Thanksgiving and HBBC

Monday night, we had a group of friends over to our apartment for a pre-Thanksgiving feast. We did it potluck style; I cooked the turkey (and a few other dishes) and everyone brought one dish to share. Now, I have never cooked a turkey before. I talked myself up for a couple of days prior to the cooking of Tom the Turkey, saying to myself (mainly out loud in public) "you can do this, you can do this". It wasn't the cooking I was worried about, it was the removal of the gut bag (giblets) and the de-necking. Yes, for those of you who are turkey virgins--you have to pull the neck out of the otherwise empty turkey cavity. I researched this for days on end, finally sticking to a fairly easy-to-follow youtube video.

I had a brief moment of panic on Monday morning, that quite possibly may have consisted of some screaming and jumping around in the kitchen, followed by a few shed tears (almost!) and a serious consideration of going to Bojangles for a box of fried chicken. And yes, I will admit I talked to Tom, apologizing over and over again for violating him by reaching through his underside to pull out his neck. At one point, I call my mom telling her "I can't do this, there's no way I can reach inside the vagina to pull out the neck". To which she responded, "How can his name be Tom if he has a vagina?" Then she reminded me that I used to help deliver babies, I could do this. But I assure you, it is not the same.

I did ultimately scream my way through the neck removal process and get Tom in the oven. The turkey came out great, if I do say so myself. My husband even said it was better than any turkey his mom ever made (I told him to please not tell her that, I'd like to stay on the good list with the inlaws).

We had a great time--12 people in all were here, and we definitely feasted! Jett and I are so thankful for the friends we've made in our short time living in Charleston. They definitely have helped it to feel like home.

We head to Charlotte tonight. The Turkey Trot 8K is tomorrow morning, and after that we will head to Jett's mom's house for lunch.Then to my dad's side for dinner. Friday we'll go see Jett's dad's family, and Saturday we'll have our Thanksgiving with my family on my mom's side. I am so thankful that all of our immediate family lives within a 30ish mile radius of one another, but this is what all holidays consist of. And this year, my mom's family is even planning around everyone else instead of packing it all into one day.

With all the eating and football watching that is sure to go on this week, I definitely need the motivation of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. I signed up for the HBBC to redeem myself from my lack-luster performance in the POTM challenge, which I have totally sucked up. My HBBC start has been slow (read: non-exsistent). I fully plan to redeem myself tonight once we get to Charlotte. Team members, I will make it up over the next month, you have my word!

I try to remind myself daily of all of the blessings in my life, and thank God daily for all that I have to be grateful for. It's so easy to get caught up in the worldly ideals of money, materials, and things that just don't matter all that much. This past year has definitely held trials for Jett and me, as we've gone from single people with adequate paychecks, to a married couple with a single income and a load of student-loan debt. Somehow though, everytime we think we won't have enough to make it through the month, God provides. I keep reminding myself and Jett that's it's only a few more months, and I will be contributing financially again. We are so fortunate in all that we have, and these blessings are definitely not lost on us. Each time in the past few weeks that I've let myself slip into a moment of self-pity of covet, there has been a blatant reminder to "count my blessings". There are so many so much less fortunate than me, and for all that I receive I should be paying it forward.

Today in particular I am thankful for answered prayers--for the bills that I have been putting off this week and the money in our account that sufficiently covered all of them this morning. And that's just enough to make me happy today!

What are you blessed with in your life? What was your simple moment of happiness today?


lost your cookies, check the pavement

I haven't run in over a week, because of my leg pain and then that crazy cold I got. But at some point, it's just time to stop making excuses and get over it. When I start something new, it's always either all or nothing with me. I either want to go all in and then get burnt out, or take too long of a break and give up. I am working on finding a healthy middle ground. I've been sitting here for the past few minutes trying to motivate to go out for a run, and then negative self-talking myself out of it.

Does this happen to anyone else? You take too long of a break from something and find it harder to get back out there?

Today my motivation will come from my brother. We are all officially signed up for the Charlotte Turkey Trot 8K on Thanksgiving morning. We are going as a family--Jett, my brother, sister-in-law, and myself will run the 8K. And I think my mom, dad, and aunt will walk the 5K. When I emailed my brother yesterday telling him we were registered but that I hadn't been running this week, this is the email I got back from him:

lost your cookies, check the pavement

Just that, nothing else. HA. My motivation for today is to run so that in the race next week, I don't have to check the pavement for my lost cookies.


Incredible Woman

I still can't seem to shake this cold/cough/congestion mess. I guess it's what I get for being cocky in the face of all the germs at clinic! Running has gotten pushed aside as I try to knock this out, because I can't much catch my breath just sitting around, much less while running. I also can't afford to miss any clinical days for the next 3 weeks, as the semester is coming to a close and I still am short on hours. Must get well!

So today I thought I'd share a little video I made for my mom's birthday last week. My mom is an incredible woman. She is a dedicated wife, mother, daughter, nurse, Sunday school teacher, and friend. My grandfather (her father) has dementia, and has progressively gotten worse over the past several years. This has been a hard change to witness, as he is one of my heroes--someone I have always looked up to. He is by far one of the best men around, and we have always been super close. Knowing how hard it is for me to see the changes in him, I know it must be 10-fold that for my mom. She is his only daughter.

My granddaddy turned 90 this past May, and up until the past few years, has been blessed with great health. My grandmama is 88 this year, and is still on the go. But the changes in my grandfather have taken a toll on her. She is his primary caretaker, and when he is up many hours of the night confused and aggravated, she must be up with him. My mom dedicates the majority of her free time to them--going to their house almost every day after her regular nursing job to check on meals and medications, and just to give my grandmother a break. She spends the majority of her weekends with them, and sometimes her mornings before work. My grandmother fell and fractured her pelvis a couple of weeks ago, so lately my mom has made a bed on their couch many nights.

In between all of her hard work, my mom somehow finds the time to call me everyday just to chat, spend time with my dad, and maintain a positive attitude. When I told her thank you the other day for all that she does for my grandparents, and I'm sorry that she's having to spend so much time on such stressful jobs and decisions, her response was this: "You know what, it's my family. Family comes first, always." Like I said, an incredible woman.

The past year I have been living away from my hometown attending graduate school, and while I get back often, I can't help out like I could if I was still there. I miss having my family right down the street. I feel like each time I see my granddaddy, there's a little more he doesn't remember about me. While it's hard, I'm grateful that he's still around each time I go home to visit.

My mom loves to come to Charleston and visit us, but unfortunately the circumstances lately haven't allowed her to leave on the weekends very often.

For her birthday, I decided to make her a little "video gift". Our bank account is hurting right now while I'm not working, and my mom's birthday is on Veteran's day each year, so she has never been able to get a birthday card in the mail on her actual birthday! I thought this would be a great way to remedy that. I hope she will take me up on my offer to come home for a weekend to care for (and visit with!) my grandparents while she and my dad take a much-needed break to our home in Charleston.

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope it's a great start to a new week.



Thanks for the comments and suggestions from my last post.

Wednesday night was cold and rainy here, thanks to Ida blowing through. So with no desire to run on the treadmill and no desire to run in the cold rainy darkness, I thought I'd try my rested legs out on the indoor track at the gym. I just did a mile, and aimed to do it as fast as I could.

The mile took me 8:59:44. (I love how it was under 9, even though really this is a 9-minute mile).

While this isn't a fast mile to many people, this seemed relatively fast for me. I tend to average around a 10:30ish mile. When I used to do the dreaded mile run in elementary and middle school, I'm fairly certain that I never ran it quite this fast.

Now, of course it took me a half a mile of walking around the track afterward to recover, so I wouldn't have been able to keep this pace up for much longer. But I think with some serious work I can get faster, eventually. And of course, I also still don't have much of a distance running base to work with, so I will continue to work on that too.

My tentative goals include:
  • Running at a comfortable pace 3 days a week
  • Some type of undetermined speed work 1 day per week
  • Re-running the mile once per month (hopefully with improvement)
Thankfully, my shins feel great since Wednesday! I think it was a good idea to rest them for a week. I also used to P90x stretch dvd to stretch my legs really good before running. They were a bit stiff and uncomfortable when I started running, but they definitely aren't hurting like they were last week.

In other news, the germy little kiddie germs seem to have caught up to me. My immune system has not let me down thus far with all these crazy flu and strep germs breathed in my face at clinic, but it seems to be trying to decide if it's going to throw me under the bus this week. I have a nasty cold and sore throat, but at least no fever or other flu symptoms. I guess I should thank my immune system for bailing me out once again.

Happy Friday!


Wacky Wednesday

It's obviously been a while since my last post ... it's the same 'ole story, different week. Clinic hours, catch-up reading, paper writing, and driving back to Charlotte for the past 2 weekends for various celebrations have kept me busy in my "free time" (haha--free time, yeah right!). But have no worries, only 3 1/2 weeks left until this semester from hell is over : )

In running news, there is none. I know, I know. I'm just barely getting started and here I am, no running in over a week. I could give you a lot of excuses, but I'm just going to give you one (I'll save the others for another week where there's sure to be another lapse in running). MY SHINS. They kill. What gives? So here I am, asking for a little help. For the past few weeks, my shins (both of them, but the left more than the right) have been hurting. It started out with just a little ache in the mornings and at the start of a run. They always felt better as my legs warmed up. For the past couple of weeks though, they haven't been letting up as much. The ache doesn't completely stop while I'm running, and after a run--oh after a run--they are so painful. Going up and down the stairs to our apartment is not so much fun, especially with 120 pounds of dog pulling me down the stairs. So ... I iced them after my last run, and bought some Tiger Balm. But I've also been letting them rest this week, hoping it will improve. Does this sound like shin splints? Does anyone have any experience with this and recommendations on how to make it go away!?

Runway 5K Race Report:
On Halloween, Jett and I drove back to Charlotte for the weekend to celebrate my dad's retirement with a combo Halloween/Surprise Party for him. He's only 54, and lucky him, has put his service into the post office and was able to retire after 28 years. I'm so happy for him.

(The awesome cake my sis-in-law made)

(My dad's "CONGRATS" pumpkin)

On Halloween morning, I met my friend and old college roomie at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport for a 5k race, the Runway 5k. Jett ran it with us too! I'm hesitant to post when I'm planning to run a race, or a report afterwards, because at this point I'm not really racing. I'm really merely running to finish and loving the atmosphere of the race community. I'm not fast, and I struggle with whether I should actually post any of this here, or wait until I've gotten a little better.

I finished the race in 33:05. This run was fun because we were actually running on one of the runways at the airport. We were side-by-side with planes taking off. They had all kinds of neat planes and helicopters to check out after the finish. And, it was flat--a big plus! It was also raining, but not as cold as the last run in Charlotte.

Some dislikes of the race: the water stop! Now I know I don't really need a water stop in a 5k run. But, the cold air isn't something I run in often living in Charleston, so my mouth was dry (does this happen to anyone else running in cold, dry air?) and water sounded SO good. They appeared to have a water stop set up at the half-way point, but apparently they closed it/moved it/ran out? No big deal, only 1.5 miles left. So after I ran past the closed water stop, I just thought I'd drink at the end. But then, probably about 2.8 miles into the race or so, low and behold, a water station. I assumed I'd grab a cup on the go, throw a little back to wet my mouth, and keep going. That's what I get for assuming. There were no water cups to grab. As I approached (mistake #1), the guy at the station was filling the cups up one by one as each person came by. At this point, I had already slowed/stopped so thought I might as well get the water (mistake #2). He literally was doing the 2-handed, prop the container with one hand, fill the cup with the other hand, as the water jug was obviously running low. After he filled my cup about a centimeter, I said "that's good", grabbed the cup, and finished the run. That probably added at least 10-15 seconds onto my time. The other disappointment I had was the timing system. We had d-tags for our time, but they only posted clock time--no chip time. We started out probably mid-pack, and I would guess it took us close to 45 seconds or so to cross the start line. And I didn't start my watch this time, thinking I wouldn't need to because I could just check my chip time after the race was over. No such luck. Any other race I've run has posted both clock time and chip time. Is this typical or is it more the norm just to post clock time?

(Veronica and I before the start)

(Jett and me after we finished)

Overall, it was a fun morning! I always struggle with my feelings about my speed when I run with Jett. He doesn't regularly run, but when he does he's always way faster than me (his time was somewhere in the 27 minute range, I think). He was an athlete in high school, but that's been over 7 years ago now. I wonder if I'll ever be able to speed it up!?

For those of you who are experienced runners, what do you recommend? Building more of a running base before trying some speed work, or incorporating speed work into my runs now? I would love some advice.

I'm planning to go out for a run this evening, so here's to hoping that my legs feel great! I also just discovered that we have exercise tv ... sweet!