Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 St. Jude Marathon

I've run the St. Jude Half Marathon every year since 2007, but decided to go for the full (my second) this year. I didn't make the decision lightly, but felt ready to take on 26.2 again and thought there’s no better race to do it than St. Jude and certainly no greater cause.

Training, at least the first half of it, went very well. This was the first distance race I've trained for completely solo, which was a bit scary. But even with a hectic travel schedule, I still managed to get in all my long runs. I kept up a good weekday training schedule as well, though I didn't focus nearly enough on the speed and tempo workouts. All the runs up to 18 miles were fantastic. I felt good, nothing was hurting and truly enjoyed logging the miles. Then it went downhill. IT band pain combined with two falls thanks to having the grace of a toddler makes for a crappy last month of training.

Fast forward to the week of the marathon, and I was finally feeling better. The first 13.1 went great, and I even got to run it with my fabulous assistant, Kristin. Around mile 14, sh** got bad. My legs started cramping up and it never went away. I collapsed three times and pretty much had to walk the entire second half. I had pumped myself full of potassium, was well hydrated the entire week leading up to the race and even carried Powerade the day of, and didn't drink a sip of alcohol that week (that was probably my big mistake). Anyway, despite sobbing through the last five miles, I managed to run jog hobble across the finish line at 4:41. I wouldn't have been able to make it without the incredible support of my Dad, Brent, Autumn, Michael and Kristin. And the sweet people and even a few runners along the course who stopped to help me. Thank you all SO much!!

Whether it was an electrolyte issue, dehydration, the heat, pushing too hard the first half or just a bad day, I'll never know. What I do know is that I'll do another full. Can't go out like that. ;)

 Feeling good

 Kristin and me

Trying to keep pushing

And, I'm spent...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finally some down time...

Where do I begin? Thankfully the summer was relatively quiet as far as travel goes, with the exception of my cousin Missy's FABULOUS wedding in Cape Cod in late June! Things were a bit stressful for the Wilsons after we got back from Italy, so it was nice to take it easy for a month or two.

Soon, though, a crazy couple months of travel ensued for both B and me. I definitely can't complain; it's been incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally.

It started with a trip to Boston in mid-August for a marketing conference and business development meeting. What an amazing, productive trip that was! A tour of Harvard, running along the Charles River and through MIT campus, shopping on Newbury Street, people watching...I've been to Boston twice before, but never experienced it like this. That city is so alive, and I can't wait to go back!

The next week I drove to Joplin, Missouri, to visit a few of our customers get some pics and video footage of our products in action, thanks to a handy Flip cam. It’s so sad to see all the devastation there, but also incredible to see how quickly the town has bounced back. I was able to swing through Fayetteville, Arkansas, on my way home and take my handsome cousins to dinner. So much fun! And how did they get this old?!

Asheville, North Carolina, was next. I’m now part of the local USGBC chapter, so they asked me to attend a leadership conference for our region. Not only was it a tremendous opportunity for networking and professional growth, but I got to stay at the Grove Park Inn, which was absolutely stunning! Can't wait to go back with B!

After that, it was off to Atlanta for Labor Day weekend. We stayed with Brent's brother and his wife in their beautiful new home and had an AMAZING three days. Lots of football, bar hopping, shopping (duh), eating, and more. I even got to do my long run on the Silver Comet Trail. If you’re a runner or bike rider, I highly recommend it!

My 30th birthday was September 8. B took me to dinner at Restaurant Iris (my fave!) and invited my Sis and brother-in-law to come with us, which was such a treat! The next day we drove to Nashville for a friend’s engagement party and the Titans game. And Monday I got to have dinner with my entire family. So blessed!

Later the following week was a work conference in Minneapolis. Networking, marketing, great meals, fun conversations and chilly temperatures. So great! I sooo wanted to stop by Mall of America while we were there, but with it only being a two-day trip, there was no time. Boo. On our last day, we had a 3am wake up call to catch a 5am flight. Combine that with a 2+ hour layover in Atlanta, half a day in the office and one of the most fun races (Cooper Young 4-miler) of the year, I was pooped.

Brent's had his fair share of travel as well. Three trips to Phoenix for training, another in Minneapolis and most recently, New York.

This week, I was in Houston for another conference. It was trying to say the least, being the only female in a room full of professional engineers (so out of my league). But being able to overrule an engineering spec and write a section of a published Recommended Practice, I'd say it was a success!

This weekend, we finally get to take a long, much needed deep breath. Saturday is actually our five-year anniversary, and we've got a super fun, low-key few days planned!

Next weekend, we're off to Tampa for one of B’s best friend’s wedding. We are staying at a swanky hotel right on the beach, and I CAN'T WAIT!!

Then things slow down a bit...for me anyway. B will be traveling quite a bit for work in October. Good thing I'm not training for a marathon or anything. ;)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reflecting on what's important

It's so easy to get wrapped up in everyday life, an ever-expanding workload and what we think should be our priorities. The stress of what's been a roller coaster of the past couple months has really weighed on me these last few weeks, which may or may not have been why I drank heavily came down with a cold. Nevertheless, the downtime gave me time to reflect on what’s really important. And for that, I'm extremely thankful.

Time to reflect on B's new job. I couldn't be more proud of my hubby! While he's going to be traveling about 40% of the year, this is an absolutely incredible opportunity for him...for us. It's going to be an adjustment for sure, but we are partners. And that's what a partnership is about.

Time to reflect on my job. I've been so stressed with work lately, mainly because it's never been so busy. That said, I've also never enjoyed it more. A lot of that has to do with my new assistant, who in less than a month is already making my job easier. I'm getting to do more things, furthering my education and finally feel at a place where I can be productive. It's a good place to be!

Time to reflect on marathon training. Training for marathon #2 started today, whoop! I almost forgot how much dedication and commitment it takes to prepare for 26.2, especially when you're doing it solo. And then I looked at my training plan...whew. Thankfully (in large part to my Dad) I've found a love for swimming, and with 3 days of scheduled rest or cross training, I have a good feeling about the next 4 months.

Time to reflect on family. When it's all said and done, friends come and go. Family is the only constant in this world, and there's truly no greater gift in life. Family is what's important, and those are the people worth making time for.

Here's a parting thought just because it seems fitting. That Dr. Seuss sure was a wise man!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When One Door Closes Another Opens!

Just call me a slacker. Well, that's not entirely accurate given my schedule these days. But when it comes to this blog, I'm waaaaaay behind. So many travel and other posts to do, so little time.

Anyway, this post was originally titled, Everything happens for a reason. While I've always been a firm believer in that, I didn't think it would be the most appropriate title right now.

Nevertheless, in my old young age of {almost} 30, I think I've finally realized what the cliché phrase "when one door closes another opens" means. To say it's been a bit stressful around our house lately would be an understatement.

About a month and a half ago, Brent was laid off from his job. Thankfully it wasn't due to performance, as he was one of the top salespeople in the region. They had simply overcrowded the Memphis market and had to let someone go. Since he had the "least amount of responsibility" (aka we don't have children), they chose him. Even though he received a fantastic letter of recommendation from his District Manager and his resume could speak for itself, he was pretty beat up about it. Can't imagine what he was going through. I did everything I could to be supportive and let him know he was loved no matter what (even Googled what to do when your husband gets laid'd be surprised what can find!), I know he was dealing with the natural thoughts of "I'm the man of the house; I should be the provider." If it had been performance-based, he would have at least been expecting it. But losing a job is never easy, especially when you're blindsided.

Through it all, I tried to convince him that this was a tremendous blessing. Of course it didn't seem like it at the time, especially after receiving our lovely credit card bill from the Italy trip (even then, we wouldn't take a single part of it back). But for the past 4+ years, Brent has been pretty miserable when it comes to work. The longer time went on, the more I just knew we'd look back 10 years from now, and he'd still be at the same job, still miserable and nowhere near where he wanted to be career-wise.

Fast forward to last week, and he's got a new j-o-b! Not only is it a position he would have left his previous company for, but it's THE job he's been looking for. It wasn't without stress, arguments and what could have been a huge strain on our marriage - I assure you. But to find something like this and the company be so excited to have your husband come work for, what a blessing indeed!

Aside from that, the personal stress + professional stress of the past month and a half + not being able to run = mild depression. However, dealing with yet another round of ITBS (in both legs/knees no less) forced me to cross train. It's opened my eyes to the world of biking and swimming. And I LOVE it!! I never knew I would enjoy swimming so much, and get such an intense workout from it at the same time. I'll be a better runner because of it, and will hopefully be able to run longer. Plus, it's something for my Dad and I to do together, which is pretty cool. :)

There's also the infertility factor. Though we've been a little more "careful" I guess you could say over the past couple months, it's been close to three years that we've been trying to conceive. I was planning to start a new fertility treatment in June, which was naturally put on hold until things got settled with Brent. That was a huge factor in putting it off, but to be honest, I started having reservations about it even before that. Looking back on the past 3-5 years, I'm overwhelmed by all the blessings we've been given and truly believe there's a reason for everything. Maybe it just hasn't been our time yet. Maybe I needed to be a good aunt to Bailey (and now Ava!) first. I'm so thankful for my career and the fact that I love what I do. So maybe I needed time to focus on that. And travel. Ooooo, do I love to travel! Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, Cape Cod, New York, Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Chicago...and that's just 2012! Granted half of that was for business, but the other was 100% pleasure. The whole kid chapter definitely hasn't closed (we do have Buster, you know!), but I feel so much more at peace with where I'm at -- where we're at. And for that, I'm so very thankful!

On the Rialto Bridge in Venice!

Cape Cod!

A few of my cousins and I at Missy's wedding at the Cape!

Best buds!

My child...who thinks he's human. :)

Ava dancing and me doing who knows what

Melts my heart!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to those who have been so incredibly amazing and supportive through the Wilsons' ups and downs. It's been quite a journey so far, and as we continue {hopefully} opening these new metaphoric doors, it means that much more to have family and true friends to share in it all with you.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Expanding my {fitness} horizons

Injury...a word avid runners come to know well. Or at least most of them.

A little over a month ago, I injured my left knee during a race. I had just taken two weeks off while the hubby and I were in Italy, and I had maybe squeezed in a week and a half of decent runs before taking home my FIRST first place finish (whoop!) at Zoom Through the Zoo. I felt great after, but then the next morning my knee had swollen to the size of a grapefruit.

A few days later, after trip to the orthopedic doctor, I was diagnosed with fluid buildup and put on anti-inflammatory meds and a light-intensity workout plan. Needless to say, a mild case of depression set in.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am rather passionate about running. One might call it obsessed. But obviously I've had to transform my training for the time being...and I have LOVED every minute of it!!

For the past month or so, I've been alternating swimming 2-3 times a week and biking at least 2 days. The biking has been somewhat satisfying, but the swimming...I never knew I would enjoy it this much!

A HUGE thank you to my dad, who paid for a month's membership for me at the Y, so I could see if I liked it. Not only is it something we can do together, but it's so much better for my joints, and my body just feels different. Who knows. Maybe there's a tri in my future?! For the time being, though, I think I'll stick with individual workouts. :)

New workout view!

Today was the first Road Race Series race of the year. I promised myself to keep it slow, so as not to injure my knee again. I kept a super slow pace (at least for the first 2 miles), finishing with my worst 5K time to date. But I'm not upset in the least. It was super fun, a new course, and my knee is feeling good.

Anyway, I'd have to say that my fitness horizons have definitely expanded. And regardless of how good the knee (hopefully) continues to feel, I'm going to keep up with the cross training.

Marathon training begins in less than a month!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The craziness that has been the past month...or so

It's been well over a month since my last post. I'd like to say it's due to laziness, a lack of topics, or whatever, but honestly I just need about 50 bazillion more hours in the day.

First, I have to mention the hubby's and my AMAZING trip to Italia. Trip of a lifetime doesn't even begin to describe it! As mentioned in my couple of Italy posts, we were there for 12 days and made stops in Rome, Siena (our fave!), Florence, and Venice (my close-second fave). Being able to spend that time with B, seeing all the amazing sites we saw, and just experiencing all we was truly life-changing. Timing is everything, and I'm so glad we were able to share it together. I have an entire journal of notes to post, but here are a few pics until then...

 With our tour guide, Paola, in Rome!

 Being silly :)

 Love this pic!

 Trevi Fountain

 Il Campo in Siena...our favorite spot!

Enjoying the scenery!

 Our FAVORITE day on the vineyard tour!

 On the Ponte Vecchio in Florence!

How beautiful is this view?! From atop the Pitti Palace

 Arriving in Venice!

 Chasing the pigeons in the Piazza San Marco!

 Rialto Bridge

 Just had to post...our view on the gondola ride

Ever since we got back, I've been working what seems like all day every day trying to keep my project load in a manageable place. I'm SO very thankful for my job and the fact that I love what I do. But as I'm sure one can imagine, when you're in front of a computer for close to 10 hours a day, the thought of going home and continuing to do so to work on your own blog isn't all that enticing. So there's my excuse for the lack of posts. On the bright side, I'm in the middle of hiring a new marketing assistant. Yay! The University of Memphis sure did produce some incredible candidates!

And then there's BBQ Fest. Normally I despise this event (crazy talk, I know), but I have to say this my favorite year ever! We made so many new friends, had a lot of laughs, let loose, and just had a good time...and I still made it to work every day. :) It may or may not have also helped to have a DD for most of the weekend (thank you, Marcie!!).

 My sweet, preggo friend Marcie and me on Friends & Family night

B and me

Keeping with the positivity, my running has improved tremendously...or so I thought. After taking off for about 10 days while in Italy, I came back ready to jump into training. Well, more so just getting back in shape from the past two weeks of absolutely gorging myself – and yes, it was TOTALLY worth it! Anyway, I placed first in my age group at Zoom Through the Zoo a little over a week ago (and third woman overall, whoop)! I felt great after the race and the next morning. And then it hit me. By the end of the day, my knee had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and I could hardly bend it. I finally went to my orthopedic doctor last week. Diagnosis: inflammation due to fluid build up. Treatment: anti-inflammatory meds and take it easy for the next three weeks, but low-impact exercise (bike, elliptical) is okay. Boo! But it could definitely be worse.

Speaking of running, today is National Running Day! I had an intense bike ride this morning, but did get in a quick gimp-jog in around the neighborhood. :)

Lots more going on...but that's all I’ve got to say for now. Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We're off to Italy!!!

Ahhhh!!! I can hardly contain my excitement! It's been an insane few days as the husband and I get ready to leave. I can't believe our trip of a lifetime is finally here!

We head out tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Rome around lunchtime on Saturday. A few days there, then a few days in the beautiful region of Tuscany, and we end our journey in Venice. CAN'T WAIT to eat, drink, sleep, and repeat! SO thankful for vacation days. :)

And as the saying goes:

"When in Rome...yes, please as the Romans do?"
- courtesy of Anchorman. ;)

Stiamo Andando in Italia!!

Ciao! Ciao!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving the AMAZING weather today! Makes me want to go outside and run for hours.

I'm loving that I am running with a new group of girls tomorrow morning. Can't wait! Speaking of running, I entered the lottery for the ING NYC Marathon today. Highly doubt I'll get in, but it's an exciting possibility! I also signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. Sooo pumped!

I'm loving that my hubby's 30th birthday is this Saturday, which just so happens to be the same day as Hot Wing Fest. Hey Oh!

I'm loving that I barely even have a scar from my skin cancer surgery two weeks ago. So thankful they caught it in time, and the fact that my regular dermatologist recommended I go to Levy Dermatology for the actual procedure. Dr. Levy did an incredible job, and his staff is just wonderful!

I'm loving EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I don't particularly care for its classification as "mommy porn," and you do have to get past its (way) more-than-mediocre writing and lack of editing, as it was initially a self-published e-book (keep in mind it didn't go through a rigorous editing process like most books, especially a #1 New York Times Bestseller). I read the first book, all 500+ pages of it, in less than 3 days. Crazy fast for me. Beneath the surface, the story – and the message, too, I guess – is quite captivating. It's been a wonderful escape. It's also...well...let's just say that my husband doesn't have much to complain about regarding my choice of reading material. ;) And as Vicky Ward, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, so perfectly puts it, "It's a brilliant psychological thriller – albeit a horribly written one." And here's another fab article from Newsweek, for those so inclined.

Oh yeah...and I'm loving that we leave for Italy in NINE DAYS!!!!

What are you loving today?

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm an auntie again!!

Baby Ava has arrived!! She graced us with her presence, after almost 24 hours of labor (stubborn just like her Momma ;), at 9:45 pm on Wednesday, March 28, weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz. Just perfect!

If you read my last post, you know I was likely to miss her birth due to being in Chicago on business. I was absolutely devastated knowing I was going to miss it, but I knew everyone understood. Had it been just a marketing conference, I would have canceled. But since it was a business development trip for a new market we're exploring, I couldn't skip out. Not that it was a bad trip at all (amazing meetings, potential new business, and two SPECTACULAR runs along Lake Michigan and the Navy Pier!); just bad timing.

Thankfully, we're surrounded by the beauty that is technology, and I was able to Skype my sweet Sis and family before Ava arrived! So grateful for those precious few minutes. While we couldn't get it to work right after she was born, at least I got to see pics and talk to everyone. The next day, we got to Skype again, and I finally got to see and talk to that darling baby.

Friday finally arrived, and I headed home. As soon as we landed, I dropped my stuff at home and headed to the hospital. SO thankful to have made it there before they were discharged! What a special moment to be there by myself for a few hours, let my niece meet her favorite auntie get to know my niece, spend time with my Sis and BIL, and help them get settled at home. Cary's sweet sister Jennifer, her son Tyler, and his Mom all met us there, as did my Mom a little while later.

Brent and I went back over on Sunday to spend time with everyone, and we even got to take part in Ava's first photo session (you rock, Jennifer)!

Words cannot express just how much I cherish the time spent with my growing family this weekend. Watching Cary sing to his beautiful daughter or the look of pure adoration in my sister's eyes...incredible. We are truly blessed!

Mom, dad, and precious baby girl are all doing well, albeit lacking a little sleep...but what a GORGEOUS little family they have created!

Welcome to the world, sweet baby girl!

And baby makes 3! This pic is priceless.

My 3-year-old niece, Bailey, holding her baby cousin.
Made it to the hospital!!
 Love that face!!
 Uncle Brent loving on his niece!
 Love her so much already!
They don't make 'em any cuter than this!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear Baby Ava...

Hello my precious niece,

This is your Aunt Beth. So I hear you'll be gracing us with your presence a week earlier than we thought! I know you're just soooo excited to meet me and all, just as I am to meet you. Unfortunately (but obviously you're just as stubborn as your Momma, as I've told you countless times), I'm in Chicago this week on business. :(

How rude of you. ;) I'm only kidding!

You sure have given your Mommy a rough time these past few months, and I know she's BEYOND ready to have you out here with her and your Daddy. But...aren't you warm in there? I mean, I know there's not much room to do back flips, with your Mommy being as tiny as she is. But how comforting it must be to be so protected. :) Your parents and all of us out here are so excited to meet you. I only wish you could hold on just a couple more days...

If not (and it's not looking like things will go my way), all I have to say is thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime! Should you arrive before I get home, at least I'll still get to "meet" you.

Your Aunt B loves you SO much already!! See you soon, Ava Jane!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Off to NYC!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and greetings from a very bumpy 35,000 feet!

Although I had a bit of bad news yesterday, with my dermatologist letting me know my biopsy came back as skin cancer, I'm in a super fab mood today. At least the spot is not melanoma and is 100% treatable. They scheduled Moh's surgery, which is very common and the most effective treatment, for April 3...which just so happens to be my sister's due date!! Ugh. But we're all I'm secretly hoping Ava Jane is an April Fool's baby. Fingers crossed!

Today I'm heading to New York for the NYC Half Marathon and a search engine marketing conference. I couldn't be more excited about this trip!

First, I get to spend the weekend AND run tomorrow's race with my awesome cousin, Missy. We were both selected for the lottery entry 2 years in a row, whoop. Not only are we close because we're family, but she is honestly one of the most amazing women I've ever met. Family is of the utmost importance to her, she is one of the most hardworking people I know, she loves to run and travel, so obviously we have a ton in common. And she's getting married to a wonderful man this summer (who was supposed to join us this weekend, but sadly injured his knee). So excited to see you, Miss!

The marketing conference I'm attending this week is hands-down my favorite. It was the most educational of all the conferences I attended last year, and just about every seminar on the agenda relates to what I do on a daily basis. SO thankful for the opportunity to continue growing professionally!

And finally, I get to spend time with my fabulous friend, Anna! We met back in 2004 when Brent and I were participating in the Disney College Program, and we've kept in touch ever since. I was fortunate to be able to visit her twice while she lived in Arizona, and this will be my third time seeing her since she and her husband moved to NYC...thank you, business trips! Oh yeah, and we're going to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday night!! Soooo pumped to see him live! Set your DVRs to record NBC on Tuesday. If you know me, you know I'll be doing everything possible to be seen in the audience. :)

Don't forget to wear your green! Here's a St. Patty's Day toast for you:

Here's to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A handsome man and an honest one.
A cold beer – and another one!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday: 10 years with Brent!

10 years ago, had I asked myself where I would be a decade later, I never could have imagined the way my life has played out. And thankfully so!

When you're in your teens and 20s and living the life (or so you think) in college, the world seems so simple. You think everything is just going to work out according to plan. I quickly learned that life does not work that way, and God most certainly has His own plan.

When Brent and I started dating back in 2002, I wouldn't say I knew he was "the one" right away (mind you, we were heavily intoxicated), but it was definitely something along those lines. :) However, I quickly realized I loved and wanted to experience life with him. And experience life we did!

From packing up and moving to Orlando for a semester to intern with the Walt Disney World College buying our first home traveling all over the getting scuba going losing loved growing into the people we've always wanted each other to be, and SO much more, I wouldn't change a single moment of it!

As my favorite quote goes, "Some days we love each other; other days we have to work at it. You never see the hard days in a photo album. But those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next."

Those words could not be truer. I LOVE YOU, Brent!! And I can't wait to see what the next 10 years holds for us!

Brent and me from the beginning:

This pic pretty much sums up our first month or so of dating ;)

2002 >> cheering for Memphis
 2003 >> cheering on Memphis at the New Orleans Bowl
2004 >> Brent's 22nd birthday in Orlando

"Wishes" at Magic of our favorite things to see down there!
2005 >> more Memphis fun!
 2006 >> the start of a 5+ year wedding "season"
 Halloween fun!

2007 >> the proposal!! Thanks, Kelly Rhodes Stoffel! :)
 September 29, 2007 >> Mr. & Mrs. Brent Wilson!
 2008 >> Baby Buster the Boston Terrier arrives!
Some of my Buster faves!
 2009 fun!

 2010 >> 3rd anniversary in the Bahamas!

At our great friends, Patrick and Marcie's wedding!

 2011 >> 4th anniversary in Vegas! 

At one of my best friends, Kelly's wedding in NOLA!
 2012 >> Brent and me with our nephew, Cash. LOVE!!
It's so fun to go through all these pictures and see how much we've changed. Here's to the next 10+ years! :)