stepped into Neiman Marcus for the first time and made my way to the shoes. I slipped my feet into a pair of Manolo Blahniks and fell in love. They were orange and fit like a glove! They were on clearance at the time but I couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes. One year later for our first anniversary these shoes made their way into my life and they are the crown jewel of my shoe collection!

Absolutely gorgeous!
Allan set the bar pretty high giving me these shoes and last year when I took my jewelry to get cleaned in February I fell in love with a pearl ring. This is one of the only pieces of jewelry I've picked out for myself and unfortunately by the time our anniversary arrived last May I had lost all of my jewelry except for my diamond studs and wedding rings. Luckily my best friend found them in my library (don't ask because I have no idea how they winded up in the chair in there!) over New Year's so lately I've been wearing my pearl ring that was supposed to be my second anniversary present. It's one of those pieces of jewelry that once you put it on you know instantly that it was made for you. I realize how cliche that sounds but I swear it's true with this ring.

I'm normally not big on rings with thicker bands but I loved the intricate detail in this one
Last Friday as Allan and I sat in the hotel with our laptops I showed him an email I had gotten about a Soleus watch and Spibelt combo deal. I'm all about a good deal so I hopped online to research the watch and stumbled upon this blog's review. That review pretty much sealed the deal for me that I would be getting this watch. The fact that I get a Spibelt too is a bonus since I already love my Spiband! Allan told me to buy it so I'm guessing this is my anniversary gift. This watch will be put to good use this summer as I focus on more speed work. I realize I've committed a cardinal sin in the running world by not getting a Garmin but the review I read did a great job comparing features of this watch to that of a lower end Garmin and I think for me this watch will be perfect. Once I've had time to use it for awhile I'll be sure to post a review on the blog.

Super excited to test this out!
I don't bring up these presents as evidence that Allan loves me. It's the things that you can't wrap in a package or put a price tag on that show me how he feels day after day.
  • driving for hours to a small town to watch me run a half while you sweat to death waiting for me to finally finish
  • hitting the clear button on the microwave when there's extra time left because you know it will drive me nuts if you don't
  • tucking me in at nighttime since I have the bedtime of an old lady
  • never leaving the toilet seat up
  • your devotion to God, country, family, and friends
  • loving Sasha and Lucky almost as much as I do
  • encouraging my independence 
  • always... (this is an inside thing between Allan and I with regards to forgiveness which is ALWAYS freely given without question)

The day we got engaged-4/21/08
Here's to many more years together Allan! I love you Punkin! Fingers crossed that we get to do a vlog which I promise will have cute wedding pictures.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Music Moves Me 5K Recap-New PR!

Last year Allan and I ran the Music Moves Me 5K for the first time and after winning a door prize at the post-race party we were pretty convinced we would be running this race every year. The volunteers are the friendliest of any race I've run and the post-race party is filled with live music, plenty of food, and free beer (if that's your thing). Did I mention they have door prizes? You don't have to be fast to win one since all the winners are drawn at random. This year the course start and finish were at two separate locations but they ran shuttles back and forth and I didn't have to wait at all when I was ready to go back to my car and head home. Oh, and it only cost $15 which is pretty decent for a 5K.

First race in the Adizeros and my first and last race in that running skirt

Yes, that's right I was lucky #1. If you want tons of strangers to talk to you at a race wear #1 and it will happen, I promise! I'd be lying if I didn't say that wearing this number was intimidating. I'm not fast when you compare me to others and at this point there's no way I'm winning an age group award but racing for a PR was a challenge I was ready to tackle. The race started at 11:00 but fortunately it was overcast and relatively cool so I didn't burn up. The race itself seemed to go by so quickly after all the half marathons I've been running this year. Even with taking a few breaks to walk and catch my breath I still managed to sprint across the finish at 30:44 with a shiny new PR!!! I was a little sad that Allan wasn't there to see it. In case you are keeping track my 5K and half PRs have both been set at races Allan wasn't there for. He's convinced I run better without him there but that's a lie!

If you fall asleep while I'm driving I will put your picture on the blog!
In all my post-race excitement I forgot to take a picture of my door prize that I won which was a Pearl Izumi bag and a hydration belt. Who doesn't need another hydration belt and bag, right?! After the race I showered, loaded up the pups, and picked Allan up from the airport. Two weeks out of town and he was pretty tired (as the above picture depicts) but still up for Mother's Day travels. We were able to spend Saturday evening and Sunday morning with my mom and dad and Sunday afternoon and evening with Allan's mom and Adam's family which meant lots of quality time with Ali. Earlier in the weekend on Friday evening Allan's dad and stepmom spent the night with me and I was able to catch up on all the news with their children and grandchildren.

Big fan of shiny electronics already-she's definitely related to Allan!
Have you ever been #1 for a race?

Do you have any special Mother's Day traditions in your family?

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

For those who don't already know I'm a sucker for a good, clean love story. I could spend days curled up on my couch with novel after novel like this one. This one pulled at all the right heartstrings. Kate, an average looking girl looking for some direction in her life, meets Matt, a former professional hockey player carrying around more grief and pain than any one person should bear in a lifetime. The dynamic between the two of them really resonated with me because I'm an open, outgoing person who reads like an open book while my husband is more guarded and it takes more time to get to know him. I saw various parts of our personalities in Matt and Kate. I really enjoyed how Becky used Kate's grandmother's cooking lessons with Matt while he was working on the renovations to introduce the reader to a different side of him. The dedication and attention to detail that he put into learning how to make certain dishes paralleled his work in restoring Kate's grandmother's family's home. As so often happens with people like Matt, Kate began to crack through the walls he had put up without being pushy but merely being herself. Her countless prayers for Matt seemed to be answered one by one but what about the prayer that was hardest for her to pray? You'll have to read the novel yourself to find out!

About the book:

My Stubborn Heart
| Becky Wade

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light...whether he likes it or not.

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?

About Becky: 

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn't be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Learn more at: 

Blog Tour Schedule

Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™
  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate
  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 24th. Winner will be announced at the "My Stubborn Heart" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting an book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of My Stubborn Heart and join Becky on the evening of the May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 24th!

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mid-Month Mayhem

Monday was Allan's first day home this month and it's been nice having another person in the house (not so nice cleaning up after said person but that's another story for another day!). I had to nanny overnight last week Monday-Thursday nights and took care of Allan's coworker's dog so things were pretty chaotic for me while he was away when you throw all that on top of volunteering and my primary job. This week things are back to normal (as much as they are going to be for now!) and I'm getting crazy excited about the summer and the fun things we are planning to do!!!

Trips to Boston, Las Vegas, and San Diego are in the works for one or both of us!!! Before we let loose with all the summer fun we have planned we still have half of May left to go and for us that means celebrating our 3rd anniversary next week, finishing my 5 weekend race streak at the end of the month, and spending Memorial Day with family at our house. On Memorial Day we will be running the Cotton Row Run 5K with Allan's mom and it will be her first race. Two years ago that was my first 5K so it feels really special to be running it with her for her first race.

Before Cotton Row 2010 (and no that is not the race shirt!)
I'm behind on blog posts (reading and writing them) and need to download pictures from my phone so I can do a race recap from my 5K this past weekend but in the meantime I'm enjoying life by taking time to see Allan in the evenings, run with the dogs, and catch up with friends on the phone. Oh, and I probably need to get started on the 30+ audits I've completed prep work for. I know, I know, shame on me for letting my job get in the way of blogging!

What was your first race?

Any fun summer plans in the works?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Run Through the Roses 10K Recap

Ahh, finally a race in Madison and only 10 minutes from the house. It was practically glorious to wake up an hour before race time, pet the pups, and arrive with at least 20 minutes before the race was scheduled to start. I could get used to this!

Finish line
Even though the race started at 7 it was pretty warm and continued to get warmer as the race went on. The course was a little hilly but no worse than anything I'd run in recent races and certainly less hilly than Nashville. The first half of the course is less hilly than the second half and if I'd known that I would have pushed myself to run faster miles in the beginning. The last hill, the "Eastview Beast" as they call it, was rough! In my opinion, it's worse than Whiskey Hill at Oak Barrel. Nonetheless once you conquered that you could coast to the finish!

One of my favorite houses in Madison

The course wove through Madison and passed by one of my favorite houses (pictured above) and the police and firemen along the course kept the roads clear and had nice words of encouragement for passing runners. I had a feeling that a PR wasn't happening today and I was right. I finished in 1:12:27 and I'm proud of that because it was a tougher course than my previous 10K last December. I passed the two other women close to me at the end and felt like I had "plenty of gas left in the tank" when I crossed the finish. I can tell I've grown accustomed to long distance running because the thought of "That's it? Only 6.2 miles?" was what popped into my head immediately after the race.

Race Day outfit
This is one that I hope to continue to run each year and hopefully Allan can run it with me next year. If you're looking for a challenging but fun 10K course and want to come visit us let me know and we will be happy to have you!