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, April 30, 2012

Gulf Coast Half Recap & Beach Trip

The Good
  • It was at the beach so it wasn't freezing like several of my other races have been
  • I finally got to meet Jill who organized the 12 in 2012 group
  • No hills at all!!!!
Allan and I before the race
Jill and I at McGuire's

 The Bad
  • Post-race food: beer, water, bananas, red beans & rice (thank goodness for the bananas!)
  • The smell running through the neighborhoods for the first few miles was disgusting and one I can't quite describe but won't soon forget
The Ugly
  • Running 7 miles into the sun and wind was brutal 
  • No shade at all (I'm just not used to this but I know I should have expected it)
  • My time was 2:46:56 (I'm calling it ugly just because it was so much slower than Oak Barrel and I walked A LOT)
Alright, let's skip to the fun stuff! Allan and I got to spend the weekend with Rachel (my sister) and her husband and their two dogs: Rocko (German Shepherd) and Blackjack (Jack Russell Terrier). I could tell stories about places we went and funny things that happened but sometimes the pictures tell the best stories!

The guys playing around at McGuire's

Rocko and Blackjack in the yard

Sisters!

The beautiful water that ate Allan's expensive sunglasses when he dove in after the football

The water was COLD!

Everybody needs a little sun!
Being at the beach for the weekend and staying with my sister was a great break from work and the stresses of life. It was nice to leave my computer at home, keep my phone on silent, and enjoy the sun and family time. I did learn that running at the beach is NOT my thing. I'd consider doing a 5K somewhere down there but no more half marathons! I'll stick to the hills and courses with big shady trees!

Are you a fan of racing at the beach or would you prefer to just vacation there?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why WE RUN

If you've been reading the blog for awhile then you probably know they are three main causes that Allan and I feel very strongly about and do all that we can to support. Each of these causes have had a personal impact on us and there isn't a race long enough or a donation goal high enough to where we will feel we have done all we can do. There will always be things they don't know about breast cancer, better technology to prevent premature births that need developing, and more men and women willing to fight for our country. In case you haven't already guessed it the following causes are ones we support:
  • Breast cancer research and treatment (via Liz Hurley Ribbon Run and other organizations)
  • Premature births (via March of Dimes)
  • Military and their families (via Wounded Warrior Project)
Click the photo to be taken to the page for our virtual race for Team ALI

Around March and April of each year you will see us raising money for Team ALI (Amazing Little Infants) and March of Dimes. Our team is named after our niece (pictured above) who was born premature in October 2010. We are hosting a virtual race through this Saturday and you can enter by making a $5 donation or more and you will have a chance to win TWO $50 VISA gift cards as well as 10 other prizes pictured here. It is for Ali, my mom, our friend Jenn, and all the other premies out there that are born fighters that WE RUN!


In October each year we raise money to support breast cancer and run the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run here in Huntsville, AL, and last year the run raised over $250,000. We do all that we can to support breast cancer research because our family has been touched by this disease when we lost our sister in law Tanya in March 2008. As a little girl I lost an aunt to breast cancer as well and in just the past six months we lost another aunt to breast cancer. A sweet friend Christa that I made through blogging is a breast cancer survivor so now each year that we do this race I will think of her and thank God for her! Chances are you probably know someone or know of someone that breast cancer has affected and because of that WE RUN.

The guy in the middle is my best friend who just finished 9 years of service in the Air Force and is now in the Army

This year we will be running the Wounded Warrior Project 8K Run to support our military and will be fundraising this summer on the blog. Both of Allan's grandfathers served our country during World War II and thankfully both came home after the war without any life threatening or life altering injuries but often in the military this is not the case and the Wounded Warrior Project is there to step in. In 2003 when my best friend left for basic training in the Air Force my strong feelings for supporting our military strengthened. My sister's husband is in the Air Force and this summer when he deploys I hope that he and my sister feel nothing but love and support from their family, friends, and community. It is for the brave men and women who have served, are serving, and will serve our country that WE RUN.

Who or what do YOU RUN for?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Virtual Race Prizes Revealed!

For those who are doing the virtual race or might be considering it we are getting close to the wire so without further adieu here are the prizes you could possibly win just from making a $5 donation or more to Team ALI's group for March of Dimes! We have already raised $160 so a big THANK YOU to all those who have donated so far!!!

4 packs of Nuun-2 tropical, 1 grape, and 1 fruit punch (one person will win all 4)

Your choice of either the Heavy or Medium Gaiam Pilates Bodyband Workout Kit

A Pilates Yoga Figure 8 Fitness Kit with DVD

A New Balance running hat, Craft running visor, or Craft running hat

Nike Women's Lightweight Training Gloves (I believe they are a size Small)

A Small or Medium long sleeve New Balance tech tee with pink accents
That's a total of 10 prizes and I'm really trying to make it so everyone wins something so if we are able to get more donations looks like I will have to make a trip to buy more prizes! We purchased these prizes ourselves and my sister helped me pick them out. She's works out and runs some but I have yet to be able to talk her into running a race with me (or starting a blog!) and she felt like these would be prizes that anyone with an interest in fitness would enjoy receiving. I, of course, was immediately attracted to fuel belts, handheld water bottles, and other running goodies before she led me away.

If you haven't signed up for the Team ALI Virtual Race it's not too late to do so. You have until this Saturday and to be honest if you dedicate a run to Ali that's great but if you don't I'm not going to disqualify you from the "race". Our main focus here is raising money for the March of Dimes so babies like Ali, my mom, and Jenn are given a greater chance at surviving being born early. The prizes are our way of saying thank you for your support. Don't forget everyone has a chance at winning TWO $50 VISA gift cards as well: one from us and one from Adam & Jodi & Ali.

I'm convinced Allan and Ali just don't take bad pictures when they are together
One thing I did want to mention is the process for awarding prizes for the virtual race. I'm going to pick 10 (or more depending on how many people donate) winners and then I will contact each person individually to see which prize they would like to receive. I will just go down the list until I've heard back from everyone. Please speak up if you would like me to do it differently but obviously I would hate for someone to get a prize they don't want and when you win if you don't like the prizes left to chose from speak up and I will be happy to get you something else.

Thanks again for your support and if there is ever a cause that you are raising money for please let us know so we can support you too!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Allan's Birthday Surprises

Wednesday night started the birthday celebration for Allan (his birthday is 4/20) and we celebrated through Sunday. We went to our favorite Mexican place on Wednesday night and had dinner together since I knew we would have several surprise guests over the next few days. Dinner was delicious as always!


Thursday brought the first of Allan's birthday surprises. His brother Adam, his wife Jodi, and their daughter Ali got here late that afternoon. We ended up ordering pizza and then taking everyone out for frozen yogurt. It was Ali's first time to eat frozen yogurt and she loved it!

Yum, yum, yum

Adam took this with my iPhone and I love it!
Besides pizza and fro yo we also played in the yard with some of Ali's toys and let her see the dogs. This little girl mostly said four words while she was here: Mommy, Daddy, Allan, and doggy. She woke up making a woof woof sound. It was so precious! As cute as she is with Adam and Jodi it melts my heart to watch her with Allan.

Playing hide and seek with Allan

Once she finds him she runs away and he chases her

Watching the doggies on the deck

Checking the mail with Uncle Allan
They left after lunch on Friday and on Friday night we had guy's night (plus me) with some of our friends and we went out to dinner at Cheddar's and then hung out downtown for awhile. On Saturday night Allan's mom came up to surprise Allan and take us out to dinner for his birthday. We went to Longhorn and I had every intention of taking some pictures but we were all tired and hungry and gobbled up our steaks, salads, and sweet potatoes. She didn't head back home until last night so we were able to go to church together and spend the afternoon with her.

Is that not gorgeous?!
Last night we ran out to Publix and it had just rained and there was one of the most beautiful rainbows I've ever seen painted across the sky. Allan is pretty confident this needs to be the new background for the blog so I may be making some changes soon to the blog!

Don't forget to sign up for the Team ALI Virtual Race and make a donation to support Team ALI and March of Dimes. All the details about the race and giveaway can be found in this post! Right now the odds for winning a $50 VISA giftcard are pretty good and so far no one has expressed an interest in participating in the virtual race so we may cancel that if no one signs up this week.

When is the last time you saw a rainbow?

Are you signed up for the virtual race?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Team A.L.I. Virtual Run-March of Dimes

As a little girl I remember my mother telling me the story of her premature birth and being placed in a shoebox in front of the fireplace the night of her birth (at home) with no one expecting her to still be alive the next day. My mother was a fighter and her will to live ultimately won out despite the lack of medical technology available at the time for babies born prematurely.

In October 2010 another premature miracle entered our lives in the form of our niece Ali who weighed in at 2 lbs and 6 oz. You can read the story of her birth here on Adam and Jodi's blog. It's truly remarkable to look at her now and try to remember how tiny and fragile she once was. She's growing into a beautiful little girl who loves doggies and has her Uncle Allan wrapped around her little finger. Not long after Ali's birth we found out our sweet friend Jenn is also a miracle baby and you can read her story here.

Sweet Ali just after she was born
Last year Adam and Jodi started Team A.L.I. (Amazing Little Infants) and walked for March of Dimes. This year on April 28 they will be walking in Birmingham with other family and I will be running Music City Half in Nashville. That race will be dedicated to my mom, Ali, Jenn, and all the other miracle babies that have been born and have yet to be born. As part of their fundraising efforts Adam and Jodi are offering up a $50 Visa giftcard to one person who donates to Team ALI. Basically for every $5 you donate you earn an entry into their giveaway.

Isn't she precious?!
We are also going to offer a $50 Visa gift card with the same rules as Adam and Jodi. You receive one entry for every $5 you donate here. I'll receive an email letting me know you've donated so there's no need to comment letting us know and there's no need to donate on Adam's page and mine-it all goes to Team ALI and March of Dimes.  This means if you donate to Team ALI you have a chance to win not one but TWO $50 Visa giftcards!!!


Alright now for all of you runners or walkers who'd love to donate and walk/run we are doing a virtual run as well. Anytime between now and April 28 please donate at least $5 and dedicate a walk/run of any length to Team ALI. There will be separate prizes for the virtual run which will be revealed in an upcoming post (this one is already getting too long!) along with prize categories. If you are going to donate and run let us know in a comment or email so we can keep track of everyone running or walking.

***Just to be sure everyone is on the same page here. You can donate once and be eligible to win the $50 VISA giftcard from Adam & Jodi as well as the one from us and if you run then you will receive an entry into the virtual run as well so that's one donation (at least $5) for chances to possibly win $100 in VISA giftcards and one of the virtual run prizes!!!






Feel free to snag this photo and put it on your blog but please link back to this post. Obviously this is something that we really want to get the word out on so you will receive additional entries into the virtual run giveaway for sharing this via your blog, facebook, twitter, etc. Just be sure to let us know the ways you shared. You can leave everything in one comment if you'd like because I'll be keeping up with everything in a spreadsheet. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Stay tuned for more info on prizes!

By the Light of the Silvery Moon Book Review (Titanic!!!)

This book made me feel like I was on the Titanic back in 1912 and walking side by side with Amelia as she first saw Quentin being dragged off the boat and later when their eyes met and her heart fluttered with excitement. By the Light of the Silvery Moon reads like a cross between the old Titanic miniseries that aired on CBS years ago and James Cameron's Titanic movie. There's a romantic element as well as a little mystery and a wonderful lesson that leaving things in God's hands always yields the best results. When the story first begins and Amelia sees this man down on his luck with a cut on his cheek being dragged off the boat her desire to help a stranger takes hold and she goes to him and offers him her cousin's ticket since he was unable to make it aboard. This stranger and his secrets cause Amelia to do some soul searching of her own. The prodigal son (Quentin) weighs the decision to return to his father and brother or to continue to battle his demons on his own while his brother Damien decides whether to confess to his father that he has known his brother's whereabouts all along. I must confess that this book left me yearning for a second book to follow the characters and where their life leads them!
 
About the book:
Amelia Gladstone's hopes are tied up in the Titanic--hopes for a reunion with her sister and an introduction to an admirer. But when she offers a spare ticket to a down-and-out young man, her fate is about to change.

Quentin Walpole is stunned when a sweet lady secures his passage to America--and even more surprised to find his wealthy father and older brother on board the ship. Suddenly Amelia finds herself caught between the attentions of two men, but who should she entrust her heart to? As the fateful night arrives, will Amelia lose everything to the icy waters?
 
 
 

 
About Tricia: 
 
Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of thirty-two books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

More info: Living Inspired and www.triciagoyer.com.


 

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

Monday, April 9, 2012

Oak Barrel Half Marathon Recap

The Good
  • Finished with a chip time of 2:27:46 which is a new PR for me by over 3 min!!!
  • The scenery was beautiful with green pastures, cows, and huge trees
  • Race swag: long sleeve tech tee, running hat, finisher's medal, nice bag that I can actually use
  • First two miles I ran with Jenn (she has even longer legs than me!) and had a great time chatting
  • Running into Elizabeth and Melissa after the race
This was one of my favorite spots along the course

Absolutely beautiful countryside!

The Bad
  • Whiskey Hill was pretty rough and even though I walked the entire hill my quads are still burning from it

Looking back down Whiskey Hill




Looking up at what was still left to go


The Ugly

  • Moving Comfort = disaster for my poor little shoulders (I was sooo disappointed by this!)
  • Bloody socks and shoes again (my fault for not remembering to cut my toenails!)
(There will be no pictures of either!)

On Friday I decided to take Sasha for a nice ride up to Lynchburg, TN, so I could pick my packet up at the Jack Daniels Visitor Center and make sure I knew how to get to there since I would be driving by myself the next morning. It was an hour from our house to get there and the entire drive was absolutely gorgeous! 

Packet pick up

Sasha says thank you to the visitor's center for her lemonade!

What I'd love for Santa to bring me this year and it's for sale!

My favorite part of the drive (I stopped the car to take this the next morning on the drive in)
Going into this race I knew several bloggers and friends would be there and I tried to find as many people as I could. Luckily I found Jenn just before the start and we ran together for the first couple of miles. This girl is fast and ran a great race! I let her go after the first couple of miles because it was obvious I was slowing her down. (Jenn-I'd love to know what our times were for the first couple of miles because I'm pretty sure I've never run that fast!). After Jenn took off and I stopped to walk for a second I nearly checked out mentally. I felt like crying and I was so tired from the busy week and emotionally exhausted from being worried about my parents last week. The mental struggle continued for the next 5 miles as I tried to run as fast as I could and only take short breaks to walk. 

Jenn and I post-race
Somewhere around Mile 8 I noticed I was catching up to many of the people that had passed me between Miles 3-5. This stirred up my competitive nature and I decided I'd try to see how many of them I could pass and off I went which meant I was completely focused on my running and keeping good form. This continued for the next 3 miles and the section of the half that is normally a struggle for me probably turned out my fastest miles (with the exception of miles 1 & 2) as I picked people off. I took a couple of breaks to walk before checking my phone to see that I was close to 12.5 miles. I decided to run the rest of the way in and try to pass the few people that were within reach. As we neared the finish I did my normal sprint to the finish and easily passed them. 

Loved the carved wooden medal, running hat, tech tee, and bag!
I knew I had set a new PR as soon as I crossed the line and achieved a huge personal goal of running a sub-2:30 half. The only downside to it was that Allan was on a plane headed home instead of waiting at the finish line. Nonetheless I quickly grabbed some fruit and somehow managed to spot Elizabeth as she was leaving so I ran after her and we chatted and took a quick picture (yes, we are very good bloggers!). I've enjoyed running into her at races. It's always nice to hear a "War Eagle" after a race from a fellow Auburn grad! She ran a great race so keep an eye out for her recap.

Elizabeth & I

All I kept thinking about after the race was that I had only run my first half in November and there's just no way I've gone from running a half in 2:38:51 to 2:27:46. This PR was earned with blood, sweat, and almost tears. This is a course that I fell in love with and as close as it is to our house this is a race I will plan to run every year for as long as I can. Although I'm sure other PR's will replace this one you only ever run a sub-2:30 half for the first time once! Perhaps Allan will even run it with me next year! (I'm going to make him a long distance runner yet!) The perfect end to the post-race experience was running into Melissa afterwards. I know you guys have heard me mention her time and again as she is the person who inspired me to start running in the first place. She was a champ today racing two weeks after having the flu and still ran a sub-2 half! We realized that we've never taken a picture together after a race so we made sure to fix that!

Melissa & I post-race
I couldn't have asked for a better start to a month filled with 3 half marathons. Now I feel like I really can just enjoy myself next weekend running at the beach for the Gulf Coast Half and at the end of the month in Nashville for the Music City Half. Thank you all so much for all of your comments, thoughts, and prayers this past week. Both my parents are recovering well and Allan is home so I can't ask for more than that!

The Devil in Pew Number Seven Book Review






The Devil in Pew Number Seven is a true story of a pastor, his wife, and their son and daughter and how their lives in a small town in rural North Carolina were turned upside down by a man's hatred. Bombings in the night were a constant worry for their small family each night when they went to bed. The story is told from the daughter's point of view and it's amazing to see how God protected her and her brother when they could have been killed on more than one occasion when dynamite went off outside the house or a sniper shot through her bedroom windows. Her father refused to let the devil win and he would not leave his congregation. The congregation of his tiny church stood beside him and did their best to help them through this time while the authorities attempted to compile enough evidence to bring the man everyone knew was responsible to justice. Throughout everything their family remained strong and continued to find ways to help people in their community. All that changed the day that a man armed with three guns stormed into their house. The forgiveness that this family had preached about and lived up to this point would be put to the ultimate test. Although I enjoyed reading the story itself the part of this book I enjoyed most was the end where she talked about forgiveness. There were several pieces of scripture and several quotes on forgiveness that she shared that I will carry with me.

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Family News

This is going to be short and sweet but for those who would like to know we have a couple family updates to pass on. My mom had gallbladder surgery today and is at home already and doing great. I've talked to both her and my Dad and things should be interesting at home with Dad being the nurse's nurse!

Last week we had a little niece that was born. Allan's mom is in NC now spending time with them and helping out. I find it funny that Allan's mom had three boys and now she has three little granddaughters!

If you're a believer in prayer please say a prayer for both my mom and our new niece and keep both Allan and I in your prayers this week too. Allan's in VA for work and I'm nannying overnight until Wednesday as well as dog sitting until Sunday. I've got my hands full with three dogs, a 9 year old, getting my work audits completed, and fulfilling my volunteer obligations at the hospital. Oh, and I'm running a half marathon on Saturday and then volunteering at an event that night! Am I crazy? Probably so!

For now I'm exhausted but I'll get caught up on your blogs tomorrow!