Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Vacation and Sisters!

What a beautiful Thursday morning, huh? With all the insane weather the Mid-South and Southeast U.S. has endured over the past month, it's safe to say we're all pretty thankful to wake up to sunny skies. Seeing and hearing about the devastation all around us, it really makes you stop and just be thankful for today. What a blessing we've been given!

With that said, I have so much to be thankful for...

I'm thankful that we will be in PARADISE in two days! And not only that, but our friends Anna and Adam from New York will be joining us!! SOOO excited for this much needed getaway!

I'm thankful to have been so involved in planning my sister Laura's wedding. We have become so much closer these last couple years, and the past few months of planning her most special day have brought us even closer. I truly cherish our friendship, and I'm so excited she's found THE one! 16 days to go, sis!! :)

I'm thankful that my younger sis, Ashley, lives so much closer now. Hopefully my schedule slows down a bit next month, and I'll be able to visit more with her and precious B!

I'm thankful for my new intern, Raquel. Though she's only been working for Mahaffey for just under two weeks, she has already proven to be a tremendous asset. I am so thankful for her help and the knowledge she brings to our team!

What are you thankful for?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer Running Shoe Review

It's about that time! With the marathon over with and logging way more than the allotted 300 miles on my recent pair of Asics, it's time to invest in a new pair of running shoes.

Sometime this weekend or next week, I'll be heading to the fabulous Fleet Feet Sports here in Memphis, and I'll be sure to give you my latest recommendations. I LOVE how they let you try 'em before you buy 'em. There's no better way to find your shoe! Not to mention, the staff at Fleet Feet is so knowledgeable, and they all have the same passion for running as I do. I can't say enough about how happy going in there makes me! :)

Until then, check out this awesome article from Runner's World: the 2011 Summer Running Shoe Review! And can't pick your running shoes just based on the awesome colors.

I think I'd look good in these shoes...and they'd make me look fast! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Swine, Sickness, and my Sister's Shower!

This weekend pretty much ruled...aside from the fact that I was more under the weather than I've been in 2+ years. I hardly ever get "cold" sick, but when I do, it hits pretty hard. I came down with strep-like symptoms, a sinus infection, and stomach bug all in the same day early last week, and it's all lasted until today. On my second round of antibiotics, though, which are finally starting to kick in. Let's hope this is the end of it!

This weekend was the annual Memphis in May World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest. For those of you who might not be familiar with it, it's pretty much the biggest party of the year. Sadly, the older I get, the less interested I am in the festivities. Maybe that's because my husband (and everyone else for that matter) goes on a 3-day bender. I do have to say that Brent was on his very best behavior this year. No fights of any kind and he was even home before 10 on two of the three nights. :)

The festival was held at Tiger Lane/Mid-South Fairgrounds for the first time this year, due to the flooding at Tom Lee Park. It was a million times cleaner than usual, and it was by far my favorite year! Maybe that's because I was only there for two nights, neither of which were late. I went down briefly for Friends and Family night on Wednesday, stayed home on Thursday night trying to feel better, and then Friday night, Angela and I made our way down after work. It was close to 6:30 when we got there, and my butt was home with a Memphis Pizza Cafe special by 10 pm (at Brent's request, I must add). Good times! Saturday, I got in a five-mile run, then we went down for the judging. I was home by 4 that afternoon. Heaven!

Angela and me on Friday night

Saturday night, I made plans with my sis, Laura, as her fiance was in Nashville for his bachelor party. We were both exhausted, so we just went to a nearby sushi place for dinner. Great food and some great conversation later, we headed back to her house and ended up watching "He's Just Not That Into You." Chick flicks are always best when shared with your sister. :)

Sunday was Laura's second bridal shower, hosted by my Mom's amazing friends. The ladies did an awesome job putting it together, as always! It was such a treat to have my Grandma and Aunt Dara there too, both of whom live in Orlando, FL. More good food and excellent company, and then I headed home to a spotless house and folded laundry...Brent had also already gone to the grocery store. I think I have a keeper. :)

Grandma, Mom, Laura, and me...great pic of everyone, except me of course!

This coming weekend is Laura's couples shower, hosted by some of her fabulous bridesmaids. Getting SO super excited for her big day!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers and Mondays

I seriously dislike the expression "got a case of the Mondays," but today, there's just no other way to put it. I'm coming down with an awful cold, and I NEVER get sick. I'm also starting to feel a little swamped at work, but hoping I start to get a sense of control again soon. That said, it's absolutely glorious outside, and I'm determined to focus on the positives. :)

First, I want to send a shout out to all the fabulous moms in my life! First, to my amazing momma, Sue. She is one of the strongest, most caring women I know. She would give the shirt off her back to help someone in need, and she has done anything and everything for my sisters and I. She puts family and her wonderful group of girlfriends above everything else, and we are all better people because she is in our lives. Thank you, Momma, for just being you! And to my sister Ashley, the mother of our sweet niece Bailey, my best friend Erika, the mother of my two Godchildren Chandler and Payton, my Godmother Liz, and so many friends and family members who are so blessed with children (human or of the furry nature)...I love you all!

Love you, Mom!

Next, I want to send another quick note to my dad. Yesterday was his 60th birthday! For those of you who don't know my dad, he's pretty amazing. He is the most caring, supportive, loving father anyone could ask for. He would do anything for his family and friends, and has on many occasions. He makes it known how proud he is of all of us girls, and makes us feel like we are the most important people in the world. Love you, "Papa!" Laura, Ashley, and I are taking him to dinner to celebrate tomorrow night. :)

Finally, I hired an intern today, woop!! Very much looking forward to training her and getting some much needed "to dos" done at work.

Starting back my running regimen this's hoping that knotted or pulled muscle has worked itself out! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Did It!

Well...I did it!! 26.2 miles is checked off the bucket list! It was such an incredible experience.

Brent and I arrived in Nashville around 5 pm Friday, and headed straight to the expo. It was nuts in there! But I have to say, I was definitely in my element. Being around super active people, people who are just as in love with running as I was awesome!

That evening, we drove to a J. Alexander's-like restaurant around the corner to eat a nice meal (seafood pasta for me, a steak for Brent) and watch the first half of Game 6 of the Grizzlies/Spurs (GO GRIZZ!!). We headed back to the hotel around 9, and I was in bed by 9:30. 4:45 am was going to come early!

A restless few hours later, my alarm was going off, and I was ready to hop the bus to the start line. We stayed at a hotel next door to one of the shuttle stops (taking us to the start line at Centennial Park), so that was very convenient. I took my time getting ready, carefully pinning an awesome sign on my back (as you can see below) and my race bib on the front. Not wanting to divert too much from my normal running routine, I ate a Nature Valley Oats n Honey granola bar followed by apple-flavored Dole Real Fruit Bites (FYI, if you haven't tried these, you're missing out!).

Showing off my sign pre-race!

I walked around, used the restroom, dropped off my bag at gear check, stretched, and repeated all that for about an hour until it was time to line up. Finally, the gunshot sounded and we were off! I started somewhere in the sixth or seventh corale and did my best to stay there throughout the entire race.

I was feeling pretty good all the way through mile 14. I kept a steady pace, only walked at a few water stations (I got water or Cytomax at just about every one, but only truly walked at a couple of them). I thought I would've started crashing at the half/full split point (just before mile 11), but I didn't at all. I was surrounded by some fun people, and we kept each others' spirits up as we dwindled down into a smaller group ("the few, the proud, the marathoners" as one gentleman chanted). At mile 14, though, my legs began to feel like they were pulling a bit of lead. I pushed through, trying to think of anything but what I was doing, and by mile 16, I had found my second wind...or so I thought.

Before the race began, I told myself I wasn't going to stop and use the bathroom. In my mind, any extra water I was carrying around only meant I was that much more hydrated. Well, after several cups of water and electrolyte-replacing drinks on top of two Gu packs, I was quite full and decided I need to go against my better judgment and pee. I felt great after that!

My favorite picture from the race!

And then came mile 20-21. This was my "wall" as they call it. Let me preface by saying it was already in the mid-80s by this point...I started getting chills, which meant I was already dehydrated. And my quads were SCREAMING at me. Maybe it was that last hill or two...or 50? Damn those Nashville hills!

Lord, let me make it up yet another hill!

After that, I pushed as hard as I could and did my best to make it through each mile. I kept running, but stopped after hearing that faint "beep" from my Garmin, indicating I had finally gone just one more mile. I swear, those last 4 miles felt like 10+ miles each. One more Gu pack and another quick walk break later, I had reached 26 miles!!! However, either I was zigzagging the entire time or I picked up an extra .27 miles somewhere in there I wasn't aware of. After passing 26.2 and no sign of the finish line in sight, I was a little discouraged (my Garmin read 26.47 when I crossed). Nevertheless, I picked up speed as best I could and pushed on for the last .5 miles. The last .2 were excruciating, as it felt like someone had ripped into my legs and was yanking out my calf muscles. They just locked on me. Again, I just pushed as hard as I could.

And then...I DID IT!!! 4:02 was my final time. Once I crossed that finish line and saw Brent cheering me on, I forgot all the pain I had just endured and simply took in the sheer joy of it all. I had just run a MARATHON! Something I told myself I would never do. What an amazing experience it was!!

So happy to cross that finish line!!

26.2 medal!!

My first medal to get engraved!

Physical therapy and cross training (spin) were my saving graces to make it through...and God of course! No knee pain and minimal hip pain. My quads are still sore to this day, but with those insane hills, I don't know how anyone could walk away and not be sore.

Stay tuned for my next running (or life in general) adventure! As Justin Bieber says, "never say never." This won't be my last full marathon. :)