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!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Project Embrace The Change

If you had told me in January that embracing change would be the theme of 2013 I probably wouldn't have believed you. Sure, I knew that my sister was going to have her first child in February and that Allan's younger brother's family would be welcoming their second child in April but what I didn't count on was everything else that has transpired.

My sister (Rachel) and her sweet husband

As I have already mentioned our family farm is up for sale so there's a good chance that by Christmas my parents will have a new home. This past week while Allan's younger brother's family was here they found out that they will be moving to New Mexico in late December or early January for Adam to begin his career as an occupational therapist. While we are very excited for them it makes the next few months of time precious as we try to see them as often as possible before they move.

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My iris will have to be moved here and be moved with my parents when the time comes
My best friend is in a similar situation. He's been selected as a Blackhawk pilot and once that training is complete he and his family will be moving. Chances are, they will be moving far away if they get any of their top three choices. I bet you can't guess when they are most likely leaving. That's right, late December or early January. Hopefully we will have several more opportunities to see them before they start this next chapter in a new place. I've been spoiled having him back in Alabama the past couple years.

My best friend before his last deployment

There are numerous other things that have gone on this year whether it be in our personal or professional lives and it feels like no area of our life is safe from change. We can't control much of what's happened or is happening in our lives right now but we can control ourselves and we plan to be leaner, stronger, and faster before this year is over! Tomorrow we are finally using our Groupons for the gym and I'll kick off marathon training this week while Allan gets ready for fall soccer season and a half marathon in November. I'm looking forward to putting in hard work in the gym, trying out new classes, strength training with Allan, cross training on my off days from running, and getting in 3 quality runs each week to prepare myself for a FULL fall race schedule.

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Ready to work hard to earn another one of these this year
Project Embrace the Change is officially underway! I'd say to wish us luck but when it comes to seeing results I believe it has very little to do with luck and a lot to do with putting in hard work, being consistent, and staying motivated.

Have you had a lot of changes occur this year?
How do you deal with change?

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

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The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate introduces us to a cast of extraordinary women but focuses on Tandi Jo Reese and Iola Anne Poole and how their stories seem to intertwine despite Tandi being two generations younger than Iola. Not long after Tandi and her two children arrive in town and begin renting Iola's bungalow Iola passes away. The music minister at church tasks Tandi with cleaning out the trash and perishable items from the house in exchange for her rent at the bungalow. What Tandi finds that first day in Iola's house will change her in ways she can't even imagine.

Iola's prayer box on her desk is but one of many prayer boxes that she started filling at the age of 10. The more Tandi reads the more she begins to see that no one in the Outer Banks really knew Iola Anne Poole at all. As Tandi uncovers Iola's past she is forced to deal with her own past, present, and future.

This is a beautifully written story and one that touched my heart. I have a prayer box bracelet that a friend gave me in college and after reading this story that bracelet has a whole new meaning. I hope that the tradition of a prayer box is one that will continue for years to come. I can't imagine a more heartfelt gift to give a son or daughter on their wedding day than a prayer box filled with prayers their parents have prayed for them over the years. I highly encourage you to read The Prayer Box. Please let me know if you enjoy it as much as I have!

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


Monday, August 5, 2013

Franklin Half Marathon

On June 22 I ran the Franklin Half Marathon in Leiper's Fork, TN. It was my 8th half marathon of the year. This was the first year they hosted this race and as with any inaugural events there are some kinks to work out. Leiper's Fork is an extremely tiny community and most of the traffic on race day seemed to be coming from the same direction thus causing a traffic problem. Instead of starting at 7AM we started at almost 7:20AM to account for people being stuck in traffic. In late June in the south a 30 minute delay is a big deal.


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Barn across from the start area

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Start line, packet pickup area, and port-o-potty lines

There was one runner that proved to be particularly motivating and entertaining. Apparently this guy lost a bet and had to run a half in Wranglers, a long sleeve shirt, and a cowboy hat. I have a weakness for cowboys and military guys so I found myself trying to keep Mr. Cowboy and his friend in site. Honestly I was really worried he was going to get overheated. Can you imagine running in jeans?!


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Mr. Cowboy and his friend

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The start

After experiencing some hip pain over the last 6-8 weeks I decided to take it slow for this race, taking more walk breaks than usual, and focusing on running with good form. The course was beautiful so I stopped to take pictures often.


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One of the first pretty stretches of countryside


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Loved all the pasture land along the course

The race was anything but flat for the most part and the one stretch that was pretty flat was in full sun so I think I'd rather have shade and hills when it feels like it's 90+ degrees outside. Hopefully next year it will start at 6:30 AM to avoid some of the awful heat that creeps in by 9 AM.

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Just one of the many gorgeous houses we saw

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Hills, hills, hills

Things I loved about this race:
  • medal design
  • number of aid stations that were well-stocked
  • Biscoff spread at the finish

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Love the medal but not so crazy about the bright shirt

Things I could have done without:
  • all the hills-they seemed to never end
  • the highlighter orange color of the shirt-love the design but easy on the crazy colors!
  •  the delayed start

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Another hill with a beautiful view

Let's talk some more about the Biscoff spread shall we. I came home with four jars and as of right now there is one full jar and a partial left. I'd love to say I shared this and that's why almost 2.5 jars are gone but that's not the case. I've eaten most of it by myself and usually by the spoonful. If you like Biscoff cookies you'll love Biscoff spread!

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My favorite cow along the course

At the best aid station in the world they served warm Coke which on this day was the most delicious drink I've ever had. Just before this aid station I was running close to two ladies who continued weaving and cutting me off when I tried to go around. This was the only out and back section of the course and with runners on both sides I was doing my best not to get in the way of other runners. When I finally passed and said excuse me I overheard one of them say, "That's what she gets for drafting." Get real lady, no one who's going to be finishing a half in 3 hours is drafting and if you and your friend had any courtesy for runners other than yourselves we wouldn't have been in this situation to begin with. Needless to say my anger caused me to find speed I didn't know I had and I cruised up the next hill and put some distance between myself and the "nice" ladies and finished in 2:59:24.

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Gorgeous farm!

Overall this is a pretty great race and I'd run it again but I'd prefer if it started a little earlier. Some people may suggest to move it to May or to the fall but there aren't a lot of races close by in the summer and certainly not many half marathons so I hope they keep it in June.

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Little history about Leiper's Fork

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All done and pouring sweat

What's the hottest race you've run?
Have you gotten overheated in a race?