Tuesday, November 15, 2011

St. Jude Hero!

I'm so excited for the St. Jude Half Marathon in a couple weeks, especially with this being my second year as a St. Jude Hero! Visit my page here. :)

With it being the Thanksgiving season, I just wanted to post a quick note to say how thankful I am for my health (finally), the ability to run, the enjoyment I get from running and racing, and for the most wonderful children's hospital in the world: St. Jude. There's nothing like running through campus around mile 5 and being so moved by the precious patients and their incredible families. We as runners are truly blessed!

In case you're not familiar with St. Jude, here is their mission statement: The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.

As the Thanks and Giving® campaign so beautifully states, give thanks for the healthy kids in your life. And give to those who are not. Please consider donating to this AMAZING cause!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A week with friends and a night with the stars!

I arrived in Nashville late on Friday, Nov. 4. My company has been a part of setting up the red carpet and VIP tents at the CMA Awards for going on 10 years. And this year, I got to go!! We got permission to set up a time-lapse video of the complete installation, and I can't wait until we put it altogether...what a great marketing tool! It was incredible being able to see the tent go up first hand, hang out with the big wigs of the CMA, and just be a part of such an amazing, star-studded event!

Onto the week's festivities...I had the absolute BEST time in Nashville! I was fortunate enough to stay with my friend Whitney and her husband Michal, who live in a GORGEOUS house on a hill overlooking downtown and about 3.5 miles from the arena. So incredibly thankful for their hospitality and for simply being awesome people!

On Saturday, I woke up insanely early to be at the job site by 6:30am so we could start setting up for the time-lapse. The crew was a little late, so the videographer and I were able to walk around and meet a few of the CMA staff and capture the crazy fog rolling through. Such cool shots! Once they arrived, we filmed the trucks pulling in, some of the unloading, and then got set up on the balcony of a high rise condo right next to the Hall of Fame - couldn't have asked for a more perfect location!

I was there walking around with our crew and the videographer until about 3pm and met up with Whitney after. We drove over to Green Hills to check out a few boutiques and find a dress for Wednesday night. We both found one and even scored some fun jewelry! We had some time to grab a quick bite and get a mani/pedi. Heaven! That night, Whitney and Michal invited a bunch of their friends over to watch the Alabama vs. LSU game. It was such a great night. Everyone brought a dish to share, and the Walters certainly have the entertaining thing down to a T! Their beautiful home is so inviting, and you can tell by the friends they have and the company they keep that they are two of the most genuine, wonderful people.

Sunday, Brent and his best friend David came in town (David's wife Kellie drove in after her shift late Saturday) to join us for the Titans game (Whitney was able to get us amazing seats at the Titans vs. Bengals game that day). It was another early morning for me, as I was down at the job site at 7am. The tent was progressing well, and our CMA contacts were very happy with everything. I left a little after noon, went for an uh-mazing 5-mile run through downtown, and then headed back to the house to get ready for the game. A few Bloody Marys and margaritas later, we headed to LP Field. Sadly, the Titans looked like poo after what was a seemingly promising first half and lost the game. But we still had a blast. There's nothing like food, friends (and my sweet hubby), and football!

The girls with the Fox robot (or whatever he is)

Love these girls!

Monday was another long day, especially with most everyone gone. David and Kellie left late on Sunday, Brent left at the crack of dawn, and Whitney had to make a quick trip to Memphis for work that day. I was again at the job site just before 7 and stayed there until a little after 7 that night. Long doesn't even begin to describe the day. But it was so cool to be there with our crew, walk around the arena with the CMA people, and just be there to see so many things unfold. The videographer and I got to be bff with the various security guards and event directors, so that was awesome. And there was a Starbucks about three blocks from where we were setting up (thank goodness!), so I loaded up on coffee and was able to get some work done every so often. That night, a few CMA staff and myself walked over to the Renaissance Hotel and ate dinner. It was a wonderful, low-key night with new friends! Around 8:30, I headed back to the house, said hello to Michal followed by goodnight, and went to bed. I got a much needed 9 hours of sleep and was ready to take on the next day.

The red carpet and VIP tents are up!

Tuesday was just as great. I arrived at my usual 7am, brought the crew breakfast which they so sweetly appreciated, helped roll out the actual red carpet (SO fun!), got to see Brad Paisley perform for GMA (ahhh!), and made my way around all of our tents...made a few too many visits to Starbucks as well. :) The videographer and I got some great interior shots, especially of the red carpet rolling out and various street scenes. I was there until a little after 3, then headed to the YMCA of Downtown Nashville. Such an awesome gym! It was clean, the staff was friendly, and they had excellent equipment. 4 miles on the elliptical, 2 miles on the track, and some {minor} weight-lifting later, I headed back to the house to hang out with one of my new favorite girls. That night, Whitney and I headed to Virago for dinner. If you live in the area or have a chance to visit, this place is a MUST! The food, the atmosphere, the service...everything is wonderful! And I have to send another shout out to Whitney for ones of the best conversations I've had in a long time. Later that night, we went to see Michal's rec basketball game. I love how active these two are and how supportive they are of each other. Such an inspiration!

Brad Paisley!!

Some of the crew & the red carpet!

Wednesday was CMA day! After a long morning of walking around to check on things and getting some last minute interior shots, my boss, his wife, and his niece stopped by to take a tour. It was pretty cool being able to introduce them to the event directors and show them around the finished tents - the place where so many stars would be walking in just a few short hours. Our crew did an amazing job, got everything done on time, and even made the customer happier than they were before. Success all around! That afternoon, I went for a quick run through downtown, then headed back to get ready for the CMAs!

Michal drove Whitney and me down to Broadway Street, then we met up with my boss and his family for a quick bite before heading to the red carpet. We saw Carrie, Miranda, Scotty McCreery, Blake Shelton, and more as they walked by us to get backstage before the big show. Having a VIP pass really does get you places...well, that and just acting like you know what you're doing. :) Sadly Whitney and I didn't have actual backstage passes, so we had to go in the main entrance. It was still awesome to be on the red carpet and just getting to attend. The show was just as amazing as I hoped it would be - truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I'm so thankful to have a job I love, which lets me be a part of such amazing events. So blessed!

The red carpet's almost ready!

Michal driving us to the CMAs!

On the red carpet!

Miranda Lambert!!

Carrie Underwood!!

We had a sweet view!

Amazing doesn't even begin to describe the experience...so thankful!

And to Whitney - thank you for being someone I can be 100% open and honest with, talk to about anything and everything, and someone who shares the same values about life, marriage, and family. It was so refreshing to talk to you every day, and I am so grateful to Kellie for introducing us. You are an amazing, beautiful person - inside and out - and I wish you and Michal a lifetime of happiness. Thank you once more for opening your gorgeous home to me last week. Can't wait to hang out again soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finally, some answers!

Okay, so nevermind about the whole 30-day blog challenge. Things are way too busy, and I haven't been around my computer for the past few days. Maybe in 2012. :)

I finally received a call from my doctor last Tuesday. Good news: the stone has PASSED! And I didn't even feel it. This was such a huge relief...until I was immediately reminded of the intense lower back pain.

The CT scan showed some possible lower back issues, most likely related to a slipped disc. Great...just what an avid runner wants to hear. So he suggested I take it easy and look into going to a chiropractor.

I've never had any alternative treatments (acupuncture, going to a chiropractor, etc.), but that's not to say I'm against it at all. Acupuncture is supposed to be a lifesaver for all kinds of joint pain as well as infertility. And I know tons of people who swear by their chiropractor to help them not only with alignment, but stomach issues, acid reflux, and more. Needless to say, I'm open to almost anything.

Last Friday, I made an appointment with a chiropractor my Mom and sister go to. After talking about various pains and my daily routine, he took a few X-rays. Finally...we have an answer! All my discs look great and there's no blockage. But right at the bottom of my spine, just before my tailbone, it curves to the left. It was seriously the freakiest thing to see it. "There's your pain," the doc said. Well, duh!

It's more like the "Thoracolumbar" (3rd) image above, but lower - closer to tailbone.

He adjusted my neck (so weird!) and back, both of which popped more than I ever knew they could. I felt better at first, but of course he said I'd be sore for the next few days. Understatement of the century.

Up until yesterday morning, I was in pretty intense pain and feeling extremely sore. Nothing was helping - not Ibuprofen, my heating pad, alcohol, not even muscle relaxers. But finally when I woke up on Sunday, the pain was gone. It was torture not to run for three days straight! I'm in Nashville this week for work, so I had the chance to run through Downtown yesterday morning. Heaven!! I am so in love with this city!

More to come about the fun times in Nashvegas...I LOVE my job! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Starting 30-Day Blog Challenge!

As one of my New Year's resolutions, I wanted to write a blog every day for an entire month. With all the craziness going on in November, I might actually have enough to write about each day. We'll see how long that lasts, though...

I was supposed to get my CT scan results back from the urologist yesterday, which would then determine if I was going to have the current {and HIGHLY uncomfortable} stone removed by lithotripsy or cystoscopy. But of course, I'm still waiting. Hoping to hear something soon so we can get this resolved before I head out of town.

Autumn and I are doing a long run this afternoon, and I couldn't be more excited about it! I haven't run since Race for the Cure on Saturday, haven't done a long run in who knows how long, and I've been feeling so down and just blah because of it. But as my blogger friend Amanda said in today's blog post: there's no point in dwelling over runs that aren’t fast enough, long runs that aren't long enough, having no time to cross train, only time to run, and beating ourselves up for taking an extra rest day. "You have to appreciate your run TODAY!"

And so...I will. :) I'm going to appreciate that, my family, my friends, and so many other blessings today.