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!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marathon Weight Loss Challenge

By now most of you have probably heard about Run with Jess's Marathon Weight Loss Challenge where she is encouraging people to join up and set weight loss goals for themselves whether it be 26.2 lbs (marathon), 13.1 lbs (half marathon), or any other amount you hope to lose between now and September 17. Registration is closed at nearly 1000 participants. I chose to sign up for full marathon to lose 26.2 lbs.

On Saturday Allan took my measurements and took pictures and I weighed myself to record all  my starting stats. I'm going to do measurements and take pictures once a month and I'll be weighing in each Monday. I have been weighing myself every Monday morning since I started doing Weight Watchers November 2, 2006. I was able to lose 35lbs doing WW and maintained that weight loss for 3 years until I moved here. My weight has been up and down since then and it's due to one thing and one thing only: WHAT I'M EATING!

On our honeymoon in May 2009
I exercise regularly and as far as conditioning is concerned this is the best shape I've been in. I can run an entire half marathon which is something I never thought my body was capable of. Even weighing what I do right now I know I'm beautiful and that feeling will NEVER be tied to a number on the scale. However I need to focus on portion control and drinking more water to be the fittest and healthiest me that I can be. Bringing weight training back into my life to tone my arms and abs is a must.

Before Mercedes Half Marathon where I set a new PR and ran start to finish
There are mini challenges each week and for week 1 it was all about making a plan so I pulled out my notebook that I carry in my purse and set goals for myself and made a plan of how I will reach my weight loss and measurement goals. I've already mentioned portion control, water, and weight training. I'm also tracking my food, exercise, and weight using the Lose It app. There are several apps out there that you can use-this just happens to be the one I've chosen. I like that it gives me a certain number of calories to stick to in order to meet my weight loss goal. Calorie counting is reminding me the importance of making smart food and drink choices at every single meal or snack.

Hannah & Olivia-sisters and BL11 winner & runner-up
Another big factor that is sometimes forgotten when people start on a weight loss journey is motivation. Everyone is motivated by different things/people but I did want to take a minute and briefly mention what motivates me. Hannah and Olivia are very motivational people for me and I always enjoying reading their blog and hearing what they have to say on twitter. Biggest Loser is the one of the few shows I find particularly motivating and lucky for me all the past seasons are on Netflix on instant view so I've started back at the beginning watching the episodes while I'm reading blogs or working on my computer. More than anything I look to myself for motivation. I know I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to!

Are any of you participating in the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge?
What's your favorite motivational quote?

Friday, June 22, 2012

To Hang and To Hold

Months ago I won a fancy medal hanger from a giveaway and upon its arrival I tore it open like it was a Christmas present, contemplated where to put it, and then sat it in my closet. I stare at this thing every day and it's taken me months to commit to a spot where I want to display my medals. Shortly after winning the medal hanger I won a bib holder and it too was torn into like a Christmas present and then sat aside while I contemplated their spot in the house.

I just love how they look next to each other!

Yesterday I wanted to drill holes in the wall like Allan has for his blasted surround sound and new TV finally decided where the perfect spot would be for my medal hanger and bib holder and away I went. Armed with the drill and the hammer I set to work and within 15 minutes had both on the wall. Then I added the bibs and medals and stepped back to admire their new spot in the house. My medals no longer hang on the inside of the doorknob of the hall closet where they rattle every time I go to grab a jacket. My race bibs no longer take over the bulletin board in the laundry room.

My 1/2 marathon is holding my medal from my first half

The four bibs not on the hangers had oddly spaced holes
I'm pretty happy with their spots in the hall and the best part-I can see both from our bed when I look into the hall. If that's not motivation to get up and run I don't know what is! I almost forgot to explain the reason I chose "Always Earned Never Given". I picked that phrase because although I'm not the fastest runner and I may never win a race or even an age group award I try my best and I never cross the finish line without knowing I earned the medal I receive. This phrase also translates into other areas of my life such as my relationship with Allan. We fought hard to get to where we are today as a couple and hopefully all that hard work and our continued work will make for a long, happy marriage! 

Do you have a medal hanger or bib holder?
If not where do you put your medals and bibs or do you even keep either?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We're Going Coast to Coast!!!

As of yesterday our flights are booked and in July we will spend over a week in Boston and then a week in San Diego. I haven't been this excited/nervous since I signed up for my first half marathon! I will get to celebrate the 4th of July on the Cape which I've heard is unlike any other 4th of July celebration. One of our best friends lives in Boston and he already has a list of activities that I'm researching online!

Cannot wait to see Boston!
Once our adventures in New England wrap up then we are off to the West Coast. Colorado is the furthest west that I've been so California will be new territory for me. Allan has been several times and his two bosses already have running routes close to the hotel that they ran last summer. Apparently Allan got fussed at last summer when he went to San Diego and didn't bring me so this year I refused to stay behind!

our hotel in La Jolla-the pool and I will be close friends!
If you are in the New England area (I'm planning to travel to VT, NH, RI, CT, and NY if I can) let me know and we will try to meet up. Call me crazy but I'm actually thinking about running a half marathon in Jamestown while we are in Boston. I know I'm a runner when the first thing I've looked at is races not places to go sightseeing! Also if you're in San Diego let me know and we can meet up as well.

What are must see places in New England or San Diego?
Any great restaurants or places to run? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reunited & It Feels So Good

You are welcome for getting that song stuck in your head for the day. Unfortunately that's the only line I can remember so now I'm going to have to google the lyrics!

This summer is all about reunions for us with both of our 10 year HS reunions and reunions for both sides of my dad's family. Even though my grandparents have all passed away I love going to family reunions and talking to other family members. It's always neat to hear stories especially when those stories involve my grandparents. At our first family reunion of the summer I got to talk with one of my grandfather's sisters for a long time. This is one smart lady who at one point ran the IT department at Ft. Rucker. My dad was able to spend some time talking with a couple of his first cousins and their families, one of whom we have always been close to since the two boys went to school with my sister and I.

my Daddy, his first cousin, my great aunt
The reunion was at City Hall which is literally right next door to the farm and land my grandfather's family once owned. My great grandparent's house is still owned by my dad's first cousin (pictured above) and I was able to go and see it for the first time. I wish I had a side by side picture of my great grandparents sitting on the porch in the early 80's and this photo because that's immediately what I envisioned when we rounded the curve and saw the house nestled in the trees. Obviously no one has lived there in years and before too long it will probably fall down but it was nice to see it and imagine my grandfather playing there as a little boy.

the old "home place" as my dad calls it
Now before I get sappy and distracted let's chat for a minute about food at this event. It has been a LONG time since I've seen so many tables filled with home cooked food (only exception was fried chicken from a local place). I held myself back from getting too much food on my first trip so I could save space for an entire plate of desserts. Yes, an entire plate of yummy desserts and I ate every bite! How can you turn down desserts that older women in the family have been making for 70+ years? You can't so you just promise yourself to run extra and enjoy the moment. This reunion is a tradition which I hope to be a part of for several years to come as it continues to be longest running family reunion in that area which started with my great great grandparents and their siblings 100 years ago.

This past weekend we had Allan's 10 year HS reunion at the Hoover Country Club and it was exactly how I pictured it would be since it was at a country club-a wedding reception minus older people and children. Several people from Allan's class went to Auburn along with Allan and three of the girls lived in my dorm freshman year so there were lots of familiar faces that I hadn't seen in years since we all graduated from Auburn. It was really fun for me to see Allan talking with people that he'd gone to school with not just since high school but some even all the way back to elementary. I heard many a story about football, baseball, and wrestling and even one about Allan falling asleep in English class. I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked to but here are my snapshots from Saturday night.

These cards are for each of Allan's classmates who serve or have served in the military

The cake was dry :(

All the decorations were beautiful

Yes I am rocking orange and black which are Hoover's school colors

I thought this was really sweet
All in all it was a fun night and other than a few guys Allan got to see most everyone that he was hoping to see. On the way home he did say that it was odd that so many guys came and I thought so too. Of the 100+ people there it was almost an even split with his class. We are excited to hang out with one of Allan's classmates and her husband who live not far from us here in Madison. We both knew her in college. I went on Spring Break with her my freshman year and she lived with two of my bridesmaids a couple years later but I hadn't seen her since she left for law school.

Did you go or do you plan to go to your HS reunions?
Do you attend family reunions?

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Lovely Monday

Any Monday that starts with catching up on Drop Dead Diva and The Client List on the DVR, reading blogs, and drinking a giant cup of decaf coffee is bound to be a great day!

I've been nominated by three blogs for the Lovely Blog Award: Travel Spot, Runner...Maybe, and The Little JBird. All three of these ladies have wonderful blogs and I highly encourage you to check out their blogs if you aren't already a reader.

Here are the rules:
  1. Post the award logo and picture on your blog and link back to the person (or people) who nominated you.
  2. Tell seven things about yourself.
  3. Nominate up to 15 additional bloggers whom you think deserve the award (I am skipping this part because I hate to leave people out-sorry!).
  4. Post a comment on the blog of each nominee to tell them they have been nominated (not nominating anyone so leaving this step out)!
My new haircut!

Alright, now on to seven things about myself!
  1. I'm allergic to mushrooms. People always think I dislike them but that's not it. I get sick, REALLY sick if I eat them, a casserole made with cream of mushroom soup, or even onion rings fried in the same grease as fried mushrooms.
  2. Writing my thesis was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
  3. I've never dyed my hair or had a perm.
  4. My middle name is Victoria after Queen Victoria and my sister's middle name is Elizabeth after Queen Elizabeth.
  5. The only bone I've ever broken is the knuckle of my left ring finger. I've got a permanent lump on my finger where pieces of my knuckle grew back together. 
  6. For over two years I sold shoes at Just for Feet and learned a ridiculous amount of information about feet and shoes which is probably part of the reason I own so many pairs of shoes.
  7. Deep down I'm a hopeless romantic who cries over sappy love stories, sweet love letters, and great love songs.
Not my old store but pretty close

 If you haven't already been awarded the One Lovely Blog award then consider yourself awarded!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Speechless Sunday-Doggy Paddle

I had to put captions on these but basically we shaved Sasha last Saturday and then took the dogs for a swim at the preserve close to our house. Shaving Sasha is like shearing a sheep but she's much cooler even if she does look a little funny!

Uh oh, hair cut time!

Followed by swimming

And fetching the water toy

Lucky is our long distance swimmer in the family

Little bit of rolling in the mud with her new hair do

Prancing along the lake

Someone only sits when they are told...

A nice little nap after getting her summer haircut and taking a swim

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Zensah Compression Socks Review

This review has been a long time coming but I wanted to wait until I had pain in my legs or feet to be able to use these and see how they helped me. Compression socks or sleeves after a half marathon have been a necessity for me this spring as I ran 8 half marathons in 4 months so I could already attest to the relief they provide after a long run. 

Lovely shot of my legs

Earlier in the week during a run with Lucky I started having a sharp pain shoot through my foot. I immediately stopped running and started to walk the short distance back home. The pain lingered throughout the day so that evening I pulled on my Zensah compression socks and within a couple of hours there was no more pain in my foot and the next morning I woke up pain free as well.

They have a nice L and R so you know which foot goes in which sock
While this is only one instance in which I used these rest assured that they are a staple in my running wardrobe as I train for my first marathon this December. So far I have only used my compression socks for recovery but I will wear them for my next long run on the indoor track since running on the concrete and making several turns puts a little more strain on my legs.

I wanted to show how high they come up on my legs so you get another lovely shot of my legs

All in all I highly recommend these athletic compression socks. If you'd like to read more about them feel free to click on the image below or visit their website. At $50 a pair I would say they are right on par as far as price is concerned and in my opinion it's well worth the money! As a side note, Allan has worn Zensah compression socks underneath his soccer socks for all of his soccer games this year and the calf pain he had last year has not come back this year. He won't play a soccer game without his Zensah compression socks now!

Little more info for those who want to know the nitty gritty facts about Zensah's compression socks
I was provided a pair of Zensah compression socks by Zensah in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 8, 2012

6 Months Until I'm a Marathoner!

I have literally been having to keep myself away from social media for fear of not being able to keep my mouth shut about this. I'M RUNNING MY FIRST FULL MARATHON 6 MONTHS FROM TODAY!!! Registration for Rocket City Marathon opened on Memorial Day and you better believe that as soon as we crossed the finish line for the Cotton Row 5K I was busy registering on my iPhone on

At the end of 2011 I made what seemed to be a crazy decision at the time to be a part of the 12 in 2012 team and run 12 half marathons this year. By the time March rolled around I was already toying with the idea of running Rocket City on December, 8, 2012, as my first full marathon. As I started to come into my own as a runner I realized that long distance running is where I am most comfortable. I may never be as speedy as Allan but stick me outside or on a treadmill with some blue Gatorade and my GU chomps and I feel like I can run forever or at least until I'm out of Gatorade and GU chomps. No need for music-somehow I manage to entertain myself and stay focused on my form and my breathing without getting bored.

Listening to my body is something I've always been good about doing and aside from a few injuries in high school that were more accidents than anything I've been fortunate to avoid injury. I'm hoping this will hold true in the coming months as I push my body to run longer distances and run without as many rest days in between. To say I am excited about running a marathon is an understatement! It's been on my mind constantly these past two weeks. Here's to lots of miles, gallons of Gatorade, and no injuries in the next 6 months!

Marathoners: Any tips or advice would be much appreciated!
Anyone else running a race of any distance for the first time this year?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cotton Row Expo & Race

Every year on Memorial Day we start our morning in downtown Huntsville running Cotton Row. This race will always hold a special place in my heart since it was my first race in 2010. My "training" for that 5K consisted of running a mile around the neighborhood, fussing at Allan for making me run too fast, and refusing to run again until the race. Somehow I managed to pull off a time of 37:43 for my first 5K. Last year I finished the 5K in 38:27 and it was SOOO hot! That's the only race that I've nearly thrown up at the finish and it was brutal.

This year we were excited for the expo and were waiting in line for the doors to open. Allan made a beeline straight for the Fleet Feet area to look at the sale shoes. Allan's mom and I picked up our race packets and headed for the sale shoes. Ten minutes later I was in the checkout line with 5 pairs of shoes (2 for me, 2 for Allan, and 1 for his mom) and a shirt. Then I made my way to the $9.99 apparel area and lucked out with a few pairs of shorts, a shirt, and another pair of shoes for both Allan and myself.

One can never have too many running shoes, right?!
On Sunday night we had a big pasta dinner and went to bed early. The next morning we were out the door at 5:45. Allan met his coworkers for a quick team picture before the 10K and then finished stretching and getting ready. Before Cotton Row there's always a moving speech about the reason we celebrate Memorial Day followed by a patriotic song and a prayer. Each year when taps is played I cry and this year was no different.

Our new flag
Allan is super speedy and always leaves everything out on the road, wrestling mat, or soccer field. With that in mind I knew he wanted to run close to a sub-50 for his first 10K and I had no doubt he would be close. I'd be lying if I said I didn't start worrying as soon as the first finishers came in. Allan later told me that's exactly how he feels during all my half marathons. Allan came in at 53:53 and I was so excited for him. When I asked him about the big hill he smiled and said he sprinted the entire thing! He's determined to run a sub-50 10K next year and will be running the Huntsville Half Marathon with me in November. I better get faster if I want to keep up with him!

Allan is the one with the calf sleeve on in the blue shirt
I did manage to catch Elizabeth at the finish line since she finished before Allan. She ran a fast race and looked really cute in her sparkle skirt! We spent the next hour getting ready for the 5K which started at 9. Allan's mom was having trouble with her sciatic nerve so we didn't run as much as we were hoping but it was still one of my favorite races to date. The three of us talked the entire race and picked out several gorgeous houses in downtown Huntsville that we would love to buy! As we neared the finish we linked arms and ran across the finish line together. Adam, Jodi, and Ali were cheering for us at the finish. We headed inside for Domino's pizza and to cool off. Although our time wasn't what we had originally hoped for the experience of running someone's first 5K with them was absolutely priceless! Don't worry, Allan's mom is already training for her next 5K (Liz Hurley in October) and Adam began running this week too so his family will be running Liz Hurley with us as well!

Our #1 fan for the race!
Do other members of your family run?

What traditions do you have for Memorial Day?