Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Horses

Scout (6), Toby (29), and Ruger (2) in their Christmas best.
Today I'm thankful for the healing powers of horses, the mountains I grew up near (those are the hills in the picture - not the same), and the refreshing purity of snow.

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm still around. Christmas with the fam was a good time and eventually I'll have the pictures on the computer and share. 

2. The snow is not committing and I wish it would. Fortunately, there is snow on the Mountain so we will be taking our snowshoes out for a trek tomorrow and Sunday. Yay!

3. I actually kind of miss running. I haven't run since Christmas Eve (3.32 miles on a treadmill, which I've never run on before, in 40 min with 189 HR for most of it - Dad was concerned) and I have some fun and exciting new gadgets to try out. You may now sit in anxious anticipation of what those gadgets are. ;-)

I'll get a more meaningful post out later. Happy Eve of New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A New Ending

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." ~Maria Robinson

Every once in a while I need a mindless Facebook quiz. According to FB's "What's Your Quote on Life?" quiz the quote above is my quote on life. I love it. I'm a quote nerd and I've never heard this one before.

By extension of this quote, Facebook says I am hopeful, a free-spirit, offer a healthy dose of optimism, believe in the importance of moving forward, and remember each day how fortunate I am.  

I remember that girl and it's encouraging to know she's still around. I really like the idea of making a new ending. My story - and yours - isn't written yet. Why not make a conscious effort to be present in the writing of it?

A True Conversation

Yesterday, while eating with the Monday Night Posse, Jason asked our friend to watch the kitties while we're out of town. After assurance that neither kitty has pus pockets (gross story) and we'll only be gone three days, she agreed. Our other friend said, "Oh, cats are easy, you just put three days worth of food out and they're fine," to which K replied, "Not Nike's cats. Claire would look like Garfield and Donte would look like he'd never been fed." 

On the way home Jason and I laughed about how well K knows our kitties. Then Jason said, "I think they'd be fine with the food, it's just the lack of human interaction that makes them crazy." 

"Yeah, they'd be fine with the food, but on that third day all bets are off."

"Yes, they really do need human interaction. Otherwise they tear the house apart"

"Wait, are you saying our cats become uncivilized if people aren't around?" At which point I burst into laughter because in my heart I know it's true.

"Um, yes... we'd come home to Lord of Flies kitty-style." 

That's right, my darling fur balls are uncivilized if they don't interact with people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Compassion

The last couple weeks have been really difficult and therefore difficult to find things to be thankful for. I made a short list yesterday...

I'm thankful for friends that will listen to my deepest darkest secrets without judging.

I'm thankful for friends that upon hearing those secrets will come clean my house, make me dinner, and rearrange my office. It doesn't fix the problem, but I felt very loved.

I'm thankful for my babysitters. As ridiculous as it is to need a babysitter, it's good to know no matter how unloved and lonely I feel sometimes there are people who will step in and ease that ache.

I'm thankful for my husband who doesn't yell back when I start to verbally vomit, left work during the busiest part of the day so I could make it to my counseling appointment, is always supportive, and gives the best hugs in the world.

No, things aren't easy right now and I'm getting to the point I can't pretend otherwise. But amidst the darkness I've found an amazing support system and the freedom that comes from being honest about how difficult things are. As one friend lovingly told me, "You're going to be okay because we all love you and we're going to help you through this. You just have to let us."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Please, Be Safe

Sunday marked the changing back of the clocks. It been more than a month since the start of Daylight Savings. It's now dark by 5:30 pm, our normal running time. If we ran in the morning we would still be running in the dark, so we are now in search of ways to keep running, but be able to see and be seen.

Which leads me to a topic I'm very passionate about: reflective gear. That's right, I'm the kid that judges you when she sees you running sans a light or reflective gear. There's a common misconception in the running world that a white hat or clothing is enough. (Click the link for a demo.) It's not. I've been on the same trail as some of you and didn't see you until my pack leaders passed you. Worse, I've been driving when you've crossed - against the light in many cases - in front of my 40 mph moving vehicle.

No, you're not going to look as cute with a reflective vest. Yes, you might look like an alien if you make yourself really visible. (I wish I had a picture of Dad's getup. It's amazing and he will not be run over.) Personally, I'd rather look like an alien than be roadkill.

The biggest struggle is the "I'll only be running in the dark for 30 minutes, so I'm not going to bother with the safety gear." Jason and I have fallen into this trap. The one time I went running by myself this exact thought went through my head. You know what happened? I was nearly hit by a car at two separate intersections. It was just before sunset - ie, there was still a "reasonable" about of light. I dealt with a lot of whining from some Hood to Coast teammates about the "must wear reflective gear and a front and back LED flashers between 6:00 pm and 7 am" rule. But you know what? I think H2C has it right and this should be the norm for runners. (The H2C takes place in late August, basically an hour before sundown is a good time to put on your reflective gear.)

Here are my top picks for safety gear:

Brooks Nightlife Hat - This hat has a comforting level of reflective material and a button LED flasher in the back. It's lightweight, comfortable, and sweat wicking. My only complaint is when my hair was longer the pigtails didn't work as well for me - it was kinda like not pulling my hair back at all. Usually I put my hair through the hat opening, but that blocks the flasher if you need to use it. I attach a cap light to the bill so I can see where I'm going and it works well - especially for Hood to Coast night runs. (The hat flasher counts as your rear LED flasher.)

My other don't-leave-home-without-it gear is the Amphipod Xinglet. Again, it's lightweight, dries quickly, and is less restricting than the traditional vests. I attach a front and rear $5 LED button flasher from the Portland Running Company. The flasher is so simple I can't find anything similar online, so here's an Amphipod Flasher, but know the red button ones are just as good.

In the cold weather my Momentum Running Gloves from Mountain Hardwear (pictured) are indispensable. They keep my hands warm, and are breathable, so I never get too warm. The reflective dots are handy for waving at stopped cars. (On a side note, someone needs to make gloves with reflective dots on the palm. It's awkward to wave at people with the back of your hand.) The right index finger has an opening so you can access your touch screen electronics. I don't use that, but I guess it's neat. 

I also try to always buy clothing with some form of reflective striping on them. Most shoes have some reflective material on the back or sides, and on our night runs we've noticed some shoes are more visible than others. (Unfortunately it's dark, so we have no way of knowing which shoes are better about this.) My new sub-zero Skirts tights from RunningSkirts is my new favorite winter gear item. I pretty much want to wear it everywhere. The reflective twins are cute, too. ;-)


I don't like shoelaces. My husband and Dad spent a good three months listening to me complain about my shoelaces before I discovered Yankz! When I found them at Fit Right NW, I knew they were the solution to my shoelaces-tied-once-come-untied/shoelaces-doubled-tickle-my-ankle conundrum. And, since I'm crazy about being seen, I opted for the reflective and white ones. (My tying job isn't as cool as the ads and I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with cutting the laces, so I haven't.)


What's your can't-run-without winter item? 
Have a safe and happy run!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Highway to Well in Pictures

I was really surprised to see I hadn't blogged about the Highway to Well 5K/10K Dad and I ran in October. This race was memorable for a few reasons, but mostly for being Dad's first race ever (he did the 10K) and my first race where I wasn't last. (That was a really big deal for me.) 

The race was on a Saturday morning in Pendleton, OR. It was a small (small) locally organized race. There was a kid's fun-run 1 mile, a 5K run/walk, 10K run, and a half marathon. The 5K and 10K both started in the park parking lot, wound up to a main road, looped back into the park, into a neighborhood, and then back to the park. The neighborhood area wasn't very well marked, but it would have been difficult to get lost. The 10K did that route twice.

The race had a great small-town vibe and they had a delicious BBQ feast afterwards - chicken, baked beans, rolls, and watermelon. The entry fee was around $20 - $15 for the 5K and another $10 if you wanted the shirt. I opted "no" on the shirt, but Dad did get one. (I don't remember if the 10K was the same price or $5 more.) I'd run it again, with the hope the cheerleaders are more cheery - I didn't know they were cheerleaders until the end and was quite disappointed.

Finishing up the neighborhood loop back to the park
Over the bridge then 300 yds to the finish. About this time Dad was on the other side of the park and cheered me on. I passed the lady in front of me - my first pass ever - and was quite proud. I knew I wasn't last cause I passed someone. She took first for her age division and that took away the guilt I felt.
High-fiving Dad as he finished his second park loop and was headed to the neighborhood loop before finishing
Jason (blue) running with Dad and encouraging him to the end. Dad had started off at a 7:30 pace trying to "keep up with the old guys" before realizing they were only doing the 5K. He was tired, but still maintained a good clip.
Dad and I at the finish line. Isn't it cute?
You can't tell, but I had kinda teared up. They were calling names for the women's 20-25 age division and I was so shocked to hear my name. I like races that dole out ribbons for 5th place. I've never been so proud. (So what if there were only 6 in my age group...)

The third thing that made this race memorable was we all placed. Molly, Dad's coworker, took 1st for her 10K age division. Dad took Men's Overall (it's a track shoe and stop watch trophy thing) for the 10K. I placed 5th for my women's age division for the 5K. We were all pretty stoked. (This is also stoked Dad's race fever.)
And that, friends, is the Highway to Well recap.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jingle Bells and a PR

Sadly, the only full body picture of my outfit   
On Sunday Dad, Jason, and I arose before the sun and prepared for a very, very cold run. We would be running with chilled noses, fancy Christmas socks, and in honor of those who can't - those who suffer from debilitating arthritis. The Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk for Arthritis was awaiting us and we were going to own it.



The course was a simple out-and-back 5K on Naito. We started by the World Trade Center. I had the pleasure of running into a girl I went to church and high school with. She was admiring my awesome socks when I turned around and said, "Lindy! Hi!" Always a fun way to kick start a day that started way too early.


At the World Trade Center ready to warm up


When the call came to start lining up, my girl friend lined up right on the start line. I lost the boys (all four of them) in the sea of faster-than-me runners. (Dad said, "I'd like to run with you, but I can't run that slow for that long." Thanks, Dad.) I found my post behind the "10+ minute" pace sign. In retrospect I should have lined up in front of the sign as I was trapped in a sea of strollers and dogs for a quarter mile and couldn't quite get around people. This may be the only race I've ever passed more than one person. (Somehow I missed posting about Highway to Well in October. That was a big deal - I got a ribbon and everything!)

Dad said, "You can't even see my sign from there!"

The highlight of being slower than everyone else is they were turning back before I was halfway through. So, I got to yell, "Go Christy!" and "Way to go J. Hall!" and "Daddy!" and "Bentley! Aaron!" when I spotted them coming back up the road. Basically, my two favorite things: seeing people I love and cheering on runners.

I'm proud to report that despite some remaining ankle nagging, this was my best race of all time. I didn't break my goal of sub-35, but I was close.
35:54.5 - don't judge ;-)

Most importantly, I actually had fun in this race and felt good for the duration - even that awful short hill on the way back. Sadly, there are no pictures of me coming down to the finish line - despite much jumping up and yelling, "Daddy!" as I ran along - as the people that did see me were on the wrong side of the road.

Was a fun event to do with some of my wonderful people and I'm getting really excited for the Shamrock Run in March. (Drove the 15K course, Dad is in for a good time... or not. We're doing the 8K.)
Dad the Elf, running buddies Aaron & Torie, Nike, Jason and J. Hall post-race

Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 18: A Record and a Tribute

Running is difficult for me. I want it to be fun and I want it to be easy, but right now it is not. I do know, however, it will get easier as long as I stick with it.

When my dad started running last year and was having really difficult days he told me he started thinking about our soldiers overseas and how they're sweating in the sandbox with all their gear and at least when he runs no one's shooting at him. (He, of course, said this all more eloquently than I'm remembering it.) So, when it was hard he ran harder for them and recognized all the sacrifices they are making and suddenly a 6 mile run around down in 85-degree weather didn't seem so bad.

Recently we started talking about marathon possibilities. (It's all about the goals.) In the midst of that conversation, Dad sent me this article about former Marine Sgt. Jeremy Soles, who ran the Marine Corps marathon in November and broke the Guinness Book of World Records for running with a gas mask. While I was floored by his accomplishment - I've tried those things on - I was moved by his reason for doing it.

Sgt. Soles, founder of  Team X-T.R.E.M.E., ran this record setting marathon in honor of  Marine Cpl. John Michael Peck who despite having suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) insisted on returning to the battlefield.

"A lot of times, people ask why we run in a gas mask," Soles said. "Well, we use the gas mask to symbolize what we do. People often ask how difficult it is, and our first thing to tell them is it's not nearly as difficult as overcoming traumatic brain injury, which he did, not nearly as difficult as overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder, learning how to walk again with prosthetic limbs -- and people see the parallel."

Running for a cause. Running for those who can't. Running to honor. What better motivation could there be?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Week 17: An Art Piece

This week I was supposed to post about an art piece and was stumped. While in Disneyland, Jason took a picture of me kissing a little bronze Dumbo, which sparked the memory of my time in Barcelona.

This is me, Winter 2006, in Parque Guell of Gaudí fame. The mosaic lizard is quite famous and beautifully intricate. You can buy replicas throughout Spain, though I never did. (According to Wikipedia the lizard is actually a dragon. Who knew?)

I loved Parque Guell. It was interesting to see Antoni Gaudí's work in a colorful way after visiting La Sagrada Familia. (I was fascinated by the craftsmanship, but it's a bit of an eyesore.) The lizard is still one of my favorite memories and pieces.

Thankful Thursday: Funny Christmas Songs

I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Lame, I know. Especially since I *big puffy heart* Christmas. It's my fave. Pandora just blessed me with this song so I'm passing it on to you... 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 16: A Song that Makes You Cry (or nearly)

I'm back! I hope everyone had a beautiful, enjoyable Thanksgiving spent with people you love. We had a wonderful time in SoCal with my husband's family at the beach. My cousins had their baby late Friday night before we left, so I got to hold a newborn before we made the drive back. But those are all things for another post. ;-)

I cry easily. I've mentioned before it's my superpower. The song that's really been turning on the water works lately, however, is this one...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Rainbow

Dear Rainbow,

Thank you for brightening the dark storm and reminding me I'm not alone in my own storm. Your appearance always reminds me of the promises. I'm not going to drown in the flood. 

All the best,
Nike

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 15: A Fanfic

This week I'm supposed to tell you about my favorite fan fiction/fanfic/fic/ff. I think it suffices to say that I had to look up "fanfic" cause I didn't know what it means. Until last week I'd never read a fanfic and I'm not sure what I started reading even qualifies, but here you go... Blogging Twilight.

(I heart Twilight. I also appreciate humor.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Secrets

Dear Secret,

Thanks for popping up at random times and bringing me joy. I've always been a fan of you, Secret, and today you made one of the most joyous appearances of all. While you don't really affect me directly, you affect someone I love very dearly and I am bubbling with happiness. That's what makes you so fun, as adults we can't really go around saying, "I have a secret, na nah na nah na...." but we can still smile a little knowing we know something no one else does. 

Keeping my lips sealed,
Nike

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rude

Earlier I had planned on writing a post about the Love Languages quiz the Monday Night Posse did last week. It was a great evening of evaluating how we experience love and hear what everyone's language is. I will probably still do that, but in light of recent events we're going to talk about my least favorite trait: rudeness.

Today I had an early morning meeting downtown. The office the meeting was held at has about 20 visitor parking spots, which are unusually narrow, but not so narrow the 'Ru doesn't fit. I parked in between the lines and left enough room the car to my right could open their door. The space to the left was empty.

Two hours later, I came out in the pouring rain to find a nondescript white car squeezed tight on the line in the spot to the left of mine. So close I couldn't walk in between the cars, more or less get my door open. I grumbled and resigned myself to climbing over my seats so I could drive away. I nearly hit the white car's side mirror backing out since they were angled towards my front to the point our noses almost touched, and was thankful I didn't. Now I wish I had.

I went to work, went about my morning tasks, then left for lunch. As I walked up to my car my heart sank and I felt sick. Little Brother was on the phone and talked me through it. Across the back door to the front panel was a streak of white, green, and a few missing paint chunks. Apparently the white car had so much trouble getting into the parking spot s/he needed to use my car as a guide.

I called Jason and we met up for lunch so he could see the car. We agreed the damage is not so bad we need to call insurance, and, really, not that easy to see unless it catches you off guard. (Jason walked completely around the car trying to find what I was talking about before he realized it was the driver's side doors.)

It's just paint. It's just a car. There aren't any dents and it could have been a lot worse. So why do I feel like punching someone? I've narrowed it down to a simple reason: rudeness.

When Jason got in the car he said, "The car is okay... wait, are you okay? Were you in the car?" and I said, "No, if I'd been in the car I would have gotten the person's name and insurance." That's when I realized the reason I was upset isn't so much the car's damage, but the inconsiderateness of the person who did the damage.

See, I would still be upset had I been in the car when it happened. Heck, I'd still be upset if I'd come out to the car and noticed a note on my car. Why I'm absolutely furious is because I wasn't there - not only wasn't there, but didn't know because I didn't see the driver's side of my car until after I was back at work - and there wasn't a note. The fact that someone did noticeable damage to my car and didn't even say, "I'm sorry" infuriates me. It's just rude.

I hope they went on to have a lovely day. I, on the other hand, am just angry.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week 14: A Nonfiction Book

Happy Monday! 

The most recent nonfiction book I read was Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing up Cult by Jayanti Tamm. It was fascinating to get an insider's view of a faith so different from my own, yet the struggles we both have be so similar. Jayanti tells her story with humor and compassion - both for herself and for the guru who turned out to be a sham. 

The nonfiction book that I still think of often, however, I have already reviewed. So, out of sheer laziness, I will refer you to this post. Little Brother and I were just discussing Nick Popaditch the other day. My "face of the Marines" brother still hasn't read it. You should.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Little Brothers

Dear Little Brother,

20 years ago, and maybe even in the last 10, I never would have thought we'd end up as good of friends as we are. Talking to you or getting a funny message from you always makes my day. I appreciate that we can always pick up right where we left off and you always seem to get me. You're the best little brother in the world.

To the moon,
Nike

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Week 13: A Fictional Book

I just finished reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson. Here's the thing about me and books... even if I hate a book I have to finish it. It's a matter of principle. 

(To date, in my 19 years of reading I have failed to complete three books. Three. You should know I am a prolific reader and during the winter average two books a week.) 

That said, I'm not particularly enjoying the Millenium Chronicles. The characters aren't very likeable - though I don't wish any of them ill - and the writing is so very, very slow. Also, I feel there are some key things I'm missing because I don't know a lot about Sweden, namely the geography or the value of a kronor.

I felt much the same at the end of this book as I did at the end of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Fortunately, this time I knew there was a third book and the book I had had the first twelve pages of the next book. Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, you had better be worth it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Eggnog

Dear Eggnog,

Thank you for only appearing for three months out of the year. I think I might get sick of you if you were more available. It seems blasphemous to say that, but it's probably true. Your absence for most of the year makes it justifiable to be a bit gluttonous while you're present.

And when did you get so dynamic? I used to just drink you cold in a class. Now I can mix you with my other love - chai - or coffee, or eat you in the form of icecream. Way to keep with the times, Eggnog.

We're going to have a beautiful three months together.

Much love,
Nike

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Welcome, Fall

On Sunday, my best friend, a car full of girls, Jason and I went to the Roloff Farm. It was rainy and cold for most of it, but we still got some good pictures of our annual trip to a pumpkin patch. A good time was had - we'll let the pictures speak for themselves...






Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What If...

What if I filled out the application? What if I actually submitted it? What if I was selected?  What would my life look like then? What if it's worth it? What if it's not?


It is becoming increasingly obvious that my work life has come to a stalemate. The job I have was a great job, with an organization I am proud to be part of, when I was finishing my college degree. It was never intended to be something permanent - even with the 12-cent raise and additional 4 hrs (woohoo, 28 hrs/week) upon graduation. My career, and life, goals are much bigger than this. I am not cut out to be an assistant and I do not feel good about my performance as of late.

So, I have dug in and am starting the job search process. Looking for jobs is never the problem. On many occasions I have searched craigslist and created an entirely new life in Denver, Phoenix, and, once, in Georgia. It's the actually filling out the application, and should the application get filled out, actually sending it in. I always fail on one of those two fronts. 


The two jobs I have found that align with my long-term goals also come with some challenges. Namely, moving. I don't want a commuter marriage, so with moving comes the questions of what to do with my husband's schooling. My heart's desire is that he finish his degree and get his teaching certificate. His heart's desire is I find a job I am fulfilled in and will ultimately help me as I shoot for grad school. 

We've been discussing our different options, but the thing that remains the same is my husband's support of me pursuing these options. There's nothing more motivating than that, despite all the "what ifs."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 12: This One Time I Answered an Ad...

An unfortunate day on which we unknowingly ventured into public in the same outfit.
I love my husband, I really really do. But he has this really great trait that quickly becomes annoying and leads to all kinds of unloving thoughts towards him. He's helpful. Sometimes too helpful. Especially when we're running.

Running has never been a passion of mine. I have only recently reached the "someday I want to be really awesome at running" stage. Right now my main goal is to complete a run without walking. Or dying.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks running is thegreatestthingEVER. So, while I am thinking, "You're not going to die, keep going, you're almost there, crap it's only been five minutes, it's okay, you can do this..." he's all smiles and then starts telling me to push harder, pick up my knees, etc, etc. Can you see how this might be a problem?

After a run a few weeks ago when I was having particularly murderous thoughts towards the love of my life, I determined the best thing for our marriage would be if I had options of other people to run with. This led to a craigslist search for running groups.

The running groups I found were way too advanced for me, but I did come across a Running Buddy ad. Which I promptly answered. Then thought, "Nike, you are socially awkward and don't like strangers. Are you insane?!"

This story has a happy ending, though. My new running buddy is married. (I didn't know if the person placing the ad was male or female, so I had a lot of, "my husband and I" language in my response.) The four of us go on runs three times a week and we are all at about the same level. Everyone has something to bring to the table that makes us all stronger runners. It's really a perfect match.

I think answering a running buddy ad may have been one of my best moves of the year. I enjoy running with my husband again, my endurance has increased and my pace has decreased pretty dramatically in the last few weeks. I'll be a running machine yet - watch for us at the Jingle Bell 5K in December!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Tea

Dear Tea,

Thank you for being warm, delicious, and the perfect excuse to get together with my girlfriends on a Saturday. Our new favorite place, Tea Thyme & Lavender, is an amazing blend of all my/our favorite things: tea, antiques, lavender, and tasty homemade treats. You're alright, Tea, you're alright.

With fondness,
Nike

Full Disclosure: Speedy Turtles Day After

No longer speedy, just gimpy. Turtle Shell 1 got a makeover
And the tired bunch that stayed over for the award's ceremony. They were a little more lively at breakfast, but hit the wall on the "long" walk back to the car. It was really sad, but the locals call it the "Hood to Coast swagger." Way more awesome than "gimpy." We were like this for about a week. I guess 197 miles will do that do you.
Mixture of some of the people that made 2010 Hood to Coast happen - runners and drivers

Week 6: Speedy Turtles & The Mother of All Relays

It's my blog and I'll do what I want - even if that means doing stuff out of order. ;-)


The prompt for Week 6 "All About Me" was "whatever tickles your fancy." This is my excuse to share our Hood to Coast story. I know ya'll have been dying to know, despite its passing three weeks a couple months ago...


On Thursday, August 26, eleven runners, two drivers, and a volunteer descended on Pastini's Pastaria in Cedar Hills shopping center. Their mission? To get to know each other before they spent 33+ hours in a vehicle together. Oh, and to load up on carbs. Two runners were complete strangers (thank you H2C forum). One only the Team Captain and her husband had met four days before (again, yay H2C forum). They ate, they laughed, and they talked/asked questions. A lot.


It's 3:45am, it's dark outside and we have running suits on... Hit it!
Turtle Shell 1 hit the road at 4:00 am with their Captain's blessing. They were not blessing her when they arrived on the Mountain before anything was set up. Whatever, they got over it.

Turtle Shell 1 drivers and runners. Recognize two faces? Yeah, that's my family. *so proud*
While Turtle Shell 1 was at the Mountain, running down the mountain, and participating in general awesomeness, Turtle Shell 2 was chilling at the meeting house and eating pancakes.
Heck yeah that's a turtle. Runner 10, Leslie, rocks the griddle.
Eventually, Turtle Shell 2 also had to hit the road. After a pit stop in Clackamas to pick up a runner and a quick photo-op....
One of the drivers and six runners. Turtle Shell 2 power.
Due to their later start, the Turtle Shell 2 peeps were pretty antsy. They arrived at the Sandy Fred Meyer with an hour-plus to spare before runner 6 hit the exchange. This gave the drivers plenty of time to collect some swag and van decorating.
The DH (he injured himself the week before the race, so was relegated to driver) and my cousin. Aren't they adorable?
After some minor incidents (hello dead car battery), Turtle Shell 2 hit the road and started their first set. 
Christy, runner 8, hands of to Julie
One of the Team Captain's goals was to find the Iron Mullets. Find them she did... 
They had a garage sale the TC found on craigslist. They were delightful And fast.
The Speedy Turtles ran at sunset, in the dark, and slept in fields... 
Calvin (Daddy) and Nike at Exchange 12
Hand-off between Shelby (left, runner 7) and Christy at Exchange 25
The one moment the TC took a nap. Until she heard, "Stop stop there's a person!" (She wasn't the person, Runner 9 was)
Turtle Shell 1 provided one of the Team Captain's favorite moments. Runner 6, Crystal, came running into Exchange 31 all smiles and yelled, "I'm beating Jason!" TC turned to see J. Hall booking it after Crystal with the clipboard. TC yelled, "Go Jason, go!" just as Bentley (also a Jason) was pulled into the race for the clipboard hand off. 
Crystal running in her last leg
My last leg was a 7.25, mostly on gravel, and was not my favorite. Here's the hand off that set me off to my finish... 
Loved handing off with my best friend of 14 years - was terrified moment before this she would be run over by the Honey Bucket truck. Didn't love that.
All in all, the race was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. Everyone pulled together at the end and got the job done and had fun doing it. There were times of crying, times of laughing, and times of awkward silence, but it was a worthwhile event. 
Turtle Shell II walking to the beach to meet up with Runner 12 and Turtle Shell 1 (photobombed by white hat guy)
It was great to meet up with the rest of the team on the beach and "run" to the finish. The run was supposed to be more of a light jog, but Runner 12 took off. Team Captain fail. 
Most of the team could barely walk at this point. Awesome.
2010 Speedy Turtles - mostly novices and they rocked it
2011 application is in the mail. Looking forward to an even more awesome event. It really was "like Woodstock on wheels." Loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 10 & 11: Old and New

Week 10 was supposed to be a picture of me taken over 10 years ago. Here's the thing - I didn't have a digital camera until after my Freshman year of college and I don't currently have a scanner (I know, right?). So, I'm cheating on the "over 10 years ago" and calling "more than 7 years" good enough. ;-)
2003 High School Graduation Party - it was cruise themed. We all got crazy sunburned on one side of our faces.
Week 11 is a picture of you taken recently... Here's me two weeks ago. Less sunburned. Ha.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taking the Plunge

Today my dear friend texted and asked if I'd join her 2011 Polar Plunge team. Um, absolutely! (I chickened out on her last year and they had so much fun I regretted not joining them.)

So, in February I will be jumping into the frigid waters of the Deschutes River with two of my favorite girls and their friends. (And, probably, my favorite boy, but he's needing some extra convincing right now.)

This event is a fundraiser for Oregon Special Olympics and as a team member I will be raising funds over the next four months for this awesome organization. (See bar to the left.) An active lifestyle should be open to all and Oregon Special Olympics takes up the torch to make that happen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Sushi

Dear Sushi,

First of all, you're awesome and definitely at the top of my favorite foods list. What I'd like to thank you for today, however, is for your uncanny ability to help build relationships. When I learn people like sushi they instantly become one of  my new favorite people. Sure, it's completely possible all we'll have in common is sushi, bu you know what? While we're eating together that time is precious and relationships are deepened.

I'm pretty sure you're the sixth love language.

Love,
Nike

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Go Get My Skirt On

I don't talk a lot about running on here, mainly because I'm disappointed in my current performance, but it is becoming a rather large part of my life. Know what I like best about running? Gadgets. That's right, I'm my father's daughter. Running skirts, hats, reflective gear, and Garmins make my heart go pitter-patter.

I've been drooling over RunningSkirts.com for a month or so now. It's kinda like a mecca for me, but I'm still pretty cheap when it comes to buying gear. Except shoes. I won't skimp on shoes.

Today I received an e-mail titled "Just in time for Army10-miler & Marine Corps' Marathon." Inside? The SkirtCamp Camo collection. (Unfortunately I don't have a link to the collection cause it's being unveiled at the Army10-miler.) Ya'll know I love my military and any chance to support them. Here's an opportunity to make a purchase to boost my running gear and support our injured warriors. It's a win-win!

Watch the video and go visit RunningSkirts.com. Worth it.

**Note: RunningSkirts is based in California and internationally affiliated. The video is for a fundraiser they did for a Canadian-based foundation, Soldier On. US donations go to Marines Helping Marines.***

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ladies & Gentlemen, May I Have Your Attention...

I would like to direct you to my "Blog Reads" on the right. Go check out Carly Carlson's fantastic post on the photoshoot the boy and I did a few weeks ago. She posts some of the best/funniest on her blog. The Monday Night Posse had a full gallery viewing last night and I just don't know how we're going to decide on our absolute favorites! She did a fantabulous job!

That is all... you may go back to what you were doing. ;-)

*Pictures taken in Baker City, OR and outlying areas.*

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Black Fleece Pants

Dear Pants-I-Bought-to-wear-under-snow-pants-for-Snowshoeing,

Thanks for being awesomely cozy and not making me look too slovenly if I happen to leave the house in you. My legs appreciate the fleecy softness, I appreciate your zipper pockets and comfort. Best Bi-Mart purchase ever.

You rock,
Nike

Feeling the Love

Yesterday I received this blog award from Momma Zen. My very first! I found her through a blog hop and have enjoyed seeing her beautiful photography. Go stop by and say, "Hi!" Her husband just deployed, so she could use some extra love. 

Now the rules... 

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog, and link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Pay it forward to 15 bloggers you have recently discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know that they've been chosen. 

My picks - fifteen is a lot, so I'm using "recent" loosely:

Tall Mom on the Run - a mama and a runner, she's also dang cool.

SkinnyRunner - funny and runs like a mad woman

Racing With Babes - another mother/runner who PRed at her last 1/2

Wife of A Wounded Soldier - this lady has been through hell and back with so much grace and inspires me every day

Rough and Rede - my former blog prof, I love the variety of his posts

Marine Wife Unplugged - another inspirational military spouse with a beautiful eye for photography

Make Yourself at Home - Laura is a peach, you should get to know her

Aki's Instant Noodles - Ingredients: Recollections (62.4%), Observations (27.3%), Opinion (9.1%), FD&C Yellow #5 (1.2%); go give it a try

Pink Spandex - randomness of two twenty-somethings balancing life, work, beer, and exercise (Plus they're my favorite people in the world.)

Ok, just one more beer... - discovered this awesome gal yesterday she's amazing and hilarious!
one step at a time... - mother, retired military spouse, crafter of beautiful ornaments

Treble Maker - talented singer friend of a friend who is both witty and inspiring

A{muse}ing Mommy on a Pink Park Bench - Nikki makes me laugh, and think, every day

Southern Hospitality - need to be refreshed? Go visit this lovely Southern belle

In My Own Words - retired Canadian teacher with a refreshing sense of wit and insight

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fear

"What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" ~ Robert H. Schuller

 What is it that holds us back from doing the thing we most want to do? What keeps us from achieving our full potential? If you're anything like me, it's fear of failure. Failure - and disappointing people I care about - is my kryptonite. Interestingly enough, I've never failed at anything I set my mind to do - but the caveat to that is I've also never taken any huge risks. 

Here's what I would do if I knew I couldn't fail:
  1. Finish the cover letter for my quasi dream job instead of typing about it.
  2. Apply to Grad school this winter for fall term.
  3. Teach in a foreign country for a couple years
  4. Run a marathon.
  5. Start a private practice
Most of those things are relatively simple and easy to accomplish as long as a plan is in place. I'm good at making plans and organizing when it's something that needs to be done. I'm not so good at taking risks, even if the reward would be greater than the fear I feel now.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? 

 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tear My Heart Open, Sew Myself Shut

Lately I've been thinking about the challenges of growing up. Several of the teens I mentored are now in their twenties and it's interesting seeing them go through the same things I went through five years ago, and still struggle with today. Balancing old relationships and new ones. Becoming more independent. Realizing sometimes you have to let go of things to make room for new ones. 

I don't have life figured out. And whenever I think I do, something crazy comes along and reminds me I'm still learning. I'm still trying to hold on to parts of my past - hurts, joys, and people - and I'm not convinced that's a bad thing. At least the joys and people part. 

What I'm starting to realize is I'm holding on to some of those things/people so tight that they're suffering. The relationships aren't growing because I'm not allowing them to mature. I'm so possessive of them that everything is seen as a threat. That's not healthy, nor mature. 

Yeah, I've still got a lot to learn.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 9: A Photo that You Took

Snail at Camp Reehers
Most of the pictures I post I have taken. The one above I took the first day of our disastrous first camping trip of the season. (That is, before we got rained out and I woke up in a flooded tent.) I'm pretty proud of it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

PS: I Love You

While driving back to work on Wednesday after a two hour hiatus, I was thinking about the little things we do for our loved ones that say, "PS: I love you." See, I had just spent two hours at my friends' house because I had a bit of an emotional breakdown at work and needed to leave. I texted both of my girlfriends to ask if someone was home cause I needed to not be at work and they replied, "Yep, come on over."

Once at the house I was still feeling the anxiety and angst of whatever caused the emotional relapse, but we didn't talk about it. My favorite four-year-old kept me distracted, the girls and I visited, the four-year-old and I had lunch together, and then I headed back to work. No one pushed me about what was wrong, no one commented on my fleeing from work in the middle of the day (benefits of having a part-time job). They just let me be.

On the way back I realized that was my friends telling me they love me. They knew I needed an escape and provided a reprieve. I wonder what my life would look like if I was intentional about post scripting every interaction with "I love you." Something small that tells the people around me how much they mean to me.

What are your "PS: I love you"s?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Ugh

Dear Days-When-there-Doesn't-Seem-to-be-Much-to-be-Thankful-For,

Thank you for being few and far between. I know I'm blessed, even when it doesn't feel that way.

Peace,
Nike

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week 8: A Photo That Makes You Sad/Angry

Well, if last week was a celebration, happy picture, here's the picture that made it so. Ugh.

Cupcake Nike, September 2008