Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Philly, Dublin, and 26.2 Miles

Last summer, my friend Jim Asker came up with the idea for Team in Training to do an international event, with Dublin, Ireland to be the destination. I excitedly agreed to be a part of this inaugural event for the Tennessee chapter, and what an adventure it ended up being. Here's a recap of the trip.

A little group photo while we were still smiling. This group of people helped raise over $80,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All of us are involved for different reasons, but all in it for the ultimate goal - a cure. Jim and Paige on the right were our two season mentors.

Paige and I in Philly
Exhausted and stuck in Philly!
Our flight was delayed, then we were delayed in Philadelphia for a day, which we were less than thrilled about, but Paige and I decided to make the best of it. We decided to go out and about in the city, which I ended up loving. The art and history in the city are amazing, and I can't wait to go back and explore more when I have more time.

We arrived in Dublin on Saturday morning, exhausted, smelly, and most generally grumpy. Things started to become a little more real after we visited the race Expo to pick up our gear. It was my first trip out of the country, so I was pretty much enthralled with everything. One of the most interesting things I noticed about Dublin was how all the doors seemed to be different colors. It makes me want a purple door, you know, when I grow up! We found the start and finish lines, which were thankfully very close to our hotel. It was all coming together - I was about to do my first full marathon. I hadn't trained properly and was nervous as heck, but I knew I had to do it. Anxiety, stress, and worry were all setting in. Who wants to do 26.2 miles for fun? This coming from a girl 2 years prior wanted nothing to do with any type of exercise at all. Quite the reversal.

On Monday, race day was upon us. It was windy and cloudy but then again I wouldn't have expected anything else in Dublin. I can see why those people drink so much - the weather is beyond depressing! Someone handed me a poncho early in the day and for some reason I decided that it was worth holding onto. That gut feeling proved to be correct - as it started pouring later on in the race. The race started at 9, which was awesome. It gave us time to eat, talk out some last minute jitters, and take a shot of vodka before starting. (I kid, I kid, it was whiskey). My teammates and I headed out for a race we had been preparing for for months.

Things started hurting around Mile 2 - that's when I knew it was going to be a long day. Thankfully, sweet Paige stayed with me throughout the entire race. By Mile 8, my hip had pretty much had it and I was beginning to think I couldn't do it. By the time I got to Mile 13, I was ready to call it quits and hang out in the Sag Wagon for a few hours. Much to my disappointment, the Sag Wagon never showed up. We kept plugging along, and at Mile 15 the torrential downpour started. That was fun. By mile 18 I was really beginning to question my sanity in addition to my stupidity. I hadn't trained more than 14 miles, it probably was pretty stupid to take on 26.2 but my stubbornness set in somewhere around Mile 20. I hit the infamous "wall" at Mile 22 and broke down crying. Paige was there to comfort me and encourage me but never have I wanted to just sit down in a puddle and splash and cry as much as I did in that moment. She pushed me along and kept me talking. Around Mile 24, it was game over. I started sobbing where Paige kindly told me that if I didn't stop crying she was going to kick my face. Okay, maybe she didn't but it sure felt like she was being mean to me telling me to stop crying and all. I mean, it hurt... I was cold, it was dark, and dammit I wanted to see that finish line! I'm not sure how she kept me going and out of the puddles, but she did and soon we could hear the finish. However for some reason, we could never see it... then we discovered we were going the WRONG direction. By this time, any expletive ever known to man was coming out of my mouth and I was ready to punch someone who looked at me wrong. Crossing the finish line is honestly a little fuzzy - almost like I was drunk exhaustion. I remember stumbling back to my hotel thinking, Wow, I'm a marathoner! I got to the hotel bar and immediately ordered a drink! It was great seeing my teammates comforting faces and getting congratulatory hugs.

I still look back and the whole thing feels unreal. I can't believe I actually finished. I can't believe I did it in Dublin, Ireland. What an amazing trip with a great group of people. To complete such a huge feat in my life with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society made all the pain worth it. I swore that I'd never do another full, but now I have one picked out, and I fully intend on training properly for this one. I'm excited. Thanks to everyone who supported me emotionally, prayerfully, and by donating to the cause!

Wouldn't be a trip to Dublin
without some Guinness!

This is what I got to come home to!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To My Sweet Doodlebug...

To my sweet, sweet Doodlebug,

It's hard to believe that it's been 8 years ago that I was incredibly blessed by your birth. September 22, 2003 was one of the two best days of my life. Parts of it I remember as though it were yesterday, other parts are blurred by the new memories. I remember when I first found out you were in my tummy - I was so surprised. The first time I heard your heartbeat, I fell madly in love with you. The first time I saw your picture, it felt as though I was on top of the world. When I found out you were a girl, I immediately bought all things pink. I felt you moving inside of me and had such an incredible sense of love and joy fill my life.

I remember when you first came out, you swallowed a little too much fluid and you had to be put on oxygen. It upset me not to hold you immediately, but after 45 minutes, a sweet little bundle of you was placed in my arms. My life would never be the same. Little did I know it, but you would save me. My beautiful 7 lb, 11 oz. daughter, Kassidy Noelle.

You were the sweetest baby. Slept through the night early and never gave me any trouble. Your sweet personality was evident from the beginning; at the same time you had a passion for life mingled with that childhood innocence. However, you've always been so mature beyond your years.

In these past 8 years, I have put you through a lot of things that I hope someday you can understand. You have handled every situation with grace and finesse; probably better than many adults I know. You taught me how to love, how to show compassion, and how to forgive. I love you even more (if that's possible) for this.

I could not be any more proud of you. I wish you knew how much I loved you, that there was a way on this earth to show you with something you could see or physically feel. When I look at you, I see an absolutely, unbelievably incredible daughter. I am beyond blessed to have you in my life. You have shown me so much and there is no doubt in my mind you will continue to do so. You're my sweet princess that has a beautiful soul, you're kind to others, and I wish I had more of your soft spirit. Never change who you are, because that person is amazing.

Please know that everything I have done I have always wanted what was best for you. I know I haven't been perfect, and I'm going to make more mistakes, but I promise you that nothing has or ever will be your fault. You haven't done anything wrong. Thank you for being you. You have saved me so many times over the years.
I love you most - more than anything. Happy birthday sweet girl.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Believe...

This weekend, someone I am acquainted with through work (and now through Twitter and Facebook as well) was tweeting about what he believed in. I am stealing his idea (Thanks, Chris Thomas!) and blogging about what I believe in. I'll add to it as I think about it.

I Believe: in sleeping in on the weekends.
I Believe: you should work hard for what you get, even if it seemingly gets you nowhere.
I Believe: in God. That being said,
I Believe: we all have a right to believe in whatever we want. It isn't my place to judge.
I Believe: that love knows no boundaries.
I Believe: that a good cupcake can brighten anyone's day.
I Believe: in laughing until it hurts.
I Believe: that men should open doors for everyone, especially women.
I Believe: that a glass of wine and a girl friend can make a bad day good.
I Believe: you can never tell your kids you love them too much.
I Believe: really bad things happen to really great people; and it sucks.
I Believe: in forgiveness.
I Believe: God had me in mind the day Adam Levine was put on this earth.
I Believe: it is healthy to be able to laugh at yourself.
I Believe: that a day of watching sports is a day well spent.
I Believe: in yes ma'am and no sir.
I Believe: that my daughter is the sweetest girl on the face of this planet.
I Believe: that bad exists so good can shine through.
I Believe: in reading a good book.
I Believe: sometimes you just need to cry.
I Believe: women are their own worst critic.
I Believe: in dancing half naked in my bedroom.
I Believe: food is the way to my heart.
I Believe: someday, I'll find some unsuspecting man to marry me.
I Believe: I'm a freaking princess.
I Believe: fears of frogs are completely rational.
I Believe: that when you help someone, you help yourself.
I Believe: that dolphins are one of the world's most beautiful creatures.
I Believe: that guns are fun when used correctly.
I Believe: that taking risks is healthy.
I Believe: in singing at the top of my lungs in my car.
I Believe: that Nashville is one of our nation's greatest cities.
I Believe: that when you tell a girl you'll call, you should call.
I Believe: that running can change your life.
I Believe: in taking lots of pictures.
I Believe: in hand-written notes.
I Believe: in treating others the way I want to be treated.
I Believe: in love. hope. passion. empathy. faith. motivation. wisdom.
I Believe: fishing is a patient man's sport.
I Believe: you should take every opportunity to travel.
I Believe: you can always go home.
I Believe: in the power of friendship.
I Believe: in broken hearts.
I Believe: everything happens for a reason.
I Believe: in the appreciation of the quiet.
I Believe: sometimes you just have to HTFU.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Taking a Moment....

We live in a fast paced world. And by fast paced, I mean technological. And by technological, I mean we're all connected to our cell phones. We may be texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and gasp! maybe even making a phone call, but it seems like we're all caught up in our busy insane lives.

I think all of us are busy. We all claim to be anyway. We don't have time for this or that because we're "busy". We all have jobs. We all have lives. Some of us have kids, others choose dogs. Some of us spend insane amounts of time training for our next endurance event (not me), some choose to volunteer their time. Others choose to travel, some go to school, some spend a lot of time in church. Or, maybe you just play in the dirt. Whatever it is you do, it keeps you busy. And occupied - and chances are, you forget about taking time to appreciate the small things.

So, here's a reminder of some things you should quite possibly take time to appreciate.
    • Toothpaste - Seriously, whoever invented this needs a pat on the back. I don't think there's more of an explanation necessary. We all appreciate this one.
    • Smiling - We all know it takes more muscles to frown than smile. As cheesy as it may sound, you may change someone's mood. Of course, that can go one of two ways - they're happier, or they're irritated at your perkiness and want to smack you. It's a risk you've gotta take.
    • Family - Your family may be "real" family. They may be a group of friends. It could be people at work. Or maybe you were raised by a pack of wild dingos. Whatever it may be, appreciate them. Make sure they know it too. You never know when you may need someone to bail you out of jail.
    • Purses - While men may despise the ever humiliating task of holding a woman's purse, women can hardly function without them. In fact, I am almost sure that most women's life's story could be written from the contents of their purse.
    • Toilet Paper - Not just for the obvious. I mean, it's got so many other uses. Something to blow your nose, decorations on someone's front yard, hours of entertainment for your cat (or your toddler), or a gift. You know, the inappropriate type you give at a bachelorette party.
    • Annoying People - They're a constant reminder of how you do NOT want to act. That person who always has to "one-up" you? The one who picks their nose? Or maybe it's the one who could use a little Beano in their life. Whatever they do to annoy you, you don't want to be them.
    • DVR - How on earth did we ever live without the ability to pause and play live TV, or watch a show from three weeks ago? Oh the days of VHS and if you didn't see it the first time, you missed it.
    • Asian people - Really? Did you think I was going to go through this entire post without some sort of Asian dig? You have to love us. We're tanner than you, our eyes are squintier than yours, chances are we're smarter, can kung-fu like none other, and we all know we're awesome drivers. And, you wouldn't have all those technological devices either. Admit it - couldn't do without us.
    • Cupcakes - A world without cupcakes is like a year without rain. I would wither up and die, just like a plant would without water. Such a shame.
    • Underwear - For those weirdos out there who choose to NEVER wear any underpants, just skip over this one. But seriously, y'all know you love you some undies.
    • Cute Boys (And Cute Girls) - Everyone loves some eye candy. Justin Timberlake, anyone?
    • Pedicures - Is this vain? Totally. Can I imagine life without them? Sure, but I don't want to. And you don't want to see my feet without them.
    • Acting like a kid - You all know you still love it. Clearly I love it too - check out the picture.
    • YouTube - Even my 7 year old daughter loves this site. How else can something go viral and not actually force you to be in the bed for a day? Besides, we all love watching people make fools of themselves.
    • Dirt - This is especially good for those of you who spend your time playing in the dirt, but for the rest of us, if you think about it, dirt plays a pretty big role in things we eat. And us humans love to eat.
    • Possums - God's little reminder that we could always be uglier.
    • Thanksgiving - A shame we have to designate a holiday to remind us to be thankful, but one is better than none.
    • Cell Phone Cameras - For capturing those moments that you can use as blackmail against your friends later. Or, when you want to take a picture discreetly of someone to post on Facebook later to make fun of them.
    • Facebook - -verb: to make fun of, or to stalk someone.
    • Endings - like this blog.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm a Twinkie - I Think?

According to Urban Dictionary, and thanks to my Ragnar Relay running friends, I learned what I really am, a Twinkie.

The definition reads as follows: An Asian person who is either adopted or living in a white community. Hence, yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

When I heard this, I immediately thought, oh my goodness, this is me! Growing up in a pretty much all white community, my world has remained pretty much all white. I think I know two or three Asian people, but I'm pretty confident they're Twinkies too. However, today I was wondering just how much of a true Twinkie I was, so I thought I'd just do a little test. Following are a few Asian stereotypes and whether or not I fit them. Please know that I am not racist. This is all in good fun. I love everyone.

  • Asians are good at math: This one is a toss up. I'm an Accountant, I should probably say yes. The thing is, I'm pretty good at what I do, but I suck at geometry. So, I'm going to say tie. Asian - 1. Twinkie - 1
  • Asians are overachievers: Dangit. I can't even argue here. Asian - 2. Twinkie - 1.
  • Asians are quiet: Anyone who really knows me knows that this is NOT true. Asian - 2. Twinkie - 2.
  • Asians are hardworking: I'd like to think so. Asian - 3. Twinkie - 2.
  • All Asians know kung-fu: Hell yes. Don't piss me off. Asian - 4. Twinkie - 2.
  • Asians have heavy accents: Yoo wan fry ry wiff tha hapee famlee? Negative. My mom says I've got a little southern twang if anything at all. Asian - 4. Twinkie - 3.
  • Asian females have bold bangs: Not since the fourth grade. Asian - 4. Twinkie - 4.
  • Asians can sew: HUH? You want me to do what? No. Asian - 4. Twinkie - 5.
  • Asians are horrible drivers: Have y'all seen my car? I'm a double threat. Woman AND Asian. Asian - 5. Twinkie - 5.
  • Asians are technologically savvy: My 7 year old daughter knows more about electronics than I do. This would be a big fat no. Asian - 5. Twinkie - 6.
  • Asian is synonymous with Chinese: PUH-LEASE. For the 4,987th time, I am not CHINESE! I am a twinkie. Asian - 5. Twinkie - 7.
  • I eat dog: Lately, I don't eat much at all. Asian - 5. Twinkie - 8.
  • Asians all have flat faces and squinty eyes: As much as I'd like to say I don't fit this one, there's not one of us that can deny it. It's our trademark. Asian - 6. Twinkie - 8.
  • Asians are athletically inferior: Has anyone ever seen me try to be athletic? Yep. Asian - 7. Twinkie - 8.
  • Asian women wear open toed shoes year round: Thank you Jessica. Asian - 8. Twinkie - 8.
  • Asian women are submissive: I'm about as submissive as a pissed off bulldog. Asian - 8. Twinkie - 9.
  • Asian women are obssessed with Hello Kitty: Not since I was 4. Asian - 8. Twinkie - 10.
I'm sure there's some I'm missing, so if you think of some, please let me know so I can add them. I'm open to suggestions. As it is now, I am still a Twinkie. Yay for Twinkies.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Pregnant!

Two simple words that change your life in an absolute instant. Goes a little something like this for me.

I remember the first time I found out I had a little bundle of joy in the works. There I was, sitting on my toilet in our little ghetto-ized one bedroom apartment. I had something like five or six pregnancy tests all around me, the contents of the boxes strewn about the bathroom floor. All were positive. I was a mess. A crying, hysterical mess. Pink lines, plus signs, what the heck?! We had only been married a few months! I was only 19! This wasn't supposed to happen! They all said, oh, you've been on the pill for years, a couple of weeks will be okay. Yeah, well, they were wrong. I remember in my panic we drove to a clinic for an additional test, only to later figure out it was a clinic that counseled women who were not wanting to continue with their pregnancy. My intention was to just have a professional tell me it was real. It was just very unexpected for me, that's all. 40 weeks, at least that many gallons of ice cream, approximately 100 packages of gummi bears, and a very healthy, pregnant, chubby 176-lb Asian marshmallow looking Erin later, along came a little angel, Kassidy Noelle. Just two days after I turned 20, there she was. The sweetest little baby, with a head full of pitch black hair. 7 lbs, 11 ounces of nothing but pure love. My entire world was placed in my arms. I never knew that love could feel like that. So simple. So bundled. So her. She gave me love, crazy love. From that moment on, I could finally say I knew what unconditional love was.

The second time it wasn't nearly as charming. It came at a much more volatile time in my life and I knew I was pregnant, so it only took one little test. The pregnancy was tough with a sit-down talk in the depressing, messy office of my obstetrician looking at me with a furrowed brow. I still remember him looking down at me (I remain haunted by feeling like he was perched on his desk) telling me I would have to decide if I would want to terminate my pregnancy. Terminate. Really? Dude... I'm a little country girl from Nebraska. Don't use those big words with me! He had his medical reasons for telling me this. There was a very high likelihood that there were going to be very serious medical issues with my little one this time around and that he/she would have permanent problems. Wow. Talk about heartbreak. Not the news you want to hear when you're sitting there, alone, and you know your marriage is unraveling fast. Continual ultrasounds, tests, attorney visits, tears, a separation, a move, going into labor alone, being in the hospital alone. Not the way you dream what should be the happiest moments of your life should be. But, a happy, healthy little Kayden James was born, and my life would be forever changed, and only for the better. Unconditional love, round 2.

Seems like people all around me are pregnant. So, I can't help but wonder what my third time around will be like.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Year In Review

I now fiercely regret not keeping better record of things; journaling, blogging, whatever it may be. Now that I'm getting older and realize that my children may someday enjoy reading this to understand what was going on, or to make fun of me, I wish I had done better. I will do better in 2011, but here's a recap of what went on in 2010.

January : Ah. Classic New Year. 2010, already? What will you have in store? Guess January was so far ago that I don't remember a lot. I was training for my first ever half marathon, the Disney Princess to be held in Orlando in March. That consumed a lot of time, and by January I was really beginning to look forward to getting out of bed at 5:30 to go run. Really? This was taken after one of our training runs. Still smiling... it's a miracle!

February: The month of my sweet little boy's birth. He would be the big 4 this month! Seems hard to believe that it's been that long, and he is growing like a weed. A funny, funny kid, he never ceases to make me laugh, smile, or fuss! Here's a shot of me and the birthday boy.

March: The month my life would be forever changed, one happy, one very sad. I finished my first half marathon. March 7th, 2010, I was a participant in the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. The best part of this race was being a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (TNT). The world's largest endurance athlete training program, I can't begin to tell you the benefits this gives people. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for vital research to help save lives. I didn't know it, but being a TNT participant would be a turning point in my life. Later in the month, my high was forced to a low as I saw one of my friends suffer the effects of cancer. Janet was a sweet 14 year old girl I had met through the Make-a-Wish Foundation and we became fast friends. Loving her like a younger sister, it was so incredibly difficult to watch her suffer as I knew she was leaving this earth. I visited her as often as I could, even if only for a few moments. I knew her days were numbered.

April: Early in this month I said goodbye to Janet. The first time anyone near to me had passed, and I struggled with it. I didn't understand why anyone so innocent and pure should go through so much pain and have to leave this earth. I know now that I shouldn't question it that it was God's plan, and someday it'll all be revealed and make sense.

Towards the end of the month, I completed my second half for the year, the Country Music Marathon. I remember hearing Janet's favorite song "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus before we started running. Of course I burst into tears, as it was the first time I'd heard it since she passed. But I had great friends right there beside me, and it was a moment when I realized how lucky I was to have such good friends.

The family at Leela's graduation reception
May: My sweet little sister, Leela would graduate from high school this month. It didn't seem possible. Just years earlier her and her two biological sisters Audie and Josie had joined our family, and our lives would be forever changed. Leela is the other pea in my pod; she reminds me so much of me and I'm so proud of her.

Unfortunately when I was home, another tragedy would take place as a close family friend would lose their young son to an accident. Within weeks, I had seen two children be put in the ground. It makes you wonder what on earth God is thinking sometimes, but I guess that is what faith is all about.

In May, Nashville would be devastated by a flood that would make the phrase "We are Nashville" famous. Torrential rains would flood our city and cause millions of dollars in damage. The Volunteer State pulled together and would help strangers and friends rebuild. Today, although effects of the 500 year flood are still evident in some places, we have come so far.

June: Somewhere in this month I was given more responsibility at work, and really began to settle into my job. I realized that I didn't want just a job, but a career. I ended up in court at the end of May, only to finally work things out with my ex-husband and then change almost everything. Kassidy questioned why her dad and I weren't friends; we both decided it was time to do better, and ever since then we have. Life gets so much easier and more fulfilling when you have peace. I'm so very thankful for this.

July: This month must have been relatively quiet, I don't really remember anything major. The fall was a very busy time for me, and I was also preparing for my daughter to start the second grade. No longer a baby, but a very perceptive little girl who can read, write, and is just plain too smart for her own good.

August: New Orleans! I had never been and my awesome and very cool friend Chris lives there, so I thought why not? It had been a couple of years since I'd seen him and it gave me a great excuse to go on a little weekend trip. Little Bourbon Street, little seafood, little craziness. By the way, that's water I'm drinking... 

September: I would turn 27 this month! My late 20's. I never thought that I would be upset to grow older, but this birthday hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe because I realized I was on the downhill slope to 30, maybe because my little girl would be 7 just two days after my 27th. Either way, though, I didn't have much time to wallow. The weekend before my birthday I made a short weekend trip to Las Vegas. I was able to see the "O" performance of Cirque du Soleil, which is truly unbelievable art. Then, just days after my birthday I would participate in my 3rd half marathon, the inaugural Nashville Women's Half Marathon. Kassidy was at the finish line, which was a great thing to see after crossing, with a new PR. The next month would be insanely busy, with another half marathon in just one more week. My team had spent months training for this event, and I couldn't be more proud to be their team captain.

October: The 2nd of this month would be Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando, FL. This race would benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All of us had spent months preparing and fundraising for this event which was my second event with TNT, and my first in a leadership role. How special to see other people putting their best foot forward and achieving things they never thought possible. To encourage fundraising and participation, I asked my boss to help out. He agreed that if the employees of Churchill Mortgage donated at least $2,000 he would dye his hair purple for a week. It created incredible feedback and awareness for TNT and LLS. Maybe in 10 years, instead of every 10 minutes someone dies from blood cancer, and every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed, these stats will be decreased.

The following week, I would participate in the Susan G. Komen 5K in Maryland Farms. The largest race series in the nation, Susan G. Komen raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research. The Brentwood race would raise over $1 million. I know many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This disease is much too common and takes too many lives. In this picture is Anna Brown, the wife of a co-worker who was diagnosed this year. They took the obstacle in stride with grace and finesse. The employees at Churchill came through again with a huge participation showing support for the Browns.

At the end of the month, here goes Churchill Mortgage again supporting another well deserving cause. We were a corporate sponsor for the 2nd Annual Run for Mercy 5K, benefiting Mercy Ministries. We had a huge turnout and this picture is just a part of our team. Our owner is incredibly generous and I am lucky to be employed amongst such wonderful people there. Working there is like having another family.

November: Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat. Oh yes. Ragnar Relay, Tennessee! A proud member of the Holes and Poles team, I was excited to participate in such a wild and crazy ride. Here, I would learn to HTFU and make some great new friends. A 195 mile relay race from Chattanooga to Nashville - I will never be the same!

I also was able to be a volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night. I felt lucky to help out and walk with Team Tanner, which raised over $24,000 for LLS. Tanner, a beautiful little 7 year old girl was diagnosed with leukemia. She's a champ, and I met her through Make-a-Wish. Next up for Tanner is being the "Girl of the Year" for LLS. I don't know what this little girl is going to be when she grows up, but I know she's going to make everyone who knows her proud.

Also this month I worked the Team in Training booth for the I Run for the Party 10K and 5K. A few friends helped me throughout the afternoon, but the man of the day was my friend Daryl, who is currently undergoing treatment for lymphoma. These cancer survivors are fighters... they are something else. Amazing people with incredible will. They inspire me. I hope they all know how much of a difference that they make in my life. It reminds me to always count my blessings, to not complain; someone out there always has it worse, and is probably handling it better.

December: The end of the year is already upon us, but that doesn't mean it slows down! The first weekend, I participated in the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon. What a great experience to run through the campus of St. Jude and see the encouragement along the course. I managed a new PR by 12 minutes and 49 seconds, so I was thrilled! My cousin flew in for the weekend so I drug him to Memphis with me and then we took in a very cold and disappointing Titans game.

This month Kassidy and I cut our hair off for a program called Beautiful Lengths. They make wigs for cancer patients. Kassidy had asked me quite some time ago if we could do this; a little girl she knew had done it and she decided she wanted to as well. I was so proud of her for wanting to, but the selfish part of me wanted to say no, but how can you discourage her? So, we grew it out and finally took the plunge in December. Here are the before and after pictures. I honestly had no idea that my hair was so long. I dreaded getting it cut in the beginning, but now am so happy that we did it. It will be a memory to last a lifetime.

A little over a week after the race I had to go to the doctor for a pain in my foot and found out it was a stress fracture. So, I was stuck in a boot and am now not able to run for 6-8 weeks. I was seriously disappointed that I had a little hiccup in my training and that the full in February 2011 I had planned on completing would not be happening, but this is a good time for me to slow down and rest. Here's a picture from our company Christmas party of my boot and my refusal to not give up wearing my new heels! (Or heel).

So, I've been reflecting, relaxing, sleeping, and recovering from a nagging cold. I had Christmas with the kids over New Year's, and now I'm ready to face 2011.