Friday, January 27, 2012

Finally at peace...

It's been a roller coaster of a year...well, two years really.

I've been traveling more, we've attended and/or been in more friends and family members' weddings (mostly out of town) than I can even count, the whole kidney stone ordeal of 2011, fertility issues and the ups and downs of thinking "this is the month!", training for the marathon and my current half marathon/PR training, being insanely busy at work, and trying to fit in time with family and friends as often as I can. Even with all that, I finally feel like I'm in a good, happy place in all aspects of life.

Professionally, things couldn't be better. We're in the middle of redesigning a new niche website, we're moving along with the video marketing plan (finally), I'm doing a bit more business development (so exciting!), feeling more productive than ever, and being held more accountable, too, which I'm extremely thankful for. I'm also about to start traveling quite a bit...Houston next week for a committee meeting, St. Louis the following week to meet with customers, Las Vegas a few weeks later for a few different tradeshows (one of which I'm speaking at), then NYC for a marketing conference and the #NYChalf (round 2, whoop!), and Chicago after that for another conference. Phew...but I can't really complain with those locations. :) All I have to say is thank goodness for my assistant (a fabulous one at that)!!

Personally, I finally feel at peace with just about everything. My running has improved, I feel great, and I'm just in a good mood. As far as the baby issue goes, maybe it's because I'm busier than ever at work, the fact that I'm starting a new medication next month, or Brent and I finally being on the same page about {almost} everything, but I have never felt more sure that things are just as it should be.

With all that said, I have to send a quick shout out to a few peeps. My hubby, who supports me working long hours, Saturdays, traveling, and a rigorous running schedule. My parents, who are there for me no matter what. My running buddy, who is there for me more than she'll ever know. My best friend, Erika, who even though we don't get to see or talk to each other as often as we'd like, after 16 years, we know we're always there for each other and are only a phone call away. A couple co-workers, who provide a calming and positive influence, which I am utterly grateful for. And of course, Buster the Boston Terrier. He rules at life.

Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

For the love of running...

To say that I love running would be a slight understatement. It is truly my passion, and I'm so thankful for everything it's given back to me.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be healthy enough physically to be able to run as much as I do. I've run nine half marathons, one full, more 5ks and 10ks than I can count, racked up 1000+ miles in both 2010 and 2011, and have a plethora of finisher medals to showcase it all.

But aside from the material gains, it also keeps me in shape. I don't have to be training for a specific race, though that always helps of course. Just putting one foot in front of the other, picking up the pace when I feel like it, 4-5 days a week...that's all it takes.

Going a step further, it's provided me with more emotional benefits than I ever imagined. As of late, my stress level has been through the roof. With everything going on in my personal life (and quite possibly most definitely over-analyzing it all, being the type-A that I am), trying to fit in time with my niece, other family members, and friends when I can, working 50+ hours a week (by choice, so that's on me), and the list could go on... Needless to say, running has been my saving grace as far as stress goes. It's my time to de-stress, my time to think (or not), and my time to just zone out.

Furthermore, I've gained a new best friend in my running buddy, Autumn. Though she and I went to high school and college together and were in the same sorority, we were never really close. We were in the same "circle" of friends, but I guess we just never took the time to really get to know each other. We've been running together for over three years now. In that time, we've run more miles than I can count, shared more stories than I can remember, and confided in each other over everything from marriage and work issues to our monthly cycles and bowel movements...yep. While training for the marathon last year, Autumn injured her foot and could barely walk. However, she couldn't stand for me to be out there training alone, especially with this being my first, so she rode her bike along side me...all 18+ miles, on three different occasions. Same with the St. Jude Half this year. She wasn't hurt, but she had taken some time off and wasn't ready to run. So she made her way out to four different mile markers to cheer me on. Now that's a friend. For anyone else who feels like this about their running partner, I HIGHLY suggest you read Mile Markers. You won't be disappointed.

I'm also thankful for all the tools we as runners are given. Whether it's the latest and greatest pair of running shoes (Asics Gel Nimbus are my new fave!), a new flavor of Gu (they should so sponsor me), my super awesome tights or Under Armor gear to stay warm in the 32 and below weather, I'd say we're set!

I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with running, but I do have the utmost appreciation for it. But as Paula Radcliffe would say, "I can't imagine living and not running. " :)

Pure happiness :)


Autumn & me before St. Jude 2010!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good friends and God's message

Whew, what a weekend!

After work on Friday, I headed to the gym for my weekly fix of Anthony's Extreme Fitness class. It continued with a wonderful night in, with crab-stuffed salmon and veggies, thanks to my hubby's EXCELLENT grilling skills. We watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which is a great movie, P.S.), and called it a night around 11:30. It was just what I needed to end such a crazy work week.

Saturday started a little later than usual, as I slept in until almost 9! I made a serving of my new obsession: organic oatmeal, and then got dressed and headed to Sports Authority to pick up some new running gear. Brent got me a fabulous Nike Dry-fit pullover, but I needed something thin to go under it. I also bought a new pair of New Balance compression running tights. Can't wait to run in and post my review of them!

After that, I made my way to the office for a few hours. A little bummed at first, knowing how beautiful it was outside, but I had an 11-mile training run planned, so I knew I'd have plenty of time with nature. As crazy as it sounds, Saturdays might possibly be my favorite day to work. I got more done in the 3 hours I was there by myself than I do in just about any regular 8-10 hour weekday. I was able to get in, get what I needed to do done, and get out. So thankful for that.

By about 2:30 p.m., I was running through Shelby Farms making my way to the Greenline. It was a wonderful run...11 miles at an 8:46 pace. My new PR training plan had me scheduled to stay at 9:02, so I was super happy with the pace. Not so happy about the soreness, though. Feeling like my feet are scraping the pavement + no more arch support + sore knees = new shoes needed pronto...and a trip to Fleet Feet.

Saturday night, we met up with a big group of friends at Blind Bear, a new speakeasy-themed bar in Downtown Memphis. It was fabulous, but of course you can’t really complain being in a super fun place with super fun people (except for the fact that they allow smoking...my only complaint). You have to say the code to get in (LOVE it!), and as you walk through it’s like a normal bar, with the exception of the fabulous prohibition-era d├ęcor. The bar area is large and open, which is welcome for a Downtown establishment. We had the "secret" room reserved, which is set up behind the bar. In the dark, hidden room filled with more 20's-style items, we were able to sit comfortably on a couch or ottoman, watch whatever game was playing at the time (Go Grizz!), and see through to the rest of the bar. Gotta love a two-way mirror! After {mostly} good conversation and some great libations, a few of us wandered down to Local Gastropub: ole faithful for a good meal.

Sunday was seriously the most AMAZING day! We woke up relatively early for once and made it to church to hear one of the best sermons I’ve heard in a long time. Do you ever get that feeling that God’s message is completely directed toward you? That’s how I felt yesterday. We're in an "I Quit" series right now, and the topic was Quit Comparing. After the intense struggle of the past few months (more so, the past two years), I don’t think I ever needed to hear what was said more than I did then. "Stop comparing your situation to others and thinking that life is unfair. Be thankful for the many blessings in your life." Our pastor talked about wishing for a better job, more money, and other things we so often take advantage of and envy others for. And then he spent about five minutes covering "everyone around you is getting pregnant and you're not. Be thankful for the life you're living, the blessings in it, and stop comparing your situation to others." Wow...talk about reaching into my soul. I was sobbing, of course, but it was such a wonderful, powerful message. And it couldn't have come at a better time. It's a God thing. SO very thankful!

After that, Brent and I went to our usual brunch spot, and then my precious niece Bailey came over and we began our afternoon of fun (her words, not mine). First, we went through the car wash. You would've thought I took her to Disney World! :) Next, we met up with my best friend Erika and her two sons at Chuck E. Cheese. I'm not sure if Bailey's been before, but she sure had a blast! Anything with cute animals that moved, she was all about it. Aside from quality time with B, it was so great to finally see my bestie. We don't get to spend nearly enough time together, due to our crazy opposite schedules, so it was very much needed. She has always been there for me, through more experiences than I can even try to remember. And no matter how insane our lives get, we always pick up right where we left off. {Thankful!} After that, B tagged along for my weekly trip to the grocery store. She's becoming one of my favorite shopping partners.

That night, Brent made homemade turkey burgers and chipotle sweet potato fries. Yum!! I'm so spoiled. After the last football game ended, we tuned into the Golden Globes. Perfection (not the show, just the day in general).

This morning, Autumn and I had the chance to run together since she was off work for MLK Day...teachers, ugh. ;) Not only is she my running inspiration, but she has truly become another spiritual mentor. She helps relate so many things to God and what he has in store for us both, and that's not an easy thing to come by where friends are concerned. So thankful for her and our brief but wonderful 5-mile run!

Okay, sorry for the novel that is this post. Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012!

I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and happy New Year! Although I was sick as a dog over the long weekend, we made the most of it having family in town, attending a great friend's wedding, and of course ringing in another year!

I've always been a "resolution" type person, or I guess goal-oriented would be a better way to put it. So I'm excited to have an excuse to be more accountable.

Being the type-A that I am, I categorized my 2011 resolutions as either personal or professional. It seemed to work (at least I checked off one of each), so doing it again...here's hoping!

Personal:
  • Run at least four half marathons. Thankfully I'm already registered for two!
  • Travel somewhere new (preferably on another continent!).
  • Stop gossiping.
  • Make more time for family and friends.
  • Be happy!
Professional:
  • Start arriving 10 minutes earlier to work. I'm ALWAYS running late, so this would be a huge accomplishment.
  • Follow through with all goals listed in 2012 marketing plan and have a measurable ROI for each.
  • Focus more on networking and business development, which will enable the company to close a new project because of that relationship.

Cheers to 2012! I have a feeling it's going to be an excellent year. :)