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, August 20, 2012

My Workout Space

There's nothing that makes me happier than everything being put away in its place and I have quite a few pieces of workout equipment that have made their home in what we call "The Auburn Room". Everything has its own area which thrills me to no end.

Foam roller and kettle bells go hand in hand right?!

If I'm going to run on the treadmill it's nice that I can look outside and see down the road or just admire the front yard. The treadmill is also right next to the air vent because once I start running it feels like the house is 80 degrees.

Treadmill and elliptical
My little TV (yes it has a VHS player) in what I call the workout corner

I also love a good workout DVD and thanks to Allan's HUGE splurge this summer I now have a glorious 60" TV in the den from which to have Jillian yell at me. As we learned over New Year's apparently our den has enough room for all our friends to do a Turbo Fire ab workout!

Sadly that's not all of my workout DVDs
I also try to keep our sports equipment in here because in our house you never know when you need to bust out the Four Square balls to play in the street with our friends. These are also some of Ali's favorite toys when she comes to visit and she stays in this room when she comes to visit.

Hand weights, volleyball, basketball, medicine ball, tennis racket, & my jump rope hangs on here too
Now this room is called "The Auburn Room" in our house so it goes without saying the bunk beds are surrounded by several of Auburn's finest such as Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell, Sen Derrick Marks, Cam Newton, Jerraud Powers, Courtney Taylor, Carlos Rogers, and Quentin Groves. We also have a Bo Jackson jersey hanging on the closet door and a sign that pretty much sums up how I feel about a city, University, and group of people that became family during my 7 years living there.

My heart really does belong to Auburn (and Allan)

One wall of pictures

Another wall of pictures above the bunk beds (ignore all the formal dresses piled on the top bunk)

The AW, BURNED article from The Oregonian is what I stare at during most of my treadmill runs
I know this may sound crazy but for someone who doesn't run with music and rarely watches a movie while running I enjoy looking at all the pictures which bring back some of the happiest memories of my life. I can remember exactly what it felt like to be in the stands for these games and run to roll Toomer's afterward. Getting lost in my thoughts helps the miles to pass quickly on the treadmill and we all know that's a good thing when you are running on the treadmill!

Do you have a workout space in your house?
What piece of equipment would you like to have that you don't? I'd like to have a bike because that's the best thing for Allan to do since he's had reconstructive ACL and meniscus surgery. He starts all his workouts by warming up on the bike.

The Widow of Saunders Creek

The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman immediately appealed to me when I read the description about the main character being an Army wife. When I received it to read for review I was anxious to sit down and read it in one sitting. I had to wait for a lazy Sunday afternoon before I had the chance and this book didn't disappoint in the least. The relationships between Corrie and her sister Lola, Corrie and her late husband's cousin Eli,  and Corrie and Eli's mom Sam intrigued me as soon as they were introduced in the novel. As Corrie deals with grieving the loss of her husband and renovating his grandparent's home that had been left to her it becomes almost too much to handle at times. Corrie finds herself easily able to trust Eli but yet doesn't heed his warning to be wary of Aunt Trudy. Will Corrie be able to open her eyes to what God has in store for her in Saunders Creek or will her grief compel her to give up the home and land and retreat back to Dallas?

I received this book free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Marathon Plan Changes & WWP Virtual Race Final Day

**Today is the last day for the Wounded Warrior Project Virtual Race! We are matching all donations made through midnight tonight and there's another $10 gift card up for grabs in addition the $50 gift card and assortment of prizes. Please this post for all the details and links! Only $125 to go until we reach our goal! Thank you all so much for your support!

Now on to my Fitness Friday post: I've gotten a lot of feedback (thank you!) about training for my first marathon and after reading all of your comments and emailing back and forth with some of you all I have decided to see how my 16-20 mile long runs go before deciding whether or not to do long runs over 20 miles. I've run 4/5 days so far this week and the only run I skipped was on a day I had a bad headache that felt like it was turning into a migraine. I'm happy to run when I don't feel great but I don't mess with my migraines. Quiet, dark, and cold rooms quickly become my haven until they go away.

This guy has run 6 miles with me this week

I hope to get in a 4-5 mile run today or tomorrow and a 9 mile run on Sunday or Monday. We are going out of town next weekend but I do plan to run on either Saturday or Sunday as well as 2-3 times during this next week. We will be at Lake Martin next weekend and it is such a beautiful place to run so I have to take advantage! That's all I've got for today so have a great weekend!

Do you have any fun plans for this weekend?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

WWP Donation Match

Thank you all so much for the support you have shown in raising money for Wounded Warrior Project. All donations made from now until midnight tomorrow we are going to match so please help us reach our goal and support Wounded Warrior Project! We are going to give everyone a chance to win another $10 gift card (you can pick where to!) if you have donated or donate by midnight tomorrow!

"Man Work"

If you follow along on facebook, twitter, or instagram then you may have seen I am doing some "man work" today. What is "man work" you might ask? My definition for man work is anything that a man probably should do but that I can do myself. When I say "should do" I am merely implying that if you were to take a poll these tasks would fall more into the masculine side of chores than the feminine. I view "man work" as a challenge and even though it can take me much longer I am bound and determined that I can get it done!

Flowerbeds I redid last summer (not necessarily man work but not easy work either!)
Lots of different tasks have been lumped into this category over the years and here are the ones on today's list and my list from last week:
  • sand and repaint a door frame nibbled on by a visiting pup
  • cut a 2x10x10 to make two new porch steps and install said steps after removing old steps
  • scrape portion of bathroom ceiling and repair the section of popcorn ceiling
  • fix doorbell by replacing capacitor in the attic (spent two hours a few weeks ago determining this is the probable cause of our doorbell no longer working)
  • assemble new patio table
  • assemble 6 new patio chairs
  • assemble 2 new front porch side tables
Our new table and chairs on the back deck

Lucky for me I've been my Daddy's little helper (as my Mom called me when I was younger) since I could walk and he always takes the time to teach me how to do things instead of doing everything for me. I am no Miss Fix-It by any means and I have Daddy on speed dial to remind me to cut the power off to the attic before working on the doorbell so I don't kill myself. Thanks to my grandfather I'm also anal about the yard so I prefer to cut the grass and weed eat myself. Last summer I spent a solid week in the blazing sun redoing my flowerbeds and it kills me when grass gets blown into my perfectly mulched flowerbeds (take note Allan!). I do have the lawn fertilized and treated for weeds and I'm on a first name basis with our guy that comes out to take care of that.

My dad, sister, and I with our first tractor-without a doubt my favorite picture
 Is there any "man work" you do at your house?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to Back Family Weekends

For the past two weekends we have spent a lot of time with family and although we've lost several hours of sleep these were weekends we wouldn't trade for anything. We met our newest niece that was born in March and Allan's mom says she holds her arms and legs in really close like Allan did when he was a baby.

Allan & our newest niece

One of the best moments of the first weekend happened when we walked in the door to surprise everyone at Allan's mom's house. Ali saw Allan and took off running so he could scoop her up and hold her. That girl's entire face lights up when Allan plays with her and it melts my heart every time I see it.

She loves books even if it's one of Allan's books for work

This past weekend Adam, Jodi, and Ali stayed with us for a few days and we cooked, spent as much time outside as possible, took their new jogging stroller for a spin around the neighborhood, played mini golf, and traded off pushing Ali in her new swing at our house. The best moment of the entire weekend for me was when I was holding Ali and she petted Sasha and Lucky. Sasha loves small children and is great with them so petting her is no big deal. Lucky is fine with children as long as they don't scream. If they scream he barks and/or growls and gets scared. I kept telling Ali to be quiet when we would go see the dogs either in their room or outside and she did a great time looking and not making noise. When she petted Lucky and he wagged his tail I was overjoyed. I can't wait for the day she can run around in the backyard playing with them!

Ali loving her swing


Teaching her to love TJ Maxx at an early age is crucial

Ali wasn't feeling mini golf but she made it through all 18 holes

Dinner on Saturday night

How often do you see your family and what do you guys normally do when you get together?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fall Race Calendar

First things first, the winner of the $10 Starbucks gift card is...Jen!! Thank you all so much for your support. We are so close to being halfway to reaching our goal!

**Don't forget that our Wounded Warrior Project Virtual Race is going on until this Friday. There are lots of great prizes available and you don't have to run in order to participate. If you aren't able to donate please help spread the word to support such a worthy cause.

Some of the prizes up for grabs!
Now on to my Fall Race Calendar:
Hopefully Liz Hurley will bring PR's for both of us again this year

I've registered for everything but The Biggest Loser Half so that leaves 5 open weekends until my marathon and one of those is our annual football game reunion weekend with many of our college friends but honestly I wouldn't have it any other way. I won't miss any of my Auburn football games and I shouldn't miss watching any of my NFL Fantasy Football player's games either.  Running and football is what fall is all about, right?! Well, that and pumpkin spice lattes, cooler weather, and the holidays. 

Just in case you'd like to make a trip to Huntsville, AL, for the half or full this might help sway you. For the Huntsville Half the cost is only $26 until August 15 and $36 until October 1. You receive a long sleeve finisher's tech shirt, a medal, and there are even door prizes! Rocket City Marathon is $60 until August 31 and $75 until September 30. Both are great deals in my opinion!

Melissa, myself,  & Allan after Huntsville Half last year (my first half!) Photo courtesy of We Run Huntsville
For the Talladega Half Marathon I am traveling with 3wheel Athletics and you can too if you are interested in participating in that half. They will handle everything from registering you for the race, race day transportation, and hotels if you wish to stay overnight.

3wheel Athletics
The Official Travel Provider of the Talladega 21000 Half Marathon

3wheel Athletics is proud to be the official travel provider of the Talladega 21000 Half Marathon.  The 3wheel team has assembled packages that will help you get a full-on Dega experience.  You can stay around the corner from the Speedway, inside it in an RV or take a shuttle straight to our VIP tent on race morning.  Anyone staying overnight will also have the opportunity to attend a private reception with running legend Bill Rodgers and even drive a stock car 180 mph around the world’s fastest track.  Boogity Boogity!

You can check out all that 3wheel as to offer for this event at or

Keep an eye out for 3wheel, as there will be much more coming down the pipeline soon!  You can follow 3wheel on Twitter @3wheelAthletics or find them on Facebook. 

Are you running any of these races this fall? Who wants to come stay with Allan and I for the Huntsville Half or Rocket City? We will let you stay in the "West Wing" and will even cook for you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hello Marathon Training

**Don't forget that our Wounded Warrior Project Virtual Race is going on until this Friday. There are lots of great prizes available and you don't have to run in order to participate. We haven't had as many people donate as I would have liked to at this point so as an extra incentive anyone who has already donated or donates today will be in a drawing for a $10 Starbucks gift card that I'll announce in tomorrow's post.

Almost time for this delicious treat to be back on the menu!

Yesterday officially kicked off marathon training for me with 17 weeks to go until my first marathon on December 8. Since I've never run a marathon I am obviously no expert on training but I believe I have a pretty good plan in place. I really appreciate all the advice/tips people gave when I announced I would be running my first marathon and I'd love to hear any other advice you might have.

I'm not going to spell it out week by week for you because I don't want to bore anyone but basically my plan is going to be a long runs of 7-15 mi (increasing by 2 mi/wk) and 16-24 mi (increasing by 1 mi/wk). This will leave me 3 weeks to taper and for those weeks my long runs will be 16 mi, 10 mi, and 8 mi. For these first few weeks I am planning to run at least a couple miles each day until I get into my double digit long runs and then I am going to play it by ear to see whether I will run 3 or 4 times per week. Thankfully my little running buddy is ready to log some miles this fall. I may even keep a mileage log for Lucky and Sasha to see how many miles they run this fall.

He's very strict about walk breaks

I'll have 1-2 short runs each week that will be 3-4 mi in length and another run that will be half the distance of my long run for the week. Luckily I have a pretty flexible schedule and don't mind running during the week so my long runs won't necessarily fall on the week thus allowing plenty of time for my other races I have scheduled.

Tomorrow I'll highlight my race calendar for the fall! Any more marathon training tips?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

"Geez, stop fixing your hair so we can take this picture and get out of here!"

"Psst, I have a secret but don't tell."

"Lucky, if you just sit still and smile then they will let us go. They promised!"

"Cover my eyes, cover my eyes!"

"I think I smell a treat. Yep, definitely a snack hidden in the leaves."

"I can't breathe if you squeeze me."

"I reallllly don't want to sit down."

"Oh my gosh, there's something in the leaves. Let me hunt for it."
There are some days when you just need a little laughter in your life and this is one of those days. Enjoy the bloopers from our photo session with Allan's brother Adam last year. He is the wonderful photographer that captured our shots we used in our Christmas card as well as many of our favorite pictures from our wedding. We are very fortunate to have such a talented photographer in the family!

**Don't forget that our Wounded Warrior Project Virtual Race is underway and runs through August 17. Check out the prize list and  help us support a great cause!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble's latest novel Tidewater Inn is one that will immediately capture your attention in the first chapter and have you reading as fast as you can in order to find out what happens next. She holds true to her other novels I have read and throws in a mix of romance and mystery and always shows the reader what happens when the characters follow God's plan even though they may fight it and may not understand it. This novel reminded me to freely forgive others even though they have not asked for and may never ask for that forgiveness. 

Now, let's get to my favorite part of the novel: the rich history of Hope Island. Libby's father's family has lived on the island for years and his father saw to it that the area was never lacking for support. We learn that Libby inherited her love of history from the father she thought had died when she was five. Libby is also shocked to find that she has family living in the area but unfortunately her brother and sister don't exactly welcome her with open arms like her Aunt Pearl. While trying to come to grips with all of this and inheriting Tidewater Inn (a property her brother had practically already sold) her best friend and business partner's kidnapping has been made to look as though she committed the crime. Will Libby be able to find the truth with the help of Alec, the gorgeous Coast Guard lieutenant, who is quickly becoming more than a friend? I encourage you to pick up a copy of Tidewater Inn and find out for yourself! If you're like me and you love a good series keep an eye out for Rosemary Cottage, the next book in the series, which will be out in July 2013!
About the Book: 

Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.
Meet Colleen: 

Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Visit her website at Twitter @colleencoble.

 Celebrate with Colleen by entering to win a $500 gift certificate to!

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate to
  • A copy of Tidewater Inn.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 22nd. Winner will be announced at Colleen's "Tidewater Inn" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/23. Colleen will be sharing the story behind the book, hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways - books, gift certificates and a Book Club Prize Pack! She’ll also be giving a sneak peak of her next book too!

So grab your copy of Tidewater Inn and join Colleen on the evening of the August 23rd  for a chance to connect with Colleen 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 FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER about Colleen's giveaway and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

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

Paint the Streets 5K-New PR!!!

I'm a little late in posting this but recapping vacation and kicking off the virtual race has had me busy. On July 28 we ran the Paint the Streets 5K which is sponsored by Allan's company. This is our second year running this race and last year it was a very emotional experience for me. I blew my old 5K out of the water and ran from start to finish. This year I also ran start to finish and while I didn't run a sub-30 5K like I had hoped to I did set a new PR with a time of 30:24!! I suppose I will have to break 30 minutes this fall running the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run. It's a 5K so there's not much left to say about the race so here are some pictures:

Allan is ready to run

So am I

Race photo courtesy of We Run Huntsville
For the rest of the day we did what everyone in the world did: we watched the Olympics. We also got to enjoy hanging out with my sister and her Jack Russell all day.

Rachel and Blackjack

Silly Lucky

Sweet Sasha
What's your favorite thing to do on a lazy Saturday?

**Don't forget that our Wounded Warrior Project Virtual Race is underway and runs through August 17. Check out the prize list and  help us support a great cause!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Liebster Award

The lovely Elle over at Eat Run Sail tagged our blog for the Liebster Award. Liebster is a German word that means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.  There are rules that I'm supposed to abide by but I'm not much of a rule follower when it comes to blog awards (forgive me Elle) so instead I'll just answer the 11 questions Elle listed for us.

1. What is your favorite season? Why?
It's a toss up between spring and fall and with football season in the fall, fall barely edges spring out.

2. What is the most exotic place you've visited?

Is this not gorgeous?!

3. Do you have pets? What kind?
We have two labs Lucky and Sasha. Lucky is mine and he's a full blooded registered lab and Sasha is Allan's and she is a lab/border collie mix.

4. What is your favorite way to unwind?
If I were to answer for Allan on this one it would be video games without a doubt. For me, I'd probably have to say playing with the dogs. It's hard to worry about anything and be stressed when you look into their big brown eyes.

5. Do you have any food issues? Special dietary needs?
Just an allergy to mushrooms!

6. Favorite snack?
This tends to change and right now it's a peach or apple.

7. Favorite flowers?
 Red roses

8. Have you met any other bloggers?
 I've been very fortunate to have met Vanessa, Jenny, and Elizabeth in Atlanta for the Publix GA Half Marathon and I met Christine when we were in Boston last month. I'm looking forward to meeting Beth in September and hopefully some other bloggers at the Women's Half Marathon in Nashville.

Jenny, myself, Elizabeth

9. Do your real life friends and family members read your blog? Do they know about it?
Our family knows about our blog as do our close friends but I've never posted my blog address on my personal facebook page. Several of our family members and friends read our blog (shame on them for rarely commenting!).

10. How do you celebrate your birthday?
 My family always has a cake and presents for me but with my birthday being on December 21 it's rare that I do anything with my friends to celebrate.

11. What motivates you to exercise and eat well? Vanity? Health? Performance?
This may sound cliche but honestly I strive to be the best me that I can be and exercise and eating well help contribute to that. 

Do you have anything random about yourself you would like to share?

**Don't forget that our Wounded Warrior Project Virtual Race is underway and runs through August 17. Check out the prize list and  help us support a great cause!!!