Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RUNNING for a cure!

Ok Friends...as you all know, I'm a Special Event Coordinator for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It's a wonderful job and I am blessed to be involved with such an amazing organization with such a focused mission: finding a cure for diabetes. My job involves planning and executing our Chapter's FIVE Walks to Cure Diabetes each fall. Not only do I plan the Walks, but I am also responsible to guide the fundraising activities of the chapter around these Walks.

The past two years, I have asked for donations to support my family Walk team, Cap'n Mac's Mates, as THEY Walk for a cure in Utah County. They have been kind and supportive enough to hop on board and fundraise with me since i got my job in 2007. I couldn't ask for a better family! THIS year, while the funds will still be supporting their team, I will be participating in an additional feat of endurance. Since I am never able to actually WALK on Walk day (because I am working "behind the scenes"), I decided to run a half marathon this year to raise money for my Walk team.

The longest race I have ever run is a 4-miler on Thanksgiving day. A half marathon really will be a challenge for me, and I would like nothing better than to say that I was able to raise $1,000 for diabetes research as a "perk" to finishing those 13.1 miles on June 13th. My goal is always $1,000, but the most I have been able to personally raise is $500. I have been diligently training for this race, and have found it to be incredibly difficult and painful. I know how personally satisfying it will be to cross that finish line, but I also know how much it will mean to the families I work with that I did this for them too.

To learn a little more about JDRF and diabetes, there is a video posted at http://www.supportthischarity.com/cure2008. These kids are actually kids from Utah and yes, they actually have diabetes. You can also read about this on my JDRF post here on the blog.

If you are able, please take a moment to click on the thermometer on my Facebook page where it says "Donate Now." I will love you forever (and probably give you a shout out on my blog for your kind generosity) if you do. You can also click this link: http://walk.jdrf.org/support.cfm?id=87309357 and it will take you straight to my fundraising page. Thank you so much!


Okay, so I'm about to toot my own horn here. I have been working my tail off for the last 6 weeks training for this half marathon. I've thusfar been discouraged by the number on the scale, assuming that I would lose weight based on the number of miles I'm logging - I haven't lost an ounce. I'm down in size, but up in pounds.

Today a Board Member was in our office meeting with my boss. She had to take a phone call, and he meandered back to my office to say hello. I stood up to go refill my water bottle and he asked me, very pointedly, if I had lost "a lot of weight." Taken very much aback, I responded with a firm and resounding "NO." Then he asked if I had been working out and I told him that I have been training for a half marathon in June. He told me that "it definitely shows" and that I "looked great." I thanked him and went up front to refill my bottle with a huge smile on my face and a huge feeling of validation in my heart.

Thank you Bruce! You made my week!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yes, I'm posting about Twilight...

I only saw Twilight one time in theaters. I wouldn't even have considered myself a "Twilighter." I was the first to admit that they hype surrounding the movie was completely out of control. I read the books out of curiosity, but finished the franchise out of obligation. One wouldn't guess this, given that I read the books in record time (on my scale, of course). When Facebook status updates and flair boards read "I'm looking for my Edward" I was thinking "Oh, please. Can't we get over the mythical vampire dreamboat?" I mean, really, how healthy can it be for teenage girls to be lusting after a blood-sucking, whimsical guy, when REAL guys bring enough problems of their own??

So, last night when i bought the DVD (yes, it was actually a "stop" on the Saturday to-do list), I was eager to get my second-take. I wasn't terribly impressed the first time around, but because my infatuation with Robert Pattinson has bloomed, I felt the need to give it another chance. It took me two tries to get through it (given that I started it at 12:30 am), but finished this morning with just enough time to make it to church. I liked it more the second time, but for different reasons than I thought I would. Having experienced a few handfuls of life since I saw it last November, I picked up a few things that I didn't before.

I love finding parallels to my life in movies, music lyrics, and TV shows, but I really didn't want to with Twilight. I was startled when two lines, in particular, struck me as pertinent - yes, the teenage vampire movie has application in real life! The first line is in the scene at the restaurant after Edward rescues Bella from the weasels in the dark alley. He says, "I feel very protective of you." I find this to be very endearing - and appropriate of any male/female relationship. Any good guy friend/boyfriend I have had has mentioned this to me one time or another. It is so important to me to know that the guys I am with feel the need to protect me. I'm one tough broad, and usually do pretty well on my own, but to know that someone else has my back, is truly a sign that someone cares for me.

The second line is in the hokey scene when Bella articulates to Edward that she knows what he is. He says to her, "You don't know how long I've waited for you." He knows that she is who he is meant to be with. I think we all feel this way at times - when we've met someone and the chemistry is just right. It hasn't happened to me more than a handful of times (with friends - girl and guy - and love interests), but you just know that you've met for a reason. I know, especially as single Latter Day Saints, we are constantly indoctrinated with the marriage spiel (as if we don't know that we should be getting married). We've all waited so long - and we will wait even longer, but I would rather wait FOREVER for someone who makes me feel this way than to settle for someone I have lukewarm attachment to.

Even in church today, Bishop Hanks taught Relief Society about dating and marriage and his wife mentioned that even in Twilight, Edward put Bella's needs above his own. He was always concerned about her well-being first and foremost - the same way that guys we date should be about us.

Oh, and did I mention, the movie has a great soundtrack??

So there you have it. I have likened Twilight unto my own life (as inappropriate or blasphemous as that is). Try not to judge too harshly. It was either this, or another post about how I'm losing a toenail due to my training. I picked this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Layout??

Okay, so I'm really not the girly girl type, but I thought I'd try something new. What do you think?

We'll see how long it lasts....

In the meantime, a festive St. Paddy's limerick...

There once was a girl named *stace*
Whose training blew up in her face
She went for a run
Fell down on her bun(s)
So maybe she's NOT such an ace...


"Top results are reached only through pain. But eventually you like this pain. You’ll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success." --Juha Vaatainen

I went for a leisurely 3.75 mile jog yesterday, after a 4-day weekend hiatus. After resting for such a long period, I thought I'd be able to hit it hard and tack another 5-6 miles to my weekly mileage. Not so. My shin splints and joint pain were too much to bear and I stopped at 3.75.

*Here's a little backstory on my shoes: they were my first pair of "serious" running shoes. I did my own consumer research and looked on various websites for the best pricing. They served me well, accumulating close to 1,000 miles on their soles (nearly 500 more than a pair of shoes should earn).

ANYWAY, following this run, I found myself at Salt Lake Running Company, begging a guy named Lance to fix my broken legs. He looked at the soles of my tattered Asics and told me what I already assumed - that i need more of a stability shoe to prevent my pronation. I walked on the treadmill to be sure that my legs aligned properly in the new shoes (they did) and told Lance I would take them. 30 minutes and $144 later, I was the proud owner of some new Mizuno Wave Inspires, complete with support insoles. I have high hopes that they will relieve some of the stress on my legs.

Over the weekend, I also ventured over to GNC. I've had suspicions that I am deficient in a plethora of nutrients, so I self-diagnosed. I returned home with over $80 worth of supplements: TriFlex (Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM for joint health), high potentcy women's multi-vitamin, and an additional Calcium supplement (with added Magnesium). I now take 7 pills a day. Interesting observations of these supplements:
  • All pills are the size of a grape
  • The multi is green and smells like a horse pasture
  • Said multi has made my urine a sonic yellow/green color (in a radioactive-like fashion [sorry for the TMI])
  • Having to remember to take said multi TWICE a day might prove difficult.
I'm thinking these changes will help me work through the pain of training (a pain I don't think I'll EVER like). I can't wait to take my new kicks for a spin. Until then, I'll hope that my radioactive urine isn't a sign of something negative.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tidbits About Training

It's hilarious to think that in 3 months time I will have added "completed half marathon" to my life accomplishments. When I was in Mrs. Scott's PE classes in Junior High, we would do a "fun run" every Wednesday. This "fun run" was a 1.5 mile loop around the school. Everyone laughed and joked about its name - it was "fun" when it was over. It's hard to think back to when I was winded just by running 1.5 miles.

Seasons change and metabolisms slow and there I was, nearing my graduation from college, and I found myself running again - this time by choice. My first run outside was a complete and utter joke, achieving maybe one mile before I dragged myself up my front steps. I declared, upon entering my parents' house, that I would never be doing "that" again. I took to the elliptical for months before I ever dared run on the pavement again.

Moving to Salt Lake brought interesting challenges, and my job was an inactive desk job. I noticed a gain of about 10-15 pounds one summer, and determined to have dropped a pant size before my boyfriend returned from Boston, I started running once more. I later purchased a gym membership, and began to consider myself a serious "athlete."

Little did I know, when reuniting with an old group of girlfriends, that I would be propositioned to run a half marathon. I have been running consistently since about December, but never in quantitative mileage that one who attempts this feat would boast. I had entertained the idea of a half marathon last year (as part of my lame attempt at New Year's Resolutions), but never really buckled down. So, I agreed, and here I am, 4.5 weeks into my formal training and I have a few observations to share.
  • Bananas are my fruit of choice - they increase my endurance, decrease muscle cramps, and they're fast and convenient.
  • The tone of my skin (not just on my face) has gotten much nicer since I started training! It's much softer and more supple :)
  • The inclusion of water in one's diet cannot be underestimated. My goal is to drink one full gallon per day - something I achieve most days of the week. I feel so much better after a run when I'm adequately hydrated!
  • Running medicated is the only way to go. My preferred cocktail: 5 Ibuprofen, 15 minutes before starting my run.
  • The proper synthetic attire (i.e. sports bras) make a HUGE difference. Not just in support - they wick moisture away from my body and make me feel less of a sweaty mess when I'm done. In that same vein, I've learned I can't run in pants! They make my legs feel so heavy and ultimately slow me down - leggings and shorts only, please!
  • My feet and legs have taken a huge toll - I have blisters on the ends of all my toes except the big ones, and I have a feeling that I will start losing toenails within the next 2-3 weeks. My legs are perpetually sore and sometimes I walk with a limp because of it.
  • There is no better running partner than an iPod Shuffle. Period.
I have 11.5 weeks of training remaining. I dare say, I'm in for a bumpy ride.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

They say it's your birthday...

This week I've learned that it's okay to be 26. I always thought I'd struggle with this birthday, just because it would put me closer to 30 than to 20, but I'm happy to be at the place I've arrived. I was inundated with phone calls, texts, and Facebook shoutouts, enough to please any girl. I had a "party" (in the loosest sense of the word) with some of my dear friends, and came to realize how good life is. I didn't expect any presents - I have enough stuff, I just wanted to spend time with people I love. This really is the first time I felt this way (although I am planning on getting a new laptop before the end of the month with my "earnings"), and I'm happy to say, this is the best birthday I've had in years.

Without divulging the dirty details, the last few years have been rough, as far as birthdays go. I'm a big believer that birthdays are a big deal. When people don't go above and beyond for mine, I'm always a little (or a lot) disappointed. THIS year, I lowered my expectations (so to speak) and was rewarded richly. THANK YOU to all of you who helped to make my birthday so special this year!

I got home from the Jonas Brothers concert on Tuesday and found a lovely surprise, courtesy of Breanna, sitting on my kitchen counter. She hand-dipped strawberries in chocolate (one of my favorite treats) and added words of wisdom in the form of a book: It's Called a Break Up Because It's Broken.

Yesterday I started fielding text messages around 7:30am, I think the best being "Happy birthday to my most beautiful firstborn." After work I went for a run, and then Ash took me to dinner at Mimi's (where i schmoozed my old manager for a free brownie). Afterwards, I had a "party" with my peeps - an exclusive by-invitation "party." We had marvelous cake (*pats herself on the back*), lively conversation and boisterous laughs. It was exactly what I needed and the perfect way to celebrate.

Tonight after work, Nick picked me up and took me to Chili's (I had a mad chips and salsa craving) for a birthday dinner. I'm glad Nick was unable to come to my "party" last night because it meant I got some one-on-one time with my best friend. I met Nick when I was barely 20 years old, and just prior to the conclusion of my first engagement. Unbeknown to me at the time, this would become one of the most significant relationships of my life. SO, when Nick called and asked to take me to dinner, I responded with an unmistakable "yes." We have a fantastic friendship and I count myself lucky to know him!

If getting older means having one week like this per year, I'll take all the years I can get! Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Burnin' Up For YOU...baby

SO...my unabashed affection for the Jonas Brothers came to a pinnacle tonight as I attended the long-anticipated Jonas Brothers 3D Concert Experience. As it is my birthday week (full of fun, excitement, and other nostalgia), I coerced two of my dear friends to attend with me. It was one of my birthday wishes.

We got to the ticket counter of the vacant Century Theater and I coyly said to the theater attendant, "I bet you won't believe we're here to see the Jonas Brothers, huh?" She handed over my $10 ticket, proclaiming that the "film" wasn't doing too well in its one week stint in theaters. That didn't temper my excitement. We proceeded through the front corridor of the building, working our way back to theater 10, not-so-secretly hoping to run into a giant cardboard cutout of these underage eyecandy phenoms. I squealed with the glee of a 14 year old, prepubescent school girl and asked one of the gentlemen en route to the bathroom if he would indulge me with a photo. He rolled his eyes as if to say, "Are you kidding??" He took two frames (without even having to be asked), and continued on his way.

We were able to rent out the entire theater for a sly $30! We took our seats in the empty auditorium and I muttered a quick, but sincere, apology to Ash and Lynsey for the impending lame-ness awaiting them. This was followed by a quick, but sincere thank you for indulging me in my birthday wish. We donned the 3D eyewear provided by the theaters (they seriously were magic!) and the show started. Those Jonas boys sure are adorable! I know I'm 6 years older than him, but Joe Jonas is my ticket to jail. Charge me with statutory, I'll gladly go! He was mesmerizing on stage, and the most alluring aspect was definitely the lime green, v-neck muscle tee. I love me a "man" who can sport the sleeveless look and not pass for gay. Oh yeah, and there was another part in their dressing room, but I won't divulge the juicy details. Mmmm...

After 1 hour and 16 minutes of 3D Jonas bliss (kind of), we vacated our otherwise empty auditorium and darted to the car. Ash kept her glasses (the only way to rationalize the cost of the ticket - I'm sure they're already in her trash at home...haha) and we had yet another laugh about my crazy fixation on these minors from Jersey. When I got home, I proudly put on my Nick Jonas tee shirt and finished up my birthday cake. "She has a tee shirt?" you ask? Well of course I do! What kind of a fan do you think I am?! Thanks, ladies, for entertaining my birthday wish. Hopefully I have planted the seed of Jonas goodness in your hearts.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birthday Reflections

In tradition of celebrating my birthday for an entire week (as opposed to the normal day-long celebrations of the rest of society), I have begun to reflect on what I have learned in my 26 years on earth, on this, the first day of my birthday week. I feel like I should have been jotting down thoughts all year long, so there may be gaps in this list. I gave it my best shot. I give you "The Top 10 Life Lessons I Have Learned in the Last Year."

1. It's okay to be 26 and single in Salt Lake Valley.

2. Sometimes things don't work out. It's a fact of life. We need to pick up the pieces and carry them to the next phase of our life - which, hopefully, is more exciting anyway.

3. A girl can never have too many shoes.

4. Sometimes spending money on things you don't really need can be very fulfilling.

5. Working for a cause and uniting with other people in a similar goal is always fulfilling. The relationships that are formed along the way are priceless.

6. Lyrics have different meanings at different times in our lives - the song was good the first time you heard it, but now it has new meaning, and you love it all the more.

7. The number on the scale is the worst indication of how healthy you are.

8. Reuniting with friends from the past helps you remember what it was like to be young and foolish. Keeping those friends as time progresses helps you grow together and still remember what it was like to be young and foolish, but only in reflection.

9. Sometimes "Oscar Movies" aren't really the best movies.

10. Family relationships really are one of your greatest assets in life. They are your best link to your past and those most likely to stand by you in the future.

I hope that as I embark upon my 27th year, the lessons I learn will be equally as important. And I hope the venues for learning them will be equally as fascinating.